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Students research Molokai soldier for the Silent Hero Project

By Staff | May 30, 2013

Brandon Barreno (left) and J.P. Hill participated in a pilot program with the new World War II Museum in Louisiana.

LAHAINA – Two Sacred Hearts School students are part of a pilot program with the new World War II Museum in Louisiana.

Brandon Barreno and J.P. Hill were selected to find and research a soldier from Hawaii who died at the Battle of Normandy for the Silent Hero Project.

The boys spent several months and many hours researching John K. Kupa Jr., a soldier from Molokai.

While doing their research, they found that this young soldier worked as a cattle laborer for Molokai Ranch, and that he played baseball with the cowboys for events hosted by the Cooke family.

With the threat of war, Congress federalized Hawaii’s 298th and 299th Infantry. Many of these soldiers were organized into provisional units, becoming the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Infantry Regiment.

It is believed that because of his 20 months of active duty service and his baseball experience, he was joined with the 100th to “round out” the battalion baseball team.

All student projects for this pilot program can be viewed online. The link to the World War II Museum Memorial Day tribute is mymemorialday.org, and the direct link to student projects is mymemorialday.org/national-history-day/index.php.