All About the Money

The active and Air National Guard C-17 crews at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, aren’t getting the training they need in low-level and assault tactics in Hawaii because of the service’s money woes, reports the Honolulu Advertiser. The 4,200-foot assault landing strip planned for construction at the joint-use Kona International Airport is two years overdue, according to the newspaper, but service officials said the $28 million needed for the effort might appear in the Fiscal 2009 budget. Pacific Air Forces also wants to introduce a new low-level route—down to 300 feet over unpopulated areas and 2,000-feet over populated areas—and is still working on a draft environmental assessment but plans to publicly address some resident concerns over the new route. PACAF boss Gen. Howie Chandler said in January that the assessment for the use of the airport assault strip was done and wanted to move out on construction to reduce training expenses incurred by having to send Hawaii crews to the continental US to train. In mid-2006, Hickam received the last of its eight C-17s, which are operated and maintained jointly by the active 535th Airlift Squadron and ANG 204th AS.