“The scholarship honors the memory of my father and his career as much as it represents my acknowledgment of the major role both played in shaping my own values, life and career,” said Marian Okada, founder of the Howard S. Okada Endowed Scholarship at UH Mānoa ROTC. “Meeting many of his veteran friends and attending military related events, I came to appreciate what he considered important: honor, duty, loyalty and patriotism.”
Okada, a federal employee who retired as a Japanese linguist with the United States Army in Japan, established the scholarship to support UH Mānoa Army ROTC students in honor of her father.
Chief Warrant Officer Howard Okada loved the Army. He expressed this admiration for its mission and for his fellow veterans through his service as an administrative assistant and protocol officer. He had exceptional organizational and Japanese language skills.
Howard was born in 1928 in Watsonville, California. Following the outbreak of World War II, his family was incarcerated in October 1942 at the Jerome War Relocation Center in Arkansas.
They were held there until June 1945, when the camp finally closed. Shortly thereafter they returned to their home in Fresno, California.
With the onset of the Korean conflict, Howard was drafted into the United States Army. More than 30 years on active duty took him around the world, through two wars, and eventually to Hawai‘i. Here he served as executive director of the Hawai‘i Army Museum Society.
Howard died on Memorial Day in 2016, after honoring his fallen brothers in arms alongside fellow surviving veterans.
Marian remembers her father's values and lifetime of service through the scholarship she funded with a five-year pledge and bequest intention.
The scholarship helps selected UH Mānoa Army ROTC cadets to pursue studies in Far East Asian languages and culture. It helps cover the cost of attendance for these future servicemen and servicewomen.
Marian recently met with ROTC recipients of her father's award.
“I felt as if I was meeting the younger version of my father: they are achievers, as my father was. He would be very pleased with them.”