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Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Camp H. M. Smith

Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Camp H. M. Smith

Hawaii Marine Corps Base Camp HM Smith


Originally the site of Camp H.M. Smith was used as a sugar cane field; the 220-acre site was purchased for $912,000 in March 1941 for a naval hospital. Work began in July, and following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, construction of the 1,650-bed facility was rushed to completion. The hospital was commissioned Nov. 11, 1942, and continued to expand.

Throughout World War II, the Aiea Naval Hospital served thousands of wounded Sailors and Marines. It reached its peak following the battle for Iwo Jima in February and March 1945, when 5,676 patients received medical care at one time. On June 1, 1949, the hospital was deactivated when Army and Navy medical centers were consolidated at Tripler Army Medical Center.

In 1950, the Territory of Hawaii began negotiations to obtain the Aiea Naval Hospital. In 1955, the Marine Corps selected the site that now serves as home for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. On June 8, 1955, the camp was named in honor of the late Gen. Holland M. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, U.S. Marine Corps, of World War II fame. He was the first commanding general of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. The camp was dedicated Jan. 31, 1956.

In October 1957, Camp Smith also became the headquarters for USCINCPAC. All U.S. military units located in Hawaii, and others within the Pacific theater, fall under the command of what is now the U.S. Pacific Command, which remains headquartered — along with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific — at Camp H.M. Smith.

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