Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
By Senior Airman Tong Duong, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 19, 2011
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Home of Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, 13th Air Force and the 15th Wing, Hickam Air Force Base integrated with the Navy to become Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. It is the largest installation in the wing and consists of 2,850 acres of land and facilities valued at more than $405 million. Hickam shares its runways with adjacent Honolulu International Airport, under a joint-use agreement.
The mission of the 15th Wing is to partner with the Hawaii Air National Guard to provide strategic and tactical airlift capability to PACAF and Air Mobility Command to support local and worldwide missions of combat support and humanitarian or disaster relief. To enhance PACAF's power and reach by ensuring world-class en route support, maintaining operational ready forces, and providing superior customer service. To provide airlift support to the commander, Pacific Air Forces and the commander, Pacific Command.
In 1934, the Army Air Corps saw the need for another airfield in Hawaii and constructed a airdrome adjacent to Pearl Harbor. The new airfield was dedicated on May 31, 1935 and named in honor of Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam, a distinguished aviation pioneer who was killed in an aircraft accident on Nov. 5, 1934, at Fort Crockett in Galveston, Texas.
The first contingent of 12 men and four aircraft under the command of 1st Lt. Robert Warren moved from Luke Field on Ford Island to Hickam on Sept. 1, 1937.
In connection with defense plans for the Pacific, aircraft were brought to Hawaii throughout 1941 to prepare for potential hostilities. The first mass flight of bombers (21 B-17Ds) from Hamilton Field, California, arrived at Hickam on May 14, 1941.
When the Japanese attacked Oahu's military installations on Dec. 7, 1941, Hickam suffered extensive property damage, aircraft losses, and 139 killed and 303 wounded.
During the war years, the base played a major role in pilot training and aircraft assembly work, in addition to a supply center for air and ground troops. Hickam served as the hub of the Pacific aerial network, supporting transient aircraft ferrying troops, supplies and wounded from forward areas, during World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War.
After World War II, the Air Force in Hawaii was primarily comprised of the Air Transport Command and its successor, the Military Air Transport Service, until July I, 1957 when Headquarters Far East Air Forces completed its move from Japan to Hawaii and was re-designated the Pacific Air Forces.
In October 1980, the Secretary of the Interior designated Hickam AFB as a National Historic Landmark, recognizing it as one of the nation's most significant historic resources associated with World War II in the Pacific. A bronze plaque reflecting Hickam's "national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America" is among other memorials surrounding the base flagpole, next to a large bronze tablet engraved with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack.
Other reminders of the attack can be seen at Hickam today, including the tattered American flag that flew over the base that morning. It is encased and on display in the lobby of the Pacific Air Forces Headquarters building, where bullet-scarred walls have been carefully preserved as a constant reminder to never again be caught unprepared.
(Joint Base Pearl Harbor history and information's are gathered from historical facts. Courtesy of the 17th Training Wing Public Affairs.)