Hickam apologizes for reference to Hawaiians in terror exercise

The commander of Hickam Air Force Base apologized for depicting a fictitious terrorist group as a “Hawaiian Sovereignty Group” during a recent base drill.  She says it was an “error”. But this is not the first time that the military has conducted exercises with Hawaiian activists depicted as the enemy.  It reveals the perceptions and tensions that lie just below the surface.

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Col. Ann Testa, commander of Hickam Air Force Base,
takes part in prayers before testifying at an OHA meeting.

Hickam apologizes for reference to Hawaiians in terror exercise

By Pat Omandam

The commander of Hickam Air Force Base today apologized to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawaiian community at large for using the name “Hawaiian Sovereignty Group” as the name of a terrorist group during a recent base exercise.

Col. Ann M. Testa, commander of the 15th Air Base Wing, told the OHA Governmental Affairs and Sovereignty Committee this morning that it was an inexcusable mistake made by a newcomer to Hawaii who did not realize there was an established sovereignty movement here.

During the exercise, held March 8-10,military officials published the Kukini Express, an electronic-mail newsletter designed to inform Hickam’s 3,500 military personnel and the rest of the base community about the training exercise..

In the March 9 issue, a brief story under the headline “Perpetrators apprehended, threat continues” reads: “A perceived threat remains for Hickam people because of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Group.

“Earlier this morning, the wing apprehended two armed Sovereignty Group members on the flight line.

“The individuals, carrying maps of the base and photos of senior leaders, caused damage to two aircraft.

“The extent of the damage is under evaluation.”

Testa said the Air Force recognizes the strength of Hawaii’s diversified culture and formally apologized to OHA trustees and to the wider Hawaiian community about including the name “Hawaiian Sovereignty Group” in the newsletter.


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