The military exercise involves aircraft and crews from 8 states and territories >>
The skies above Hawaii and Guam are suddenly a busy place for the U.S. Air Force, with fighters here for the regularly held “Sentry Aloha” exercise, and an unprecedented bomber presence on Guam.
Both are certain to get the attention of North Korea and China as tensions rise with those countries.
Sentry Aloha, now underway and running through the end of the month, is hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing and involves multiple types of aircraft including F-22 Raptors from Hawaii as well as F-16s from Texas and Ohio, and F-15s from Japan and Oregon.
The first Sentry Aloha this year involves more than 40 aircraft from eight states and territories and more than 800 personnel, the Hawaii Guard said.
“Sentry Aloha provides tailored, cost-effective and realistic combat training for U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and other Department of Defense services to provide U.S. war fighters with the skill sets necessary to perform their homeland defense and overseas combat missions,” the Air Guard said in a news release.
The Air Force said history was made this week, meanwhile, when all three of its strategic bombers — the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit — simultaneously took to the sky over Guam in their first integrated bomber operation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
All three aircraft have deployed independently to the Pacific in the past, conducting what the Air Force calls “power projection” sorties.
More than 200 airmen and three B-2 Spirit batwing bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri deployed to Guam as part of the “bomber assurance and deterrence” mission, while “several” B-1s are replacing the B-52s under what’s known as the “continuous bomber presence” rotating missions to Guam that have been ongoing since 2004.
The stealthy B-2s, which arrived “as a demonstration (of) commitment to the region,” will conduct local sorties and regional training and integration with partner nations, the Air Force said.
The Hawaii Air Guard held Sentry Aloha exercises in January and March 2015, with the March iteration including 45 aircraft and over 1,000 personnel.
The current exercise marks the first Sentry Aloha this year because the Hawaii Air Guard was busy with a Middle East deployment in which F-22s participated in strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. The fighters returned to Hawaii in April. admitted they could be due to other factors, such as mold and pollen.
>> Seventy-eight percent think the vog will affect their long-term health.
“There is no scientific evidence to support this, but it shows how concerned people are,” Horwell said.
Despite the spell vog played on most of those surveyed, 53 percent did not take any of the preventive measures previously recommended for voggy conditions.
Here are some of the things you can do, according the website hosted by Horwell’s International Volcanic Health Hazard Network:
>> Stay indoors with doors and windows closed. This can help reduce vog exposure over a few hours, depending on how well your house is sealed. Over the long term, outdoor air gradually seeps into a home, even if closed up. The house should be opened up again when vog levels decrease.
>> Air conditioning can provide comfort but is not designed to filter out vog. However, air conditioning dehumidifies the air, and some vog components might be pulled out of the air along with the moisture. When it’s voggy, set the unit to the “air recirculation” or “closed vent” setting to prevent the unit from pulling outdoor air into the home.
>> A room air cleaner can work to reduce levels of sulfur dioxide and particulates from the air. People living close to the volcano are exposed to both components, so they might want to use a specialized air cleaner that filters both. Those living farther away can use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) air cleaner designed to filter fine particles only.
Keep in mind that high-quality room air cleaners can be expensive and are designed for a room that can be closed off from the rest of the house and the outdoors. Also note that periodic filter replacement and other maintenance are required for air cleaners to perform as designed.
Other interventions that can help, Horwell said, including limiting strenuous activities, taking over-thecounter medications such as medicated and nonmedicated eyedrops and nasal sprays, and staying hydrated. Drinking hot beverages can help to loosen phlegm.
Ideas expressed in her surveys that were not included in the official advice, she said, include washing the skin and face to relieve skin irritation and respiratory symptoms, doing relaxation exercises such as yoga, and being around trees and other types of vegetation.
While some types of plants can clean the air, the official Department of Health advice must be firmly evidence-based and supported through the scientific literature, she said.
In addition, the Health Department does not recommend respirators, unless used under a doctor’s guidance, or face masks, which might not provide any significant protection against the components of vog.
The Vog Dashboard website is hosted by Horwell’s International Volcanic Health Hazard Network and is found at ivhhn.org/ vog.-
F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing lined the tarmac at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Wednesday. The visiting airmen and aircraft are participating in the Hawaii Air National Guard’s “Sentry Aloha” exercise.