Aviators help preserve Hawaiian treasures

| March 10, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Kristopher Smith, motor transport operator, Co. A, 209th ASB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, transports a mock version of a BTR-80, an armored personnel carrier, using a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, at Makua Valley, recently. (Sgt. Karl Williams | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th ID)

Spc. Kristopher Smith, motor transport operator, Co. A, 209th ASB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, transports a mock version of a BTR-80, an armored personnel carrier, using a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, at Makua Valley, recently. (Sgt. Karl Williams | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th ID)

25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
News Release

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Inside the Makua Military Reservation, positioned in the middle of a lush green field, sit three ominous shapes.

From a distance, these hulking silhouettes may seem out of place in such a tranquil setting, but upon closer inspection, these silhouettes are no more threatening than cardboard boxes.

Soldiers from 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, assisted in moving three detailed replicas of enemy fighting vehicles into the valley, to assist in enemy target engagement simulations, recently.

Made to scale, these detailed replicas mirror a BMP-2, an infantry fighting vehicle, a BTR-80, an armored personnel carrier, and a T-72 tank. They are built with plastic and framed with aluminum to prevent rust that would otherwise damage the environment.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Jackson, master gunner, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB, described the training aids as necessary. He said conducting this type of training in support of overseas contingency operations is important for U.S. Army aircrews.

“We can emplace these types of environmentally-friendly targets that do not contain or use petroleum products, which could possibly damage the environment,” Jackson said. “In addition, it’s an inexpensive alternative for combat aviation preparation without sacrificing hands-on, realistic experiences.

“Moreover, MMR is isolated from close proximity to any major civilian thoroughfare and is not obstructive to quiet island lifestyles,” he continued.

The vehicles replaced three, white panel targets that have been used for laser operations conducted by OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

MMR is part of a sacred landscape that extends from Pokai Bay to Kaena Point, according to Dr. Laurie Lucking, cultural resources manager, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. The Army has identified and catalogued more than 100 archaeological sites in Makua, including temples, dwellings, enclosures, burial grounds and agricultural terraces.

“These sites are of great importance to the Hawaiian community.” Lucking said. “They are an intrinsic part of (the Hawaiians’) history and a place where their family members are buried.”

The Army incorporates the habitat as part of its training scenario, designating it as a minefield or with other hazards Soldiers must avoid.

“Consideration for Makua Valley’s cultural significance and its environment are important when training (there),” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pete Mansoor, tactical operations officer, HHC, 25th CAB. “As a precaution, we coordinated with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; and staff members from the Directorate of Public Works, Cultural Resources Division, to come out and verify that the area was clear and the vehicles were placed outside the Improved Conventional Munitions area.

“Some of those cultural treasures have been around for thousands of years, and we want them to be around for future generations to enjoy them,” he added.

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Category: News, Sustainability, Training

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