Governor Josh Green and the Hawaii State Adjutant General at Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Newly elected Hawaii Governor Josh Green and the Hawaii State Adjutant General stopped by to see the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route, and to say thanks to Soldiers. Courtesy photo by Hawaii County. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
HI Army National Guard at Pohakuloa Training Area
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers provided traffic control support at the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route from December 1 until its closing on December 14, 2022. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
728th Military Police Battalion at Pohakuloa Training Area
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Elian Vasquez and Pfc. Genaro Gomez Montes were part of a team from the 728th Military Police Battalion based on Oahu to provide two-week support to U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area during the Mauna Loa eruption. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Law enforcement at Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hawaii National Guard, Pohakuloa Training Area police and County contract law enforcement are stationed throughout the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route. Hawaii County photo. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL
Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers at Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers provided traffic control support at the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route from December 1 until its closing on December 14, 2022. (Photo Credit: Amy Phillips) VIEW ORIGINAL

In conjunction with U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA), twenty Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers, along with the Hawai’i County contract security team, kept the public safe at the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route since its opening on December 1 until its closing on December 14, 2022. The 4.5-mile “lava viewing” route was located largely on PTA’s section of the Old Saddle Road, and established in partnership with the U.S. Army, Hawai’i County, and the State of Hawai’i to provide the public with a safe way to see Mauna Loa and alleviate traffic on Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

“US Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area was honored to be part of the team to provide a safe means for the public to view the Mauna Loa eruption,” said installation Commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin. “All told, nearly 30,000 vehicles passed through the route, for a total of approximately 100,000 individuals. Incredible numbers when you think about it. This wouldn’t have been possible without strong cooperation and teamwork between many different teams,” Cronin added.

Hawai’i County Mayor Mitch Roth requested National Guard support to help with the traffic control along the route. “We have built the relationships that allowed us to respond quickly as a National Guard allowing us to assist in the Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route (THMR) traffic control, help keep the residents and visitors safe,” said Major General Kenneth Hara, the Adjutant General for the State of Hawaii.

“It was a quick process to get us on orders, and we’re proud to support,” said Officer-in-Charge Major William Keahi, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment (HHT 299 CAV). In addition to manning the check-points on THMR, there were many other responsibilities, such as ensuring the team were fed, shift rotations were on time, providing medical support, and billeting at U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area. All the Soldiers, except for Keahi, are based in Hilo.

“I spent all day on the road to provide the meals for everyone…it’s been very busy,” said Ariel Young-Ziegler with HHT 299 CAV, who was one of the logistics team members.

The Soldiers had front row seats to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“It was a pretty cool experience seeing the eruption from check point one,” said Spec. Antonio Caramayan, 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion.

“What I like most about being in the Guard is serving the community, which is what we’re doing right now,” said Marianne Dalmacio-Andres. She’s been in National Guard for three years and hopes for many more years. “I’m so proud to be part of this organization.”

Given the increased activities during the eruption, U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area also requested military police support from the 728th Military Police Battalion based at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, to augment the installation police department.

“Everyone knew what the mission was and they executed,” said Maryanne Dickerson, the PTA Deputy Chief of Police. “It was great to have support from the County, National Guard, and the active-component MPs.”

This was 19-year-old Pfc. Genaro Gomez Montes’ first emergency response assignment since joining the Army about year ago. “It’s been an amazing experience…I’ve never seen a volcano eruption!” said Genaro who hails from Glendale, Arizona.

Spc. Elian Vasquez hails from Englewood, California, and has three years of active duty under his belt. The highlight of his career was working with the Texas Border Patrol last year to “contribute positively to the community.” He says it was a great learning experience.

Montes and Vasquez are with the 728th Military Police Battalion based on Oahu.

“Soldiers stationed in Hawai’i and around the world actively support the communities they live in through missions like the Hawaii County Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route,” said Cronin. “All the troops that come through our installation for training take time to do a community service project such as beach clean ups and donate excess food that otherwise would end up in a landfill. These are just a few examples and doing these things as members of our communities is incredibly important to us.”

US Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area strongly believes in its mission to support troop readiness and positively contributing to the community.