By Patty Coleman, Navy Region Hawaii Environmental Outreach
Sailors from the USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), USS Spruance (DDG-111) and the USS Sampson (DDG-102), who are currently participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, volunteered their time June 27 to work and learn about Native Hawaiian culture at the Halealoha Haleamau Burial Platform at Fort Kamehameha on the Hickam side of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Jeff Pantaleo, Navy Region Hawaii archaeologist, cultural resources program manager and Navy Native Hawaiian liaison officer, explained that this platform was created in consultation with the Native Hawaiian community to be a respectful way to properly preserve ancient Native Hawaiian remains or ‘iwi (ee-vee) that were discovered during various base construction and maintenance projects.
The platform is a replica of a traditional Hawaiian burial platform and is surrounded by a naupaka hedge, an indigenous plant that discreetly shields it from view.
As respectful stewards of the environment, the Navy and Air Force seriously accepts its responsibility in maintaining this burial platform. “It’s great, working with the ships,” Pantaleo said.
“Everyone is eager to learn about the Hawaiian culture and participate in a community out-reach opportunity like this located on base. It’s a win-win for all!”
This year’s RIMPAC, the 24th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 26 to Aug. 1. Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate.