On July 22, 1947, Mrs. Alice Mukai, an employee of Kauai’s Wailua Golf Course, spotted a suspicious-looking, large dark object resting atop the reef about 200 feet offshore of the golf course and immediately phoned the Kauai Police Department.
What she’d seen was an American horned naval mine, a self-contained explosive device that had been placed in the ocean to destroy surface ships or submarines and would detonate when it came in contact with the hull of a vessel.
The protuberances attached around the top of the mine, called horns, were part of its detonation mechanism.
Soon after she called the police, Kauai Police Lt. Joe Carvalho and Army Sgt. Francis Dolick were dispatched to the golf course, where Dolick identified the mine he observed bobbing and weaving over the reef.
Dolick then proceeded to grab onto the 10- or 12-foot length of cable attached to the mine and pull it shoreward.
Following a hard, 30-minute struggle, he managed to drag it to shore, where Carvalho assisted him by attaching a rope to the cable.
The two then pulled the mine onto the beach.
Later that day, Sgt. Glenn Holloway of the 212 Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squadron arrived. When he failed at disarming the mine by attempting to remove the mine’s top cap, he decided to blow it up.
Just before Holloway placed some dynamite atop the mine and inserted a percussion cap and a length of fuse, Carvalho broke off a piece of coral that had been stuck to the mine to keep as a souvenir.
Carvalho and Dolick then warned golfers and passersby to leave the area or take cover, and Holloway lit the fuse and ran.
When the mine exploded, it produced a sound that could be heard for miles around.