Pacific ALLIES meets with military and civilian partners in Hawai’i, writes Simon Weiss

by VManve
Aug 12
Over the weekend of June 25, 2022, the entire Pacific ALLIES team assembled in Honolulu. Once on the ground, I met with the rest of the team, two coast guard cadets, Alana Kickhoefer and Natalie Rodriguez. They are working on a senior capstone for the academy looking at Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) and its impact on tuna fisheries in the face of climate. This summer they are using the ability to conduct research in the Republic of the Marshall Islands to learn about the ways that the Coast Guard can support the country.
Given the quarantine requirements, we had 5 days in Hawaii to learn everything we could about the military’s role in the pacific and pacific islander’s perspectives on these climate issues. On our first day, we were given tours of 7 out of 11 of the major military bases on Oahu by two air force lieutenants. We conducted a force reconnaissance mission to understand the roles and responsibilities of the different military installations. We ended the day at the Bellows Air Force Base, a training field and recreation area for military personnel, with a beach where we had the opportunity to go swimming.
On our second day, we connected with a local student group at the University of Hawaii Manoa called One Health Pacific. Their organization works under the One Health concept, which combines the health of humans with the health of the ecosystems in which they exist. We hiked a waterfall and talked about the complex relationships between native Hawaiians, the military, and tourists from the mainland. Following this, we went to the Bishop museum to learn about Pacific Islanders' history and the OHP students joined us. We were able to get tons of insights into the history of the regions going back to the original migration to the islands.
On the third and fourth days, the coast guard cadets took part in ship inspections through the local coast guard base. Through this, they were able to get a sense of the role of the coast guard in maritime protection through the Pacific.
Finally, on our last day before travel quarantine, the coast guard cadets joined a flight around Oahu, where they learned about the use of airspace to conduct missions to support national security and climate missions. Once this was finished, we were able to have an afternoon off before we checked into quarantine, so we used the time to go surfing and enjoy island life.