POSTED: 6 JANAURY 2007 - 11:30am HST

Army Considers Moving Stryker off Hawaii

The first Stryker combat vehicle in the Hawaiian islands arrived in mid July 2004

[Note from Dick Mayer: The following story may have serious implications for the Hawaii SuperFerry. Or the Army may have put out this dis-information to scare the Oahu folks who depend on military spending, so they will rally in favor of keeping the Stryker brigade in Hawai'i]

5 January 2007 editorial in KITV News

The Army is looking into the possibility of moving thousands of Hawaii soldiers to mainland bases, KITV has learned. The study of new homes for the Stryker Brigade was ordered by the courts because of an environmental lawsuit.

About 160 Stryker combat vehicles sit idle at Schofield Barracks. A judge's approval for training came just recently. The Stryker unit will fire up just as the Army begins studying whether the 4,000-soldier brigade should be stationed somewhere else.

Wahiawa business owners said that is a scary prospect.

"Definitely it's going to be all businesses die. I guarantee," Wahiawa business owner Donald Nam said.

Despite his prime corner close to Schofield, Lam's businesses, servicing both uniforms and cars, already suffer during wartime deployments.
"If 4,000 Stryker brigade leave to another state, it's going to be really empty," Lam said.

Looking at other locations could be good for taxpayers and the Army. The group fighting the Stryker brigade's move to Oahu is pleased with the tone of the Army's official notice.

"For the first time you have the Army coming forward and saying there are locations outside Hawaii where we can accomplish our goals that don't involve destroying Hawaii's culture and environment," Earthjustice attorney David Henkin said.

The attorney said that the Stryker unit's economic benefit to the islands has been overstated. However, that is no consolation on Kamehameha Highway, where most businesses survive on traffic from soldiers and their families.|
Wahiawa businesses can take comfort from something new the Army said on Friday, that if the Stryker brigade is sent to another state, another traditional infantry brigade could be sent to Hawaii to take its place.

Lam said he is not holding his breath.

"Whatever they said we don't trust anymore," he said.

The Stryker debate has already affected construction jobs. More than 20 training-site projects will wait until the Army makes its decision on the Stryker's final home.

Editor's Note:
We have 45 days to comment on the prospect of a Stryker brigade being based in Hawaii.

Army issues formal notice for Stryker brigade environmental study

AP article 5 January 2007 in The Garden Island

The Army on Thursday issued a public notice announcing its plans to conduct an environmental study for the transformation of a Hawai'i-based light infantry unit into a Stryker brigade.

The public has 45 days to comment on the prospect of a Stryker brigade being based in Hawai or at the other possible locations mentioned by the Army: Alaska, Washington state, Colorado and Kentucky.

The notice in Thursday's edition of the Federal Register said an environmental impact statement would assess the potential consequences of transforming the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry (Light) on site in Hawai'i or doing so in another state.

The step comes after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in October that the Army violated federal environmental law when it decided to transform the Schofield Barracks brigade in Hawai'i without properly considermg alternatives elsewhere.

The Army is currently transforming all of its light infantry brigades into fast-
response brigades centered around its new armored Stryker vehicles.

They are assigned to be light enough to load on planes for quick transport to battle zones but heavy enough to protect soldiers from attack.

The Army says the brigades are expected to be able to deploy anywhere in the world within four days.

In 2003, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved basing a Stryker Bri- gade at Schofield Barracks.

Native Hawaiian groups, however, sued to stop the Hawai'i work, saying training with the 19-ton Stryker vehicle and its weapons would hurt the environment and desecrate cultural sites.

After the federal appeals court ruled against the Army, military officials revised their plans, saying they would conduct another environmental impact statement study.

They also sought permission to conduct the minimum training needed for its 2nd Brigade soldiers to deploy to Iraq late this year as a Stryker unit.

A U.S. District judge last week ruled the Army could move forward with most of the scaled-down training it wanted to complete, but ordered it to take special mitigating measures to protect the environment.

In addition to Hawai'i, the Army's new environmental impact statement will examine the possibility of transforming the brigade in Alaska - at Fort Richardson and Donnelly Training Area - and in Washington state at Fort Lewis and Yakima Training Center.

Colorado, home to Fort Carson and the Pinon Canyon Maneuver site, and Kentucky, home to Fort Knox, will also be considered, the Federal Register notice said.

The Army will decide where to base the brigade based on how well the locations meet training requirements and strategic national defense needs.

The study will also examine how the brigade would affect the environments in each location.

see also
Island Breath: Superferry Resistance
Island Breath: Superferry & Military
Island Breath: Superferry History
Island Breath: Superferry Meetings
Island Breath: Superferry Redux
Island Breath: Superferry Problems
Island Breath: Stop the Superferry
Island Breath: Stryker Base
Island Breath: Stryker on Kauai?