The Quads, Schofield Barracks
Schofield Barracks’ most venerated housing stock is its surviving row of five big old “quads”: B, C, D, E and F Quads, each with an expansive, grassy courtyard enclosed by a four-square plan of three concrete barracks buildings and one administration building. Constructed between 1914 and 1931, when Schofield quartered a cavalry regiment, and lined up between Wai‘anae and Foote avenues, the quads serve as the central spine for Schofield’s designated National Historic District. When the quads were newly built, they loomed over the red dirt and pineapple fields of the Leilehua plain in Central O‘ahu, where Hawaiian warriors once trained in the martial arts.
These utilitarian, proto-modern barracks have one saving grace: three levels of open-air, arcaded hallways that run the length of the courtyard-facing sides of the buildings, catching the trade winds and cooling the soldiers who might be watching a platoon drill or a late-afternoon pickup basketball game down in the courtyard.
The 141 men and women of Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, call freshly painted “C” Quad home. The company’s single soldiers live in one- and two-bedroom suites lined up along a single corridor on the ground floor of Building 356. Where “C” Quad once sheltered open-floor-plan barracks with latrines in the basement, “one-plus-one” living is the new Army’s norm; that is, a two-bedroom suite with full kitchen and bath for two soldiers. “C” Quad’s gym is housed in a big, sunlit room on the third floor that was once a movie theater.
“Soldiers developed deep attachments to their quads,” says Ken Hays, Army Garrison Hawai‘i’s architectural historian. “They come back and want to see them. Some soldiers have fathers or grandfathers who lived in the same quad. It’s sort of a legacy thing.”
To meet new mission needs, as well as the federal mandate for historic preservation, the quads are now in the middle of a massive restoration (on the outside) and renovation (on the inside) project. This year, the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation cited the project for its historic preservation efforts.
37 Makalapa Drive, Pearl Harbor
In the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Navy Secretary Frank Knox to “tell Nimitz to get the hell out to Pearl and stay there till the war is won.”
Days later, Adm. Nimitz arrived on O‘ahu, unfurled his new four-star flag and assumed command of what was left of the Pacific Fleet. He set up temporary offices at Pearl Harbor’s Submarine Base—the facility he created and commanded twenty years earlier—and set his luggage down in just-finished quarters atop Makalapa Crater, at 37 Makalapa Dr., that he would share with his chief of staff, Adm. Raymond Spruance, for two years.
The 4,600-square-foot, two-storey, prefab house was the largest model in the brand-new Makalapa subdivision of ninety-seven officers’ quarters, designed by noted Honolulu architect C.W. Dickey. The airy, casually modern house also had the best views of the busy, bruised harbor, where salvage and repair operations were well under way.
Makalapa would be Nimitz’ home for the duration of the war while his family stayed in California. It was at 37 Makalapa that the admiral set up a horseshoe court; it was here that he hosted a luncheon for President Roosevelt and Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1944; and it was here where, after a good meal, he liked to turn off all the lights, open the blackout curtains and play classical records.
Meanwhile, he approved the Halsey/Doolittle bombing raid on Tokyo in April 1942; the attack on the Japanese homeland
boosted morale among the troops. After the inconclusive Battle of the Coral Sea, he steered his patched-together fleet to decisive victory over the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Midway, six months to the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.
For the rest of it, Nimitz directed combined Allied forces relentlessly westward (his popular nickname was “Island Hopper”) while Gen. MacArthur, headquartered in Australia, pushed north, both men grimly believing that the endgame would be a bloody invasion of the Japanese homeland. In late 1944, Nimitz was awarded his fifth star and named fleet admiral for his achievements. And on Sept. 2, 1945, a month after two American nuclear bombs obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he stood alongside MacArthur on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese delegation signed the “Instrument of Formal Surrender” to the Allies, ending WWII.
Today, Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, occupies the much-expanded house at 37 Makalapa, but it’s still called the Nimitz House. The biggest change to the neighborhood since Nimitz’ time is the grown-up landscaping, which now shades most views down to the harbor. HH
Home of the Brave Tours offers a half-day tour with stops at the USS Arizona Memorial and historic sites within Wheeler Field, Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter. www.pearlharborhq.com