Hickam Air Force Base

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Hickam Air Force Base is a U.S. Air Force base located in the city and county of Honolulu on the island of O'ahu, Hawai'i. Hickam AFB consists of 2,850 acres (12 km²) of land and facilities bordering Pearl Harbor, valued at more than $444 million.

Hickam AFB shares its runways with adjacent Honolulu International Airport (IATA: HNL, ICAO: PHNL) under a joint-use agreement that creates a single airport complex. As of the 2000 Census, the base had a population of 5,471.

Hickam AFB is home to the 15th Airlift Wing, and headquarters of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).



Location of Hickam Air Force Base

Located at 21°19'50" North, 157°57'59" West (21.330433, -157.966281)1, Hickam is bounded on the north by Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, on the west by the Pearl Harbor entrance channel, on the south by Fort Kamehameha, and on the east by the airport complex.

The Hickam AFB main gate is reached via Nimitz Highway (State Rte. 92) from Honolulu, and shares its western terminus with the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard main gate. This part of Nimitz Highway can be reached from Interstate H-1 (Exit 15) southeast from Hālawa or west from Honolulu (Exit 15B) and from Kamehameha Highway (State Rte. 99), the eastern termination of which is at Nimitz Highway.


In 1934, the Army Air Corps saw the need for another airfield in Hawai‘i and assigned the Quartermaster Corps the job of constructing a modern airdrome from tangled brush and sugar cane fields adjacent to Pearl Harbor. The site consisted of 2,200 acres (9 km&sup2) of ancient, emerged coral reef covered by a thin layer of soil, with the Pearl Harbor entrance channel and naval reservation marking its western and northern boundaries, John Rodgers Airport (HIA today) to the east, and Fort Kamehameha on the south. The new airfield was dedicated on 31 May 1935 and named in honor of Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam, a distinguished aviation pioneer who was killed in an aircraft accident the previous Nov. 5 at Fort Crockett in Galveston, Texas.

Construction was still in progress when the first contingent of 12 men and four aircraft under the command of 1st Lt. Robert Warren arrived from Luke Field on Ford Island on Sept. 1, 1937. Hickam Field, as it was then known, was completed and officially activated on Sept. 15, 1938. It was the principal army airfield in Hawai‘i and the only one large enough to accommodate the B-17 bomber. In connection with defense plans for the Pacific, aircraft were brought to Hawai‘i throughout 1941 to prepare for potential hostilities.

The first mass flight of bombers (21 B-17Ds) from Hamilton Field, California, arrived at Hickam on 14 May 1941. By December, the "Hawaiian Air Force" had been an integrated command for slightly more than one year and consisted of 754 officers and 6,706 enlisted men, with 233 aircraft assigned at its three primary bases (Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows).

When the Japanese attacked O‘ahu's military installations on 7 December 1941, their planes bombed and strafed Hickam to eliminate air opposition and prevent U.S. planes from following them back to their aircraft carriers. Hickam suffered extensive damage, aircraft losses, 139 people killed and 303 wounded.

During World War II, the base became a major center for training pilots and assembling aircraft. It also served as the hub of the Pacific aerial network, supporting transient aircraft ferrying troops and supplies to—and evacuating wounded from—the forward areas -- a role it would reprise during the Korean and Vietnam wars and earning it the official nickname "America's Bridge Across the Pacific".

After World War II, the Air Force in Hawai‘i was primarily comprised of the Air Transport Command and its successor, the Military Air Transport Service, until 1 July 1957 when Headquarters Far East Air Forces completed its move from Japan to Hawai‘i and was redesignated the Pacific Air Forces. The 15th Air Base Wing, host unit at Hickam AFB, supported the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s and 1970s; Operation Homecoming (return of prisoners of war from Vietnam) in 1973; Operation Babylift/New Life (movement of nearly 94,000 orphans, refugees, and evacuees from Southeast Asia) in 1975; and NASA's space shuttle flights in the 1980s and the 1990s. In mid-2003, the 15th Air Base Wing was converted to the 15th Airlift Wing when it was assigned C-17 transport aircraft. The new C-17s will be assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron.

In October 1980, the Secretary of the Interior designated Hickam AFB a National Historic Landmark, recognizing its key role in the World War II Pacific campaign. A bronze plaque reflecting Hickam's "national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America" took its place among other memorials surrounding the base flagpole. Dominating the area is a large bronze tablet engraved with the names of those who died as a result of the 1941 attack. Other reminders of the attack can still be seen, including the tattered American flag that flew over the base that morning. It is on display in the lobby of the Pacific Air Forces Headquarters building, whose bullet-scarred walls have been carefully preserved as a reminder to never again be caught unprepared.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,471 people, 1,632 households, and 1,589 families residing at Hickam. The population density was 1,703.5/km² (4,419.0/mi²). There were 1,718 housing units at an average density of 534.9/km² (1,387.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 66.20% White, 11.72% African American, 0.57% Native American, 8.21% Asian, 0.97% Pacific Islander, 4.08% from other races, and 8.26% from two or more races. 8.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000, there were 1,632 households out of which 73.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 90.9% were married couples living together, 3.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 2.6% were non-families. 2.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.35 and the average family size was 3.40.

On the base, the population was spread out with 40.4% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 45.5% from 25 to 44, 5.9% from 45 to 64, and 0.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 102.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household at Hickam was $42,298, and the median income for a family was $41,989. Males had a median income of $30,588 versus $23,548 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,039; 2.2% of the population and 2.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.6% of those under the age of 18 and 25.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

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Airports of Hawaii
Hawaii: Hilo International Airport | Kona International Airport | Upolu Airport | Waimea-Kohala Airport
Oahu: Honolulu International Airport | Dillingham Airfield | Kalaeloa Airport
Kauai: Lihue Airport | Port Allen Airport | Princeville Airport
Maui: Hana Airport | Kahului Airport | Kalaupapa Airport | Kapalua Airport
Smaller islands: Lanai Airport | Molokai Airport
Military: Hickam Air Force Base | Wheeler Army Airfield
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