at about 11:00 PM at night, and driving back to our barracks I noticed that the flag was still flying high and dry in full moonlight. We stopped our vehicle, and rushed to take it down. But, to my surprise there was no phone call the next morning. I thought sure there would be a phone call and as a result I would be busted back to a Private. There was no one around to take the flag down, but who would buy that excuse. I thought, “boy, someone up there is looking out for me.”

Shortly after December 7th First Sergeant Balzac, our Company First Sergeant, was given a direct commission as a Captain and transferred out of the unit. I never heard what happened to him afterwards. One of our top Sergeants who was transferred to the 25th MP Division MP Company was shot and killed by a drunken soldier near Pearl Harbor. I knew him well but can not recall his name at the moment. We had a murder case in which a soldier was killed on military property near Haleiwa Beach. The FBI was notified since they had responsibility for investigating homicides on Federal property, and the area where the body was found was Federal property. My office participated in the investigation. A suspect was located and a confession obtained by telling the suspect his fingerprints were on the suspected murder weapon, a rock, which of course was not true because fingerprints can not be lifted from a rock. But it worked. I recall a burglary case that I handled. Someone broke into one of the locked stores at Hasebe Village and stole a guitar. After the Hasebe family was arrested and interned all of the buildings were locked with all goods left inside. One of our MPs on duty at the South gate informed me that one of our MPs came through the gate on the day of the burglary carrying a guitar. I checked the fellow's clothing locker in the barracks and a guitar matching the description of the one reported stolen was in his locker. He was court-martialed and sentenced to the Post Stockade. I had other cases in which I testified as a fingerprint expert in court during my tour at Schofield Barracks. But crime in the military in those days was very infrequent, as the military was very disciplined, and still is. But the crime rate has increased quite a bit in the military since 1941. During WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam felony crimes of all types were frequent, including murder. During the Korean War 300 murders were committed, mostly by American troops. All of these were solved, except one, prior to my leaving Korea in May 1952. In the early 1970s a separate Criminal Investigation Division Command was established, under direct control of the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C., to investigate felony crimes in the Army.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor my friends and I had little free time to go hiking on the mountains, swimming, etc., and never revisited our old swimming holes. Time was spent doing our duties, which increased considerably, and keeping up with the progress of the war with Japan and Germany. Looking back, I recalled an incident at Schofield Barracks wherein I was very embarrassed regarding military drill. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we dug “V” trenches around the inside of our quadrangle that we could jump into for protection in case of another attack. Two or three mornings each week our company would be marched to the parade field for drill practice. Each time an NCO was selected to march the company from our barracks out to the drill field. One morning it was my turn. For some reason, which I could never explain, I developed a habit of taking one step backward after giving the “preparatory command,” prior to giving the actual “execution” command. The company was lined up in front of the barracks and I called them to “Attention.” We had to march to the right to get to the drill field, so I loudly yelled the preparatory command “Right”, then took my usually step backward,NAME: Thurman R. Slusser

UNIT: 34th

TIME PERIOD: 1941 Engineers

SOURCE: excerpt from a letter from Mr. Slusser

DATE RECEIVED: 13 December 2007

I was born in Adams County, near Floradale, Pennsylvania on December 12, 1919.

I went into the service in 1941, and received my training at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. I was shipped out and landed in Oahu October 17, 1941. I was assigned to the 34th Engineers, located on the Upper Post at Schofield. My first duty there was in the Maintenance Department on vehicles.

I was near the Kaneohe Naval Station when the war started. Our unit was building gun pads and barracks for the coast artillery.

I was in bed, and when the bombing started, the captain of our group came through our area shouting “Air Raid”! “Air Raid”! He said disperse the equipment so they would not be an easy target. My first action was to get the equipment under some kind of shelter. Our unit was near the PBY aircraft base, and the Kaneohe Naval Air Station, when the Japanese strafed and bombed the Kaneohe Air Base, and our area was strafed. During the raid one Japanese plane flew so low that I saw the pilot in the cockpit. I was at Kaneohe until Wednesday. I then joined my unit back at Schofield. We immediately started to prepare for other attacks.

When I arrived at my barracks at Schofield, one of the first things one of my buddies showed me was a bullet hole in our barracks. I have a picture of that hole, of which I am enclosing for you.

The 34th Engineers did various duties on the Island of Oahu in preparation for other activities in the Pacific.


NAME: Rex Smith

UNIT: Schofield Barracks Military Police Company

TIME PERIOD: 1 June 1940 to 1 December 1942

SOURCE: Passed on to the museum by Maj. David Glaser, 25th

DATE RECEIVED: 30 November 2000 MP Co. Edited by Linda Hee

We arrived in Hawaii on December 7, 1939. From the ship several of us were transported to Wheeler Army Air Field, which was next to Schofield Barracks. Both bases were located in the center of the island about 20 miles from Honolulu. I was assigned to one of the air wings, but don’t recall the unit number. There were about 60 men in the wing. A couple of others and I signed up to become radio operators, and reported each morning to the hanger where we were to take radio training. Each morning at 8:00 AM we would test check all radios in the planes to make sure they were working. The planes would take off for flight training at about 8:30 and return at about 11:30 AM, at which time we would again check the radios to make sure they still working, then turned them off. Between 8:30 and 12:00 AM, and 1:00 to 5:00 PM we were supposed to receive instruction and training in radio operation, but during the first six months we received very little, just sat around the hanger doing nothing except chew the fat. We did take a two- week course in Morse code, but for what reason I don’t know because the Air Force does not, and never has used Morse code. Navy and Army yes, but not the Air Force. During that first six months I learned nothing except how to be bored. I was detailed to post guard duty a couple of times, which was even more boring. At about 4:00 AM in the morning, while on guard duty, I would get hungry, and open a carton of milk sitting in the back of one of the mess halls and drink it.

One day while reading a magazine I noticed an advertisement about how to become a private detective in 10 easy lessons that cost $1.00 each. I sent off for the first lesson. It consisted of one page with the top half describing a crime scene scenario, with the bottom half containing about 8 questions, the answers of which were contained in the scenario. I answered the questions and mailed off a dollar for the second lesson. Again, a one-page lesson with questions as the first. I said to myself, this is stupid, and decided not to waste anymore of my money on that scheme without some advice as to its value. I visited the Military Police Company at Schofield Barracks and asked to speak with someone in the investigation section, and was referred to a Sgt. Fitch who was in charge of the section. However, he was in the post hospital at the time, so I went there to see him. I explained to him my desire and what I was doing. He told me I was just wasting my time and money. He advised that if I really wanted to become an investigator that I should transfer to the Military Police Company, and that if I did he would see to it that I would be assigned to his section, and receive the necessary training. The next day I submitted my request for transfer, which was approved in about two weeks. I lost my Private First Class rating on transfer, which was standard practice in those days because your rank could not be transferred with you from unit to unit. So, I lost about $5.00 per month in the deal, which did not bother me particularly at the time since it was only one grade above Private.

I reported to the Schofield Barracks Military Police Company on or about June 1, 1940. According to standard company practice I had to have all my GI clothing tailored to tightly form- fit my body, and buy combination canvas and leather leggings that were required to be worn above our shoes. Plus, I had to take on the job military police training for one month prior to being assigned to the Registration and Investigation Section commanded by Sgt. Fitch. I was assigned to either gate or patrol duty for two 4-hour shifts each day. At the end of my 30-day training I reported to Sgt. Fitch with glee. During my on-the-job training I talked with him on several occasions and he explained to me what I would be doing in the office, and investigative techniques I would learn, ie.: fingerprint classification, collection and examination of evidence, investigation of crimes, etc., which of course was all new to me. The office registered all vehicles and civilian employees at Schofield Barracks, screened all employee applications for approval, and conducted investigations of crimes on and off post committed by Schofield Barracks military personnel. There were few crimes committed in those days, therefore few investigations. There were four people in the office, including Sgt. Fitch. Sgt. Fitch was very competent and knowledgeable of investigative techniques, and very well liked.

The Military Police Company was an elite type unit, and all personnel were highly competent, efficient, and knowledgeable of police functions. They really looked sharp in their form-fitting uniforms, and reminded me of State Troopers. They were highly respected by other units at the posts. The officers were also highly competent and well-liked. As I recall, there were Captains Evans, Samuel E. Gee, Babcock, and a couple others whose names I don’t recall. Colonel Gerhardt was Post Provost Marshal, and Lt. Colonel Connett was the Assistant Provost Marshal. A Major Thurston was in charge of the Registration and Investigation Section, among his other duties. A Captain Faucett later joined the company. Military Police duties were performed mostly on post, no patrols off post except during the first two days of each month during pay day, which was the first day of each month. There were occasional patrols off post when troops visited the beaches on weekends, and to the Pearl City Tavern in Pearl City, which had monkeys in a cage behind the bar, and was called the “Monkey Bar.”

The Pearl City Tavern, which we referred to as the Monkey Bar, was a popular GI hangout, and was the dividing line for the two MP Companies jurisdictions. There was considerable rivalry between the two MP Companies, and some animosity also. On two or three occasions the MPs from Honolulu arrested our patrols in Pearl City for being out of their jurisdiction, and our MPs in turn arrested a couple of their patrols when the occasion arose. That’s what caused the friction between the two companies. Prior to being dispatched to MP duty each detail was inspected by the MP Duty Office for proper dress, shoes shined, clean weapons, etc., and the inspections were very strict. If anyone failed inspection he was sent back to his barracks to correct his deficiencies. Each man pulled 4 hours shifts, except the motorized patrols that pulled 8-hour shifts. There were five gates at Schofield: 1) one which separated the Post from the Army Air Base at Wheeler Field; 2) at the East side of the Post which was the Main Gate, and exited to the highway leading to the city of Wahiawa; 3) another less used gate which also exited to the same highway; 4) one at Hasebe’s, which consisted of a Japanese beer garden, a tailor shop, photo shop, souvenir shop, and a tailor shop, all owned by Mr. Hasebe, and 5) a gate at Kolekole Pass, that was the entrance to the Navy ammunition storage area on the West side of Oahu. The entry to the ammunition storage area was restricted to authorized persons only. Kolekole Pass was a shortcut to the West Side of Oahu, and with permission we could go to the beaches on that side of the island.

The buildings at Schofield were arranged in quadrangles, with each quadrangle consisting of four three story building and a small parade field in the center. Three of these were for housing troops, the fourth housed administrative offices for Engineer, Infantry, and Artillery units in the quadrangle. Our MP Company was located in the quadrangle housing the Engineer units. There was also a small Post Exchange and snack bar in each quadrangle. The PX contained only a very limited amount of items such as cigarettes, candy, toothpaste, and other daily necessary items. The snack bars had only hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. There was no central PX as there is today that carry everything you can purchase in a large department store. Also, there was no Post Commissary for buying groceries, as there is today at all military bases.

I buckled down in the office to learn all I could about investigative work. The first thing I learned was taking fingerprints of persons submitting employment applications, classification of fingerprints, dusting and lifting latent fingerprints from objects, and photographing latent fingerprints. In 6 months I was a qualified fingerprint expert, which was necessary in order to testify in court, which I did on a few occasions. At the same time I read books and practiced collection of criminal evidence, evaluation and preservation of such evidence, how to testify in court, interrogation techniques, taking statements from witnesses and suspects, surveillance, and many other subjects relating to investigative activities. In about 6 months I earned my Private First Class rating back which I lost on transfer from Wheeler Field to the MPs.

Shortly after transferring to the MP Company I volunteered for a detail to rescue a young Chinese girl who slipped and fell off the trail running along the top of the Waianae Mountain range just west of Schofield Barracks. Another Chinese lady hiking with her reported the incident to the MP on duty at Kolekole Pass, who in turn reported it to our MP Desk Sergeant at MP Headquarters. The two women were hiking along the narrow trail running along a ridge that runs the entire length of the Waianae Range. The lady who fell lost her shoe which fell a few feet down a loose lava slope, and in attempting to retrieve it, she slipped and fell over the west edge, a sheer vertical cliff about 600 feet high. Our party consisted of about 15 men. We ascended the mountain at the Kolekole Pass area, and quickly located the area where she fell by the description given by her friend. One of our MPs volunteered to go down on a rope to search for the girl's body and bring her up, or call for medical personnel in case she was still alive, which was not considered likely due to the steepness and height of the cliff. We had about 1000 feet of rope, which was tied together about every 50 feet. The MP who volunteered asked to be pulled up after he was lowered a couple hundred feet. I don’t recall why he could not make it down. The officer asked for another volunteer and I said I would go. The rope was first looped around a large tree, then the end tied around my waist, and off I went down the cliff. I had a whistle and was instructed to blow one loud blast to stop, twice to continue lowering, and three times to start pulling me back up. After starting back up it was once to stop and two to continue pulling me up. I don’t recall blowing the whistle one time going down. I sure felt funny hanging at the end of a rope over a sheer 600-foot cliff, and said to myself I sure hope the damn knots were tied right, and tight. There were no trees on the cliff, only shrubbery. Most of cliff was bare of any vegetation. When I reached the tree line at the bottom of the cliff I noticed a tree that had several branches broken at the top. A little further I spotted the girls limp body. I assumed the force of her fall took her through the tree, which apparently broke her fall. I blew my whistle for them to stop lowering the rope. She was fully clothed and looked as if she was just sleeping, which of course she wasn’t. It was obvious she was dead as no one could fall that far straight down and survive. I noticed no blood on the body or the ground. I decided to tie the body to the rope above me by looping the rope under her arms and around her legs. I blew the whistle twice so they would lower enough rope for this purpose. When I had enough I blew the whistle once for them to stop. After I secured the body to the rope about three feet above me I blew the whistle three times as a signal to pull me up.

Returning to the top was much more difficult. The body weighed about 130 lbs, and I had to lift or pull it around large bushes, and out of crevices to keep from getting hung up. By the time I got about 20 feet from the top I was really tired, and blew the whistle twice to stop so I could rest. After resting for about 5-minutes I signaled the pulling team to continue, and I got to the top of the ridge. I was one tired soldier. I estimate it took about one hour and a half to bring the body up to the top. Since it was getting dark we decided to stay on the mountain for the night, as it was too dangerous to members of the rescue team to descend during darkness. One person was sent to Kolekole Pass to notify MP Headquarters by phone that the girl’s body had been recovered, and that the team would bring the body down the next morning. The next morning we descended the mountain, and the girl’s parents were waiting for us at MP Headquarters to claim their daughter’s body. I then learned that the girl’s name was Yen Moon Loo from Honolulu.

Our company commander recommended me for the Soldiers Medal for bravery for my efforts in recovering the body of Miss Loo, and about two months later a regimental parade was held in my honor to present me with the medal. I was overwhelmed, and it was hard for me to comprehend, here was this 17-year old soldier being presented with a medal for bravery at a regimental parade. The Post Commanding General pinned the medal on me, and then I stood beside him while the regiment passed in review before me. It made me even more proud to be in the military. It was really something. The event was published in my home town newspaper, the Blytheville Courier.

In my office, in addition to Sgt. Fitch and myself, were Albert E. Lewis, Norman Griswold, Frank Hurd, Herbert Marshall, Robert Bidgood, Johnny Kwock, and a short muscular fellow whose name I cannot recall. All were very competent workers, we all got along very well together, and became the best of friends. On weekends we would go to Honolulu, to the beach, or climb the mountain ranges. We found a large swimming hole down a large ravine behind the Engineer area, which we visited frequently, and we always swam in the nude because no one was around.

On infrequent occasions we had to pull MP duty in Wahiawa, a small city about a mile from the post, or at the Hasebe village just outside the Hasebe Gate located on the South side of the post. The entire village was owed by Mr. Hasebe, and totally operated by members of his family. We usually had to pull two 4-hour shifts over two days, the 1st and 2nd of each month. At Hasebe’s, our instructions were to contact Mr. Hasebe for any suggestions as what he would like us to do, which I did not fully agree with since he was a civilian beer garden owner, but it was not for me to question the orders. The first time I pulled duty at the Hasebe’s I didn’t see him around, and asked one of the Japanese waitresses where he was. She stated he was in the back. The bar was about 50 feet long with a flop up gate in the middle. I pushed up the gate, and went down the hallway to the back and knocked on the first door I came to. Immediately one of the employees quickly rushed to tell me to wait outside in the bar and she would get Mr. Hasebe. I thought it somewhat strange the employee was so eager to get me away from the back area of the bar. After a few minutes I noticed Mr. Hasebe immerge from the door I had knocked on. He had no specific instructions for me, just wanted to know that I was present, so I just hung around the bar area waiting for any trouble by the soldiers there. Two or three times I noticed Mr. Hasebe go in the back and re-enter the room from which I saw him come out of, and each time he used a key to unlock the door. Also, when he exited the room he re-locked the door. I also thought this somewhat strange, but just thought he didn’t want anyone going in there. Hasebe was Japanese, about 45 years old, and of stocky build. As I mentioned previously, most all the employees were Japanese, and all related to the Hasebe family. There were two white male employees who were married to two of Hasebe’s daughters. The second time I pulled duty at Hasebe’s I did not see him when I first arrived, so I went directly to the door down the hall in the back, and knocked on the door. Again, an employee immediately rushed to tell me to wait outside and she would ask Mr. Hasebe to come out. She knocked on the door, and this time I heard the door being opened from the inside with a key. This time I really thought it strange. Why would he keep the door locked when he was inside the room. I noticed the same thing on my third and last tour at Hasebe’s. I also pulled duty once at the Hasebe MP Gate. On this occasion an intoxicated soldier entered the MP booth, and wanted to use the phone to call his company and ask someone to come pick him up. Use of the MP phone was prohibited and I denied him its use. He became abusive and grabbed for the phone. In the scuffle I threw one punch and knocked him cold. When he woke up he said to me, “Man you don’t mess around, do you.” I called the MP Desk for a patrol vehicle to pick him up, and take him to his unit under arrest.

In September 1941 Colonel Gerhardt and Lt. Colonel Connet left, and were reassigned to Fort Snelling, Minnesota to organize the Military Police School, and Military Police Officers Candidate School. Sgt. Fitch, a few other men, and a couple of officers also left for Fort Snelling. We did not think much about it at the time. At the same time the Military Police was designated the Military Police Corps. As a separate branch of the US Army it meant that we could count on remaining assigned to Military Police duties throughout our military career, and not worry about being re-assigned to the infantry, artillery, etc. Each Post, division, brigade, and Army could have their separate military police units and Provost Marshals. When Sgt. Fitch left I was promoted to Sergeant, and placed in charge of the Registration and Investigation Section. With this promotion I was allowed to sleep in the Sergeant’s room consisting of about 10 men, rather than a regular barracks room with 50 other guys. It afforded more privacy, and prestige.

On Saturday December 6th 1941 a group of us went into Honolulu to visit the beach, see a movie, etc. We came home about midnight, and as usual I slept in on Sunday morning, the 7th. At about 7:30 AM someone starting shaking me and yelling, “Get up, get up, the Japs are attacking”. I ignored him and rolled over to go back to sleep. A few minutes later someone else came in, shook me and said the same thing. I heard some loud noises, raised up to look out my window that faced Wheeler Field, and saw large clouds of black smoke billowing up above Wheeler Field. I thought "by God, something really is happening" and quickly got dressed and went downstairs to my office. There I learned that the Japanese were attacking Wheeler Field. A Japanese plane come over and strafed our quadrangle. Two men were playing cards in a tent pitched in the quadrangle, and a bullet hit the center of the table they were sitting at. We were instructed to remain in the barracks and not venture outside. We were not allowed to draw any weapons or ammunition all that day or night. An MP on duty at one of the gates left his post to return to the barracks, and was immediately placed under arrest by Sgt. Balzac, the Company First Sergeant, for dereliction of duty. Balzac was very tough, and everyone stood tall when he barked an order. At about 9:00 AM dependent women and children started arriving from Wheeler Field, and were housed in our barracks wearing nothing but the clothes they had on at the time. About mid-afternoon they were transported to area homes in and around Honolulu to be housed until other arrangements could be made for them. I went upstairs in the barracks after they left and discovered that they had taken all our sheets and blankets with them. This I figured was ok since they probably needed them more than we did. We soon learned that the main Japanese attack was against the Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hickam Field, the main air base next to Pearl Harbor, and Wheeler Field adjoining Schofield Barracks. All the planes and hangers at Wheeler Field had been completely destroyed, and some of the barracks damaged. The attack lasted about two hours.

In the afternoon of December 7th two of my men and I were dispatched to the post cemetery to fingerprint about 30 casualties from Wheeler Field that had not been identified. Rigor mortis had set in and it was necessary to break some of the fingers to get them open to be finger- printed. The stench of gunpowder and blood on the bodies was terrible. We released the fingerprints to Graves Registration when finished. I forget the number of soldiers killed at Wheeler Field that day but I think it was less than 100. None were killed or wounded at Schofield Barracks that I heard of. We got back to our barracks too late for dinner so we went to the quadrangle PX to have a hot dog. The stench from the bodies was in our clothes and it was almost impossible to eat anything.

From that Sunday night on everything was in complete blackout status on the Island, and vehicle lights were modified so that only a small slit of light shown through the headlight. It was difficult driving with only that amount of light. During the first two nights there were several alerts of lights flashing signals to enemy ships at sea, enemy landings on Oahu, etc., but all turned out to be false. Why the Japanese did not land on the island was a mystery because they could have taken Oahu almost without a fight in my opinion as troops were not issued any weapons or ammunition that day or night that I heard of. It is possible others, such as infantry and artillery were issued weapons, but I don’t really know for sure.

Starting early in the morning of the 7th, and continuing all day, the FBI started picking up Japanese in the Hawaiian islands who had been ear marked as spies, suspected spies, and those sympathetic to Japan. By noon all of the Hasebe family at Hasebe’s village had been arrested and interned on Sand Island at Pearl Harbor. I learned that Mr. Hasebe himself was a Japanese Admiral, and that the room which I had knocked on when I pulled MP duty there, and which he kept locked, housed a large radio transmitter and receiver. I later saw this when I visited the bar a few days later. The equipment was still there, but destroyed beyond use by the FBI. So, my suspicion that something was strange about Mr. Hasebe was justified after all. It was later reported that 10,000 Japanese had been picked up and interned on Sand Island.

On December 8th we were issued weapons and ammunition, and were required to carry these at all times, except cooks and those on administrative duties, etc. But the Japanese did not land on Oahu or any other Hawaiian island. A few days later, after things began to settle down, I visited Wheeler Field and determined that all my friends there were safe and sound. I also visited Pearl Harbor to view the damage there. Several ships were still burning in the harbor at the time.

In January 1942 we started receiving replacements to form an MP Battalion to be known as the 762nd Military Police Battalion, comprising a Headquarters Company, and four MP Companies. We also received several NCOs from the Honolulu MP Company to fill out the NCO Cadre of the companies. They were very efficient and well trained in MP duties. I was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In addition to the 25th Infantry Division the 24th was formed, and several of our original MP sergeants and officers were transferred to the 24th and 25th to form their MP Companies. A Major Salisbury came in for a short time, then was transferred as Provost Marshal of one of the divisions. A Captain Faucett came in and became the officer in charge of my office. Captains Evans, Gee, and Babcock remained as part of Headquarters Company. A Major Richard C. Richardson came in and later became Provost Marshal of Schofield Barracks. Richardson was very competent, efficient, respected and well-liked. He worked for the Greyhound Bus Company prior to being called up from the reserves. Major Salisbury was a weak, milque toast type of person.

Shortly after December 7th, 1941 we started requiring every civilian to complete a four-page personal history questionnaire as a condition of employment. This included all garbage pickup men, who were all Japanese. The questionnaire included questions as to whether they had ever visited a foreign country, served in any foreign military service, had dual citizenship, etc. The questionnaire had to be filled out by all current civilian employees, and those seeking employment for the first time. The garbage men were not government employees, but had to have a pass in order to enter the post to pick up garbage. We discovered that a lot of the Japanese, particularly the garbage men, listed visits to Japan, had dual citizenship, and had served two years in the Japanese army. In fact, if they had dual citizenship, they were required to go back to Japan from Hawaii for 2 years of military service. If they were visiting Japan, and it was time for them to serve, they had to complete their service prior being allowed to leave Japan. Anyone listing military service in Japan was denied entry to the Post, and we denied entry to a lot of Japanese for this reason.

Prior to and after December 7th my section had responsibility for putting up the post flag at 6:00 AM each morning, and taking it down at 5:00 PM each day. The flagpole was located at the West end of the parade field, and the Commanding General’s quarters located at the East end with the flagpole in full view from his quarters. It took two men to handle the flag detail, and I rotated the detail among the men in my office. I hated this damn job because if the flag was raised or lowered just one second early or late the General’s aide would call my office to complain about it. I tried several times to get the job transferred to some other detail without results. That detail is the only thing that ever ticked me off during my entire tour in Hawaii. One second early or late, what in hell difference does it make, and who should give a damn so long as the flag got up and down “almost” on time is the way I looked at it. About 6 months after Pearl Harbor, I thought I had really had it. A large area near Wahiawa had been made into a land mine storage area with about 300 mines being placed in each pile. One day a grass fire set off a pile of land mines, and all available MP’s were called out for traffic control, and help fight the grass fire to prevent other piles of land mines being set off. We got everything under control at about 11:00 PM at night, and driving back to our barracks I noticed that the flag was still flying high and dry in full moonlight. We stopped our vehicle, and rushed to take it down. But, to my surprise there was no phone call the next morning. I thought sure there would be a phone call and as a result I would be busted back to a Private. There was no one around to take the flag down, but who would buy that excuse. I thought, “boy, someone up there is looking out for me.”

Shortly after December 7th First Sergeant Balzac, our Company First Sergeant, was given a direct commission as a Captain and transferred out of the unit. I never heard what happened to him afterwards. One of our top Sergeants who was transferred to the 25th MP Division MP Company was shot and killed by a drunken soldier near Pearl Harbor. I knew him well but can not recall his name at the moment. We had a murder case in which a soldier was killed on military property near Haleiwa Beach. The FBI was notified since they had responsibility for investigating homicides on Federal property, and the area where the body was found was Federal property. My office participated in the investigation. A suspect was located and a confession obtained by telling the suspect his fingerprints were on the suspected murder weapon, a rock, which of course was not true because fingerprints can not be lifted from a rock. But it worked. I recall a burglary case that I handled. Someone broke into one of the locked stores at Hasebe Village and stole a guitar. After the Hasebe family was arrested and interned all of the buildings were locked with all goods left inside. One of our MPs on duty at the South gate informed me that one of our MPs came through the gate on the day of the burglary carrying a guitar. I checked the fellow's clothing locker in the barracks and a guitar matching the description of the one reported stolen was in his locker. He was court-martialed and sentenced to the Post Stockade. I had other cases in which I testified as a fingerprint expert in court during my tour at Schofield Barracks. But crime in the military in those days was very infrequent, as the military was very disciplined, and still is. But the crime rate has increased quite a bit in the military since 1941. During WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam felony crimes of all types were frequent, including murder. During the Korean War 300 murders were committed, mostly by American troops. All of these were solved, except one, prior to my leaving Korea in May 1952. In the early 1970s a separate Criminal Investigation Division Command was established, under direct control of the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C., to investigate felony crimes in the Army.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor my friends and I had little free time to go hiking on the mountains, swimming, etc., and never revisited our old swimming holes. Time was spent doing our duties, which increased considerably, and keeping up with the progress of the war with Japan and Germany. Looking back, I recalled an incident at Schofield Barracks wherein I was very embarrassed regarding military drill. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we dug “V” trenches around the inside of our quadrangle that we could jump into for protection in case of another attack. Two or three mornings each week our company would be marched to the parade field for drill practice. Each time an NCO was selected to march the company from our barracks out to the drill field. One morning it was my turn. For some reason, which I could never explain, I developed a habit of taking one step backward after giving the “preparatory command,” prior to giving the actual “execution” command. The company was lined up in front of the barracks and I called them to “Attention.” We had to march to the right to get to the drill field, so I loudly yelled the preparatory command “Right”, then took my usually step backward, and to my great astonishment completely disappeared into one of the “V” trenches. I immediately scrambled out and yelled the execution command “Face,” and marched the company out to the drill field. No one smiled or said a word to me. If they had I think I would killed them right then and there. Talk about embarrassment. To this day I have never lived that down.

There were large, deep, ravines south of Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Field. They built roads down the middle of these, and then tunnels on each side to store ammunition. Beneath Diamond Head in Honolulu they built a huge underground command center for the Pacific Theater. I visited there a couple of time. You could drive a vehicle right into it.

By about September 1942 almost all of the men in our original MP Company had applied for, been accepted, and sent back to the Military Police and other service Officer Candidate School in the states. I was about the only one left of the original men in the company when I transferred in 1940. The company commander, either Captain Gee or Evans, I don’t recall which, kept asking me to apply for Military Police Officer Candidates School (OCS). I kept telling him that I did not want to go. Reason being that I was still under a false enlistment, and I knew that if this came out I could possibly be court- martialed or kicked out of the service. Prior to the war it meant a court-martial and jail time for sure. I didn’t know what would happen at the time when he kept asking me to apply for OCS. Finally one day the Captain called me into his office and said I was not leaving until I told him why I did not want to apply for OCS, no ifs and buts about it. I thought long, and hard, and finally decided that I had to tell him about my false enlistment at age 14, the first time, and 16 the last time. To my surprise he stated, “Well, hell, we’ll get that straightened out by writing a letter to Washington and get your records changed.” About three weeks later he called me back in, and stated that Washington advised it would be too much trouble to change the records, and gave permission for me to apply for OCS, with provision that I state my true date of birth the next time I enlisted. As it turned out I never had a chance to re-enlist after that.

I made application for OCS and was accepted. I appeared before an Officer’s Candidate Board, and during questioning they asked me to explain my false enlistment. I told them that I had two brothers in the Army at the time, that I wanted to follow in their footsteps, I liked the Army, and thought it would be a good career. A few days later I received word that I was accepted for OCS. I was surprised, but thought it was because of the great recommendations submitted by the officers I worked for. I also thought they sure must be hard up for officers to have selected me, but I wasn’t complaining. The letter of acceptance was signed by Lt. Elmer Slobe, a member of the Honolulu MP Company, and also a member of the Selection Board, who later became a member of Office of Special Investigations of the US Air Force in 1947. Our paths crossed years later, and we became good friends.

I left Hawaii about the December l, 1942 aboard an old freighter. There were about 2500 of us on board, 20 of them going to MP OCS. I knew and had served with several of them, but can’t recall their names at the moment. It was the worst ship ride I ever had, but I guess it was all they had to send troops stateside at the time. I graduated on March 26th as a 2nd Lieutenant in the UNITED STATES ARMY. I thought to myself 'by God that old farm boy was going up in the world." I was really happy, and grateful that I was given the chance to become an officer. It also crossed my mind that if not for the war I would still be an enlisted man in Hawaii, or possibly shipped out with some other unit to the Pacific Theater. To be an officer you had to be 21 years old, and I just made it, having turned 21 on February 3rd.


NAME : Jack M. Spangler, Technical Sergeant

UNIT: Hawaiian Air Force

TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941

SOURCE: Account sent to the museum by Mr. Spangler


Wednesday, November the 26th, 1941 all first three grades of the enlisted personnel were briefed that morning that we were on a war alert status with the Japanese empire. All the Air Corps would be credited for wartime service until further notice. We were given two areas of probability of attack which were the Philippines and/or Wake Island. The Hawaiian Islands were never mentioned in the briefing. It is history now on where and when this attack actually occurred.

On Saturday, December the 6th we were notified that the alert was discontinued and that we were back on regular status. All aircraft were brought in from revetments and camouflaged areas where they had been parked while on alert. For the first and only time, all aircraft were parked wing tip to wing tip and the next row was parked empannage or tail section to wing trailing edge of the opposite row. Row after row. We had never been instructed to park aircraft like this before. We questioned our superiors why they were being parked this way and were told by headquarters that it was easier to guard the planes this way from sabotage.

On Sunday, December the 7th, I was aroused from my sleep by my friend, Philip Paragan, who wanted to return a favor by inviting me to breakfast at the main PX on the field. My quarters were located in the large barracks fronting on Wright Avenue. I was in charge of the instrument flying department located at the lower level of the barracks fronting Santos Dumont Avenue. I was billeted in an adjoining room to my department. We left my sleeping area and walked from Santos Dumont Avenue to Wright Avenue approximately 400 feet. On the adjacent corner was the large 3 story new barracks. Just when I was turned westbound on Wright Avenue, I heard a tremendous explosion which shook the ground. I saw fire and billowing black smoke. I didn't know it then but this was the first bomb drop that started World War II for the United States of America.

I did not realize what had happened but thought maybe some aircraft had crashed although I couldn't see any evidence of this. The next instant, I saw two Japanese VAL dive bombers with the red meatball on the side of the fuselage. I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I stood rooted to the ground unable to move. On my right, I heard another aircraft winding up in a dive. I looked up and saw one Japanese VAL dive bomber aiming for the new three story barracks. It looked like he was right on top of me. I saw the bomb release from the plane as the pilot pulled up to the right to avoid the bomb blast. As the bomb was falling, it seemed like it was suspended for an eternity, falling directly overhead. My life flashed before my eyes and I thought I was going to die. All I could remember was seeing the flash. When I came to, the bomb had landed directly across the street from me between two homes. Luckily, Wright avenue is higher on the north side of the street than the south side where I was standing, therefore I received the concussion of the blast and not the shrapnel. I awoke, finding myself crawling on my hands and knees towards the barracks. I had red lava dirt embedded in every part of my body. I couldn't hear, I couldn't see, I couldn't stand but managed to get across the street into the lower level of the barracks where I knew the quartermaster had stored mattresses. I don't know what happened to my friend and I never saw him again. I wedged myself in between the mattresses, anticipating another bomb blast.

I wasn't there for more than a couple of minutes when I heard a voice calling out if anyone was there. I answered and showed myself. A pilot, who was a Major, asked me if I had any experience on a 50 caliber machine gun on an anti-aircraft mount. I told him that I had. He asked me to follow him. We broke into the supply area and took two 50 caliber guns. One gun was set up on the hangar side and the other one on the northeast end of the building. We did this between the first and second wave. The remaining men took 30 caliber machine guns over the side of the balconies on the first, second, and third floors. They then laid mattresses over the balcony railings to shield themselves from the millions of rounds of ammunition that was stored in a hangar destined for Wake island. One of the dive bombers had set this on fire and the ammunition was flying everywhere. During the second wave we fired at all the Japanese aircraft that were strafing the hangar line, parking ramp and buildings. I was in charge of the gun on the roof that faced the hangar line. One man fed the ammo belt and cleared stoppages while I held the hook on my shoulders to incline the gun downward to fire at the Japanese planes. Another man was triggering the gun. Upon the Major's orders, we fired whereever directed.

In between the first and second wave, a B-17D from March Air Force Base tried to land at Hickam field but the runway was gone. They then tried to land on our field. The other men on the northeast end of the barracks manning the other 50 caliber machine gun started shooting at the B-17. It was a new model that we had never seen before that had a different kind of dorsal fin. The Major and our men were watching the B-17 from our gun station. We saw the pilot and three men from the left waistgunner's position leaning out of the plane waving anything they could get hold of to let us know that they were friendly and on our side so we wouldn't shoot them down. The Major ran over to the other gun station with his weapon drawn and threatened to shoot the gunner if he didn't stop shooting at the B-17. He stopped shooting and they landed safely. During the second wave, we continued to fire on Japanese war planes until the guns were so hot that the bullets would no longer feed into the barrel and it would no longer fire. These guns were water cooled and we had no water. We stayed on the roof until we were sure that there were no more aircraft strafing the field. In the hours that followed, we really didn't know what to do. Looking around me I saw total destruction of all the aircraft. We went down to the parking ramp to see if there was anything that we could salvage but it was useless.

About 1600 hours I received orders to take two working 50 caliber machine guns with M-2 mounts and seven men to the west end of the field. We dug our entrenchments with the following orders: Whiskey alert! Shoot down anything! Wine alert! If you can identify your target as being Japanese, shoot it! Water alert! Hold your fire!

During the evening, just after dark, we were on Whiskey alert. We heard an aircraft approaching the field with navigation lights on. We thought it was a trick and when the aircraft came into our sights, we shot him down. A half hour later we received a communications phone and were given a message to hold our fire. A Navy fighter was coming in. I informed command that he had already come in, and we had shot him down. A half hour later we heard the medics going out to aid the pilot. It seemed like every 50 feet they were challenged by a sentry. I told my men that if they challenged that meat wagon that I was going to shoot them. It was so dark that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. All you could hear was the word "halt!" They finally reached the Navy pilot and found him to be alive and in Kipapa Gulch with his cockpit sticking up in the air, still strapped in. The fuselage was broken in two parts. We were firing tracers and thought that the fuselage of the plane should have looked like a sieve but it didn't. We must have clipped the ignition harness on his engine. Very few bullets actually hit the plane. After they rescued the pilot he told the medics to tell us that he had been in a gun battle out at sea with a Japanese fighter that had fired at him striking his leg and breaking it. His injuries were not from us. That made my day! I never did get breakfast that day. That red dirt trench was our home for three days. We caught rain water in our canteen cup to drink and found some guavas to eat. Many men lost their lives that day. We were just happy to be alive.


NAME: Teitenberg, Harriet L. (Mrs. Frank A. McKinley)

UNIT: Civilian

TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941

SOURCE: Mrs. McKinley is a friend of Col. Wells. Given to the museum on her visit here.

DATE RECEIVED: June 3, 1996

Dec. 6 - Firing began at night 1:30 A.M.

Dec. 7 - No "Advertiser morning paper; when telephoned, said that presses broke down at midnight. Paper would be late; perhaps 11 A.M. Between 8 and 9 o'clock (A.M.) constant firing

8:30 A.M. - Radio announcer stated at 3 minute intervals that the Hawaiian Islands were under attack; All army and navy personnel were ordered to their posts

Radio - "Islands under attack - not simulated - it's the real thing - the real McCoy; everything under control keep calm" Firemen and policemen report to duty

8:30- 9 A.M. - Puffs of black smoke over Pearl Harbor Edith Beers, next door neighbor, ordered to FBI office to her work - had bad cold All civilian defense workers and civil service workers called to office Ambulance units called Medical men to report to Disaster Council Radio announcer broadcast in very nervous manner Civilians ordered off streets and not to use telephones

10:00 A.M. - First news broadcast - Sporadic air attacks over Islands. The Rising Sun seen on the wing tips; two screaming shells plainly heard; second made a hole in pavement half block away; corner of Lewers and Kuhio; broke windows in surrounding houses and cut palm tree; tore down venetian blinds; injured 3 persons Motor cycle drivers called List of all doctors called for duty

10:00 A.M. - Gov. Poindexter declared Island in State of Emergency - under Military Law Garlick's packed food in cartons in car and medical supplies in case of evacuation

11:15 A.M. - Preliminary preparation for blackout No phone calls - emergency - operators needed for it; not otherwise

11:30 A.M. - All university Sr. ROTC students report to Univ. of Hawaii immediately

11:45 A.M. - Army ordered radio off the air

12:15 A.M. - More bombing

12:30 A.M. - Positive military orders with military enforcement; do not use telephone; stay off the street; clear all streets of cars

4:30 P.M. - Martial Law - Certain Japanese agents have been apprehended; complete blackout; entire territory at sundown Rumor: Water contaminated; boil all water until further notice.

Monday, Dec. 8

7 A.M. - Heard part of President's message to Congress; before going to work Punahou School taken over by U.S. Engineers Civilian Police with guns at each gate; furniture moved out; all Engineers in offices

10:15 A.M. Paper and milk delivered Royal Hawaiian, a Red Cross center; windows being blacked-out and lumber being made into operating tables Water declared pure Rumor: (without much substantiation) we hear Kimmel withdrew 1000 mile patrol at sea last week Army supposed to have left planes in concentrated group where many were easily damaged by single bombs

Evening: Another blackout; listen to police calls; most of then asking police to investigate lights on; short wave radios; lights on (one on top of church); houses being broken into or suspicious action on part of Japanese or reported parachutists

Dec. 9 - No sound from the radio since 9 last night; Black bombers crossing over house intermittently since before dawn.

10:30 A.M. Air raid sirens being installed; Grocers closed for inventory; nothing but milk being sold Police radio - "man carrying basket of pigeons"; hysterical women on sidewalk

Dec. 10 - Still quiet; No radios, cameras or seeds can be sold; Movies opened from 12-4 during the day, no bread at stores; can be bought only by going to the bakery

Dec. 11 - Germany and Italy declare war on us

Radio on at 11:30 with Hawaiian music; lasted less then 2 hrs. Wheeler and Hickam Fields with machine shops there have lights on all night to work by

No plans for school in the future

Grocery shelves empty, no salt in town

Gasoline to be rationed from the 15th of Dec. to 10 gallons a month

Dec. 13 - Radio programs resumed

Tentative plans for school in homes beginning about Jan. 5th.

Dec 14 - What about it all; the surprise attack when there was firing on the Japanese the night before; the all school flag a week before; the first time on the Islands; Clapper's column saying Kurusu's mission a Japanese trick and a bluff and no attention paid to it Public schools being used for evacuees and Red Cross stations Drug supplies frozen Clippers running daily

Navy families ordered to mainland

Dec 20 - Japanese land on Wake. Why weren't plane or ships there; this could be a base for operations against Hawaii. Everything about this affair is Why? WHY? Why did we let them come so near; Why did a submarine get into Pearl Harbor; Why didn't people believe the Japanese were here? particularly the Army and Navy; 2 tankers sunk on California coast. "President Harrison"

Evacuating Marines captured by Japanese

Dec. 24 - Do the Japanese know the story of Washington's capture of the Hessians in Trenton on this day; Merry Christmas - with regrets!

Dec. 25 - Hong Kong captured

Jan. 1 - Bread shortage because no yeast left

Sinking of freighter ships along coasts

New shortages daily

Washington beginning to prepare to make up for losses at Pearl Harbor

We feel war bound - shut in from all - the world without

Jan. 2 - Black Point to be evacuated

Manila in Japanese hands; so soon! Too soon!

Gas Masks issued

Jan. 7 - Kiawe trees on Island to be cut down to avoid brush to hide in, in case of parachutist; civilian men volunteered to cut the (trees) called it "Kiawe Drive"

Jan. 11 - Sand needed for incendiary bombs extinguisher; Forbidden to take it from Waikiki; Waialae has barbed wire entanglement to beach; Kahala Park a camp without soldiers; wire gate and barbed wire entanglements out to water got some other side of island. Punahou's cereus hedge, most beautiful in bloom, being cut down to have barbed fence put above wall; old cars or huge pipes in all empty fields, lots, parks, golf courses, etc. to prevent plane landings

Jan. 14 - Air raid alarm at 11:45 (unidentified element given as reason)

Jan. 15 - Navy took over Royal Hawaiian Hotel as place of rest and recreation for officers and men on arduous duty (submarines and air corps)


NAME: Earl M. Thacker

UNIT: Civilian

TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941

SOURCE: Letter given to the museum by Colonel Wells, dated April 7, 1942




I have had so many thoughtful messages, Christmas cards and letters from friends on the Mainland that I am not able to answer them individually. However, I thought that an account of some on the highlights of life in Hawaii Nei under military law, as well as a memo of our personal reaction on the day we were attacked, might be of interest, so I am addressing this mimeographed copy to you in the hope that you will understand and forgive me for not writing personally, at least for the present.

To start at the beginning, December 7th: it was hard to believe that we had actually been attacked. Our family had just finished a leisurely breakfast and we were all planning to go down to Pearl Harbor, hoist sails on the "Panini" and take a family group picture to be sent to our friend as a personal Christmas card. We planned to get there before the sun reached meridian height, which would have been about noon, so that we could get the cloud effects with the coco fringed waters of Pearl Harbor in the foreground. The picture was changed.

In lieu of that Christmas card, I shall try to tell you how we have been living since December 7 in a manner that will, I hope, comply with all the rules of censorship. There are, of course, many things that cannot be told, but I am sure that most of you have read the Knox and Roberts reports, and more recently the highly important and enlightening stories and editorials written by Roy Wilson Howard, Hawaii's understanding friends who needs no introduction to many of you. It was my privilege to spend a great deal of time with Roy while he was here, and I know that it was through his conferences with Admiral Nimitz, General Emmons, Robert L. Shivers, head of the local F.B.I, high ranking Army and Navy officers, as well as civilian leaders, newspaper publisher and correspondents, that he was able to obtain a greater appreciation and understanding of what Hawaii means to the U.S.A.

From these three sources you can get a very accurate account of what occurred here, with neither embellishment nor depreciation of the actual losses. Responsibility, as you know, was fixed on General Short and Admiral Kimmel. I do feel personally, and I hope I am entitled to my own opinions, that it was more the fault of our system and policies, rather than of those in command, that the Pearl Harbor debacle occurred.

I want to caution you in regard to reading material on the Pearl Harbor attack concerning sabotage and fifth column activities. Not one instance of sabotage was proven. Accounts in magazines and newspapers that have come back to us have been, for the most part, highly imaginative and without bias in fact. The horrifying details of arrows cut in canfields to direct the invaders, McKinley High School rings found o n the Japanese pilots, obstruction of highways

by Japanese truck gardeners, short-wave radios, and the rest, are as inaccurate as they are fascinating. While it would be foolhardy to deny the excellent opportunities here for fifth column activities, authorities do not believe that a blanket evacuation of Japanese to a concentration camp or its equivalent is at all warranted. Precautions have been taken to prevent sabotage and the proper agencies are constantly alert to detect fifth columnists.

To get back to the actual events of "Black Sunday", as we experienced them: From our home on Diamond Head we had a ringside seat and full view of much of what was going on. Like almost everyone else, we merely thought that the Army and Navy were being unnecessarily noisy in their maneuvers, especially on a Sunday morning. It was almost eleven 'o'clock when my chauffeur returned from taking one of my friends, a Navy captain, to his ship, and confirmed that we were actually at war, that ships had been bombed and were ablaze in the harbor.

It was still hard for me to believe.

By this time the noise was terrific, we could hear the rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire and the sharper clap of anti-aircraft, the roar of big guns and depth charges. The Waianaes (mountains back of Schofield Barracks) were obliterated by the great masses of black smoke stretching from stricken Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor. Here and there, dots of scarlet identified fires throughout the city. At first the planes flew low and the roar of their engines were deafening. Later they climbed much higher and the thinner sound, mixed as it was with the screaming pull-out from dives was more terrifying than before. Towering geysers of water plunged up from the sea as the bombs dropped around the ships that were the targets.

One bomb destroyed a building on McCully Street, and shrapnel and anti-aircraft duds caused further damage in the city. A bomb fell in a house on Pacific Heights, virtually destroying the whole place except for one bedroom in which the owner lay sleeping! There was only one haole civilian casualty, a white woman who was killed by an anti-aircraft shell which exploded under her Dowsett Highland house.

Dorothy, Mr. and Mrs. Dickey, the children Dorothy Anne and Herbert Dickey, and I were all together remained together throughout the day. There seemed to be little that any of us could do except to obey the instructions coming over the radio to "stay off the streets, do not use your telephone. This is the real McCoy, Oahu is being attacked by the Japs." Since then I have been serving as a block warden at Makalei Place and we have things very well organized and systematized at the present time. Each warden spends one night in each fortnight on duty and every district in Honolulu is likewise protected so that there is a constant alert throughout the city.

Many of you have written and asked why I have not gone back on active duty with the Navy. This I will do if and when there is a job to be done that I am particularly qualified to do. Otherwise, it is felt that I can be more effective by serving the community and our country in the several ways I am now doing.

I hope to have Dorothy and the children and Mrs. Dickey get to the Mainland as soon as school is out. They do not want to go but from a health standpoint, as well as an educational one, I sincerely believe that our youngsters and other young children under 18, should leave the islands for the duration.

We are as you know, under martial law, with General Delos C. Emmons as Military Governor. All violations come before the Provost Court, whose decisions are rapid and penalties severe. While some of the punishments seem very harsh, most of us feel that this arrangement is necessary.

Physically, Honolulu and the island of Oahu have changed. The beaches are strewn with rolls and rolls for barbed wire; guns, machine gun nests and anti-aircraft positions are everywhere; sandbags and sandboxes protect many buildings; trenches mutilate school ground and open spaces such as parks; signs indicating First Aid stations are innumerable and almost every home has its bomb shelter dug into the ground with a vegetable garden growing on top!

It is probably a toss-up between the blackouts and the gasoline rationing as to which is the more restricting. At the present time, beginning April 1, the blackout, which is very strictly enforced is from 7:45 p.m. to 6:39 a.m. By this time most of us have blacked out our homes so that they are comfortable and livable, but at first, under emergency conditions, we really suffered from lack of ventilation. All cars must be off the streets by blackout time except official cars and drivers bearing night passes, but we are permitted to walk outside until nine o'clock, at which time we are figuratively tucked into bed by the Provost Marshall. Automobiles used at night have their lamps painted black except for a 2 1/2" round spot of dark blue in the center and a tiny opening in the stop light to let the red peek through. While this arrangement warns another car of one's presence, it in no way lights the road, so night driving is hazardous.

As I said before, the other major cross we have to bear is gasoline rationing. Each car owner is allowed a basic monthly ten gallons, and some of us, owing to the nature of our business, are granted extra gallonage, but never, in our opinions, in adequate quantities. We realize the importance of gasoline rationing and are going to cooperate but it is difficult to try to conduct our business affairs without sufficient fuel for transportation.

A much more minor cross, and one which we will be more than glad to bear if the need arises, is the carrying of gas masks. We are supposed to carry them at all times, and they are a nuisance in more ways than one, but just one gas attack will change our minds about that.

As curfew hour comes so early it is necessary either to leave in plenty of time to reach home (on foot) by nine p.m., or one must stay overnight. We are all becoming quite used to having a good night's rest curled up on a too-short davenport, or turning the bathtub into a bed. Just recently the theaters have been extended permission to remain open until 7:00 p.m. so that defense workers and office workers have an opportunity to go to an occasional movie. The hotels hold afternoon dances and a few evening dances during the week as well. The moonlight dances are quite popular, the guests of course, remaining overnight. That American institution, the cocktail party, is fast disappearing from the Hawaiian scene due to the scarcity of liquor. All yachts and boats have been either taken over by the Navy or laid up for the duration, as have private airplanes. Hay and grain are almost impossible to get so most of us have turned our horses to pasture. It is probably a good thing that we are so busy with defense work, in addition to tour regular duties, for we no longer have the opportunities of facilities for play that we than did in the past.

We have all been required to be vaccinated and inoculated against smallpox and typhoid fever. There has been no escape for "conscientious objectors," as it is a military order, so everyone is toting a sore arm, and the women all limp because feminine beauty demanded that they be vaccinated on the leg, although God only know when they'll wear evening dresses again.

As might be expected, there is no such thing as unemployment. Many business have suffered due to unavailability of help, as the defense jobs have offered such as high wages that employees have been lured from their former positions and a few stores closed due to lack of merchandise.

Ships to and from the island travel in convoys. Women and children are being evacuated as rapidly as possible but there are many hundreds still waiting to be called. Clipper space is so limited that it is almost impossible to get passage in either direction as military officials have priority over civilians. All travel operations are strictly confidential.

Due to limited freight space, most of which is required for military supplies, only the most necessary commodities are being shipped to us. Perishable food, of course, had priority, with canned goods also up on the list. There are times when there is scarcity of butter, beef, eggs, fresh vegetables, and fruits until the arrival of another convoy, but we are certainly not starving. Right now we are all dressing about the same as usual, but if this keeps on for a long time we may be back to malos and coconut hats (one for this and the other for that.)

It has been a great thing for the nation to have a fleet of merchant ships that has been built up over a period of years between here and the mainland. Many of the ships have been commandeered by the Navy and some of the luxury liners are now being used as troop ships by the Army Transport Service.

We had prohibition until last moth but are now permitted to buy a very limited amount per person - one bottle per week. It is my understanding that this will continue until the supply in the Islands is exhausted and that it will not be replenished from the Mainland. During the prohibition period I am told that it was soon impossible to buy hair tonics or vanilla extracts.

Retail business during the first couple of days after we were attacked was 25 to 40% normal, compared with the same days in 1940, depending upon type of merchandise sold. This increased to about 85 to 100% normal around the 17th of December, and on the three days before Christmas it went to 125% as compared with the same period the previous year. Prior to December 7 business was about 36% over last year, which was probably due to increase in population by defense workers and military personnel, as well as higher wages paid on defense jobs.

Two major problems confront the sugar industry (1) Labor (2) Equipment and Supplies. Even on December 7 the industry was shorthanded due to the attractive wages offered field laborers by the various defense projects. Since December 7 the plantations have been called upon heavily, particularly on the Island of Oahu, to furnish large numbers of men for urgent defense activities. While the demand has been reduced somewhat, the plantations continue to furnish sizable numbers of workers each day. A large amount of plantation equipment was and still is being used by the Armed Forces on defense projects. Repairs were necessary on the machinery returned and it has not been possible to get spare parts so that the equipment is not usable.

If labor and equipment were available it would be possible for the Hawaiian Islands to produce approximately one million tons of the sugar which is so vitally needed. But it is difficult at the present time to estimate how much the Islands actually will be able to produce due to the uncertainty of what labor and equipment will be available.

In furtherance of defense efforts, as a result of extensive studies carried on by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, a program for diversified agriculture has been developed and considerable cane acreage has been diverted for this purpose. Raising vegetables in Hawaii is not an easy matter and as long as ships are coming here it is the opinion of many that it is more

practical to bring in foodstuffs. However, in the meantime, plantations are carrying out pilot planting which may be expanded rapidly if emergency demands. It now looks as though it is advisable to put about 4500 acres of cane land into producing vegetables.

Our second largest industry- pineapple- has suffered from disrupted operations and faces many new problems as a result of developments since December 7. As a substantial amount of fruit is grown on the islands of Lanai and Molokai and this involves the transportation of essential operating supplies to those islands and the bringing of fruit to Honolulu for processing, maintenance of uninterrupted inter-island transportation schedules is of vital importance to the industry. Because of enemy submarine activity in these waters, it has not and probably will not be possible to maintain these schedules.

As might be expected, the industry has been adversely affected by the diversion of manpower and equipment to defense activities. Many problems will undoubtedly arise during the peak operating period during the summer months of 1942 because of blackouts and other restrictions, but the effect of these is unpredictable at this time.

To quote Henry A White, president of the Hawaiian Pineapple company, “By an accident of geography, essential American industries in the Territory of Hawaii are faced with the unique necessity of continuing production in the midst of a war zone. Increased costs, such as freight surcharges and high marine insurance rates, unless government relief is extended, must be borne by the individual concern at consequent competitive disadvantage.”

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel has been leased to the Navy as a recreational and rest center for their personnel. The Red Cross and U.S.O. have units there and the scheme is working out very satisfactorily. The Moana continues to operate as a hotel. There aren’t any tourists, but

local people, defense workers and military personnel keep it well filled. The Halekulani serves the same purpose and the Pleasanton Hotel has been taken over by the U.S. Engineers. The Young Reef and considerable other space has been leased to the Engineers.

Regarding real estate, rents have always been considered high in Honolulu and it was generally expected that they would fall right after the bombs did, but this has not been the case. Rental control is in effect here but in only a few instances have rents been lowered. This, of course, is not true of expensive properties which used to be leased to tourists at rentals of from $500 to $1500 per month. There is no demand for this type of property now, but the need for moderately priced homes and apartments continues. The sales market is not exactly brisk but there is some turnover each month, particularly in the $4,000 to $10,000 class, as well as transfers of some business properties. Many leases have been made on industrial and business properties to Army, Navy, and defense contractors.

This letter has become very long, yet I feel that I have barely touched on the various aspects of life in Hawaii today. I hope you have not been bored and that you have found something of interest in these highlights. One thing above all I want to emphasize, and that is that the people of Hawaii, military and civilian, are working together 100%. Morale is excellent, everyone works hard, there is little grumbling about inconveniences and deprivations, and we are all determined to see this thing through and contribute as much as we can to the final victory. Don’t worry about us or feel sorry for us, down here. Just buy as many defense bonds as you can. If the jam Daps come back, as we expect they will, we’ll give them a Hawaiian welcome they’ll never forget. A new kind of Aloha we coined just for them.

Aloha nui to you all.

Earl Thacker

April 7, 1942


NAME : District 4 Rural Oahu Committee

UNIT: Wahiawa township

TIME PERIOD: December 7, 1941

SOURCE: Report of January 5, 1942 from the Wahiawa Courthouse, Wahiawa, Territory of Hawaii. Copy received from Dick Rodby

DATE RECEIVED: March 1, 2002

The sun had risen warm in a clear blue sky—a nice lazy Sunday had dawned, to be broken only by the bustle of church-going and the comfortable somnolence of a heavy midday dinner. Wahiawa stretched contentedly, nestling against the security of Schofield’s and Wheeler Field’s boundaries.

And then planes swarmed low overhead and none even looked up. There were several dull thuds, great clouds of black smoke rose from Wheeler Field and the air was split with the vicious crackle of many machine guns spitting hate and destruction. Oahu was under enemy attack!

Leo B. Rodby looked out the window of his home just outside Schofield’s Macomb gate and saw a plane skimming the tree tops chasing a milk truck up the road. From the plane streaked the tiny trails of smoke that indicated tracer bullets, gray fingers probing for the truck’s engine and the driver’s heart. From the lawn outside, his son called, “Hey, Pop! Those are Jap planes!” And “Pop” was suddenly very busy gathering his family into the comparative safety of home and then running to his car while bombs fell two blocks away and tracers kicked up dirt around him. He must reach the Wahiawa courthouse at once to assemble the Disaster Committee of District #4 of which he was head.

On Wahiawa Heights, A.S. Harrington, Major USA Retired, picked up his field glasses to watch the “maneuvers” over Pearl Harbor; nearby Wheeler and Schofield were hidden from his sight by trees. He saw a plane plunge earthward trailing smoke and flame and another burst suddenly in mid-air. He saw the faint white bursts of anti-aircraft shells. And then he went to his wardrobe and brought out the uniform that had hung ready for such an emergency ever since Pacific tension had first become apparent. He must report to Army authorities to volunteer for any aid he could give. He was on his way before the first wave had passed.

And very suddenly there was a silence that was worse than all the ear-splitting noise that had preceded it. Dr. M. Mack and his Emergency Medical Unit were already in action gathering from Wahiawa’s streets wounded and dying civilians. And only a handful of the town’s population knew in that stunned silence that war had come, that the old familiar drugstores and beauty shops had roofs and walls splintered with bullets which had ruthlessly sought to kill or maim anything and everything that moved in the streets of a quiet little country town.

The handful of those who knew gathered quietly, without excitement, about Mr. Rodby’s desk to plan in detail the work whose general outlines had already been formulated months in advance. George McEldowney would enforce the town’s first blackout, H.C. Hinrichsen who would mobilize the Disaster Wardens, W. Berry as engineer was to arrange for the first temporary bomb shelters, Manuel Duarte for the keeping open of communications, S.A. Kirkpatrick, would see that electric power and light would function despite possible damage or sabotage, A.A. Wilson would maintain a pure and adequate water supply, Grant Edwards was organizing the provisional police to augment Wahiawa’s efficient but small regular force, and F. Okumura, Japanese Yale graduate, as food administrator was to inventory the town’s stock and calm the first hysterical impulse to start hoarding.

And abruptly, almost without warning, the Rising Sun droned angrily close over the roof tops again… but this time the committee heads paid no heed as they sped to their appointed tasks. As one raider plummeted to earth in a blazing inferno just a block behind the courthouse, Mr. Rodby stood on the corner and watched it fall as he answered questions and gave directions. By ten o’clock that morning of December 7th, committee leaders and volunteer helpers were functioning smoothly and with no duplication of effort. Democracy was at work hurling back as the unworthy foe of the challenge that only plain men, ordinary citizens, can make victorious—defense of their homes and their way of life.

Major Harrington as chief of transportation was mobilizing the labor and trucks of the pineapple plantations dispatching them to Schofield and Wheeler for emergency work. Bob Bennett, Junior Chamber of Commerce head volunteered and like the others worked twenty hours without letup as the Major’s assistant. As telephones rang incessantly, Mrs. (sic) and Mrs. R.J. Sothern Navy and Army wives, volunteered to expedite messages, to keep a record of activities to handle the clerical work for the organization.

Soon long lines of trucks from big flat-bottomed ones to small covered jalopies were parked in solid ranks well off the highway for blocks around the courthouse, nerve center of Civilian Defense activities for that area. Aboard the trucks waited silent groups of workers and their hands. One after another they were sent to the military gates to report for specific tasks. Empty trucks coupled with French 75’s, and started off to the secret beach positions with the startling burdens that had been unsuspected only two short hours before.

A load of federation men drew up before Macomb Gate, entrance to Schofield. Alert Military Police ordered them to climb down while they and their truck were searched for “dangerous” weapons. Suddenly horror spread in military minds as each man was found concealing a vicious looking machete and a cane knife, regular working tools for the Filipino pineapple worker.

Unfamiliar with work which would have no use for such tools, they promptly forgot what little English they knew and jabbered vehemently as they furiously clung to the weapons the police tried to take from them. One little man whose long hair coiled under an outsized cap aroused definite suspicion in a six-two MP, clutched his head gear with both hands to hold it on while the strapping soldier with equal determination tried to snatch it off. The Filipino’s terror only made it more sure that here, indeed, must be hidden some devilishly effective weapon for sabotage!

Order was restored only upon the arrival of D.F. Cashin, ex-army sergeant now acting as a provisional policeman, who was able to explain to the malihini that the load of laborers were full of good intentions and preparedness rather than evil designs against the forces of the united States Army!

A.A. Wilson was our committee’s first casualty. The night of the 7th in the blackout intensified by overcast skies, he was trying to contact his various men on water main guarding posts. The headlights of his car, also without lights, approached at high speed. Besides the total wreckage of his automobile, he was fortunate that he sustained only a broken left arm.

As head of the food committee, Mr. Okumura had not only that vitally important work, but also the planning of emergency soup kitchens hastily organized, equipped, and stocked in the fire station. It was in running order by one o’clock in the afternoon of the first day and fed over 600 people that night. When coffee supplies ran low, fresh boiling water was poured over the old grounds twelve different times—and there were more compliments for the latter brew than the earlier ones! As the recognized representative of this race, Mr. Okumura’s work was even more difficult for it was he who directed and reassured the confused and, in some cases, terrified Japanese farmers, laborers, and business men whose various efforts were all essential to the continued defense of their island homes.

And there were the provisional police volunteers of all races and creeds who went out that first pitch black night to defend vital installations against they knew not what, armed with nothing but a club, yet determined that what effort and will they could muster would be enough for whatever they might encounter. There was one man, more sure than the rest, perhaps, that a mere stick would not be sufficient, who hammered three-inch nails through his club at two-inch intervals so that all one end of it bristled with steel points. “Cubed steak” would have been the mildest description for any enemy daring to cross his path before the warden in his district discovered his weapon and rearmed him with something less lethal!

The four Japanese airmen whose two planes had been brought down in Wahiawa were held in the town’s improvised morgue in a garage. When no official action was taken, they were buried in Wahiawa’s cemetery under a marker stating simply and without malice, “here lies four unidentified Japanese aviators.”

Dr. Mack’s small private hospital overflowed into Red Cross headquarters in the rear of the fire station. After first aid had been administered, these cases were sent out to hospitals in surrounding communities in almost every type of improvised ambulance, from bakery trucks to station wagons.

In such fashion every problem that arose was handled with dispatch and ingenuity, calmly and efficiently, by the inhabitants of the only rural community which had undergone deliberate enemy strafing. Though the Disaster Committee of District #4 had been organized in skeleton form, the chairmen of each group took pride in admitting that they would have been helpless without the splendid cooperation and assistance of all their fellow citizens.

This document is found in the Hawaii War Records Depository at the university of Hawaii-Manoa in Hamilton Library. It is in file 16 which includes reports of the Rural Oahu Committee of the Oahu Civil Defense.


NAME: R.L. Welch

UNIT: Btry. C, 13th

TIME PERIOD: 1940-42 Field Artillery

SOURCE: Letter received from Mr. Welch


Soon after my 21st birthday, Nov. 7, 1940, instead of registering for the draft, I went down to Oneonta, NY and enlisted at a recruiting office for service in the Army in Hawaii. I was sent by bus to Albany, then down along the Hudson River to a point just north of New York where I headed east to the shore of Long Island Bay near the Connecticut border. There I rode a ferry out to a barracks on an Island in the sound north of Rhode Island called Fort Slocum, a World War I relic.

There I received housing and basic training while waiting for a ship to transport us to Hawaii. We enjoyed flocks of seagulls catching bits of bread thrown from upstairs before they reached the ground. In late February we boarded a military transport ship that had been captured in World War I and converted from a cattle boat to a military transport. The former holds now contained rows of double-decker buns in which several hundred slept.

In late February 1941 our shipload of recruits boarded the U.S. Army transport ship “Republic.” The ship had to push its way through a floating mass of thin cakes of frozen ice all the way out of Long Island Sound. Off the coast of the Carolinas we encountered a storm with rough seas past Cape Hatteras. Most everyone on board became very seasick which lasted almost until we reached Panama. We enjoyed a pleasant trip through the canal watching small boats loaded with bananas moving across Gatan Lake on their way to being loaded a board ships for transport to the north eastern U.S. markets. Near the Pacific end of the canal, we were allowed to go ashore and walk up a hill to look down on a city on the west coast. We entered the Pacific Ocean in pleasant weather and enjoyed the rest of our ride to Honolulu.

The group of which I was a part was hauled aboard a narrow gauge railway up to Schofield Barracks near the center of the Island of Oahu. Schofield Barracks are two story affairs arranged in quadrangles around parade grounds with roadways through the corners and around the inside of the square. Various military units of different designations, infantry, artillery, chemical warfare, etc. occupied separate quadrangles.

I was assigned to Battery C of the 13th Field Artillery Battalion. We lived by the bugle. Different calls announced meal time, lights out at night, assembly, retreat, alert, etc.

Our sleeping quarters, showers, and storage lockers were on the second floor. A broad deck supported by concrete columns was outside our sleeping quarters giving access to a broad stairway to the street level. Our supply room containing weapons etc. and our mess hall and kitchen were down on the street level.

About a quarter of a mile north of the barracks was our motor park containing 75 millimeter artillery guns on two wheeled trailers that were towed by trucks that carried the gun crews. Batteries A, B, and C each had 4 guns and gun crews that stayed in separate buildings.

We trained in all positions at different times, becoming familiar with all phases of controlling and using the guns to hit various types of targets on a firing range on the mountains to the west as well as direct fire at targets towed on long lines behind destroyers off the west coast.

I became efficient at surveying in the location of forward observation posts and the position of guns on map coordinates, using telescopes with directional bases mounted on tripods as well as range finders and other surveying equipment.

Schofield is near the center of the island of Oahu about 4 miles west of the village of Wahiawa on the King Kamehameha Highway connecting Honolulu with the north shore at Haleiwa. Wheeler Air Force Base is a few miles to the south where the P-40s are based. Hickam Air Force Base where the bombers are based is adjacent to Pearl Harbor near Honolulu.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Sunday, we were eating breakfast in the lower level of our barrack when we head the explosion of several bombs. What is the Air Force practicing on Sunday morning for?

Finishing eating, I stepped outside the mess hall under the canopy that is supported by several concrete columns. Several strange looking aircraft were flying over from north to south. The rising sun was prominent under the wings. One dipped down in my direction. Upon seeing the machine guns flashing on the wings, I stepped behind one of the concrete columns. That turned out to be a very prudent move.

Realizing that we were under attack, I went to the supply room next door and awakened the supply sergeant. He found his keys and opened the locked boxes of ammunition. I knew that in the event of an alert, my assignment was to take an old 1932 Dodge truck from the motor park, pick up a crew of four men at the barrack and go to a warehouse near Wheeler Air Force Base about 4 miles away and have my crew load the 75 millimeter ammunition into my single rear axle truck.

I got my 30-06 rifle and ammunition from the supply sergeant, went up to our sleeping quarters and got my full field pack off the end of my bunk an my shelter half and blanket rolled up under one arm and headed for the motor park to get my truck.

Halfway to the motor park I finally hard a bugle sound alert. When I drove back to the barrack, my 4 man crew was waiting for me. They loaded my truck with the 75millimaer ammunition and I left them there and headed north on the Kamehameha Highway thru Wahiawa.

Driving north through miles of pineapple field, I was following a truck loaded with infantry men. They were all looking up at something behind me. Checking my rear view mirror, I saw a P-40 coming down in stair step fashion in flames. It crashed in the pineapples about 50 yards to the left of my truck. The pilot was slumped over the controls surrounded by flames. Of course, we could only continue on our way.

Up near the north end of the island, I took a bare clay track up to the east into a eucalyptus forest where the artillery was setting up to cover any possible landing on the north beaches. The artillery crews unloaded my truck and I went back down to the highway and got another load.

This continued all day, all night, all the second day and half the second night with no sleep and nothing to eat. After the last load, I tried to go on up the wet clay road to a motor park a couple of hundred yards beyond the guns. As long as my truck was loaded, the single axle drive would go up but empty it soon spun out and slid over the side of a deep canyon, hanging up on a sapling. I grabbed my rifle, backpack and roll of blanket and shelter half, slid down the bank a few feet and struggled back up across the road to a pile of leaves near the gun position about 3 o’clock in the night. I rolled up in my blanket and shelter half canvas on the pile of leaves and slept until daylight. Then I went up and told the gunnery sergeant where my truck was.

He sent someone up to the motor park for a couple of the six by six trucks with front winches to gather up my truck and haul it to the motor park. I never drove it again. My assignment became part of the detail section establishing a forward observation post on a cliff overlooking the north shore, calculating firing data in the event of an invasion attempt which never happened.

A couple of months later we were issued some larger artillery 105 millimeter which we set up in a brushy canyon under camouflage nets in a sugar cane field much closer to the north beach. We scrounged up some lumber and constructed sleeping sheds hidden under trees in the canyon. A dirt road ran through the canyon. Since no further attacks occurred a large number of us were promoted and sent back to the United States as a cadre, a nucleus for a new outfit. We would be training draftees and preparing to join a war in Europe.