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Hawaii

Emerson Gardner, Marine general, dies at 70

Lt. Gen. Emerson “Emo” Gardner shall be buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific subsequent week. Gardner, who died October 11 at the age of 70, was identified to many in Honolulu as an energetic member of many neighborhood organizations after retiring at the tip of his 37-year navy profession in Hawaii.

“Some pretty senior military people come here and most leave,” mentioned Jeff Watanabe, a outstanding Hawaii lawyer. “Once in a while we get lucky and one of them like Emo stays to be part of the community. And he’s really been a wonderful, wonderful addition to our community.”

Gardner was born on October 16, 1951 in Chestertown, Maryland. He graduated from Annapolis High School after which went to Duke University to main in historical past. After graduating in 1973, he was commissioned as an officer within the Marine Corps and have become a pilot. Throughout his profession, Gardner flew each helicopter within the Corps, together with the Presidential Marine One plane.

During Operation Desert Storm, Gardner commanded a helicopter squadron directing fight operations and later served as commander of the twenty sixth Marine Expeditionary Unit on two deployments overseeing safety operations within the former Yugoslavia and a number of other civilian evacuation missions in African nations. Between deployments, he graduated from the Norwegian Defense College and studied as an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Göttingen in Germany.

Following the September 11, 2001 assaults, Gardner served as deputy deputy commander of Marine Aviation, the place he directed US Central Command’s Joint Operations Center throughout operations in Afghanistan. In 2002 he got here to Hawaii as director of operations for US Pacific Command at Camp Smith. When he arrived, his friends remembered him as a workaholic.

“He was an extremely talented and extremely dedicated officer, addressing post-9/11 national security issues and realigning our presence in Asia and the Pacific to deal with burgeoning China,” the retired recalled Admiral Tom Fargo, who was accountable for PACOM at the time. Fargo mentioned his colleagues “couldn’t get him out of the office” till he met a neighborhood dentist named Vivian, whom he would finally marry earlier than the tip of his two-year stint at Camp Smith.

Watanabe met Gardner when the final contacted him a few proposal he was making for a Navy hospital ship to be stationed within the Philippines. Watanabe had finished basis work within the Philippines, and Gardner hoped he may assist make the proposal a actuality.

“He thought the Philippines would be a great place to command a ship like that, in part because there were so many needs in that Southeast Asian theater right there — earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis and everything else,” Watanabe mentioned. “The military had their own priorities, different from his, and it never worked out… (but) he had a strong humanitarian side, which I honestly didn’t expect from a Navy general.”

After leaving Hawaii, Gardner served in quite a lot of roles, together with at the Pentagon, the place he turned one of many protection finances architects beneath Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He was a driving pressure behind the speedy deployment of mine-resistant and ambush-resistant autos, higher referred to as MRAPs, in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the lengthy, grueling conflicts that had left improvised explosive gadgets useless and injured. He was additionally a serious proponent of the MV-22 (*70*), a “tilt rotor” plane that has each the traits of a helicopter and an airplane, but in addition has a controversial growth historical past.

Gardner and his household returned to Hawaii after his retirement.

“There was never a question for me that emo would retire in Hawaii,” Fargo mentioned. “He could continue to work and influence national security issues. But most importantly, he and Vivian loved it here and was very much looking for a community where he could make a lasting contribution and make a difference. They stepped in directly with the non-profit organizations.”

Gardner has served on the boards of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii and the US Army Science Board, was director of the Olmsted Foundation, and was concerned in a number of different organizations. Fargo mentioned: “If you had been to ask for a single phrase to explain Emo Gardner, I’d say he was engaged, absolutely engaged, whether or not it was on the golf course and with mates, clearly together with his household or in dialogue or decision an essential problem for our nation.”

Gardner is survived by spouse Vivian, 4 youngsters and two grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for November 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. In lieu of flowers, the household is asking for donations in his honor to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, mc-lef.org/how-to-donate, or to the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, jashawaii.org/donate.

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