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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Visits Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, Meets With Hawaii State Officials and Families

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III visited the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility today where he received an update from Rear Admiral John Wade on efforts to safely and expeditiously defuel the facility. Rear Admiral Wade was appointed by Secretary Austin on Sept. 19, 2022 to serve as the Joint Task Force – Red Hill commander, with the sole responsibility of leading the defueling effort of the facility. Joint Task Force – Red Hill, which will be manned with expertise from across the Department of Defense, has officially stood up and is operational under Rear Admiral Wade’s command. Joint Task Force – Red Hill will work closely with the Hawaii Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency throughout the defueling process.

The Secretary also met with Hawaii state officials, as well as with several families impacted by the Red Hill fuel release, to listen to their concerns and to discuss the defueling effort.

Secretary Austin directed the defueling and permanent closure of the Red Hill facility on March 7, 2022, after close consultation with senior civilian and military leaders. The expeditious and safe defueling of the facility is a top priority for the Secretary and the Department of Defense.

“Defueling and closing Red Hill is the right thing to do – for our service members, our families, the people of Hawaii, the environment, and our national security,” said Secretary Austin. “We are moving out and will defuel this facility as quickly and safely as possible. I am confident that Rear Admiral Wade will effectively lead this important effort and that he will work closely with the Hawaii Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the community.” 

DoD officials also announced today that U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michelle Link, who currently serves as the Executive Director for Operational Contract Support in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, has been selected to serve as Joint Task Force-Red Hill Deputy Commander. In addition, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lance Okamura, who currently serves as Commander of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo, has been selected to serve as the Joint Task Force – Red Hill’s Strategic Engagement Lead.