A Happy Birthday Salute to the USAF!

A Happy Birthday Salute to the USAF!

Posted by Hawaiian Isles on 9/13/2018 to Hawaii Landmarks
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A Happy Birthday Salute to the USAF!

Hau`oli la Hanau to Hawaii’s U.S. Air Force Bases & Personnel
American Airmen: Breaking Barriers Since September 18, 1947

Hawaii is one of the few states in our country with at least one military base from each service branch–Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

In fact, the island of Oahu is home to two or more bases for each of those branches. Among these are Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Bellows, bases that will celebrate the official U.S. Air Force birthday on Sept. 18.

The U.S. Air Force was part of the Army until 1946. It was called the Army Air Corps. World War II demonstrated the value of airpower and the need for revamping the basic organization of the U.S. Military Forces. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act that created the U.S. Air Force as a new, independent defense service equal to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. During the next seven decades, the U.S. Air Force established its own proud identity and heritage.

Hawaii’s Proud U.S. Air Force Tradition


North American P-51 Mustangs on the flight line at Hickam Field on April 26, 1945.

Some 100,000-plus military personnel and their dependents make the Aloha State their temporary or long-term home, a number that represents nearly eight percent of Hawaii’s population.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBBHH) and Bellows Air Force Station are distinguished from other bases across the country for their beauty, beaches, and unique histories.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Missing Man Formation monument at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was unveiled in September 1995. The Missing Man Formation is the Air Force’s traditional symbol to honor comrades who lost their lives in battle.

Completed in 1938, Hickam Field operated from 1948-2010 as Hickam Air Force Base. On Oct. 1, 2010, NAVSTA Pearl Harbor combined with Hickam Air Force Base to become Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) that now operates as a single joint installation to support both Air Force and Navy missions.

A burned U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress (s/n 40-2074) rests near Hangar 5, Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii (USA), on Dec. 7, 1941. It was flown to Hickam by Captain Raymond T. Swenson from California and arrived during the attack. On its final approach, the aircraft’s magnesium flare box was hit by Japanese strafing and ignited. The burning plane separated upon landing. The crew survived the crash, but a flight surgeon was killed by strafing as he ran from the burning wreck.

Hickam At A Glance

  • Home to more than 5,000 military and 1,400 civilian personnel

  • Features two on-base golf courses, Malama Bay and Par Three

  • Built on 2,200 acres of ancient coral reef covered with a thick layer of soil

  • Named in honor of Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam

  • Bordered by Pearl Harbor on the west and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) on the east

  • Suffered considerable damage from bombs and machine gun bullets during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, with damage inflicted preserved as a reminder of that tragic day

  • Designated a National Historic Landmark in October 1980

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

While Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is not USAF specific, it still provides visitors with access to a variety of aviation exhibits related to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, WWII and beyond. Visit PacificAviationMuseum.org for details on exhibits and activities. On Oct. 1, the museum will officially change its name to Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

F4F-3 Wildcat on display representing Cactus Air during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Photo Credit: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Bellows Air Force Station

Bellows Air Field from above Lanikai. Photo Credit: Travis Thurston via wikimedia

Just steps away from the pristine, blue waters of Waimanalo Beach, Bellows Air Force Station is considered a recreational slice of Heaven for its landscape consisting of a wide beach, hills, trees, and forests. Established by Presidential Executive Order in 1917, Waimanalo Military Reservation was renamed Bellows Field in 1933 to honor World War I hero, 2nd Lt. Franklin Barney Bellows.


A heavily damaged Curtiss P-40 Warhawk from the 44th Pursuit Squadron at Bellows Field after the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

Bellows At A Glance

  • Named a permanent military post in July 1941 and was among the Oahu airfields attacked on Dec. 7, 1941

  • Site where Lt. Paul S. Plybon and Capt. David Akui captured the commander of a Japanese mini-sub as the first prisoner of war by the U.S. in World War II

  • Bellows Army Air Base redesignated as Bellows Air Force Base in 1948, and as Bellows Air Force Station when runways were closed in 1958

  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places for archeological significance in 1973

  • The Marine Corps acquired some 1,049 acres of Bellows from the Air Force in 1999

  • Bellows Reservation today serves as a military training area and recreation area for active and retired military, and civilian employees of the Department of Defense

Civilian Access

Bellows is open to the general public on most weekends and holidays for permitted camping in cooperation with the City and County of Honolulu. Campgrounds are not available before noon on Friday, and the park is closed between the hours of 8pm-6am.

HIKC Salutes All Hawaii Service Branches

Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee salutes the U.S. Air Force and other military branches for their patriotic service. America depends on our remarkable Total Force of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian Airmen who have never failed to answer our Nation’s call. We thank you and your family for your service, sacrifice, and commitment to the defense of our Nation. Happy 71st Birthday United States Air Force!

Our coffee roasting facility itself is situated between historic Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Cemetery), a location that is especially appropriate since HIKC holds such deep respect, admiration and gratitude for those who serve our nation.

We consider it an honor and a privilege to have our coffees represented in U.S. Military Commissaries across the globe.

10% U. S. Military Deployment Discount
Save 10% on orders sent to U.S. APO Military Addresses. It's perfect for care packages to loved ones on active duty. No promo code required. The discount is automatically applied in the checkout phase of your purchase when you fill out your address.

We hope you enjoyed our little taste of Aloha! If you ever have any questions or story ideas, please e-mail us at [email protected]!


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