News: MCAS breaks new ground: Base ushers in construction of new ARFF station, air terminal
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Key personnel and distinguished guests attended a special groundbreaking ceremony for the new Marine Corps Air Station Operations Complex, just outside of the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting building, March 15.
Various types of aircraft surrounded a red and white tent as if to join the guests for the occasion, as the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band provided music for the ceremony. After guests took their seats, Lt. Col. D.R. Lingman, commanding officer of MCAS, emceed the formal program of the ceremony.
“This marks a historic day for us,” Lingman said. “It’s been many years in the planning to bring this from a 1930s, 40s construction air station to a world-class facility that will take us into the 21st century.”
The $46.6 million complex, scheduled for completion in September 2014, will include a 30,709-square-foot air terminal dedicated to passenger and cargo travel and a 17,104-square-foot station for MCAS operations and the ARFF Marines.
Swede Olson, the airfield operations manager for MCAS, said the complex is necessary because the older buildings currently being used for operations were designed in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Once (the complex is) finished it’s going to vastly improve the mission capability of this air station and providing a great asset in the future for the defense of the nation,” Olson said.
The terminal, which includes a new ramp, will be similar to an airport, with security measures in place, arrival and departure areas, and an eatery called The Flying Leatherneck, which will be run by Marine Corps Community Services. In addition, the new air terminal will be much larger than the current terminal.
Jeff Telling, an airfield operations officer at MCAS, said the complex will unite the MCAS offices in a more central area, instead of their current state, in separate places across the base.
The complex includes 2,884 energy-efficient photovoltaic panels. The terminal is certified silver in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, while the ARFF building will be LEED gold certified. The U.S. Green Building Council awards LEED certification to buildings that uphold specific standards in terms of energy efficiency.
The new ARFF building will include office spaces for the MCAS Marines, 12 dormitory rooms for the ARFF Marines, who cannot leave their post when on duty, a kitchen space and gym. The building will also have new truck bays.
Master Sgt. Daniel Sable, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of ARFF at MCAS, said the new truck bays will help prevent the trucks from corroding, as they are currently out in the open and exposed to the elements.
“For (those of) us who have been to other duty stations, it’s much needed here,” Sable said of the new complex. “The building we’re in now is so outdated by anyone’s standard.”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph White Bear, the ARFF chief at MCAS, said the new facility will “definitely improve (the Marines’) quality of life.”
For example, White Bear said, the ARFF Marines currently use old gym equipment acquired from the Semper Fit Center. When the complex is complete, the Marines will have a brand-new gym. He said the Marines will have their own rooms, instead of the current setup, which has four Marines sharing each room.
The complex will also carry the history of Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Mokapu Peninsula. Duane Hamada, a principal with Design Partners Inc. said the company worked with MCAS’s airfield operations and the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department to design a building that also showcases history. The environmental department is still deciding on the final historic pieces that will be featured.
Col. Brian P. Annichiarico, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, said this complex will support the Marine Corps Aviation Campaign Plan, which aims to increase military presence in the Pacific.
“With the shift toward the Pacific, you can’t overlook Hawaii for obvious reasons,” Annichiarico said. “It is one of the most strategic places for U.S. interests in the Pacific and rightfully so, we have a beautiful base, but a lot of the structures are from the 1940s and 1950s.”
Representatives from the companies contracted to build and design the complex were also present at the groundbreaking to make a few remarks.
“DCK-ECC Pacific Guam is currently excited and very pleased and proud to be here today at this long-awaited ground blessing for a significant project such as the MCAS operations complex at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe,” said Eric Tessem, the senior vice president and general manager of DCK Pacific Construction, LLC.
After speeches were made, key personnel and guests each put on a hard hat and picked up a shovel. The guests stood before a large, ceremonial pile of dirt and gravel. Kahu Likeke Papa and Nalani Olds performed a Hawaiian blessing, and together, the group dug into the mound, each individual scooping up a symbolic piece of the complex’s construction.
“Bottom line, it’s an exciting time for me with the operations complex coming in and exciting times for Marine Corps Base Hawaii with a lot of military construction coming in and a lot of modernization,” Annichiarico said.
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