Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back on American soil

Maj. Gillham is at last back on American soil, if not in the United States itself.  He arrives at Hawaii, or as he puts on his letter, "Oahu, T.H.," or Territory of Hawaii.  It would be another 13 years before Hawaii is granted statehood.

Ft. Shafter
Oahu, T.H.
20 May 46

Dearest Lovely,

Since writing to you this morning I have seen a good bit of Oahu, considering the short time I have had available.  Transportation was difficult to get, but through an officer at Ft. Shafter that Col. Wilder knew indirectly we finally got a sedan to drive ourselves.

The climate here is ideal and everything seems so stateside that it was quite thrilling.  Filling stations that were operating and neon signs were the most striking.  I had seen neither since leaving home.

We went to Schofield Barracks, a beautiful post, then through the Kole Kole Pass and saw some very rugged mountains.  I had looked at these very mountains from the ship this morning and it was most interesting to drive through them and really see what they looked like.

We had a few drinks and an excellend dinner, including a glass of milk, at the Moana Hotel.  It is a fine place near the Royal "Hiwayman," which isn't reopened yet.

We have a nice solid place to spend the night at the Ft. Shafter B.O.Q.  The fort is right on the edge of Honolulu.

Lots of love,



B.O.Q. stands for bachelor officers' quarters.

Fort Shafter was established in 1907 as an Army base, named for General William Shafter who led the U.S. expedition to Cuba in 1898. It is located just northwest of Honolulu in the southeastern part of Oahu. It is now senior Army headquarters in Hawaii and the base of the U.S. Army Pacific Command.

Aerial shot of Fort Shafter, Hawaii, as it looks today,
with the original ring of palm trees from 1907.

Scofield Barracks is the largest Army base on Hawaii, located just north of Pearl Harbor. It was damaged during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and was used famously in 1953 as the filming location of From Here to Eternity.  It was built a year after Fort Shafter in 1908 and was named after General John Schofield, who had visited Hawaii in 1872 and recommended that the U.S. build a naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Kolekole Pass, located just east of Schofield Barracks,
between the base and the Pacific Ocean.