Monday, February 11, 2013

Kualoa Airfield

Kualoa is an ancient Hawaiian land division (ahupua‘a) at the north end of Kāne‘ohe Bay, windward O‘ahu.  The ahupua‘a extends from the coast to the top of the nearly vertical, fluted mountain behind.

The area of Kualoa Regional Park has been modified in the past as a result of different land uses.  Prior to World War II the lands were part of the sugarcane plantation of Kualoa.

The lands were converted to a fighter airfield during the World War II period, and reverted to grazing use after the war. The City and County of Honolulu condemned the land in the 1970s and converted it into a park.

Behind the beach at Kualoa Beach Park and running into the Kualoa Ranch property was a temporary facility used for a World War II airfield.

Kualoa airfield was evidently constructed during the early portion of WWII (maybe around 1942) and probably used as a satellite field for units assigned to Bellows Field, and was used mainly for training.

The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was a May 10, 1942 photo of Kualoa Field, which showed the field as having a single north/south runway.

It was depicted as having a single 6,500' (north-south) runway.  No evidence suggests that Kualoa was ever paved.

The entire runway was formed of pierced steel planking. The steel planking makes a strong case that the military had no plans to keep Kualoa open any longer than it was needed.

The road to Ka‘a‘awa and farther up to the north shore crossed over Kualoa’s runway, so the cars would have to wait whenever an airplane took off.

A row of revetments for protected aircraft parking was along the west side of the runway.

Several fortified bunkers for coast artillery batteries were constructed in the cliffs overlooking Kualoa Field during WW2.

The 28th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, operating P-38, F-4 and A-24 aircraft was stationed at Kualoa between October 9, 1944 and May 8, 1945.  The 18th Fighter Group, operating P-40s, also was stationed there briefly.

Since Kualoa Field had been constructed on land that was not owned by the military, it was returned to its original owners after WW2.

The Kualoa Airfield was closed at some point between 1944-1947 (as it was labeled "Kualoa AAB (Closed)" on the 1947 Hawaiian Islands Sectional Chart.)

The image shows Kualoa Airfield in about 1942.  In addition, I have included other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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