What are the major military installations in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s military industry is one of the larger industries in Hawaii, aside from tourism. The military installations provide people with jobs, especially with infrastructure and businesses being built in the areas for military access. These jobs, some of them high paying technical positions, boost the state’s economy. Most military installations in Hawaii are located in its capital, Honolulu, as it is the largest urban area in the state.


Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Oahu

The earliest military installation is the one at Pearl Harbor. Hickam Air Force Base and Naval Station Pearl Harbor were merged into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in 2010. This military base is one of 12 joint bases hosts multiple branches of the armed forces.  In this case all branches including the Coast Guard are hosted.  The base is eight miles west of Honolulu. 

Pacific Military Range Facility (PMRF) Barking Sands, Kauai


This military base can be found 9 kilometers northwest of Kekaha in Kauai County. PMRF is considered the world’s principal instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range. Pacific Military Range Facility has over 1,100 square miles of instrumented underwater range and 42, 000 square miles of controlled space. It is a premier facility that supports maneuvers ranging from minor, single-unit exercises up to extensive, multiple-unit battle group setups. 

Fort Shafter, Honolulu


Fort Shafter is a military base and the headquarters of the United States Army Pacific. This military base extends between Kalihi and Moanalua valleys. Fort Shafter is considered the oldest military base on Oahu and was named after Major General William Rufus Shafter, who led the United States expedition to Cuba in 1898. Amenities in Fort Shafter include a bowling center, restaurant, schools, dental clinic, library, veterinarian clinic, fitness center, travel services, and many others. 

Aliamanu Military Reservation, Honolulu

Aliamanu military base is between Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Fort Shafter. It is also o be located inside a non-active volcanic crater. Aliamanu has a housing complex that is filled with plenty of amenities for its residents, such as a swimming pool, fitness center, chapel, and a learning center for children. 

Bellows Air Force Station, Waimanalo


Bellows Air Force serves as a recreation place for active and retired military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense. Its primary function is as a military training area. The military base was first called the 1917 Waimanalo Military Reservation and was just renamed in 1933 after Lieutenant Franklin Barney Bellows, who was a World War I hero. Bellows Air Force Station was one of the airfields targeted during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC), Honolulu

The military base is one of the major military facilities operated by the United States Coast Guard in Hawaii. Its control center is located in immediate proximity to the local international airport in the western part of Honolulu. Its neighborhoods include Kalihi, Nuuanu, and Moanalua. 

Helemano Military Reservation, Wahiawa

Located north of Wahiawa, Helemano Military Reservation is home to the 125th Signal Battalion. Amenities include 600 family units, a chapel, a fitness center, a pool, and is surrounded by pineapple fields. 

Schofield Barracks, Wahiawa

Schofield Barracks is in Wahiawa and is home to the 25th Infantry Division and the 8th Theatre Sustainment Command. The base is named after Lieutenant General Joh McAllister Schofield, the commanding general of the US Army from 1888 to 1895. When he was sent to Hawaii in 1872, he was the one who suggested the establishment of a naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Wheeler Army Airfield, Wahiawa


Also known as Wheeler Field, this military base is in the Wahiawa District. Wheeler Field is a well-known National Historic Landmarks for being a site of several major historic aviation events before the attack on Pearl Harbor including the first transpacific flight from California in 1927, the Dole Air Race from California to Hawaii, the first Hawaii-to-Mainland solo flight in 1935 by Amelia Earhart (the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean), and many others. 

Camp H.M., Smith Marine Corps Base, Halawa


This military base is on the ridge of the Ko’olau Mountains, which offers a spectacular view. It was named after General Holland McTyeire Smith, the first commanding general of the Fleet Marine Force Pacific. Pacific Command’s headquarters are on 224 acres of land that handles all military operations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is home to the Pacific Fleet Marine Corps (a general and special-purpose force within the United States Department of the Navy). 

Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii , Oahu


This second military base for the Marine Corps is based in Kaneohe Bay between the neighborhoods of Kailua and Kaneohe on the Mokapu Peninsula. This military base is home to 8000 marines and sailors who have admission to the private beaches, and the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course is known on the island. 

Naval Computer & Telecommunications Area Master Station, Wahiawa


Located in the Wahiawa Annex, this station facilitates communication to all Naval Air Command commands in the Pacific  as well as for the Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force commands. The base is located three miles north of Wahiawa. 

Why the Pearl Harbor is significant in Hawaii’s History

Pearl Harbor is also called Pu’uloa in the Hawaiian language, which means “long hill” or “water of pearls”; it is so named because of the abundance of pearls found in its protected waters. It was in 1873 when Major General John M. Schofield charted Pearl Harbor to estimate its military potential. Since then, Hawaii has played a huge role as a control center for the U.S. Army in the Pacific.

After the annexation of Hawaii as a U.S. state, soldiers from the 1st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, 2nd United States Infantry Regiment Volunteer Engineers, started coming to Honolulu. The troupe established Camp McKinley (a Spanish American War Camp named after President William McKinley), in 1898 near Diamond Head. The military was tasked with defending the newly established naval station at Pearl Harbor. 

In 1941, Japanese planes launched a surprise attack in the U.S Naval Base Pearl Harbor. The Japanese fighter planes descended on the base and managed to destroy and damage nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes. In that attack, more than 2,400 Americans died, while 1,000 people were reported to be wounded. The next day after the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the Congress to declare war on Japan. The attack is said to dramatically change the course of the World War II and an ultimate doom for Imperial Japan. 

The Impact of the Attack

The attack shocked the nation, and inevitably thrust the U.S. into a war it had managed to sidestep for years. It marked the entry of the world’s mightiest military power into World War II. Germany and Italy honored their pact with Japan and declared war against the U.S. which swiftly reciprocated as Europe and Japan lost with over 15 million battle deaths, 25 million wound in battle, and at least 45 million civilian deaths. American service members of 416,800 die in that war. Since then, the U.S. forever ended the pre-1941 stance of isolationism and neutrality. The U.S. remembers the attack as a symbol of American grit and resilience. In honor for the many lives lost during the attack, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial was constructed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman on Oahu Island.  

Final Thoughts

Military installations in Hawaii have had a major impact on the state with a significant impact on both historically and on its economy.  The military bases in Hawaii are an important part of the Unites States military’s Pacific presence.