Hawaii is ideal for Stryker unit according to the Army
Mar- 2-2008 » Filed Under: 2/25 SBCT , Ft. Lewis
By Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star Bulletin
Despite the insistence by local environmental groups that Fort Lewis is a better location than Schofield Barracks, Army planners say there is no room at the Washington state base for another 4,000-member Stryker Brigade Combat Team and their family members.
Fort Lewis was the home of the Army's first combat unit built around the 320 eight-wheeled, 19-ton vehicles. Opponents like environmental lawyer David Henkin believe the Washington facility has the necessary room and its location near an Air Force transport base makes it a better choice than Schofield Barracks.
"In 2004, we were told we can't look at Fort Lewis because Fort Lewis has two Stryker brigades and can't take a third," said Henkin, who represents Ilioulaokalani Coalition, Na Imi Pono and Kipuka in a long-running legal battle protesting the Army's plan to convert one of the 25th Infantry Division's units to a Stryker unit. "Few weeks after they said that, they moved a third Stryker brigade to Fort Lewis and to this day Fort Lewis has three Stryker brigades."
In the draft environmental impact statement that recommended Schofield Barracks as the home of the Army's fifth Stryker unit, Henkin said Army leaders again ruled out a fourth Stryker unit at Fort Lewis, which he claims is an about-face from the Army's previous position.
On Feb. 22, the Army released a supplemental environmental impact statement that recommended Schofield Barracks as the base for a Stryker team. The study rejects Fort Lewis, saying it is "at its maximum capacity" in supporting three Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. "Accommodating the full requirements of an additional SBCT (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) would require an additional 192 acres of space within the cantonment area, temporarily discounting the fact that facilities could not be constructed in time," the study says.
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