Base Contact Information
Wheeler Army Airfield Information: (808) 656-1665/1647, DSN (315) 456-1665/1647
Base Housing: 808-275-3810 (South), 808-275-3710 (North)
Public Affairs: 808-656-3155/3160
Geography and Area Information
Wheeler Army Airfield lies at 21°29′12″N 158°02′38″W 20 miles outside of Honolulu Hawaii. The facility covers 207,858 acres (325mi2) in the center of the Island of Oahu. A Wheeler Army Airfields northern border is marked by the intersection of Kunia Road and Wilikina Drive while the southern border falls just north of Waikele Stream. The eastern border is marked by the State Highway 99, the Kamehameha Highway and the western by Kunia Road. The region surrounding Wheeler Army Airfield is largely residential with a majority of the population being somehow related to the military. The Wahiawa District where the facility is located is in a low lying area of the island with higher elevation “mountainous” areas to the east and west. The entire island of Oahu is in a tropical zone and experiences warm humid temperatures year round in addition to substantial rain fall.
Wheeler Army Airfield was established in 1922 with a small detachment of 20 enlisted men from Luke Field. This small working party was tasked with clearing the area, building housing and erecting two canvas hangers in the flying field. The area was officially christened Wheeler Field on November 11, 1922 after the late commander of Luke Field, Major Sheldon H. Wheeler who was killed when his DH-4B crashed on Ford Island the previous year. In June of 1923 the pace of construction quickened and oil storage tanks, a new flying field, shop hangers and new airplane hangars were all constructed. Despite this expansion in construction it wouldn’t be until 1930 that any permanent structures were erected at Wheeler Field.
Due to the climate and ability for year round training Wheeler Field was a popular area for aviation training and several units were cycled in and out of or stationed at the base in the 1920’s and 30’s. This included the 17th Composite Group, 19th Pursuit Squadron, 18th Pursuit Group, 15th Pursuit Group and the 14th Pursuit Wing. The original unites of Wheeler Field were Branch Intelligence Office No. 11, Photo Section No. 11 and the 4th Observation Squadron.
During the pre-World War II era Wheeler Field played a pivotal role in the transformation of aviation history bearing witness to multiple historical events. This included the 1927 first mainland to Hawaii nonstop flight, the 1928 trans-pacific flight from Australia to the United States, the 1935 solo Hawaii to mainland flight by Amelia Earhart and several subsequent visits by the famed female pilot.
Just a few years before United States involvement in World War II Wheeler Field had transitioned into the primary base for Army Air Corps pursuit aircraft, the first generation of real fighter planes like the P-40 Warhawk and P-36 Hawk . This garrison of aircraft was tasked with patrolling the skies around the Island and its air defense and played a major role in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947 and Wheeler Army Airfield was redesignated as Wheeler Air Force Base and command turned over to the newly formed Department of the Air Force. As Wheeler Air Force Base the installation would be moved from a non-active maintenance status and then back to full capacity with the outbreak of the Korean War conflict. Wheeler Air Force Base would be home to several logistical and support units in the 1950’60’s and 70’s with the longest lasting and most prominent being the 15th Air Base Squadron. The 15th Air Base Squadron took on the role of supplying all munitions, maintenance and logistical support to Air Force activities and missions in the Hawaiian Islands area. This included operating a small arms firing range that was used for qualification and training purposes by local law enforcement, US Customs and military personnel. From early 1960 to the late 1980’s Wheeler Air Force base played host to many Army and Air Force air components including fixed and rotary wing units of the Army and United States Air Force support and forward control units flying the O-2 Skymaster and OV-10 Bronco.
On October 31 1991 the 15th Air Base Squadron was deactivated and command of the installation was turned back over to the Department of The Army and the name was changed from Wheeler Air Force Base to Wheeler Army Airfield.
Primary and Ancillary functions
The primary mission of Wheeler Army Air Field is to provide operational support and aerial combat units in the Asian Pacific area of command in addition to serving as the command center for U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii (USAG-HI). Wheeler Army Air Field is host to a wide range of Department of Defense like the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a combat support agency composed of federal civilians, military personnel and contractors. The installation is also home to the 169th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron, 193rd Aviation Regiment (Medium Lift), Regular Army’s 25th Infantry Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade, Detachment 55 Operational Support Airlift and the Hawaii Army National Guard. The base boasts 22 helipads and 2 fixed wing runways to support the massive aviation component of the area.
All visitors to Wheeler Army Airfield must have a valid military ID or visitor pass. Short term 1-3 day visitors can get directions from any gate personnel to the nearest Visitor Control Center for a temporary pass. Passes from the Visitor Control Center expire on midnight of the issue date. Longer term and frequent visitors can get a guest or contractor Installation Access Pass for easier gate access. Installation Access Passes can be applied for at the Installation Access Office, 808-655-1620.