75th Anniversary of December 7, 1941 – Ewa Battlefield still has many undocumented historic sites
Ewa Battlefield still has many undocumented historic Pacific War sites, including early post attack 1942 aircraft revetments linked to Wake and Midway battles. These revetments still exist undocumented.
The closest most people will ever get to the early important Pacific War battlefields is seeing the Ewa Battlefield sites.
It is important to realize that the battles of Ewa Field, Wake and Midway were borne by the many sacrifices made by Ewa Marines in 1941 and early 1942.
The Ewa Battlefield, Wake Island and Midway Island can all be linked to Ewa Field
All of the planes and pilots came from Ewa Field.
The first Medal of Honor of the war was given to Ewa Field pilot Capt. Henry T. “Hank” Elrod.
The only Medal of Honor of the Midway battle was given to Ewa Field Capt. Richard Fleming.
Both had the main roads at MCAS Ewa named for them, as was the case with other KIA Medal of Honor USMC pilots.
However when the Navy took over the property they renamed all of them after Navy ships.
Japanese expansion and power in the Pacific was at its height in 1941 and early 1942. Ewa Field was a front line combat airfield with fully armed fighters planes
by Ewa Historian John Bond
You might think that the recognized National Register Ewa Battlefield would have well documented research on the entire area of the 1941 Ewa airfield – which served as the front line base of Marine Corp air defense of Pearl Harbor as well as Wake Island and Midway Island.
However much of the physical 1941-42 area remains largely undocumented. In fact there has never even been any official search or documentation on all of the large number of incoming and outgoing bullets and anti-aircraft artillery that landed all over the Ewa air base and surrounding villages.
Ewa Battlefield veteran John Hughes, seen on left, still attends annual Ewa Commemorations
One of the first things that had to be done after the Sunday December 7 morning air attack was get ready for the next expected air attack. This meant hiding the remaining serviceable Marine planes in the surrounding high grass and Kiawe trees and throwing branch limbs, tarps and anything else over them.
Meanwhile Ewa Marines on Wake Island were under attack from a very large Japanese attack force.
On 5 October 1943, American naval aircraft from Yorktown raided Wake. Two days later, fearing an imminent invasion, Japanese Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara ordered the execution of the 98 captive American civilian workers who had initially been kept to perform forced labor. They were taken to the northern end of the island, blindfolded and executed with a machine gun. One of the prisoners (whose name has never been discovered) escaped, apparently returning to the site to carve the message “98 US PW 5-10-43” on a large coral rock near where the victims had been hastily buried in a mass grave.
Japanese Proclamation made after taking control of Wake Island
Damaged Grumman F4F Wildcat on Midway Island after Japanese assaults ended.
Bullet marked ramp where Marines died at Ewa Field on December 7