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HDOT Fire Chiefs receive Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Fire Chief Martinez Jacobs, Airport Fire Chief Glen Mitchell and Assistant Chiefs John Kennedy and Raymond Vegas (Ret) received the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Patriot Award during a ceremony on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. which took place at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The award was presented by Robert Lee, MG (Ret), ESGR Hawaii State Chair.

From left to right: CMSgt Desmond Yogi, Assistant Chief Raymond Vegas (Ret), Airport Fire Chief Glen Mitchell, Airports Fire Chief Martinez Jacobs, Lt.Col Reid Matsuda, Assistant Chief John Kennedy, and Robert Lee, MG (Ret)

The Patriot Award is given to individuals who support citizen warriors through various measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. The Patriot Award is part of a series of ESGR’s Employer Awards that recognize employers who support their Guard and Reserve employees. This support increases retention rates in the Armed Forces which strengthens our national security.

More information on ESGR’s Employer Awards can be found by clicking here.

USS John Finn (DDG 113) Arrives in Pearl Harbor, Set for Commissioning

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) will be commissioned at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s Pier Kilo 10. Media are invited to cover commissioning week events, including media availability and tour on July 13.

PEARL HARBOR (July 10, 2017) The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam July 10 in preparation for its commissioning ceremony. DDG 113 is named in honor of Lt. John William Finn, who as a chief aviation ordnanceman was the first member of our armed services to earn the Medal of Honor during World War II for heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Justin R. Pacheco)

Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Mrs. Laura Stavridis, the wife of retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, will serve as sponsor of the ship.  The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Stavridis will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Cmdr. Michael Wagner, a native of Minnesota, is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 350 officers and enlisted personnel.  The 9,140-ton Finn was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  The ship is 509 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet.  The ship uses four LM2500 GE Marine Gas Turbines and two propellers to speeds up to 31 knots.

The ship’s namesake, John Finn, is a Medal of Honor recipient who Adm. Chester Nimitz said displayed “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman, used a machine gun at the former Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station to fire at Japanese aircraft for two hours during the attack. He remained on duty for 18 hours despite receiving as many as 21 wounds. Finn retired as a lieutenant in 1956 and lived to be 100 before passing in 2010. At the time of his death, he was the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. As multi-mission platforms, they are capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

USS John Finn will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.

Hawaii County Affordable Housing Projects to be Built on Former Unexploded Ordinance Sites

In a June 22, 2017 letter that Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim sent to J.C. King, Director of Munitions and Chemical Matters, ODASA(ESOH) he is asking the Army to “…change the direction of its Unexploded Ordinance Clearance Schedule and parcel out specific sites that are designated for affordable housing projects.”

Full Letter:

On behalf of the residents of Hawai’i Island, I would like to request the U.S. Army to change the direction of its Unexploded Ordinance Clearance Schedule and parcel out specific sites that are designated for affordable housing projects.

The State of Hawai’i is mandated to build 22,000 affordable housing units by the year 2025 and the County of Hawai’i has been actively seeking ways to meet its part of this mandate.  Approximately two (2) years ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was made aware of concerns of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area.

Since this notification, HUD has placed restrictions on new funding into this area, effectively stopping the development of four (4) multi-family, affordable housing projects that would provide desperately, needed housing for 1,564 families.  In addition, there are two (2) existing affordable housing projects (consisting of 108 families), that need to have their properties surveyed and cleared to eliminate any danger from unexploded ordinances. These are:

Proposed:

  • Kamakoa Nui (County of Hawai’i) 1,200 units
  • Plumeria at Waikoloa (JSM Enterprises) 200 units
  • Waikoloa Family Affordable (Gary Furuta) 104 units
  • Kaialulu O Waikoloa (Urban Housing) 60 units

Existing:

  • Waikoloa Gardens (Jack Hall Waikoloa) 24 units
  • Ke Kumu Ekaki (State Hawai’i Housing) 94 units

Again, I strongly urge your agency to parcel out these projects and schedule them for Ordinance Clearance work at the earliest date possible.  I cannot emphasize the importance of clearing these subject parcels so as we can help our citizens make this island a better place to live.

Please contact Neil Gyotoku of my staff at (808) 961-8379 if we can be of any assistance in resolving this important issue.

Sincerely,

Harry Kim, Mayor

Navy’s Newest Missile Destroyer to be Commissioned Next Weekend

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Finn (DDG 113) will be commissioned at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s Pier Kilo 10.

SAN DIEGO (July 1, 2017) The future USS John Finn (DDG 113) transits San Diego Bay while arriving at its homeport of San Diego for the first time. The guided-missile destroyer’s namesake, John Finn, is a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions as a chief aviation ordnanceman during the attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu in 1941. The ship will be commissioned at Pearl Harbor, July 15. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Laura Stavridis, the wife of retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, will serve as sponsor of the ship. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Stavridis will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Cmdr. Michael Wagner, a native of Minnesota, is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 350 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,140-ton Finn was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a beam of 66 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. The ship uses four LM2500 GE Marine Gas Turbines and two propellers to speeds up to 31 knots.

The ship’s namesake, John Finn, is a Medal of Honor recipient who Adm. Chester Nimitz said displayed “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Finn, a chief aviation ordnanceman, used a machine gun at the former Kaneohe Bay Naval Air Station to fire at Japanese aircraft for two hours during the attack. He remained on duty for 18 hours despite receiving as many as 21 wounds. Finn retired as a lieutenant in 1956 and lived to be 100 before passing in 2010. At the time of his death, he was the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. USS John Finn will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

Coast Guard Seeks Public’s Help Finding Owner of Adrift Stand Up Paddle Board

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a stand up paddle board found washed up on the beach in the vicinity of Hauula, Oahu, Friday.

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help identifying the owner of a stand up paddle board found washed up on the beach in the vicinity of Hauula, Oahu, July 7, 2017. Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the stand up paddle board is asked to contact Coast Guard Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600. (Courtesy photo/Released)

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout for signs of distress. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point was launched to search the area.

There are currently no reported signs of distress or missing persons in the area.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the stand up paddle board is asked to contact Sector Honolulu at 808-842-2600.

At 6:08 p.m., watchstanders from the Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification from a good Samaritan stating they located a stand up paddle board at mile marker 22 off of Kamehameha Highway near Hauula.

The paddle board is brown, white and grey with a Jimmy Styks Beaver logo on it.

It is recommended owner’s of watersports equipment write their name and phone number on their gear. 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 Suspends Search for Missing Big Island Man

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Friday for a man in the water in the vicinity of Ka’alu’alu Bay on the Big Island.

Shane Romena, 48, remains missing.

Shane Romena

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Romena’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Senior Chief Brian Wear, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Suspending a case is never an easy thing to do and it’s something that is handled with the utmost care and consideration. We want to thank our partners at the Hawai’i Fire Department for all their assistance during this search.”

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 1,615 square miles (1,404 square nautical miles) over a 4-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349), homeported in Honolulu
  • Hawai’i Fire Department helicopter aircrews and shore parties

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers shortly after 6 p.m., Monday, stating Romena’s 10-year-old son had witnessed him fall into the water while trying to clean a cooler and he lost sight of him shortly after. The two were reportedly out fishing.

Two helicopter crews from the Hawai’i Fire Department conducted initial searches of the area but did not locate Romena. His son was airlifted from the rocky shoreline by HFD and brought to a designated landing zone where he was picked up by his grandmother.

Weather conditions on scene during the time of the incident were reported as 40 mph winds, seas to 8 feet with a 3-foot swell.

Solomon Elementary Breaks Ground for Campus-Wide Renovations Fueled By Federal Grant

1SG Samuel K. Solomon Elementary broke ground today on a major renovation project to construct four new classroom buildings, a new playfield and new parking areas that will transform the existing campus and provide modern facilities designed to serve 1,100 students.

Project partners break ground on the campus-wide renovation project. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“The improvements will give the campus an entirely new footprint and create four state-of-the-art buildings that will provide an array of opportunities for our Kindergarteners through fifth graders, in support of our military students,” said Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi.  “The Department of Defense continues to be a valuable partner in the improvement of our public schools located on military bases and we thank them for their support.”

Artist’s rendering of the new A-Bldg. as seen from the new entrance driveway entering from Carpenter St.

The project received a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment for approximately $70 million to upgrade and modernize school facilities.  State funding will provide nearly $20 million for the remainder of the total project cost.

“It’s really important that every student in the state of Hawaii have a foundation that they can build a future with and that means having engaging teachers, a supportive community and access to technology and a strong curriculum,” said US Senator Brian Schatz.  “In 2017, it also means having a 21st century facility and by investing in this campus, we’re investing in all of our kids.”

Artist’s rendering of the new B-Bldg. central courtyard.

The project will construct 63 new classrooms, a student support center, two computer labs, an audio/video room, a covered playcourt, cafeteria and administrative offices within a two-story, four-building facility, along with a new entrance driveways on both sides of campus and more than 170 parking stalls.

“We are going to make sure that military students have the best environment, so that when their parents are away serving us and ensuring our freedoms, that they won’t have to worry that their kids are in less than perfect situations,” said US Representative Colleen Hanabusa.  “They will know that their kids are getting the best education that the state of Hawaii can offer.”

The project will construct 63 new classrooms, a student support center, two computer labs, an audio/video room, a covered playcourt, cafeteria and administrative offices within a two-story, four-building facility, along with new entrance driveways on both sides of campus and more than 170 parking stalls.

The four-year project will proceed in four construction phases.  Phase I will demolish the existing open playfield and play courts near Trimble Road in preparation for building construction.  Phase II will construct three new classroom buildings, A, B and C, on the former playfield site with completion anticipated in Summer 2019.  During that summer, school operations will begin using the new buildings in anticipation of the Fall 2019 semester.  Phase III will then relocate existing portable structures and construct new drop-off lanes and parking on the east and west sides of campus.  Phase IV will construct the final classroom Building D, demolish the present-day school buildings and construct a new playfield and play courts with completion anticipated in Summer 2021.

Originally opened in 1969, Solomon Elementary is one of two public elementary schools located on Schofield Barracks, a US Army installation, and serves mainly military-dependent students from families with members serving in Army units.  In School Year 2016-17, it served 933 students from kindergarten through grade five.

The school is named after 1SG Samuel K. Solomon, Jr., a Hawaii-born enlisted member of the 25th Infantry Division’s Wolfhounds.  1SG Solomon earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his courageous effort in saving wounded members of his company in the Vietnam War.  As 1SG Solomon was carrying wounded men to safety, he was hit by gunfire and killed in action.  The school was officially dedicated as 1SG Samuel K. Solomon Elementary School on November 11, 1969.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after North Korea’s recent successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test:

“North Korea’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test further demonstrates the extremely dangerous and growing threat that North Korea poses to Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and the mainland United States.  For the past fifteen years, our leaders have let the people of Hawaiʻi and our country down, allowing the situation in North Korea to worsen to this point of crisis where we are left with nothing but bad options. We must ensure we are able to defend against North Korea’s threat with cutting-edge missile defense technologies, but this is not enough. We must pursue serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize North Korea. However, U.S. leaders need to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against regime change. The Trump Administration would be far more credible in finding a diplomatic solution with North Korea if we weren’t currently waging a regime change war in Syria, and contemplating a regime change war in Iran.  

“The North Korean regime witnessed the regime change wars the U.S. led in Libya and Iraq and what we’re now doing in Syria, and fear they will become like Gadhafi who, after giving up his nuclear weapons program, was deposed by the United States.

“As long as the U.S. is waging regime change wars, we are far less likely to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea because they have no reason to believe our promises.  In fact, we are far more likely to see nuclear proliferation by countries like North Korea who see nuclear weapons as their only deterrent against regime change.

“Serious diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula will require an end to our regime change war in Syria and a public statement that the U.S. will not engage in regime change wars and nation-building overseas, including in Iran and North Korea. We should focus our limited resources on rebuilding our own country and seriously commit ourselves to de-escalating this dangerous stand-off with North Korea and negotiate a peaceful diplomatic solution.”

Coast Guard Accepts 24th Fast Response Cutter

The Coast Guard accepted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), the 24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards, Tuesday morning in a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) cruises out of Key West, Fla., following the cutter’s delivery to the Coast Guard, June 27, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the 24th Fast Response Cutter to be delivered to the service and will homeport in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll/Released)

The cutter, which is 154-feet long and has a crew complement of 24, will be homeported in Honolulu.

The Oliver Berry is tentatively scheduled for commissioning in October in Honolulu. It is the first Fast Response Cutter to be stationed in the Coast Guard’s 14th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, various Pacific Island nations and parts of Asia.

The cutter’s namesake, Oliver Berry, is the first enlisted helicopter mechanic in naval aviation history and was an instrumental part in pioneering the use of the helicopter for search and rescue after World War II. In September 1946, he successfully disassembled a helicopter in Brooklyn, New York, organized transportation from New York to Newfoundland, Canada, and reassembled the helicopter for use to rescue 18 stranded passengers of a Belgian airliner that crashed near Gander, Newfoundland. He subsequently received the Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II from the Belgian monarchy for his efforts.

The Fast Response Cutter is replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, as well as an over-the-horizon cutter boat. The cutter features advanced seakeeping capabilities, and can achieve speeds of more than 32 mph (28 knots). The cutter has an endurance of five days. The Coast Guard is in the middle of the FRC acquisition program, with plans to procure a total of 58 vessels.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) stand for a photo upon the cutter’s delivery to the Coast Guard in Key West, Fla., June 27, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the 24th Fast Response Cutter to be delivered to the service and will homeport in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll/Released)

Oliver Berry is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, and national defense. For more information about this cutter, please contact 14th District Public Affairs at 808-535-3230 or Oliver Berry’s executive officer at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscg.mil.

‘Broncos’ Hold Mile High Training Exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area

Maneuver elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, found invaluable support from mortar, artillery and helicopter gunships during a fire support coordination exercise (FCX), here, June 24-26.

A Soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, scans his sector with an M240B machine as part of a maneuver element during a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The battalions of 3rd BCT went through a series of realistic combat lanes during the three daylong FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The maneuvers were held on the big island of Hawaii at the more than mile high plateau between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Hualalai volcanic mountains.

The purpose of the FCX is to provide realistic training, which includes maximum flexibility during the company-level maneuvers.

Second Lt. Victor Perez, a native of Snyder, Okla., and a fire support officer assigned to 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, said the FCX “allows us to practice with our maneuver element and also be able to de-conflict measures such as coordination and indirect fires.”

Perez said the training with close air support assets such as the AH-64 Apache helicopter provides excellent planning to de-conflict the use of air and indirect fire assets.

“We get down here to really train and focus on for when the next war that happens,” he said. “It’s not exactly being overseas, but allows us to get really good training out here.”

Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, act as a maneuver element during a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The battalions of 3rd BCT went through a series of realistic combat lanes during the three daylong FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Capt. Trent Sutterfield, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., and commander of Blackfoot Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., said it was a great experience for his troops on PTA.

“It’s a chance to not only work with your platoon leaders, which you work with quite a bit, but that external audience such as your FSO, your fire support coordination piece with the artillery and mortars,” Sutterfield said.

He stated the ranges were doable on the island of Oahu, but they’re a great many constraints for training on the highly population island.

“This allows us to build again not just shoot our maneuver elements or normal direct fire systems such as the M2 machine gun and Mark 19 grenade launcher, but also emphasis our fires capabilities and air platforms,” he said. “We have the land and the ability without constricting training of other units on Schofield.”

Spc. William Holt, indirect fire infantrymen, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, applies camouflage face paint prior to the start of a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The Soldiers provided indirect fire support during near pitch-black conditions to maneuver elements during the FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The company-level leadership involved their FSOs during their operational planning.

“We involved them in our planning process, and directly through our fire support officer and fire support NCO,” he said. “They develop the fires plan as we conduct the maneuvers piece, and build that on top in support of us.”

Spc. Matthew Blankenship, a native of Sparta, N.C., and a fire support specialist assigned to 3-4th Cav. Regt., worked directly with the maneuver elements on the simulated battlefield.

Blankenship stated the tight constraints on the ranges on Oahu make it difficult for the M777 150 mm howitzer to fire with full affect during training.

“There’s a lot of wide open places so we can use some of our larger caliber weapon systems,” he said. “You can’t really fire that well Schofield because there isn’t enough range to. So when we come to PTA, we get to actually use the larger caliber weapons in the way it was designed to be used.”

With his second rotation at PTA, Blankenship’s views on the PTA ranges were highly positive.

“I never imagined Hawaii being like this,” he said. “It’s sort of a desert climate, and it’s really different. It’s a really good place to train.”

Hawaii Department of Education Announces Transition Centers Initiative in Honor of Late Congressman K. Mark Takai

In partnership with Hawaii 3Rs and the Military Affairs Council, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today an effort to develop high-quality transition centers for Hawaii public schools. The effort is in honor of late Congressman K. Mark Takai, who was a staunch advocate for Hawaii’s students and supporter of military-dependent students throughout his career.

Takai Transition Center partners and Kailua Intermediate AVID students announce the new HIDOE initiative. Photo Credit: Department of Education

School Transition Centers provide a safe and stable foundation for all students, particularly newly arrived military-dependent students, offering peer-to-peer mentoring to help students acclimate into their school community.

“Transition Centers provide tremendous support to new students as well as instilling leadership skills for student mentors,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’re grateful for this partnership that allows us to not only expand this program, but fulfill one of our goals in our Strategic Plan in helping as many students and families as possible.”

HIDOE will commit $250,000 annually for four years using federal Impact Aid funds towards school Transition Center facility improvements, technology, furnishings and special events.  Program partners at the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council and the Hawaii Business Roundtable will provide matching funds each year to be managed by the Hawaii 3Rs Special Fund.

“Hawaii 3R’s is pleased to partner with the Hawaii Department of Education to develop transition centers that will help students assimilate into an unfamiliar environment,” said Hawaii 3Rs Board Chairman Alan Oshima. “By easing them into the rhythm of a new school and campus, learning can become the priority.”

U.S. Rep. Takai’s conscientious work was essential in securing tens of millions in federal Impact Aid funding every year that goes to all public schools

“In working on this initiative there was no question that the effort would be in honor of our friend Mark Takai who was fiercely committed to public education and his service to our nation,” added Superintendent Matayoshi.

“Transition Centers provide tremendous support to new students as well as instilling leadership skills for student mentors,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Transition Centers are rooted at public schools with higher populations of military-dependent students, such as Radford High, Leilehua High, Mokapu Elementary and many more.  The success of these Transition Centers will be expanded to serve more students at other schools across the state.

Future transition centers that benefit from this effort will be known as a “Takai Transition Center” and will feature the following pledge.

Future transition centers that benefit from this effort will be known as a “Takai Transition Center” and will feature a pledge welcoming all transitioning students and recognizing military-connected students and their families. Photo Credit: Department of Education

As a member of the K. Mark Takai Transition Center Network, we:

  • Understand the challenges that are an inherent part of matriculating into a new and unfamiliar school environment;
  • Welcome all students transitioning into our school, including military-connected students, and will support and sustain them throughout their time in our school community;
  • Recognize and honor our military personnel for the contributions and sacrifices they make for our defense and the preservation of our rights, and the sacrifices of our military families to support them;
  • Value the added richness and experience that students from varied cultural and social backgrounds bring to our school community; and
  • Commit to providing high-quality supports through dedicated resources via the establishment and sustained operation of a transition center on our school campus.

Schools interested in establishing a new Transition Center or upgrading existing Transition Center facilities should contact HIDOE Military Liaison Cherry Okahara at cherry_okahara@hawaiidoe.org.

US Navy Missile Defense Test Fails Off Hawaii

An interceptor missile fired from a US Navy destroyer off the coast of Hawaii failed to hit it’s target, the US Missile Defense Agency said:

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japan Ministry of Defense conducted a development flight test today of a new Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile off the coast of Hawaii.

A planned intercept was not achieved.

US Navy destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG 53) fires a missile interceptor in this file photo

The SM-3 Block IIA is being developed cooperatively by the U.S. and Japan to defeat medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. This is a new, developmental interceptor that is not yet fielded by either country.

At approximately 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time, June 21 (1:20 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, June 22), a medium-range ballistic target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. The USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) detected and tracked the target missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar using the Aegis Baseline 9.C2 weapon system. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the ship launched an SM-3 Block IIA guided missile, but the missile did not intercept the target.

Program officials will conduct an extensive analysis of the test data. Until that review is complete, no additional details will be available.

This was the fourth development flight test using an SM-3 IIA missile, and the second intercept test. The previous intercept test, conducted in February 2017, was successful.

Though currently still in the development and test phase, the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor is being designed to operate as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Currently, the Aegis BMD system operates with the SM-3 Block 1A, SM-3 Block 1B, and SM-6 interceptors.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Solo-Sailor in South Pacific

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Thursday for a solo-sailor aboard the 36-foot sailing vessel Celebration last reported 1,800 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Richard Carr, 71, remains missing.

“Mr. Carr had a deep passion for sailing and was on a very long and arduous voyage,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our thanks to all our partners and the many mariners who helped us search for this vessel in one of the most remote regions of the world in an attempt to locate Mr. Carr. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends and also to the sailing community.”

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules and French Falcon Guardian aircrews and the crews of three commercial vessels, two of which searched with embarked helicopters, conducted 17 searches in the region without any sign of the vessel. Search and rescue personnel from Rescue Coordination Centers in Tahiti and China also assisted in communications and planning evolutions.  Fishing fleets from several Pacific nations assisted by making callouts in their areas with no response from Carr. Limited vessel traffic and a lack of land to use as aircraft staging areas reduced the number of available assets and resources.

Weather on scene the day of Carr’s last communication was reportedly 11.5 mph winds, seas to 6-feet with good visibility.

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 59,598 square miles (51,790 square nautical miles), an area the size of Oklahoma, over the 24-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point working out of Tahiti
  • French Falcon Guardian airplane crews out of Tahiti
  • Fishing Vessel American Enterprise: 258-foot U.S.-flagged seiner
  • Motor Vessel Hokuetsu Ibis: 688-foot Panamanian-flagged cargo ship
  • Fishing Vessel El Duque: 259-foot Mexican-flagged seiner

The Coast Guard recommends multiple means of communications and proper emergency equipment and supplies, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) when sailing near and offshore.

May 28, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Coast Guard 11th District watchstanders reporting Carr had communicated to his spouse via a GPS message device that he was in distress. The spouse forwarded the information to the Coast Guard and based on his last communications strongly suspected her husband was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

Upon notification, JRCC Honolulu issued a SafetyNet alerting vessel crews in the area to keep a sharp lookout for the Celebration and efforts to identify potential response resources began. Carr was reportedly on a voyage from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, and had been at sea for a couple of weeks.

USS Carl Vinson, Embarked Tigers, Depart Pearl Harbor for Home

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, after a scheduled four-day port visit, June 17.

While in Hawaii, Carl Vinson Sailors hosted tours and greeted family and friends who will ride the ship on her easterly transit to her homeport of Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

“Being able to have my family get a feel of the ship when we’re out here grinding every day is really special,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Jason Stanfield, of Cypress, Texas. “I’m really looking forward to showing them my spaces and the air power demonstration the ship has coordinated. It’s a rare opportunity.”

Stanfield’s father shared his son’s enthusiasm, noting that he is excited to see what life is really like on a Navy warship at sea.

“We see many portrayals of life at sea in the media, but I am looking forward to experiencing it firsthand,” said Chad Linna. “As I do that, I get to spend the final days of my son’s deployment with him. It’s an all-around rewarding and unique experience.”

U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike groups have patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific regularly and routinely for more than 70 years and will continue to do so. Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983 a year after commissioning. Most recently in 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea.

Army Soldier Surfing Dies in Hawaii When Fishing Boat Runs Over Him

An accident this morning at Waianae Small Boat Harbor involving a fishing boat and a man on a surfboard resulted in the death of the man. According to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), sometime between 7 to 7:30, a man staying at the nearby Waianae Rest Camp was on a surfboard just outside the harbor. A 21-foot recreational powerboat exiting the harbor ran over the man. He is in the Army stationed at Fort Shafter.

The man was brought back to shore by the vessel with assistance from a commercial tour boat.

Honolulu Police (HPD) and Fire and DOCARE responded. HPD is taking the lead in the investigation, with assistance from DOCARE.

DLNR extends its deepest sympathy to the man’s family.

USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Lake Champlain Arrive in Hawaii

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman for their final scheduled port visit of the Western Pacific Deployment with Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, June 13.

USS Lake Champlain. Navy file photo

While moored, the ships will be joined by Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), where the primary mission for the Sailors will be liberty after being out to sea for more than 65 consecutive days.

“In Hawaii, our main mission will be for Sailors to enjoy their hard-earned liberty time, by relaxing and enjoying the Hawaiian culture,” said Capt. Chris Cegielski, commanding officer of Lake Champlain. “It was a long underway period for the crew, but the Sailors remained focused the whole time and accomplished every task and mission that was put before them with both efficiency and professionalism. However, the secondary mission for our ships will be to take on fuel and cargo and to conduct preservation operations, such as painting the ship, while in port.”

After this port visit, Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Chaplain are scheduled to embark friends and family members of the crews for a tiger cruise as they head back to their homeport in San Diego.

Since leaving Singapore April 8, Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Champlain have conducted routine operations and participated in multiple training exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

“During this last underway period, CSG-1 operated with the ROK Navy and JMSDF doing exercises such as live-fire gun shoots, visit, board, search and seizure drills, formation steaming exercises, cross decking with aircrafts, and undersea warfare exercises,” said Cmdr. Vincent A. Fortson, commanding officer of Wayne E. Meyer. “The multiple exercises were successful due to the communication between all the ships. We were able to gain an increased familiarity with one another due to the extended time period CSG-1 operated with the JMSDF and ROK Navy.”
Wayne E. Meyer and Lake Champlain are on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.

The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security. Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983, a year after commissioning.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. Third Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.

Busy Week at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

USS Carl Vinson visits Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following deployment
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is scheduled to visit Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 14.

USS Carl Vinson

Commanded by Capt. Douglas Verissimo, the ship and her crew of more than 5,000 Sailors departed Naval Air Station North Island for a regularly-scheduled deployment with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of U.S. 3rd Fleet into the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Jan. 5.
During the deployment, Carl Vinson conducted training as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Hawaii to improve readiness and cohesion as a strike group.
Carl Vinson also conducted bilateral operations with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, including visit, board, search and seizure drills, tactical maneuvering, flag hoisting drills, photo exercises and air, surface and anti-submarine warfare training.
Additionally, Carl Vinson participated in the maritime portion of Exercise Foal Eagle, a series of annual defense-oriented training events designed to increase readiness to defend the ROK, protect the region, and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. The exercise is conducted by ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command and United States component commands in Korea, to include ground, air, naval and special operations.
Over the five-and-a-half month span, Carl Vinson executed port visits in Guam; Busan, Republic of Korea; and Singapore. While visiting each port, Carl Vinson Sailors participated in numerous community service events, including volunteer service at schools, community centers, an animal shelter and a food bank.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.  Third Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.
USS Michael Murphy returns from five-month deployment
USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) will return to its homeport Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after a successful five-month deployment.
While deployed to the Western Pacific under the U.S. 3rd Fleet Forward construct, Michael Murphy promoted security and stability throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The ship was underway for nearly 150 days and conducted more than 600 flight hours with the ship’s attached helicopter squadron Maritime Helicopter Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, Detachment 2.
“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication the crew exhibited during this deployment with the Carl Vinson Strike Group,” said Cmdr. Robert A. Heely Jr., Michael Murphy’s commanding officer. “They were resilient and always up to the task.”
Michael Murphy began the deployment by conducting training as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Hawaii to improve readiness and cohesion as a strike group.
Michael Murphy then conducted an 18-day joint mission with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Central and South Pacific under the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) to combat transnational crimes, enforce fisheries laws and enhance regional security.
Following the OMSI mission, Michael Murphy linked back up with the strike group to conduct a routine security patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, focusing on normalizing U.S. presence in the region.
“Our missions spanned from Oceania, through the South China Sea, and ended in the Sea of Japan as we strengthened our partnerships within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Heely. “Team Murphy performed exceptionally well and led the fight each step of the way.”
Michael Murphy conducted several exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) to build and strengthen alliances with foreign navies.
Among the exercises was a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise. Sailors from ROK Gang Gam Chan (DDH 979) conducted a VBSS boarding aboard Michael Murphy. Michael Murphy VBSS members then boarded Gang Gam Chan to complete the exercise.
“Being part of the VBSS team is pretty cool,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Rosado. “Being able to board a warship from another country is an incredible experience. The South Koreans were very welcoming, and I am glad to have met them.”
Over the five-month span, Michael Murphy executed port visits in Suva, Fiji; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Port Klang, Malaysia; and Guam. A group of Sailors also visited Funafuti, Tuvalu, for a community service event. Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored tours and events were also offered, allowing Sailors to explore the ports and experience the culture of each location.
“I went on an MWR tour in Malaysia,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Peter Rodriguez. “We took a long bus ride through the Malaysian countryside to an elephant park. It was incredible seeing the landscape and vegetation in Malaysia. I don’t think many people experienced Malaysia like I did.”
Sailors also had many opportunities to participate in community service projects, with events in Fiji, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Guam. Sailors landscaped in Fiji, interacted with students at an intermediate school in Tuvalu, delivered extra medical supplies to a hospital in Solomon Islands and painted and picked up trash around a school in Guam.
“I participated in the Tuvalu community service event at a local intermediate school,” said Ensign Kasey Landry. “It was humbling to experience the culture of Tuvalu. I was amazed to see how passionate the teachers were, and although we were there to help their community, it was the people of Tuvalu who gave the most, humbling and embracing Michael Murphy Sailors in their homes.”
Commissioned Oct. 6, 2012, USS Michael Murphy is named after former U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, June 28, 2005. He was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan and was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
Michael Murphy is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Naval Surface Forces. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, working constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.
USS CHAFEE to Depart for Western Pacific Deployment
The guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) is scheduled to depart Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific and South America, June 13.
Chafee has a crew of nearly 350 officers and enlisted Sailors and is a multi-mission ship designed to operate independently or with an associated strike group. The embarked air detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 will serve as the air support for the ship.
While deployed, the ship will conduct theater security cooperation and maritime presence operations with partner nations. Having steadily worked thought a pre-deployment readiness cycle, the ship’s commanding officer is confident in his ship’s performance.
“Chafee recently returned from a highly successful Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the final event preparing us for deployment,” said Cmdr. Brian Fremming, commanding officer of Chafee. “The crew is ready to deploy and is looking forward to operating again with our allies and partners from around the world.”
Chafee was named after the late Sen. John Lester Hubbard Chafee, a Marine veteran who fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal and served as secretary of the Navy.  The ship was last deployed to the Western Pacific and South America in 2015.
Chafee is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet and U.S. Naval Surface Forces. U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy, working constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.
For more information on Navy Surface Forces visit the Commander, Naval Surface Forces website at http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/Pages/home.aspx.
For more information on Chafee visit the ship’s website at:

Coast Guard Searching for Possible Person in the Water Near Cove Beach Park, Maui

UPDATE:

Emily Walton was verified to be safe and on land Friday following a search off Kihei, Maui.

“This is the best possible scenario and we are glad Ms. Walton is safe, ” said Petty Officer 1st Class William Cusic, a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. “We were not certain she was in the water, but there was as strong possibility and we take every case seriously. We recommend all waterway users leave word with family or friends of their plans including their intended return.”

Walton called the Coast Guard command center to report herself on land Friday afternoon. Maui County police officers made contact with her and verified she was her identity and safety. All response assets were stood down. 

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers stating Walton’s boyfriend reported her missing off Cove Beach Park Thursday. The call prompted watchstanders to issue an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area and to direct the launch of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Maui. The RB-M crew searched the area for approximately two hours Thursday. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point conducted a first light search of the surrounding area Friday. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake (WPB 87316), homeported in Honolulu, also launched to assist in the search but was stood down once Walton was located.

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New Study Investigates Whether Oysters Can Be Used for Ecosystem Enhancement in Pearl Harbor

Taking a cue from the successful impact of oysters on water quality in places like the East Coast’s Chesapeake Bay, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Kualoa Ranch are conducting a study to see how oysters might positively impact the water of Oahu’s iconic Pearl Harbor.

Crassostrea gigas oyster

Pearl Harbor once supported abundant native oyster populations (Pinctada radiada) and an introduced species (Crassostrea virginica) in 1860’s-1920’s. It is the largest natural estuary in Hawai‘i, and historically has been an important fishery and breeding area for many species of fish and other forms of aquatic life, including oysters.  Excessive dredge harvesting during the times of the Hawaiian Monarchy and sediment-laden runoff from changing land-use during the mid-1900’s severely comprised the oyster settlement capability and survival.  Modern day challenges for oyster survival in the bay include the accumulated sediments, petrochemicals and heavy metals.

Commercial production of oysters from Pearl Harbor for consumption is not a goal but oysters can contribute a substantial ecological/revitalization value to their habitat. They remove microorganisms and nutrients from the water column and improve water clarity and light penetration for other species to thrive and help to prevent oxygen depletion. The use of oysters for bioremediation has had a positive impact in Chesapeake Bay and other areas with water quality problems on the U. S. mainland, but has not been evaluated in Pearl Harbor due in part to competing uses.

This project is investigating the use of oysters as a bioremediation tool to improve water quality and to rejuvenate the ecosystem in Pearl Harbor.  It will do this by providing data on water quality, growth rates, and the possible bioaccumulation of various chemicals, such as PCBs, and selected metals in the oyster’s tissue.

Dr. Bruce Anderson, DAR administrator, designed the floating cages that were assembled to support the oysters while they grow.  The U.S. Navy is providing access to this area in the harbor as well as coordination with our operations to afford this opportunity for study, The same cages are used at Moli‘i fish pond at Kualoa Ranch, where Anderson has teamed with ranch owner John Morgan to grow oysters for public consumption.

Anderson said, “The cages are made of coated steel wire mesh with ends consisting of simple plastic bucket covers. Inside each cage is a 4 inch diameter float which keeps it suspended off the bottom where oysters would otherwise be vulnerable to predation by crabs and other creatures.

The suspended grow-out system allows the oysters to grow without contacting the benthic sediments and optimizes the restorative capability of oysters’ natural filtration system.”

The oyster species Crassostrea gigas is being used for the Pearl Harbor project because they have shown good survival and spectacular growth rates in Hawaiian fishponds, 8-10cm in 5-6 months verses 20-30 months in the ocean around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The project will answer to what degree the waters of Pearl Harbor are able to support the growth of oysters today as a means of improving water quality and restoring the ecosystem in Pearl Harbor.  In addition to measuring oyster growth and survival, DAR will be able to evaluate the feasibility of scaling-up the project for future bioremediation efforts.

“I grew up digging oysters in Pearl Harbor, so I’m eager to see the results of this innovative project. I hope the oysters can help clean up the water in the harbor to create a heathier environment for future generations,” said Gov. David Ige.

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.”