Votes against live-fire in Makua

SUBHEAD: Community sends a clear signal to the Army that they wants it to find another place to train.

By Jack De Feo on 2 December 2014 in Island Breath -

Image above: Army armoured vehicles used in Makua Valley for a shooting of Hawaii Five-O. From (

At today's Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board meeting, a majority of board members voted in favor of taking a position against any further live-fire in Makua Valley.

In a 5-2 decision, board members voted "to take a position that the military should not use Makua Valley for live-fire training ever again".  The majority opinion follows on the footsteps of Malama Makua's recent celebration of no live-fire in the valley for 10 years and the continued legal hold-up preventing the Army from resuming their live-fire training in the valley.

Board members and community members supported the Army's need for live-fire, but felt that Makua does not provide an adequate facility for the Army's needs, particularly for the Stryker Brigade.  Members cited limitations with the facility that prevents Army units from experiencing realistic training that the Army desperately needs at the company-level in a Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise (CALFEX).

The CALFEX range was built in 1988, many years before the Army developed the stryker vehicle and stationed a stryker brigade at Schofield Barracks.  The current range does not accommodate off-road use of the strykers and limits the Commander to employing only 5 vehicles out of the 21 vehicles assigned.

Moreover, the live-fire experience is crippled by nighttime restrictions, preventing commanders from practicing the critically needed task of integrating and coordinating a variety of weapon systems during periods of limited visibility.

One community member commented that Makua might have contributed to combat readiness in WWII, but that times have changed drastically and the valley can no longer accommodate the exponential growth in combat power and reach that today's Army units now possess.

Several community members voiced their concerns that the Army needs to be located near adequate live-fire ranges in the mainland where it can get the necessary training it needs.

Only one community member testified in support of Makua live-fire, citing that if the Army says it needs Makua, then it should be allowed to use it.

The Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board's position has no enforceable effect on the military's use of Makua, but it sends a clear signal to the Army that the community wants it to find another place to train.

• Mr. Jack De Feo is a member of the Oahu Council for Army Downsizing (OCAD).
Waianae, Hawaii  96792
(808) 723-9002


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