KAPOLEI, Hawaii – Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22) conducted a cleanup at Kalaehoa Heritage Park in Kapolei on July 6, while in Hawaii for Rim of the Pacific 2016.
Participating RIMPAC Sailors cleared brush and vegetation as part of the preservation efforts of this culturally historic site alongside active duty service members and civilians assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
KHP is dedicated to the preservation of Hawaiian culture and traditions. The park contains early Hawaiian stacked coral dwellings, religious structures, modified sinkholes, 20th century habitation, ranching and cultivation alongside the closed Naval Air Station Barbers Point.
“It was a great experience,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Rios, assigned to Navy Medical Center JBPHH. “To have the opportunity to not only give back to the community, but also to learn about Hawaii’s heritage and ancestry is rare.”
“Kalaeloa Heritage Park combines the pre-contact history of Hawaii with that of the plantation and military past,” said Shad Kane, facility manager of KHP and board member of Kalaehoa Heritage and Legacy Foundation.
The Navy has had a long relationship with the KHP, with Sailors donating their time and energies to the park since 1999.
“Life is all about relationships and there preservation,” said Kane. “I love seeing Sailors of all ages visit, learn and volunteer. It ensures the continued strength of our relationship for generations to come.”
Sailors spent the day clearing piles of dense vegetation, such as fallen trees and thorn thickets.
“It was tough work, but as whole we are grateful for the time we have while here participating in RIMPAC,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Cisco Delgado, assigned to Howard. “The Navy is rich in heritage and traditions and having the chance to experience Hawaii’s heritage and traditions while supporting the community is great.”
RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.