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Pineapple Army 1908-1920 Hawaiian Department

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Schofield Barracks

The site which was to become Schofield Barracks was ceded to the U.S. government July 26, 1899, less than a year after Hawaii was annexed to the United States. The Waianae Uka military reservation was part of the former Hawaiian Crown Lands and consisted of 14,400 acres. These acres, between the two major mountain ranges on Oahu, provided central access to both the North Shore of Oahu and the Pearl Harbor naval base and the city of Honolulu to the south. While the area’s strategic defense value was recognized, it was initially passed over as a site for a principal military post because of the lack of a readily available water source.

The Birth of an Army Post

On Dec. 4, 1908, Capt. Joseph C. Castner, construction quartermaster, arrived on Oahu to begin construction of a temporary cantonment on the Waianae Uka military reservation. Castner, with the help of local laborers, constructed tents for the officers and men, followed by temporary wooden barracks. The cantonment was informally known as Castner Village among military personnel. In April 1909, the War Department named the post after the late Gen. John M. Schofield, former commanding general of the U.S. Army, who had originally called attention to Hawaii’s strategic value.

In 1910, the U.S. Army District of Hawaii was formed under the command of Col. Walter Schuyler at Schofield Barracks. It originally fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of California, then became a department in the newly organized Western Division. The number of troops continued to increase, and in 1913, the Hawaiian Department was formed as an independent command under the War Department.

Schofield Barracks’ population numbered about 6,000 men by 1914, with the 1st Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Regiment and 4th Cavalry all garrisoned at Schofield.

The Second Infantry Regiment was posted to Fort Shafter.

Hawaii’s Second City

In April 1917, the United States entered the war in Europe. In August 1917, an officer’s training school was established at Schofield. Out of 100 students, 68 were local Oahu residents of Hawaiian, Chinese and Japanese extraction. Three other training camps followed in 1918. Soon, all of Schofield Barracks was called to war. The 1st and 9th field artillery were the first to go in December 1917. The 1st Infantry, 32nd Infantry, 25th Infantry and the 4th Cavalry had all gone by October 1918.

The Hawaiian National Guard was mustered into federal service and assigned to Schofield Barracks for training and as post caretakers. The newly formed 1st and 2nd Hawaiian infantry regiments were fully manned at 1,400 men each. With the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, strenuous training of these regiments was no longer essential. The energies of the Hawaiian infantry regiments were turned to beautifying of the post. They planted shrubs, seeded lawns, built roads and landscaped around the existing structures. The great eucalyptus and Norfolk pine trees lining the post roads are part of this body of work.

The 17th Cavalry arrived in August 1919 and the Hawaiian infantry regiments were demobilized. Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn arrived in 1920 with the 35th and 44th infantry regiments. They were followed in 1921 by the 8th, 11th and 13th field artillery regiments and the 3rd Engineers. After a brief pause for World War I, Schofield Barracks had reached its seven-regiment promise.

In 1921, this became the Hawaiian Division. Schofield housed the only complete division in the U.S. Army and the Army’s largest single garrison. The population rose to 14,000 in 1938, making it the second-largest city in Hawaii.

Photo: US 1st Infantry Regiment Arriving in Honolulu, T.H. 1912

1st Infantry landing at Honolulu USAT SHERMAN 001.jpg

1st Infantry landing at Honolulu USAT SHERMAN 002.jpg

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