In the Military
For and about Hawaii's servicemen and women

By Gregg K. Kakesako

See also: For Your Benefit

Ma nominated
to reserve command

Col. John Y.H. Ma has been nominated to be the next commander of the Hawaii Army Reserve's 9th Regional Support Command, replacing Brig. Gen. Bob Lee. However, Army Reserve officials here say the selection process, which could mean an one-star promotion for Ma, is expected to take nearly a year. Lee's term will expire in March 2003.


Hawaii was spared any changes from the force structure in the Air Force announced last week. Guam will lose one civilian position, but will gain 22 military jobs. The overall force structure changes result in a total increase of 470 positions, 299 military authorizations, 142 civilian authorizations, and 29 drill authorizations. Andersen Air Force Base's 36th Security Forces Squadron will gain 13 military authorizations due to a transfer from Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 36th Services Squadron will lose five civilian authorizations due to the library converting to a nonappropriated fund function. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron will gain five military authorizations for landfill operations. Other minor changes result in an increase of four military and four civilian authorizations.


The Navy believes it can recoup about $1 million of the $5 million needed to pump the remaining oil off a World War II ship that was sunk in a Yap State atoll. The 553-foot USS Mississinewa has been leaking oil into a lagoon heavily fished by the almost 700 residents of the mostly undeveloped Ulithi Atoll.

Lt. Monica Richardson, Navy spokeswoman, said the Navy could recoup about a $1 million of the cost by recycling the oil on board the ship which sits in 130 feet of water. The Mississinewa, a Navy fuel ship, was sunk in 1944 by a one-man Japanese suicide submarine.

The first leak occurred when a typhoon jarred the wreck during an Aug. 6 storm. A fishing ban was issued until that leak was sealed by divers contracted by the Navy. Environmentalists reported the impact from that leak was minimal. A second leak was noticed Dec. 23 as it spread about four miles out from that island chain. Navy divers, including a team from Pearl Harbor, patched the second leak this month.

The front 50 feet of the boat is torn off and the remainder of the ship rests upside down. The team was able to patch two leaking areas and determine a large portion of the oil cargo is still on board because its main tanks were not struck when it was sunk.


The U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk left its home port of Yokosuka last week, possibly for deployment in the U.S.-led multinational war on terrorism. The U.S. Navy said the 83,960-ton carrier is engaged in ordinary operations and refused to disclose its destination. But it is believed to be heading to the Indian Ocean to support U.S. military operations there. The Pearl Harbor-based destroyer USS Hopper is expected to be part of the Kitty Hawk battle group.

The carrier set sail from Yokosuka on Oct. 1 last year to join Operation Enduring Freedom, the code name for the war on terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. It served as a base for some 20 helicopters and 600 special forces troops dispatched to Afghanistan and returned to Yokosuka on Dec. 23 after a three-month tour of duty.

The Kitty Hawk is part of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, which covers parts of the Indian Ocean. It carries about 75 aircraft, including fighter jets, and has 2,800 crew. It can accommodate about 5,500 people, including flight crews.

Moving Up

Hickam Air Force Base

>> Lt. Gen. Steven Polk returned to Hickam as Pacific Air Forces vice commander March 6. From 1997-1999 Polk was Pacific Air Forces director of air and space operations.

>> Col. Edward Groeninger relinquished command of the 502nd Air Operations Group to Col. Paul Avella. Groeninger will become the commander of the 401st Expeditionary Air Base Group at Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

>> Col. David G. Young III has been nominated for his first star as a brigadier general. He is currently serving as command surgeon for Headquarters Pacific Air Forces.

Gregg K. Kakesako can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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