Those interested in military history should put the Tropic Lightning Museum on their itinerary. A 45-minute drive from Waikiki in Schofield Barracks, the largest Army post in Hawaii, the museum chronicles the history of Schofield; the 25th Infantry Division (dubbed the Tropic Lightning Division), which is stationed there; and neighboring Wheeler Army Airfield, a National Historic Landmark.
On view are artifacts, photographs and documents that span the period from 1909, when Schofield was established, to present day. A group of history buffs in the 25th Infantry Division started the museum in 1956 with an eclectic assortment of memorabilia they had collected.
Those first modest exhibits have grown into impressive, thought-provoking displays ranging from a 1921 target practice scorebook and a pre-World War II bugle used to assemble troops to a Viet Cong soldier’s handmade pistol and a Humvee window that was shattered by IED (improvised explosive device) shrapnel during the Tropic Lightning Division’s deployment to Iraq.
Every October, the museum celebrates the division’s activation in October 1941 by hosting special activities and demonstrations at Living History Day.
Closed Sunday and Monday. To obtain a visitor pass, non-military personnel will have to show identification and register their car at the post’s Lyman Gate. Directions are on the website.