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KUALOA FIELD

By David Trojan

Kualoa Army Airfield, Kualoa, HI is located at 21.52 North / 157.84 West, Northeast of Honolulu, HI.  Very little information about the Kualoa Airfield can be found, only a few old photographs and some information from the Internet. This airfield was evidently constructed during the early portion of World War II on land the military did not own.     Kualoa Airfield was a satellite field for units assigned to Bellows Field and was used mainly for training.  The earliest depiction of the field that has been located was dated May 10, 1942.  A photo of Kualoa Field shows the revetments used to protect aircraft from damage (Hawaiian, 2000).  Aircraft seen in the photograph include B-17, LB-30, and B-18's.  

Period photographs illustrate the temporary nature of Kualoa Airfield.  Photographs reveal that the aircraft ramp was made of perforated high strength steel (Marsten Mat) that was used extensively by the military during World War II for quickly establishing airfields.  Kualoa Field consisted of a single north/south runway.  It was depicted as having a single 6,500' hard-surface runway (Freeman, 2005). The road to Ka'a'awa & the north shore crossed over Kualoa's runway, so the cars would have to wait whenever an airplane took off.  The 28th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, operating P-38, F-4 and A-24 aircraft was stationed at Kualoa between 9 Oct 1944 and 8 May 1945. The 18th Fighter Group, operating P-40ís, also was stationed there briefly (McKillop, 2005).    A row of revetments for protected aircraft parking was along the west side of the runway. No evidence suggests that Kualoa was ever paved.  The entire runway was formed of pierced steel planking.  An October 8, 1944 photo shows men walking over the perforated steel planking which formed the runway of Kualoa Field and displays one of the aircraft that operated from the field, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter (Hawaiian, 2000).  The steel planking makes a strong case that the military had no plans to keep Kualoa open any longer than it was needed.  Following the war the land was returned to the original owners.  The actual date of closure of the airfield has not been determined.  The Kualoa Airfield was closed at some point between 1945-47, as it was labeled "Kualoa AAB (Closed)" on the 1947 Hawaiian Islands Sectional Chart (Freeman, 2005).  The 1983 USGS topo map no longer depicts the runway at Kualoa.  The airfield site was labeled as "Kualoa Regional Park".  Nothing remains of Kualoa's former runway. The property has become Kualoa State Park & Kualoa Ranch. The only remaining aviation activity at the site is occasional use by a couple of model airplane flyers that use the grass field.  A few of the fortified revetments along the shear cliffs above the former airfield still remain intact, as the only remaining indication of this site's military history.

Aerial of Kualoa looking Southeast in 1943. Courtesy 15th AW

Kualoa Ramp Oct 1944. Note PSP surface and P-38. Courtesy 15th AW

Kualoa Bunker entrance in 2005. Courtesy D Trojan

Sise view of bunker entrance 2005. Courtesy D. Trojan

Kualoa Beach park now occupies most of the old runway. Courtesy D. Trojan

Satellite photo of Kualoa in 2004. Runway paralelled the road alongside the beach. By AirPhotoUSA

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