Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar

Last week, Big Island Video News was invited onto the Pohakuloa Training Area military base off Saddle Road, to observe the U.S. Army’s assessment of the High Altitude Mountainous Environmental Training planned for Mauna Kea.

The idea has many in the local community up in arms over what is perceived as the continued expansion of the military in the Mauna Kea area.

However, army officials say these training flights actually have been going on for years.

“There are six (landing zones) on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa that we have used in the past,” says Col. Frank Tate, 25th Infantry Division CAB Commander in the U.S. Army, “to conduct this type of training on permits from the state of Hawaii.”

Col. Tate said the first time the HAMET exercises were done in the area was in 2003.

We will have more on this controversial issue throughout the week.