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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2003


Advertiser Staff and News Services


Stryker timetable may not be viable

A study by military think tank Rand concluded that the Army's new rapid-response Stryker Brigade Combat Teams cannot meet the goal of deploying anywhere in the world in 96 hours.

Six Stryker brigades based around eight-wheeled armored vehicles are being sought by the Army, including a brigade for Hawai'i.

"A force with more than 1,000 vehicles cannot be deployed by air from (the continental United States) to the far reaches of the globe in four days," the study said. "However, with some mobility enhancements, it is possible to achieve deployment time lines on the order of one to two weeks, which is quite rapid for a motorized force."

Part of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki's plan to transform the Army into a lighter, faster force, the Stryker brigade concept grew out of war zone needs in places such as Somalia and Kosovo.

Moving 3,500 troops, 309 armored vehicles and 700 other vehicles in four days would require a herculean task on the part of C-17 cargo planes that is unlikely to be possible, the report said.


Hickam to mark POW anniversary

Hickam Air Force Base will host events Feb. 13 to 15 to mark the 30th anniversary of the return of prisoners of war from Vietnam.

Among the activities scheduled will be a repatriation ceremony, panel discussions, base history tour, aircraft displays, retreat ceremony, and flyovers. A photo documentary, "Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later," will be on display.

On Feb. 12, 1973, the first 40 American POWs left Vietnam. Over a six-week period, more than 600 POWs were flown to Hickam on their way home to the Mainland.

The Hickam events are not open to the public, but anyone with a government identification card will be allowed to attend.

Exercises may include Su-30s

Pacific Air Forces might get the chance to match F-15C fighter skills against Russian Su-30s for the first time as part of joint exercises with India later this year or early in 2004.

Maj. James Law, a Pacific Air Forces spokesman at Hickam Air Force Base, told The Washington Post the United States wants to see how India's newer Russian-made Su-30 measures up. India also owns older MiG-29s.

"We requested those aircraft because the USAF already participates in exercises with countries that have the Jaguar, Mirage, and MiGs, other aircraft the (Indian air force) flies," Law said.


USS Key West sails from Pearl

The attack submarine USS Key West and its crew of 130 left Pearl Harbor Jan. 24 in support of the war on terrorism or for possible contingencies elsewhere, the Navy said.

The Bremerton, Wash.-based Carl Vinson, which could be used in a possible war with Iraq, recently conducted exercises off Kaua'i at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Cmdr. Chuck Merkel, the Key West's commanding officer, said he and most of his crew have experienced a taste of what lies ahead in the next six months. Key West was within the 5th Fleet operating area on Sept. 11, 2001.

"We were the first ship to arrive off the coast of Pakistan after being notified of the attacks against our country," Merkel said. "We participated in the first 75 days of Operation Enduring Freedom."