Military readies reserve center on Big Island


POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

More than 400 Big Island Hawaii Army National Guard and Pacific Army Reserve soldiers will be moving into new $46.5 million facilities near Hilo Airport in January 2011.





        The Hawaii Army National Guard units that will be relocated to the new Keaukaha facilities include:

» Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment


» Company D, Forward Support Company, 29th Brigade Support Battalion


» Company C, 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment (UH-60 Black Hawk)


» Detachment 2, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 140th Aviation (OH-58 Kiowa)


» Also: The Army Reserve's 871st Engineer Company (Vertical) belonging to 411th Engineer Battalion; and Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, will be relocated to the Keaukaha complex. About 140 Army Reserve soldiers are affected by the change.




Gov. Linda Lingle; Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, state adjutant general; and Pacific Army Reserve leaders will attend the groundbreaking ceremonies at 10 a.m. tomorrow for the new Keaukaha Military Reservation Armed Forces Reserve Center, which at one time was called the Joint Forces Readiness Center.

Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, National Guard spokesman, said the center will be built on 19 of the 60 acres of the Hawaii Army National Guard complex near Hilo Airport. More than a dozen buildings built in the 1940s and 1950s have already been demolished.

The state has already appropriated $6.4 million for the complex. The rest of the $46.5 million will come from the federal government, Anthony said.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said the House Armed Services Committee has authorized $51.6 million in defense spending for Hawaii for the fiscal year that begins in October, including $6.6 million to design the new Keaukaha complex.

The complex will replace Hawaii Army National Guard armories at Honokaa and Keaau and Hilo's Army Reserve center as required by the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure law.

Citizen soldiers from the Army Reserve's 100th Battalion and the Hawaii Army National Guard's 299th Cavalry Regiment and the 29th Support Battalion are deployed to Kuwait with the 29th Brigade Combat Team and should be back in August.

Anthony said none of the Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopters will be moved from their flight line location.

The facility will also include space for the state Office of Veterans Services.

The new 128,000-square-foot reserve center will have classrooms, secure weapons armories, a learning center, an assembly hall to accommodate a company-size formation of up to 200 soldiers, and a dining facility.