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AmVets Hawaii Envisioned Historic Memorial Park Concept – DRAFT
Ewa Field – MCAS Ewa
Historic Memorial Park
Envision Plan and Concept Draft
Ewa Field-MCAS Ewa is a part of the ancient Ewa Plain coral reef Karst geology.
Ancient Ewa Field was used by Hawaiians for agriculture, habitation, trails and burials.
Western Era Ewa Field was used for cattle ranching, a sisal plantation and honey bee farming.
Ewa Field is historically linked to the communities of Ewa Villages and Oahu Railway
Ewa Field became an important historic site on December 7, 1941 and was directly involved in early major 1942 Pacific War battles as Ewa naval air station.
MCAS Ewa became a large scale Navy recreational area and WW-II memorial park after the air base was closed and absorbed into NAS Barbers Point.
MCAS Ewa Field was always intended by the Navy to be an open space WW-II memorial community recreational park.
The MCAS Ewa Land Parcels are designated LUO F-1 Federal and Military Preservation
NPS Pearl Harbor Historian Dan Martinez calls Ewa Field
Marine Air Group 21 at Ewa Field – The Birthplace of US Marine aviation in the Pacific
AmVets Hawaii Vision Concept Plan for MCAS Ewa Field Memorial Park
This is an envision concept and not a business plan or formal design plan. The park would be an educational, commemorative, environmental, ecologically self-sustaining long term project utilizing a dedicated core of military veterans, retired and active duty along with supporting family and local community. AmVets would also seek involvement of organizations like the Wounded Warriors, Youth Challenge Academy, university and high school JROTC and scout programs. Where possible AmVets would work with programs offered through the US Dept. of Interior (DOI), Fish & Wildlife (FWS) and Agriculture (USDA.) There is also extensive undocumented archeology that could be done by universities and colleges for educational purposes.
The park would have an historic WW-II memorial theme highlighting the contributions of all branches of military service in the Pacific war areas with emphasis on December 1941 to December 1942 battle histories. In addition the park would have a sustaining natural history and environmental ecological theme that is life affirming and supports the peace all veterans have fought for. Hawaiian cultural areas would be preserved and protected. Natural habitats for flora and fauna would provide haven refuge islands in a sea of ever increasing commercial land development in West Oahu. There would be memorial Victory gardens growing food, memorial flower gardens, native tree groves such as Wiliwili, walking and riding trails, memorial monument meditation sites remembering the fallen who gave their lives for Freedom, and a
melodic carillon chime tower.
The historic Barbers Point stables will be a living continuation of Hawaii’s long equestrian history of ranching Paniolo, western rodeo and therapeutic horsemanship. The park would have commemoration events for important national and state holidays, Pearl Harbor day, Veterans day, Memorial day, etc. and would involve the community through historic educational displays and interpretation of the crucial but largely forgotten 1942 period of the Pacific war.
Former MCAS Ewa was always intended to be an historic memorial WW-II park
It is important to remember that it was the original intention of the Navy to use the closed MCAS Ewa as a large recreational and memorial park that entirely preserved 1941 Ewa Field, its early 1942 mission as Ewa naval air station and evolution to MCAS Ewa and the headquarters for Fleet Marine Force Pacific. The site of the original headquarters building of General Geiger was specifically preserved as part of the later Barbers Point Gold Course, developed in two nine hole phases.
After the official closure of MCAS Ewa in June 1949, there was a period of several years, including the beginning of the Korean War, when the former Marine air station was considered for complete operational inclusion with NAS Barbers Point, including a connecting surfaced coral taxiway. However by the mid 1950’s plans were developed to replace the Pacific Barrier Squadron mission with Navy aircraft specifically designed for Soviet submarine tracking and Cold War intelligence gathering. Out of this new mission involved the expansion of a new generation of patrol aircraft and location of new mission headquarters and anti-submarine warfare center at the front entrance gate area of historic 1941 Ewa Field. Care was taken to not develop over any 1941 battlefield features for Building 972, built in 1958 and the later 1960’s
SOSUS Soviet submarine tracking data processing facility.
It was during this period of major new Navy air wing expansion that the decisions were made to develop former MCAS Ewa as a major recreational park for aircrews and families of the US Navy’s largest air wing. This included the new Orion Village housing development that allowed P-3 Orion aircrews a short walk from their homes and families to their patrol aircraft. At the time as a single naval air station the Patrol Wing 972 headquarters and ASWOC (Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center) on former MCAS Ewa was also just a short drive or walk away from Orion Village and the P-3 hangar and ramp.
The Cold War era mission of the P-3 patrol wing aircraft crews was long, dangerous and stressful as planes were frequently challenged by Soviet, Chinese and Korean fighter looking for an opportunity to shoot them down over the cold north Pacific.
It was at the time of this new NAS Barbers Point air wing expansion that the Navy command hired a visionary new Navy Special Services director by the name of Lt Cmdr. Wynn Junk, USN (ret.) LCDR Junk was not only an avid golfer and horseman he was also a highly decorated WWII aircraft carrier combat pilot awarded the Navy Cross at the recommendation of Admiral Chester Nimitz. Known as a positive thinking, gregarious personality, he was also an historian of MCAS Ewa Field and had a vision to make the former Marine air base into an almost utopian Cold War mission community recreational park within easy walking or bike riding distance of homes and offices.
Under the direction of retired LCDR Winfield Junk, Barbers Point Special Services director this would include an eventual 18 hole golf course, horse riding stables with rodeo arena, full gymnasium with workout machines and basketball hoops (former 1941 Ewa Field hangar,) overnight camping area as found in national parks, community “Victory” vegetable gardens, gocart track, tennis courts, soccer football field and remote controlled model aircraft flying on the WW-II runway. Also available was the fully operational historic swimming pool where Marines returned fire against attacking Japanese planes (completed in 1942.)
Historic features of the former MCAS Ewa were consciously designed to incorporate the 1941 Ewa Airfield and later MCAS Ewa historic sites in with the 18 hole BPGC with the intention of preserving it as an historic memorial park. (http://barbers-point.blogspot.com/ and subsequent oral history interviews with son David Junk, Navy patrol wing veterans and former base workers.) The park area is also an historic 93 year old Navy Mooring Mast airfield.
It is the intention of the American Veterans Hawaii historic memorial park plan to continue to honor and respect this visionary recreational concept of Navy war hero Wynn Junk buried at the National Cemetery of the Pacific – Punchbowl.
Special Services MWR History
Special Services later evolved into MWR – Morale, Welfare and Recreation as it is known on military bases today. Special Services was originally the entertainment branch of the American military, created during WW-II like the USO. This was a concept that actually goes back to the initial founding of the US military services and evolved into post exchanges, reading rooms and exercise rooms etc., keeping the military ready to fight with a balance of work and relaxation. Military exchanges provide a percentage of funding for Special Services – MWR on military bases.
Today this former military airfield park mission can continue for the benefit of the Ewa Kapolei West Oahu second city community in a way similar to the original intention of preserving Kapiolani Park as a an open space for recreation and relaxation in the midst of urban development. Kapiolani Park is historically significant for its past association with indigenous Hawaiian culture and the MCAS Ewa historic memorial park will also honor the stories of the Leina a ka ‘uhane (spirit leaping place,) Campbell ranch paniolos and the patriotic generosity of Alice Kamokila Campbell who during World War II allowed her Ewa property which she called Lanikuhonua (“where heaven meets earth”), to serve as an R & R retreat for army and navy
servicemen. Hawaiian burial and agricultural sites still exist on former MCAS Ewa and it is very fitting that rare Wiliwili trees and Yellow Ilima (Oahu’s official flower and choice of Hawaiian royalty) still thrive around the airfield boundaries.
Half the work already done for the MCAS Ewa historic memorial park.
With the visionary park planning of Lt Cmdr. Wynn Junk the mission for AmVets Hawaii now is to continue the plan and update it with further significance for local residents and visitors alike. It is unfortunate that the original MCAS Ewa historic memorial park plan was forgotten by later Navy real estate and (BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) officials when the area was chaotically divided up into weird real estate parcels without the intent of the original open contiguous green space memorial parkland and Ewa Field designated as just a small Site 5127 dot on a map. However ten years of research and a National Register listing has revealed much more than a small real estate dot. And there is much more to come as further research continues to reveal an historic airfield worthy of a National Historic Landmark and National
The MCAS Ewa Field historic memorial park has great 100% self-sufficiency potential with photovoltaic (PV) and still existing underground electrical and communications conduits with working sewer and water lines. The natural Karst limestone subsurface water caverns are filled by periodic rains which sustain the many native and exotic trees and plants which rarely need water. Ewa Field historic park could even employ a ranch type windmill for pumping water, as was found on the early ranches on the Ewa Plain. The riot of annual blooming flowers and Kiawe trees could also support honey bee hives, which was an historic Ewa Plain industry. AmVets Hawaii is already working on this strategic Bee Keeping initiative that will further Oahu’s agricultural self-sufficiency. Without bees, most plants and trees will die.
While American Veterans Hawaii seeks to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces in defending the United States and Hawaii Nei, AmVets will also strive to provide veterans, through the Ewa Field memorial park development project the positive healing properties and stress releasing satisfactions of working on and maintaining meaningful historic restorations, beautiful memorial landscapes and activities that foster public civic pride and benefits to the community. MCAS Ewa historic memorial park will be a commemorative place of recreation, relaxation and positive energy.
Reenactors in WW-II vehicles and uniforms would provide tours and interpretations. There could be a recreation of a mounted Marine horse patrol and color guard. The park museum could have a WW-II replica aircraft, vehicles, uniforms and artwork to help interpret the wartime era. An Oahu railway spur could be recreated again with a borrowed boxcar and tanker car from the nearby Hawaiian Railway Society. There could be horse or tractor drawn hay rides, ranch era horse carriages and buggy’s, and vintage 1940’s car taxis.
Other concepts for the park could include screened overnight bungalows, as was historically used by the Ewa Field pilots, that could be used by scouts or as a corporate retreat. There could be an outdoor base movie theater and even a WW-II style beer and wine bar decorated with Sisal as was done at the 1940’s airfield. A recreated Ewa control tower would allow visitors to see the larger WW-II airfield, commemoration gardens, memorials and natural preserves. Rental bikes would be available for riding over park trails which would also connect with the nearby Pearl Harbor historic trail which goes east to Pearl Harbor and west to Nanakuli. If Rights of Way were restored before now being obliterated, people could walk or bike on the original 1825 Malden Trails to UHWO, Kapolei Regional Park, West Loch Shoreline Park and White Plains Beach Park.
The Hawaii State Legislature passed the HCR 49 Ewa Field resolution on May 6, 2009, which three Oahu neighborhood boards passed as well, which stated:
URGING FULL PRESERVATION OF UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS AIR STATION EWA AS A NATIONAL MONUMENT, MUSEUM, AND RESTORED PARK FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII
Ewa Field Marines among first to battle Japanese by Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso
Why it makes historic, commemorative, recreational and financial sense
Based upon historic facts, the Ewa Field Historic Park is destined to become a National Historic Landmark, National Monument and National American battlefield. All other major Oahu December 7th battle sites are designated as National Landmarks already, except Ewa Field. Logic and historic equal treatment requires that Ewa Field be provided this recognition as well.
So let’s be intelligent and use it as a large regional park with a great historic memorial theme
that recognizes the actual history of the Ewa Plain, provides flora and fauna habitat and preserves Hawaiian cultural areas, rather than another commercial real estate development.
“The SHPD feels very strongly that additional historic resource inventory analysis, to include architectural, archaeological, and cultural resources, and to take the form of a cultural landscape report, need be completed prior to the completion of any land transfer action.”
“We are specifically interested by interpretation of former Marine Corps Air Station Ewa Field, the Navy dirigible mast station, related significance to the December 7, 1941 attack…”
— Hawaii Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Archaeology and Historic Preservation Manager
Hunt Corp Destroys Local Historic Landmark – Barbers Point 1943 MCAS Ewa Squadron Wall
Some do not want the historic memorial airfield park
Ewa Field Historic Park – Pacific WW-II History Museum, Ewa Field
The Ewa-West Oahu area has an enormous opportunity to be the location of a major visitor attraction- The Pacific WW-II History Museum.
It is extremely rare to find a still completely intact 1941 airfield, especially one that was attacked in the very first minutes of the greatest war mankind has ever experienced and changed nearly everyone’s life in the United States and Hawaii.
The real historic value of Ewa Field is that visitors can actually see and touch the actual 1941 airfield. They can actually see the bullet strikes and cannon fire marks made by attacking Japanese warplanes on the morning of December 7, 1941. Still very visible are extensive concrete spalling from intense fuel fires as shot up planes burned. This has not been paved over and all still there.
Ewa Field’s major 1942 battle history not well known
But Ewa Field represents much more than that – it became the Phoenix Rising From The Ashes as NAS Ewa and even designated Naval Air Station Barbers Point in early 1942 to serve as the critical front line Pacific combat airfield for training and staging Navy aircraft for the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942 and then the pivotal Battle of Midway victory in June 1942. The actual NAS Barbers Point was not ready for operations until the end of 1942. By then Ewa Field was already heavily supporting the famous Cactus Air Force at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal (August 1942 until December 1942.) Ewa Field Marine pilots had already won the first Pacific War Medals of Honor at the Battle of Wake Island and Midway and were busy creating more famous aces and MOH recipients at Guadalcanal.
The real history of Ewa Field and the major sacrifices made by its pilots and crews are barely known today and most memorials inscribed with KIA will never be seen at Wake, Midway, Guadalcanal or in the deep Coral Sea. Thousands of future visitors will come to see the MCAS Ewa KIA park memorials to these great Pacific battles of 1942. Well over a thousand people have come in cars and tour buses to the annual Ewa Field commemorations. The millions of visitors to the USS Arizona prove that the MCAS Ewa historic memorial park is a very viable attraction concept.
Ewa Field has good infrastructure and tour access
These WW-II attractions require going onto active military bases that are expensive to maintain while going to the MCAS Ewa park would be far easier and cheaper with greater recreational benefits. Because it is in an active airport tower air control space, helicopter tours could be easily accommodated. Many helicopter tour operations have their bases close by at Kalaeloa Airport and could bring in tourists from HNL and Ko Olina easily. The MCAS Ewa park is adjacent to the Ka Makana Mall (where AmVets has their annual Veterans Day event) which provides a wide range of popular shops and restaurants. All visitor conveniences only minutes away.
Ewa Field directly connected with historic Oahu trails and narrow gauge railway
Based upon the land that the City of Honolulu will be conveyed, this parcel would be ideally combined into a larger historic park and historic district that could include the National Register Oahu Railway Museum (HRS) which provides popular rides on their WW-II era rolling stock and diesel engines. During WW-II and the Cold War when the Navy ran the railway, 16 inch shells were brought by MCAS Ewa to West Loch Naval Ammunition Depot for battleships like the USS Missouri. Nearby Ewa Village is also listed as a State Historic District and the adjacent Oahu Railway line is on the National Historic register while the rail yard is on the State register.
WW-II and Cold War era buildings would make good park support facilities
There are several buildings- Quonset hut structures, revetments a 1944 aircraft hangar and the two story Patrol Wing Two building which are ideal structures for historic preservation to display aircraft, vehicles and various other historic artifacts of a museum quality.
The Ewa Field Historic Park could become a major international visitor attraction where people would come to see the historic WW-II December 7th airfield, see historic aircraft, vehicles, view re-enactments with fly-overs of vintage WW-II aircraft. It can all work together to be a substantial theme attraction, preserve open space and employ people in interesting and creative work opportunities.
And there would be the baseball fields, golf course, walking trails, bike trails, horse stables with protected cultural preserves for rare plants, trees, birds and xeriscape gardens.
What the Ewa Field Historic Park front gate might look like and a proposed museum building
using the 1944 MCAS Ewa hanger.
Friends of Ewa Field Historic Park will:
1. Provide Security Patrols – work with Weed and Seed and HPD
2. Coordinate with National Guard Youth Challenge Academy cleanups
3. Coordinate with veterans and active duty military for cleanups
4. Keep out vandals, vagrants and trash dumpers
Ewa Field Historic Park National Landmark Tourist Attraction:
1. Operate museum book-gift store to help cover administrative costs
3. Provide historic interpretation and educational tours
4. Puts Ewa-West Oahu on the national tourism map!
Ewa Field Historic Park will have a Museum:
1. Provide educational and history interpretation
2. Provide opportunities to learn preservation techniques
3. The Museum will showcase many photos, maps and authentic items
4. The Museum will have “hands on” historic experiences and exhibits
Ewa Field Historic Park Movie-TV Backlot:
1. Film and TV Production “back lot” resource!
2. Would host and stage authentic military war period equipment and
3. Provide a location for nationally popular “re-enactor” gatherings.
Ewa Field Historic Park – a Pearl Harbor December 7 Major attraction:
1. With just 10% of 1.56 million visitors, (Annual 2009 Pearl Harbor tourist visitors) the Ewa Field Historic Park would be a West Oahu visitor attraction success.
2. Become Disney – Ko Olina Resort West Oahu visitor attraction
Ewa Field Historic Park Military Vehicle Exhibits and Rides:
1. Public Education for schools, cadets, scouts
2. Place to learn Preservation Skills and Techniques
3. Historic Reenactments
Ewa Field Historic Park Area is Controlled FAA Airspace:
1. Allows for low flying aircraft and helicopter operation
2. The area could support helicopter tour helipads
3. Location can support local air tours within a 25-statute mile radius
Ewa Field Historic Park Veterans Cemetery – Honor Wall Columbarium:
1. West Oahu has no veterans cemetery
2. Veterans have expressed interest in Ewa Field veterans cemetery
Ewa Field Historic Park will provide wild areas preserved for native bird habitats:
1. Endangered Pueo – ground nesting, many nest/forage already at Ewa Field
2. Endangered Stilt – seen all around MCAS Ewa area
3. Many other wild bird species can also be found in the MCAS Ewa areas
Ewa Field Historic Park preserves endangered native plants and coral sinkholes:
1. Caves and holes can be restored and support rare native shrimp
2. Last remaining large colonies of rare endangered native Akoko plants
3. Native Hawaiian plant preserve areas where many already grow at MCAS Ewa.
Ewa Field Historic Park will use Alternative Solar Power:
1. Solar Powered museum electricity. Also windmill water pump.
2. Solar powered security and surveillance camera systems
Ewa Field Historic Park will:
1. Provide Horse riding trails to keep Hawaii’s Paniolo culture alive.
2. Connect with historic Pearl Harbor Historic Trail and Bikeway, allowing connection Between USS Arizona, Bowfin museums to Ewa Field Historic Park by bikescreating an historic eco-friendly bikeway tourism attraction
Ewa Field Historic Park:
1. Will be directly across nearby Roosevelt Avenue from the Ewa Train Museum, allowing for coordinated historic narrow gauge railway tours and events
2. Will be by the historic WW-II Midway aircraft revetments, allowing walking, biking and vehicular tours between the two adjacent historic locations.
Ewa Field Historic Park will:
1. Host annual commemoration and remembrance events
2. Host special veterans ceremonies on notable anniversaries and holidays
3. Host events such as weddings and appropriate cultural music concerts
Annual Save Ewa Field participant is Ewa Field attack veteran John Hughes
Historic Memorial Park Is The Logical And Always Intended Use
The combination of the many natural, cultural and historic features of former MCAS Ewa make it a very logical historic park. In fact further research into the closure of MCAS Ewa and the subsequent redevelopment of the former base by WW-II combat pilot and Navy Cross recipient Cmdr Wynn Junk all indicates a plan to make the area into a WW-II Pacific War Memorial Park. Everything about the design of the Barbers Point Golf Course shows a very careful greens and fairways design that preserved the original December 7, 1941 Ewa Field runways and ramps.
Baseball field where legendary Ted Williams played named for Capt. Melville Pride
In addition, later key Battle of Midway ramps were protected as well as the WW-II headquarters parcel of General Roy Geiger, a major aviation and combat leader during WW-II in the Pacific. Cmdr. Wynn Junk also named the MCAS Ewa baseball field, where baseball legend and Marine combat pilot Ted Williams played in 1945, for Admiral Melville Pride. Pride was also a major aviation pioneer of aircraft carrier operations and in WW-II was commander of the Belleau Wood, a Navy carrier that Wynn Junk served on in the Pacific War.
MCAS Ewa where 1969 Pearl Harbor movie “Tora, Tora, Tora” was filmed
Unfortunately the Navy allowed the hangar gym to be destroyed for the 1969 filming of “Tora, Tora, Tora,” today considered a classic December 7 movie by history fans.
MCAS Ewa has a large number of undocumented underground bunkers and caverns
The former MCAS Ewa was always intended to be used for training, and outdoor recreation conservation purposes. Part of the reason behind this use was likely because the Navy did not want to have to dig up the hundreds of subsurface and buried wartime artifacts, Dec 7 airplanes, cars, and known Karst cave ammunition bunkers around the WW-II air base.
The MCAS Ewa park area was sometimes used for 1980’s covert and special forces training
The Navy allowed MCAS Ewa Field use for various special military field training exercises associated with Cold War Special Forces operations as other evidence shows. Razor wire, spent blank 7.62 NATO machinegun rounds, gun oil boxes, etc. and oral histories of four barbed wire enclosed wooden buildings near the 1942 revetments. The 1980’s saw several special military training operations including likely for Grenada and Panama invasions. This was an era of the early creation of the Delta Force and Seal Team Six as advocated by Charles “Chargin’ Charlie” Beckwith. Building 972 at MCAS Ewa was HQ for the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC – later JPAC, etc.) From 1973 to 1974, Lt. Col. Beckwith served as commander, Control Team “B” with the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC.) Also, this era was around the period PACOM
commander Adm. Harry Harris was operations officer for Patrol Wing Two at 972 HQ.
The Army used the Ewa airfield areas for CH-47 Chinook helicopter transport training as the 147th “Hillclimbers” unit was based at nearby NASBP, having arrived from Vietnam in 1972 and remaining through the 1980’s. The Chinook unit may have also been associated with proposed CH-47 portable Hawk missile batteries for the closed MCAS Ewa runways. The proposed use for missile battery sites for a 1st Light Anti Aircraft Missile Battalion was considered likely to have adverse effects and was dropped. The Hawk was an early predecessor of later mobile Patriot missile systems. The Hawaii National Guard used to have two Nike Hercules batteries on the side of the Waianae range above Makakilo in the 1970’s.
“Cowboy Commander” Wynn Junk, founder of MCAS Ewa Historic Memorial Park
Wynn Junk was nominated by Admiral Chester Nimitz for the US Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. Junk was greatly interested in quarter horses, rodeos and was a great avid golfer. He made all of these recreational features and more his own recreational Disneyland at former MCAS Ewa for the benefit of P-3 Patrol Wing Two crews and their families.
As a Pacific War hero, the base commander of NAS Barbers Point gave him a virtual carte blanche with developing MCAS Ewa into a major naval air base recreational park. He was noted as being a great salesman with a positive attitude to win over Navy brass at the highest levels. He even convinced them to buy all the horses for the stables, the cattle for the rodeos and allowed him to grow horse and cattle feed around the Navy air station. The golf course was built with Navy air crew volunteers and borrowed navy base construction equipment.
The Barbers Point Golf Course fairways and greens are known to be somewhat “eccentric” because key historic sites were preserved. An oral history story states that pilot Junk or his Navy pilot pals flew to Mexico to bring in Bermuda grass for the greens as it was very hardy and smooth for putting. At the time Bermuda grass was banned in Hawaii by law. The 16th hole is built by an underground AA ammunition bunker, one of many at former MCAS Ewa. WW-II ammunition and occasional ordnance was found during course construction.
As a WW-II carrier combat pilot he knew the entire history of Ewa Field and made certain it was preserved as much as possible for future generations and for everyone’s enjoyment as an historic memorial recreational area. The Navy always preferred bunkers and gun battery sites covered over rather than digging them up, which is why so many survive today around former MCAS Ewa and the golf course.
WINFIELD HIGDON JUNK, LCDR US NAVY, WORLD WAR II, KOREA
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/28/1920, DATE OF DEATH: 12/16/1977
BURIED AT: SECTION I SITE 473, NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF THE PACIFIC
His carrier Belleau Wood received the Presidential Unit Citation and 12 battle stars during World War II. His carrier Captain Melville Pride, later became the US Navy 7th Fleet commander. Junk named Ewa’s Pride baseball field after his former commander but the name today is widely assumed to be “Ewa’s Pride” baseball field after a local Ewa team won the Little League World Series. Many also assume Geiger Road and Geiger Park in Ewa by Gentry is named for a plantation manager but is actually named for Marine General Roy Geiger who was a hero to many during the Pacific War as the “air-ground” general.
Lieutenant Commander Winfield Higdon Junk’s Navy Cross citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander [then Lieutenant] Winfield Higdon Junk, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrierbased Navy Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron TWENTY-ONE (VT-21), attached to the U.S.S. BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands, on 19 and 25 October 1944. Leading four planes in a raid on enemy shipping in Manila Harbor on 19 October, against fierce enemy opposition, Lieutenant Commander Junk aided in the damaging of a large tanker and a cargo ship. Flying in low over his target in the face of severe anti-aircraft fire during the Battle for Leyte Gulf on 25 October, he pressed home a close-range
attack against an enemy Task Force to score a direct and damaging hit on an aircraft carrier.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Belleau_Wood_ (CVL-24) General Orders: Commander 2d
Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0852 (December 22, 1944) Action Date: October 19 & 25, 1944,
Company: Torpedo Squadron 21 (VT-21) Division: U.S.S. Belleau Wood (CVL-24).
LCDR Junk was the 118th Navy Pilot to fly a jet and the FIRST Navy Jet Pilot to enter the Air Force’s Test Pilot Program in Mojave, CA.
Ewa Field National Register Boundaries
This property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in accordance with the attached nomination documentation subject to the following exceptions, exclusions, or amendments, notwithstanding the National Park Service certification included the nomination documentation.
In approving this nomination form, the National Park Service does not fully agree with the statement found in Section 7, page 2, second paragraph, that ” …only Ewa Field retains sufficient architectural, archeological, and/or landscape integrity to convey its historical significance. “While there may be insufficient survey documentation at this time with which to properly evaluate the National Register eligibility of other components of the broader Battle of Ewa Plain, additional field survey and research efforts may yet identify additional resources. As noted in the National Register’s previous comments on the Ewa Mooring Mast Field determination of eligibility, we believe that the Field may be only one eligible component of a potential larger district whose boundaries and contributing resources have yet to be fully defined. Upon further investigation, the proposed boundary could be reevaluated based evaluation of both above and below ground associated resources at the Ewa Plantation Villages as well as Ewa Beach .
Signed NPS Keeper, Paul Loether, 5-23-2016
AmVets Hawaii Mission
AMVETS Hawaii mission is to provide advocacy, support and assistance for military, veterans and their families; To inform, influence and inspire; and To honor and never forget those who died not only at Ewa Field, but also those many more who died in sea battles or distance coral atolls – Coral Sea, Midway, Wake- their names often never recognized or mentioned for their sacrifices. AMVETS are the official Keepers of the USS Arizona Memorial Wall which was rededicated Veterans Day 2014.
Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future
Preserve and Honor: Remembering the legacy of those who came before us
– Educate and Inspire: Passing the legacy on to the generations who will follow
It is our duty and our solemn vow to never forget those who fought and died. Let us always honor the brave men of the USS Arizona with this memorial so they may rest in peace among the waves and know they will never be forgotten.
President Lincoln said that speeches and statues are not an adequate repayment for service in defense of one’s country. One day of remembrance is simply not enough for what these veterans did 73 years ago. For we are able to choose freedom today because of the bravery of those men and women whose fate, on that day, had been chosen for them.
AMVETS, which had its beginnings in 1944 near the end of World War II, shoulders the responsibility to see to it that the United States never forgets those who served and died at Pearl Harbor. Realizing that freedom is best protected through strength, we will continue to stand firm on national defense issues.
Hawaii Veterans Beekeeping Project (HAVE-BEE PROJECT) aims to develop beekeeping on Oahu and the Big Island in Hawaii by training and teaching veterans on honey bee biology, colony management and increase the welfare of veterans in rural areas. Bee Keeping has major historic roots on the Ewa Plain and was essential for fostering agricultural industries and creating sustainable food supplies. AmVets Hawaii sees training and empowering veterans as Bee Keepers is an important strategic investment in Hawaii’s agriculture and horticulture food production future.
The many karst caves and sinkholes around MCAS Ewa Field and the revetments also provide homes for wild honey bees that are descendants of a once major Ewa honey production industry that also included many independent operations as well as the Hawaiian Honey Company. Incorporated in 1901, HHC was located along the Oahu Railway in Ewa, west of Ewa Mooring Mast Field, and managed approximately eighteen hundred colonies of hybrid bees, yielding some180,000 pounds of honey annually and shipping fifty to sixty tons of honey and wax from Honolulu each year.
National Historic Landmark Monument Status Adds Community Value, Civic Pride
Studies across the nation have conclusively demonstrated that historic designation and the creation of historic districts, landmarks, monuments actually increase property values. Why?
In part, historic designation gives a neighborhood or an individual historic site a caché that sets it apart from ordinary properties. Many seek out the unique qualities and status of a nearby designated historic property.
Important historic sites attract “heritage tourism,” preservation creates new jobs with classier investments rather than typical mall sprawl, jammed together buildings with tiny parks.
“As President Franklin Roosevelt said in his final inaugural: “The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. And there is no responsibility greater than keeping faith with the men and women who serve, so that our country serves them as well as you have served us. Let that be our calling.”
Ewa Field has a rich community history with nearby Ewa Village and the historic Oahu Railway which directly served the airfield with rail passenger service and was also as an important logistical carrier
Park Security and Management Outline
The City of Honolulu has made various “adopt a park” and non-profit management arrangements with groups like the Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens that manage several gardens on Oahu, the Kapolei Archery Club which has exclusive use of Fort Barrette-Puu-oKapolei, Hawaii Plantation Village which has a plantation theme on City land, and Koko Head Stables which is also a botanical garden and cultural site. There are various models available. AmVets Hawaii would directly, or possibly through a new separate non-profit entity, maintain the City parcel land area in an agreement with the City Department of Parks and Recreation in a manner using models that are successful, as indicated above.
The primary theme would be to honor and remember those who have been largely forgotten in the early Pacific War battles of 1942. Around this main military history theme, the Ewa Field park concept would also provide interpretation features on ranching history, sisal plantation history, bee keeping (a onetime major Ewa industry of great importance,) and a xeriscape botanical garden with both native and exotic cacti, succulents, etc. There would be walking and horse riding trails through natural and cultural preserves. Hawaiian sites would be protected.
Historic Memorial Park Area Security
For security AmVets Hawaii would help raise funds for wire fencing and horse ranch gates as well as reinforced metal security gates as seen on military airfields. In the past there have been major problems with individuals breaking in to drag race and doing drifting, leaving large amounts of rubber, metal debris, oil and skid marks. This also creates a major fire hazard as well as noise pollution heard up to a mile away. Key entrances off main roads require the heavy security gates. Inside the park area lighter ranch style gates would be used to protect specific areas such as preserves.
There is ample nearby electric grid sources with underground electric conduits all over the former WW-II airfield. However hidden security cameras could be solar powered to document gates and help provide security.
The main entrance to the Ewa Field Park area would have a base gate guard post but may or may not be actually occupied. The park would restore and use some of the existing WW-II Quonset huts for storage and administration. There is also a 1944 hangar that could be used as a museum for military vehicles and associated collections. AmVets would restore the 1545 Quonset hut into a storage and support in office, restored to WW-II Era condition. In addition the historic two story Cold War era Patrol Wing Two 972 building would also make an excellent museum building and park office.
The 1944 hanger building is on Henderson Road, named for Battle of Midway pilot Lofton Henderson and which was also the name of Ewa Field’s sister air base Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. This hangar is in good condition and rated historic building. Henderson Road also continues to the 1942 Battle of Midway revetments and Barbers Point Stables. The nearby base road is Coral Sea Rd.
Another potential use of the restored WW-II park areas is as a “back lot” for shooting movies and TV shows. Kuoloa Ranch has raised extra ranch funds with this production business.
Site Development – Infrastructure
Infrastructure – the airfield site actually has significant infrastructure because of many existing WW-II roads, most paved, and still existing runways and taxiways. Also because it was an airfield there were extensive underground electric and telecommunications conduits and vaults installed everywhere as well as sewage and water lines, including fire plugs. Therefore only a very small amount of funds would be needed to start up an operational park of the type AmVets Hawaii envisions.
The future park has excellent existing infrastructure connectivity to main highways, water, sewer mains and is adjacent to a major airport. In addition the park site could support helicopter tour landings. There are numerous other nearby Kapolei hotel and restaurants nearby suiting nearly all tastes and budgets as well as numerous golf course facilities, etc.
Historically, the Navy always intended the entire former MCAS Ewa area to be a large regional WW-II Pacific war memorial park as designed by Navy Cross WW-II combat hero Cmdr. Wynn Junk who supervised the former MCAS Ewa memorial park master plan for the Navy in the 1960’s.
AmVets Hawaii wants to continue the memorial legacy of Navy hero Cmdr. Junk with a memorial wall of early 1942 Pacific War Killed In Action names and a musical carillon as found at other major veteran sites sponsored by American Veterans. http://amvetsnsf.org/carillon/
The Karst geology at the MCAS Ewa memorial park
The historic memorial park would have historic and cultural tours, walking-horse riding trails, historic interpretation, protected historic and cultural preserves, a museum with airfield history from 1925 through 1952 with landscaping and habitat preserves reflecting the variety of flora and fauna found on this very unique Karst geology that few people actually know much about.
The Karst is actually part of an important ecosystem that feeds fresh water to the shore and reef creating the limu which is an important foundation of the marine ecosystem. It is important that this be preserved or all the shores will be barren of fish as there will be nothing for them to eat. This also means a great reduction in shore fishing. Polluting and destroying the Karst ecosystem is turning the reef into barren and dead seascapes.
Zoning and Planning
The former MCAS Ewa lands are still currently owned by the US Navy and the proposed park area is compatible with the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) general plans. The Navy lands are listed as F-1 Preservation and all post base closure maps show the former MCAS Ewa as an intended regional park and open space area.
The Navy had no intention of digging up the huge amounts of subsurface concrete bunkers, buried airplane wrecks and concrete gun positions and preferred that the entire area be used for passive recreational uses serving military government personnel, families and guests.
Major Political Support for Ewa Field For Many Years
The first Ewa Field commemorations likely go back to the 1960’s but are not documented. The first Ewa Field marker was installed in the early 1970’s by Geiger Road when it was still inside the active Navy airbase. The Save Ewa Field movement began in 2008 with a commemoration at the actual bullet marked battlefield ramp and have continued every year since then.
In 2009 local Oahu neighborhood boards passed resolutions supporting MCAS Ewa as a preserved park, national landmark and monument with history museum. The Hawaii State Legislature in 2009 also unanimously passed resolution HCR-49 supporting MCAS Ewa as a preserved park, national landmark and monument with history museum, and this was also endorsed by the DLNR Chair as the State’s Chief Preservation Officer.
Ewa Field commemorations have hosted many WW-II veterans and their families, with support from American Veterans, the National Park Service, all branches of the military, the Ewa Kapolei community, civic clubs, history associations, local businesses, etc. Many more nationwide letters of support were collected for the National Register nomination of Ewa Battlefield in 2016 and then again in 2017 another large number of support letters were collected including from neighborhood boards, and nearly all of the area political representatives, supporting the former air station as a memorial park, museum site, National Historic Landmark, etc.
Ewa Mooring Mast Field was established by the US Navy in 1925 as an airship station and then reconfigured again in the 1930’s with a circular railway for a new generation of airships. However the looming likelihood of a second world war caused major expansion plans of the Ewa ranchlands south of the Oahu Railway line for Marine and Navy airfields. In January 1941 Marines were sent from the San Diego area to create an expeditionary Pacific air base. Nearly finished construction and having just sent key air units to Midway and Wake island, the airfield was attacked on December 7, 1941 by Imperial Japanese naval air forces with four defending Marines killed.
The surprise attack resulted in the Navy immediately diverting massive funds and personnel intended for NAS Barbers Point airfield construction to the incredible rapid expansion of the largely undamaged Ewa Field base. The Navy moved into Ewa Field with two aircraft carrier air groups and a Carrier Aircraft Service Unit (CASU) and even commission it as Barbers Point Naval Air Station (leading to a great deal of confusion.) It was also referred to as NAS Ewa as work later resumed on NAS Barbers Point airfield. Later in 1942 Marine Corps Air Station Ewa was created as work was nearing completion of NAS Barbers Point. MCAS Ewa became the major USMC aviation hub in the Pacific for pilot training, supply logistics, combat squadron formation, Pacific air transport service and Pacific theatre support headquarters.
NAS Ewa in early 1942 played a major role in Navy and Marine aircraft staging for the very important Battle of Coral Sea and the decisive Battle of Midway, considered the most important battle in US naval history. Many of the famous Navy and Marine combat pilots, squadrons and carrier air groups of the Pacific War were formed and trained at the greatly expanded 1942 Ewa Field. Among famous people associated with Ewa Field: – Aviation legend Charles Lindbergh, President Roosevelt, Admiral Nimitz, General MacArthur, Admiral Halsey, General Geiger, Sec Nav Forrestal, baseball legend Ted Williams and various 1940’s movie stars, etc.
Ewa Field squadrons produced the first Pacific War Medal of Honor recipients and many later
ace combat pilots.
Ewa Field was been placed on the National Historic register in May 2016. Ewa Field is the only major Pearl Harbor attack site that has not yet been made a National Historic Landmark. (Status: All of the other Pearl Harbor attack sites – Hickam, Wheeler, Kaneohe, Ford Island are NHL’s except Ewa Field.)
The historic memorial park area was within the boundaries of Campbell’s active ranch lands and then a later Sisal plantation. Evidence of the ranch era and sisal plantation era are still evident and would be reflected in the historic park cultural interpretation. The most sensitive Hawaiian cultural areas with burials, rare native plants, caves, sinkholes would be fenced as protected preservation areas. Archeology surveys have found ancient bird bones in the sinkholes and well as Hawaiian iwi remains.
Site Xeriscape Landscaping, Karst geology and honey bees
Vegetation: The park would utilize the many known successful Ewa Field drought tolerant species in a xeriscape plan that would require little if any watering. The Karst geology also provides subsurface water containment and streams of fresh water.
In fact Ewa Field areas can be surprisingly beautiful with blooms of many kinds of both native and introduced species attracting large numbers of wild honey bees that live in the subsurface Karst caverns and sinkholes. The bees provide important pollination for plants and trees in at least a 4-6 mile area of their range and are a known historic feature of the Ewa Plain encouraged by ranchers and farmers for over 100 years. Ewa Kiawe honey is considered one of the very best in the world.
Ewa Field has invited you to view photos in the following shared folder:
Ewa Battlefield blooming spring season Open
Honey Bees: The wild honey bee populations around Ewa Field living in Karst caves and sinkholes were a well known feature for Ewa Plantation residents who gathered honey prior to the war. In fact these Ewa Field bees are the ancestors of the once thriving honey bee industry on the Ewa Plain area near 1925 Ewa Mooring Mast Field.
Honey Bees: The Ewa Kiawe honey production industry also included many independent operations as well as the Hawaiian Honey Company. Incorporated in 1901, HHC was located along the Oahu Railway in Ewa, west of Ewa Mooring Mast Field, and managed approximately eighteen hundred colonies of hybrid bees, yielding some180,000 pounds of honey annually and shipping fifty to sixty tons of honey and wax from Honolulu each year. Honey Bees today remain one of the most important links in the ecological food chain and the Ewa Field park will have honey bees as a key park natural resource as well as preservation of the Karst caves and sinkholes.
Aloe: We have spent years photographing and cataloging vegetation species that includes native Hawaiian and introduced species. These plants include many thriving Aloe patches which bloom in orange and yellow colors. Aloe has important medicinal qualities and they would be encouraged for landscapes and for their drought resistant qualities.
Wiliwili: The large tree species would include Wiliwili. This tree species still survives at Ewa Field and has many traditional uses and special cultural meaning for native Hawaiians. Ewa Field would replant and restore the ancient Wiliwili groves among the Karst caves and sinkholes.
Cactus: The Ewa Field park area also includes many forms of cactus which are most likely a result of the Paniolo ranching era as there are also remains of old cattle-Sisal dividing walls around the airfield. Some of these may also possibly have been introduced when Ewa Marine squadrons were known as the Cactus Air Force https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus_Air_Forcehttp://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/history-up-close/birth-of-the-guadalcanals-cactus-airforce/
Starfish Flower: The origin of the Ewa Field Marine expeditionary force and its link to Southern California San Diego air bases resulted in Southwest desert plants being brought in for ground cover that have thrived all over the former airfield area. This includes the Starfish Flower Cactus which was originally from Africa. Appearing spiney and dangerous, the spines are harmless and easily handled while the cactus part can actually be eaten as “famine food.” Unfortunately the beautiful flower produces a bad odor. They thrive everywhere at MCAS Ewa and are good ground cover requiring no watering.
Sisal: Other featured plants at the park would be the predominate Sisal. Ewa Field was constructed on a former Sisal plantation as all early history photos show and these extremely hardy plants still dominate the MCAS Ewa park area. The historic memorial park would have a Sisal exhibit area explaining the industry and its useful products. The Ewa Marines used Sisal stalks extensively around their huts and social gathering areas.
Yellow Ilima: Ewa Field has huge amounts of thriving Yellow Ilima. The official flower of the Island of O’ahu it was the flower of choice for leis by Hawaiian Royalty. It needs little care and grows like a weed everywhere. It has native medicinal qualities and wild honey bees love it.
The MCAS Ewa historic memorial park has several options for entrance roads for cars and buses and supporting helicopter tours directly from the Ewa Field ramp to and from Ko Olina, HNL and nearby John Rogers Field (Kalaeloa Airport). This is very feasible because Ewa Field is part of the local FAA tower controlled airspace run by the Hawaii Air National Guard.)
The airfield park is next to an historic district area adjacent to the State and National Register Hawaiian Railway Museum and King David Kalakaua chartered narrow gauge Oahu Railway that provides extremely popular nearly daily train rides. Railway spurs ran into Ewa Field and the park could have WW-II restored track, railway boxcar, tanker car on static exhibit.
The airfield park is next to an historic district area adjacent to the State registered Ewa Plantation Villages. This is an historic plantation community with very significant architectural features that history and national register experts stated should have been placed on the National Register.
The park museum would not attempt to duplicate other air museums with fleets of airplanes but instead use a few reproduction aircraft, vintage military vehicles and equipment to provide educational experiences.
Other Uses and Services
The park could support overnight or weekend retreats for civic groups, scouts, corporate groups in a theme of a WW-II era camp experience. This would mean low cost inexpensive bungalows as used by the military pilots with a mess hall-chow hall serving plate lunches.
Cultural and Environmental
The park area is known for a number of both native and introduced bird species. Siting of Pueo and Barn owls is common (even occasional wild pigs) as well as Koloa (plover) Stilts (which prefer the golf course area) and introduced Francolins, Quail, Chukar and even at least one healthy Peacock. The park would have preserve areas for avian wildlife to continue to thrive and would work with DLNR and FWS advisors. It may require a Habitat Preservation plan.
Large dragon flies: Are often seen in very dry areas because of the many Karst caves and sinkholes that collect water or are feed by subsurface streams. This area could also be a habitat for the rare Hawaiian damselfly and butterflies. Wild honey bee hives can be found in some of the sinkholes. It appears these vertical coral pits provide a safe and defensible home as well as a close source of water that collects in the bottom of the coral pits. Honey bee farming was once a major industry on the Ewa Plain and box hives can be found in nearby agricultural areas.
Hawaiian sites – trails
Where possible the original route of the 1825 Malden Hawaiian Kualaka’i trail would be recreated but not likely using the original ancient coral rock. Oral histories indicate there was an agricultural ahu platform made out of smooth corals in the northwest corner of the air base which was likely used to later construct ranch and sisal dividing walls. The walls are still there in various places and are most apparent in the lot next to the WW-II MCAS Ewa warehouse district. These smooth water worn coral flags indicate they came from subsurface caves which have been found nearby. The former Ewa Field air station provides a rare reservoir of preserved archeological trail and cave sites on the Ewa plain for investigation by future archaeologists.
“The former Ewa air station may provide the only reservoir of preserved archeological sites on the Ewa plain for investigation by future archaeologists.” David Welch, Ph.D., International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc. 1987 Archeological Reconnaissance, MCAS Ewa.
Important Links To Historic Pacific Battles
Ewa Field has already been placed on the State and Federal NPS National Register as a battlefield. However it has many important additional links.
The attack on Pearl Harbor and Ewa Battlefield are directly linked to the December 7th air attack, however Ewa Marines on Wake Island were attacked at almost the same time and today their sacrifice is almost entirely forgotten. And the Battle of Midway revetment locations still exist where the actual planes that flew in that key naval battle at Midway Atoll in June, 1942.
Ewa Field Historic Park would incorporate parts of the city park and a preservation area dedicated by the Hunt Corp., which leases this US Taxpayer owned land from the Navy.
Save Ewa Field sees this area being used by walkers, bikers, hikers and horseback riders. It can be easily connected to the Pearl Harbor historic trail. The 1825 Malden Hawaiian Kualaka’i trail runs along the west side of the former base.
Submitted Comments to 2008 Ewa Master Plan by John Bond
Section 3.2 Regional Parks and Recreational Complexes
Preservation of Ewa Field as part of a regional city park and location of future Museum.
The Ewa Field Historic Park area would be part of the Kalaeloa Regional Park plan. This specific park area would add great value to the regional park and would be a gathering place for family events and bring national recognition as a National Historic landmark. Preserved military buildings would serve to house collections of military aircraft and vehicles and also provide a production “back lot” for attracting TV and Movie productions to the Ewa area.
The Ewa Master Plan spoke of protecting open space and protecting natural, historic and cultural resources. Ewa Field encompasses numerous aspects of this Oahu planning agenda and would also create a significant economic benefit as a visitor attraction. The huge number of annual visitors to see December 7 sites at Pearl Harbor attests to the public interest in meaningful WW-II historic attractions. Ewa Field has its own visible Dec. 7 battlefield sites with rare and unique fighter plane revetments that are connected with the historic battle of Midway.
There has been significant local support expressed for preserving the former active Marine Corps Air Station land as part of a regional historic park with museum. There is a big historic story to be told about Ewa Field that existed from 1925 to 1952, including its use as a major Pacific airbase for air transports and fighter planes during the Pacific War from 1942-1945.
Virtually all famous USMC Fighter Aces and many Navy Aces passed through and trained at MCAS Ewa while the base was a crucial support for Pacific War “Island Hopping” invasion plans and operations. Ewa Field basically preceded the command center of what is known today as Camp HM Smith, the Pacific Command. General HM Smith’s FMF PAC air operations HQ was at MCAS Ewa during WW-II.
The Ewa and Waipahu Neighborhood Boards have passed unanimous resolutions supporting the preservation of the lands comprising Ewa Field/MCAS Ewa. The Kailua Neighborhood Board also passed a resolution in support of Ewa Field preservation.
There is very widespread local support for recognizing the historic value of this very old Hawaii Aviation airfield with its unique airship Mooring Mast air traffic control tower. Nowhere else in Hawaii was there such a technologically advanced aviation field as this field was in 1925.
Numerous local and national veterans and historic groups have also advocated preservation and the 2009 Hawaii State Legislature has a pending bill, HR-1409, supporting the preservation of Ewa Field/MCAS Ewa lands and placing them on the National Historic Register.
The best possible solution for the Ewa Master Plan is for Ewa Field to be joined with other properties that the US Navy intends to transfer to the City of Honolulu and combined into an Ewa Field Historic Park. The National Park Service and US Department of Agriculture have potential funds which could be available to survey, restore and administer a Battlefield Park.
Future Ewa Field Historic Park – A Major West Oahu Visitor Attraction
A future Ewa Field Historic Park could become West Oahu’s biggest tourist attraction. Pacific Business news has pointed in articles out how big December 7, 1941 tourism is.
Ewa Field has actual combat strafing marks and aircraft burn marks that can be examined and photographed by visitors- giving them a direct and visual link to major World History.
Pearl Harbor is Hawaii’s number One visitor attraction and we see an Ewa Historic Park as a popular attraction that mainland and international visitors will want to see.
National Park Service and various other grants are available for projects like this- so the design, construction and maintenance can be accomplished through Federal funds, private funds and
visitor attraction fees.
WW-II site visitors are not just old veterans, but families with young children- many Americans still feel a very strong connection with WW-II history and keep returning to these sites again and again. The 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary brought 500 people to Ewa Field.
A just published PBN article says that World War II sites on Oahu attracted more than 2.1 million visitors last year, even as other Hawaii tourism sites lost visitors and money.
The USS Missouri had the best summer in the association’s history- over 400,000 visitors.
The WW-II Ewa Field battle site could easily attract many thousands of visitors, as well as some other unique West Oahu attractions like historic Fort Barrette, which also saw combat on December 7, 1941.
HERITAGE TOURISM: Did you know that December 7, 1941 is Hawaii’s BIGGEST SINGLE TOURIST ATTRACTION?
******** Pacific Business News ***********
Visitor industry thrives on rich military history – Pacific Business News
With 1.56 million visitors, the Arizona Memorial was Hawaii’s top tourist attraction last year, eclipsing even the Big Island’s active Kilauea volcano and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii abounds in natural attractions and cultural history. But the events of one Sunday morning in December 1941 still are central to an industry that attracts more than 7 million visitors to the Islands each year. The Arizona Memorial, run by the National Park Service, is not the only World War II attraction at Pearl Harbor.
“From my perspective as a historian, it is really an exciting time,” said Daniel Martinez, the Arizona’s historian with the National Park Service. “At a time in which our World War II generation is passing away, we are able to live up to the promise we have made to our Pearl Harbor survivors and World War II veterans, to keep the memory and the lessons alive.”
It’s not just Americans who come to see Pearl Harbor. Headsets offering a one-hour audio tour are available in French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, German and Spanish as well as English.
“Sixty-four years after the end of World War II, marked by the Sept. 2 surrender of Imperial Japan on the Missouri as it anchored in Tokyo Bay, Hawaii’s war history is bigger than sun, surf
“This summer was the best the association ever had,” said Michael Carr, president and chief operating officer of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit. “If the trend had continued we would easily have exceeded 400,000 visitors this year.”
“You’d think it was just old World War II types coming, but that’s not the case,” Carr said. “It’s families with young children, people who say their father or brother served in the Navy, a wide range of people who still have a connection that somehow brings them here.
Currently the Ewa Field Land is under the legal control of the US Navy BRAC office in San Diego which has the authority to transfer the battle site land to the City through the US Department of Interior- which the NPS in Hawaii could then include the area as a National Park unit, after a feasibility study is conducted. This requires a bill submitted to Congress.
US Coast Guard Dolphin flies over in Fly-Over Tribute to Ewa Field Military and Civilians killed
Many of the USMC WW-II Medal of Honor and Ace Pilots trained and passed through MCAS Ewa, as well as early 1942 Navy pilots.
There are plans underway to develop a Pacific WW-II military vehicle museum at historic MCAS Ewa Field
Ewa Field resolution HCR 49 was passed by the Hawaii State
Legislature on Wednesday, May 6, 2009
URGING FULL PRESERVATION OF UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS AIR STATION EWA AS A NATIONAL MONUMENT, MUSEUM, AND RESTORED PARK FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Land and Natural Resources submit a report no later than 20 days before the convening of the 2010 Regular Session on the research, battlefield analysis, and other activities necessary to designate an appropriate boundary for nomination of Ewa Field to the Hawaii State and National Registers of Historic Places; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States/ the Secretary of Defense/ and the Secretary of the Interior, Commander of Navy Region Hawaii/ and to each member of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation.
Losing this significant cultural heritage battlefield site means loss of our shared National Heritage, which are not the property rights of either the Navy or a land developer to discard and destroy. Since many good people paid the price in blood and tears for the freedoms we enjoy today, we cannot allow a real estate transaction to wipe away forever this significant historic cultural heritage that belongs to the people of Hawaii and America.
Ewa Field is “sacred ground” and a symbol of America’s hard fought and valiant sacrifices in the Pacific War. US Marines and Hawaii civilians died there. Still living Hawaii veterans, as children, actually witnessed this hugely historic attack on Ewa Field. Ewa Field should be included in the important national WWII landmark inventory, which would also support future heritage tourism in West Oahu and its potential as a significant national battlefield visited by thousands, or maybe even millions of future visitors, which would benefit Hawaii’s economy in many ways.
Airspace above Ewa Field saw the most air combat of any Oahu area on December 7, 1941
The MAJOR HISTORIC POINTS about Ewa Field…
Ewa Field is one of the first airfields in Hawaii, carved out of Kiawe and Sisal Forest in 1925 and is currently 93 years old, as of 2018. Much of the early clearing work was done by Marines with picks, shovels and machetes- and only a few mechanized tractors and dirt haulers.
Ewa Field was the designated mooring site for the U.S. Navy’s Dirigible Program of 1925 and the 1930’s with a circular railway. Later its mooring mast was converted into an air traffic control tower- one of the most unique at that time in aviation history. Ewa Field was considered “High Tech” and a widely seen Ewa Plain landmark in its day.
4 U.S. Marines: Sgt William E. Lutschan, Sgt Karolo Micheletta, PFC William G. Turner, and PFC Edward S. Lawrence, were killed defending Ewa Field, against the direct enemy action of the Empire of Japan’s armed Naval Air Force. 2 civilians: Yaeko Lillian Oda (6 years old) and Francisco Tacderan (34 years old), residents from the Ewa Villages community, were also killed as a result of the attack.
Ewa Field was one of the first airfields attacked on December 7 and was viewed by Japan as a key air base standing in the way of their air attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack on Ewa was so well coordinated and precise that it is clear that the Japanese Navy had spent considerable time and effort on taking out what they considered a very key tactical military air base.
Over Ewa Field were the real air battles widely depicted in Pearl Harbor films between US Army P-40’s and Imperial Japanese Navy fighter-bombers. Pilots Taylor and Welch arrived from Haleiwa Airfield, still wearing parts of a tuxedo, aloha shirt and party clothes and armed only with light 30 caliber ammunition, and engaged an overwhelming number of enemy planes, shooting some down and dispersing the rest, likely saving lives at Ewa Field and villages.
Ewa Field Marines were sent to Wake Island a week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. These Ewa Marines fought a heroic resistance against an overwhelming Japanese invasion force and it was the first time in history, for both the US and Japan, that a sea invasion force was successfully repelled by US forces. The Wake Island battle, where even Ewa Marine pilots fought in hand to hand combat, inspired the hugely influential 1942 film “Wake Island”.
Ewa Marines again rose to great WW-II fame and destiny during the Battle of Midway, when they conducted suicidal air missions against superior Japanese forces, losing their lives, but causing the needed distraction of enemy forces and resulting in the crucial sea battle tipping in the favor of the US Navy. Many US Marine aviators knowingly flew to their deaths in completely out-classed planes in this epic air-sea battle.
During 1942-1945 MCAS Ewa was the major Marine Aviation Headquarters in the Pacific during World War Two (WWII), a staging and transit point for all Marine Aviation assets moving into combat against the Empire of Japan’s Air, Naval and Ground Forces. The famous and decisive island invasion tactics of the Pacific War were largely conceived and developed at MCAS Ewa.
MCAS Ewa is the birth place of Marine Fighter Squadron 214th, later known as “The Blacksheep”, and also including many other famous Marine Aviation squadrons and units where many famous USMC Aces were trained or formed into fighter squadrons.
In July, 1944 MCAS Ewa was visited by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz.
During 1944-45 MCAS Ewa was the predecessor of today’s Camp HM Smith Pacific Command Headquarters- for then USMC General HM Smith.
Design for MCAS Ewa Field Historic Memorial Park which incorporates the original 1941 airfield and restored hanger, flag pole, museum building and Mooring Mast tower.
MCAS Ewa Field should be made a National Landmark and National Monument.
****************** EWA FIELD MOVIES *****************
The hugely influential early 1942 Classic film “Wake Island”…
The US Marines that were featured in one of the greatest and most influential war films ever made were from Ewa Field. The movie was “Wake Island”, released within months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it is credited with many mass public enlistments in the military, especially the Marines. Military recruiters set up branch offices at nearly every theatre where the film was shown, signing up tens of thousands of recruits.
MCAS Ewa was the major inspiration for the movie “Flying Leathernecks” starring John Wayne and Robert Ryan. “Flying Leathernecks”, was an intense and realistic portrayal of the WW-II Pacific Islands campaign where many Marines were killed. The movie produced in 1951 by RKO studio chief Howard Hughes, and featured thrilling air combat footage.
Possible West Oahu Veterans Cemetery at Ewa Field Historic Battlefield Park
Surveys show are 120,000 veterans living in Hawaii, the highest per capita population of veterans, after Alaska. Veterans make up more than ten percent of Hawaii’s total population. The majority of them – about 72% – live on the island of Oahu.
Since September 11, 2001, mobilizations have involved nine of every ten Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers. They served honorably in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations; and have returned to Hawaii after their 12-15 month activations. Air National Guard members have also deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Therefore, Hawaii’s overall veteran population has increased.
There is definitely a need for a future cemetery in West Oahu and there is VA money available too.
Another concept would be using a few of the WW-II aircraft revetments and making them into columbarium’s- where ashes are stored. And another concept is a “Wall of Honor” at the Ewa Field battle site, which would contain ashes, – and internments with military ceremonies.
“United States National Cemetery” is a designation for 146 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. A National Cemetery is generally a military cemetery containing the graves of U.S. military personnel, veterans and their spouses but not exclusively so. There are also state veteran cemeteries.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. Burial benefits available for Veterans buried include a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances.
Why Historic Preservation?
The history of a community contributes to its personality. Preserving the history of a place through its significant historic resources gives a community its unique character. Historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the community and its people. Overall, historic preservation adds to the quality of life making for a more livable community. Historic preservation involves much more than simply saving and restoring old buildings and sites of historic importance; there are economic, cultural, environmental, and educational benefits of historic preservation, all of which are inextricably connected to one another and to the living memory of involved communities.
Historic preservation is beneficial to the community in the following ways:
•Culturally a community is richer for having the tangible presence of past eras and historic
•Economically a community benefits from increased property values and tax revenues when historic buildings are protected and made the focal point of revitalization and when the community is attractive to visitors seeking heritage tourism opportunities.
•Socially a community benefits when citizens take pride in its history and mutual concern for the protection of the historic building fabric.
•Developmentally a community benefits from having a concerted and well-defined planning approach for the protection of historic buildings while accommodating healthy growth.
•Environmentally a community benefits when historic buildings are restored or rehabilitated rather than demolished and disposed of in the community landfill.
•Educationally a community benefits through teaching local heritage and the understanding of the past and the resultant cultural respect by its citizens.
Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation
Historic preservation is a powerful economic engine. In an overwhelming number of economic development studies, historic preservation is a demonstrated tool for providing jobs, increasing household income, increasing the tax base and increasing tourism dollars.
Another important economic benefit is heritage tourism. Many people enjoy a deep fascination with the sites where history took place, as well as with the stories they can directly experience by visiting these historic sites. Heritage tourists, whose travel focuses on historical sites of interest, spend billions of dollars every year and are among the fastest-growing group of tourists. Heritage tourists’ travels provide hundreds of millions of tax dollars, and billions for the hospitality and travel industries.
Historic Hawaii Foundation’s Report on the Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation
Cultural Benefits of Historic Preservation
Historic preservation helps keep communities beautiful, vibrant, and livable, and gives people a stake in their surroundings. It connects people with their past, and with one another. History is a great educator, and coming to know the history of a community and its historical sites fosters an individual’s sense of belonging and community pride. Old structures and historic spaces often present the human scale of history. Their design and construction tell us much about the cultures that created them and about the traditions and events from which our society grew.
Historic preservation has been shown to be a key ingredient in stabilizing older communities and bringing citizens together. Historic buildings provide a sense of stability and provide a tangible link with the past that all can experience.
Environmental Benefits of Historic Preservation
Active historic preservation efforts can help to curb some of the detrimental environmental effects of suburban sprawl, including increased traffic patterns, energy consumption, and environmental degradation. By safeguarding the historic cores of towns and cities and encouraging reinvestment in them, many adverse effects of growth can be greatly reduced.
Educational Benefits of Historic Preservation
The educational opportunities offered by historic preservation are virtually limitless. For students, teachers, and community partners, engaging in historic preservation efforts brings home the importance of such efforts, and reinforces historical education by allowing all those involved to actively participate in its conservation and protection.
Historic preservation takes place in such varied sets and settings that students have opportunities to learn real-world lessons not only in history but also in math, sociology, environmental studies, urban planning, transportation issues, economics, building crafts, and many more disciplines.
The Benefits of Cultural Heritage Tourism
Cultural heritage tourism can have a tremendous economic impact on local economies. To economic benefits like new businesses, jobs and higher property values, tourism adds less tangible—but equally important—payoffs. A well-managed tourism program improves the quality of life as residents take advantage of the services and attractions tourism adds. It promotes community pride, which grows as people work together to develop a thriving tourist industry.
An area that develops its potential for cultural heritage tourism creates new opportunities for tourists to gain an understanding of an unfamiliar place, people or time. With the arrival of visitors in turn come new opportunities for preservation. Well-interpreted sites teach visitors their importance, and by extension, the importance of preserving other such sites elsewhere.