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AF Reservist brings Hickam Field history alive

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 624th Regional Support Group learn more about the Hickam Field attack during a battlefield staff ride at the Pacific Air Force Headquarters, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour hosted by the unit’s historian, Staff Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 624th Regional Support Group learn more about the Hickam Field attack during a battlefield staff ride at the Pacific Air Force Headquarters, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour hosted by the unit’s historian, Staff Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

Reserve Citizen Airman Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the 624th Regional Support Group, explains the historic significance of the Base Operations building during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

Reserve Citizen Airman Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the 624th Regional Support Group, explains the historic significance of the Base Operations building during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the Air Force Reserve’s 624th Regional Support Group, explains the significance of Battery Hawkins during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the Air Force Reserve’s 624th Regional Support Group, explains the significance of Battery Hawkins during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the Air Force Reserve 624th Regional Support Group, explains the size of the base in the 1940s compared to present day with Senior Airman Robert Coloma during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt, a historian for the Air Force Reserve 624th Regional Support Group, explains the size of the base in the 1940s compared to present day with Senior Airman Robert Coloma during a battlefield staff ride at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2017. The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Hickam Field when America was launched into World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- A historian for the 624th Regional Support Group here continued a time-honored tradition of providing a battlefield staff ride Dec. 3 designed to bring the history of Hickam Field alive for unit members.

Reserve Citizen Airman Tech. Sgt. Christine Kearney-Kurt coordinated the staff ride, which is a tradition that dates back to the 1890s and has been used as an educational and professional development tool to apply lessons learned from the battlefield to present day.

“It's an honor to be able to offer this staff ride to the members of our group,” said Kearney-Kurt. “Col. [Kenneth] Lute, our commander, has been extremely supportive of the history program and my staff ride preparation.”

The tour focused on the remnants of war from 76 years ago during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack that launched America into World War II.

“At Hickam, we work amongst the remnants of WWII, but don't always get the chance to stop and evaluate what happened here,” said Kearney-Kurt. “The staff ride is an opportunity for us to do that together and gain a new perspective. We also examine and discuss everything from people and resources to tactics and doctrine, so it's more than a site visit.”

Highlights of the tour included the Base Operations building, the Flagpole at Atterbury Circle, Courtyard of Heroes, Freedom Tower, Pacific Air Force Headquarters and the remnants of Fort Kamehameha.

Hickam Field and Fort Kamehameha are listed by the National Park Service as National Historic Districts, possessing “national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.”

“I really didn’t know a lot about the history of all of these landmarks until this tour,” said Staff Sgt. Bum Ki Kim, 48th Aerial Port Squadron. “Now that I know the history I have a greater appreciation.”

According to Kim, the PACAF Headquarters building where marks from bullets and bomb shrapnel are still visible left a lasting impression on him.

“To be able to see the bullet holes is a grim reminder of how many people sacrificed their lives for our country,” said Kim.

One of the Reserve Citizen Airmen on the tour, Lt. Col. Reid M. Matsuda, 624th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, said that he was inspired by visiting the sites.

“This tour has given me time to reflect,” said Matsuda. “It gives me encouragement to continue on with 
the Air Force mission knowing what happened here and for all the people who have served before us.”