Inouye says systems tested here were used in Iraq
WAIMEA – U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai’i, said yesterday that weapons systems tested on Kaua’i helped win the war in Iraq.
Calling high-tech defense industry experts operating on Kaua’i “silent defenders of America” and “silent defenders of democracy,” Inouye said defensive and offensive systems tested at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility were used with effectiveness in Iraq.
Inouye was on Kaua’i yesterday to participate in the dedication of the second phase of the West Kaua’i Technology Center in Waimea.
“Some things tested and developed here have somehow been in use over there,” he said.
Technicians involved in radar or laser research and training at PMRF are war heroes in Inouye’s book.
“Without their expertise and contributions, the war may still be going on. Let’s hope the next phase goes as smoothly,” he said.
Their contributions not only help the base and island’s economy, but the nation as well, he said.
“The fact that this is the only place in the world where you can conduct shallow-water (submarine) training is a tremendous advantage for us. The Persian Gulf is shallow water,” he said, and submarines fired early missile strikes on Baghdad and other Iraqi targets at the outset of the war.
Civilian contractors working on various components that together make up complex and effective offensive and defensive weapons can take credit as part of a winning team, too, he added.
“These systems are not the end product,” he said, using laser systems and components as an example of things being worked on here.
Inouye still finds it “remarkable” that less than 10 years ago Navy officials targeted PMRF on their base closing list in order to cut military spending, and now the base is one of the “treasures” of the national defense system.
“I think that’s quite a story,” the senator said.
Another compelling story is one about Kaua’i and Hawai’i young scientists being able to come home for work after honing skills at Mainland colleges and universities, he said.
“That makes me very happy,” Inouye said.
It was efforts by Inouye and others in the aftermath of Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992 that led Navy officials to reconsider a decision to close PMRF.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 224).