Training Closer To Home

Gen. Howie Chandler, commander of Pacific Air Forces, says the environmental impact assessment covering the use of Kona International Airport on the island of Hawaii for C-17 assault-landing training is now complete. PACAF is interested in gaining use of the airport to have a practice “short austere airfield” so that its C-17s can practice closer to home rather than having to fly to the US mainland, he said during a speech at the 2008 Hawaii Military Partnership Conference Jan. 3 in Honolulu. The Kona proposal would cost about $28 million, but free PACAF from the costs of sending the aircraft to CONUS and then have to deal with the constraints of range availability there, he said. PACAF operates two eight-ship squadrons of C-17s: one at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and one at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Chandler replaced now-retired Gen. Paul Hester who relinquished command of PACAF last November.