Civil leaders recognize USACE’s munitions cleanup efforts

| October 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District Public Affairs
News Release 

Col. Edward Kertis (second from right), commander, USACE-Pacific Ocean Division, greets Sen. Daniel Inouye (left) and his wife Irene, as they arrive at Waimea’s Parker Ranch to recognize ongoing environmental cleanups of unexploded ordnance on the Big Island. They are joined by Tony Paresa (far right), deputy district engineer for programs and project management, USACE-Honolulu District, and Gary Shirakata (center), FUDS program manager USACE-Honolulu District. (Courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District)FORT SHAFTER — Sen. Daniel Inouye and Billy Kenoi, Big Island mayor, visited the Waimea area of the island of Hawaii, Monday, to recognize one of the largest ongoing environmental cleanups of unexploded ordnance in the U.S. 

Accompanying Inouye and Kenoi were Col. Edward Kertis, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Pacific Ocean Division, and Tony Paresa, USACE-Honolulu District, deputy district engineer for Programs and Project Management.

The ongoing clearance and cleanup of unexploded ordnance is from World War II military training, in 101,265 acres in the Waikoloa-Waimea area of the Big Island. During World War II, the communities were home to some 50,000 U.S. service men who trained and prepared for many of the historic battles fought in the Pacific. 

Soldiers received artillery, mortar and other live-fire training in the former Waikoloa Maneuver Area, which encompassed more than 130,000 acres. 

Funding for the cleanup comes from the Formerly Used Defense Site Program, which is managed by USACE. Inouye is a strong proponent for these efforts. 

Kenoi said USACE’s effort is helping to make the Waimea and Waikoloa communities safer and has had a significant economic impact upon the area. 

USACE has been removing munitions and explosives of concern in the area since 2002, and has cleared approximately 13,600 acres, disposed of more than 2,100 items and recycled more than 250 tons of former military and munitions debris. 

Both the senator and mayor said they are pleased with USACE for employing Native Hawaiian organizations to conduct the ordnance removal. In the past, this highly specialized work went to large mainland-based contractors with uniquely qualified ordnance technicians. 

Inouye recently announced that USACE has awarded an $8.4 million joint venture contract to Alu Like Enterprises and Environet, Inc. JV, both 8(a) Native Hawaiian organizations, to continue work at the Waikoloa FUDS on the Big Island. An 8(a) business is a company under the Small Business Administration’s business development program, created to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market.

In partnership with the University of Hawaii’s community colleges, these organizations have trained more than 50 Hawaii residents to become ordnance technicians. Many of the technicians, who were unemployed because of Hawaii’s construction industry slowdown, have been hired for entry-level positions, earning annual salaries of approximately $50,000 and acquiring highly specialized skills in a unique industry. 

During Monday’s visit, Inouye also presented promotion certificates to three ordnance technicians, all Hawaii residents in senior-level UXO positions: Owen Sarsona, Marlon Chung and Clyde Quiniones.

Munitions “Three R’s”

Munitions encountered by the public should never be touched or handled. If you come across unexploded ordnance, follow the “Three Rs”: 

 

  • Recognize – that you may have seen ammunition.
  • Retreat – do not touch it.
  • Report – tell the police, a lifeguard or another authority figure.

Category: Community Relations, News, Sustainability

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why don't they just use the EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) company stationed on Oahu. I'm sure they would love the hands on experience and training it would provide for their soldiers. On top of that, it would cost nothing.

  2. Hawaii Army Weekly says:

    Thanks for your suggestion. The EOD unit has a differently focused mission. The FUDS program addresses a long term need to clean up Formerly Used Defense Sites nation-wide. For more information on FUDS, please contact Honolulu District Public Affairs at 808-438-9862.

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