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Senior Vice Commandant
Junior Vice Commandant
Acting Judge Advocate
Sergeant at Arms
Public Affairs Officer
Pohakaloa Training Area
The Pohakaloa training area historically was part of Camp Tarawa during WW II. The artillery regiments of both the 2nd and 5th Marine Divisions trained there during WW II. The Marines turned Pohakaloa over to the National Guard in 1948. Pohakaloa is now under the Command of US Army Garrison Hawai’i and is used as a support base for live-fire training by Marines and the US Army as well as Army and Air National Guard units before deployment.
Our detachment members and invited guests have the unique opportunity to visit and show our support in person to troops training at Pohakaloa before deployment. For the last three years I have put together small groups to visit Pohakaloa a couple of times a year. By keeping the groups small we have been allowed to do and see things that larger groups wouldn’t be allowed to participate in, putting on Kevlar helmets and armored jackets before moving to the live-fire ranges.
Over the last three years just some of the things members have been allowed to do: pull the lanyard on 155 MM Howitzers (both the old heavy as well as the new M777 light weight Howitzer) and fire live rounds down range; watch laser-guided bombs dropped on targets; watch from bleachers live-fire air-ground platoon assaults. We were on the machine gun and mortar ranges while live fire was in progress and have eaten many MREs in the field with the troops.
As a Marine combat infantryman (0331) from the Korean War era I’m always interested in the new weapons. One thing that got my attention early on was the old .50 cal M-2 is still in use today and no new replacement is contemplated in the near future. Over the last three years we have seen the transition from the old heavy 155 MM Howitzer to the new light weight M777 155 MM Howitzer with its maximum effective range of 18.5 miles!
Every time I go up on one or these trips I can feel what my brother WW II Marines must have gone through training for combat in the Pacific. So I encourage all members of the detachment and members of the League on vacation in Hawai’i who haven’t had the opportunity as yet to join us on our next trip. I think you will find it a very interesting and rewarding day!
Jim Browne Editor
Some pictures from our visits to Pohakaloa to support our 3rd Division Marines undergoing live fire training just before deployment.
Camp Tarawa Detachment Color Guard 2011