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An Apache attack helicopter lifts off from a commercial port near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday April 24, 2016. Twenty-four Apaches were transitioned from units in five states, grouped in California, then shipped from San Diego.

An Apache attack helicopter lifts off from a commercial port near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday April 24, 2016. Twenty-four Apaches were transitioned from units in five states, grouped in California, then shipped from San Diego. (Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes)

An Apache attack helicopter lifts off from a commercial port near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday April 24, 2016. Twenty-four Apaches were transitioned from units in five states, grouped in California, then shipped from San Diego.

An Apache attack helicopter lifts off from a commercial port near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday April 24, 2016. Twenty-four Apaches were transitioned from units in five states, grouped in California, then shipped from San Diego. (Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes)

A maintenance crew readies a propeller on an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two dozen Apaches are in Hawaii as part of the Army’s two-year aviation restructuring of the 25th Infantry Division.

A maintenance crew readies a propeller on an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two dozen Apaches are in Hawaii as part of the Army’s two-year aviation restructuring of the 25th Infantry Division. (Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers take a final look at the rear wheel of an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii. Twenty-four Apaches arrived over the weekend via container ship. Maintenance crews spent Saturday preparing them for flight, and by Sunday morning the helicopters were lined up on a pier ready for a trip to Wheeler Army Airfield.

Soldiers take a final look at the rear wheel of an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii. Twenty-four Apaches arrived over the weekend via container ship. Maintenance crews spent Saturday preparing them for flight, and by Sunday morning the helicopters were lined up on a pier ready for a trip to Wheeler Army Airfield. (Wyatt Olson/ Stars and Stripes)

A maintenance crew readies a propeller on an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two dozen Apaches are in Hawaii as part of the Army’s two-year aviation restructuring of the 25th Infantry Division.

A maintenance crew readies a propeller on an Apache attack helicopter Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Two dozen Apaches are in Hawaii as part of the Army’s two-year aviation restructuring of the 25th Infantry Division. (Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes)

A soldier steadies a propeller on an Apache as a crew prepares it for flight after it had been stored for transport in a container ship from San Diego to Honolulu.

A soldier steadies a propeller on an Apache as a crew prepares it for flight after it had been stored for transport in a container ship from San Diego to Honolulu. (Wyatt Olson/Stars and Stripes)

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — Two dozen Apache attack helicopters are in Hawaii, part of the Army’s two-year aviation restructuring of the 25th Infantry Division.

The Apaches arrived over the weekend via container ship at a commercial port near downtown Honolulu. Maintenance crews spent Saturday preparing them for flight, and by Sunday morning the helicopters were lined up on a pier ready for a roughly 25-mile trip to Wheeler Army Airfield.

The squadron turned in its 30 Kiowa Warrior helicopters in January 2015.

“Now that we have our Apaches here we’ll start our individual training and working back up to our readiness level to be fully operational and capable by June 2017,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Martin, commander of 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.

The Apaches were transitioned from units in five states, grouped in California, then shipped from San Diego, said Maj. Jake Johnston, the 25th Infantry Division’s executive officer.

However, because there are only eight Apache pilots on hand, moving the 24 helicopters to Wheeler is being done over Sunday and Monday, with pilots shuttling back to the pier in a Blackhawk helicopter.

“Right now we’re in a transitional period of getting a whole lot of new Apache pilots and maintainers and whatnot coming in,” Johnston said.

“Then we’ll integrate them into the squadron, doing progressive training to get up to full use and capability.”

Most of that training will take place in Hawaii, with crucial live-fire aerial gunnery training slated for this September at the Pōhakuloa Training Area, he said.

Olson.wyatt@stripes.com Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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Wyatt Olson is based in the Honolulu bureau, where he has reported on military and security issues in the Indo-Pacific since 2014. He was Stars and Stripes’ roving Pacific reporter from 2011-2013 while based in Tokyo. He was a freelance writer and journalism teacher in China from 2006-2009.
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