USAG-HI wraps up year providing tons of support

| December 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - Kahu Kordell Kekoa, right, leads representatives from the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company and government officials in a blessing and groundbreaking for a new power plant that will be built on Schofield Barracks, Aug. 22, 2016. The plant will strengthen OahuÕs electric grid and make it more reliable, provide energy security for the U.S. Army in Hawaii, and improve the integration of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS – Kahu Kordell Kekoa, right, leads representatives from the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company and government officials in a blessing and groundbreaking for a new power plant that will be built on Schofield Barracks, Aug. 22, 2016. The plant will strengthen OahuÕs electric grid and make it more reliable, provide energy security for the U.S. Army in Hawaii, and improve the integration of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power.

Aiko Rose Brum
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — 2016 began with good financial news and a new state law: Pay raises, though just 1.3 percent, were issued for the federal government – both military and civilian personnel. In Hawaii, the new law changed the smoking age to 21 for tobacco purchase, possession or consummation.

Many other policies, events, programs and services occured. The U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander held his first of three Facebook Town Hall meetings to address community concerns; continued hosting a Community Information Exchange with the Senior and Garrison commanders at the Nehelani, Schofield Barracks, to pass along important information to community leaders; and held Community Readiness Expos to explain installation resources to incoming personnel and deploying Soldiers.

Hawaii’s cost of living allowance decreased on three of four islands, so personnel were encouraged to fill out a U.S. Pacific Command survey to provide accurate information about goods and services.

As a live ESPN telecast of the 2016 Pro Bowl Draft was happening in the hangars of 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, here, elsewhere on base personnel were getting information about voting, tax services, increased military maternity leave and the Zika virus.

The Garrison announced it had signed an environmental record of decision to proceed with Hawaiian Electric Company construction and operation of a 50-megawatt biofuled-capable power generation plant at Schofield Barracks in early February. Elsewhere, the Directorate of Emergency Services began enforcing revised traffic regulations.

An artist's sketch shows proposed 50-megawatt, multi-fuel, biofuel-capable power plant. (Art courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Company)

An artist’s sketch shows proposed 50-megawatt, multi-fuel, biofuel-capable power plant. (Art courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Company)

New information was released on 2018’s blended retirement system, and new policies were implemented for breastfeeding. Also in late February, the Garrison and Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources conducted a joint airlift operation to protect Oahu’s native plants and animals.

“For the last 15 years, the state and the Army have been partnering to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitat,” said Kapua Kawelo, biologist, Army Oahu Natural Resources Program.

First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged women veterans to tell their story, in March, and U.S. Army Hawaii’s Take A Stand! program encouraged the USARHAW community to be proactive against suicide, sexual assault, substance abuse and safety violations in all commands. The DES’ Army wildland firefighters readied themselves to respond to fire emergencies.

In April, Earth Day activities took the spotlight, and the Real ID Act became effective in USARHAW in May. The state of Hawaii approved renaming Hale Kula Elementary to Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School, to honor the late senator’s commitment to Hawaii’s public education.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Stephen Dawson accepts command and the Installation Management Command flag from Christine Altendorf, director of the Pacific Region of U.S. Army Installation Management Command. Dawson assumed responsiblity of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii during his change of command ceremony, June 3.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Stephen Dawson accepts command and the Installation Management Command flag from Christine Altendorf, director of the Pacific Region of U.S. Army Installation Management Command. Dawson assumed responsiblity of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii during his change of command ceremony, June 3.

Women continued to move into all military occupational specialties, and the Sgt. Smith Theater at Schofield Barracks officially reopened after a lengthy closure in late April. The USPACOM COLA survey results were also announced in May: Oahu remained the same, Hawaii decreased, and Kauai and Maui rates increased.

Also in May, private drones were becoming an issue on Army installations, but the garrison prohibits recreational flying on base. A prescribed burn was scheduled, mid-May, to remove “highly flammable guinea grass and other vegetation,” said Dr. Dan Brush, deputy director, DES, and a new sex offender policy was released and posted on the garrison website.

The Schofield Commissary completed its renovations in late May, and USAG-HI practiced responding to hurricane emergencies. The Army turned 241 in June, and two changes of command took place: Col. Stephen Dawson assumed command of the garrison; Lt. Col. Christopher Marquez assumed command of the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii.

The Installation Management Command held a worldwide conference call in early July; about 58,000 civilians were able to tune in and hear about transformations in the Army with Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy. Then, in mid-July, the IMCOM commander, Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, visited the garrison to discuss a variety of issues.

As summer went by, the Rim of the Pacific and the Fourth of July Spectacular were held, and the garrison urged personnel to monitor energy usage as costs were surging. Then, in August,  the 25th Infantry Divison and USARHAW commanding general, Maj. Gen. Christopher G. Cavolia, arrived. Also,   Pokemon and the Rio Olympic Games took center stage, and Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning visited and learned about units in Hawaii.

The nation observed the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Remembrance events were held throughout Oahu. Also, in September, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter held a worldwide talk to discuss readiness, global challenges and more.

October was a challenging month for installation residents of Oahu North. Unplanned power outages caused frustration. Mid-month, the Directorate of Human Resources hosted a two-day-long Transition Summit for job seekers. Transitioning service members and spouses received loads of resources.

The nation elected its 45th president in November, and Army Family Action Plan delegates in USARHAW came up with six quality of life issues to present to USARHAW leaders.

As the year ended, the garrison observed the 75th commemoration of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks. Wreaths were laid at Hangar 106, at Wheeler, by the Greatest Generation and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as over 20 Pearl Harbor and Wheeler survivors and other World War II veterans attended the ceremony.

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Category: Installation Management Command, Leadership, News, Sustainability, Take a Stand!, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa (USAG-Pohakuloa), Veterans, Year in Review

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