CREATING A PARK PRESENCE: THE NEWMAN ERA, 1979-1982 (continued)
During 1979, interpretive efforts were minimal due to a lack of funding, staff, and knowledge of the park's precise boundaries and resources. Interpretive planning progressed as part of the overall master planning effort. Actual interpretive activities were limited to occasional tours for visiting National Park Service staff, important guests and dignitaries, and interested local residents given by Superintendent Newman. He also made numerous informal presentations to local service clubs and government agency heads, and communicated regularly with the local newspapers and radio and television stations about park news.  In the late fall of 1979, Superintendent Newman turned serious attention to interpreting the park's history to the public and, thereby, helping create a more concrete presence of the park. Eager to move ahead quickly, Newman first considered the installation of an existing traveling exhibit, entitled "Magnificent West II," to simply familiarize the Guamanian people with the National Park concept. When the logistics of excessive shipping time and money proved problematic, Newman and others explored the possibility of creating interim (fiberglass embedded) wayside exhibits. The estimated cost of planning (around $3,800) and producing of these exhibits ($10,000 to $15,000) very likely ended further discussions of the project. The park had no funding for production of interpretive materials or signs in fiscal 1979 and 1980. 
By December 1979, Superintendent Newman began searching for and enlisting volunteer help in pursuing his vision of the park's interpretive program. Around the same time, Stell Newman and Dirk A. Ballendorf, director of the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) at the University of Guam, and others began discussing the need to record the experiences of those who took part in events on Guam during World War IIGuamanian residents and all those in the American and Japanese military. Stell Newman began writing letters to several American veterans of the Guam landing and post-war cleanup, asking them to write or tape their recollections of their experiences. These recordings, Newman assured all his correspondents, would be deposited in the MARC archives and would be of great value in the future interpretation of the park and for research by future historians. 
Stell Newman also began searching for artifacts of all kinds that might be donated to and used to interpret the war in the Pacific. Throughout the year, Newman was approached by several individuals wishing to donate a wide assortment of both Japanese and American World War II artifacts.  In a December 26, 1979 letter to the chief of military history for the army in Washington, D.C., Newman asked about the availability of World War II uniforms and the existence of vintage Japanese vehicles that may have been given to the U.S. Army for museum displays. "I am now trying to locate," Newman explained, "World War II uniforms and other pieces of personal equipment. . . . One of the interpretive concepts that I am almost certain will be used will [have] our Park staff dressed in World War II uniforms to give guided tours and lectures." Newman went on to describe more of his vision of the future park:
At nearly the same time, Joe Murphy of the Pacific Daily News, no doubt at Stell Newman's urging, editorialized about the need for certain military equipment. "There is nothing that the National Park Service would like better than [to] have a restored Japanese Zero fighter plane," Murphy announced in his "Pipe Dreams" column, "both at the Guam War in the Pacific National [Historical] Park, or at the new Arizona Memorial Visitor Center in Hawaii that will be completed next year." After informing readers that he had located a Japanese Zero airplane undergoing restoration by an former Navy chief petty officer Murphy suggested that "maybe we could talk Chief [Steve] Aiken into a trade. We could give him all the leftover bombs on Guam for it."  Apparently Stell Newman's approach to building the park by means of "cumshaw" development techniques (borrowing or trading) had infected the nearby offices of the Pacific Daily News.
Stell Newman's quest for interpretive objects of all kinds and his tenacity in asking others for them blossomed in 1980. The local news media eagerly continued to support his efforts by routinely printing articles about the latest artifacts discovered in the park or donated to it. Newman's enthusiasm and resourcefulness in locating and acquiring materials for interpretive exhibits was boundless. He began the new year with a letter to secretary of the of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., asking for large itemstanks, artillery pieces, landing craft, and motor vehiclesthat might be displayed in the outdoor museum planned for the park. "One additional concept I would like to explore with you," Newman wrote,
In 1980, Newman sent a barrage of additional letters focusing on park interpretation. He wrote to the headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps, then the Library of Congress, asking for a copy of the radio recording made by former Marine Corps combat Technical Sergeant Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. during the American landing on Guam on July 21, 1944.  In February, Stell Newman wrote to the director of the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, as well as the director of the U.S. Navy Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., asking if they had any "Japanese or American aircraft, ground support equipment, weaponry, or other items that were used in the Pacific Theatre, which might be available to the park, on either permanent loan or by transfer."  Newman also expressed interest in historic photos, movies, or stills that might be duplicated.  Superintendent Newman asked the commander of the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment in San Francisco and the commander of the Naval Construction Battalion Center if the Seabees might have appropriate material or equipment that could be donated for an exhibit about Seabee involvement in World War II. (In the same letter, Newman also asked if the Seabees, through its community action program, might be willing to help with the physical development of the park by scraping and grading overgrown areas, hauling off junk and refuse, contouring the land, removing post-war construction remains, hauling in topsoil, planting fifteen-foot-tall coconut trees, and constructing concrete forms for picnic tables.) 
Stell Newman was especially intent on exhibiting large items of military equipment at the Asan and Agat units, probably to help give the park a dramatic visible presence as well as interpret the war in the Pacific. In the spring and summer of 1980, he contacted equipment companies, airplane manufacturers, and the air force asking about the availability of amphibious vehicles, landing craft, airplanes, aerial bombs, and even plans of various World War II artillery and guns for possible donations.  "I can foresee great public interest in putting together an exhibit at Asan Point or, perhaps, at Gaan Point in Agat based on the equipment you would be willing to donate," Newman wrote to the head of the Cruz Equipment Company in Agana (Hagatna).  In a letter to the president of Failsafe Corporation, Newman observed" "I have noticed your C-46 [airplane] parked at the Guam Airport and would like to find out if your company would be interested in donating it the National Park Service for exhibiting in the park."  Newman wrote to the commander of the Third Air Division of the air force in San Francisco asking about replicas of the two atomic bombs used in World War II or other inert vintage bombs. He also asked if any units in that division might be interested in restoring World War II aircraft that Newman hoped to receive for his Asan outdoor exhibits.  Newman also wrote to the commander of the naval base on Guam asking for the donation of a Japanese two-man submarine on display at the naval base, as well as assistance in locating a World War II Seabee bulldozer. 
From the outset of his superintendency, Stell Newman realized the importance of presenting an accurate and authentic interpretation of the war in the Pacific. Newman anticipated and encouraged park visitation by Japanese tourists, as well as Guamanians and Americans. He was committed to presenting both the Japanese and American viewpoints on the war. Exhibiting and interpreting Japanese items of military equipment was absolutely essential for presenting a balanced approach to an interpretation of the war in the Pacific. Newman located and began reading material about the Japanese culture and military history; he ordered books on these subjects, including first-person accounts of the war written by Japanese soldiers. He also looked for books written in Japanese that might be of interest to Japanese tourists and could be sold at the park. The last two weeks in March 1980, Superintendent Newman went to Japan to talk with Japanese park officials about park development, to tour several Japanese parks, to learn behavior patterns of the Japanese tourist, and to seek "advice on the sensitivities of interpreting WW II parks for Japanese visitors."  He also hoped to find military objects available for interpretive displays. While in Japan, Newman asked park officials if they would be interested in helping develop the master plan for the park. "They said 'yes'," Newman reported upon his return to Guam, "and immediately offered to send the planner for a month."  Newman received help from a Japanese park planner soon afterwards. Stell Newman's trip to Japan initiated a long and beneficial exchange between Japanese park officials and others and the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. 
Superintendent Newman had mixed success in acquiring objects for interpretative exhibits. Japanese officials, although eager to contribute, told Newman there was little military equipment left on Japan after the war; Guam and the United States probably had much more.  Certain items Newman requested were not available (such World War II uniforms and personal gear) or, if they existed, high freight and other charges put them beyond his financial reach. Sometimes Newman located desired equipment owned by potential donors who were skeptical of the park's ability to protect and preserve precious items, therefore refused to turn over objects to the park. By the fall of 1980, however, Superintendent Newman had achieved considerable success in acquiring objects of all kinds for interpretation. Black Construction Company made a major donation in late February when it gave the park a 1944 model of a road grader used by the Navy Seebeas in the Pacific Theater.  By mid-summer, Newman had been given or promised a wide assortment of items. "I am having good success in getting most of the World War II material remaining on Guam for park exhibits," Newman exuberantly reported.
"We are now directing major efforts to getting Asan Point and Gaan Point open to the public," Newman added, "to show a beginning for the park."  In addition to large objects, Newman had also collected a wide assortment of donated World War II artifacts, ranging from Japanese gas mask canisters, U.S. helmet fragments, and GI canteens to bullets, shrapnel fragments, and battery gun shells. Newman expressed enormous delight when he received copies of black and white photographs taken on Guam by a U.S. Marine during the American landing there in July 1944. 
Stell Newman's efforts to establish a real physical presence by creating outdoor exhibits open to the public were finally realized in 1981. Gaan Point, in the Agat Beach unit, opened in the spring of 1981. On display were several military objects, including a Japanese cannon and bunker. A trail connected various objects of interest at Gaan Point. A large wooden sign with painted letters as well as Japanese characters stood at the entrance to the Gaan Point outdoor exhibit. Across the bottom of the sign, equal recognition was given to both the National Park Service and the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) for their contributions to open that park unit to the public. The opening of Gaan Point followed the less dramatic opening of the small Apaca picnic area in the Agat unit.  Not long afterward, Newman was offered and for a time considered accepting a World War II combat ship. It presumably would have been anchored off the Asan or Agat beaches. 
The arrival of interpretive specialist James Miculka in September 1980 did not halt Stell Newman's many requests for donated items. Miculka's experience with interpretive printed material and indoor exhibits simply allowed the park to broaden its interpretive efforts. By the end of 1980, Miculka had familiarized himself with mountains of material on World War II in the Pacific and had also attended training on curatorial methods at the National Park Service's Harpers Ferry Center. By the beginning of 1981, he began work on a park brochure, the text for outdoor signs, and on indoor exhibits. Around this time, park staff was finally preparing to move the park's administrative offices from the Pacific Daily News Building to the Haloda Building at Asan, which had space for indoor interpretive exhibits on the first floor as well as approval and funding to construct an audio visual room. The Park Service began leasing this first-floor space in the spring of 1981. 
War in the Pacific National Historical Park received its first funding for the production of interpretive material, signs, and even a vintage World War II truck (with money from the "vehicle fund") in 1981.  In early March, the Pacific Daily News announced that Miculka was in charge of preparing the indoor exhibit to be housed in the Haloda Building, "which will include displays of World War II flags and uniforms of the armed forces of the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations involved in the war. . . . Small arms, maps and other mementos" would also be exhibited, Miculka reported.  By the end of that month, an interpretive folder outlining the Japanese and American occupation of Guam during World War II was nearly ready for printing. 
Miculka pushed ahead with plans for indoor interpretive exhibits. Through the summer and fall of 1981, Miculka located and collected photographs, newspaper articles, posters, soldiers' songs, and more that told the story of the Japanese and American soldiers' experiences in the Pacific during World War II. Toshihiko Sakow was hired by the National Park Service as a consultant to design the indoor exhibit.  The exhibit in progress received a major boost in early 1981 when Tadao Nakata, a private Japanese collector contacted by Miculka, gave the park Japanese military uniforms, publications, posters, and accouterments. "The gift was the biggest asset the park has for exhibit material," Miculka reported. It enabled the park to present a more balanced picture of the war in the Pacific. Later, Oyama Mamaru of Japan also donated Japanese artifacts to War in the Pacific National Historical Park. 
Jim Miculka's year-and-a-half-long efforts to create an indoor exhibit were realized on July 20, 1982 with the opening of the park's visitor information center. Staunch park supporter and politician Antonio Won Pat, Lieutenant Governor Joe Ada and representatives from the navy and air force joined the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Haloda Building, along with nearly 100 others. Donor Tadao Nakata traveled from Japan for the opening ceremonies. The new interpretive exhibit, built by the NPS's Harpers Ferry Center, featured a ten-minute slide/sound show in both English and Japanese. Japanese uniforms and printed material, U.S. magazines, newspaper articles, and other objects that had been gathered by the park, donated, and obtained from the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives, and branches of the military. Opening of the visitor center received broad coverage in the press. 
Stell Newman's and Jim Miculka's interpretive efforts soon extended beyond the park's dry land to its underwater sites. A total of nearly 1,000 acres of the park, along the Asan and Agat units, were underwater. As early as 1980, a volunteer dive team (that included Tim Rock, Dave Hendricks, Suzanne Hendricks, Richard Fisher, and Pete Peterson) had been formed, demonstrating that a public interest in the submerged sections of the park existed.  In February 1982, a visiting marine biologist from the Channel Islands National Park, Gary Davis, had suggested the possibility of an underwater scuba-diving trail. Plans to develop an underwater interpretive trail in the vicinity of Gaan Point in the Agat unit had to be scrapped a month later, when it was discovered that a sewer outfall emptied polluted water nearby. Still, the idea of interpreting the natural history of marine life in the park as well as possible sunken historical objects seemed worth pursuing.  The search for a workable underwater trail was resumed in Ocotber 1982, even though Newman confessed to the local press that: "the area you can put in a dive trail is relatively limited."  Its time had not yet arrived by the end of 1982.
In late 1982, a major aid to the future interpretation of the park's historythe War in the Pacific Historical Resource Studywas successfully launched. This project was initiated after years of discussions among NPS historians and others about the study's value and content. On the eve of Stell Newman's arrival in the park in January 1979, the acting assistant director of cultural resources in the Washington Office of NPS, Ross Holland, had cautioned against using military histories and secondary published sources in planning for and interpreting the new park. New research is needed, he emphasized.  By mid-1981, after the park's completed draft general management plan called for development and interpretation without new historical researchwithout a historic resource studyNational Park Service military historians vehemently objected. In September 1981, Regional Historian Gordon Chappell in NPS's Western Region insisted that funding be sought to complete a historic resource study for the park, written by a military historian.  NPS Chief Historian Edwin Bearrs, two months later, summarized a long debate between the NPS park planners and military historians in a letter to Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, director of U.S. Marine Corps History and Museums. "It is mandatory that a historic resource study, to feature a review [of] primary sources, be programmed in the near future. Otherwise the NPS, in its efforts to interpret the area, will be plagued by certain ambiguities in site identification previously noted by Marine Corps historians. . . . Only through use of primary documents generated on the regimental, battalion, and company level can such ambiguities be resolved," Bearss emphatically stated.  Another six months passed before funding had been appropriated and a NPS historian, Charles W. Snell, was selected to write a historic resource study. Snell made his first trip to Guam to assess the park's boundaries and historic resources in September 1982. By the end of the year, Snell was immersed in primary research from a wide array of government sources. 
Newman Era Ends Abruptly
At the end of 1982, Superintendent Newman and his staff could measure the progress that had been made in developing all aspects of the park over the previous four years. They, no doubt, assumed that Newman's energy and enthusiasm would continue to advance the park further into the future. This was not to happen.
On December 27, 1982, a little before 10 a.m., Stell Newman was heading northeast on Route 1, less than a quarter mile from the visitor center. Suddenly, a Toyota pickup truck with two young men, traveling in the opposite direction, lost control, swerved across the highway's centerline, and slammed into the door of the 1975 AMC sedan driven by Newman. Stell Newman was killed instantly. He was pronounced dead at 10:25 by Dr. P. Boonprankoong. Stell Newman was forty-six years old. 
Stell Newman's sudden and untimely death released an outpouring of anguish and sorrow across Guam and elsewhere. For weeks, his friends and family, while grieving his death, memorialized his life in the local newspapers and at gatherings to remember his life and contributions to War in the Pacific National Park. Joseph C. Murphy of the Pacific Daily News who had come to know Stell Newman and championed all his park development activities, wrote that Newman
In late December, the Thirteenth Guam Legislature passed a resolution asking the governor to give Newman the Ancient Order of Chamorri posthumously.  This was the first time such an award had been given to a non-Chamorro.
Two days after his death, friends of Stell's gathered privately to celebrate his life and honor his person in a letter "To Stell."
On Sunday, January 16, 1983, about 150 people gathered at Gaan Point in a memorial to remember Superintendent T. Stell Newman and tell stories about his life.  Some time later, some of his ashes were spread at sea, from Asan Point in the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. Hundreds of dollars were donated to plant dozens of palm trees in a cluster at the Agat Beach unit as a living memorial to Stell Newman.  Twenty years later, this memorial and memories of Newman remain vivid. In 2003, Roque Borja recalled that he had "never had a supervisor like him. . . . He was truly outstanding. He was good." 
Last Updated: 08-May-2005