MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII -- Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii installed 22 new commemorative bricks in the Walkway of Honor at the Pacific War Memorial, Feb. 4, 2013.
In the past, veterans could purchase bricks from the Pacific War Memorial Association via its website, but interested parties can now purchase bricks from MCCS.
In the last two years, board members of the PWMA have decided that MCCS Hawaii is better equipped to handle future brick orders.
“We’re all volunteers,” said retired Col. Swede Olson, the association’s vice chairman. “In the past, people would have to fi nd us to order a brick, which can sometimes be diffi cult. If they couldn’t find us on the website, they had to fi nd us in person.”
The PWMA is a nonprofit organization created by Alice and Bee Clark, a couple from Kamuela, Hawaii. In 1996, the Clarks, who originally created the Camp Tarawa Historical Foundation, met George Gentile, the president of the National Iwo Jima Survivors’ Association. Gentile told the Clarks that the organization wished to use the mold for their statue in Newington, Conn., for an identical statue in Hawaii.
Through the efforts of the PWMA and many donations, the memorial was completed in 2002. Materials that make up the memorial came from as far as Africa, Minnesota and Oregon, according to the memorial’s website.
The Pacific War Memorial was completed and dedicated aboard the base, March 16, 2002. The memorial commemorates the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the Pacifi c campaigns as well as the units that participated in those campaigns.
Frank Peacock, the information technology program manager at U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and a board member of the PWMA, said the memorial is a tribute to both the fallen and wounded warriors.
“I think highlighting the wounded warriors is critical,” Peacock said. “The memorial is out there for the veterans, the fallen and loved ones, but behind all of that are the wounded warriors.”
The Walkway of Honor consists of rows of bricks arranged in a circle around the memorial. Special messages and names are inscribed on many of the 4-by-8 inch bricks. For a donation of $100, a person can commission a brick to be inscribed with their personalized message placed in the walkway. The $100 goes toward administrative, marketing and other logistical costs involved in the brick laying. When all of the bricks in the circle are filled, expansions will be made for more.
“We’re excited to take on brick sales for the Pacific War Memorial,” said Don Figueira, a food and beverage general manager with MCCS.
Figueira works with the Officers’ Club, where order forms are available for the bricks.
“We look forward to working with the people here who are interested in preserving the legacy at the Pacific War Memorial site,” he said.
Many of the bricks commemorate loved ones, service members and the fallen. Retired Lt. Gen. Hank Stackpole, the former commanding offi cer of MarForPac and chairman of the association, commissioned seven bricks in the names of fellow service members. He described the Walkway of Honor as “hallowed ground,” or like “walking into a church.”
“It keeps the memories alive,” Stackpole said.
In the past, only veterans and loved ones of veterans were able to purchase a brick, but now civilians are also afforded the opportunity.
“It’s not just military members,” Stackpole said. “There are civilians who want to put bricks in there, too … handing it over to MCCS opens it up to everybody.”
Since MCCS is now handling brick orders, the association can focus its efforts toward the planning and execution of the P-822 Marine Corps Air Station Operations Complex, which will include a historical museum aboard MCB Hawaii. Stackpole said Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos requested that a museum be built at key historical Marine Corps bases, including MCB Hawaii. The groundbreaking for this project is scheduled for March.
To order a brick, visit http://www.mccshawaii.com/pacificwarmemorial.shtml. Order forms are also available at the Officers’ Club.