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Posted 6/19/2014

Release no. 14-028

By  Pete Gitto

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Pacific Ocean Division Regiona Logistics Planner


FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - In the Hawaiian language “makani pahili” means “strong wind.”  It’s a great name for the state of Hawaii’s annual hurricane exercise.  This year’s exercise scenario focused on the post-landfall response to a Category 3-4 hurricane making landfall across all four Hawaii counties.  Pacific Ocean Division (POD) and Honolulu District (POH) participated in the exercise June 3-5 by providing direct support to the hurricane response scenario.

Hawaii is home to both the POD headquarters and POH located at Fort Shafter on the island of Oahu.  The District’s area of responsibility spans the entire Hawaiian island chain, which covers 1,500 miles. Distance is always a logistics challenge here, and Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth with California being 2,390 miles away.

In response to the exercise devastation of the “strong wing” the POD Readiness and Contingency Operations Division deployed an Emergency Support Function #3 Team with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Assistance Management Team.  Debris, power, and logistics subject matter experts provided reach-back support from the POD emergency operations center (EOC).  Simultaneously, POH stood up their EOC; conducted training and exercised their Power Planning and Response Team; conducted training for their Crisis Action Team; deployed a local government liaison and operations chief to Maui County; and activated the USACE Containerized Tactical Operations Center.

Additionally, two ENGLink Training Specialists deployed from the Readiness Support Center in Mobile, Ala., to conduct ENGLink training and provided exercise support for the staff.  ENGLink is the Corps’ dedicated system to support its emergency management functions mandated under the National Response Framework.

Emergency power training included a live install of a FEMA generator at the FEMA Pacific Area Office here on Fort Shafter.  Hands-on training included soldiers from Alpha Company, 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), Schofield Barracks. The 249th is a versatile power generation battalion that provides commercial level power to military and federal relief organizations.

The success of the exercise was directly attributed to the unity of effort between the POD and POH staff, and the opportunity greatly enhanced readiness for the 2014 hurricane season, while building solid support relationships within our own backyard.