Waikane Training Area

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The Waikane Training Area was leased in 1942 by the U.S. Army and used for live-fire training. Waikane is a rural area on the windward side of the island of Oahu, in the state of Hawaii. In 1953, the Army turned the range over to the U.S. Marine Corps., who used the training area until 1976. After the lease termination in 1976, the military tried to clean the property and approximately 40,000 pounds of practice ordnance and scrap had been removed before the military backed away from the effort, saying it had become too expensive. The 1,061 acres in the Waikane Training Area was then returned to their owners.

Kamaka land

187 acres, of the 1,061 acres returned, belonged to the Kamaka family. After the lease terminated in 1976, the military tried twice to clean the Kamaka property. A total of 24,000 pounds of ordnance was removed in 1976, and when the land was returned that year it was declared "clear of ordnance," according to the Marine Corps, which had taken over the area from the Army.

But in 1984, Raymond Kamaka found unexploded ordnance on the hills above his fields and called on the military for additional cleanup. About 16,000 pounds of ordnance was removed before experts determined that it would be too expensive to clear the land entirely of the rockets, grenades, 60 mm mortar rounds and practice ordnance. The land was fenced off to protect the public, and the government went to court to condemn the land, taking it away from the family.

The acreage surrounding the 187 acres has ordnance as well, but those properties were never condemned or fenced off.

In 2003, the Marines wanted to reactivate the 187-acre parcel for jungle warfare training but determined it was too dangerous because of unexploded ordnance. The Marines Corps erected a new fence around the site and left any decision about whether to clean it to the Department of the Navy.

External Links

  • Waikane Valley court date Oct. 1 Honolulu Advertiser, Septermber 24, 2004.
  • Man still fighting for Waikane land Honolulu Advertiser, December 7, 2004.
  • Hawaiian man fights to reclaim family's land Honolulu Advertiser, 9-7-05.
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