More On My Grandpa this Veterans Day

My mom just left a comment below about my Veterans Day Post on my Grandfather.

She adds:

Dad was in WWII. Both Great Grandfathers were in WWI. GG Lane died of the Great Flu Pandemic after WWI. GG Rowe died of gangrene  in pre-penicillin days.

As I was watching “Saving Private Ryan” the other day, I remembered Dad’s story of arriving on the beach at Normandy. I don’t know how many were killed or wounded on that assault, Dad didn’t tell gory stories. He just said that he made it thru with only a bullet hole thru his pant’s leg.

Dad was also captured and escaped the Germans two times in one day. He was treating GI’s on the road, slightly behind the front lines. Then a squad of Germans arrived and told him to surrender. Since he didn’t carry a gun and was a doctor, the Germans had him treating their men. Then Americans came and captured that group, so Dad was released. Dad later that day was treating men in a farm house. A German officer came down from the attic and captured dad and those men. But Dad convinced the German to surrender. So, the story ends, that Dad was captured two times in one day.

This story was printed in a newspaper, and a copy of it is in Dad’s war trunk at “R Farm”.

Happy Veterans Damon. If Dad hadn’t have escaped, you and I might not be.


Thanks for filling in some of the memories mom.  Wish I was old enough when I was younger to appreciate some of his war stories more thoroughly.

Superferry Going Under Now is a GOOD Thing for Big Island

Believe it or not… I am a bit disappointed that the Superferry has been ordered to shutdown.

Lingle and her Oldschool Girls pretty much got spanked and even Lingle is still trying to prevent the closure.

It is a good thing that it shut down now, before it started operations on the Big Island.   I can only imagine all the people and farmers that would be struggling now to figure out how to ship their produce to the other islands with such a short notice.

I pretty much expect that with this shutdown… we might actually see the Superferry on this island a bit sooner!

From Dissappeared News

From Dissappeared News

If the military takes it over… I bet they would start running the ferry as Military Transport w/out having to go through as many hoops and barrels as a private company would.

Photo from

Photo from

I kind of wish that I would have taken at least one trip on the buggah.  It’s not too often that citizens get a chance to ride on Military Prototypes for very little cost.

Anyone want to place wagers on how quickly we see the Superferry looking something like this?

Photo from

Photo from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ehime Maru – 8 Years Ago

Yesterday, marked 8 years since the Ehime Maru incident off Oahu waters that left 9 crew members dead including 4 high school students after the submarine USS Greenville slammed into it as it was rising to the surface of the ocean.

The Ehime Maru before being hit by the US Submarine Greenville.

The Ehime Maru before being hit by the Submarine USS Greenville

The following is from a Japanese newspaper out of the Ehime Prefecture:

MATSUYAMA, Ehime Pref. (Kyodo) About 340 people offered silent prayers Tuesday for the nine people who died eight years ago when a U.S. submarine surfaced under a Japanese fisheries high school training ship off Hawaii.

At a memorial service at Uwajima Fisheries High School in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, students, family members and teachers rang a bell recovered from the sunken Ehime Maru nine times at 8:43 a.m. — 1:43 p.m. Hawaii time — the exact moment when the 499-ton ship was struck from below by the USS Greeneville.

“Tremendous anger and grief have not gone away even after eight years. It is our duty to learn the lessons from the accident,” said Shinzo Imaoka, principal of Uwajima Fisheries High School.

In Honolulu, 60 people, including relatives of three of the victims, held their own memorial ceremony Monday.

“I don’t want to bring back the memory of the accident, but I really appreciate so many people attending the ceremony every year,” said Tatsuyoshi Mizuguchi, who lost his 17-year-old son, Takeshi, in the accident.

Mizuguchi’s son is the only victim whose body was not recovered.

Hawaii’s Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro produced the following Ukulele Song for the people of Ehime Maru and entitled it appropriately “Ehime Maru”:


Here is a clip of the salvation mission under sea:

Some shots of Canyon’s XL-16 and Quest ROV during salvage operations of the ‘Ehime Maru’.


Will Hawaii Based Algae Fuel Primarily Be Used for the Military?

Knowing me… I’m probably reading into this completely wrong.  But it does seem a bit strange for us to be focusing so much on “alternative energy” only to just give it up to the military.

Jet fuel and other fuels made from algae are being developed in San Diego. Some of the research is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the Department of Defense.

DARPA has provided $35 million to San Diego-based companies SAIC and General Atomics to pursue the creation of algae-based jet fuel…

Military Jet Fuel Focus:

…The DARPA money for SAIC could total up to $24 million to develop algae based military jet fuel JP-8 that costs $3 per gallon, according to an article on the Web site

…The Web site also noted the interest in algae fuels. It reported, “SAIC says there will be two phases to the project. The first will involve refining the technology and developing lab-scale production capabilities. The second phase will involve the construction of what SAIC calls a pre-pilot scale production facility.” also stated, “SAIC will do the work at company facilities in Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Texas. The company will work with a team of industrial and academic partners.”

Here is a recent CleanTechnica article on the Maui Algae Plant.

…While a number of factors still need to be put in place before the first phase of the program can begin, the anticipated start date could be as early as 2011…

However, it appears to me, that it was sold to the State as something else:

This innovative partnership can help move Hawaii one step closer to securing energy independence and achieving our goal of having 70 percent of Hawaiis energy come from clean sources by 2030, said Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle”…

Maui Algae Plant

Maui Algae Plant

Army Helicopter Emergency Lands in Kapiolani Park… Video


U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Lt. Mixon Speaks to Big Island Rotary Club Members

Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commanding general, U.S. Army, Pacific,
spoke to members of Big Island rotary clubs at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel Jan 20 to discuss the role of the Army in the Pacific.

Lt. General Benjamin Mixon

Lt. General Benjamin Mixon

Representatives from South Hilo, Hilo, Hilo Bay, Pahoa, Volcano and Kona Rotary Clubs attended the event.

“It’s important for Rotarians to learn what the Army is doing in Hawaii and as a nation,” said Newton John Chu, who organized the event with Bill Moore, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the island of Hawaii…

…Mixon discussed the environmentally friendly and energy efficient efforts of the Army in Hawaii, necessity of security in the Pacific region, and statistics of the education and backgrounds of Soldiers themselves, referring to them as “dedicated patriots.”

“It’s not my Army, it’s your Army,” Mixon said. “You represent the citizens of the United States of America, and these meeting are essential so that you, as Americans, stay informed.”

Mixon ended his visit with a question and answer session. He fielded questions on a variety of subjects concerning Afghanistan, Iraq and relationships with Pacific nations.


Other CASAs Joining Moore were Alan Hoe, CASA Oahu-East and the islands of Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe, and Peter Apo, CASA Oahu-West and the island of Kauai. CASAs are members of local communities that are selected to volunteer their time to act as a liaison between the Army and the civilian population.

Mixon thanked the CASAs for what they do. “What CASAs do for me as a commander is interface for me and the Secretary of the Army to tell the Army story and they have been invaluable to me in the islands,” he said…

Full Story Here

2008 Hilo Grad Graduates from Air Force Basic Training

Air Force Airman Ross K. Ebanez has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, core values, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations. In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate in applied science degree relating through the Community College of the Air Force. He is the son of Ross Ebanez of Kukuau St., Hilo, Hawaii, and Judy Ebanez of Honomu, Hawaii. Ebanez graduated in 2008 from Hilo High School.

Hawaii to Get New P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircrafts in 2012

The Department of the Navy announced today its decision to provide facilities and functions to base five fleet squadrons of the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) with a fleet replacement squadron (FRS) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., four fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., and three fleet squadrons at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, with periodic squadron detachment operations at NAS North Island. This decision implements the preferred homebasing alternative 5 identified in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the Introduction of the P-8A Multi-Mission Aircraft into the U.S. Navy Fleet (published November 2008). Introduction of the P-8A MMA squadrons is projected to begin no later than 2012 and be completed by 2019…


More Here

Lawsuit on Whales and Sonar SETTLED

The Navy and several environmental groups settled a lawsuit that challenged the Navy’s use of sonar around the globe as dangerous to whales and other marine mammals, the two sides said Saturday.

Both portrayed the settlement as a victory. The case is separate from one in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that the Navy could not be unduly required to protect whales.

The Navy said the settlement — reached Friday but announced the next day — does not require protective measures for whales beyond those it had agreed to in 2005. Nor does it require that additional funds be spent on marine mammal research beyond the $14.75 million the Navy has already earmarked for the next three years, the Navy said.

“The settlement protects the public interest in national security by preserving the Navy’s ability to conduct realistic anti-submarine warfare training,” said Cmdr. Cappy Surette, a Navy spokesman

More Here

Why Are You Against The Military… I’m NOT!

I often get asked this question and just recently was asked something similar:

“Why are you so against the military”?

I just felt the need to clarify something.  I’m not “Against” the Military.

I’m really not “Against” many things at all.

I am against some of the policies that Military Personnel must follow.

I have many relatives in the military.

I know that the military attempts to recruit many lower class and minority people.

I’ve lost friends at war and have current family members serving overseas.

My grandfather was a decorated military officer and fought against the Nazi’s at one time.

I just don’t trust what GW Bush and those that are directly under him have lead us to believe sometimes.

I truly think peace in the world, could come with out military force.

When and how… that’s a whole different topic.

I don’t want people to think I’m against the military.

I’m just a suspicious buggah at times and so many military missions are so shrouded in secrecy that we the public don’t ever get to know what is really going on sometimes until many years later.

I have many friends and family members that have served, and I think some of them are the greatest citizens ever.

I know the military has shaped a few of my friends from High School from punks into productive members of society.

I have nothing against military personnel.  But if you were to ask me about their current commander in chief…. that’s a different story.

Maybe my attitude will change somewhat with the new Obama administration?



Today’s KO

Another reason why were not winning this war on terror:


Student Regent That Supported UARC at UH Resigns

Hat tip to Capsun for the following:

UH Student Regent Michael Dahilig submitted his written resignation to Governor Linda Lingle on Friday. (See letter below)

Michael Dahilig (UH Photo)

Michael Dahilig (UH Photo)

Dahilig was one of the regents that supported the UH Decision to to support the Navy UARC at UH despite the fact that most students were against it.

In this September 2007 interview, he defends his decision:

…He said personally for him it came down to a question of academic freedom. He said the three-year moratorium on classified research was “a fair compromise.” Ultimately, he said, “the pros outweighed the cons,” so he voted for the military research program…

…He said that while he is “not 100% proud” of the vote, that he felt he “tipped his hat” to the overwhelming student opposition by voting yes with reservations…

More Here

Resignation letter:


Akaka Fights for War Veteran Widows… Government Flubs Big Time

Surviving spouses of war veterans have been wrongfully denied up to millions of dollars in government benefits over the past 12 years due to computer glitches that often resulted in money being seized from the elderly survivors’ bank accounts

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, confronted Peake about the problem in a letter last week after receiving a complaint from a widow…

…The VA has yet to identify the exact number of widows or widowers affected, but acknowledged Saturday it could be “sizable.” Akaka’s committee estimates that 50,000 surviving spouses each year since 1996 could be affected, based on VA numbers indicating more than 100,000 veterans die each year — some of whom may have been single or divorced — while receiving VA benefits…

More Here

“Got Barf Bag”… Hawaii Superferry Forced to Return To Port… Video

I just noticed these youtube clips of a trip on the Superferry from two days ago,  where the superferry actually got turned around because of rough conditions.

If you look around the 1:20 mark of this video… you see some scary stuff!

“My superferry ride from 12/11/08 – I uploaded this from my phone so the video sucks but the audio should give you the idea of what was going on. This is the first SF voyage that was forced back by weather. 25′ waves will do that…”


Part 2:

“…Continued from part 1: After five minutes of beating the crap out of the boat and passengers, the captain gives up and heads back to port…”


Around 1:20 mark… captain gets on loudspeaker to explain to customers that there trip has been canceled and the Ferry is turning around.

Finally Local Coverage on the Flex Fuel Story

I blogged about the Flex Fuel problem in Hawaii a couple of days ago.

The Honolulu Advertiser has finally picked up the story on their “Breaking News” about an hour ago. ;)

Something I didn’t catch before:

… “If an alternative-fuel vehicle is available, we are mandated to buy it. We have no choice,” said Steve Mortimer, a manager in Hawai’i who helps set Navy policy on vehicles and equipment. “The (auto) manufacturers don’t have to supply the fuel. In Hawai’i, we just have unleaded and diesel and a little bit of propane…

Talk about waste.  It doesn’t take that much pre-planning to figure out something like this in advance.

Hawaii’s Flex-Fuel Idiotic Navy Maneuver and Ethanol E85

I was just reading about “Flex-Fuel” cars, and it turns out that Hawaii has the greatest share, with more than 1,000 flex-fuel vehicles purchased or leased by various agencies. The U.S. Navy tops the list.


Here lies the problem:

In Hawaii, the Navy has more than 670 flex-fuel vehicles. Not one of the sedans, sport-utility vehicles or trucks has ever operated on E85. No ethanol-production facility exists in Hawaii, so the fuel would have to be shipped by tanker.

…The Department of Energy, which oversees the program, declined interview requests. In a statement, officials defended their efforts.

“The U.S. Government continues to promote diversification of alternative fuels and vehicles in order to reduce our dependence on oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” spokesman Jennifer Scoggins wrote. “We work with private industry partners to develop and grow infrastructure of alternative fuels.”

Scoggins pointed to a two-year growth spurt of E85 stations, which dispense fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Since 2006, ethanol stations have increased from 481 to 1,689 nationally, but most are in the Midwest…

More Here

Another Failed Missile Intercept

I blogged a couple weeks ago about the U.S. Failed attempt at hitting a missile out of midair, the Starbulletin is reporting that Japan has now failed at a missile intercept attempt off Hawaii as well.

A Japanese navy ship failed today to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile target in a test off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced…

In today’s test, a ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai was detected and tracked by the crew of the JS Chokai.

Three minutes later, the Japanese destroyer fired an interceptor missile to shoot down the target in space, but the intercept failed…

JS Chokai

JS Chokai

More Here

Superferry Builder Austal Receives $1.6 Billion Navy Contract to Build Ten More Ships Like the Superferry

When will people listen to me?

I’ve been saying for 2-3 years now, that the superferry(s) were just a prototype for future military ships.  Now Austal has confirmed my suspicions:

Austal USA has won a $1.6 billion contract to build up to 10 high-speed transport ships for the U.S. military, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, announced Wednesday.

Neither Austal nor the U.S. Navy would confirm Wednesday’s announcement, but a staff member in another congressional office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the contract is going to Austal…

…Maritime industry analyst Tim Colton, of Florida consulting firm Maritime Business Strategies LLC, said that if Austal is indeed the winner, it is likely that the company’s experience and ability to tackle the work made its bid superior. Australian parent Austal Ltd. is an expert at building high-speed fast ferries, and the U.S. shipyard is now putting finishing touches on the second of two such vessels for Hawaii Superferry Inc…

More Here

I’m not real good at math… but if my numbers are correct, this would make each one of those ships worth about $160 Million dollars each.

If Hawaii sold the two Superferries we currently will have to the military for say $150 Million each, then that $300 Million could be put to the losses that we have already incurred as well as pay off any debt that we might have towards the superferries at this point.

Especially if the thing isn’t going to work out in the long run.

I’m amazed the Unofficial Hisuperferry Blog hasn’t picked up on this. ;)

Superferry Giving Away Free Rides to Military Members

No, this is not a Veterans Day special.  The Superferry is offering the Military a free lift on it’s ship.  If it’s not the Strykers, it my as well be the Military Members themself!

My as well comp the Military now… Because the Superferry probably knows they are going to be getting a hell of a lot of business from them soon enough.

The Hawaii Superferry is offering military members a fare special.

The offer is one free roundtrip to military and their dependants with the purchase of one roundtrip fare. The offer applies to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces for travel booked through Dec. 15…

…The purchase of the first roundtrip will also receive the Superferry’s $10 military discount. The fuel surcharge will also be waived.

For more information military members should contact their MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) and ITT (Information, Tickets and Travel) desks.

More here.