Tuesday, February 02, 2010

NS Pearl Harbor, Hickam AFB Combine To Form Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Station Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base held a Jan. 31 ceremony unveiling Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH), marking the beginning of the transition period which will see the two military installations combine.

This transition period is called Initial Operational Capability (IOC), and according to JBPHH Commander Capt. Richard Kitchens, the two facilities will build on existing relationships.

"It is truly an honor as we stand here and bring these two historic bases together today," he said. "The Navy and Air Force share the same goals with passion and pride, and with the joining of forces today, we will be able to further our partnership between the two services."

United States Air Force 15th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Giovanni Tuck expressed the significant capabilities the joint base can offer.

"With the combining of forces, we will bring unity along with excellence into the future," he said. "I look forward to seeing a strong partnership prosper when we merge bases together today. Just because we are creating something new here today, the history of Hickam Air Force Base and Naval Station Pearl Harbor will never be forgotten."

During the ceremony, the JBPHH seal was unveiled and Sailors and Airmen opened up and removed the Aloha Aina Park pedestrian gate which previously separated the two bases.

Kitchens and Tuck then symbolically joined a traditional Hawaiian lei together, marking the beginning of the JBPHH IOC.

Kitchens said he looked forward to the future of JBPHH's tradition continuing to grow.

"There is plenty of history and tradition that is already involved with Pearl Harbor and Hickam," he said. "I know and I anticipate that there will only be plenty of good things involved with JBPHH that will continue to add to that history and tradition."

The IOC will continue through Oct. 1, when full operational capability will take effect. At that time all resources, property, personnel and authority for installation management functions will transfer to the Navy, which was designated by Base Realignment and Closure law to be the lead agency for the new installation.

United States Air Force 15th Mission Support Group, 15th Airlift Wing, Col. Charles Baumgardner will serve as the the deputy, joint base commander. Mission commanders and other tenants will remain in charge of their units. The joint base commanders will report to Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Rear Adm. Dixon Smith.