Meeting with Pohakuloa Commander LTC Loretto V. Borce, Jr.

Meeting with Pohakuloa Commander LTC Loretto V. Borce, Jr.

On Friday, Sept. 21, 2018  Kahu Ron Fujiyoshi, Danny Li and myself met with the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) commander, LTC. Lorettto V. Borce, Jr. up at Pohakuloa from 11AM till 12 noon..  The meeting had been limited by Commander Borce to three people.  With Borce was suppose to be his deputy commander Greg Flemming and Community Relations person Mike Donnelly. Flemming was not present. In his place was Bob Cherry, a retired Army Col. who is now a liaison person between the Army and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  Also present was PTA safety officer Miranda.

The meeting was limited by Borce for 1 hr. from 11AM to 12 noon.

Danny said Borce opened the meeting by saying that he wanted to listen and he is for openness, transparency and process.

Ron then affirmed  Borce’s initial comments to us and similar comments in an informal discussion following a RIMPAC protest outside the PTA gate on June 30, 2018.  Borce said he wanted to be transparent and do things ohana style.  Borce is born and raised on Oahu in Kalihi and his wife is Hawaiian and related to Keanu Sai.

Ron made 4 points:

1. Borce had said he would provide stop RIMPAC demonstrators on June 30, 2018 a tour of PTA.

2.  Ron asked for an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) which Borce’s predecessor LTC Marquez said he would do but never did: an MOU for Makahiki opening and closing ceremonies and visits to cultural and religious sites on PTA.

3.  Ron asked Borce for a show of good faith by NOT having school children come to PTA for Earth day events until there is comprehensive independent testing and monitoring for DU oxide.

4.  Ron urged more public community meetings with Borce

Jim presented Borce with

1.  several  dozen signed Military Human Experimentation forms saying that individuals do not give their consent to being experimented upon by the military continuing to bomb a base known to be contaminated with Depleted Uranium.  The Nuremberg principles affirm such rights.

2.  requests that both the 106 process and the $210 million PTA construction EA process be extended.  Borce did say he read Ruth Aloua’s 40 page document on the 106.

3.  copy of the Hawaii County Council resolution 639-08 passed by a vote of 8-1 in July 2008 calling for 8 actions including a stop to all live fire and anything that creates dust at PTA until there is a complete assessment and clean up of DU present at PTA and 7 other actions related to the DU.  Jim asked why the military had taken no action on any of the 8 actions called for by the county council in reso 639-08  In addition Jim gave Borce a copy of reso 701-08 naming Dr. Lorrin Pang, MD as Hawaii county’s official representative.  Borce said he was unaware of the resos.

4.  a copy of a pre-proposal by Retired nuclear geologist, Mike Reimer, Ph.D. for $100,000 of the military’s $210 million proposed building project in the main base contonment area go towards a joint military/citizen DU monitoring effort to see if DU oxide is coming off PTA.  Jim said that he and a number of others had some reservations about the study being co-opted by the military but were willing to discuss matters further.

Jim questioned why retired Army Col. Bob Cherry was at this meeting, saying he did not trust Cherry, his history of downplaying DU hazards and stonewalling comprehensive independent testing and monitoring for DU oxide.

Danny asked Borce to review the 2008 Hi. County resolution 639-08 on DU, and said toxic cleanup would be ideal training for troops at PTA.

At the end of the meeting he gave the “Commander’s coin” to Jim, Ron and Danny.

Question: Will the relationship between this commander be different from that of other Commanders in the past?

Commander Borce seemed open to meet with Ruth Aloua, Leilani Lindsey-Kaapuni, Puaena Ahn and others before larger community gatherings.

Would be good to check on what he has told others in the meetings with small groups. I.e. Royal Order of Kamehameha.

— Jim Albertini Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action