5th Marine Division Veterans Visit the Pohakuloa Training Area

5th Marine Division Veterans Visit the Pohakuloa Training Area

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U.S. Marine veterans of the 5th Marine Division visited the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island of Hawaii, Oct. 20, 2017.

The veterans came to PTA as part of the 68th Annual Reunion of the 5th Marine Division Association. During their stay they had the chance to see displays of the current weapons and equipment used by U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.

“It was really nice to meet the Iwo Jima veterans as everyone in the Marine Corps knows Iwo Jima was a huge part of our history and background,” said Pfc. Nick Bensette, a native of Detroit, Michigan, and machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. “I never got to meet my grandfather who served during World War II, and passed away when I was still young, so meeting all these veterans is a good way for me to get new knowledge and pass it on to the next generation.”

Bensette said he felt great pride to demonstrate and explain how the modern equipment belonging to the current generation of Marines works.

“It’s nice to give back to the people who have served us before,” Bensette said. “I’m kind of following in their footsteps which is a big accomplishment for me to do what they did as Marines.”

Ralph Simoneau, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and an Iwo Jima veteran who served with the 5th Marines, said he was immediately reminded of what he was use to when he arrived at PTA.


67 First day in the Nam. I rotated off 881S on 11/10/ 1967. Know what it was like and to be a radio operator. Semper Fi.

Dwight Kirby,

What I remember most about PTA in late ‘61/‘62 was the force march from Pohakuloa to Hilo at the end of our stay, about 50 miles, downhill all the way, which put blisters on our feet, making it very difficult to walk. Semper Fi

Jack Webb,

PTA, where the temps in the day are pleasant, and at night water freezes. 1/3 from KMCAS went on training exercises the first few months of 1970. Us engineers were assigned a Quonset hut for barracks that was nothing but tin on a frame on a concrete slab. The only thing that kept most of the freezing wind out of our hut was chinking the cracks in the tin with sand bags. What a great rime to be alive.

Andrew H. (Andy) Gardner,

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