Wheeler Army Airfield
Wheeler Army Airfield , also known as Wheeler Field and formerly as Wheeler Air Force Base, is a United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 post located in the City & County of Honolulu
Honolulu County, Hawaii
The City and County of Honolulu is a consolidated city–county located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The municipality and county includes both the urban district of Honolulu and the rest of the island of Oahu, as well as several minor outlying islands, including all of the Northwestern Hawaiian...

 and in the Wahiawa District of the Island of O'ahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. It is a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 for its role in the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Soldiers from Schofield Barracks began clearing earth to make an aircraft landing strip in February 1922. On Nov. 11 of that year, the resulting airfield was named in honor of Major Sheldon Harley Wheeler, killed in the crash of DH-4B, AS-63525, on July 12, 1921, and commander of Luke Field on Ford Island
Ford Island
Ford Island is located in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It is connected to the main island by the Ford Island Bridge. Before the bridge was built, Ford Island could only be reached by a ferry boat which ran at hourly intervals for cars and foot passengers. The island houses several naval...

 at the time of his death. Wheeler Field was the site of several major historic aviation events prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 on 7 December 1941, including the first nonstop Mainland-Hawai'i flight in 1927; the great Dole Air Race
Dole Air Race
The Dole Air Race, also known as the Dole Derby, was a tragic air race to cross the Pacific Ocean from northern California to the Territory of Hawaii in August 1927. Of the 15-18 entrant airplanes, 11 were certified to compete but three crashed before the race, resulting in three deaths...

 from California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 to Hawai'i; the first trans-Pacific flight from the U.S. to Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1928, and the first Hawai'i-to-Mainland solo flight in 1935 by Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart
Amelia Mary Earhart was a noted American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first woman to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean...

. Ms. Earhart visited Wheeler Field in 1935 in her Lockheed Vega
Lockheed Vega
|-See also:-References:NotesCitationsBibliography* Allen, Richard Sanders. Revolution in the Sky: Those Fabulous Lockheeds, The Pilots Who Flew Them. Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1964....

 and in 1937 in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra
Lockheed Model 10 Electra
The Lockheed Model 10 Electra was a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s to compete with the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2...

. Kingsford Smith
Charles Kingsford Smith
Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC , often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia...

, in his plane, the Southern Cross
Southern Cross (aircraft)
Southern Cross is the name of the Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane which in 1928 was flown by Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew in the first ever trans-Pacific flight, from the mainland United States to Australia, about ....

, also used the airfield on his historic flights across the Pacific.

By 1940, Wheeler Field had evolved into a primary base for Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 pursuit (i.e., "fighter") aircraft such as the P-40 Warhawk, responsible for air defense of the Hawaiian Islands Territory. Wheeler Field continued in this role through World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as the Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces.

With the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service in 1947, Wheeler Field became Wheeler Air Force Base under the operational control of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the installation hosted a number of Army and Air Force activities, including Army rotary-wing and fixed-wing aviation units and USAF fixed-wing air support / forward air control units flying the O-2 Skymaster
O-2 Skymaster
The O-2 Skymaster is a military version of the Cessna 337 Super Skymaster utilized as an observation and forward air control aircraft...

 and OV-10 Bronco
OV-10 Bronco
The North American Aviation Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control aircraft...

. In August 1987, the Secretary of the Interior designated Wheeler Air Force Base, now Wheeler Army Airfield, a National Historic Landmark, recognizing it as a site of national significance in the history of the United States and in particular, World War II in the Pacific.

Wheeler AFB was returned to the Department of the Army on 1 November 1991 and renamed Wheeler Army Airfield. Wheeler AAF comprises approximately 1389 acres (5.6 km²) of land adjacent to Schofield Barracks and home to a variety of Department of Defense activities including the Defense Information Systems Agency
Defense Information Systems Agency
The Defense Information Systems Agency is a United States Department of Defense agency that provides information technology and communications support to the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, the military Services, and the Combatant Commands.As part of the Base Realignment and...

 (DISA), the 169th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (169 ACWS) of the Hawaii Air National Guard
Hawaii Air National Guard
The Hawaii Air National Guard is the air force militia of the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is, along with the Hawaii Army National Guard, an element of the Hawaii National Guard...

, the 193rd Aviation Regiment (Medium Lift) and Det 55 OSA of the Hawaii Army National Guard
Hawaii Army National Guard
The Hawaii Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization...

 and the Regular Army's B Company/214th Aviation (Heavy Lift), 68th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), and the 25th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade
Combat Aviation Brigade
A Combat Aviation Brigade is a multi-functional brigade-sized unit in the United States Army that fields military helicopters, offering a combination of attack helicopters , reconnaissance helicopters , medium-lift helicopters , heavy-lift helicopters , and MEDEVAC capability.- History :Combat...


Attack on Pearl Harbor

Wheeler Army Airfield was a primary target and site of the first attack on 7 December 1941, leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

. The Japanese attacked the airfield to prevent the numerous planes there from getting airborne and engaging them. Most of the planes were destroyed, but Lt. Phil Rasmussen found an old, unscathed Curtiss P-36 Hawk and taxied it to a revetment where he had it loaded with ammunition. During a lull in the bombing, he took off with three other pilots. The American pilots subsequently engaged 11 Japanese aircraft. Lt. Rasmussen managed to shoot down a Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

The installation has a National Historic Landmark District in association with the attack on 7 December 1941. The 1941 Flightline, hangars and barracks survive today.


Wheeler Army Airfield was constructed in the pattern of the Garden City. These type of neighborhoods are the inspiration of Sir Ebeneezer Howard of England, who designed these type neighborhoods in re-action to the industrial company towns that had blighted his nation. The neighborhoods are designed in loops with ample green spaces that were to be shared in common among the residents. The homes within the loops are of the Spanish Colonial Revival style that was flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s.

Today, Wheeler Army Airfield comprises approximately 1,389 acres (5.6 km²) of land returned to the Department of the Army on Nov. 1, 1991. As of the 2000 Census, the base had a total population of 2,829 military personnel and families.


Wheeler AAF is located at 21°28'56" North, 158°2'24" West (21.482216, -158.039959). The Wheeler Main Gate is located on Kamehameha Highway (State Rte 99) running north to Wahiawā (becoming State Rte. 80) and connecting westward to Wilikina Road (State Rte. 99) and Schofield Barracks. Proceeding south on Kamehameha Hwy. provides access to Interstate H-2
Interstate H-2
Interstate H-2 is an intrastate Interstate Highway located on the island of O‘ahu in Hawai‘i, USA. H-2 is also known as the Veterans Memorial Freeway. Despite the number, this is a north–south interstate—the 'H'-series numbering reflects the order in which routes were funded and built...

 and Milillani Town. The Wheeler Kunia Gate is off Kunia Road directly across from the Schofield Lyman Gate. Kunia Road (State Rte. 750) continues south to Kunia, and eventually Waipahu.

Wheeler is directly adjacent to Schofield Barracks across Kunia Road and to Wahiawā on the central plateau of the Island of O'ahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

. The U.S. postal code
Postal code
A postal code is a series of letters and/or digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail. Once postal codes were introduced, other applications became possible.In February 2005, 117 of the 190 member countries of the Universal Postal Union had postal code systems...

 for Wheeler Army Airfield is 96786.

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the base has a total area of 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²). 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²) of it is land and none of it is covered by water.


As of the 2000 Census, there were 2,829 people, 739 households, and 724 families residing on the base. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 1,235.6 inhabitants per square mile (477.0/km²). There were 855 housing units at an average density of 373.4 per square mile (144.2/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 57.02% White, 21.60% African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, 1.10% Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, 3.99% Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n, 1.87% Pacific Islander, 6.33% from other races, and 8.09% from two or more races. 13.15% of the population were Hispanic or Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 of any race.

There are 739 households out of which 77.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 89.7% are married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 6.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 2.0% are non-families. 1.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 0.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.36 and the average family size is 3.38.

In the base the population is spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 20.9% from 18 to 24, 40.9% from 25 to 44, 1.3% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 23 years. For every 100 females there are 119.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 127.8 males.

The median income for a household in the post is $32,485, and the median income for a family is $32,264. Males have a median income of $22,961 versus $22,151 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the post is $12,364. 7.9% of the population and 5.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.9% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

See also

  • Hawaii World War II Army Airfields
  • Phil Rasmussen
    Phil Rasmussen
    Philip M. Rasmussen was an Army Air Corps second lieutenant assigned to the 46th Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field on the island of Oahu during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. He was one of the few American pilots to get into the air that day.Rasmussen was awarded a Silver Star for his...

External links

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