forum on hawai‘i’s military and warrior past

about us


 

The idea for a forum on Hawaiian military history has been kicking around since at least 1999 and finally made real in 2019. Interest in the Forum is as diverse as the individuals and organizations behind the effort. There are historians, naturally, but also archaeologists, militaria collectors, historical re-enactors, veterans and their descendants, librarians, archivists, high school teachers and students, lua practitioners, members of the National Guard and Regular forces, kama‘aina with deep roots in Hawaiian society.

Each member brings to the table a different interest and perspective, but all appreciate the importance and value behind an effort to discuss the cultural and historical legacy of Hawai’i’s military and warrior past.

From inception, the intent has been to create a diverse, dynamic, inclusive, and multi-faceted network that goes well beyond the the stodgy notion of monthly academic presentations. There are workshops, live demonstrations, and on site visits. While individuals may favor a particular time frame or field of study, the Forum encourages opportunities to interact with members outside of their usual affiliation and to engage in a kind of scholarly “cross-pollination.”

OUR MISSION

The focal point of the Forum is the history and legacy of Hawai’i’s military personnel, organizations, and institutions, from the Islands’ pre-contact warrior roots to the present day. Our mission is to provide a means to gather, discuss, and learn from one another about topics relating to the function, role, and achievements of Hawai’i’s military personnel and organizations throughout history, including various means for conserving and perpetuating Hawai’i’s military and warrior past.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership in the Forum is limited to individuals, institutions and organizations that support the objectives of the Forum.

MEMBERSHIP

 

EXECUTIVE

Neil B Dukas, Forum Director
Thomas R Wolforth
BG Moses Kaoiwi, Jr, Hawaii National Guard Liaison

FHM&WP operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the  Ikaika Mau Loa Alumni Association, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization

Our mailing address is:  1050 Bishop St, PO Box 281, Honolulu, HI  92813

 

FHM&WP identity graphic

Forum badge designed by Paulo Faleafine Jr. (foreground, Nu’uanu Pali)

The awa bowl is symbolic of important meetings and ceremonies where discussions are to take place. A tatau pattern of outward facing spearheads next to the Forum’s formal name provides symbolic protection. A wavy pattern symbolizes the ocean. Above the ocean are a series of triangles representing the eight major islands comprising the archipelago. A series of arches suggest a rainbow connecting heaven and earth. Centered within the rainbow are two devices or charges: the combined alia and puela, ancient symbols of chiefly authority and protection (in this context emblematic of pre-annexation Hawaiian military history) accompanied by a five-pointed star, frequently displayed on American military badges and paraphernalia since the 19th century (emblematic of the Islands’ post-annexation military history). The crest is surmounted by the Forum motto: KA WĀ MAMUA, KA WĀ MAHOPE (look to the past to shape the future).

“3 eras” of hawaiian military history

classical, monarchy and republic, modern

Members can choose to affiliate with one or more of the 3 focus eras and participate in related discussions and events.


'Iao Valley, Luca Bravo photography

‘Iao Valley, site of the 1790 battle of Kapaniwai or ‘Uwa ‘u Pali, between Kamehameha and Kalanikupule

CLASSICAL ERA (pre-1810)
Thomas R Wolforth, Chair

Hawaiian society flourished unimpeded by outside influence, reaching its cultural apex—a period appropriately termed the “Classical era”—roughly speaking, between the mid-sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries. The outstanding features of the Classical era are the social, political, economic and religious arrangements in Hawai’i that made warfare a celebrated, if not inevitable, human condition in which the koa, or warrior, once played a defining and preeminent role.

Forum members that affiliate with the Classical era will be invited to participate in relevant discussions and events.

CLASSICAL ERA

R Dukas, pen and ink after Webber

One of the earliest renderings of a Hawaiian warrior, or koa, by John Webber, draughtsman accompanying the Cook expedition, 1778-’79 (R Dukas after Webber)

 

MONARCHY AND REPUBLIC ERA (1810-1900)
Neil B Dukas, Chair

Unification of the Islands under a single ruling dynasty was an accomplished fact by 1810. Kamehameha I laid the foundation for a centralized uniformed armed service with the creation of the King’s Guard and Garrison Troops. A Volunteer component was added in 1852 mirroring similar developments internationally. Organizational reforms initially implemented during the reign of King Kalakaua were re-instituted under the Republic.

Forum members that affiliate with the Monarchy and Republic era will be invited to participate in relevant discussions and events.

Royal Guard, HIANG, staff photo 10116-F-8767S-004

Royal Guard, Hawaii Air National Guard, at the Hale Koa, ‘Iolani Palace

MONARCHY AND REPUBLIC ERA

2015 Best Warrior Competition, Staff Sgt Christopher Hubenthal, Defense Media Activity-Hawaii News Bureau, 1809029

Hawaii Army National Guard and Reserve Best Warrior Competition, March 2015

MODERN ERA (Territory and State)
BG Moses Kaoiwi, Jr, Chair

The arrival of troops from the 1st New York Volunteer Infantry, August 1898, marked the beginning of a new era in military affairs. Under U.S. administration, the Islands swiftly became a forward bastion in the Pacific. Consequently, generations of men and women from Hawai’i have served with the National Guard, Reserve, or Regular forces since the First World War. The impact on society, politics, and the physical environment is necessarily wide-ranging.

Forum members that affiliate with the Modern era will be invited to participate in relevant discussions and events.

MODERN ERA 

HIANG, Det 1, 154th Med Gp, Task Force Oahu 2020, Sgt John Schoebel, US ARNG, AD487991

Hawaii Air National Guard, Detachment 1, 154th Medical Group assigned to Task Force Oahu performs a temperature screening, March 2020