The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum recently announced the opening of a new exhibit. Titled as Land, Sea, Air: Maui in Wartime, it tells the stories of how civilians and military personnel worked together on the Island during the WWII era. Various artifacts and displays recount intimate, sometimes all-but-forgotten stories from those days which took place at Pu’unene Field and other locations on the island of Maui.
Following the unveiling ceremony, which included a traditional Hawaiian blessing, the exhibit was officially opened up for public viewing. As guests venture through the exhibit, they gain understanding for how the armed forces trained on Maui and how civilians interacted with service-members in the process. One of the displays features the Von Tempsky family, who offered R&R to service members on their ranch before they would go into battle. As service members passed through the ranch, they would sign a wall in the home. This was preserved; however, the original is currently displayed at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL. The exhibit features a replica of the signed wall from the Von Tempsky ranch and allows visitors and those native to the Island to encounter this history in person.
Pu’unene and Kahului Air Fields are believed to have trained in excess of 20,000 WWII pilots during the war. These pilots gained experience and prepared for battle by training under battle-tested aircrews who instructed them in current formations and tactics of the enemy. In addition to pilot training, Maui, along with the Island of Hawaii, were home to the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions. Their purpose on the Islands was preparation for their landings on Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima.
The new exhibit will bring back to the Island some its heritage and history from the era, and allow locals the ability to visit key artifacts that represent their family’s history while encouraging visitors to make the connection between the island’s inhabitants and the military stationed there throughout WWII. Visitors can see the new exhibit in Hangar 37. More information about operating hours, upcoming events, and additional exhibits can be found at their website.