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Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board Votes against Army Live Fire at Makua Valley

By Jack De Feo

January 20, 2015

(Nanakuli, Hawaii) At today's Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board meeting, Board members voted against the future use of Makua Valley for live-fire training.

In a unanimous decision, board members voted to take a position that the military should not use Makua Valley for live-fire training ever again. The Board's decision follows on the footsteps of Malama Makua's recent celebration of no live-fire in the valley for 10 years and the continued legal hold-up preventing the Army from resuming their live-fire training in the valley. In December, the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board passed a similar motion; both Boards represent the Leeward Coast of Oahu.

Board members and community members supported the Army's need for live-fire, but felt that Makua does not provide an adequate facility for the Army's needs, particularly for the Stryker Brigade. One testifier cited specific limitations with the facility that prevents Army units from experiencing realistic training that the Army desperately needs at the company-level in a Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise (CALFEX).

The CALFEX range was built in 1988, many years before the Army developed the Stryker vehicle and stationed a Stryker brigade at Schofield Barracks. The current range does not accommodate off-road use of the Strykers and limits the Commander to employing only 5 vehicles out of the 21 vehicles assigned.

Moreover, the live-fire experience is crippled by nighttime restrictions, preventing commanders from practicing the critically needed task of integrating and coordinating a variety of weapon systems during periods of limited visibility.

One community member testified that Brigades deployed from Oahu in recent years in a combat ready status without using Makua Valley, contradicting the importance of the live-fire range at Makua.

Only one community member, who provided the historical importance of Makua for training Army units for WWII and Korea, testified in support of Makua live-fire. A testifier responded that today's company size units have ten to twenty times the combat power that units had 70 years ago and that Makua was just too small and inadequate.

The Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board's position has no enforceable effect on the military's use of Makua, but it sends a clear signal to the Army that the community wants it to find another place to train.

Petition to downsize Army on Oahu


Hawaii studies on Strykers, Makua done [Honolulu Advertiser] Jan 14, 2008

Stryker [Wikipedia]