View Full Version : SGM Ernie Tabata

The Reaper
08-10-2015, 21:06
I regret to inform you that Sergeant Major Ernest K. Tabata passed away this afternoon in the hospital in Chapel Hill, NC.

Details to follow.

I was privileged to serve with Sergeant Major Ernie Tabata for two years on Demo Committee and have been close friends with him for more than twenty-five years.

I learned more in those two years concerning every subject I asked him about than any other two years of my life. I learned not just about SF engineering, but about how to be a better SF officer, soldier, and man in general.

Ernie took charge of the saber arch detail at my wedding and became a Sergeant Major again, like he was still on active duty. He did it exactly right, and his uniform still fit perfectly.

He was a man who lived simply and humbly, but who was rich in friends and experience.

His legacy lives on in the 20+% of the force he personally left his stamp of approval on, in his more than sixty years of service.

He was a good friend, a good man, and will be sorely missed. The world is truly a lesser place with his departure.

Thank you, Sergeant Major, for your service and your sacrifice, and for the time and wisdom you shared with me over the years.

I hope that you and Anna are together again tonight.

Rest in Peace, Sergeant Major. And save me a place at that final RV.

You will not be forgotten in my lifetime.


08-10-2015, 21:19
A fitting epitaph for a man whose inner strength and humility influenced everyone he touched. May you rest in eternal peace CSM.

Ambush Master
08-10-2015, 21:30
Rest in Peace Sergeant Major!!

08-10-2015, 21:34
Rest in Peace CSM. You taught me many things and you will live on in all our Brothers that you touched in your life.
See you in the ORP.......

08-10-2015, 21:49
Sargent Major.

08-10-2015, 22:10
Fantastic words Reaper. What an incredible loss. I was very honored to have known him. Rest in Peace Sergeant Major. De Oppresso Liber.

08-10-2015, 22:22
A true legend. Rest in Peace Sergeant Major. DOL

x SF med
08-10-2015, 22:22
SGM Tabata touched a lot of people who did not go through the demo committee, he was a fixture at the schoolhouse for many decades. If anybody didn't know something, the normal response was "Go ask Ernie, um, SGM, um Mr. T...."

The Regiment lost a great man here on earth, but gained an angel watching over us.

Rest Easy, SGM, your legacy is great and our respect is undying.

Roguish Lawyer
08-10-2015, 22:27
I had the honor of meeting him once, and the pleasure of hearing others tell stories about him. Huge loss. RIP

08-10-2015, 23:03
Words escape me right now.

My wife and I had a chance to smile with him just a couple weeks ago at the SFA it seems. I was lucky to have been a student of his and felt even more privileged over the years as Ernie would always greet me warmly and kindly despite how ever long it was in between handshakes. The amazing thing is that he always remembered my name despite my being only one of thousands he had taught. I think he had that way with many a student. He impressed me as a man who has forgotten more about our craft than many of us will ever learn.

He was, and will always be a legend.

08-11-2015, 03:39
Rest in Eternal Peace and Honor Mr. Tabata, Lord knows you earned tenfold.

08-11-2015, 04:10
Rest in Peace, Ernie.

You made one Hell of a great impression on the Force.

08-11-2015, 07:05
RIP, Sergeant Major.

08-11-2015, 09:40
RIP SGM, Vaya con Dios..

08-11-2015, 09:58
Ernie was the personification of the term 'NCO' and 'Sergeant Major' to me.

"RIP, Sergeant Major." :(


08-11-2015, 10:05
As one of the "Island Boys", Mr.Tabata would always talk pidgin to me and steal extra moments to bs about food, surf and the way things are back home. It is an honor to be one of the many who learned from him.


08-11-2015, 10:48

08-11-2015, 12:47
RIP SGM and Mahalo

Team Sergeant
08-11-2015, 12:49
Blue Skies SGM

08-11-2015, 13:25
Blue Skies and Soft Landings!


Thank you for everything that you did for all of us over the last 60 years of faithful service to our Great Nation!!

08-11-2015, 19:16
RIP SGM, you will be sorely missed but not forgotten

08-11-2015, 19:24
Rest in Peace, SGM. Thank you for your lifetime of service and sacrifice. Your impact on so many is beyond comprehension. I will always remember the look on your face and the tear in your eye when I gave you your bullet pen. You will ALWAYS be missed and NEVER forgotten. Give my son a hug and tell him I will see him soon ...

molon labe

08-11-2015, 19:25
Rest In Peace, Warrior and thank you for your many years of dedicated service.

You have left an awesome legacy for others to emulate!

08-11-2015, 19:52
RIP Mr. (SGM) Tabata, it was an honor to have you as a teacher. Thank you for your everlasting contributions to the Regiment.

08-12-2015, 05:07
Special Forces peers mourn soldier's passing


"Ernest K. Tabata is a name many won't forget, even after his death.

Mr. Tabata died Aug. 10 at UNC Hospitals.

It's been said that every Special Forces engineer on active duty was trained by him.

In 2004, Thomas "Pappy" Jones, a retired sergeant major, who had worked with Mr. Tabata for years, told The Fayetteville Observer that there's an old saying in Asia that after a man dies, his spirit lives as long as somebody remembers his name...."

His name will be remembered by many.

08-12-2015, 05:44
....an old saying in Asia that after a man dies, his spirit lives as long as somebody remembers his name...."

His name will be remembered by many.

...and for many generations to come; his legacy is immeasurable. Rest in peace Sergeant Major.

08-12-2015, 08:48
Rest in Peace. It was privilege to attend his classes in the 18C course.

08-12-2015, 17:15
Ernest Keiwo Tabata
October 8, 1930 ~ August 10, 2015 (age 84)
20 AUG, 1900-2100 Visitation (Rogers & Breece Funeral Home, 500 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301
21 AUG, 1030 Memorial Service (JFK Chapel, Fort Bragg, NC)
21 AUG Internment (Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery, Spring Lake, NC)

08-12-2015, 21:44
He was a great man and I certainly won't forget him. Godspeed.

08-13-2015, 06:09
P36, thanks for the info. I spread it around...

08-13-2015, 16:10
RIP Brother!

08-14-2015, 09:22
Rest in Peace.

08-14-2015, 09:26
Rest in Peace SGM, it was an honor to be one of your students.

08-17-2015, 20:06
Rest in peace SGM. Thank you for all those who have benefited by your leadership and your example.

08-18-2015, 06:20
FYI all, I also just learned there'll be a get together at Charlie Mikes after his internment at the Vet Cemetery...

08-19-2015, 11:23
Definitely a legend and will not be forgotten. RIP Mr. T

Red Flag 1
08-19-2015, 15:50
Rest In God's Own Peace, SGM. Prayers out.

SF Hunter
08-21-2015, 12:11
Rest in Peace SGM. God rest your soul and prayers to your family.

It was a personal honor to be one of your students.

08-21-2015, 21:47
It was a fitting memorial

08-22-2015, 06:59
It was a fitting memorial

It was, and a full house, as it should have been. Henry gave a very good account of him and Ernie's friendship and relationship on the committee...

Charlie Mikes was very full after also... A good tribute to a Great Soldier.

He's with Mike Kalua now, along with all his other comrades. Mikey K was a Hawaiian also and very good friends with Ernie...