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Marines Training In The Wilds Of Hawaii

Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. (February 7, 2024): It is the largest U.S. military training area in the Pacific few civilians know about. Situated on 133,000 acres of Hawaii’s “Big Island”, Pohakuloa is the central training facility for all U.S. and multinational forces in the Pacific. In this photo by Lance Corporal Clayton Baker, a Marine with 3d Littoral Combat Team, 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, guides his team through a marked path during a platoon attack during Exercise Bougainville III.  Bougainville III is a live-fire exercise to prepare the battalion to operate and support each other from dispersed locations.

The Pohakuloa site has firing ranges that allow units to conduct small-arms and crew-served weapons familiarization training and qualifications, as well as artillery and mortar live fire. Located 6,000 feet above sea level, the training area is perched between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa mountains on a barren landscape created by multiple volcanic eruptions.

The base was established during World War II as a Marine Corps artillery live-fire training area in preparation for the Iwo Jima and Saipan campaigns. Today, the facility has its own fire and police departments, an airfield with a 3,700-foot runway, a medical clinic, and even a post theater.

The installation can support up to 2,300 military personnel with rations, ice, fuel, and transportation along with a dining facility and other logistical support. Ever sensitive to the historical and cultural uniqueness of the area, the military employs more than fifty professionals dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered and threatened plants and safeguarding the natural resources of Hawaii.