Hawaii Island Veterans



Hawaii Island Veterans

Edmund (Denny) Francis Austen was a hapa-Haole/Hawaiian boy from a large extended family who grew up in Honolulu during the war years in the 40s. He was an outstanding football player in high school and received several college scholarship offers but chose to serve his country instead. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1945 at age 17, he enlisted in the Army. Upon completing basic training in Texas he was sent to France and assigned to the Army Air Corps. Because of his natural leadership skills, he was quickly promoted to the position of crew chief for a C-47 military transport before he and his crew were deployed to Germany just after "V-E Day" where they flew relief supplies into Berlin for the entire time the city was cutoff.

Following the end of the Berlin Airlift, he was attached to the newly created US Air Force Strategic Command and was assigned to various locations in New Mexico, California and Texas, where he met and married a local girl. He was on a fast track with promotions when family pressures caused him to terminate a highly successful military career and move to his wife's home in Texas to pursue a civilian career. He worked in the booming oil industry in a variety of positions and eventually formed a successful oil field service company which he lead for over 30 years before he sold it and retired to Hawaii in 1995 after a 50 year absence.

In his retirement years Denny was a Commander of VFW Post 3875 and served in a variety of leadership positions in AARP and the Elks. He was a founding board member of our organization, Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc., (aka Ka Hui Koa ... a gathering of warriors). Sadly, shortly after the death of his wife of 60+ years, he too died suddenly on Jan. 8, 2014 at age 85 before seeing the completion of our senior independent living community which he had hoped to move into.

Denny was a role model and inspiration for all generations of Americans and will be sorely missed as a member of our board of directors. He will be especially missed by the veterans on Hawaii Island, where he was well known, liked, and respected by all who knew him. We salute him for his remarkable selfless dedication to his country, his community and his family. We are dedicating our project to his memory, and welcome your fully tax-deductible donations to our all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.