Bellows Air Force Station (AFS)
Bellows Air Force Station (AFS) is located at Waimanalo Bay on the beautiful windward side of the island. Bellows AFS is open to all branches of service military, Reserve, Guard Members, civil service and NAF employees, whether active duty or retired. Authorized users may sponsor family members and friends as their guests.
Continued use of Bellows AFS by the military is hotly contested. Sovereignty groups, Native Hawaiians and many residents of Waimanalo would like to see Bellows no longer used for military training and returned to the State of Hawai'i. On the other hand, CINCPAC would like to extend the training area and the recreational facilities at Bellows. The COOP 95 exercise gave the military the opportunity to show Bellows being used for a humanitarian training--not the typical assault training exercise. In the week commemorating the 50th anniversary of V-J Day, the military was able to capitalize on a lot of good press to plug the need to maintain training at Bellows. At the conclusion of the COOP 95 exercise Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, before a crowd of international reporters, commented on the importance of continued training at Bellows AFS.
Whether you're camping, staying in a cabin, or just spending the day at the beach -- Bellows AFS is the perfect getaway for families. With it's laid back charm, perfect beach, warm water, sugary white sand, Bellows has so much to offer military families stationed in Hawaii, including cabin and campsite rentals, Beach Club, gas station, mini-mart and a plethora of outdoor activities both in and out of the water. Dry activities include horseback riding, paintball, mini golf, historical and nature hiking tours, and bike tours. Bellows is a popular spot and tends to fill up quickly, especially the cabins. Bellows takes reservations up to one year (365 days) during off-season. During peak season (from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day), active duty Air Force have priority and can make reservations 90 days in advance. Campsites can accommodate two tents with a maximum of ten people per site. Cabins will comfortably accommodate four people, but you are allowed a maximum of ten if you wish. Cabin amenities include kitchenettes, full size refrigerator, barbecue grill, daily housekeeping service, telephones and cable TV.
Bellows was established by Presidential Order in 1917 as Waimanalo Military reservation. It was later named Bellows Field in 1933, redesigned Bellows Air Force Base in 1948, and Bellows Air Force Station in 1958.
Bellows AFS is located on the windward shore of Oahu, approximately 8 miles south of MCBH Kaneohe . The station is bounded on the north and west by a ridge and on the south by the town of Waimanalo. To get to Bellows from Pearl Harbor, take H-1 Freeway going East to Pali Hwy exits number 21A. Go North on Pali Hwy (Hwy 61). Turn right onto Kalanianaole Hwy (Hwy 72). (On the left is Castle Medical Center). There is a green Waimanalo sign. It's approximately 4 miles to Bellows AFS. There's a small green Bellows AFS sign on the right side of the road and a brown Bellows AFS sign on the left.
Bellows AFS consists of 1,495 acres of fee simple and ceded land, of which 586 acres are used for training. State Highway 72 passes through Waimanalo and by the AFS main gate which is at the southern tip of the site. Limited helicopter training is allowed on part of abandoned Runway 3L. The other runways have been developed as antenna sites or abandoned. Approximately 1,500 meters of beach are suitable for amphibious landings.
The station is bordered by a mixture of urban land and hills. Low density residential areas exist to the south and northwest of the station. A public golf course abuts about one-half of the western boundary with the remaining section containing undeveloped hills. The station and surrounding areas are all classified as an urban district. The land further to the southwest is classified as an agricultural district. The Bellows beach is normally opened to the public on weekends and is heavily used.
The majority of the station is flat land with only a small portion along the north and west boundaries being unsuitable for training due to its steep terrain. The areas not cleared for runways or recreational uses are tree-covered. The beach extends the entire length of the station, however the northern half has been developed with beach front cottages and picnic areas and is not used for training. The southern half has an excellent sandy beach which is used for amphibious maneuvers; however, the adjacent inland portion is used for antenna installations.
Numerous restrictions exist at Bellows AFS which limits the training to small scale actions. Other restrictions include the prohibition of live firing, limited variety of terrain, close proximity of civilian community, and prohibition of weekend use for training.
Training activities at Bellows include ground maneuvers of platoon and company size, amphibious maneuvers, and helicopter operations. Three areas totaling approximately 586 acres are actually used for training. The first area includes the southern beach and approximately 1,000 feet of land inland. It is used for training in amphibious landing exercises, command post exercises, and squad and fire team small unit tactics. It is open for public recreation from Friday noon through Sunday. A second area is used to park AAV's on weekends during extended training periods. The training area also includes the helicopter air strip which is used for touch-and-go landings. A third area is used as a compass course, for AAV land driver training, and miscellaneous troop maneuvers.
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