Sunday, June 14, 2015

Navy Barbers Point Golf Course Intended As Commemoration Of MCAS Ewa Field History

Navy Barbers Point Golf Course Intended As A 

Commemoration Of MCAS Ewa Field History

President Roosevelt, General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz visit MCAS Ewa 1944

David and Myrna Junk at Barbers Point Stables, 2011

Some important historic background on historic MCAS Ewa and 

the Navy's Barbers Point Golf Course

By John Bond  Ewa Historian

The Barbers Point Golf Course is speaking to Consideration F used in evaluating properties for nomination to the National Register: (f) A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own exceptional significance;

The Navy Barbers Point Golf Course, first nine holes, were designed as an historic preservation concept, which was confirmed in a 2011 interview with LCDR Wynn Junk's son David Junk. The BP golf course design was to create a recreational memorialization of historic MCAS Ewa sites, including 1941 Ewa Field.

The entire original 1941 Ewa Field runway with the construction of the golf driving range and first nine holes Barbers Point Golf Course carefully preserved historic features which actually made the course links less than ideal but intended as an historic experience for golfers.

In many cases golf course dirt was placed over the later 1942-45 runways rather than bulldozing them. This served to historically preserve them as well as saved a lot of bulldozing costs as the original construction was done by mostly volunteer laborers who worked when they were off duty.

At around the time the Barbers Point Golf Course was built, the original MCAS Ewa base commander's home had been turned into the golf course club house and golf shop. It was in this home that many famous aviators, including Charles Lindbergh, had dinner and drinks. Despite protests, the Navy had the historic building torn down for a new parking lot around 2005.

David Junk confirmed in an interview in 2011 at the Barbers Point Stables, where he had worked as a stable boy during the early 70's, that his father, who was the Barbers Point Special Services (MWR) officer in charge, that his father fully understood the importance of preserving MCAS Ewa historic sites and the 1941 battlefield runway site as his intention.

Other Barbers Point veteran sources have also confirmed that the first nine holes were an "in house" Navy Special Services project and that local NASBP base tenant commands were asked (required?) to supply "volunteers" to help construct the first nine fairways and greens.

The later second nine holes were done later and were away from the 1941 airfield. They were done by the then hired in-house golf course management working with a contractor. (I have interviewed the past and current Barbers Point Golf Course managers about the course history. I also have other email histories of Navy aircrews of Patrol Wing Two who describe the original golf course project.)

The later second nine hole addition to the golf course received more professional design attention but also preserved key areas of MCAS Ewa history, including the Headquarters area of General Roy Geiger, a USMC aviation pioneer and later commander of Fleet Marine Force Pacific. Also preserved was a runway directly in front of the former MCAS Ewa Officers Club, an historic Mooring Mast Field roadway and Site 5128, a Public Works area. 


Interview with David Junk

by John Bond,  Ewa Historian

David Junk was interviewed by Ewa historian John Bond on May 26, 2011 9:30 AM at Barbers Point Stables. He was accompanied by his wife Myrna Junk. Taking photos was Thomas Reese.

Major points about David Junk's father's role as director of the Special Services program at Naval Air Station Barbers point in the 1960's was confirmed, among them:

At the direction of LCDR Winfield Junk, USN Ret, the Barbers Point Golf Course was intentionally designed to incorporate the 1941 Ewa Airfield and later MCAS Ewa with the intention of preserving it as an MCAS Ewa memorial golf course and remembrance of the December 7, 1941 attack by the Naval Air Forces of the Japanese Empire.

Former MCAS Ewa Pride baseball field, still very actively used today by Ewa baseball teams and clubs, was named in honor of then retiring Admiral Alfred M. Pride, US Navy, who was the Captain of the U.S.S. Belleau Wood (CVL-24) during WW-II. 

 John Bond, Myrna Junk, David Junk at Barbers Point Stables, 2011

photos by Thomas Reese

Wynn Junk (top center) and Torpedo Squadron 21, USS Belleau Wood

LCDR Junk was in Torpedo Squadron 21 aboard the Belleau Wood where he was then a combat pilot and later awarded the Navy Cross, among other commendations. He is buried today at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Admiral Pride later became Commander, Air Forces, Pacific Fleet and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

These recreational areas were created by design as a reuse of former MCAS Ewa, which had been closed down in 1952 with Marine aviation transferred over to the present Kaneohe air base location.

David Junk worked at the Barbers Point Stables as a teenager when it was also the site of major local rodeo events which his father actively promoted with national rodeo stars. David later became a champion local rodeo star, steer wrestler and later retiring as a US military veteran. 

The Barbers Point Stables were ingeniously created as a reuse of historic WW-II Wildcat and Hellcat aircraft bunker revetments and still operates today as a quasi-military recreational horse stables.

The first nine holes were created entirely under the direction of “Cowboy Commander” Win Junk with local NAS Barbers Point volunteers from various squadrons under Navy Patrol Wing Two. Great care was taken to preserve the entire 1941 runway which was used for Special Services activities which included go cart races, model airplane flying and horseback riding. 

Ewa Field hangar blown up in 1969 for "Tora, Tora, Tora" action scene

 "Tora, Tora, Tora" scenes shot at former MCAS Ewa 1969

Unfortunately in 1969 the Navy allowed the very historic 1941 Ewa Field hangar, then used as a base gymnasium, to be blown up for a key action scene in the filming of “Tora, Tora, Tora.”  

The later second nine hole addition to the golf course also further preserved key areas of MCAS Ewa history, including the HQ and aircraft parking area of General Roy Geiger, a USMC aviation pioneer as well as National Register eligible site 5128 (public works facility) and "Sailor Road", the single remaining roadway that existed from the 1925 Ewa Navy Mooring Mast Field (Today called Gambier Bay for the WW-II Navy carrier USS Gambier Bay.)

It is also clear that in 1958 when the Cold War Facility 972 (Patrol Wing Two headquarters) was built that key December 7, 1941 sites were not disturbed or built over. The US Navy at that time had not thrown out their base history files allowing later Hawaii Navy real estate “amnesia” and the subsequent NavFac Pacific insider land deals. 

Previously the US Navy actually had a deep respect for their WW-II history and their bases. At Ewa Field US Marines died in combat and MCAS Ewa subsequently produced a large number of ace fighter pilots and Medal of Honor recipients during the WW-II Pacific Campaign.

Ewa Field hangar before it was blown up in 1969 for "Tora, Tora, Tora."

Winfield Higdon Junk  - buried at Punchbowl National Cemetery 

Winfield Higdon Junk Awards and Citations  Navy Cross Awarded for actions 
during the World War II 

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander [then Lieutenant] Winfield Higdon Junk, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron TWENTY-ONE (VT-21), attached to the U.S.S. BELLEAU WOOD (CVL-24), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands, on 19 and 25 October 1944. Leading four planes in a raid on enemy shipping in Manila Harbor on 19 October, against fierce enemy opposition, Lieutenant Commander Junk aided in the damaging of a large tanker and a cargo ship. Flying in low over his target in the face of severe anti-aircraft fire during the Battle for Leyte Gulf on 25 October, he pressed home a close-range attack against an enemy Task Force to score a direct and damaging hit on an aircraft carrier.

General Orders: Commander 2d Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0852 (December 22, 1944)
Action Date: October 19 & 25, 1944, Company: Torpedo Squadron 21 (VT-21) Division: U.S.S. Belleau Wood (CVL-24). LCDR Junk was the 118th Navy Pilot to fly a jet and the FIRST Navy Jet Pilot to enter the Air Force's Test Pilot Program in Mojave, CA.

LCDR Winfield H. Junk, USN Retired "The Cowboy Commander"  May 28, 1920 - Dec 16, 1977
Wynn Junk and Torpedo Squadron 21, USS Belleau Wood
*The Wynn Junk Memorial Trophy*
Sponsored by the Hawaii Horse Show Association Established in 1978, this perpetual trophy is still in existence and awarded to the Western Performance Horse scoring the most points in Open Trail, Open Western Riding, and Open Stock Horse. After retiring from the Navy, Junk moved to the Windward side of Oahu where he spent many years managing barns, training, showing, announcing, and judging. He opened a Tack Shop in Kailua called "Wynn's" and was Vice President of Hawaii's Quarter Horse Association for many years.

1944-45 MCAS Ewa - the forward area all became Barbers Point Golf Course

Myrna Junk, David Junk and John Bond at Barbers Point Stables, 2011

Historic areas of MCAS Ewa preserved by Barbers Point Golf Course


A property primarily commemorative in intent can be eligible if design, age, tradition, or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance.

Understanding Criteria Consideration F: Commemorative Properties

Commemorative properties are designed or constructed after the occurrence of an important historic event or after the life of an important person. They are not directly associated with the event or with the person's productive life, but serve as evidence of a later generation's assessment of the past. Their significance comes from their value as cultural expressions at the date of their creation.

Therefore, a commemorative property generally must be over fifty years old and must possess significance based on its own value, not on the value of the event or person being memorialized.

Ewa’s Pride Field – Historic Open Recreational Space and Baseball Field

Alfred Melville Pride, Pioneer Naval aviator and Captain of USS Belleau Wood, WW-II "Devil Dog" Aircraft Carrier