Dillingham Military Reservation
Dillingham Army Airfield
Dillingham Military Reservation is located on the west side of Oahu's north shore near Kaena Point. The facility lies at the foot of the Waianae Range opposite the Makua Training Area. Dillingham is adjacent to and at the end of State Highway 99, the Farrington Highway. The facility has a 9,000 feet runway suitable for fixed wing and helicopter operations. Mokuleia Beach parallels Dillingham; however, its heavy surf and coral beds preclude amphibious training.
The site contains 550 acres which are leased. The reservation is located in an isolated portion of Oahu and is surrounded by steep cliffs to the south, a narrow coastline to the west and water to the north. The coast area has several school and youth camps. The areas to the south and east are designated as Conservation and Agricultural Districts respectively. Immediately to the east of the installation a series of irrigation canals have been cut to provide water for sugarcane growth. A rock quarry lies immediately west of the training area.
Dillingham is positioned on the narrow sloping plain between the Waianae Range and the sea. The coastline area is flat with an elevation of approximately 20 feet. The terrain rises rapidly to a steep scarp as it reaches the southern boundary of the installation. With the exception of the taxiways and former support areas, the land between the runway and the hills is covered with low scrub forest. The strip of land paralleling the beach also contains groups of low trees.
Originally constructed in 1927, the installation has changed names and ownership several times. This installation, initially established as Kawaihapai Military Reservation in 1927, was redesigned as Mokuleia Airfield and was fully utilized after the outbreak of World War II. Following World War II the airfield was inactivated in 1948.
Today, the Army reservation used for small unit maneuvers of platoon and squad size. Helicopters also use the site for training for both day and night tactical flight operations. The runways are jointly used by civilian planes and commercial gliders and are leased to the State of Hawaii. The military maintains priority for use at all times. The major restriction to more effective training activities at Dillingham is the lack of sufficient usable real estate.
Dillingham Airfield is a general aviation joint-use facility on the north shore of Oahu near the community of Waialua. The airfield was built by the military in World War Two, but is now a civilian field from where glider and skydiving concessions are operated. The airfield has one runway, a State-operated control tower, several hangars, and a tie down area for recreation aircraft, but no other facilities. Air traffic is limited to daytime operations by small single-engine and light twin-engine aircraft, sailplanes, ultra-lights aircraft, and helicopters. Traditionally, the airfield has been used mainly for recreation, such as glider soaring, hang-gliding, parachuting, and sky jumping. No major facility improvements are planned. In 2001 the Hawaii State Legislature considered a proposal under which the official name of the airfield located at Kawaihapai, formerly known as Dillingham airfield, would be changed to Kawaihapai airfield.
The FAA is pursuing an initiative for the implementation of joint-use military airfields and/or adaptation of former military facilities to civilian use for capacity enhancement to the overall aviation system. The joint-use facilities at Dillingham Army Airfield, Hawaii, and Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Columbus, Ohio, have provided congestion relief to the airports at Honolulu and Port Columbus, respectively. Stewart Air Force Base near Newburgh, New York, and Ellington Air Force Base at Houston, Texas, have been designated for conversion to civilian-use facilities.
Hawaiians call the island of Oahu "The Gathering Place." The soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division (Light), who are based at Schofield Barracks on Oahu, refer to the live-fire range at Makua Valley Military Reservation, on the island's western shore, as "Death Valley." Dillingham Army Airfield is on the northwest coast of Oahu, only 3 miles from Makua Valley. But because of the intervening, 2,600-foot-high Waianai Mountains, the only way to get from Dillingham to Makua Valley is over 49 miles of road.
On 08 July 1997 soldiers with B Company, 214th Aviation Regiment, lifted and transported a Navy F-18 jet from Dillingham Army Airfield to Naval Air Station Barbers Point, with the help of MCB Hawaii's Landing Support Platoon, Landing Support Company, Combat Service Support Group 3. The F-18 was transported to Dillingham AAF from MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay more than three years previously to be turned into a static display for a military museum scheduled to open at the now defunct NAS Barbers Point. Using Landing Support Platoon's expertise in rigging humvees and other such equipment for transport via helicopter, the Army crew aboard a CH-47D Chinook helicopter carried the remodeled jet to its new home.
The Pacific Warrior 99 (PW99) exercise was designed to be a "slice" of the anticipated contingency operations on the Korean Peninsula. The evaluation was conducted with military users operating the proposed technologies in a realistic operational environment. The demonstration was represented at six locations during PW 99. This included one Theater Hospital (121st Forward CSH) at Dragon X, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; one FST and one Med Co (-) at East Range, Schofield Barracks; one FST and one Med Co (-) at Dillingham Army Airfield; one Mobile Aeromedical Staging Facility (MASF) at Wheeler; and one Aeromedical Evacuation Control Center (AECC) at Hickam AFB; and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) at Bethesda.
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