"Camp Maui" History


© 2009, Alvin F. Kanda


MAP SHOWING LOCATION OF CAMP MAUI

At the outbreak of WWII, the U.S. Army rented 1,600 acres from various landowners in the Haiku area. The principal owners were: Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (490 acres), Maui Agricultural Co. (397 acres) and the Copp Estate (220 acres). Thirteen different owners accounted for the remaining 493 acres. The rental for the site was $15,000 per year, prorated among the owners.

In November 1943 the acreage was transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps. The 48th Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees) began construction of a 20,000-man camp. Wooden framed 16 ft. x 16 ft. tents were constructed for living quarters as well as larger tents for mess halls. Quonset huts were constructed for galleys, ordnance and shops. Based on an aerial photograph, the camp structures were between Maliko Gulch on the west, Ohia Gulch on the east, Kauhikoa hill on the north and Kokomo town on the south (area enclosed in red on map). This area accounts for only about 880 acres. The balance of of about 720 acres were training areas. Adjacent to the camp was a demolitions area, grenade area, pistol range and machine-gun range. On the north shore was a rifle range at Opana Point. Further east was a moving-target bazooka range and a range that allowed armored vehicles and infantry to practice coordinated firing.

The camp was first occupied by the 4th Marine Division in late February 1944 after the Roi-Namur operation in the Marshall Islands. In mid-May the Division left Kahului Harbor for maneuvers in Maalaea Bay and then headed for the Saipan invasion via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok. After the Saipan battle, the Division took part in the Tinian battle which ended in July. The Division arrived back on Maui from the Saipan-Tinian operation in late August 1944. In late February 1945 the Division left Kahului Harbor for maneuvers in Maalaea Bay and Kahoolawe and headed for the invasion of Iwo Jima via Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok and Saipan-Tinian (where they rehearsed the invasion). After the battle of Iwo Jima, the Division arrived back on Maui in early April 1945.

From the muddy, barely tolerable conditions in early 1944, the camp was gradually improved so by mid-1945 the roads were paved and electricity was provided to the tents. Wooden buildings replaced larger tents used for theaters, chapels and post exchanges. The camp had a variety of sport venues, clubs and organized events. To get a more complete picture of camp life, reference 2 is recommended reading.

After V-J day, begining in early October 1945 the Division headed to Camp Pendleton via San Diego for deactivation. About 1,300 men at a time were transported on small escort carriers (CVE). Nine different carriers were used, the last one departing Kahului Harbor in early November 1945. Departure Details

Men from the 18th Service & Supply Battalion who operated the warehouse complex in Kahului began dismantling the camp and returning the land to its original condition. For land used as firing ranges, unexploded ordnance had to be found and cleared. In April 1946 the land began to be returned to the original owners.



References

  1. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps, 1940-1946, Vol. 2, Chapter 22, pg. 152
  2. Proehl (Editor), "Fourth Marine Division in World War II (reprint)", Battery Press, Inc., pages 120-146 (narrative by Master Technical Sergent David Dempsey)
  3. Maui News, April 13, 1946, pg. 8, col. 7

Links

  1. Camp Maui  reference 2 on-line (narrative only)
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Page updated 11/11/13 by Maui MeshWorks