South Pacific WWII Museum
On the west edge of Unity Park. Museum
A metal building housing a museum that remembers WW2 in Vanuatu and in the South Pacific.
The museum is currently expanding into a larger facility, but currently houses several displays that remember the US Military serving in Vanuatu and in the South Pacific in General. The museum includes tours to WW2 sites on Espiritu Island and dives to the sunken SS President Coolidge which is a world class diving site.
The museum tells the story of the second largest Allied base in the Pacific war, second only to Pearl Harbor; half a million US Military passed through the islands of Vanuatu during 1942 to 1945. Four 6000 foot long airfields were carved from the jungle on Espiritu Santo alone.
The legacy of the war remains in modern Vanuatu, with infrastructure still in use. The iconic Quonset round huts can still be found dotted around the Espiritu Santo town of Luganville, where the new Museum will be built. Elsewhere, the giant airstrips can still be found under the jungle growth, while plane crash sites remain to explore.
The Elwood J Euart Association manages the museum and is leading the effort foe the museum’s expansion. The association was named in memory of Espiritu Santo war hero Captain Elwood J Euart. He gave his life to save fellow solders when the former luxury liner the SS Coolidge which had been converted into a troop ship, rolled on her side after she hit an Allied mine while entering the harbor at Espiritu Santo. Upon getting the last of the soldiers out of the lower decks, Captain Euart was too weak to climb out and went down with the ship.
Author James Michener (US Navy) was stationed on Espiritu Santo Island during the war and the island is the setting for his book “Tales of the South Pacific" and later the inspiration for the musical “South Pacific”.
S.S. President Coolidge
South West Pacific Area (Command)
United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE)
United States Marine Corps
United States Navy
US Army Air Corps
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