MARINES: MAUI REMEMBERS 4TH DIVISION
GARY T. KUBOTA/GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A memorial to the 4th U.S. Marine Corps Division was dedicated yesterday in Wailea. Standing near the memorial was developer Robert Armstrong, left; former 4th Division Marines David Poland and Dale Cook; and Lt. Gen. John Goodman, Pacific Marine Corps commander.
War service honored
WAILEA, Maui » Dale Cook recalled that of the 48 Marines in his platoon during the invasion of the Japanese island Iwo Jima who were part of the U.S. invading force, only six survived and returned to where they trained on Maui.
"I say a prayer every day and think of the guys that were killed," said Cook, president of the 4th Marine Division Association of World War II.
Cook was part of a dedication ceremony yesterday for a memorial on a hillside near the south Maui beaches where the 4th Marine Division trained before shipping out to Pacific battles.
More than 115 people attended the event, including members of the 3rd Marine Logistics Regiment and Lt. Gen. John Goodman, commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
Goodman, addressing the crowd, said he was deeply touched by people taking the time to remember the Marines.
The general said south Maui was where young Marines transformed into warriors during World War II.
"The training that went on here was extraordinary," Goodman said.
The memorial is located on the site of a former bunker at Kai Malu in Wailea, where developer Robert Armstrong Jr. built 150 luxury homes.
Armstrong said his late father, Robert Sr., and mother Shirley were Marines and he wanted to honor them and other Marines by installing the memorial.
The 4th Marine Division participated in several Pacific battles, including Roi-Namur in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands, and Iwo Jima.
The division suffered 17,722 battle casualties, and 12 members received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The unit's Marines also were awarded 111 Navy Crosses, four Distinguished Service Medals and 646 Silver Stars.
The division received a presidential unit citation for its victories in Saipan and Tinian.
Cook, 82, a resident of northern California, said he was 17 when he joined the Marines and was injured by a Japanese grenade.
Cook said he recuperated, was returned to the 4th Division on Maui and was training for an invasion of Japan when the country surrendered.
Cook said he returned to Maui to say thank you to people of the Valley Isle for treating them well during their stay.
He remembered movie star Hilo Hattie entertaining them and Marines being hosted at the USO and at a party at the Baldwin estate in Makawao.
Maui residents cheered when there was a victory parade, and he and other Marines marched in full dress through the streets of Wailuku.
"The people of Maui were very good to us," Cook said.