Kaneohe Bay

by kfrego

Hawaii is one of those places you have to see in person to appreciate it’s beauty. The windward side of Oahu is very tropical and gets almost daily showers. The leeward north areas of Oahu are semi arid, sometimes barren, and hot. The clear ocean waters, tropical jungles, and four thousand foot rise to the mountain tops are spectacular. Kaneohe Bay is directly across the island from Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. It’s about 20 miles over the Pali Highway. The crest of the highway at Nu’uanu Pali is at 1200 feet. The highway climbs 1200′ and back to sea level on the opposite side of the island. The scenery is fantastic.

The runway at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station had Kaneohe Bay on one end and the Pacific Ocean on the other end. The crash crew lived on the edge of the taxiway apron near midfield. We worked, ate, slept, and lived in the same place. We worked twenty four hours on and twenty four hours off.

Shortly after arriving in Hawaii a Western Union telegram was hand delivered to me while on duty. My local draft board in Clinton County New York sent the telegram in my name, addressed to MCAS Kaneohe, advising me of impending penalties, and possible incarceration if I did not report for registration in twenty four hours. After consulting my commanding officer, we decided to properly respond to the telegram. We wadded it up and threw it in the trash can. If they wanted me, they knew where to find me.

A limousine service provided round trip transportation from Kaneohe to Waikiki from early morning to midnight. It was a practical mode of travel. Myself and Larry Elliot from Buffalo got a part time job in Waikiki and worked eight hours on our off days. We worked for Sorenson The Wood Carver at a small woodworking shop where they made bowls, trays, plates, and small dishes out of monkeypod wood. Our boss was a native Hawaiian named Mike. We jumped in and helped where ever Mike could use us. If Mike was caught up we cleaned the shop. Jim Sorenson who owned the business was in and out all day. When the tides and waves were right, Jim was on his surf board.

Mike taught us a lot about the native culture. We learned about the Meneheunees (little people) who lived on top of the Pali Highway. If you had to cross the island after midnight you would leave a gift for them. They would stall your car and leave you stranded if you didn’t offer gifts. Mike had a bad back from lifting the heavy slabs of monkeypod wood in the shop. He was good people.

Many Marines and servicemen called Oahu Island the “Rock”…………….but why complain when every road takes you to a beach.