The home of the brave: 15 Camp Tarawa vets reunite in Waimea

  • Vet Don Grave stands next to 5th Marine Division sign that marks what was once Camp Tarawa in Waimea during World War II. (GEORGE FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

  • A plaque at Camp Tarawa, near Parker Ranch headquarter’s entrance, pays tribute to the 2nd and 5th Marine Divisions who trained in Waimea between 1943 and 1945. (GEORGE FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

  • Eleven of the 15 veterans attending the reunion in Waimea last week assemble proudly at Camp Tarawa where they were once stationed. (GEORGE FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

  • Soldiers stationed in Waimea assemble on the front porch of the main Parker School building, their USO in 1943.

  • Parker School fifth-graders Kayle Rodrigues-Vincent, Mya Pinkert and Athena Kettner listen as one of the 15 veterans shares his experience on the same grounds where they now have class. (COURTESY PHOTOs/PARKER SCHOOL)

WAIMEA — Last Thursday, with trade winds howling, crowds of flag waving Parker School students lined the walkway as members of the 2nd and 5th Marine Divisions made their way to their school auditorium, shaking hands and telling stories along the way.