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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors Fallen Heroes at Punchbowl Roll Call of Honor Ceremony

This morning at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) delivered remarks to honor service members who paid the ultimate price in sacrifice to our country at an annual Roll Call of Honor Ceremony.

In her address, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke about the true cost of war, saying, “Every time we gather here at Punchbowl, it is a reminder of the very real, true cost of war.  The cost that exists in the names on these grave stones. It exists in our hearts, and with the memories of our friends who never came home. It exists in the unbreakable bond between veterans of different generations, that we can come together knowing that we have each experienced in one way or another the same pain and broken heart of losing a comrade in arms, while simultaneously appreciating the special courage and selflessness of our friends who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.

“Today, we honor them. We remember the many heroes who have roots here in Hawaii and the Pacific who gave all.  People like First Lieutenant Nainoa Hoe, or SP5 Kimo Gabriel, the first Green Beret and the first Hawaiian killed in Vietnam. Many of us here knew “Uncle Herb” Weatherwax, a Native Hawaiian Pearl Harbor survivor, and we’d often see him at military events like today’s. He would have been one hundred years old this year, but Uncle Herb passed last December one week after the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony. It was his dying wish to be there, and being of the Greatest Generation, of course he made it happen. I also remember some of my friends who served in the 29th Brigade Combat Team—Sergeant Deyson Cariaga and Staff Sergeant Frank Tiai, who did not come home with us.  As we reflect here today on the specialness of this place and the courage of these heroes, this day, and every day, let us honor our friends, fight for them as they sacrificed for us, and make the most of the life and time we have been blessed with.”

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 59-Year-Old Honomu Man

Hawaiʻi Island police are renewing their request for the public’s help in searching for a 59-year-old Honomū man who was reported missing on (March 20).

Glenn S. Oyama

Glenn S. Oyama was last seen in Hilo on March 19 at about 11:30 p.m. He has a condition that requires medication.

He is described as Japanese, 5-foot-7, 190 pounds, with black/gray hair, and brown eyes. Police located Oyama’s unattended Toyota Camry along Highway 19 in the area of the Kolekole Bridge on the morning of March 21.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Detective Tuckloy Aurello at (808) 961-2385 or via email at Tuckloy.Aurello@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Contingency Plans on North Korea

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Talking Points – North Korea Ballistic Missile Hazard 

What is the Current Situation?

  • At this point we know of no imminent threat of a nuclear ballistic missile attack and there are doubts regarding North Korea’s capability to conduct such an attack against Hawaii. Our citizens and visitors should not be alarmed – and as stated in some earlier interviews “the sky is not falling.” Hawaii is operating normally and open to visitors.

What is Hawaii doing in response to the growing NK nuclear missile threat?

  • Hawaii is continuing its monitoring of the situation in NK, in coordination with United States Pacific Command and the county emergency management agencies.
  • Maintaining and exercising notification protocols with USPACOM via secure communications. Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS) notification tools.
  • We are updating our emergency plans with a primary focus on what actions to take upon notification of an attack.
  • Know: Where to go, what to do, when to do it, what to bring. For nuclear events: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned.  Due to very short warning time – will need to shelter in place:  know that place and prepare that place ahead of time.
  • We are also re-assessing the old fall-out shelter lists and whether such lists are effective.
  • Our partners: City and County of Honolulu, other counties, Dept. of Health, State Department of Defense, other state agencies, USPACOM, FEMA, DHS, and others.

What would be your main message to the people of Hawaii?

  • Maintain your situational awareness of what is going on regarding the events in N. K.
  • Know: Where to go, what to do, when to do it, and what to bring. This is for all disaster events (hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.). For nuclear events add: Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned. Plan and know this ahead of time.
  • Pre-identify shelters – concrete, below ground, improvised, ahead of time.  During all times of the day/night.  Shelter in place.  Again Know your place and prepare your place ahead of time.
  • Have a personal/family plan to accomplish the above.
  • Have a personal/family plan to accomplish the above. Discuss actions with family and friends ahead of time. Each member should know what the other will do for emergency events given each circumstance. No cell phone contact – actions are known and automatic.   Main problem is that missile arrival time, from launch to impact is very short.

Notes:

Major Considerations:

  • Missile arrival time is less than 20 minutes. First indication may be impact – bright flash.
  • No time to evacuate or seek appropriate shelter. Shelter in place – the primary option. Know where that “place” is and prepare it.  Again – know where to go, what to do, when to do it, and what to bring.
  • Shelter goal – put as many walls and as much concrete, brick, and soil between you and the outside.
  • Anticipated impact area – Honolulu (Barbers Point, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor area).
  • Radiation hazard due to nuclear fall-out. Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned.
  • An important point – the City and County of Honolulu is the major player in this event. HI-EMA’s role at the state level is to support the counties’ efforts.
  • No cell-phone contact.
  • Fall-out shelters are not bomb/blast shelters.
  • Significant number of casualties/victims.
  • Electromagnetic pulse effect on communications and vital systems.

The United States Pacific Command is based in Pearl Harbor and Hawaii has a very high concentration of U.S. military commands making it both a strategic & symbolic target.

While the US military may have contingency plans for such an event from a military perspective, civilian agencies must also be prepared.

These civilian plans have not been updated since 1985 and the capabilities of shelters have declined steadily into non-existence since the end of the Cold War.

The role of the House Committee on Public Safety includes overseeing programs relating to civilian emergency and disaster response.

As Vice-Chair of that committee, Rep. LoPresti proposed legislation that would update disaster preparedness plans and shelters which could include natural or manmade disasters originating close to home, or from foreign lands.

If some experts are correct that North Korea does now have or soon will have the capability to reach the Hawaiian Islands with an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear (chemical or biological) warhead, it stands to reason that the government of North Korea would pose an imminent threat to the people of Hawaii.

Despite whom you talk to, or whom you believe, as far as the nuclear delivery capabilities of North Korea, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst is the burden of our government.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is unpredictable and wields absolute power in the nuclear capable country.  Mix that with an unpredictable foreign policy of a new US President and we have reasons to worry.

It has been theorized that an intercontinental ballistic missile could travel from North Korea to Hawaii in 20 minutes.

The Hawaiian Islands have no land-based access to outside assistance.  We cannot evacuate or drive supplies from the next town over so we have reason to be extra vigilant.

In passing this legislation, it would be resolved that:

  1. The Hawaii Department of Defense updates its disaster preparedness plans
  2. Identify locations for usable fallout shelters, upgrade outdated fallout shelters, and update shelter signage, markings, provisions, and public awareness
  3. Develop state lands that would accommodate mass storage infrastructure for shipping containers
  4. Identify ports outside of the Island of Oahu that may be used in the case Oahu ports are disabled in the event of a disaster
  5. And request the Hawaii Department of Defense report its findings and recommendations for such matters before the convening of the next legislative session

For all these reasons, Rep. LoPresti proposed this legislation, hopes that the Hawaii State Legislature passes it, and hopes the State Government will act towards these ends whether the resolution passes or not.

Lastly, Rep. LoPresti hopes that the Trump Administration and Congress would provide Hawaii with funds to accomplish these important goals, as they once did during the Cold War.

Tommorow – Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO Disestablishment Ceremony

Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO Disestablishment Ceremony is taking place on May 24 at 6 p.m. at Hangar 105 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (Aug. 1, 2005) Capt. Robert J. Adrion relieved Capt. William F. Moran as Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two (CPRW-2) during a ceremony in Hangar One Zero Five, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jennifer L. Bailey (RELEASED)

Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TWO will memorialize and celebrate over 80 years of history and service on the Hawaiian Islands as they haul down the colors for the last time during a sunset disestablishment ceremony.  The ceremony will take place in Hangar 105, home of the last US Navy P-3C squadron on Kaneohe Bay and the last squadron to detach from CPRW-2.  There will be a P-3C static display to discuss the history of the P-3C as well as a P-8 static display to discuss the future of Maritime, Patrol, and Reconnaissance and the transition to the new airplane.

The Chief of Naval Operations officially established Patrol Wing TWO at Fleet Air Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on October 1, 1937. On December 7, 1941, the Wing was at the center of the Pearl Harbor attacks from Japanese raiders.  On June 30, 1949, the Wing was relocated to the leeward side of Oahu at Naval Air Station Barber’s Point, Hawaii where it remained for 50 years and experienced many changes in aircraft, missions, and commands.  In the 1970’s Patrol Wing Two became known as the “Rainbow Fleet” and began to routinely deploy with the P-3 Orion, a long range Anti-submarine Warfare patrol aircraft.

Wing Two squadrons tracked Soviet submarines patrolling off the western coast of the United States and supported operations in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the NATO air campaign over Kosovo.  Post-Cold War, the Wing continued to meet the evolving needs of the Navy, proving the P-3C as a multi-mission platform over land and sea; supporting Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, establishing an airborne reconnaissance capability during the Balkan wars; and supporting counterdrug detection by monitoring and interdiction operations in the Southern Hemisphere.

In June 1999, the Patrol Wing Hawaii forces moved from their Cold War home at Naval Air Station Barbers Point to the windward side of Oahu to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. After September 11, 2001, Wing TWO squadrons joined the Global War on Terrorism and engaged in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines, Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan, and Operation Anaconda.  Recently, Wing TWO squadrons lead expeditionary Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces in support of THIRD, FIFTH, and SEVENTH Fleet operations.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Condemns New U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today condemned the Trump Administration’s new $460 billion arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—$110 billion immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years—a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people.  Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.  Based on Saudi Arabia’s history and track record, there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups.

“Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’ This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world today. This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating human rights atrocities at home and abroad,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced H.R. 608, the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit any Federal agency from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to armed militants who are allied with al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and it will prohibit the U.S. government from funneling money and weapons through other countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar who are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists.  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also recently sent a letter to Secretary Mattis urging an end to the United States’ military participation in Yemen’s civil war, where 19 million people need emergency support and which has never been authorized by Congress, and calling for a Congressional briefing on the White House’s strategy in Yemen.

Hawaii Governor Signs Gold Star Proclamation

Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige signed a Gold Star proclamation in the governor’s ceremonial room at the state capitol on May 17. In attendance was Rear Admiral John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, Gold star family members from all military services as well as representatives of the Navy Region Southwest Gold Star program and Navy League Honolulu Council. The gold star family program provides long-term support to surviving families of service members who die while on active duty.

Photo by Ensign Britney Duesler

According to the Region Gold Star Coordinator, Hawaii may be the first state to hold such an event this year. Gold Star families from all branches of service will be recognized.

Through the program, families may be afforded long-term assistance through coordinators offering to assist on an array of benefits and entitlements.

In Hawaii the Army and Navy have the only gold star programs in the state. Families from any service can register with either one of the gold star programs.

The gold star first made an appearance during World War I after being placed over a service flag’s blue star when a service member was killed in combat. The gold star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss.

Today surviving family members are presented with a lapel pin as a sign of remembrance. The pin may feature a gold star on a purple background or a gold star surrounded by laurel leaves.

A gold star on a purple background recognizes combat related losses dating back to World War I, including service members who lose their lives while deployed in support of military operations against the enemy or during an international terrorist attack.

A gold star surrounded by laurel leaves and sprigs of oak that represent the branches of the Armed Forces. It is designated for eligible survivors of service members who lose their lives while serving honorably under circumstances not defined above.  This includes service members who lose their lives while assigned to a Reserve or National Guard unit in a drill status.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Commemorates 75th Anniversary of Battle of Midway with Two-Day Symposium and Youth Day

On June 4 – 7, 1942, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States defeated Japan in one of the most decisive naval battles of World War II. During the Battle of Midway, U.S. forces successfully destroyed Japan’s major aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu in a decisive victory that proved to be the turning point in the Pacific War.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway with a two-day symposium, May 31 and June 1, from 9 am – 4 pm. The symposium is free with registration. The May 31 symposium also will be followed by a free Battle of Midway Exhibit Reception, 5 – 7 pm, to unveil the Museum’s new interactive Battle of Midway Exhibit kiosks.

Award-winning authors and historians will explore the origins and outcomes of the battle from both sides of the conflict through lively presentations and in-depth discussions. Battle of Midway survivors are also expected to attend. Presenters include:

Dr. Craig L. Symonds, one of America’s leading naval historians.  He is professor of History Emeritus at the United States Naval Academy where he taught for 30 years and served as department chair. Dr. Symonds is the author or editor of 28 books, including
The Battle of Midway and Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History.

Jonathan Parshall, founder and webmaster of combinedfleet.com, the premier reference website on the Imperial Japanese Navy.  He is the coauthor of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway and has written for the Naval War College Review, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, and World War II magazine.

Daniel Martinez, chief historian of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which honors the events, people and sites of the Pacific Theater engagement and serves as home of the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Utah Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the mooring quays that were part of Pearl Harbor’s “Battleship Row.”

Matt Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Superintendent of Papahānaumokākea Marine National Monument. Formerly, he was the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Manager, and most recently, hosted President Obama for his visit to the Atoll last September during the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea. Brown will provide attendees with an overview of Midway Atoll today.

For a detailed schedule and to register, go to PacificAviationMuseum.org or call 808-445-9137.

Hawaii Students Compete in Underwater Robotics Competition

The Coast Guard hosted several students during the Marine Advanced Technology Education Oahu Regional Competition at Base Honolulu, Saturday.

Nine teams from local elementary, middle and high schools competed in an underwater robotics competition focused on the use of technologies used for ocean and space science and exploration.

Nine teams comprised of local elementary, middle and high school students participated in the Marine Advanced Technology Education Oahu Regional Competition at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, May 6, 2017. Students competed in an underwater robotics competition focused on the application of technologies used for ocean and space science and exploration. (U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa E. McKenzie/Released)

“We always love to partner with the community because we know that we’re creating future scientists, engineers and Coasties,” said Capt. Edward Sheppard, commanding officer, Coast Guard Base Honolulu. “We can help instill science, technology, engineering and math. Many of these kids will go off to colleges here in Hawaii or also on the mainland and then we might even be their future employer so it’s fantastic to be here.”

The contest’s top winners will travel to Long Beach City College in Long Beach, Calif., to compete against the winning teams of other regional MATE international ROV competitions.

The MATE ROV competition challenges students to apply the physics, math, electronics, and engineering skills they are learning in the classroom to solving problems from the marine workplace. Mentors are expected to limit their input to educational and inspirational roles and encouraged to focus on the benefits of the learning process and not winning the competition.

The primary mission of the MATE Center is to provide the marine technical workforce with appropriately educated workers and to use marine technology to create interest in and improve STEM education.

Groups are divided into two teams determined by skill level. The Ranger class is an intermediate level of competition aimed at middle and high school teams featuring robots and missions more complex and technologically advanced.  All missions are performed without looking in the pool, relying only on the sensors and cameras mounted on the ROV. The Scout class is open to novice teams in elementary through high school and introduces projects enabling students to learn the fundamentals of ROV design and construction.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Pass Bipartisan Funding Bill to Keep Government Open – Hawaii Gets…

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below after voting to pass a bipartisan funding bill to keep the government open through September 2017:

“Today we voted to keep the government open, avoiding a disastrous government shutdown, while also including funding for many Hawaiʻi priorities that I fought for. It included funding for the East-West Center, Native Hawaiian housing, healthcare, and education programs, critical environmental protections, and clean energy initiatives. As North Korea continues to increase its nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities, this bill increases funding for missile defense for Hawaiʻi to keep our communities protected. In addition, it includes provisions to allow COFA migrants to be treated at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi, and help ensure the federal government delivers on its promise to provide care to our COFA communities.

“In my recent tour of criminal justice facilities across Hawaiʻi, I saw firsthand how prison overcrowding has strained our resources and communities. This bill includes funding for initiatives to reduce recidivism like veteran treatment courts and the HOPE program that has had high success rates in Hawaiʻi. It also increases funding for key local law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

“As Hawaiʻi continues the process to open medical marijuana dispensaries, this bill included important language that specifies no federal funds may be used to stop states like Hawaiʻi from ‘implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.’

“From Flint, to Standing Rock, to Red Hill, it’s clear our water infrastructure nationwide is in dire need of investment and updates.  This bill invests in our clean water infrastructure, and includes funding for critical Hawaiʻi resources like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lāhainā Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed.

“Passing this bill with bipartisan support is a positive step, and shows what is possible when both parties come together to put the people of this country above partisan politics.”

Hawaiʻi will benefit from federal funding that includes:

  • $16.7 million for the East-West Center
  • $2 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program
  • $14.4 million for the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems program
  • $47.2 million for Native Hawaiian Education programs
  • $24.5 million for the Sea-based X-band (SBX) Radar at Pearl Harbor for the continued improvement of Hawaiʻi’s missile defense capabilities
  • $12 million for the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range (BARSTUR) on Kauaʻi
  • $3.194 million for agricultural education grants for Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Institutions
  • $222 million for the environmental restoration of formerly used defense sites, including the 117 sites in Hawaiʻi
  • $1.49 billion for community health centers nationwide, including 15 community health centers in Hawaiʻi
  • $6.5 million for the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, which helps prevent pollution of groundwater in rural communities in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which funds Hawaiʻi projects like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lahaina Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed
  • $617 million in Department of Justice grants that support law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $4 million to expand Project HOPE programs to reduce recidivism in new sites nationwide
  • $7 million for Veteran Treatment Courts in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • Includes language allowing for funds to be used for humanitarian assistance to COFA nations, and for patients from COFA nations to receive treatment at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi
  • The bill also specifies that no federal funds may be used with respect to any of a number of listed States, including Hawaiʻi, to “prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Auli’i Cravalho to Perform National Anthem at PBS’ Memorial Day Concert

Hawai‘i’s own Auli‘i Cravalho, star of Disney’s Moana, is scheduled to open this year’s National Memorial Day Concert on PBS with a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The concert will be broadcast from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Auli‘i Cravalho

PBS Hawai‘i will air the National Memorial Day Concert Sunday, May 28 at 7 pm, with an encore broadcast at 9 pm. It will also be live streamed online on Facebook Live and www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert and available as Video on Demand for a limited time only, May 28 to June 10.

Oscar nominee and Emmy and Tony-Award winner Laurence Fishburne will join Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna to host the 28th annual edition of the PBS broadcast, which regularly ranks among the public television network’s highest-rated programs.

For almost three decades, PBS has presented this night of remembrance dedicated to the country’s men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise, who has co-hosted the concert for the past eleven years, will present a 75th anniversary salute to the Doolittle Raiders, the aviators who changed the course of World War II in the Pacific.

The all-star line-up for the event includes: General Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); Renée Fleming; Vanessa Williams; Scotty McCreery; John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting; John Ortiz; Christopher Jackson; Ana Ortiz; Ronan Tynan; and Russell Watson, in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. Additional performers to be announced.

The program is a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA, Washington, D.C.  Executive Producer Michael Colbert has assembled an award-winning production team that features the top Hollywood talent behind some of television’s most prestigious entertainment awards shows including the Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards, Tony Awards, Saturday Night Live and more.

Waipio Solar Project Completed

The Department of the Navy, Pacific Energy Solutions, LLC, Hawaiian Electric Company, and the Hawaii State Energy Office celebrated the completion of a 14.3 megawatt direct current solar facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Waipio Peninsula in Hawaii.

The completion of the project was commemorated in a ribbon cutting ceremony today on JBPHH. Notable ceremony presenters and attendees included Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii; Rear Adm. John Korka, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet civil engineer; John Kliem, executive director, DON’s Resilient Energy Program Office; Capt. Stanley Keeve Jr., commanding officer, JBPHH; Ron Cox, senior vice president of Operations at Hawaiian Electric; and Dr. Terrence Surles, interim administrator of the Hawaii State Energy Office.

“Our Navy is tough during wartime and while preserving peace. That same level of determination drives day-to-day problem-solving as well as our approach to energy security. We are bold in our thinking – embracing innovation and new technologies, just as we have done throughout our history. Our senior leaders empower us and expect us to be adaptive, resilient and forward-thinking. That applies to both our nation’s defense and to our commitment to energy security,” said Fuller.

Pacific Energy Solutions built, and will own, operate and maintain the solar facility on JBPHH, and the installation will be the sole consumer of the power produced by the photovoltaic facility under a contract referred to as a Power Purchase Agreement.

“We are pleased to be part of the Waipio solar project and to help the Navy achieve its clean energy goals,” said Matt Handel, vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, whose subsidiary purchased the membership interest in Pacific Energy Solutions.

The project will contribute to the DON’s diverse energy portfolio, ensuring more secure and resilient operations at JBPHH. It also shows the continued partnership with the state of Hawaii, following last year’s Memorandum of Understanding between the DON and the state, which coordinated goals and strengthened the partnership between both organizations in the pursuit of additional renewable energy in the state of Hawaii.

“The State of Hawaii commends the Navy for its leadership in making the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Waipio Peninsula solar facility a reality. This project is a testament to our shared vision with the Navy and other branches of the military on energy security and self-sufficiency. It will take a genuine commitment on the part of all stakeholders to achieve our clean energy goals, and high-impact projects like this are an important part of that effort,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The DON continues to improve readiness, combat effectiveness and flexibility through initiatives that focus on energy reliability, resiliency and efficiency.

PACOM Commander Confirms North Korea’s Threat to Hawaii

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current U.S. missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk.

Admiral Harry Harris

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi specifically, Admiral Harris stated, “Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawai’i today…Our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, but it can be overwhelmed. If Kim Jong-un or someone else launched ballistic missiles—ICBMs—against the United States, we would have to make the decision on which ones to take out or not.”

Following the hearing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:
“Hawaiʻi is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression. As I travelled across Hawai’i during my recent state-wide town hall tour, I heard from my constituents on every island their concern about the threat posed by North Korea’s increased nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities that place Hawaiʻi squarely within North Korea’s crosshairs. It is the people of Hawaiʻi and our way of life that are at risk if North Korea’s missiles turn towards our shores. Admiral Harris’ testimony today affirmed the seriousness of this threat, and highlighted the need to strengthen our current missile defense infrastructure to ensure the defense of Hawai’i. I’m continuing this urgent push to strengthen the protection of Hawaiʻi against the threat that exists today, and the complex threat we know will emerge in the future. I urge my colleagues to take this threat seriously and provide the resources and tools necessary to defend Hawaiʻi against this threat.”

Background: Missile defense has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. Last year, she passed two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—one to provide funding to begin the process of bringing an MRDR to Hawaiʻi, and the other to require the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to brief Congress on their short-term plan to enhance missile defense capabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific—and also questioned then SECDEF Carter and Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the need to increase Hawaiʻi’s missile defense. She has had ongoing conversations and meetings with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Vice Admiral James Syring, to discuss possible options for the defense of Hawaiʻi, to deal with short term and long term needs. This includes quickly deployable options that are available to further strengthen the existing defensive assets within the state.

Navy Attending Merrie Monarch Festival, Will Join in Royal Parade

The U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will march and perform in the 54th annual Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on April 22. Capt. James Jenks, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii, will also attend the festivities.

HILO, Hawaii (April 26, 2014) Under the direction of Lt. Patrick K. Sweeten, the Pacific Fleet Band marches in the 51st annual Merrie Monarch Festival Parade. The parade is the culmination of a week-long festival featuring an internationally acclaimed hula competition and a grand parade through the heart of Hilo. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 2nd Class Andrea Sematoske/Released)

Capt. Jenks will attend the Hula Kahiko competition on Friday, April 21. He will also attend the Group Hula ʻAuana & Awards and participate with the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. along downtown Hilo.

The Navy recognizes that the Merrie Monarch Festival honors the legacy left by King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of Hawaiian traditions, native language and arts. King Kalākaua negotiated a treaty with the United States that led to the Navy’s presence at Pearl Harbor.

“We appreciate King David Kalākaua’s commitment and legacy,” Jenks said. “King Kalākaua supported the Navy and provided the opportunity to establish a coaling station at Pearl Harbor more than a century ago. He was a big supporter of education, which is something we all value today; especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”

Members of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band have been on Hawaii Island this week, working with local school bands, reinforcing STEM education and providing community outreach.

More Than 1,000 Maui Residents Pour Into Castle Theater For Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Last Stop On Statewide Town Hall Tour

At the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater last night, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted her seventh Town Hall to an audience of more than 1,000 Maui residents, making it the largest of the crowds to gather for a stop on the congresswoman’s statewide tour between April 11-20. In total, more than 3,500 constituents from Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island participated in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Aloha Town Hall Tour” with many of the meetings having more than 30,000 viewers via Facebook Live.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “As we wrap up this Aloha Town Hall Tour that has brought together so many of us from communities across the entire state, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who took the time to come out, to listen, to share, and to ask questions—your kindness, your activism, and your aloha is what made these meetings so powerful and productive. Each of us has an opportunity to act with love and aloha, to respect others, and to work together despite any differences we have as we do our best to be of service to others.”

Issues of concern that came up on the Valley Isle tonight included online privacy rights and the congresswoman’s fight to stop Internet Service Providers from selling individuals’ internet browsing history without consent, Maui’s water infrastructure, overcrowding at the island’s prison, the need for more programs that assist inmates and reduce recidivism, criminal justice reform, decriminalizing marijuana, and access to truly affordable healthcare—not just health insurance. The audience expressed support for her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, her continued push to end the illegal regime change war in Syria, and her fight for peace.

Earlier today on Maui, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard participated in the Future Forum with her House colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D, CA-15) to address common issues facing millennials, the challenges of entering the work force, and solutions to exponentially increasing student debt. The congresswoman also visited the Maui Food Innovation Center, where she met with young entrepreneurs and UH Maui College students to discuss sustainable business practices and food security on the Valley Isle.

For more information, please contact Erika Tsuji at (808) 286-0803.

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help in Locating Owner of Adrift Kayak Off Big Island

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of an unmanned, adrift red kayak found approximately one mile off Airport Beach, on the west side of the Big Island, Thursday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of an unmanned, red kayak found approximately one mile off Airport Beach, on the west side of the Big Island, Thursday.

The kayak was found with bait fish onboard but no gear and has the word tango written on both sides.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600.

At 6:50 a.m., watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the crew of the vessel Kamalami that they had recovered an unmanned, adrift kayak.

Sector Honolulu issued an urgent marine information broadcast notice to mariners and launched an MH-65 Dolphin aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to conduct a search of the area.

There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area. Kayak companies on the Big Island are checking the area but reported no kayaks out or missing.

The Coast Guard offers free “If Found” decals to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft through the Operation Paddle Smart program. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Coast Guard, Navy Medevac Fisherman From Vessel Off Oahu

A 30-year-old Vietnamese fisherman, suffering severe abdominal pain, arrived in good condition to Queens Medical Center in Honolulu Wednesday evening, aboard a Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter.

Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter

“This is a great demonstration of how our military branches work together to successfully complete a mission, said Lt. Nic Lannarone, command duty officer at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. “We are proud of all crews and their seamless work to ensure mariners in need reach a higher level of care as quickly as possible.”

Watchstanders at JRCC received a call from the master of the 68-foot commercial fishing vessel Lady of the Sea II at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. The vessel was reportedly 276 miles south of Oahu making 7 knots (8 mph) en route to Oahu.

JRCC watchstanders requested assistance from the Navy HSM-37 ‘Easyriders’ due to the distance offshore.

The watchstanders briefed the duty flight surgeon and agreed on a medevac. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point launched to provide top cover and communications while the Navy Seahawk crew launched from Kaneohe Bay.

Coast Guard watchstanders worked with the Navy and the crew of the U.S.-flagged Lady of the Sea II to arrange a Navy surface asset and basket hoist transfer once the vessel was 173 miles south of Oahu.

Weather on scene was reportedly winds of 17 mph with 7-foot seas.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Hilo Town Hall Draws Largest Crowd Yet on Statewide Tour With More Than 600 East Hawaii Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) was in Hilo last night to host her fifth Town Hall in a series of seven statewide. More than 600 East Hawaiʻi residents attended the meeting at Waiakea High School—the largest crowd yet on the congresswoman’s Town Hall Tour across the islands. Many brought homemade signs showing their support for peace over escalating wars abroad. They expressed deep concern over the threat of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Hawaii’s preparedness, and also Trump’s recent illegal attack in Syria.

Residents asked Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a variety of questions from healthcare to decriminalizing marijuana to criminal justice reform, and many other issues that affect the people of Hawaiʻi. She was thanked for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, for cosponsoring “Medicare for All” legislation, and for her work to honor Filipino World War II Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The next stops on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Kauaʻi – Tonight, Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy, Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

Coast Guard Decommissions Eighth High Endurance Cutter After Nearly 50 Years

The Coast Guard decommissioned its eighth high endurance cutter after nearly 50 years of service as part of recapitalization efforts during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Tuesday.

Crewmembers aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) man the rails during the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. The decommissioning ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition that retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

The Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), a 378-foot high endurance cutter, will be decommissioned after nearly 50 years of service, including action in the Vietnam War, numerous major drug interdictions and law enforcement cases, and a variety of noteworthy rescues.

“The history of Morgenthau’s operations showcases the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out a diverse and important range of missions vital to the security and prosperity of our nation,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, who leads the service’s Pacific fleet as the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, California. “The Coast Guard must be ready to protect American security and economic interests wherever called, and recapitalizing our vessels, aircraft, boats and infrastructure has been our highest investment priority.”

Capt. Edward M. St. Pierre, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), and his crew receive the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation Pennant during the ship’s decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. Morgenthau was commissioned in 1969 and was the first cutter to have women permanently assigned aboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

Morgenthau, commissioned March 10, 1969, was the eighth of 12 Hamilton- class high endurance cutters built by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. High endurance cutters are the largest cutters, aside from the three major icebreakers and national security cutters, ever built for the Coast Guard.

Morgenthau was active in the Vietnam War, conducting underway replenishment, naval gunfire support, and patrol duties off the coast of Vietnam until relieved by a 311′ cutter in 1971.

In 1977, Morgenthau became the first cutter to have women permanently assigned, which paved the way for numerous women to serve aboard Coast Guard cutters nationwide.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722) in full dress at the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. Morgenthau was commissioned in 1969 and has been home to more than 4,000 crewmembers during its 48 years of service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

In the fall of 1996, Morgenthau was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Morgenthau enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Morgenthau participated in Operation Noble Eagle to safeguard America’s prominent port cities through closer scrutiny of maritime traffic.

Capt. Edward M. St. Pierre, commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau (WHEC 722), receives the national ensign from Vice Adm. Fred M Midget, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, during the decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, April 18, 2017. The decommissioning ceremony is a time-honored naval tradition that retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances. The ensign is presented to the service member with the longest time in service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

“The significant legacy left in the wake of Morgenthau is evidenced not only by cutter’s history but also by the numerous former crewmembers who attended the ceremony,” said Midgette. “At the end of the day, this was simply a ship used by dedicated men and women to protect America, its people and their interests around the world. This cutter may leave our service, but the legacy of the men and women who served on Morgenthau will live on forever.”

The U.S. State Department is coordinating the transfer of Morgenthau through the Foreign Assistance Act. This act allows the transfer of excess defense articles as a grant to friendly, foreign governments.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Hosts Dinner & Veterans to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is hosting a Welcome Home Banquet on Thursday, May 25 to honor POWs, Medal of Honor recipients, Gold Star families and all returning Vietnam veterans. Highlights of the patriotic evening will include a welcome by Medal of Honor recipient Major General Patrick Brady, distinguished military guests, and celebrity appearances.

NBC journalist David Price will emcee a program that recreates and honors the legacy of Bob Hope, who entertained U.S. troops wherever they were stationed around the world, especially at Christmas, for more than 50 years. USO videos will showcase Hollywood celebrities and entertainers keeping the spirits of U.S. troops flying high and reminding them of home. The evening will include a guest appearance by actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margaret and a special performance by recording artist and entertainer Tony Orlando with his band.

Festivities begin at 4:00 pm with a reception and viewing of 14 Vietnam-era aircraft on the apron fronting the Museum’s historic Hangar 79. Cost is $25 each for veterans and their guest tickets, $125 for the general public, with sponsor tables available.

Reservations are required and can be made at PacificAviationMuseum.org/WelcomeHome. For more information, contact: Jobeth.Marihugh@PacificAviationMuseum.org;
808-892-3345.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Historic Ford Island, where bombs fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visitors to the Museum can see remnants from that day of infamy, including the 158-foot tall, red and white iconic Ford Island Control Tower, Hangars 37 and 79, and bullet holes in Hangar 79. Through its preservation and restoration of World War II fighter planes and accompanying artifacts in the Museum’s historic hangars, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor shares the story of the vital role aviation played in the winning of World War II, and its continuing role in maintaining America’s freedom.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history. Contact:
808-441-1000; Marketing@PacificAviationMuseum.org

Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) released a joint message April 14, that suspends the use, possession, storage and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.


NORFOLK (April 11, 2017) The use, possession, storage, and charging of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and all associated ENDS components is temporarily prohibited aboard Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy machinery pending completion of further analysis. The temporary prohibition is effective May 14, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary A. Prill/Released)

The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.

The Fleet commanders implemented this policy to protect the safety and welfare of Sailors and to protect the ships, submarines, aircraft and equipment.

The prohibition will be effective 30 days from the release of the policy May 14, and will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis.

This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of ENDS due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

Deployed units may request extensions on device removal until their next port visit. Supervisors should ensure that removable lithium-ion batteries are removed from the units and stored according to the ENDS manufacturer instructions, in plastic wrap, in a plastic bag or any other non-conductive storage container.

Sailors on shore will still be allowed to use ENDS on base, but must do so in designated smoking areas ashore while on military installations.

Sailors are encouraged to use available tobacco cessation resources and programs offered through Navy medical services and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) programs.