The US Military and Hawaii

Aloha! Bless our men and women in uniform and our veterans!

We owe them our very lives!

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, local author and former Garden Island Newspaper editor Chris Cook compiled a truly remarkable book.

Titled “Serving in Paradise: An Illustrated History of the U.S. Military in Hawai’i”, we are treated to a full overview of the presence of the armed forces in the islands, starting from the Kingdom of Hawaii days, through the transition period of overthrow, provisional government, and Republic of Hawaii, spanning the building of bases until the bombing of Pearl Harbor, through the Second World War, the Korean War, Vietnam, and up through today where Hawaii still remains a crucial point in military geopolitical strategy.

The broader history aside, what makes “Serving in Paradise” so interesting is the personal aspects—the story of the individual and the communities amidst the changes and growth of the United States military presence. What was it like for those that lived in the islands? How did the military influence the people and culture of the islands over time? A great example of this is the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who were all Japanese Americans. They signed up to defend their homes against the empires of Japan and Germany, despite their Constitutional rights being ignored by FDR’s controversial executive order 9906 regarding the internment of all people of Japanese ancestry, which is well-covered in this book.

Chock full of great photos of people and local places from all eras, we are treated to perhaps one of the best primers on the subject. It is sheer charm to see pictures of Kauai people working with the military during WWII, or “Do Your Part” war posters written in Tagalog!

Guaranteed, Chris Cook’s “Serving in Paradise” is a winner!


Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.


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