Fort DeRussy, a United States military reservation in the Waikiki area of Honolulu, Hawaii,
the jurisdiction of the United States Army. It is unfenced and largely open to
public traffic. The former Battery Randolph now houses the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii.
The Hale Koa Hotel, an Armed Forces Recreation Center, is also
located on Fort DeRussy.
Fort DeRussy, in Honolulu, is one of five American installations named Fort DeRussy. The two in Louisiana, one in Kentucky, and one in Washington, D.C., were all built during the Civil War. This one was named for General Rene Edward De Russy (1789-1865). Rene and his brother Lewis were both graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Lewis was the oldest West Point graduate to serve in the Confederate Army, while older brother Rene served on the Union Army.
Located on Waikiki Beach, very near Oahu's historic hotels the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Hotel, the former Shore Battery Randolph was used as site for servicemen on Rest and Recuperation (R&R) during the Vietnam War. Built in 1911, as a key part of the "Ring of Steel" which encircled the island of Oahu to defend Pearl Harbor and Honolulu against attack by sea, its solid concrete walls could withstand a direct hit from a 2000-pound artillery shell.
The first test firing of Battery Randolph's guns took place in November, 1914. The Army took pains to warn Waikiki residents, but no one was fully prepared for the effects of the shock wave that rocked the neighborhood. Little actual damage was done, though dishes rattled and some windows cracked blocks away. To avoid damage in later years, as Waikiki continued to grow, the guns were seldom fired.
Most of the guns on these sites were retired during the early 1950s. The Fourteen inch guns of Shore Battery Randolph were fired once in a practice shortly after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, shattering many of the windows in the Royal Hawaiian and Moana, and were not fired again.
At the end of World War II, the giant guns were cut up and sold for scrap, never having fired a shot in anger or defense. The battery was then used as a warehouse, and eventually abandoned. The concrete walls repeatedly defied destruction, and it finally was designated as the home of the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii in 1976.
Official military functions at Fort DeRussy include the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Fort DeRussy Chapel, and the Hale Koa Hotel, a Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility.
The museum's collection contains some World War II armor pieces, an AH-1 Cobra helicopter, and small arms indoors, as well as the battery itself. The exhibits cover the history of US Army warfare in the Pacific hemisphere and admission is free.
The Gallery of Heroes for the museum, dedicated Memorial Day 1988, was conceived in 1980 by Major General Herbert E. Wolff, US Army, Retired, to honor Hawaii's citizens who served in the Nation's defense. The focus of the Gallery is on the recipients of the Nation's two highest awards of valor, the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, or its equivalents, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
Eligibility for induction and memorialization into the Gallery of Heroes is defined as "a person who was born in Hawaii, or entered the service from Hawaii, or who has permanently resided in Hawaii for at least ten years".
The initial search to identify candidates for induction into the Gallery of Heroes produced six Medal of Honor recipients and eighteen Distinguished Service Cross recipients. There are twenty-one Medal of Honor recipients and, as of today's ceremony, fifty-eight recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross memorialized in the Gallery of Heroes. Included in the fifty-eight inductees are three recipients of the Navy Cross.
The changing museum gallery features temporary exhibits that often coincide with the anniversaries of significant events in US Army History. The gallery is dedicated to the memory of MG Herbert E. Wolff, US Army, Retired, a visionary leader and lifelong supporter of the transformation of Battery Randolph into the U. S. Army Museum of Hawaii. He was also the long serving President of the Hawaii Army Museum Society, a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3, whose mission is the support of the Museum and the education of the public of the history and the mission of the U. S. Army in Hawaii.
Tuesday - Saturday 9am - 4:15pm (Closed Sunday & Monday)
Tuesday - Saturday 9am - 4pm
US Army Museum of Hawaii
2131 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815