Saturday, February 14, 2015

Great News! Ewa Field Battlefield Determination of Eligibility (DOE) by NPS

Ewa Field Battlefield Determination of Eligibility (DOE)

 by the National Park Service in Washington, DC

by John Bond    Ewa Field Historian
Everything within the green border (minus a few small parcels) has been
determined as eligible for a national battlefield nomination.

The entire 1941 Ewa Field, (also known as Ewa Mooring Mast Field, which was a Navy airship field built in 1925,) has been recognized by the National Park Service Keeper of the Register in Washington, DC as eligible for nomination as a National American Battlefield.

Ewa Field is a very rare intact 1941 airfield and battlefield site that was attacked on December 7, 1941 by Imperial Japanese naval air forces and has largely remained in 1941 condition. Even though it was expanded in 1942-45 into a much larger Marine Corps Air Station Ewa that trained top Marine ace fighter pilots, the runway layout and bullet marked concrete ramp remain as it was in 1941.

Fortunately after the base closed in 1952 it was brought into the base property management of the larger Naval Air Station Barbers Point and used as a recreational area with the addition of a golf course built over the 1944-45 taxiways. The Barbers Point Golf Course was carefully designed around the 1941 airfield, preserving it intact. A few then very Top Secret Cold War era buildings were also added by Ewa Gate on Roosevelt Road as adjuncts to the major Patrol Wing Two NAS Barbers Point Soviet submarine tracking mission.

The 89 year old airfield is now on track to become a future historic park as the
National Park Service determination provides important official recognition that Save Ewa Field
supporters have been waiting years for. The first Save Ewa Field Commemoration was held on December 7, 2007 when preservation looked very bleak. The DOE also helps preserve the Cold War era buildings at Ewa Field which could serve as museum and maintenance facilities.

These steps follow the original intent of the 2009 Hawaii State Legislature concurrent resolution HCR49 HD1 which urged the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Interior to preserve Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, or a portion of it, as a National Monument.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Historic Hawaii Foundation, and many concerned individuals and veterans also supported this concurrent resolution. While taking five years to come to fruition, the people of Ewa West Oahu will finally be getting their historic heritage park.

Take a look at the “resume” of this very remarkable 89 year old airfield…

  • Ewa Mooring Mast Field, one of the very earliest aviation fields in Hawaii, constructed in 1925 as a then high technology US Navy airship port with a state-of-the-art 100 foot high steel tower and circular railway.
  • One of the very first military bases attacked on December 7, 1941 and remained under nearly continuous attack for approximately two hours due to the Japanese use of Ewa airspace as their key air attack staging objective.
  • Ewa Field was the site of major air battles involving Japanese planes, Navy SBD’s from USS Enterprise and P-40’s from Haleiwa air field. Unarmed civilian planes with off-duty Army soldiers were also shot down over Ewa.
  • Ewa Field Marines and aircraft which had just been placed on Wake Island were in the first frontline Pacific War land, sea and air battle fought by the United States. The first Medal of Honor in WW-II went to Ewa USMC pilot Capt. Henry Elrod.
  • Ewa Field USMC pilot Capt. Richard Fleming was the only Naval aviation pilot to receive the Medal of Honor at the Battle of Midway in 1942.
  • Recognized in resolutions passed by the Hawaii State Legislature and three local neighborhood Boards recommending preservation of Ewa battlefield as a National Landmark, Monument, park and museum site.
  • Ewa Field WW-II history spawned movies “Wake Island” and “Flying Leathernecks” and was a key Oahu set location for filming the classic “Tora, Tora, Tora” in 1969.
  • MCAS Ewa was visited by many famous military, political and historic figures, including  FDR, Adm. Nimitz, Gen. MacArthur, Adm. Halsey, Gen. Geiger, and was an F4U Corsair fighter aircraft training base for legendary aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh and baseball great Ted Williams.
  • MCAS Ewa was an aircraft training base for many legendary USMC fighter squadrons, ace fighter pilots and 12 Medal of Honor recipients.

Ewa Field-MCAS Ewa was the original first home of US Marine Corps aviation in the Pacific, a forward development base of key air support concepts and pivotal operational aviation airport used to win back the Pacific Islands from Imperial Japanese control.

  • Federally recognized, National Register eligible “Leina a ka ‘uhane” – native Hawaiian spirit leaping off place – a spiritual portal back to the ancient homeland of Tahiti. This “wahi pana” (sacred place) is the area where native souls enter the afterlife.
  • MCAS Ewa was the WW-II home base for many special US Marine Corps air units, medium bomber squadrons, air transport squadrons, Navy SeaBee Construction Battalions and Women’s Marine Reserve squadron.
  • MCAS Ewa was the aviation base for “China Marine” operations after WW-II and saw the very first USMC jet aircraft in the Pacific during the early Korean War before the base officially closed in 1952.
  • MCAS Ewa- as part of NAS Barbers Point  in the 1960’s, became home for US Navy Patrol Wing 2 and very important Cold War Era missions involving Far East coastal patrols, intelligence gathering and anti-submarine warfare. Buildings by the 1941 battlefield were also a base for advanced undersea Soviet submarine tracking (SOSUS), and some of the earliest post-Vietnam War POW-MIA recovery operations.
  • Ewa Field’s original front gate area, attacked by Japanese planes on December 7, 1941, is today owned by the Hawaiian Railway Society as part of its National Register 1890’s narrow gauge railway museum. Also by Ewa Field is historic State Registered Ewa Plantation Village, also attacked on December 7, 1941.

Ewa Field Commemoration - Saturday December 6, 2014

Ewa Plains Battlefield Nomination Document and Battlefield News Archive Available

89 Year Old Ewa Aviation Site, Battlefield and Top Secret 
Cold War Mission Control

Pacific Cold War Patrol Museum for Facility 972 - Barbers Point, Ewa-Kapolei, Hawaii