Hickam AFB, HI Image 1
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    Hickam AFB, HI History

    Hickam Field has a long and honorable history in US service, starting in 1934, when the US Army Air Corps realized it needed expanded facilities for increased air traffic in the Hawaiian Islands. 2,225 acres were purchased and construction began in 1935; the field was soon dedicated and named for recently deceased Colonel Horace Meek Hickam. The first Hickam units (four planes and twelve men under a 1st lieutenant) arrived in September 1937; the field opened for operations in September 1938. Hickam Field was the largest peacetime military construction to date, and facility construction continued through 1941. Hickam was the main Army Airfield in the Hawaiian Islands, and the only one able to land a B-17 Flying Fortress , the new principle Air Corps bomber.

    A flight of 21 B-17 bombers arrived in May of 1941, and by the end of 1941 the construction was finished, with some 233 aircraft, 6,706 enlisted men, and 754 officers housed at Hickam Airfield. The airfield was a primary target of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, with extensive casualties and fatalities, and considerable aircraft losses and property damage. Rapid repair and recovery followed, and Hickam quickly became a main hub for Army Air Force operations, serving as a training center and aircraft assembly point. Bullet holes and other damage are still visible around the base as a reminder to remain vigilant. Hickam Air Field earned the official nickname "America's Bridge Across the Pacific" for it's central role in heavy airlift of personnel and materiel in World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    Hickam was renamed Hickam Air Force Base in 1948, and continued to play a central role in US Pacific air operations through the Cold War, mainly in airlift mission, and was a support base for returning Apollo astronauts in the Space Age, as well as Operation Homecoming (return of Vietnam War prisoners of war) and Operation Babylift/New Life (reception of 94,000 Southeast Asian refugees in the 1970s).

    Base and force reorganization in the 2000s led to Hickam being joined to Navy Base Pearl Harbor in 2010. It remains a central strategic air mobility and operations facility for the US in the Pacific.