Blessing the Ground
Lt. Col. Patrick Kerr, commander 53rd Signal Battalion (left), and Capt. Janet Stewart, commanding officer Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific (NCTAMS PAC) (right), untie the maile lei following the ceremonial ground blessing chant at the Wideband Satellite Communication Operation Center at NCTAMS PAC, Wahiawa. A maile lei symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

PEARL HARBOR - Representatives from the Army, Navy and the project contractor, Watts
Constructors, LLC, attended a special Hawaiian ground blessing on Feb. 20 for the Army's new
Wideband Satellite Communication Operations Center (WSOC). The six-acre construction site is
located at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific (NCTAMS PAC),
Wahiawa, Oahu.

"This is a unique Hawaiian ceremony and very much a tradition," said Lt. Cmdr. Kirk Lagerquist,
resident officer in charge of construction (ROICC) Wahiawa at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii.

"I look forward to being a part of this tradition and providing our customer with a
safe, professional, and quality project," he said.

The ground blessing ceremony, performed by Rev. William Kaina, is important because the lands of
Hawaii are considered sacred by its people. In most cases, contractors begin their projects with this traditional blessing to ensure that the construction site and workers are kept safe and the project is successful.

The ceremony concluded when Lt. Col. Patrick Kerr, commander, 53rd Signal Battalion, and Capt.
Janet Stewart, commanding officer, NCTAMS PAC, untied the maile lei after Kaina performed a
Hawaiian chant.

"We are very excited about this project," said Kerr. "This facility is linked in with five other
operational centers around the world providing communications support. The Department of Defense (DoD). [NCTAMS PAC Wahiawa] is a great strategic location and we are excited about this project's teamwork and partnership...and are happy to be a part of this joint team," he said.
When completed, the new facility will provide 24-hour satellite control for communications of the
DoD military wideband satellite communications constellation, as well as commercial satellite
communication (SATCOM) resources which the building will also contain.

Currently, the Army unit that controls DoD satellite communication payloads execute their mission in California. However, the approximately 60-person unit will move to Hawaii once the building at the NCTAMS PAC location is completed and operational.

"We are very, very proud of being a part of your mission and our job is to do the very best we can, providing quality, price, and timing," said Denny Watts, president of Watts Constructors, LLC. "This is important so that when we turn it over to you, the end users, we can all walk away with a lot of pride about what we've done and a sense of accomplishment."

The WSOC project was awarded by NAVFAC Pacific as a firm-fixed price, design-bid-build contract
to Watts Constructors, LLC on Dec. 30, 2008 for $25.376 million. NAVFAC Hawaii's ROICC
Wahiawa is administering the contract.

Watts Constructors, LLC, will build a 28,244 square foot operation center that will enable the Army to provide 24-hour satellite communications. The project will also include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) features that will achieve a silver rating.

The WSOC designed for the Hawaii site will become the prototype for four additional facilities at
other locations including Fort Detrick, Md.; Landstuhl Heliport, Germany; Fort Meade, Md.; and
Schiever Air Force Base, Colo. It will be site adaptable to all locations and all WSOCs will be similar
in size.

"I'm pretty excited about this. I represent the end user," said Kerr. "I told Denny [Watts], 'Hey, I'm just waiting for you to hand me the key.'"

Page last updated Thu February 26th, 2009 at 13:05