The mil­i­tary ex­er­cise in­volves air­craft and crews from 8 states and ter­ri­to­ries >>

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL MONEY - By William Cole wcole@starad­ver­tiser.com

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.

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