The Army wants to conduct helicopter training exercises on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Jim Albertini of Malu ‘Aina issued the following call to oppose the Army’s High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training (HAMET) on the slopes of the sacred Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The Army had conducted these helicopter training exercises in the past under temporary permits from the state. Now they are seeking a regular and permanent right of access which would also affect the endangered Palila bird . Recently, the Army had to move its helicopter training to Colorado, an existing high altitude training area, because the state required the Army to follow the law and complete an environmental review for its proposed actions which did not fit the Army’s schedule. The Army has previously violated permits and laws by recklessly landing in the protected Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve and in other locations where it was not allowed to train. The draft environmental assessment is now out and public comments are being accepted until August 21st:
More military training on Hawaii Island for wars of aggression: Speak OUT!
“…no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts on natural resources…” !!! WHO SAYS? The people, plants, animals, the aina, air, water, etc. are all interconnected. What effects one effects all. The impacts are not just physical, but cultural, psychological, and spiritual. The training proposed is all part of U.S. occupation and what the Nuremberg trials following WWII called the Supreme War crime –waging a war of aggression. We want to stop all these illegal wars. We do not want the U.S. training anywhere to do to others what the U.S. has already done to Hawaii: overthrow and occupy its government and nation, desecrate its sacred sites, and contaminate its air, land, water, people, plants, and animals with a wide range of military toxins. We want the U.S. to stop bombing Hawaii and clean up its opala (rubbish). Justice demands an end to U.S. occupation and the restoration of the Hawaii nation. And all of this being done on the slopes of the Sacred Mountains. Akua weeps.
> From Hawaii’s OEQC July 23, 2011 “The Envornmental Notice”
> High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training Draft EA
> Right of Entry via Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Special Use Permit
> Proposing Agency:
> United States Army Garrison, Hawai’i (USAG-HI), 851 Wright Avenue, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, Hawai’i 96857-5000. Contact: Mr. William Rogers (808) 656- 3075
> Approving Agency:
> Department of Land and Natural Resources Kalanimoku Building, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813. Contact: William J. Aila, Jr., (808) 587-0400
> Portage, 1075 S. Utah Ave., Suite 200, Idaho Falls, ID 83402. (208) 419-4176
> Status: Anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact.
> 30-day comment period begins; comments are due on August 21, 2011.
> Send comments to the Proposing Agency and the Consultant
> The proposed action is to provide 90 helicopter pilots and crew 180 hours of high altitude training in October 2011 in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan to satisfy mandatory annual training requirements. The Army’s preferred alternative consists of flying to, hovering, and touch and go landings at three (3) landing zones (LZs) located on the slopes of Mauna Kea and three (3) LZs located on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Aircraft landing in the LZs would not be picking up or dropping off troops or supplies. Aircraft will be spending a minimal amount of time in the LZ areas, and ground time should not exceed 10 minutes per landing.
> Familiarity with this specialized high altitude environment is critical to save the lives of our 25th Combat Aviation Brigade aircrews and the Soldiers they transport when operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Based on careful review of the analysis and conservation measures set forth in the EA and consideration of public comments received to date, implementing the Preferred Alternative would result in no significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts on natural resources, cultural resources, water resources, recreational resources and other resources assessed in the EA. Implementing the Preferred Alternative is not a major federal or state action that would significantly impact the quality of the environment.
Meanwhile, the Army seems to be digging in for a longer stay. In a press release “Native Hawaiian Covenant promotes partnerships”, the Army describes how it is spending a lot of money to cultivate a stable of Native Hawaiian “leaders” to support the military mission in Hawai’i and counter the opponents of military activities. The Native Hawaiian liaison office functions as a cross between glorified hospitality program and counter insurgency asset:
Through the covenant, Army civilians and Soldiers new to the islands now receive an informative briefing on the Native Hawaiian people, history and culture. This critical information gives Army individuals an opportunity to learn the culture of the community around them and be sensitive to its customs.
In addition, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners lead free Hawaiian workshops for those interested in learning about the different aspects of Hawaiian culture. Featured workshops include hula, ukulele, lei-making, Hawaiian legends, Hawaiian language, Hawaiian healing plants and coconut weaving.
“Positive responses from Soldiers and their families have been received through these briefings and workshops we offer,” said Annelle Amaral, Native Hawaiian liaison, USAG-HI. “We have found that it not only teaches the culture, but it provides an opportunity to spend time with their families and meet new friends. To be a part of this has been truly rewarding.”
A monthly “Ho olauna” bulletin is a resource for interested Army individuals, containing Hawaiian history, a featured Hawaiian word, upcoming Hawaiian events, happenings around town, a featured dining spot and volunteer opportunities. This resource keeps readers informed and offers opportunities for them to experience life outside the Army bases.
The program is also actively constructing its own list of “approved” Native Hawaiians that can be consulted to meet various federal requirements:
Through the covenant, the Army’s cultural and natural resources representatives are leading tours of the Kahuku Training Area and Makua Military Reservation for surrounding community members.
The program is even appropriating Kanaka Maoli concepts and mining the wisdom and reputation of elders to lend support to the military’s mission:
“Right now, we’re working on a ‘hanai’ concept, where we bring our young Army families and our elderly Hawaiian aunties and uncles together for a ‘talk-story’ session. This will fill the gap for one group (of people) who miss their families, and the other group (of people) who miss the opportunity to share life-lessons they’ve learned.”
Apparently, military personnel stationed in Hawai’i are not getting the message about malama ‘aina. Recently, fishermen and cultural practitioners at Ka’ena Point documented drunken and destructive military offroading. As previously reported on this site, this is a recurring problem. We recently did an ‘Olelo television program on the problem of military off-roading and the efforts to protect Ka’ena.
Military construction is also booming. Lend Lease company recently won an extension of its contract to construct, refurbish and manage thousands of homes for military personnel.
Lend Lease has secured approval from the US Department of the Army for a US$168m (£103m) change to the scope of its Island Palm Communities project in Hawaii.
Lend Lease will now build more larger homes than previously planned, reflecting the changing needs of military service members and their families.
Island Palm Communities, a partnership between Lend Lease and the Army, is the largest residential privatisation project ever awarded by the US Army. The partnership will develop, design and construct 5,241 new homes, renovate 2,515 existing homes, and provide property and maintenance management services through to 2054.
Lend Lease group chief executive officer and managing director Steve McCann said that the increased work scope reflected Lend Lease’s collaborative working relationship with the US Army. “We continue to work very closely with our long term partner to bring quality homes to US Army service members and their families,” he said.