On June 15, Miles, Taylor and I headed up the hill for the Change of Command Ceremony at the Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA). Lt. Colonel JR Borce is leaving town after three years at the helm. He did a fantastic job supporting the ongoing military training and connecting to the local community, and he will be missed. Thankfully he won’t be going far, as his next assignment is the senior service college at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies on Oahu. Current PTA Command Sgt. Major Will Gray will continue on for another year.
The new PTA Commander is Lt. Colonel Kevin Cronin who has actually been on island for several months as he learned the ropes from JR and welcomed a new daughter in May. Kevin joins us from his last assignment in Belgium as the Director of the NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) Operations and Coordination Center. Originally from Connecticut, Kevin was commissioned as an infantry officer upon his graduation from the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 2003. He has spent most of his service as a Special Operations officer in various locations in the US, Europe and the Middle East, with deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. We hope to get him to join us for a meeting to introduce himself in the near future.
The Army Training Land Retention Draft Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for PTA is still being worked on and is expected to be out for comment in the Spring of 2022. At that point there will be several public sessions with opportunities to give feedback. There are four options being studied for the 23,000 acres of state land that make up the 134,000-acre installation: full retention, modified retention, minimal retention, no retention. Once the EIS is finalized in late 2023, then the Army starts work on the real estate retention. In other words, it is a long process.
For those of you interested in supporting the military on island and around the state, please join us for the next Military Affairs Council (MAC) meeting on Wednesday, July 14 at 12:00. Reach out to Miles or Taylor at the Chamber office for details.