Monday, July 27, 2009

USS HAWAII Arrives at New Homeport - Pearl Harbor

Reported in Undersea Enterprise News Daily

The Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, USS HAWAII (SSN-776) arrived at her new homeport of Pearl Harbor on July 23rd, greeted by family and friends of the crew, Navy officials and state dignitaries.

HAWAII is the third Virginia-class submarine constructed and the first submarine to bear the name of the Aloha state. HAWAII is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, irregular warfare, and mine warfare. USS HAWAII's official motto is "Kūpale ‘Āina," translated from Hawaiian, "Defending the Land."

Previous US Navy ships bearing names associated with Hawaii include the Los Angeles-class ex-USS HONOLULU (SSN-718) (now decommissioned and placed in the Navy's submarine recycling program), the Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine ex-USS KAMEHAMEHA (SSBN-642) (same fate as SSN-718), and the World War II-era light cruiser, ex-USS HONOLULU (CL-48), recipient of eight battle stars for WWII service and a major player in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines, disposed of in 1949 after 11 years service.

A Blogger account of HAWAII's voyage from the mainland to her new MIDPAC homeport is chronicled here by her Commanding Officer, CDR Ed Herrington, US Navy - a most interesting read.


Mahalo nui loa, CDR Herrington, Officers and Crew of USS HAWAII for your dedicated service and for safely bringing this most capable addition to the Fleet to Kō Hawaiʻi Pae ʻĀina.


US Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class N. Brett Morton/Released

Saturday, July 4, 2009


First, let me dust the cobwebs out of here...

Ok, better now.

POSIT: 19° 35N 154° 56' W

The reason my blog has gone idle for so long is because I have been trying to resist the urge to discuss our progress toward buying our land, from fear of jinxing the effort in any way. Sailors are known to be somewhat superstitious, and until we closed escrow I had a concern, real or imagined - it doesn't matter, that something would go wrong and cause our deal to fall apart if I talked about it prematurely.

Today's post serves as my official announcement that effective 30 June, we are legal owners of an acre of Big Island property that will one day be our retirement home. From the half-dozen properties on the list that I brought home from my April visit to Hilo, and after many hours of comparison and detailed research, we selected a lot 6 streets from the coast in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Upper Puna, nearest landmark being Kaloli Point about 12 miles southeast of Hilo.

As the frigate bird flies, the property is about 1100 yards from the ocean, and when I was last there tromping around in the trees, brush and wait-a-minute vines I believe that I could hear the waves crashing on the cliffs at the end of the road. At an elevation of between 80' and 85' above sea level, there is also a possibility that it will command a view of the blue horizon to our east to observe sunrises over the Pacific Ocean, with the right architecture and placement of a house. Looking toward the mauka direction we will see the often snow covered summit of Mauna Kea, measured from its base on the sea floor at 33,476' - technically, the world's tallest mountain.

Although the property is currently densely overgrown and fairly challenging to navigate through the number of non-native, invasive species of trees, bushes, vines and other plants that we will remove in their entirety, it also features a fair count of younger ʻŌhiʻa trees that I noticed during my April visit were in partial bloom with it's colorful Lehua flowers. This tree, like many other things in Hawai'i has a mythological tale that ties it and it's flower to the fire goddess Pele.

Our aim is to clear and maintain our property in a way that best supports the native species and permits our house to fit in with and coexist with the natural environment to the greatest extent possible. To qualify that, since we have an intense interest in landscaping and gardening we will plant ornamentals and specimens not native but are nonetheless "friendly" to the local surroundings and pleasing to the eye. We plan also to engage in small-scale fruit and vegetable gardening to pass our time as well as to put food on our table. It's a compromise that we feel will enhance, rather than detract from the land and our one day home.

At this point, the house is only in discussion of ideas, but we have begun scouring for information to give us ideas about what our house will be. We do have a few ideas in their infancy, or cocktail napkin sketch phase, and from these we hope to develop a design that meets our requirements, desires, and budget from which drawings can be developed and our home built. For now however, we have not planned anything resembling a time schedule, as we continue to assess our setback in the aftermath of the economic crisis most of us have endured. We are very hopeful that our economic future will improve and help us reach our end goal.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention our newly acquainted yet already very good friends Wes and Devany, as catalysts in our achieving this milestone; Devany for her spot-on recommendation of her husband Wes to represent us in the realty transaction, and to Wes for his sound advice, generous, bordering on charitable effort, and patience in putting up with me during our seemingly unsatisfiable search for property, data collection and representation at the bargaining table and closing. Beyond that, both of them have won our longlasting friendship and we feel fortunate to consider them among our short list of friends.
I can't say that this step gives me back the Kama'aina feeling that I had when I left Hawai'i at the end of 1992 after 8 years in Pearl Harbor, we do feel like we now have one foot firmly planted in the place that we know we belong since the first time each of us saw Kō Hawaiʻi Pae ʻĀina.

Malama pono.