Friday, July 5, 2013

Fort Barrette and 'Ewa Field hold memorial observances Sunday

Fort Barrette and 'Ewa Field hold memorial observances Sunday

Kapolei - A little-known and almost forgotten part of Pearl Harbor Day history will be honored tomorrow at 8:00 and 10:00 am with with observances planned at Fort Barrette and at the nearby Marine Corps 'Ewa Field.

Service members were killed at both Kapolei locations in the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

Cpl. Joseph A. Medlen was killed in a straffing run at Fort Barrette. He was a railway engineer at the coast defense gun emplacement, and was hit as soldiers at the fort tried to cover the big guns so they wouldn't be bombed.

Due to the number of aircraft on the ground that morning, `Ewa Field may have actually been the first site attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7.

There were nearly 50 aircraft lined up when the attack came. Most were damaged or destroyed in strafing passes by the Japanese.

The site also has an unfinished swimming pool, from which the Marines defended the field with 1906 Springfield rifles.

The dogfight made famous by so many Pearl Harbor movies actually took place over `Ewa Field.

At 8:00 am an observance will be held at Fort Barrette, off Fort Barrette Road.

A Wai'anae High School ROTC color guard will honor the single Dec. 7 loss there.

Between ceremonies, privately-owned military vehicles will lead a convoy from Fort Barrette to 'Ewa Field. The route will follow Fort Barrette Road to Roosevelt Avenue to Corregidor Road.

At 10:00 am the `Ewa Field ceremonies will begin. Four Marines died at 'Ewa Field, as well as civilians.

Pearl Harbor Day survivors expected to attend the observance are John Hughes, a Marine who defended 'Ewa Field on Dec. 7, 1941, and Ray Emory, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

Daniel Martinez, chief historian for the USS Arizona Memorial and larger World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, will be the speaker.

'Ewa Beach historian John Bond organized both observances. Bond told the Honolulu Advertiser that he decided to hold the observances the day before the big Pearl Harbor commemoration so there wouldn't be a conflict. Both events tomorrow are open to the public.

World War II and military law in Hawai`i made significant chances to the social structure of the Islands, and brought Hawai`i to the attention of the world.