Letter: Ewa Field photos reveal damaging evidence

Letter to the Editor

The following letter by John Bond of Save Ewa Field alleges potentially damaging construction being done at the historic Ewa Field, owned by the U.S. Navy and leased to developers.

1925 photos of Ewa Mooring Mast Field prior to construction indicate archeological evidence of significant numbers of coral karst sinkholes which possibly could contain Hawaiian burial remains. I have also seen currently existing coral karst sinkholes very nearby with very old Ti plants growing out of them, indicating some Hawaiian cultural activity in the past. This is in an area directly adjacent to areas Hunt Corp, which leases land from the Navy, is now having bulldozed and uprooted (“grubbing?”) for new commercial lots in an area that has been defined as a National Register eligible Ewa Field warehouse district according to a survey just done this year.

Glenn Oamilda of the 50-year-old Ewa Beach Community Association and Section 106 Consultant to the current Navy-Hunt KREP-Ewa Field development plan under 106 review, believes that this area likely contains an underground karst water system as well as possible Hawaiian burial remains. It is of especially great concern because this current work has been going on at odd hours and at night. The large machinery doing this work has been piling up large amounts or coral rocks and beach sand, as well as very large tree trunks pulled out of the ground. This does not seem to fit the allowed “grubbing” activity that is supposedly permitted without a Section 106.

Mike Lee, a living descendent of Hawaiian royalty, has been asked to become a community consultant on this on going damage of heavy equipment digging and leveling in the Ewa Field area, and after reviewing the 1925 Ewa Mooring Mast pre-construction photos has great concern about damage that may be done to possible cultural and Hawaiian burial sites that likely exist just below the surface. The 1941 Ewa Field Command History speaks of caverns as large as railway boxcars that had to be filled up with beach sand in many cases from nearby beach dunes, which have been known to also contain Hawaiian bones and artifacts.

Lee and Glenn believe that the Ewa Field area is part of a contiguous Hawaiian burial area linked to the significant Onelua beach burial and heiau area directly to the south of this Ewa Field area. Where Hunt Corp is currently bulldozing and clearing it is exposing sand and coral rock, which can also be clearly seen in the overhead GIS attachment. Part of the area they are clearing isn’t even on their leased parcel. The Navy is apparently allowing them to do this.

Hunt Corp has just recently allowed a TV film crew to use 1943 Quonset Hunt 1545 (which really wasn’t on their leased property) and now inspection reveals missing windows, door, a large World War II building 1545 sign designator and two large holes cut into the side of the building for film cameras. This seems to be a very typical of the pattern—a constant chipping away of historic structures to satisfy a goal of “no integrity” which Hunt and the Navy share as a development objective.

Before the Quonset hut they knocked down the landmark 1943 Ewa Field Squadron Wall along Roosevelt Avenue without any public input or notice. Hunt apparently believes that no one can stop them from continuously damaging everything that is of historic value at Ewa Field. The Navy is doing nothing to prevent this from happening. We can only record their on going damage after they have done it. The State Historic Preservation Division doesn’t seem to care either anymore.

John Bond
Save Ewa Field