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President Obama’s Arrival at Hickam AFB

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A wonderful way to end this year of great adventures, I was lucky enough to be invited by PACAF to photograph President Barack Obama’s late-night arrival on the  island of Oahu for his annual Hawaiian vacation.  Air Force One landed at  Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam just before midnight, and along with Senator Daniel Akaka and U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono, descended the stairs from the aircraft to the waiting motorcade and was swiftly taken to his vacation home in Kailua.  (The President was also greeted by Pacific General Gary North, 15th Wing Commander Sam Barrett, and Air Force Captain Tyisha Owens, but the greeting and lei-giving was behind an SUV from my vantage point.)

This was one of the most difficult photography situations I’ve encountered this year, though I certainly learned a lot and have a better game plan if I ever find myself in a similar situation.  Next time, I’d attempt to use my flash at full power, as you can see my sharpest image of the President is when I caught another photographer’s flash.

Also spotted Pete Souza, the chief White House photographer!

December 7th Hickam Field Remembrance Ceremony

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December 7th, “the day that will live in infamy”, immediately brings Pearl Harbor to mind, but this morning I had the privilege of attending a quiet ceremony at Hickam Air Force Base commemorating the Japanese attack of Hickam Field, which was also bombed that day, 69 years ago. The nearby buildings riddled with bullet holes from the air strike that day are a somber reminder of the destruction that sent our country into war.

The ceremony was attended by three December 7th survivors, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, the 13th Air Force commander, was the guest speaker.

Continue reading “December 7th Hickam Field Remembrance Ceremony” »

Adventures on the USS Chung-Hoon

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Thanks to my Twitter connections, I was lucky enough to be one of the blogger/tweeter/photographers…well, ‘New Media People’, to be invited by the US Pacific Command’s Public Affairs to the Navy’s Family Cruise day on the USS Chung-Hoon. It was great to share this adventure with my fellow social media people, including Damon Tucker (Who has an amazing detailed blogpost about our day), Kaimana Pine, Burt Lum, Christie Shimabuku, and Shauna Goya.

The day began with meeting up at the Nimitz Gate of Pearl Harbor.  Once we got to the docks, we walked around a bit, taking photos of the other ships, including the USS Port Royal.

Finally, we approached the ship we were sailing on for the day, the USS Chung-Hoon, named Rear Admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon, whose Hawaiian ancestry gives this ship a special connection with our state.

After boarding, we were were taken on a tour of the ship led by one of the junior officers. He showed us all over the ship, down steep stairs, through hatches, and even in the command center (where we were not allowed to take photos, unfortunately.

Then, we got some demonstrations of the equipment and weapons kept on board.  I got to hold a shotgun, which made all my little FPS gamer dreams come true! (Photo of me with gun courtesy of Burt Lum of Bytemarks.Org!)

Afterward, we checked out the aft of the ship, where some sailors were beginning to prepare lunch, but we left as a promotion ceremony was beginning.

We continued touring around the outside of the ship before making our way to lunch. After lunch, we were fortunate to witness a re-enlistment ceremony.

Finally, we got to meet the ship’s captain, Commander Michael McCartney, who talked to us about the ship’s history and connections to Hawaii, as well as some of the humanitarian projects his crew partakes in while deployed, while we made our way back into Pearl Harbor. On our way in, we passed a submarine that saluted our ship because it outranked theirs. Before we left the ship, the commander presented each of us with a challenge coin!

Though I am marrying an Army man in July, my brother is in the Navy, so it was fun to learn more about that branch of the military. I’d like to thank all involved for giving me this unique opportunity to photograph something like this, and I look forward to the next tweetup of the newly-named #808MilTweeps!

To see more of my photographs from this day, check out the SmugMug Gallery.