Wheeler Army Airfield

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Wheeler Army Airfield (IATA: HHIICAO: PHHIFAA LID: HHI), also known as Wheeler Field and formerly as Wheeler Air Force Base, is a United States Army post located in the City & County of Honolulu and in the Wahiawa District of the Island of O'ahu, Hawaii. It is a National Historic Landmark for its role in the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Contents

History

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 [4], on July 12, 1921, and commander of Luke Field on Ford Island at the time of his death. Wheeler Field was the site of several major historic aviation events prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, including the first nonstop Mainland-Hawai'i flight in 1927; the great Dole Air Race from California to Hawai'i; the first trans-Pacific flight from the U.S. to Australia in 1928, and the first Hawai'i-to-Mainland solo flight in 1935 by Amelia Earhart. Ms. Earhart visited Wheeler Field in 1935 in her Lockheed Vega and in 1937 in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra. Kingsford Smith, in his plane, the Southern Cross, 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 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, as the Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces.

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