Pearl Harbor and Hickam merge into 1 base in January


POSTED: Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pearl Harbor Naval Station and Hickam Air Force Base will merge as a single, joint installation led by a Navy officer in January.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed Monday, the name of the combined installation beginning Jan. 31 will be Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.

Military officials said no civilian jobs will be lost on the bases after the merger of support services.

Last year, officials at the two bases said Hickam had 6,500 personnel, of which 1,344 were civilians. At Pearl Harbor, there were 1,175, of which 721 were civilians. All the civilian workers will be managed by the Navy, with their personnel records maintained by the Navy Northwest Center in Washington state.

Both military bases now maintain similar services, such as plumbing, electrical work, food service, recreation, lodging, community and morale programs, police, fire, chapel, youth activities, transportation, finance, public affairs and housing, which will be consolidated.

The new installation will be commanded by Navy Capt. Richard Kitchens, now commanding officer of Naval Station Pearl Harbor. His deputy will be Air Force Col. Charles Baumgardner, commander of 15th Mission Support Group. They will report to Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander of Navy Region Hawaii.

The change is part of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's transformation proposal to create 12 joint Navy, Air Force and Army bases out of 26 by 2011.

The requirement goes back four years when the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission mandated that the Air Force will manage six joint bases, the Navy four and the Army two.

Navy leaders said last year that “;joint basing is a partnership, not a takeover.”;

“;Through joint basing, we will create a better base by combining the best practices of both services and seizing upon opportunities to innovate as we transition,”; said Col. Giovanni Tuck, current commander of the 15th Airlift Wing at Hickam, in a written statement.

“;Three guiding principles were established early in the process and we remain unwavering in measuring each decision against them,”; Kitchens and Tuck said in a joint written statement. “;First and foremost, war fighting readiness and mission accomplishment are paramount. Second, we will join effectively to ensure the delivery of support and services to our tenant commands, service members and their families continues uninterrupted. Finally, after the first two are assured, we will look for the efficiencies joint basing offers.”;