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Civil Engineer retires after 66 years of service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Angelique Smythe
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
A retirement ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 30 at Andersen's base theater for Seikichi "Mr. Paul" Kaneshiro, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron, who has served 66 years of combined federal service.

According to Air Force Personnel Center officials at Randolph AFB, Texas, he has more years of federal service than anyone in the Air Force.

Mr. Kaneshiro is the 36th CES Maintenance and Operations supervisor of 28 military and civilian personnel who perform maintenance and minor construction of facilities in renovations; reviewing and approving facility work orders; and identifying and correcting facility integrity issues.

He joined the military in 1943 during World War II and was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery, a part of the famed 442nd "Go for Broke!" Battalion consisting of all Japanese-American soldiers. After serving with the U.S Army in Germany, France and Italy, Mr. Kaneshiro went back to Hawaii where he was discharged from the military in 1945. He then worked as a woodcraftsman for the Hickam Air Depot in Hawaii.

In 1946, Typhoon Querida devastated Guam, and Mr. Kaneshiro volunteered to help rebuild parts of the island. While on Guam, he worked at Harmon Field as part of the 20th Air Force, which was deactivated in 1949. He then transferred to North Field, now known as Andersen Air Force Base, where he ascended through the ranks.

Mr. Kaneshiro worked his way from carpenter to housing maintenance, serving as zone supervisor, and finally to his current position as vertical repair superintendent.

"I stayed 66 years," said Mr. Kaneshiro. "Why? Because I like my job. I love to see the base being improved with new buildings. I have seen and created almost every building. When I came to Andersen, there was nothing but jungle. There were all quonset huts."

He said his two most memorable projects were reconstructing of the Andersen Leadership School in 1998 and the command post which took two and a half years to design.

Another high-profile public servant recently commended Mr. Kaneshiro for his lifelong achievements. Governor Felix Camacho attended Father Duenas High School with Mr. Kaneshiro's son Roy and fondly recalls his classmate's father.

"Roy was always in charge of all the projects we had, whether it was building a float or anything. He was a hands-on guy, and we knew that his Dad had all the tools necessary, and he trained his son well," Governor Camacho said.

"Mr. Kaneshiro is a legend," he said.

The governor particularly remembers Mr. Kaneshiro as always supporting his Airmen, as evidenced, he said, by nearly 40 requests for GovGuam recognition of Airmen, such as the Guahan Award.

Governor Camacho, whose own daughter works for the federal government, observed that Mr. Kaneshiro embodies the spirit of public service on Guam and its mutual benefit to the military and local citizens.
"We're just so proud that the civilian workforce has been able to find jobs and careers on base. Because it provides for their family, it's good employment with great benefits, and it enhances our community," the governor said.

"We're glad that many of our citizens like Mr. Kaneshiro have given their life in service to the country and the island," Governor Camacho added.

Mr. Kaneshiro accomplished many things throughout the last six decades. One of the first major tasks he accomplished on the base in 1972 was the modification of the design of the main gate's concrete wall. He added the arches and designed the half circles in front and back of the main gate shack. And in 1974, he created the foundation for the B-52 currently at the Arc Light Memorial Park.

A few projects completed by Mr. Kaneshiro include the construction of monuments outside the 13th Air Force, 36th Wing, and the Logistics Goup buildings. He assisted with the initial basewide storm shutter installation. He also redesigned the Civil Engineer Damage Control Center and renovated the Civil Engineer paint shop.

Among Mr. Kaneshiro's other contributions to Andersen are renovation of the console of Andersen's Air Traffic Control Tower. He renovated the Top of the Rock's bar area and pool room. He also designed the railing system around the monument at the famous Tarague Overlook and spearheaded the planning of the renovation of the Wing Legal office.

Mr. Kaneshiro also designed and built many of the conference room tables and display cases we see every day.

As his retirement ceremony nears, Mr. Kaneshiro extends his thanks to all who have supported him throughout the years.

He laughingly adds that among his career mottos are Be Reasonable, Do it My Way; Mission Impossible; and Go for Broke, and he thanks his most important manager, his wife Paula, "My Honey-do".

For more information about the retirement ceremony, please contact Master Sgt. Fenton Fitzgerald at 366-3387 or Maj. Mona Tenorio at 366-5025. 

Capt. Joel Stark contributed to this article