Army training burns 450 acres, Navy unexploded ordance

October 29, 2013 

On October 10, Army training activity caused a brush fire that burned for 18 days and scorched more than 450 acres of the Waiʻanae mountains. The column of thick blackish brown smoke could be seen all the way from Honolulu.  In the Kona winds, the smoke blanketed the north shore for nearly a week.

The news reported that the fire was “100% contained” on Monday, 10/28/2013. The army claims that no homes or endangered species were threatened by the fires:

The fire on Army and Dole Food Co. property has burned about 450 acres of brush land but posed no threat to facilities or endangered species, Army spokesman Dennis Drake said.

However it is impossible to know for certain what impacts the fire may have had on the ecosystem or on Native Hawaiian cultural sites until a thorough biological and cultural survey can be conducted. Furthermore, the fire could have long term negative impacts on native ecosystems.

The Waiʻanae mountains is an endangered species hot spot, with some extremely rare species found no where else in the world. The more pernicious impact is the way that fires create space for invasive weeds to aggressively spread and transform the ecosystem in lasting ways. These weeds eventually can overtake native forests that may have been spared from the direct impact of the fire, but may succumb to the altered landscape in the future.

Līhuʻe (the location of the Army Schofield training range) was an important cultural and political center for Oʻahu chiefs. There are hundreds of cultural sites in the impact zone alone. It is unclear what cultural sites may have been affected by the fire.

In addition to respiratory problems caused by particulate matter (smoke particles and ash), contaminants in the training range, including explosives, energetics, lead and depleted uranium can be mobilized by fires.  There has been a reported increase in health problems in the surrounding area according to Hawaii News Now:

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

The brushfire that burned on Schofield Barracks property has been 100% contained.  However the fire, which burned 450 acres of land, caused headaches for residents of central Oahu.

Although the fire has never threatened any homes, it has proved to be a big concern for many residents of Wahiawa.

The reason is all the smoke that has drifted into town over the past six days.

“There has been an uptick in the number of patients coming in with respiratory complaints” said Doctor Thomas Forney, the Director of the Emergency Department at Wahiawa General Hospital.

Meanwhile, the AP reports (10.29.2013) that a Navy contractor Cape Environmental Management Inc. will detonate unexploded munitions dredged from the sediment in Ke Awalau o Puʻuloa (Pearl Harbor):

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command said Monday a contractor will destroy the munitions using controlled detonations at a safe location on the Waipio Peninsula.

The article suggests that the ordnance may be “from the 1941 Japanese bombing and the explosion of a landing ship in West Lock in 1944.”

But other ordnance has been discovered in the channel at Puʻuloa that came from U.S. training activities.

Artillery training at Schofield responsible for overnight booming noises

February 4, 2013 

Last week, residents of Oʻahu as far away as Kailua complained of loud noises up to midnight.  Hawaii News Now reported that Army training at Schofield was responsible for the noises (“Artillery training at Schofield responsible for overnight booming noises” January 31, 2013):

Army officials issued a noise advisory for Schofield Barracks on Thursday, saying that residents “in the immediate vicinity” of the base may experience periodic increases in noise during daylight hours between January 31 and February 20, 2013.

After an inquiry by Hawaii News Now, it was determined that the training exercises were also responsible for noises that were heard for hours prior to midnight on Thursday.

Residents from as far away as Diamond Head and Kailua reported hearing the noises, according to posts on the Hawaii News Now Facebook page.

“The Army in Hawaii appreciates your understanding and continued support of our Soldiers and family members,” reads a statement from U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. “While sometimes loud, the sounds of training represent how the Army ensures our nation’s Soldiers are ready to accomplish the mission and return home safely.”

Concerned about Army noise, um, I mean the sounds of mission readiness?  Call the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Noise Concern Line at 656-3487.

EPA: toxic chemical found in Wahiawa and Aiea aquifers is a “likely human carcinogen”

February 10, 2012 

The EPA released a new health assessment for the toxic contaminant tetrachloroethylene – also known as perchloroethylene, or perc, as a “likely human carcinogen.”  PERC is a contaminant found at military sites in Hawai’i including the Schofield / Wahiawa aquifer (a former Superfund site) and the former Aiea Laundry site, a Navy superfund site across the street from Aiea Elementary School and next to a Catholic Church.


Latisha Petteway (News Media Only)





February 10, 2012

EPA Releases Final Health Assessment for Tetrachloroethylene (Perc)

Public health protections remain in place

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted the final health assessment for tetrachloroethylene – also known as perchloroethylene, or perc – to EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database. Perc is a chemical solvent widely used in the dry cleaning industry. It is also used in the cleaning of metal machinery and to manufacture some consumer products and other chemicals. Confirming longstanding scientific understanding and research, the final assessment characterizes perc as a “likely human carcinogen.” The assessment provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to perc over a lifetime.

EPA does not believe that wearing clothes dry cleaned with perc will result in exposures which pose a risk of concern. EPA has already taken several significant actions to reduce exposure to perc. EPA has clean air standards for dry cleaners that use perc, including requirements that will phase-out the use of perc by dry cleaners in residential buildings by December 21, 2020. EPA also set limits for the amount of perc allowed in drinking water and levels for cleaning up perc at Superfund sites throughout the country, which will be updated in light of the IRIS assessment.

“The perc health assessment released today will provide valuable information to help protect people and communities from exposure to perc in soil, water and air,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This assessment emphasizes the value of the IRIS database in providing strong science to support government officials as they make decisions to protect the health of the American people.”

The toxicity values reported in the perc IRIS assessment will be considered in:

  • Establishing cleanup levels at the hundreds of Superfund sites where perc is a contaminant
  • Revising EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level for perc as part of the carcinogenic volatile organic compounds group in drinking water, as described in the agency’s drinking water strategy
  • Evaluating whether to propose additional limits on the emissions of perc into the atmosphere, since perc is considered a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act

The assessment replaces the 1988 IRIS assessment for perc and for the first time includes a hazard characterization for cancer effects. This assessment has undergone several levels of rigorous, independent peer review including: agency review, interagency review, public comment, and external peer review by the National Research Council. All major review comments have been addressed.

EPA continues to strengthen IRIS as part of an ongoing effort to ensure the best possible science is used to protect human health and the environment. In May 2009, EPA streamlined the IRIS process to increase transparency, ensure the timely publication of assessments, and reinforce independent review. In July 2011, EPA announced further changes to strengthen the IRIS program in response to recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences. EPA’s peer review process is designed to elicit the strongest possible critique to ensure that each final IRIS assessment reflects sound, rigorous science.

More information on the perc IRIS assessment:

More information on perc:

More information on IRIS:

Bringing war to your neighborhood

August 12, 2011 

Bruce Gagnon alerted us to an article in the Jamaica Plan Gazette about secret training activities conducted by U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in a Boston neighborhood:

U.S. military commandos practiced raids in the shuttered Agassiz Elementary School last month, including a nighttime helicopter landing on the school’s roof, the Gazette has learned.

The elite special forces training was done without notice to nearby residents. No live ammo or explosives were involved and safety measures were taken, according to military spokesperson Kim Tiscione.

A vaguely worded July 25 press release from the Mayor’s Office announced citywide “military training exercises,” including helicopters, through Aug. 5. In fact, the exercises were top-secret training for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), whose commandos recently killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, Tiscione told the Gazette.

The training was a secret:

USSOCOM did not notify local residents about the training because of its secret nature, Tiscione said. Indeed, she would not even identify what branch of the military she was speaking for until pressed by the Gazette.

“We’re from Special Operations,” Tiscione acknowledged, referring to the umbrella organization of all four military branches’ special forces. “I’m kind of being vague on purpose. It’s more of a challenge for us when people know who we are.”

She said that USSOCOM does not want people recording the training, which is even more of a danger with the special forces’ popularity in the wake of the Bin Laden killing.

Local residents were shocked and frightened:

“It was really scary,” said resident Sara Wermiel, whose house is just feet from the 12 Child St. school and was bombarded by a “sandstorm” kicked up by the chopper.

“It just seems nuts to me,” said Wermiel. “Don’t they have a site where they could do this where they wouldn’t be alarming people and creating a sandstorm?”

According to the article, Boston Mayor’s Office spokesperson Christopher Loh said that “secrecy helps ensure safety by reducing the number of people out watching an operation.”

“I would caution you to make a judgment about safety,” Loh said. “Obviously, this is one of the world’s great fighting forces. They know what they’re doing.”

But the reporter found evidence to the contrary:

Gazette review of international news articles found that, since 2010, there have been at least seven non-combat crashes of U.S. military helicopters. A total of seven troops died in those accidents, at least three of which involved training flights. That includes a training crash just this week in Georgia that killed two special forces aviators.

And in the famous May 1 killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan, one of two helicopters carrying the USSOCOM commandos made a minor crash-landing while entire the raid site, forcing them to abandon the chopper.

A military helicopter was shot down last week in Afghanistan, killing 22 Navy SEAL commandos.

Recent crashes in Hawai’i include the 2009 helicopter crash at Wheeler Army Airfield that killed two pilots and the March 2011 crash of a Marine Corps helicopter in Kane’ohe Bay that killed one Marine and injured three.

But the danger goes beyond the possibility of accidents.  Bruce Gagnon discusses the future threat of these creeping  military operations eventually being used against domestic populations:

Yes, that is it – we’re from “Special Ops”. We can do whatever we want. The message to the American people is – get used to it.

Now, was this military exercise done in the white wealthy section of Boston? No, it was held at 9:00 pm on a summer night when the nearby basketball court was full of young, likely mostly unemployed men, while others were out on the street or sitting on their door steps. This was a warning to poor and working class people. You know it was a poor and working class neighborhood because of the shuttered school. Rich white neighborhoods don’t have closed schools.

This is evidence that USSOCOM is preparing for the coming revolution in America as the economy collapses. They are practicing their “special ops” tactics to land in urban neighborhoods so they can “control” uprisings. But these “exercises” also serve as warnings to the public – they have a chilling effect on those who might ever even think about standing up against the corporate machine.

They acknowledge that USSOCOM is not only holding these “ops” in Boston. They are doing them all across the nation – sending the same warning with each chilling raid in the dark of night. It’s evident that the corporate dominated government sees the people of America as the enemy.

As usual Mr. Big uses the “terrorism thing” to justify their own offensive program of terror that is all about preparing to round up the hostiles to put us on the reservations.

This kind of stuff needs to be identified and denounced while we still can. It’s fascism plain and simple.

This is not far fetched, especially here in Hawai’i.   In the past, the military in Hawai’i conducted training exercises simulating terrorist attacks by Hawaiian sovereignty activists.

Another way war is brought to our neighborhoods is by recreating the war zone.  Several years ago, Afghan Americans were brought from California to Waimanalo to play villagers in a training exercise.

Photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder

This is not Kandahar.  It is a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facility in Lihu’e (Schofield). The caption from the photograph reads:

Marines and a corpsman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, balance tending to a mock casualty and responding to the concerns of Afghan role-players during counterinsurgency training at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Aug. 2, 2011. Over two weeks, 3/3′s line companies rotated from classes to two-day training evolutions at Schofield’s military operations in urban terrain facility, working through scenarios by practicing patrolling, working vehicle control points and interacting with the role-players. Moving further into their pre-deployment training program, the battalion is preparing for the Mojave Viper exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., at the end of August. The month long training event will be their final evaluation before deploying to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this fall.

Two former Schofield soldiers plead guilty of bribery and conspiracy regarding $20 million military contract in Afghanistan

August 2, 2011 

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports:

Two former Schofield Barracks soldiers who were scheduled to go to trial today on bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges involving a $20 million military contract in Afghanistan pleaded guilty Monday in federal court.

Retired Army Sgt. Charles O. Finch pleaded guilty to one count each of bribery and conspiracy, while Sgt. Maj. Gary O. Canteen pleaded guilty to one count of bribery.

Both face up to five years in prison for the bribery charges, while Finch faces up to 15 years for the conspiracy charge.


According to Finch’s and Canteen’s plea agreements, $100,000 of the bribe money went into the bank account of a Pearl City T-shirt and souvenir shop owned by Canteen. The two men then split the money.

Schofield Barracks man charged for allegedly trying to push wife out of a moving car

June 16, 2011 

According the the Honolulu Star Advertiser, a 27-year old Schofield Barracks man was arrested and charged with terroristic threatening for allegedly attempting to push his wife out of a moving vehicle:

Darren R. Barnhill, of a Schofield Barracks address, remained at the main police cellblock Wednesday afternoon unable to post $11,000 bail.

Police said the incident began when Barnhill was arguing with his wife, 24, in a vehicle about 10:30 a.m. Monday. When she tried to get out, Barnhill stopped her and sped off onto the westbound lanes of H-1 near Kunia, police said.

He tried to open the vehicle’s door on the freeway and push her out, police said.

Darren Barnhill


Drones arrive in Hawaiʻi – “the future of aviation”?

May 25, 2011 

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard recently got four Shadow 200 RQ-7B unmanned aerial vehicles.    While these UAVs are unarmed, the military is looking for ways to weaponize them.



Hawaii Guard gets flock of Shadow UAVs

Isle soldiers will be ready to use the unmanned aircraft should they deploy to Afghanistan as expected in 2013

By William Cole

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, May 25, 2011

A 24-year-old private first class piloted a new $300,000 Hawaii Army National Guard aircraft over Wheeler Army Airfield Tuesday — from inside a Humvee parked on the tarmac.

The Shadow 200 RQ-7B unmanned aerial vehicle, its 38-horsepower engine revved up like a leaf blower on steroids, leapt off its pneumatic catapult and soared over Wheeler and the Waianae Range as its swiveling camera tracked cars driving on the military base.

An unveiling ceremony was held Tuesday for the National Guard’s four new Shadows, a UAV that has had widespread success in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The Shadow represents the future of aviation,” Lt. Col. Neal Mitsuyoshi, commander of the 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, said at the ceremony.

Officials said National Guard brigades in 11 states are receiving Shadows this year, bringing the total to Guard units in 30 states.

The Army previously said it had fielded 98 Shadows and the Marines had 11, with the “workhorse” UAV exceeding 600,000 combat hours in Iraq and Afghanistan since it was first introduced into the Army.

The Marine Corps said it has no UAVs in Hawaii, while the active-duty 25th Infantry Division has Shadow UAVs in Iraq, officials said.

The vehicle’s arrival to the National Guard follows an announcement in April that more than 2,000 Hawaii soldiers with the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, along with 1,600 others from Guam and Arizona, could deploy to Afghanistan in 2013.

It would be the third brigade-level deployment for the Hawaii National Guard to a combat zone since 2004.


Army desecrates more Native Hawaiian burials in Lihu’e (Schofield), O’ahu

April 30, 2011 

The Army has desecrated another set of iwi kupuna (Native Hawaiian ancestral human remains) approximately 600 yards from the site of a previous desecration in 2010.

Thomas Lenchanko, a lineal descendant of families from the Lihu’e / Kukaniloko area and spokesperson for ‘Aha Kukaniloko has demanded immediate access to the site. The families have told the Army that the area is sacred and should be avoided by Stryker Brigade construction projects. But the Army has continued to ignore community concerns and have continued destructive activity in the vicinity, resulting in the desecration.

Chris Monahan, an independent archaeologist hired to review the adequacy of the Army’s cultural and archaeological surveys for its Stryker brigade project found that the Army failed to conduct adequate cultural and archaeological studies of the proposed project areas. Monahan calls for a more comprehensive and rigorous study of cultural sites and resources and stronger protections of these sites.


—–Original Message—–

From: Gilda, Laura Ms CIV US USA IMCOM []

Sent: Friday, April 29, 2011 10:05 AM

To:;;;;;;;; Clyde Namuo;; Kai Markell; Keola Lindsey; Everett Ohta;;

Cc: Lucking, Laurie J Dr CIV US USA IMCOM;; Yuh, Peter Mr CIV US USA IMCOM; Abramson, Kerry Mr CIV US USA USARPAC; Char, Alvin L Mr CIV US USA IMCOM

Subject: Notice: Inadvertent Discovery of Human Remains at Schofield Barracks Apr27,2011 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: FOUO


The US Army Garrison Hawaii (USAG-HI) is notifying you of an inadvertent discovery of partial and displaced human remains under the provision of Appendix C (Inadvertent Discovery Plan) of the Programmatic Agreement for the Army Transformation of the 2nd Brigade, 25th ID to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT).

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at approximately 9:30am, possible human remains were inadvertently discovered in the Battle Area Complex (BAX) project area by archaeological and cultural construction monitors for Garcia and Associates (GANDA). USAG-HI Oahu Archaeologist, John Penman, was notified and immediately visited the project location and assessed one molar tooth to be human and several small bone fragments in poor condition. SHPO was notified by phone of the discovery at 12:05am. On Thursday, April 28, 2011, Dr. Sara Collins, physical anthropologist with Pacific Consulting Services Inc. (PCSI), visited the location. Dr. Collins examined the remains and determined they were human, indentifying one molar tooth and approximately 20 small fragments of a human femur or tibia with a minimum number of individuals (MNI) of one (1).

These remains are approximately 600 meters from the May 2010 discovery.

The fragments were discovered during mechanical soil extraction from a borrow pit within the project area. The fragments were discovered within disturbed soil at the edge of a borrow pit. All construction stopped at the time of discovery and the construction contractor was immediately notified that the entire borrow pit is off limits for construction activities until further notice. The original locations of the scattered fragments were marked and the fragments consolidated at the main concentration. These fragments were recovered within a 2 meter diameter area. The area surrounding the discover location was marked of with flagging. A site protection fence will be erected around the area. The GANDA cultural monitors assisted with covering the fragments and conducted protocols as appropriate.

Laura Gilda


USAG-HI DPW ENV Cultural Resources

808-655-9731 desk

808-384-7796 cell

808-655-9705 fax

Cultural Resources Section, 1513 Kolekole Avenue, Bldg 494, Schofield Barracks (physical)

DPW-ENV Division, 947 Santos Dumont, Bldg 105, 3rd Floor, WAAF,

Schofield Barracks, 96857 (mail)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: FOUO



Army violated Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations regarding Depleted Uranium

April 28, 2011 

The Army appears to have violated Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations by conducting activities to remove and disturb depleted uranium contamination in the Schofield Range on O’ahu.  A letter from the NRC to Lieutenant General Rick Lynch, dated 4/5/11 “APPARENT VIOLATION OF U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION REGULATIONS AND REQUEST FOR PREDECISIONAL ENFORCEMENT CONFERENCE” states:

On March 4, 2010, a resident of Hawaii filed a request with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take enforcement action against the Army if the NRC found that the Army had possessed or released depleted uranium (DU) to the environment without a license. The NRC reviewed this request pursuant to 10 CFR § 2.206, the process by which an individual may petition the NRC to take an enforcement action.

Based on the NRC’s review of the information in its possession, it appears that the Army is in violation of 10 CFR § 40.3, “License Requirements,” in that it appears that the Army is in possession of DU at multiple installations without proper NRC authorization in the form of a specific or general license issued by the NRC. It also appears that the Army performed decommissioning activities at the Schofield Barracks installation without NRC authorization.

As a result:

The described apparent violation is being considered for escalated enforcement action in accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy.

A “Predecisional Enforcement Conference” will be held on May 10th, which the public may observe by toll free number and online:

The NRC will be holding a Predecisional Enforcement Conference with the US Army Installation Management Command on Tuesday May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm CST in the NRC’s Regional office in Arlington, Texas. The purpose of the Predecisional Enforcement Conference is to discuss apparent violations of NRC requirements involving possession of source material (depleted uranium from Davy Crockett spotting rounds) without a license.

The public is invited to observe this meeting and will have one or more opportunities to communicate with the NRC after the business portion, but before the meeting is adjourned.

Interested members of the public can participate in this meeting via a toll-free teleconference and view presentations via a website. For details, please contact the individuals listed in the attached Meeting Notice.  The Meeting Notice is also available at the NRC’s website at:

Below are a series of email correspondence between Cory Harden and the NRC.


From: [] On Behalf Of Orlando, Dominick
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:45 PM
To: Cory (Martha) Harden
Cc: Michalak, Paul
Subject: RE: Predecisional Enforcement Conference with US Army IMCOM

Ms. Hardin

Attached is the letter to the Army regarding the apparent violation.  I think this would be the most useful for your review as it will be the basis for the discussion during the Predecisional Enforcement Conference.

Dominick Orlando

From: Cory (Martha) Harden []
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 4:42 AM
To: Orlando, Dominick
Subject: RE: Predecisional Enforcement Conference with US Army IMCOM

Hello Dominick Orlando,

Thank you for the notice. Can you recommend any documents on ADAMS that would be good to read beforehand? Amy ML numbers you have would be helpful.

Thank you,

Cory Harden
PO Box 10265
Hilo, Occupied Hawai’i 96721

From: [] On Behalf Of Orlando, Dominick
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:46 AM
To:;;;;;; Honerlah, Hans B NAB02;
Cc: Michalak, Paul; Burgess, Michele; McConnell, Keith; Summers, Robert; McIntyre, David; Klukan, Brett; Sexton, Kimberly; Joustra, Judith; Roberts, Mark; Lipa, Christine; LaFranzo, Michael; Rodriguez, Lionel; Spitzberg, Blair; Evans, Robert; Schlapper, Gerald;
Subject: Predecisional Enforcement Conference with US Army IMCOM

Good Morning

The NRC will be holding a Predecisional Enforcement Conference with the US Army Installation Management Command on Tuesday May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm CST in the NRC’s Regional office in Arlington, Texas. The purpose of the Predecisional Enforcement Conference is to discuss apparent violations of NRC requirements involving possession of source material (depleted uranium from Davy Crockett spotting rounds) without a license.

The public is invited to observe this meeting and will have one or more opportunities to communicate with the NRC after the business portion, but before the meeting is adjourned.

Interested members of the public can participate in this meeting via a toll-free teleconference and view presentations via a website. For details, please contact the individuals listed in the attached Meeting Notice.  The Meeting Notice is also available at the NRC’s website at:

Thank you

Dominick Orlando, Senior Project Manager
Special Projects Branch
Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery Licensing Directorate
Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection

Attachment(s) from Cory (Martha) Harden
1 of 1 File(s)

Army identifies Schofield soldier who committed suicide

March 7, 2011 

According to an AP article, the Army has identified the Schofield soldier who killed herself on March 4:

The 8th Theater Sustainment Command said Monday Pvt. Galina M. Klippel is survived by her husband and foster mother. The 24-year old laundry and textile specialist is from Anchorage, Alaska.

Klippel enlisted in the Army in 2007 and had been assigned to the 540th Quartermaster Company for one month. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010.

She died at Wahiawa General Hospital Friday evening. The incident began about two hours earlier when military and federal police officers responded to a report of a soldier brandishing a weapon.

After police surrounded the area, Klippel retreated to the inside of a vehicle, where she fired the fatal shot.

Next Page »