Graves reveal SB history
May 17, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (May 17, 2013) -- Cemeteries are quiet windows on the past, and the Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery has had some interesting additions -- and subtractions -- since informally established around 1909, and officially dedicated in 1912, when the first grave was filled.
A register kiosk with the name and location of individual plots helps guide visitors to the correct internment location. A documentation of all Army post gravesites with GPS location is scheduled later this year.
Like other Army cemeteries, gravesites are decorated with flags on holidays like Memorial Day, and like all cemeteries, some of the gravesites come with a little mystery. The shape and size of headstones, some more than 100 years old, some with inscriptions in Asian languages, tell part of the post's history.
The first impression while walking the grounds is that as cemeteries go, it's a small, well-maintained military cemetery. Daily rains and an attentive maintenance crew keep the grounds tidy and reverential.
On the sunny midweek day visited recently, an older civilian worker was spending his lunchtime dozing under a shady patch of trees at the back of the grounds, not far from the remains of Italian prisoners of war and unknowns who aren't thought to be Americans behind a hedge in Plot VIII.
Behind another hedge beyond Plot III, unnoticed if one isn't looking for them, are the remains of seven dishonored American Soldiers executed for capital crimes. Post records indicate two or three of the dishonored were executed in Hawaii, while four had been reinterred here as part of a 1949 Army consolidation project. To add to their eternal shame, the seven are buried facing away from the flag.
There are many children interred, and in the back are seven plots dating back to 1956, which mark the remains of 2,390 fetuses from Tripler Army Medical Center.
Civilian employees, too, found a final resting place on post. According to the garrison's Casualty and Mortuary Affairs, the first recorded interment was Mr. Harry Holiday, who worked for the quartermaster corps (the unit responsible for early construction at Schofield Barracks.)
Although two major wars and other conflicts in the last century saw an increase in the number of remains, the Schofield Barracks Historic Guide states, "The cemetery has been considerably reduced in size since the end of World War II as the result of the removal of many veterans to other locations."
"Many of the remains from World War II were relocated to the Punchbowl, the National Cemetery of the Pacific," said Ernestine Pratt, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs.
The cemetery is located on Lyman Road, a little west of Humphries Road, and easy to find with its white, wrought iron gates.