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    November 2015
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Navy Rethinks Pacific Training that Endangers Whales, Dolphins and Other Marine Life

The US Navy today said it plans to prepare a new environmental impact statement for training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean from December 2018 onward, including the use of sonar and explosives that threaten widespread harm to whales, dolphins, other marine mammals and imperiled sea turtles. The move follows a March 31 federal court ruling that the Navy illegally failed to consider restricting military exercises in biologically important areas within the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area to reduce harm to marine mammals.

USS Lake Erie

“The Navy doesn’t need to blow up breeding areas or blast migrating whales with sonar so we’re glad they’re taking a closer look at this critical issue,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Navy doesn’t need continuous access to every square inch of the Pacific. It’s a big ocean, and we need protections for the areas that are particularly important for whales and dolphins.”

The Navy’s current five-year training plan was overturned after a legal challenge in federal court by Earthjustice, representing Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Ocean Mammal Institute. In a September 2015 settlement, the Navy agreed to put important habitat for numerous marine mammal populations off-limits to dangerous, mid-frequency sonar training and testing and the use of powerful explosives during the remainder of the five-year plan, which expires in December 2018.

“The science is clear.  To avoid permanent injuries and death to whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, it is vital to keep Navy sonar and explosives out of the areas these animals need for essential activities like feeding, resting and caring for their young,” explained Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represented the conservation groups in the federal court case.  “When it voluntarily agreed to the settlement, the Navy made clear that it can both perform its mission and stay out of important marine mammal habitat.”

“We urge the public to get involved and tell the Navy its new study needs to examine ways to keep destructive training out of vital marine mammal habitat,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

The public comment period on the new environmental impact statement ends January 12, 2016. The public can submit comments online at http://www.hstteis.com. The public can also attend one of three scoping meetings: December 1 in San Diego, CA; December 3 on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i; and December 5 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Despite the March ruling and September settlement, the Navy continues to conduct military exercises that can injure and kill marine wildlife. On November 4, the National Marine Fisheries Service said it is investigating the death of two dolphins that washed ashore near San Diego after Navy ships were using sonar in the area.

“The bottlenose dolphins that died last month off San Diego likely came from a population that numbers less than 400,” said Susan Millward, executive director at the Animal Welfare Institute.  “We need to keep up the pressure on the Navy to do more to protect these highly intelligent and vulnerable animals.”

Ocean mammals depend on hearing for navigation, feeding and reproduction. Scientists have linked military sonar and live-fire activities to mass whale beaching, exploded eardrums and even death. In 2004, during war games near Hawai‘i, the Navy’s sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of up to 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, Kaua‘i.

The Navy and Fisheries Service estimate that, over the current plan’s five-year period, training and testing activities will result in thousands of animals suffering permanent hearing loss, lung injuries or death. Millions of animals will be exposed to temporary injuries and disturbances, with many subjected to multiple harmful exposures.

A video on the effects of Navy sonar training on marine mammals is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gDk29Y_YY

Free Entry to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Veterans Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park joins national parks across the country in waiving entrance fees for Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11.

“The men and women who have served our nation have sacrificed much to protect our freedom,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We invite everyone to honor their service and experience the American heritage by visiting their national parks at no charge this Veterans Day,” she said.

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff.   NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Visitors enjoy scenic views of Kīlauea Caldera and the summit eruption in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from Crater Rim Trail near Steaming Bluff. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has dozens of veterans among its employees and volunteers. Active duty U.S. military can obtain a free annual Military Pass at the park’s entrance station all year. For more information on the free Military Pass, visit the park website.

The park, which is open 24 hours a day, offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails and many opportunities to appreciate the volcanic landscape, native ecosystem and the Hawaiian culture that define this World Heritage Site. More than a dozen free interpretive programs are offered daily, and special events, including ‘Ike Hana No‘eau cultural workshops, After Dark in the Park presentations, and Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” concerts, are ongoing. Check www.nps.gov/havo for information for all events.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i.  Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge Veterans Day weekend. There is no admission charged for Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Information on special offerings at parks nationwide is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Senator Schatz on Syria – Policy is a Strategic Mistake

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement on the Administration’s announcement that it will deploy a small number of Special Operations Forces to Syria:

Senator Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle.

Senator Schatz in Puna after Hurricane Iselle.

“The Administration’s announcement that it will deploy Special Operations Forces into Syria to combat ISIL marks a major shift in U.S. policy—a shift that is occurring without congressional debate, is unlikely to succeed in achieving our objective of defeating ISIL and instead threatens to embroil the United States in Syria’s civil war and could bring us into direct confrontation with the Russian Federation military and Syrian government forces.

“In the 16-months since the United States began its participation in the regional fight against ISIL, our military involvement has escalated without a clear sense of how our escalating involvement will achieve our strategic objectives.  With ISIL’s control of northern Syria, we cannot reasonably expect that the deployment of Special Operations Forces would be limited in scope or duration.

“As we have seen from our failed train and equip program, U.S. support for moderate Syrian opposition has its limits. Rather than ratchet up our own involvement, we must look for other opportunities to strengthen the coalition’s ability to effectively prosecute the fight against ISIL.

“This shift in policy is a strategic mistake.  Regardless of my views, the War Powers Resolution requires Congress to debate and authorize the escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria.”

Hawaii Island Veterans Day Parade November 7th

Major General Arthur “Joe” Logan, the Adjutant General (TAG) for the State of Hawaii, will be honored as military grand marshal of the eighth annual Hawaii Island Veterans Day Parade. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary to Post 3830 (Pahoa) will also be honored during this year’s parade as community parade marshal. The parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, in downtown Hilo.

Veterans ParadeThis year’s parade theme, “Celebrate Service,” is intended to honor veterans, celebrate community service, and inspire us with many ways to serve. All veterans, businesses, community service groups, and their families are encouraged to participate or watch.

Logan was appointed as the Hawaii TAG on January 1, 2015. He is a combat veteran with over 36 years of military service, and oversees the training and readiness of 5,500 Soldiers and Airmen of the Hawaii National Guard. He also serves as the Director, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, provides direct support to the Office of Veterans Services, and is the Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor. As a combat veteran, “Logan well understands the importance of service to the nation and its value within our communities,” said Wendell Kaehuaea, the vice chair of this annual event.

Taking over from chair emeritus Dan Kama, this year’s parade chair is Colonel (Retired) Deb Lewis. A combat veteran with nearly 34 years in uniform, she worked side-by-side with the National Guard in Iraq and in her last assignment in Washington State. Lewis shared, “It is our honor to have MG Logan as this year’s grand marshal. The National Guard, our citizen soldiers, serve our communities, state, and country in many ways. Military personnel regularly risk their lives to keep us safe from all types of manmade and natural threats, both foreign and domestic. The Guard has proudly held that tradition for almost 400 years.”

This year’s community parade marshal, the VFW Auxiliary to Post 3830, really understands the many ways each of us, separately and together, can make a difference in the lives of others. The Auxiliary works closely with many groups to assist those who need all types of support, especially veterans, who can often be the most reluctant to seek help.

Lewis and husband Doug Adams (a veteran and parade secretary) were introduced to the Auxiliary at a breakfast right before Adams finished an 18,067 mile bike ride to all 50 states in one year- the Duty, Honor, America Tour – to honor veterans and families. “Most people want to help. Sometimes they are unaware how easy it is for them to improve the quality of life of others in important ways. Teaming up with the VFW Auxiliary and other community-based or veteran support organizations is a great way to benefit everyone,” said Adams.

“We are calling for all veterans to join the parade on Nov. 7, and inviting our island community – businesses, service groups and their families – to participate and be inspired in some way to Celebrate Service,” said Lewis.

Be sure to check out our parade plans, find out about our talented parade units, and the many ways you can “Help Our Heroes” at www.HIVetParade.org

All Veterans, bands, horses, floats, military vehicles and community groups will form up at the staging area near the King Kamehameha statue on Bishop Street. After the helicopter orchid drop, the roaring thunder of parade motorcyclists will lead off the parade shortly after 10 a.m.

The parade route in Hilo will start makai of Pauahi Street and travel mauka to Kilauea Avenue. Next, it will travel north through downtown Hilo until it reaches Waianuenue Avenue and then makai until Kamehameha Avenue. Traveling along Hilo Bayfront, it will return to the starting point. A large American flag and the official reviewing stand will be along Kamehameha Avenue near the soccer field road entrance.

“The Veterans Day Parade can only be held with the generous support of local business and individuals, and through fundraising efforts,” said Kaehuaea. “Our committee members are strictly volunteers who give of their time and efforts to support and organize this parade because of the importance to recognize our Hawaii Island veterans and ohana.” For more information, call Kaehuaea at 640-1435 or email him at bivetparade@yahoo.com.


Chinese Navy Ships to Visit Hawaii

The U.S. Navy announced today that a People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] ship is expected to visit Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Oct. 12-16.

Zheng He (Type 679, Hull 81)

Zheng He (Type 679, Hull 81)

Zheng He (Type 679, Hull 81), a midshipmen training ship, is expected to arrive at 8 a.m. This routine port visit will give Chinese sailors an opportunity to interact with their U.S. counterparts

Foreign Navy ships come to Pearl Harbor-Hickam regularly for scheduled port visits.  Ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force have visited the base twice in recent months.

As part of a planned series of military-to-military exchanges between the two nations, Zheng He will be hosted by USS Chosin (CG 65). Chinese and U.S. naval officers will conduct dialogues to build confidence and mutual understanding.

Senior Captain Yan Zhengming, Superintendent of the Dalian Naval Academy; Senior Captain Xu Ping, Deputy Political Commissar of Dalian Naval Academy; and Senior Captain You Dade, Chief of Training Division of Dalian Naval Academy will be met by Captain Eric Weilenman, Chief of Staff, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

American and Chinese sailors plan to engage in deckplate level events and sporting events – including soccer, tug-of-war and basketball games – between our sailors. Receptions aboard the Zheng He and USS Chosin are also planned.  Capt. Ye Kaihua is commanding officer of Zheng He; Capt. Kevin Brand commands USS Chosin.

The last port visit by PLA(N) ships to Pearl Harbor-Hickam was in September 2013.

The U.S. Navy is committed to continued engagement to improve mutual understanding, build trust, enhance transparency, and reduce the risk of misperceptions and miscalculations. Military-to-military engagement is an important tool to build trust, encourage multilateral cooperation, enhance transparency, and mitigate risk.

Innovative Wave Power Device Starts Producing Clean Power in Hawaii

With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-sea pilot testing.

The device, called Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

This pilot testing is now giving U.S. researchers the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the long-term performance of the nation’s first grid-connected wave energy converter (WEC) device to be independently tested by a third party—the University of Hawaii—in the open ocean.

The project supports the Energy Department’s mission to research, test, and develop innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from clean energy resources, including water. Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies, which generate power from waves, tides, or currents, are at an early but promising stage of development. Many coastal areas in the United States have strong wave and tidal resources, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline, making transmission from these resources more economical.

With further progress towards commercialization, MHK technologies could make substantial contributions to our nation’s electricity needs. To accelerate commercialization of wave energy devices, the Energy Department funds research and development—from laboratory and field-testing of individual components, up to demonstration and deployment of complete utility-scale systems.

The first phase of Azura’s development involved testing a smaller prototype in a wave tank and later deploying a prototype—at the same scale as the new deployment—in a controlled, open-sea area off the coast of Oregon in 2014. Those successful tests helped Azura’s developer, Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) of Portland, Oregon, verify the functionality of the device while collecting comprehensive performance data that could lower the cost of wave energy technologies in the future.

To further advance Azura towards commercialization, NWEI recently launched its grid-connected 20-kilowatt demonstration project at WETS. The current phase of in-water testing at the WETS’s 30-meter test berth has already proven valuable in gathering performance and reliability data from the device in deepwater, open-ocean conditions. The data will be used to further optimize Azura’s performance and refine existing wave energy computer simulations, ultimately supporting commercialization of this technology.

NWEI, with $5 million in additional funding from the Energy Department, will apply lessons learned from this current phase of development to modify the device design in order to improve its efficiency and reliability. NWEI plans to then test the improved design with a full-scale device rated between 500 kilowatts and one megawatt at WETS at even deeper test berths of 60 meters to 80 meters over the next several years, further supporting efforts to build a robust and competitive MHK industry in the United States.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE supports innovative approaches that reduce both the risk and costs of bringing MHK technologies online. Watch our Energy 101: Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy video, and learn more about the Department’s efforts to support MHK research and development.

Navy Teams with State of Hawaii to Combat Mosquitoes

The Navy in Hawaii is partnering with the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health (HDOH) in surveillance and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.
Mosquito Bite
During an interview on local TV June 11, entomologists Lt. Ryan Larson, of Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6, and Dr. Jeomhee Hasty, of HDOH, showed specimens of mosquitoes and explained the importance of working together to prevent the spread of diseases.

The partnership with HDOH was strengthened when the Navy began to recognize the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases throughout the Pacific last summer.

“Fences don’t stop mosquitos,” Larson told KHON2’s Wake Up 2day audience. “We realized we need to be prepared to respond in case this disease arrived in Hawaii.”

There have been cases of mosquito-borne diseases chikungunya and dengue fever in recent years, according to the HDOH.

“Travelers infected overseas can bring the disease back home where local mosquitos can ‘bite’…and start local transmission of the disease in Hawaii,” said Hasty.

Mosquito surveillance conducted by HDOH since 2010 at Honolulu International Airport supports Hasty’s concern. The mosquito species Aedes aegypti was detected near the airport several times since 2012. This group is more efficient at spreading dengue fever, said Hasty.

The HDOH Navy partnership allows combatting invasive species to move beyond the airport to cover more of the state.

Ryan demonstrated how two different traps are being used in the joint effort. A light trap sucks nocturnal mosquitos in after attracting them with visual cues and carbon dioxide, which mimics human respiration.

He also showed a sentinel trap, which is used for catching day-feeding mosquitos like the ones that carry dengue and chikungunya. Baited with a chemical lure that smells like “the worst pair of smelly socks you can imagine,” this device targets ankle-biting mosquitos, said Ryan.

As for residents of Hawaii, Hasty says using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent exposure to harmful mosquito bites. She also recommends eliminating standing water on and around one’s property, which reduces mosquito reproduction.

Navy Civilians Gather in Hawaii for Leadership Development

More than 250 Department of the Navy civilian employees attended a professional workshop May 19-20 designed to enhance their leadership capabilities and help with career development strategies.

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet's director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, addresses members of the civilian work force May 20 during a panel discussion with members of the Senior Executive Service. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, addresses members of the civilian work force May 20 during a panel discussion with members of the Senior Executive Service. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

Hosted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Civilian Human Resources) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), in partnership with Executive Diversity Advisory Council the training, “Cultivating Leadership for the Next Generation,” included members of the Senior Executive Service, flag officers and other Navy experts presented content and information to attendees focused on leadership.

“I believe leaders are born but I also believe there are tools to make leaders better,” said Mark Honecker, executive director and chief of staff, U.S. Fleet Forces. “So by listening to a bunch of different leaders’ perspectives, the participants can find something in each of those leaders that they can take on to better themselves.”

The training event also gave the civil service workers from various commands an opportunity to get to know one another and the senior presenters.

“The greatest benefit I am going to take away from this training will be networking and meeting some of the senior folks and them explaining to us how they got where they are today, what it took to get there and how we can get there,” said Reginald Patterson, PACFLT’s Fleet Personal and Family Readiness Program Manager. “That in itself is invaluable.”

Lynn Simpson, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of total fleet force manpower and personnel, shared that studies have revealed networking is one of the most effective ways to get hired for a job and that it is essential for accomplishing missions and creating success at every level in an organization.

“Networking and relationships are key to learning about developmental assignments, career broadening, potential mentors and learning about what is required to become advanced in a particular field of study,” said Simpson.

During the two-day event, many breakout sessions were conducted with smaller groups of people to touch on topics like conflict resolution, workforce planning, building relationships, executive interviewing techniques and leading millennials. The sessions provided a more intimate setting for learning and an opportunity for one-on-one discussions.

“I found the greatest value in the breakout sessions and getting the opportunity to speak directly with the SES’s,” said Lisa Hill, an investigator for Navy Region Hawaii’s Inspector General. “The open-forum sessions provided great person-to-person dialogue.”

Todd Schafer, PACFLT’s executive director and chief of staff, explained the importance of informing the participants on what the demand signal for senior civilian leaders will look like in the future and to help them develop a plan to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to seamlessly step into increasingly demanding leadership positions.

Schafer also expressed his gratitude for everyone involved in the training.

“I would like to thank all the participants who attended this event. It shows their aptitude for learning and ability to take action,’ said Schafer. “I also want to thank all the Senior Executive Service members and flag and general officers who took time to be a part of the event. They truly made it a success.”

Senior officers who spoke during the event include Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet; Gen. Lori Robinson, commander of Pacific Air Forces; Vice Adm. Scott Swift, PACFLT’s incoming commander; and Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii.

“As a civilian work force it is important to see how supportive the uniformed leadership is and how they believe our increased knowledge is just as important to the mission as anything else,” said Ronald Kendrick Jr., Director for Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific.

USNS Mercy and USNS Millinocket To Depart Hawaii for Pacific Partnership Deployment

USNS Mercy 131

Sailors “Man The Rails” as USNS Mercy comes into Pearl Harbor.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and the Joint High Speed Vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) are scheduled to depart May 27 for a four-month deployment in support of the Navy’s Pacific Partnership 2015.

The tenth iteration of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s annual Pacific Partnership mission will take place in the Southeast Asia and Oceania regions over a four-month period beginning in late May.

Host nations will include Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Vietnam.

Getting flown out to the USNS Mercy

Getting flown out to the USNS Mercy

Working at the invitation of each host nation, U.S. Naval forces will be joined by U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force personnel as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and regional partners including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Timor Leste, Fiji and France to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance, and strengthen disaster response preparedness.

Isolation chambers inside the USNS Mercy

Isolation chambers inside the USNS Mercy

Born out of the devastation wrought by the 2004 tsunami that swept through parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific Partnership began as a military-led humanitarian response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters.  Building on the success and goodwill of this operation, the hospital ship USNS Mercy returned to the region in 2006 for the inaugural Pacific Partnership mission.  The mission staff expanded to include partner nation militaries and NGOs working to increase the disaster relief capabilities of Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and East Timor.  Since then, Pacific Partnership has grown in scope and size.

U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Engdahl, commander of Destroyer Squadron 9, based in Everett, Washington, will lead this year’s mission from Mercy.  USNS Millinocket will be deploying on the Pacific Partnership mission for the first time, with embarked elements of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.

Partner nation militaries and government agencies, NGOs and host nation planning efforts have focused on collaborative efforts with professionals in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary, public health services, engineering and disaster response.

For more information on Pacific Partnership, visit the official Pacific Partnership website at:

Operation Culebra Koa 2015 Kicks Off in the Hawaiian Islands

I just got invited to fly out to meet USNS Dahl and USS Essex as part of this exercise but I have to work!

(HONOLULU, HI) U.S. Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary forces are participating in exercise Culebra Koa 2015 (CK15) in and around the Hawaiian islands today through May 20.

Inside the USS Essex

Inside the USS Essex

CK15 is a U.S. Pacific Fleet training exercise designed to demonstrate and increase joint proficiency in expeditionary operations. The exercise will also serve as additional training for the USS Essex (LHD 2) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) prior to deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.

U.S. Navy participants include: U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Amphibious Squadron 3, Patrol Reconnaissance Wing 2, Naval Beach Group 1, Coastal Riverine Group 1, USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Rushmore (LSD 47), USS Anchorage (LPD 23), USNS Montford Point (MLP 1), USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3), USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312), Commander Patrol Recon Wing 2 (CPRW-2), Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron 3(MPSRON 3).  U.S. Marine Corps participants include: U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, I Marine Expeditionary Force, III Marine Expeditionary Force, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marines. Additional participants include: 25th Infantry Division and 8th Theater Sustainment Command from U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Coast Guard District 13, and 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and 25th Air Support Operations Squadron from Pacific Air Forces.

The USS Essex uses LCAC Hovercrafts to transport people and equipment from ship to shore.

The USS Essex uses LCAC Hovercrafts to transport people and equipment from ship to shore.

These units will employ the latest technologies and operational techniques to accomplish CK15 training objectives by demonstrating sea-based rapid build-up of combat power ashore using Maritime Prepositioning Force and Military Sealift Command assets.
Exercises like CK15 provide realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy and Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii Commanding Officer Canned for Loss of Trust and Confidence

Maj. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, relieved Col. Eric W. Schaefer of his duties today as commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead his command.

Col. Eric W. Schaefer

Col. Eric W. Schaefer

Col. Christopher B. Snyder, deputy commander, MCIPAC, has been assigned as the interim commanding officer of MCB Hawaii until Headquarters Marine Corps names a permanent replacement.

Schaefer assumed duties as the commanding officer at MCB Hawaii Aug 13, 2014. He has been reassigned to another position effective immediately.

The Marine Corps holds all Marines, especially commanders, responsible for their actions, and is committed to upholding high standards of honor, courage and commitment within the ranks.

NAVY Ship USS Chung-Hoon Denied Entry to Hilo Harbor

The US Navy Ship USS Chung-Hoon was spotted this morning off the Big Island of Hawaii this morning as it was expected to arrive in Hilo for the Merrie Monarch festivities.
Chung Hoon Refuel

Unfortunately the ship had to turn around once it got to the Big Island because the water in Hilo Harbor was not deep enough for the ship to port.

The NAVY has released the following statement:

In an abundance of caution and as advised by the embarked State Dept. of Transportation Harbor Pilot,  the Commanding Officer of USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93)  felt it was prudent to not proceed with entering Hilo Harbor this morning due to the shallow depth of the harbor.

Sharing the Navy with the people of Hilo is important. We certainly value the opportunity to showcase our Navy to the American people. Our partnership with the Hilo Council is an outstanding example where a community and the military join together to create an environment of mutual support and broad benefit and the Navy looks forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come, and we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused to our friends and neighbors in Hilo.

Capt. Mark Manfredi, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii will still attend tonight’s Merrie Monarch Festivities and the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will be flown over here to  march and perform in the Merrie Monarch Parade tomorrow morning.

USS Chung-Hoon to Visit Hilo for Merrie Monarch Festival

The Pearl Harbor-based Aegis-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) will visit Hilo April 10-12 to participate in the 52nd  annual Merrie Monarch Festival.

Me at the helm of the USS Chung Hoon during 2010 RIMPAC Exercises

Me at the helm of the USS Chung Hoon during 2010 RIMPAC Exercises

U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will march and perform in the Merrie Monarch Parade. Capt. Mark Manfredi, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii, will also attend the festivities.

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

USS Chung-Hoon will greet the Merrie Monarch Royal Court during a pierside welcome ceremony at Hilo Harbor Pier 1 on Friday, April 10 at 11 a.m.  USS Chung-Hoon Sailors, along with Capt. Manfredi, will attend the hula competitions and participate with Pacific Fleet Band in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. along downtown Hilo.

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Chung-Hoon is a guided-missile destroyer that is a multi-mission, anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatant.
Cmdr. Ryan Collins is the commanding officer and leads a crew of more than 270.

The Commanding Officer gave me this coin after we had lunch on the USS Chung Hoon

The Commanding Officer gave me this coin after we had lunch on the USS Chung Hoon

USS Chung-Hoon is named for Rear Admiral Gordon Pai`ea Chung-Hoon, the first native Hawaiian admiral in the U.S. Navy.  Admiral Chung-Hoon was assigned to the USS Arizona on the morning of December 7, 1941; and nearly 70 years ago on April 14, 1945, the admiral received the Navy Cross during World War II after a kamikaze attack that killed several members of his crew and severely damaged his ship, USS Sigsbee. USS Chung-Hoon is one of eleven surface ships homeported in Pearl Harbor.

Honouliuli National Monument Dedicated

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel was in Hawaii today to dedicate the Honouliuli National Monument.

Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today.  Secretary of State Sally Jewel

“Honored, humbled to dedicate Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii today,” said Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel

The monument will help tell the sad but important story of Japanese internment in Hawaii during WWII.

Hawaii Coast Guard Officer Convicted for Multiple Violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

A Coast Guard officer was convicted during a general court-martial for multiple violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the Coast Guard Courtroom in the Prince Kuhio Federal Building, Tuesday.

Ens. Johnson Knox

Ens. Johnson Knox

Ens. Johnson C. Knox was found guilty of the following charges:

  • Article 112a – Wrongful use, possession and distribution of multiple controlled substances.
  • Article 80 – Attempting to manufacture MDMA (Ecstasy) and attempt to engage in a prohibited relationship.
  • Article 93 – Cruelty and maltreatment toward a subordinate.
  • Article 128 – Assault consummated by battery.
  • Article 134 – Communicating indecent language to a subordinate.
  • Article 86 – Absence without leave
  • Article 92 – Failure to obey an order or regulation and dereliction of duty.

Knox was sentenced to three years confinement in a military brig and received a dismissal from the Coast Guard.

While awaiting court-martial, Knox served at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. He was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Kukui at the time of most of the offenses.

Nisei Veterans to Receive French Legion of Honor

Five veterans of Hawaii’s 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team from the Big Island will be awarded the French Legion of Honor by French Consul General Pauline Carmona in recognition of their service to liberate France during World War II.


Two of these veterans, Hidetaka Sato (Honaunau) and Mitsuo “Benty” Tachibana (Hilo) will be receiving the award posthumously.  Tokuichi Nakano and Iwao Yonemitsu, both from Naalehu, and Kazuma Taguchi from Hilo will also receive the medal.

The ceremony will be held at the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery, 72-3245 Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Kailua-Kona,  on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. and will be followed by light refreshments.  The public is invited to attend.

Unidentified Object Closes Kua Bay

Officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), along with staff from the DLNR Division of State Parks, closed the Kua Bay section of Kekaha Kai (Kona Coast) State Park today after an unidentified object was found in the water.

Kua Bay

State Parks Administrator Dan Quinn said, “High winter surf brings a lot of surfers to this park and we feel it is best to close the park and not allow surfers and others into the water, for their own safety, until we can identify this object.”

A U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) expert is planning to gather photographs of the object this afternoon in an effort to determine exactly what it is. A representative from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) will accompany the EOD expert. The Navy is working closely with DLNR to assess the item and appropriate response actions.

The object is approximately two feet in diameter and is estimated to weigh 150 pounds. There has been a history of unexploded ordnance found in the waters of this region.

As soon as the object is positively identified and removed if necessary, staff from the DLNR Division of State Parks will determine when Kua Bay can be reopened.


Public Invited to Live Webcast of Pearl Harbor Anniversary Commemoration

The public is welcome to join World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument this December 7th, as they bring Pearl Harbor to the public via a live webcast of the 73rd anniversary commemoration.

USS Ronald Reagan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray

For those who can’t attend the ceremony, registration is being accepted to view the live webcast. It’s the second consecutive year live-streaming broadcasting technology has been used for the ceremony.

This FREE live-stream broadcast will begin at 7:30 am HST and feature a 20 minute behind the scenes interviews with USS Arizona Survivors, Pearl Harbor Survivors and Civilian Witness as well as a simultaneous  interactive chat with Park Staff continuing for the duration of the Commemoration.

User Registration Link: : http://bit.ly/Dec7Broadcast


Second Supplementary Proclamation Pertaining to State of Emergency in Puna Issued Today

A second supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued today by Mayor Billy Kenoi. A PDF of the signed proclamation is available here.

Click to read

Click to read


WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on September 4, 2014, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 5, 2014, issued Proclamations declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on October 16, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 22, 2014, and October 17, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation and Second Supplementary Proclamation further declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the United States Geological Survey – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on December 3, 2014, reported that the eruptive phase of the June 27th flow is continuing and show no signs of halting and that new breakouts occurring upslope of Pahoa Village have converged to create a new organized lava front; and

WHEREAS, this new upslope front has been proceeding at a rate of several hundred yards per day and is presently located 2.5 miles from State Highway 130; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM P. KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i,

do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency continues to exist due to the threat of imminent disaster on the Hawai‘i Island, District of Puna, effective December 3, 2014, and that the Proclamation of September 4, 2014, and Supplementary Proclamation of October 16, 2014, shall remain in full force and effect and are hereby included in the provisions of this Second Supplementary Proclamation and shall continue thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 3rd day of December, 2014, in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

County of Hawai‘i

Coast Guardsman Convicted of Lewd Act on Minor

A Coast Guardsman was convicted of committing a lewd act on a minor and other violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice during a general court-martial at the United States District Court – District of Hawaii Thursday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Shane E. Reese was found guilty of Article 120b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for committing a lewd act on a minor on the Island of Oahu between January and May 2013.

Reese was also found guilty of Article 134 for threats to the victim, Article 107 for making false official statements during the course of the investigation, and Article 112a for wrongful possession, distribution and use of marijuana.

He was sentenced to five years confinement in a military brig, a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a reduction to paygrade E-1, the military’s lowest enlisted grade.

While awaiting court-martial, Reese served at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point as an aviation maintenance technician and was assigned to the unit at the time of the offenses.

According the the Coast Guard Facebook page:

Petty Officer 1st Class Shane E. Reese was found guilty of Article 120b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for committing a lewd act on a minor on the Island of Oahu between January and May 2013.
Reese was also found guilty of Article 134 for threats to the victim, Article 107 for making false official statements during the course of the investigation, and Article 112a for wrongful possession, distribution and use of marijuana.

He was sentenced to five years confinement in a military brig, a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a reduction to paygrade E-1, the military’s lowest enlisted grade.
While awaiting court-martial, Reese served at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point as an aviation maintenance technician and was assigned to the unit at the time of the offenses.