August 28th, 2017 marked 40 years from the day that Nainoa K. Hoe was born. His life continues to have a remarkable impact. His father, serving as an advisor to the Hawaiian Native Corporation, is Allen Hoe. On January 22nd, 2005, Nainoa was 27 years old, and a great young leader. He was an 1LT infantry platoon leader with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, a Ranger Airborne, and SCUBA qualified.

Commissioned from the University of Hawaii Army ROTC Program, he excelled in academics and leadership, earning a scholarship and receiving multiple awards. He would become the highest ranking cadet as the battalion commander. As 1st Lt. Hoe was leading his platoon through the streets of Iraq escorting two members of a tactical team, a sniper struck him. He died in the trauma clinic.

A couple months later, his father, Mr. Allen Hoe, was visiting Washington D.C. grieving his son’s death. Visiting the Vietnam Memorial, he saw female trauma nurses being honored nearby. Always Hawaiian, he fortuitously offered a leis to one of them. As she lowered her head, the nurse recognized a picture of 1st Lt. Nainoa pinned on Mr. Hoe’s shirt. She was the trauma nurse there with Nainoa when he died. Shortly after, Mr. Hoe established the first Annual Nainoa Hoe Scholarship of Honor Award. The award is based on the academic achievements, athletics, and leadership skills of cadets “who exhibit a commitment to public service while in Hawaii high school JROTC programs.”

This year’s recipient is Cadet Vanna Nguyen, a sophomore at the University of Hawaii Manoa, where she is studying animal science to serve as a veterinarian in the Army. She is a member of the ROTC’s Warrior Battalion, serving as a second-year cadet under the Army’s Cadet Command. “I admire young men and women from Hawaii who aspire to do good, not only for their families, but for their country,” said Mr. Hoe. “It gives me great satisfaction to see my son’s legacy continue in this way.” Impact on Instagram – @DawsonImpact