The above photo shows U.S. Marines and an amphibious tank at Big Beach in Makena in early 1945. It’s taken from a new 501-page report from the National Park Service–Hawaii, the Military, and the National Park: World War II and Its Impacts on Culture and the Environment, written by William Chapman. Today, the Park Service posted a brief write-up on the report here.
More than simply an overview of what the military did at Haleakala National Park during the war (the armed forces used the park from 1941 to 1948), the report does a good job of showing what Hawaii was like during the war for the massive numbers of soldiers, sailors and marines who moved through here, and the civilians who lived alongside. It’s full of unique and fascinating anecdotes like this, which is part of the report’s description of the marines’ Camp Maui, site of today’s 4th Marine Division Park in Haiku:
The Marines were assigned a site in Ha‘iku, on the windward side of the island, close to where combat engineer Ralph Pratt served with the 98th Infantry Division. Designated Camp Maui, the exhausted units slowly took possession of what had once been an Army facility. As the division’s historian later commented, ‘they [were] faced with a base that was not very highly developed or equipped.’ At the time, the camp had no electric power and, as one officer remembered, ‘was ankle deep in mud from recent rains.'”
Like I said, the report is 501 pages. Still, this is solid historical material about Maui during World War II that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Click here for a PDF of the report.
Photo courtesy National Park Service