Kaunoa to host talk on U.S. Marines’ WWII training camp
PAIA – On Monday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to noon, Kaunoa Senior Center in Paia will host a presentation by West Maui historian Katherine Kama’ema’e Smith. Her subject is Camp Maui, the Haiku home to 17,000 men of the Fourth Marine Division between four WWII combat missions in Kwajalein, The Mariana Islands and Iwo Jima.
Pre-registration is required. Persons over 55 may reserve a seat by calling Kaunoa at 270-7308. The talk will be followed by lunch. The cost with lunch is $9 ($2 for just the presentation).
Kaunoa Senior Center is located just off Hana Highway at 401 Alapaka Place in Paia.
Smith is a local Maui historian who studies the Fourth Marine Division and the Pacific Theater of WWII. She and her husband have visited Iwo Jima and interviewed Fourth Marine Division veterans who trained at Camp Maui during the war.
“Camp Maui is one of the topics that veterans of ‘The Fighting Fourth’ are willing to discuss with civilians, because of the aloha shown to them by Maui people. Our island was the only peace and safety they experienced from 1943 through 1945, and they never forgot us,” said Smith.
The 720-acre camp of some 2,100 tents was built by the 48th Naval Construction Battalion (SeaBees) and Army engineers on the grazing lands of Haiku. Tents ran in rows from Kokomo almost to Makawao Road, between Maliko and Ohia gulches. Another 900 acres surrounding the encampment were combat training areas. The current memorial park land in Kokomo is a small part of this huge military installation. Smith will show rare photos of camp life and discuss the strategic role this facility played in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
For more information, call Kaunoa Senior Center at 270-7308.