Video: 2009 Galileo Block Party

The Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee ( planned and sponsored the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Galileo Block Party. Held in Hilo, Hawaii on Saturday, October 24th.


Thirty Meter Telescope to Sponsor WordPress Bloggers

TMT and WordPress

Media Release:

In a stunning move today, the Thirty Meter Telescope announced an alliance with WordPress Bloggers.

WordPress Project spokesman Nick states:

Between the WordPress Bloggers and the Thirty Meter Telescope… We look forward to working with the TMT

Well It’s not April… But I may have gotten a few of you!

If you look closely at the TMT Dome… You will see that I inserted the WordPress Logo into it somewhere.

I’m gonna try and win this contest: “Support Hours and WordPress Logo Fun

China to Co-Op on TMT Project?


BEIJING: Astronomers from China and the United States are considering cooperating on the world’s largest telescope, through which scientists will have a deeper insight into the very early stages of the universe…

…”It is a big undertaking and it will define the future of astronomy and astrophysics for about 60 or 70 years, so it will automatically involve a large international community,” said Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau in an interview with Xinhua on Friday…

but no final decision has been made for China’s participation.

Canada and Japan have signed up to the TMT project, which needs total financing of US$1 billion…

…China has observer status on the TMT project, and will become a partner after signing a memorandum of understanding and agreeing on commitment of funds….

Full Article: China, US Discuss co-op on world’s largest telescope (China Daily)

*Update* Mainland Videoblogger On Assignment for TMT Opposers? Millilani Trask Responds to Him… Others on Hidden Camera?

Just ran across a bunch of clips that have been posted by someone who is obviously posting youtube clips to make a buck and isn’t happy with the TMT project.

Before I go on and show the featured videos… I’ll pass on a few of his other youtube clips he has posted:

Alien Human Sperm Theft:


Is Making War on Iraq Like Making a Sandwich?


So without passing along judgment and just posting some of the previous stuff the guy has posted… here are some of his anti TMT videos he is now posting.

Here is what Millilani Trask gave the guy (part1):


Part 2:


And a very weird interview by the Waiakea High School Golf Coach a guy wearing a Waiakea High School golf shirt that appears to be done via hidden camera (I say this because he never looks in the camera once):


There are some other videos that you can find on his youtube site regarding this matter.

Looking at what he covers… he obviously is some sort of paid lobbyist… DESPITE Telling the coach above he wasn’t in the first part of the clip!


I have been told that the guy wearing the Waiakea Golf Shirt is not a coach on the team.  It is interesting how the camera pans to the Logo a few times though.

Bio of the Film Maker:

Name: John Sefick
Age: 69

Filmmaker for the last 5 years. I am a retired federal agent.

Hometown: Rio Rancho New Mexico

Interests and Hobbies: Astronomy founder of Chaco Canyon Observatory

A Cool Time Lapse of the Gemini Observatory

Here is a time-lapse movie of the Gemini North observatory during a Laser Guide Star (LGS) run, taken from the catwalk around the outside of the UH 2.2 meter telescope. LGS creates an ‘artificial star’ which is used as a reference source for adaptive optics systems on Gemini instruments. Directly behind the Gemini Observatory is the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT).


The Black Sun From the Big Island






Thirty Meter Telescope Chairman: “Chinese American Hero”

Chairman of the board for the Thirty Meter Telescope project, Henry Yang

Chairman of the board for the TMT project, Henry Yang

The chairman of the board for the Thirty Meter Telescope project, Henry Yang was recently featured in “AsianWeek” as a Chinese American Hero.

Profession (s): Professor of Engineering and University Chancellor

Education: B.S., Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University, 1962; M.S., Structural Engineering, West Virginia University, 1965; Ph.D., Structural Engineering, Cornell University, 1969

• Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, 1988-1994
• Elected member of National Academy of Engineering, 1991
• Elected member of Academia Sinica, 1992
• Benjamin Garver Lamme Award, American Society of Engineering Education, 1998
• Honorary doctorates from City University of Hong Kong (2005), National Taiwan University (2004), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2002), and Purdue University (1996)

During Chancellor Yang’s tenure since 1994, UC Santa Barbara faculty members have won five Nobel Prizes (one in 1998, two in 2000, and two in 2004), a National Humanities Medal (1997), a National Technology Medal (1999), and a Millennium Technology Prize (2006). The campus’s distinguished 900-member faculty also includes a Fields medalist, numerous Guggenheim and Fulbright fellows, and scores of elected members or fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1995 the campus was elected to the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Dr. Yang has served on scientific advisory boards for the Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. He is currently serving as the chairman of the board for the Thirty Meter Telescope project. He is also a member of the Kavli Foundation board, Millennium Technology Prize selection committee, Association of Pacific Rim Universities steering committee, Association of American Universities executive committee, Singapore Ministry of Education international academic advisory panel, and Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize selection board.

Publications/Patents: His book Finite Element Structural Analysis has been translated into Japanese and Chinese. He has published more than 170 articles in scientific journals with the 52 Ph.D. students he has supervised.

Mayor Kenoi Urges a Respectful Dialogue on Mauna Kea Telescope

Media Release

Hawai’i Island Mayor Billy Kenoi today urged all parties in the debate on the Thirty Meter Telescope to engage in a respectful dialogue as the community works toward a collaborative decision on the project.

“In this time of economic hardship for many County of Hawai’i residents, it is critical that the community pull together to search for a solution that benefits our island and our neighbors,” Mayor Kenoi said. “I know that all of the participants in this discussion sincerely want the best outcome for our community, and we owe it to each other to debate the project in a reasoned, respectful way.”

While the Big Island hosts some of the most sophisticated star-gazing technology in the world, Mayor Kenoi said that until now the youth from the island have had little hope of participating in the science and discovery happening on Mauna Kea.

That will change only when Hawai’i Island students are offered exceptional science and math education at the earliest grades, Mayor Kenoi said. It is critical that any additional projects on the mountain be harnessed to provide the foundation in science education that will allow Hawai’i youngsters to grow up to be the engineers, mathematicians and physicists who make astronomy on the mountain possible.

University of Hawai’i President David McClain recently announced that the TMT would bring a community benefit package of $1 million a year to the Big Island that would help fund children’s education.

“As a parent, I want exciting science education career opportunities for our young people so they can dream big about the future,” Kenoi said. “As a Hawaiian, I believe we can preserve our culture, protect our environment and support astronomy. As your mayor, I hope to facilitate compromise and find common ground.”

75% Say Mauna Kea Beats Chile for TMT Location Site… Poll Still Open

I’ve posted this non-scientific  Thirty Meter Telescope poll on and off for the last nine months on my blog.

As of this posting 75% of the readers that participated in the blog are in favor of the TMT project being located in Hawaii instead of Chile.

I’ll post it once again so anyone that hasn’t had a chance to vote on this can. If you have voted before… your IP address won’t allow you to vote again.

This is non scientific and I don’t have much control of the poll.

If you haven’t voted before… feel free to vote again.

The current results show that 75% of the people that have participated so far are in favor of the TMT being located on Mauna Kea.

[polldaddy poll=”962352″]

UH President: “I can say that should TMT come to Mauna Kea, the Hawaiian community and community-at-large will benefit through an annual $1 million community benefit package…”

Richard Ha recently posted a post on his blog entitled “TMT is Pono” where he talks about a community meeting where they created some radio spots for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Wayne Joseph and I left a comment for Mr. Ha and the response that he gave me is very pleasing.

Statement from UH President David McClain:

UH President David McClain

After discussions with academic and community leaders on the Big Island, and review with the Board of Regents, I can say that should TMT come to Mauna Kea, the Hawaiian community and community-at-large will benefit through an annual $1 million community benefit package, which will provide funding for locally chosen and managed educational programs on Hawai’i Island. This will begin once all permits for the project have been received.

The compensation to the University of Hawai’i, which is expected to begin at “first light”, will be split equitably between a higher education package to be used for selected initiatives of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i Community College on Hawai’i Island and observing time for University of Hawai’i scientists.

David McClain
University of Hawaii

Tomorrow: Community Sign Waving Event in Support of Thirty Meter Telescope

Media Release


WHAT: Community Sign Waving Event in Support of
Thirty Meter Telescope

WHEN: Friday, June 12, 4 pm – 6 pm

WHERE: Fronting the King Kamehameha Statue at Hilo Bayfront

The community is invited to come and rally support for the Thirty Meter
Telescope this Friday as the proposed $1.2 billion Thirty Meter Telescope Project prepares to present its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the island wide audience next week.

Community supporters will have TMT Yes! buttons, signs and t-shirts on hand for sign waving supporters.

We are encouraging our Big Island ohana to come out and support this
once-in-a-generation opportunity to show that our island is united in its support of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Bring the entire family.

Richard Ha’s Hamakua Springs Farm is supplying the first 150 supporters with a clamshell of grape tomatoes.

For further information contact Laura Aquino at Current Events (808)

NASA Releases Video on the Testing That Took Place on Mauna Kea

Back in November, I got to go up to Mauna Kea and check out the Moon Rover (SCARAB) that was tested up there.

NASA workers at the Mauna Kea Testing Site

NASA workers at the Mauna Kea Testing Site

I wasn’t paid to go up there, I simply communicated with NASA officials and got the credentials to go there as a “Community Blogger”.

Media from around the world talking to NASA Reps.

Media from around the world talking to NASA Reps.

I just thought it would be a great once  in a life time opportunity for my wife and I to check the stuff out… as she is a total science fiction “buff”.

My wife and a machine that will create water out of "Moon Dust"

My wife and a machine that will create water out of "Moon Dust"

You can view my blog and pictures from that little trip up there here.

NASA released the following video today from this “Mission”:

Research teams and NASA experts on regolith, the material covering the Moon’s surface, held tests in Hawaii in November 2008, on equipment and lunar rover concepts that will help astronauts take advantage of resources onsite where they land. The tests were held in Hawaii because its volcanic soil is similar to the Moon’s. NASA tested prototype robotic rovers and excavators that could collect soil for oxygen generation systems. Rovers with prospecting equipment could search for water ice and volatile gases that could be used by astronauts on the lunar surface to reduce the amount of resources brought from Earth.


TMT Draft Environmental Impact Statement Published: Potential Benefits, Stewardship and Mitigation Measures Stressed

Media Release

Hilo, HI—The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the proposed $1.2 billion Thirty Meter Telescope Project (TMT) will appear Saturday, May 23 in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s (OEQC) Environmental Notice. The draft document details the environmental, community, economic, and cultural impacts of locating TMT on Maunakea.

The purpose of the Draft EIS is to present the existing environmental conditions, analyze the potential effects of the project, and identify ways to minimize potential adverse impacts. The Draft EIS also outlines the potential benefits of TMT to the local economy and community.

Scope of the Draft EIS

The TMT project encompasses the construction, operation, and ultimate decommissioning of the world’s most advanced optical / infrared telescope. The plan proposes building TMT on the northern plateau of Maunakea at a location designated in the 2000 Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan for the next generation of optical telescopes. This location was preferred because it provides suitable observation conditions with minimum impact on existing facilities, wēkiu bug habitat, archaeology/historic sites, and the view of the mountain from various areas on the island.

The Draft EIS addresses the proposed TMT Observatory and associated facilities, including the mid-level facility at Hale Pōhaku, the headquarters in Hilo, and a potential satellite office in Waimea.

The Draft EIS was prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff. The University of Hawai‘i is the Proposing Agency for the Draft EIS. The Accepting Authority is the Governor for the State of Hawai‘i.

Impact and Mitigation

The Draft EIS acknowledges that there are differences of opinions concerning TMT’s potential impact on cultural resources.

The Draft EIS proposes specific mitigation measures for both the cultural and environmental resources on Maunakea, including:

  • Action plans related to cultural resources, including on-site cultural monitor archeologist;
  • A construction monitor to oversee compliance with the permit and who has authority to cease construction activities if the activity violates the permit and/or is harmful to the cultural resources;
  • Designing the TMT to limit its visual impact;
  • A zero-discharge wastewater system at the TMT Observatory;
  • Implementing a Habitat Restoration Plan if a sensitive habitat is disturbed;
  • Cultural and Natural Resources Training Programs; and,
  • Invasive Species Prevention and Control Program.


The project’s objective is to advance human understanding and knowledge. The potential benefits of the proposed TMT project in Hawai‘i are primarily related to education and employment opportunities and direct contributions to the local and state economies.

Specific benefits include:

  • Hundreds of construction jobs created during the anticipated 8-year construction period;
  • Additional jobs created through materials, goods, and services purchased and contracted locally for this work; and,
  • An estimated 140 full-time employees during TMT’s operations.

Educational and community benefits outlined in the Draft EIS include:

  • A comprehensive Workforce Pipeline Program that is designed to educate, train and mentor Hawaii students to help them succeed and to be qualified for TMT and other high tech jobs; and,
  • A higher education and community benefit package to provide funding for (a) selected educational initiatives on the Island of Hawai‘i and observing time to UH astronomers; and (b) locally chosen and managed educational programs.

The higher education and community benefit package would be negotiated and become part of a lease or sublease, if TMT decides to come to Hawai‘i. Details of the packages will be described in the Final EIS, provided an agreement is reached.

Process and Next Steps

To date, the Draft EIS process has included more than six months of research, environmental studies, public comments, and compliance with the requirements in the Comprehensive Management Plan for Maunakea.

The process began in October 2008 with a series of public scoping meetings. Another series of public meetings to solicit comments on the Draft EIS is scheduled for mid-June at various locations on the Island of Hawai‘i and in Honolulu.

The community has expressed great interest in TMT, in protecting the natural and cultural resources of the island and in developing a different basis for compensation such as higher education and community benefit packages.

“Throughout this process, TMT board and project personnel have looked to the local community for guidance on these issues,” said TMT Site Studies Manager Sandra Dawson. “Environmental, cultural, educational, and civic leaders and community members have been extremely generous with their time and knowledge.”

Comments generated by the Draft EIS will be incorporated into the Final EIS.

The Draft EIS is the first step in the regulatory process. Subsequent milestones include the Final EIS and the submission of a Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) should Hawai‘i be selected as the preferred TMT site.

The TMT project is a partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and ACURA, an organization of Canadian universities. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has also joined TMT as a Collaborating Institution.


Sandra Dawson, TMT

(626) 353-9732

Currently, public meetings on the Draft EIS are scheduled for:

June 16:            Waimea Elementary School Cafeteria, 5-8 p.m.

June 17:            Hilo High School Cafeteria, 4-8 p.m.

June 18:            Pahoa High School Cafeteria, 5-8 p.m.

June 22:            Kau High / Pahala Elementary School Cafeteria, 5-8 p.m.

June 23:            Kohala Cultural Center, 5-8 p.m.

June 24:            Kealakehe Elementary School Cafeteria, 5-8 p.m.

June 25:            Farrington High School Cafeteria, 5-8 p.m.

Here are renditions of the proposed TMT Click on Image for Larger Picture:

Become a Mauna Kea Volunteer


Japan’s Subaru Telescope Donates $9,500 to UH Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center

UH Release:

“Since the establishment of our local telescope facility in 1999, Subaru has been indebted to the people of the Big Island for their support of our mission, and we want to say thank you to the local community by helping to make it possible for local children to visit the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center at UH Hilo.” –Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Director, Subaru Telescope


HILO – UH Hilo’s ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i has received a generous donation of $9,500 from Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The donation will support visits to the ‘Imiloa Center by K-12 schoolchildren and their teachers, as part of an ambitious two-year program through which ‘Imiloa is arranging programs for all public and private schools on the Big Island. The source of the gift was the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Astronomy.

Subaru’s donation will be matched with another $19,000–effectively tripling the value of the gift–under the terms of a 2008 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Moore Foundation grant is assisting the center with its goal of reaching 100 percent of the island’s school-aged children, by bringing them to ‘Imiloa to experience its exhibits, planetarium and educational programs. Transportation to the Center, admission, and lunch are all provided thanks to the grant, making the field trip possible for students throughout the island. For every $1 of additional support which ‘Imiloa secures for the program, the Moore Foundation grant is providing $2.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center has a special mission to engage youth in Hawai‘i, involving them in hands-on exploration of astronomy, together with Hawaiian language, navigational skills and indigenous culture. The resulting sense of pride and the interest in science and engineering that ‘Imiloa is instilling are critical tools for preparing local young people to participate in Hawai‘i’s 21st century economy. In pursuit of this mission, ‘Imiloa has set an aggressive goal of reaching all of Hawai‘i Island’s 30,000 K-12 schoolchildren through its educational programs over the next two years.

Subaru Telescope and its parent body, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, have made previous gifts to the ‘Imiloa Center, including the donation of a unique “4D2U” theatre exhibit on the origins of the universe and another exhibit on the history of the telescope. Subaru also sponsored a special planetarium show geared to children, “The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket,” and assisted with the creation and script for “Hawaii’s Observatories,” a 3D show in the planetarium.

‘Imiloa’s Associate Director Ka‘iu Kimura commented, “Support from Subaru Telescope is helping ‘Imiloa ensure that local children grow up understanding that successful participation in science and technology does not mean a rejection of their Hawaiian heritage but, indeed, underscores the unique values of that heritage.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng added, “The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is very grateful for the leadership support of the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Astronomy, which has been provided to our campus annually for the past nine years through Subaru Telescope and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.”

Mauna Kea Book Up for Grabs in Latest Cheap Contest

Big Island Author/Writer/Blogger Leslie Lang has offered up a copy of her book that she co-wrote with David Byrne for the latest Big Island on the Cheap Contest.

Latest Contest Prize Over at Big Island on the Cheap

Latest Contest Prize Over at Big Island on the Cheap

There are two ways to enter to win this book … Complete contest details

Entries must be received by midnight, Hawai‘i time on March 21, 2009.

More here


It’s my understanding that @AndyBumatai will be drawing the winners on his Late Night with Andy Bumatai Show on the 24th.

Take Care of Mauna Kea Folks! Land Board Meeting Coming Up

Richard Ha brings attention to the Comprehensive Management Plan once again and reminds folks that the Land Board Meeting will be held on April 7th, 8th and 9th at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

For some very disturbing pictures of what is happening up there, I urge you to check out Ha! Ha! Ha! for his blog today on some of the desecration that is happening up there and some reasons to attend this meeting.

Spray-painted graffiti at adze quarry

Spray-painted graffiti at adze quarry

Tribune Herald Stories Delayed Today and Just Copying Gannett Articles Now

I had to laugh when I went to the Tribune Herald Website to try and find the article that was in Today’s Paper about Yale giving $12 Million for use of the Keck Observatories.

I was going to say… It’s about time the Tribune Herald caught up with this story… since I first reported it on February 19th of last month.

But then I came across the following message… so I can’t even give them credit for catching up yet.

Due to system upgrades, March 15th’s Hawaii Tribune-Herald stories will be delayed until Monday, March 16th. Mahalo for your patience.

So if your really interested in last months news today… you can either go to the store and pick up a newspaper for $1.00… You can wait another day for it to come online at their site….

Or you can check my blog from about 20 some days ago:

Yale University to Invest $12 Million in Keck Observatories

It’s funny that they printed the article in this mornings paper as if it was yesterday’s news too!

The worst part about it… it’s hard to come down on the Tribune… cause they just simply reprinted the Honolulu Advertisers article on the subject.

How much more local can you get??? It’s fricking sitting on top of this island and the news about this is more then 3 weeks old already…


Don’t you just love our newspapers?

They should get a new slogan… Yesterdays Last Months News When We Find Out About it From Someone Else

Neil Abercrombie on Supporting the TMT Project… Video

I missed the first 20 seconds of this video where Hawaii Tribune Writer Peter Sur asks Congressman Abercrombie if he supported the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project:


What the Military Has Been Doing Up on Mauna Kea (From Their Viewpoint)

Just noticed this article. Remember that this is just what is being told online:

Hawaii – Soldiers have been training at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) for decades. It’s the largest Department of Defense installation in Hawaii, and has a 51,000-acre impact area which is over 10 times the size of the one at Schofield Barracks. Its training area is more than twice the 14,000 acres of similar training land on all of Oahu.

In 1955, PTA’s military barracks were constructed from World War II prefabricated Quonset huts. One year later, the airfield was built. Since then, very little has changed at PTA. That is, until now.

Recently, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) invested approximately 1.5 million dollars and thousands of man hours to complete a series of range, target and physical site improvement projects at PTA, partnering closely with the USAG-HI Directorate of Public Works (DPW) at Schofield Barracks and PTA, the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) and PTA DPTMS Range Maintenance.

The 25th CAB’s site improvement work included the construction of a four point Forward Arming and Re-fueling Point (FARP), the main purpose for which is to quickly re-fuel and re-arm helicopters. To improve the FARP, DPW graded and compacted the site, and 25th CAB Soldiers provided the heavy lifting and placing of hundreds of yards of specialized expeditionary airfield material, called AM2 matting. The FARP is now located closer to the aerial gunnery range, making training more efficient by reducing delays caused by weather and decreasing re-fueling and re-arming time for aerial gunnery missions. This change enabled the 25th CAB to complete gunnery five days quicker than previous rotations.

In addition, DPW teamed with aviation Soldiers to erect an Aviation Large Area Maintenance Shelter (ALAMS). The ALAMS is a large, tan “clamshell-type” structure that also contains hundreds of yards of AM2 matting. During this and future PTA rotations, the ALAMS will be used to repair and maintain helicopters; a capability that has been lacking at PTA.

Finally, at four separate ranges from November 2008 through January 2009, the 25th CAB air lifted and emplaced 28 “EOD-T” targets. The targets significantly increase the realism of training by simulating typical threat and non-threatening military vehicles for helicopter live-fire training. In addition, Soldiers and PTA DPTMS Range Maintenance built and emplaced 18 large target sets for the aerial door gunnery range that replicate urban built up areas with pop-up targets to provide pilots and door gunners with target effect feedback.

According to Mr. Robert Misajon, future operations and plans officer, U.S. Army Garrison – Pohakuloa, the nature and scope of the 25th CAB’s work was unprecedented.

“The improvements are very significant, particularly the ALAM Shelter, FARP, and the durable and long lasting hard targets because they can be used by any aviation element,” said Misajon. “On top of that, many of the hard targets were emplaced where they can be engaged by both ground and air elements, or serve as targets for air elements to engage while in support of ground forces. This allows commanders to develop their combined arms teams regardless of the branch of service,” he explained.

“To date, no other unit has invested in PTA like the 25th CAB,” he said. “What’s most impressive about the 25th CAB, though, is that they shouldered the load and made it all happen.”

For Col. Mike Lundy, commander, 25th CAB, the various improvements truly showcase the unique value of partnering tactical units with the Garrison to enable increased realism and rigor to improve home station training in preparation for deployment.

“Our teaming effort with the Garrison demonstrates the power that units can have to enhance out of date and legacy training areas to better replicate the current operational environment,” said Lundy. “We were able to maximize U.S. Army Garrison’s technical capabilities and equipment with our vision, training needs and manpower,” said Lundy. “The result is a training environment that not only has lasting benefits for the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, but for all other ground elements and branches of service that use PTA for training.”

“This could not have been accomplished without the tremendous support and flexibility of the Garrison team and the hard work of our Soldiers,” he continued.

1st Lt. Curtis Gibbs, assistant S-4, HHC, Spc. Michael Bueno, III, aircraft repair specialist, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, and Pvt.2 Joseph Daoud, truck driver, 2-6 Cav., were among the over 100 CAB Soldiers involved in the project.

Gibbs was the officer-in-charge of the site improvements and supervised the FARP and ALAMS projects. “The bottom line is that these projects were essential,” explained Gibbs. “We are going to continually use PTA for our brigade’s training events. These improvements ensure that PTA remains a safe and effective location for training,” he said.

Gibbs also stated that none of the work could have been accomplished without the teamwork of others. “I facilitated the missions, but much of the credit goes to our partners, most especially DPW.”

DPW’s project supervisor and heavy equipment operator, Mr. Derek Awong, explained that no less that 500 man-hours were dedicated to help the CAB at PTA. And they were more than happy to do it.

“A lot of our guys are vets,” said Awong. “The reason our guys were out there six days straight was basically because you guys are headed to Iraq,” he continued. “So when I asked if they were willing to do it they said, ‘No problem.’ And they said no problem for one reason: They’ll do anything to support our troops.”

Two of those troopers were Bueno and Daoud. Both were dedicated to unpacking, lifting and placing the 150-pound sections of matting at the FARP and ALAMS.

“The work was very physically demanding,” said Daoud. “I was mostly involved in placing the matting which was challenging because the terrain wasn’t always perfectly flat and we needed to adjust the ground,” he continued. “But everyone worked together which is a result of good NCO’s.”

“We got to build something and see the fruits of our labor,” said fellow soldier Bueno. “You don’t usually get to do something that’s so important to the entire brigade. For me, that’s what was most satisfying.”