East Hawaii News

PTA Marines Help Community, Revisit Corps History

February 13, 2014, 12:51 PM HST
* Updated February 13, 6:24 PM
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Some Marines took time off last month from training at Pohakuloa Training Area to provide some community service in Waimea — and to connect with their past.

Sixteen members of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing spent the morning of Jan. 25 helping to clear a trail at the Waimea Nature Park, a PTA statement said.

The volunteers used rakes, picks, hoes and other implements to blaze a walking trail adjacent to a stream.

After the work, the Marines gathered for lunch and a talk about the history of Camp Tarawa, a World War II site through which the Ke Ala Kahawai or Stream Trail of Waimea passes.

Marines from PTA learn about the history of Camp Tarawa. PTA photo.

Marines from PTA learn about the history of Camp Tarawa. PTA photo.

During the war, more than 40,000 Marines trained at the encampment in preparation for an assault on Tarawa, a Japanese-held atoll in the Gilbert Islands. More than 6,000 soldiers on both sides lost their lives in that bloody Central Pacific battle.

January’s event was hosted by retired police captain and former Hawaii County Council member Leningrad Elarionoff.

“These Marines know how to work hard,” he said.

“Today, we honor those that serve with this trail through history that links ancient Hawaiian warriors to present-day defenders of our country,” Elarionoff said. “We thank the Marines who were training at PTA for being with us today and the hard work done by all.”

“It was a spectacular opportunity to give back to the local community and learn a little history of the Hawaiian heritage in the process,” said Cpl. Will Rouse.

Elarionoff said he hopes the trail will pay tribute to those who served at Camp Tarawa and keep their memories alive for the sacrifices they made in the name of freedom.

The volunteers proudly display their affiliation. PTA photo.

The volunteers proudly display their affiliation. PTA photo.

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