My first stop after leaving San Diego, CA, on the way to join the forces being assembled for the November assault on the home Islands of Japan was Honolulu after rounding Diamond Head and seeing the two great hotels on the beach. We came ashore and were transferred to Camp Catlin, which was the Transient Center for moving Marines forward.
Then the whole war changed as we heard about the atom bombs being dropped, and it appeared the conflict might be over.
During all the veteran attention I experienced during the last Veterans Day, I began to wonder what General Catlin did in the Corps to deserve the right to have such an important base to have his name.
We are so blessed today in this Information Age that I was to get this knowledge by merely logging his name in and pushing Go. By doing that, I learned he was the commander of the Marines in the Battle of Vera Cruz in the Mexican War of 1914, where in the short battle, he and 53 others received the Medal of Honor—which to this day is still the highest number awarded in an individual conflict. Somehow in the process I had the opportunity or occasion to see an invitation to see pictures taken in Honolulu on Sept. 2, 1845. It was not New York or any of the big cities where such activities are commonly shown, but it was the major staging area for the Pacific.
After I was made permanent personnel at Camp Catlin, due to the change in planning, I was on the base on the day the pictures were taken but one thing happened on the base that I remember well. Catlin was located just west of Honolulu and abutted the U.S. Navy Wave encampment, and we could hear their general orders being broadcast every once in a while. We were separated by a barbed wire fence.
The VJ (Victory Over Japan) day broadcast however came from our loudspeakers with this warning: "Any Marine approaching the fence or attempting to go through it, will be shot!" Now 66 years later, I still remember.
These pictures show it the way it was. What a happy day!