This presentation is part of Preserving U.S. Military Heritage: WWII to the Cold War, Fredericksburg, Texas, June 4-6, 2019.
By Benjamin Resnick
The Battle of Ewa Plain began in the morning of December 7, 1941 and was part of the larger surprise attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on United States military forces stationed at Pearl Harbor. Home to the former Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Ewa and several plantation villages, this area was subjected to waves of strafing by Japanese aircraft. After the attacks across Oahu, the U.S. government expanded the base considerably including the construction of half-dome, concrete revetments. The intention of this defensive measure was to conceal the location of aircraft, making it more likely of protecting these critical wartime resources.
In 1942, Ewa Field became a major marine and navy aviation training facility for Carrier Aircraft Service Unit (CASU) flight crews and mechanics. Marine and Naval aviators trained at Ewa Field participated in most of the major engagements in the Pacific including Wake Island, Guadalcanal, and the Battle of Midway. It was at Midway in June 1942 that Navy flight crews crippled or sunk four aircraft carriers against a superior Japanese enemy in what would come to represent a turning point in the Pacific theater.
Working closely with local preservationists, a National Register nomination was prepared for the battlefield and for the south revetment historic district. Local community involvement was critical to the success of the project along with the completion of extensive archival research, informant interviews, a pedestrian reconnaissance, and a geophysical survey. Because of these studies, Ewa Plain Battlefield was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance under Criteria A and D.
Ben Resnick is an Assistant Vice President/Senior Director with GAI Consultants, Inc. Based in Pittsburgh (PA), GAI is a full-service engineering and environmental consulting firm with offices throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and South including Houston. Currently, Ben is the Group Manager of GAI’s Cultural Resources Group while serving as Project Manager and Principal Investigator on numerous projects for a variety of private and public-sector clients.
Ben attended the University of Maryland and the University of South Carolina where he received his B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology and Anthropology/Public Service Archaeology, respectively. He also holds an M.B.A. from Point Park University.