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Women’s Air Raid Defense veteran Anne Martha Rapozo Caires

Anne Martha Rapozo Caires (1918-1978), the daughter of Antone and Rosalia Rapozo of Kilauea, served in the Women’s Air Raid Defense (WARD) on Kaua‘i during World War II.

Established on O‘ahu in December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and staffed by women volunteers, WARD was a civilian organization that in conjunction with the military provided air defense of the Hawaiian Islands during World War II.

Other WARDs were started on Maui, Hawai‘i Island, and Kaua‘i in 1942.

WARD was disbanded in 1945 at the end of the war.

Anne joined the Kaua‘i WARD on the day it commenced operations on Sept. 14, 1942 at Hale Nani, the Rice family’s property located on Rice Street in Lihu‘e.

Her unit designation was Kaua‘i Information Center, WARD, 581st Signal Corps, 7th Fighter Command, U.S. Army Air Force (AAF).

She and her fellow volunteers worked as telephone and radio operators and plotters in shifts around the clock, with the duty of protecting the Hawaiian Islands by tracking and plotting ships and aircraft within a 60-mile range around Kaua‘i.

When the Kaua‘i WARD was disbanded by order of the Army on Jan. 15, 1944, she was discharged from WARD.

Her discharge certificate reads: “7th Fighter Command, AAF, Certificate of Service, This is to certify that Anne Martha Rapozo honorably served in the Women’s Air Raid Defense of the Hawaiian Islands from 14 September 1942 to 15 January 1944, by order of Brigadier General Robert W. Douglas, Jr.”

She then moved to O‘ahu, where she was employed by Mutual Telephone Company as a telephone operator.

In 1945, she married Ernest T. Caires, a staff sergeant in Company K, 299th Infantry, U. S Army, and they would have four sons: Roger, Clyde, Ernest, and Louis Caires.

World War II WARD volunteer Anne Martha Caires later retired from the Po‘ipu Beach Waiohai Hotel and is buried at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe, as are her husband and her son Clyde, who was killed in the Vietnam War.
Source: The Garden Island

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