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NEWS | Feb. 24, 2023

JTF-Red Hill Hosts Tabletop Communication Exercise

By Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Brown Joint Task Force Red Hill

Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF-RH) held a planning meeting, Feb. 9, in advance of a spill response exercise scheduled later this year here.

Officials held the meeting to work out final details of an exercise to test and enhance first responder effectiveness.

“This is the primer for the two mandated exercises from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the emergency state orders,” said U. S. Navy Capt. Michael O’Beirne, JTF-RH response director.

JTF-RH needs DOH and EPA approval before defueling.

“Right now we have 253 repairs going on where we identify, fix them, and get them quality validated to make sure there isn’t another spill,” said O’Beirne, “My job is to make sure that no fuel is released into the environment in case of another spill.”

JTF-Red Hill Response Directorate’s sole purpose is to protect the aquifer and environment by analyzing every possible spill scenario and developing appropriate mitigation measures.

“Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam has the first responders who are going to be doing the heavy lifting of immediate actions,” said O’Beirne. “They have response times they need to adhere to and it’s of the utmost importance for me to convey every scenario possible.”

“This was a coordination meeting for a very important project we have for defueling,” said James Hurley, emergency management senior planner for Navy Region Hawaii.

“We’ve all got to do this together.” said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Mark Schwartz, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam installation training officer. “Everybody's assigned their duties trying to get defueling accomplished.”

JTF-RH was established by the Secretary of Defense to ensure the safe and expeditious defueling of the RHBFSF.

For more information about JTF-Red Hill, please visit

JTF Red Hill Menu