Marine Corps Controversy

Major Chris Perrine
Major Chris Perrine

WAIMANALO (KHNL)  --  Many Waimanalo residents are upset with the Marine Corps.  At the center of the controversy is an urban training warfare center. The Marines originally considered building a permanent 20-million dollar training facility at Bellows Air Force Station. Those plans were scaled back significantly, but the community is upset because they say they've been kept out of the loop, entirely.

This is the Bellows Beach most people will enjoy on labor day. But, not too far away is a simulated Iraqi village, here to help Marines train for Iraq and, that's making some Waimanalo residents very upset.

"I'm supportive of the training, just not here in Waimanalo. They have other places they can do it, they need to take it there," said Waimanalo resident Mabel Spencer.

But the military says that's not the case.

"There's really not the level of training that we need on Oahu, and this will give us the training that we need, said U.S. Marine Corps Major Chris Perrine.

Both sides agree one of the biggest problems is that the community was kept out of the loop when it came to planning this facility, which will be complete in early September.

"We really should have and definitely in the future we will make every effort to tell them everything," added Perrine.

The urban training site itself is made of 184 shipping containers, split into 4 so-called villages, like this. Its all set on obsolete runways from the 1920's.

"I hope that once they understand exactly what is happening here, that they will be more supportive of the training."

These residents haven't seen the facility yet, but they are concerned with the impact it may have on their community.

"Stop the training, stop the training, we're not going to settle for anything less than if they stop the training, said Spencer.