History will be made on Sunday, December 6, 2009.
An historic West Oahu Battlefield- on its way to becoming an officially
recognized National American Battlefield. Military Honor Guards, Rifle
Salute Teams, vintage WW-II vehicles, aircraft and Ewa historic 90 minute
"Troop Train" ride will all help underscore this exciting and colorful West
Oahu History event for the entire family.
Many consider this Ewa battlefield "Ground Zero" – the start of WW-II in the
Pacific. Before Japanese Naval fighters and bombers even reached Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941, a fierce air attack was already underway in West
Also of historic note, the famous Hollywood dogfights depicted in the Dec. 7
movies between P-40's and Zeros actually happened over Ewa Field, not over
Pearl Harbor. This was the largest single air battle on December 7, 1941 and
where the US response by Hawaiian Air Force (7th Air Force) aircraft faired
well during the two hour attack. Numerous Japanese planes were shot down by
two intercepting P-40 Warhawks over Ewa Field.
Two Americans of Japanese Ancestry were at last year's Save Ewa Field event
and were eye-witnesses to the early morning Ewa airfield attack. They lived
around the Marine airfield in 1941 and saw what happened as children that
morning. Two Ewa Village civilians were killed by the attack and many others
wounded by flying bullets. Most people on Sunday, December 7 only think
about "Pearl Harbor"- and the West Oahu battle sites mostly forgotten- until
USMC Ewa Field, the site of a major December 7 air attack in the opening
minutes of the Pacific War, was struck by Imperial Japanese Zero fighters
five minutes before the actual bombing attack on Pearl Harbor begin. The
A6M2 Zero was Japan's elite, top-rated fighter in 1941 and out-classed
nearly every American plane the US had then. The Zero fighters were
lightning fast and their pilots highly trained with two years of previous
combat experience in China.
Not since the end of WW-II, after the Ewa Marine Corps Air Station was
closed, absorbed into Barbers Point Naval Air Station, has there ever been
an official ceremony by US Marines to honor the fallen Marines on the actual
battle site, for who died defending the airfield. That will change on
Sunday, December 6, at 10 AM, when US Marines will perform a color guard and
rifle salute ceremony with a bugler playing taps.
All previous ceremonies for the fallen Ewa Field US Marines were held at the
Barbers Point Golf Course, which was once part of the later 1944-45
expansion of the Marine air base, but not the site of the actual 1941
battlefield, which still exists in 1941 bullet marked condition and remains
endangered by development.
The Ewa Field Marine fighter aircraft parking ramp exists today in 1940's
condition, and is now on its way to becoming a recognized National American
Battlefield under a National Park Service grant. This can lead to an
eventual National Park and National Monument- and save the historic WW-II
This would be West Oahu's first and only National Park and recognized
national battlefield, similar to Civil War and Revolutionary war
battlefields on the US mainland. Recognized battlefields have served to
create visitor magnets and would really place the West Oahu area on the
national map. WW-II sites are Oahu's number one visitor attractions.
Events being held on Sunday, December 6 include a convoy of WW-II military
vehicles to Ewa Field and special WW-II History "Troop Train" rides
conducted by the Hawaiian Railway Society from their Ewa Station.
The Ewa Train Museum location is very significant in itself in that it is
located at the actual front gate to the 1941 Ewa Marine Corps airfield, and
was strafed by Japanese Zeros. Spent 7.7 mm machinegun cartridges from
Japanese planes could be found everywhere after the battle.
Joel Fujita, now 89 years old and a 442nd combat veteran, remembers a
Japanese Zero swooping down very low, spotting him and his brother on the
roof of their Ewa Village home where they were watching the start of the
attack on nearby Ewa Field.
The Zero pilot waved at them through his open canopy–and then came back by
on a second pass and began strafing the area by the railway tracks and
Marine airfield front gate. Joel later picked up the spent 7.7mm shell
casings from the A6M2 Zero machineguns and still has them today.
Japanese Navy planes literally "hosed' the Ewa area for almost two hours
because it was a major gathering point for the various IJN units that went
over to the Pearl harbor area.
IJN Naval Air units that had unloaded their bombs then had the "free time"
to look for other available strafing targets- and this was usually Ewa
Field- before leaving back to their waiting carriers north of Oahu.
US Army WW-II veteran, Ramsay Hishinuma, was another eye-witness to the
attack on Ewa Field and nearly lost his life from all of the intense fire
and strafing that morning.
He was camping with friends at Hau Bush, a popular local Ewa beach camping
Both Hishinuma and Fujita attended last year's "Save Ewa Field"
Commemoration at the actual airfield battle site on December 7, 2008. Both
are expected to attend again this year on Sunday, December 6 at 10 AM at Ewa
"I vividly remember how close I came to getting killed by Japanese planes,"
Hishinuma said in a later news interview.
"Right above us, at just about tree-top level, we saw a plane with large red
ball insignia on its wings and fuselage chasing a Navy dive-bomber. The
machine-gun bursts from the Japanese plane were intense and ear-shattering.
The Navy pilot was able to get out of his plane before he crashed, and he
parachuted into the entanglement of nearby kiawe trees."
"He looked more than bewildered by the time we approached him and his first
words were 'What the hell is going on?'
Ironically, it took many 1941 military units on Oahu several minutes to
realize that this was not another "drill"- but the real deal.
Finally, as bombs were falling all over Pearl Harbor, Honolulu radio
stations interrupted their Sunday music with the report that "Pearl Harbor
is being bombed, This is NO DRILL".
By that time IJN Zero's were chewing up the US Marine planes at Ewa Field,
and IJN Val dive bombers had jumped incoming Navy SBD aircraft from the USS
Enterprise and were shooting them down along the Ewa coast.
Come out to West Oahu on Sunday, December 6, 2009 and experience some real
history, hear Pearl Harbor historians like Daniel Martinez recount events
and hear veterans re-tell their eye-witness stories.
See the military Honor Guards and Rifle Salute. Experience the emotions of
"Taps" being played at the actual WW-II battlefield for those US servicemen
killed in combat.
View the actual Zero fighter bullet marks in the aircraft ramp and where
Marine fighters burned up and actually melted into the concrete as Marines
fought back armed only with bolt action rifles, 45 pistols and a few
See the WW-II vehicle convoy, the WW-II aircraft and ride the WW-II Ewa
"History Train" which starts from the original front gate of the Ewa Marine
airfield where some of the very first shots of WW-II in the Pacific were
fired by strafing IJN Zero fighters.
MAP TO HOW TO GET THERE:
Call for Ewa WW-II History "Troop Train" ride tickets before they are all
sold out. There are two rides, but tickets are going fast.
This is a great family event to spend 90 minutes riding through the Ewa
countryside on a classic WW-II narrow gauge railway that actually carried
many US troops who fought in the Pacific War. Discounts with military ID.
CALL (808) 681-5461 to reserve your Ewa WW-II History "Troop Train" tickets
NOW. The Hawaiian Railway Society Train Museum is a non-profit group located
between Renton Rd. and Roosevelt Avenue and is part of where WW-II in the
Pacific actually started- and heavily strafed by Zeros and Val dive bombers.
You can experience Hawaii's GROUND ZERO – the historic start of WW-II in The
Pacific. You will not likely have a chance like this again soon to get SO
CLOSE to actually see, touch and feel REAL HISTORY! Bring your children and
your cameras for these events.
(Events Release By John Bond, Save Ewa Field 808-685-3045)