Pohakuloa Training Area, or PTA, was first used during World War II as a Marine Corps artillery live-fire training area. U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Division and the 5th Marine Division trained at PTA and on the western side of the Big Island in preparation for the Iwo Jima and Saipan campaigns.
During World War II, few permanent structures existed; when the Marines trained at PTA, they slept in tents. After the war, PTA fell under the control of the Hawaii Territorial Guard, and in the mid-1950s, the U.S. Army took over PTA. From 1955-1958, Soldiers from the 65th Engineer Company built the distinctive Quonset huts, which are still in use.
PTA's 133,000 acres include an 80-acre cantonment area with a fuel yard, fire and police departments and an airfield with a 3,700-foot runway. The cantonment area also provides units with task-force headquarters, dining facilities, a troop medical clinic, a theater and the only Quonset-hut chapel in the Army.
The installation can support up to 2,300 military personnel with rations, ice, fuel and transportation.
PTA's firing ranges allow units to conduct small-arms and crew-served weapons familiarization training and qualifications, as well as artillery and mortar live fire. Through the years, PTA’s ranges and training areas have helped Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy units maintain their combat readiness and prepare for war. Most recently, 25th Infantry Division units, Kaneohe-based Marines and Hawaii Army National Guard Soldiers prepared at PTA for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to being a prime training area for military forces in the Pacific region, PTA is a vanguard of environmental and cultural protection. PTA Natural and Cultural Resources staff include more than 50 professionals dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered and threatened plants and safeguarding cultural resources at PTA.
Today, PTA stands as the premier military training area in the Pacific region. Units from all U.S. military services, as well as allied militaries, train at PTA, because it offers realistic training opportunities not found elsewhere. With several new construction projects underway, PTA stands ready to support military training well into the future.
The PTA command team and staff embody the Installation Management Command, or IMCOM, motto: “Sustain, Support, and Defend.”