Joint military special ops exercises planned

  • A Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion lands at Kawaihae Harbor for RIMPAC 2018, which ran June 27 to Aug. 2 in the Hawaiian Islands. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • A Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion sits at Kawaihae Harbor for RIMPAC 2018, which ran June 27 to Aug. 2 in the Hawaiian Islands. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • A Navy soldier guides a Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion onto the sand at Kawaihae Harbor as part of RIMPAC 2018. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Proposed Navy training sites. (courtesy Naval Special Warfare Command environmental assessment)

HILO — There could soon be marine life of a different sort off the West Hawaii coast, as military units prepare to train by air, land and sea next year.

The public has until Dec. 10 to comment on a proposal by the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command to conduct joint special operations training in West Hawaii and elsewhere in the state. The training includes naval as well as Army, Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps special ops forces.


A draft environmental assessment published Thursday anticipates no significant environmental impact from the training exercises that are scheduled to start in 2019.

Water-based training will consist of swimming and diving, launching and recovering submersible small vehicles and inserting and extracting special ops personnel using watercraft.

Land-based training includes personnel crossing the beach on foot, simulating building clearance activities using simulated munitions, engaging in high angle climbing and using observation techniques in special reconnaissance role-playing scenarios.

Air-based training includes unmanned aircraft systems or aircraft using drop zones or landing zones for parachute or rope suspension training activities.

Training would occur in the nearshore waters and land-based areas on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Kauai, and in nearshore waters, including harbors and bays, of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.

On Hawaii Island, training will be conducted along part of the South Kohala and North Kohala coasts, approximately from Mahukona in North Kohala to just south of Kawaihae in South Kohala. Training also is planned in North Kona from Kukio Bay to about Waiaha Bay, south of Kailua Bay.

Jim Albertini, founder of the Malu Aina Center for non-violent education and action, contacted for a comment, said he hadn’t yet read the full 249-page draft environmental assessment. But some of the land-based activities described in the executive summary used the exact language to that in another notice he had just received about special reconnaissance role-playing scenarios to be conducted near Maunakea county park, he said.

“It’s outrageous. It appears the Navy now wants to expand operations and conduct armed covert Special Ops in our Maunakea county park and on the slopes of Maunakea,” Albertini said. “I say no way. The military needs to clean up the toxic messes all over Hawaii, not expand their training into our parks and on the slopes of sacred Maunakea.”

A call to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific public affairs office Monday, a government holiday, was not returned by press deadlines.

The training activities would not restrict the ability of individuals to use or access recreational areas. Nor are the activities expected to cause harassment or taking of marine mammals, the EA says.

The activities “may affect but would not adversely affect” five Endangered Species Act-listed plant species and associated critical habitat for two of the species including orangeblack damselfly, two yellow-faced bee species, Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian common gallinule, Hawaiian duck, Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian goose, Hawaiian hawk, band-rumped storm petrel, Hawaiian petrel, Newell’s Townsend’s shearwater, Hawaiian hoary bat, oceanic whitetip shark, giant manta ray, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, olive ridley turtle, Hawaiian monk seal and associated critical habitat, blue whale (Central North Pacific Stock), Main Hawaiian Islands Insular false killer whale and associated critical habitat, fin whale, sei whale and sperm whale, according to the EA.

The draft environmental assessment contemplates two alternatives as well as a no-action alternative.

Under the preferred alternative, each non-federal training site would be used for a maximum of 10 events per year, pending receipt of real estate agreements or right-of-entry permits, within the training study area. The maximum number of events across all non-federal land training sites would not exceed 330 events. For federal property, up to 265 events would occur per year.

The other alternative would decrease the activity on each non-federal property training site to a maximum of six events per year. The maximum number of events across all non-federal land training sites would not exceed 198 events. Federal property within the training study area would see up to 52 events per year.

The EA may be viewed online at (click on Environmental Assessment Open for Public Review at left side of page) and at some public libraries, including the Kailua-Kona Public Library.

Comments may be submitted by email to, or by mail to: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, Attention: Project Manager, EV21.JZ, 258 Makalapa Drive, Ste 100 Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-3134

  1. blunt TrUth November 13, 2018 3:01 am

    URGENT !! Please submit comments / concerns by December 10, 2018. Public comments will be promptly ignored, and military games will proceed as scheduled. Thank you for your patronage.

    1. Big ideas November 13, 2018 6:40 am

      Sure hope no one you know is in the military and has to go into battle without proper training….you’ll get them killed

      1. Sara Steiner-jackson November 13, 2018 6:53 am

        Sure hope the United States stops being the world asshole police…

        1. Du Mhan Yhu November 13, 2018 8:54 am

          Go get stoned you againg hippie.

        2. Old Man November 13, 2018 1:43 pm

          When Chinese aggression becomes more pronounced people like you will be the first to scream, “Do something!” And don’t think China isn’t a real threat.

        3. Big ideas January 2, 2019 6:47 pm

          Agreed….move all troops out of Japan, Korea, Philippines,, Europe, ME and Africa…..line them up at the southern border and stop the illegal invasion. Leave those countries to buy the security they deem appropriate.

      2. blunt TrUth November 13, 2018 1:06 pm

        There is no draft. Live by the sword : die by the sword…

        1. Du Mhan Yhu November 13, 2018 6:29 pm

          What does that have to do with military service? Are you one of those liberals that thinks like cartoonist Rall, that the volunteer mitliary are all “saps”?

          1. blunt TrUth November 14, 2018 3:40 am

            no on liberal, yes on the rest, to say the least.

        2. antifaHI November 13, 2018 11:22 pm

          Word! We have a standing military paid for everything and then some.

        3. Big ideas November 14, 2018 4:01 pm

          Sure as long as someone else does your dirty work…heaven forbid you take a principled stand and put yourself out for someone else or for something bigger than yourself. MYOPIC FUK!

          1. blunt TrUth November 14, 2018 4:08 pm

            No dirty work needed here, that’s all you cuz. I support your american right to be an unprincipled dipshit. onward, forward!

          2. Big ideas November 16, 2018 6:42 am

            So do you consider yourself an American citizen? Or just a freeloader?

          3. blunt TrUth November 16, 2018 7:03 am

            more of a free-thinker. Born and raised blue-collar, busy working and raising my family ON MY OWN DIME, which is more than one can say for military fleas, sucking at the blood of the taxpayer instead of seeking true employment. Sick of paying for them!

          4. Big ideas November 19, 2018 11:18 am

            So you travel on roads you built yourself? Sent your kids to public school? Enjoy the protection of police fire and emergency services? Then you are a blood sucking taxpayer tick too.

          5. blunt TrUth November 19, 2018 2:57 pm

            The difference is I pay for those things, NOT the other way around. Furthermore, no one is hurt in that process. If your ideas are so big, you should be able to figure out that there is simply no intelligent justification for our military.

          6. Big ideas November 20, 2018 12:55 pm

            “there is simply no intelligent justification for our military” GO ASK:
            The 100s of thousands of Chinese who were murdered by the Japanese during WWII
            The 100s of thousands of Koreans killed during the 50 year occupation of Korea by the Japanese
            The millions of Jews killed by the Nazi in WWII
            The millions of Cambodians murdered by Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge
            The thousands of Chileans murdered by Allende
            The thousands of Cubans murdered by Che and Castro
            The Yazidi raped and murdered by ISIS
            The 10s of thousands of Sunni Arabs murdered by ISIS
            The 100s of gays thrown off buildings to their death by ISIS.
            Then we could start counting the deaths during WWI where the US military liberated country after country.
            As long as you want to ignore simple truths and refuse to believe history – there is nothing anyone can do to have you see reality.

      3. Du Mhan Yhu November 14, 2018 9:42 am

        Liberals do not care about military deaths, to them they are “saps” that deserve it.

        Besides, the majority of the military does not vote democrat, so why not let them get killed off?

        1. blunt TrUth November 14, 2018 4:11 pm

          march to their uninformed deaths. too many people as it is…

  2. Buds4All November 13, 2018 5:11 am

    You know this could be what KAWAIHAE HARBOR needs. A permanent navy station there for training and protection. It may offer expansion of the harbor and its facilities. Perhaps a Coast Guard Station. Spencer Beach could be expanded and used for “some training”. The jobs both CIV and Contractor that get dragged along with these projects both short and long term are unreal. It is something to think about.

    1. Georgette Yaindl November 13, 2018 8:51 am

      didnt you just post about hawaiian monk seals being our treasure?

      1. Buds4All November 13, 2018 9:55 am

        Yes, because both can exist. The military are people as well.

  3. Big ideas November 13, 2018 6:39 am

    EXCELLENT! Training hard under realistic circumstances saves lives!

    1. antifaHI November 13, 2018 11:20 pm

      We are fighting corporate wars. Not for saving lives, check your sources!

  4. Sara Steiner-jackson November 13, 2018 6:52 am

    Really, Kona, you are going to give up your fresh air and beautiful coastline and turn it into wargames???? The tourists probably don’t wanna pay big money to come here and watch aggressive military posturing… which will have an impact to everything, but they say it’s not expected to be adverse….

    1. Buds4All November 13, 2018 9:57 am

      You know nothing about the Military and how they conduct business. Stop the fear mongering.

      1. Sara Steiner-jackson November 14, 2018 8:21 am

        I know they bill taxpayers for $1000k nuts and bolts and they do not take care of their veterans

        1. Buds4All November 14, 2018 8:38 am

          You being one of the nuts let me put you back in your protestors box. Yes there is waste and yes we can do a better job of taking care of our Vets. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. As I am sure if we asked your employer they would not give you the highest rating for the job you perform.

    2. naeporue November 13, 2018 4:25 pm

      Maybe they can offer the tourists rides on the ‘Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion’?

  5. Du Mhan Yhu November 13, 2018 8:53 am

    Outstanding, Kona’s many veterans support our military training to survive and successfully complete their objectives.

    1. Sara Steiner-jackson November 14, 2018 8:19 am

      The military ignores it’s injured vets, use the military wargame money to pay for their medical bills.

      1. Du Mhan Yhu November 14, 2018 9:26 am

        You blithering idiot, the useless Congress is in charge of the care of veterans NOT the military.

        You think the VA is run by the military?

        1. Sara Steiner-jackson November 14, 2018 11:33 am

          Wow lau lau. I’m glad you are having fun calling me names. Looks like I hit a sore spot. US is Addicted to War above feeding it’s own people, taking care of its veterans or senior citizens or educating our kids above drone-pushing level.

  6. antifaHI November 13, 2018 11:26 pm

    Tourists will leave for Maui. War games on the beach and gunfire from the proposed shooting range from the back.

  7. LOL in Kona November 14, 2018 6:07 am

    and remember,
    when China “primer for life” (wink, wink, dictator) Xi Jinping takes
    ….Taiwan, Guam, Philippines, Pearl Harbor, …
    many of the folk here and Jim Albertini will all be “unhappy”
    and beg and plead for Jinping to be “good” and give them back….

  8. blunt TrUth November 15, 2018 3:37 am

    Lol, Someone flagged my comments here as “suspicious.” Not difficult to believe, as most pro-military types are a bunch of pussies who hide behind guns while touting “freedom” to justify their desire for censorship of opposing views and affinity for xenophobia.

    1. Du Mhan Yhu November 16, 2018 9:06 am

      The irony is strong with this one.

  9. A H November 24, 2018 2:03 pm

    “THIS IS A DREAM WHICH HAS LOST ITS WAY. BEST TO LEAVE IT ALONE.” (from “Our Country’s Good” by Timberlake Wertenbaker)

  10. A H November 24, 2018 2:56 pm

    “This is a dream which has lost its way. Best to leave it alone.” (from a play, “Our Country’s Good,” by Timberlake Wertenbaker)

  11. A H November 24, 2018 3:07 pm

    “This is a dream which has lost its way. Best to leave it alone.” (from the play, “Our Country’s Good,” by Timberlake Wertenbaker)

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