Distinguished and Celebrated Part I Ewa Battlefield Commemoration

The day  we arrived in Hawaii Tim (my husband) and I were informed that the tours we were scheduled for and the awarding of the scheduled Quilts of Valor were cancelled due to scheduling problems. I was at a lost for what I was going to do with 31 Quilts of Valor. I took a deep breath and called my contact with the Hawaiian National Parks and Recreations who were the ones setting up and running all the events for the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and asked what we could do and how they could help me. They were very sorry but they had never experienced anything like this. They were overwhelmed and were very sorry. I looked on their website and found the schedule of events and saw that there was an event the next morning at the Ewa airfield. So a plain was made to take two of the bags of quilts and head for the Ewa airfield in the morning.

Ewa Mooring Mast Field (USMC) was one of the first places attacked on December 7, 1941. Ewa Plantation Villages were also attacked.  There were Marine and civilians casualties.  The entire 1941 airfield was put on the Naional Historic Register in May 2016.

The Battle of the Ewa Plain included air-to-air combat between Japanese Zeros and US Navy planes from the USS Enterprise.  Army P-40 fighters joined the air battle over Ewa Field successfully shooting down several Japanese dive bombers.  Army, Navy and Marine anti-air-craft batteries fired on Japanese planes from Puuloa near Ewa Beach.  Approximately 50 American and Japanese planes destroyed, 32 killed and 65 wounded in the overall Ewa Battlefield on December 7, 1941.

We were able to award  seven Quilts of Valor while we were at Ewa Field that day.

These three veterans were survivors of the attack on Ewa Airfield.

The one in the red is Maj. John Hughes, USMC (ret.) On the morning of December 7, 1941, U>S> Marine Corps Sergeant John Hughes was ready for a quiet Sunday when he looked up to see approaching planes heading straight for the Ewa Morring Mast Field, home of Marine Air Group 21. As the planes got close they opened fire and Hughes saw the red ball insignia that immedialtely told him they were Japanese aircraft, and he quickly headed to the armory for riffles and ammunition. During the attacks on the airfield, most of the marine aircraft were destroyed by Japanese attackers with four marines killed and numerous more wounded. One of the most famous photos taken during the entire Imperial Japanese attackers with four Marines killed and numerous more wounded.

One of the most famous photos taken during the entire Imperial Japanise air attack on Oahu is of Sergeant John Hughes firing his 1903 Springfield bolt action rifle at attacking Japanese planes. This indelible image has become the iconic symbol of Ewa Field on December 7th.

Eugene Leonard, USMC (ret.) is in the blue shirt is a Kansas native stationed t Marine Corps Air Station Ewa was targeted by some of the earliest bullets fired on that “Day of Infamy.” He found shelter in a scorpion and spider infested hole that had bee used as part of the dirigible program in WWI. “I was trying to get away from the bullets is all I knew,” Gene and his fellow Marines were virtually defensiless. They had few weapons and zero ammunijtion. When he emerged from his hiding place, he witnessed a chaotic scene which would leave all of the bases’s aircraft destroyed. “Airplanes on fire. Piles of planes a -burning,” he remembers. “All that fuel needed to be burnt. It was burning everywhere.”