In the Military
Isle Guard to get more air tankers
Right on the heels of this week's arrival of the first of eight C-17 Globemaster cargo jets that will be part of a joint Hawaii Air National Guard and Air Force unit, another partnership is in the works. This time it involves the Hawaii Air National Guard's 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, which now flies nine KC-135 Stratotankers.
Under last summer's Base Realignment and Closure process, which shuttered Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City in South Dakota, the Hawaii Air National Guard unit will receive four of its KC-135 jet tankers.
Early indications point to the 203rd not only getting the four tankers but also active duty Air Force crews. "It will be like the type of association that now exists where Air Force Reserve pilots and crews supplement an active Air Force unit, but only in reverse," said Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman. Anthony said that he doesn't expect any of the four additional jet tankers until 2008.
The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii's "Pens for Promise" has gathered more than 110,000 pens for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan and presented them to Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general. The campaign was started in January after a Hawaii-based soldier said in a radio interview that Iraqi children also wanted pens. A pen had become a symbol of literacy and a promise of a better tomorrow to the children of both Iraq and Afghanistan, the soldier said.
Best Buy and DHL offered to pick up the pens. DHL will also pick up the entire cost to ship the 110,000 pens to Iraq and Afghanistan. Best Buy offered a "Pens for Promise" drop off at their Iwilei store.
The Army has raised the active duty maximum enlistment age to 39 from 34. It also has doubled the maximum combination of cash enlistment bonuses, up to $40,000 for the active Army, and up to $20,000 for the Army Reserve.
Maj. Christopher Cutler, commander of the Army's Honolulu Recruiting Company, said in a written statement, "Otherwise qualified applicants from the age of 35 through 39 were being denied the opportunity to serve their country. This expands the recruiting pool and provides motivated individuals, who previously may have been ineligible because of their age, an opportunity to serve the nation."
The maximum bonus combination for the Army Reserve increased to $20,000 from $10,000. Qualified Army Reserve applicants without previous military service who enlist for six years may qualify for combined bonuses of up to $20,000, depending on the Reserve unit vacancy and how quickly the individual can report to training.
USO Hawaii will present "A Salute to Our Troops" May 6 that will include a parade through Waikiki and a concert at the Waikiki Shell. Parade organizers hope to attract 10,000 members of all services who have been involved in the current war on terrorism. Persons interested in being sponsors can call 836-3351.
The Aerospace Daily & Defense Report reported on Friday that the first of four submarines designed to help special forces perform covert missions is back at work in the Pacific Fleet under a $1.4 billion contract. USS Ohio was returned to service at a ceremony in Bangor, Wash., on Feb. 7.
It is the first of four nuclear-powered ballistic missile subs that will be converted to carry cruise missiles and Navy special forces teams. The other three -- USS Michigan, USS Florida and USS Georgia -- are slated to rejoin the fleet by 2007.
Each converted sub is unloading its Trident ballistic missiles, and 22 of the 24 missile tubes on each boat will be retrofitted to carry up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles for up to 154 missiles per sub, the report said. The four subs will be able to carry up to 66 Navy SEALs. The sub's missile tubes will be rebuilt to allow SEALs to leave the subs while underwater. Florida will re-enter service on May 25 in Mayport, Fla. Michigan and Georgia are on schedule to return this December and September 2007.
» Fort Shafter:
Col. John W. Peabody, the 27th commander and Division Engineer for the Pacific Ocean Division, has received his first star as a brigadier general.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com