The CCC on Kauai

During the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 until the late-1930s, some 3 million American men found work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public work relief organization for unemployed, unmarried men in operation from 1933 to 1942, which established over 3,000 work camps throughout the Mainland United States and in the territories of Alaska and Hawaii.

Unemployed men between ages of 17 and 27 could enlist in the CCC for six months, and reenlist for a maximum of four six-month periods.

In Hawaii, roughly 3,000 men enrolled in the CCC at camps based in Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Molokai and Kauai.

Kauai’s CCC Camp was located at Kokee, and was comprised of several buildings, including the administration building, mess hall, barracks, a recreation building, supply room, garage, workshop and laundry room.

Men labored at reforestation and trail and road building projects and were paid $30 per month, of which $25 had to be sent home to their families, while the CCC provided them with food, shelter, clothing, cots, army blankets, sheets and mosquito nets.

Workdays began at a 5:30 a.m. wakeup, followed by calisthenics at 6 and breakfast at 6:20, after which work crews and their foremen reported to trucks that would transport them to the area closest by road to their day’s work site; the men would oftentimes then hike to the site.

Lunch hour was at 11 a.m.; work resumed at noon and continued until 3 p.m., when the men were trucked back to camp.

Supper was served at 5 p.m.; thereafter, the men occupied themselves with reading, athletics, letter writing, socializing and hobbies, etc. until lights out later in the evening.

Kokee’s CCC camp closed in 1942.

Nowadays, the former Kokee CCC Camp is under the charge of Hui O Laka, an environmental group that renovated and maintains it.

My uncle Johnny Panko of Ansonia, CT, was in the CCC and later served as an Army S/Sgt. combat engineer during World War II.

He participated in the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, Germany in March 1945 and was wounded in Germany in April.

  1. harryoyama2 April 22, 2018 3:57 am Reply

    They should restart that program and get all those lazy drug infested male youths off the streets and into the barracks for some much needed discipline.

  2. No_They_Didn't April 23, 2018 4:29 pm Reply

    This would be different from the army national guard. Many signed up. They who signed up are for the military. They left for work. Guarding our nation’s alliance in Afghanistan. Afghan soldiers for the Afghan refugees stuck in Afghanistan. The job was to give support to Afghanistan against the fighting rebels of Al Qaida or the Islamic State rebels terrorizing the nation’s civilians. Turmoil there. The army national guard is to transport Afghan soldiers across the territory to safe grounds. That is the military’s job. What is This? CCC. WORK CAMP ON Kauai. Hard labor. At least they had work. Do you think those 80 soldiers army national guard from Hawai’i, will ever return back to Hawai’i? It was mentioned a 19 year old helicopter mechanic was one of them. This kind of work shortens life. It doesn’t extend life. Hardships of life doesn’t do any good for a person.

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