Camp Maui – Home to Maui’s WWII Legacy
The United States Marines, Fourth Marine Division, known simply as “Maui’s Marines” and also the “Fighting Fourth” were according to the New York Times, the Marine’s tasked with taking possession of Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima, when the ground invasion of Iwo Jima began on February 20th 1945. The iconic photograph that appeared on the front page of the New York Times 5 days later of “Old Glory” being raised over the summit of Mt. Suribachi won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 and is considered one of the most famous war images of all time. It is also an image that speaks to the sacrifices made and victory’s won by Maui’s Marines, in the battle for the Pacific.
The Fighting Fourth made Camp Maui their home base and training grounds during WWII. The entire camp was spread over approximately 1,600 acres, with an airfield, mess halls, sports fields, boxing rings, outdoor movie theatre’s and enough tents to house approximately 20,000 troops.
Over the course of the 100+ days the 4th Marine Division spent engaged in battle against the Japanese during WWII, more than 80% of the original Marines assigned to the Division would become either wounded or killed in action. This adds up to more fatalities than what was inflicted on American forces during the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.
4TH MARINE DIVISION CASUALTIES
- WORLD WAR II
|Killed in Action||155||2,619||2,774|
|Died of Wounds||29||495||524|
The 4th Marine Division first activated in August 1943 and subsequently deactivated and disbanded in November of 1945. During this time Maui’s Marines fought successfully in 4 campaigns – Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. Twelve Division members were awarded the Medal of Honor – the Nations highest award for military valor. Also, over 20,000 women enlisted in the U.S. Marines during the course of WWII and by wars end approximately 1,000 of them were serving in the Territory of Hawaii, including at Camp Maui. Women marines were officially called WR’s – short for Women Reservists.
Camp Maui has been formally recognized as a State of Hawaii Historic site and the written preservation plan for the NorthShore Zipline Co’s 18 acre portion of the former 1,600 acre historic property has also been formally accepted and approved by the State of Hawaii Historic Preservation Department. The various original WWII army vehicles parked under tents represents the beginnings the Camp Maui Heritage Collection, which as of 5/1/16 also includes a Stinson L-5 spotter plane, also known as The Jungle Angel – currently parked in a hangar in Grass Valley, California. This is the same type of airplane that Maui’s Marines had at their disposal during WWII and built the former airfield at Camp Maui to support.