Maui Guardsmen Respond to Hurricane Lane
By Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz, State of Hawaii, Department of Defense Public Affairs
/ Published September 18, 2018
LAHAINA, Hawaii --
Hawaii National Guard (HING) Soldiers and Airmen based on the island of Maui teamed up to respond to Hurricane Lane, Aug. 23-26, 2018.
As Hurricane Lane, a potent category four storm was advancing on the State of Hawaii, Task Force Maui - one of several Hawaii National Guard task forces created to execute the HING post hurricane response efforts – was stood up.
“I was impressed with the motivation and volunteerism of the Soldiers and Airmen,” said Air Force Maj. Jesse Park, Task Force Maui commander. “This led to the task force being able to commence operations just a couple of hours after we made very early wake up calls.”
Task Force Maui was comprised of 23 Soldiers from the 230th Engineering Company and 17 Airmen from the 292nd Combat Communications Squadron, of which Park is also the commander.
Maui Guardsmen assisted with evacuations and traffic flow control as brush fires exacerbated by Hurricane Lane’s high winds threatened some population areas.
“The Soldiers and Airmen meshed extremely well together from the start and we all looked forward to working with one another again…hopefully under better circumstances for the (Maui) county,” said Park.
Several guardsmen continued to assist in the communities even as operations for the task force officially came to close, standing down on Aug. 26.
1st Sgt. Marlon Domingo with the 230th Engineering Battalion, Master Sgt. Jeremy Akima and Master Sgt. Shannon Domingo from the 292nd Combat Communications Squadron joined other volunteers on their off-duty days to assist with clean-up efforts in Lahaina communities.
For the three guardsmen their volunteer efforts took on a personal feel.
“I’m from Lahaina, I live in Lahaina,” said Master Sgt. Jeremy Akima, a cyber surety Airman with 292nd Combat Communications Squadron. “This situation really affected the whole community and to be able to help…it’s something that I really like being a part of.”
According to Park the guardsmen demonstrated selflessness in a time when the communities really needed them.
“Though there was no shortage of commitment from all of our Soldiers and Airmen on the task force. A few of our service members took it a step further to volunteer their own time in assisting debris clearance efforts,” Park said. “These folks put aside their own personal needs and exhibited exemplary service to the county after coming off of 14 to15 hour days with the task force.”
The entire task force experience provided valuable lessons for the guardsmen.
“We were able to get a good working knowledge of our joint capabilities on the island and an idea on how operations will flow in the task force,” Park said. “Most importantly, we strengthened our relationships with each other and community leaders.”