Bellows Air Force Station

Bellows Air Force Station, now an inactive airfield was founded in 1917 under the Presidential Executive order that established the Waimanalo Military Reservation as part of the leased Waimanalo Sugar Plantation. The station has a total area of 1500 acres that is located on the southeastern part of the island of Oahu.  It is located 6 miles in the southeastern side of Kaneohe MCBH and 6 miles from the western side of Makapu Point.

Before the outbreak of World War II, it housed the 86th observation Squadron and was the short term shelter and training area for the newly recruits taken from the 44th Pursuit Squadron. Because the station is an underlying field, it did not receive the attention and benefits Hickam Field had. With the outbreak of World War II, it was changed overnight into an important air station. The station served as the place for the preparation of the aircrafts that were to be assigned in the Pacific. During that time, there were hundreds of aircrafts and men that were assigned to Bellows thus, requiring more facilities and runways.

The 86th observation Squadron started of August 17, 1917 with the name 86th Aero Squadron. During World War I, it provided its services as part of advance zone in France and in 1935, the Squadron was already the observation squadron which operates with the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell, Alabama. From December 7, 1941, the squadron is assigned to patrol the Hawaiian Islands.

The squadron’s mission was changed again as combat mapping squadron wherein the aircrews flew to Japan to conduct mapping and photographing the enemy and terrain positioning of the oppositions. The squadron prepared for the takeover of the Marshall Islands, Saipan, Wake, Iwo Jima and Guam. From the 86th Squadron it was renamedas the 43rd Reconnaissance Squadron which was deactivated on 1946. Then in 1954, it was reactivated at the Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. The squadron’s crew flew the RB-66 and the RB-57 for a photographic mission. It was deactivated again in 1959.

Bearing another name as he 43rh Electronic Combat Squadron, it was again activated on the 6th of June 1986 at Sembach Air Base in Germany. The unit served in Europe until 1991 and this was followed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base based in Arizona. Due to its numerous missions in the World War I and the World War II, the 43rd Squadron earned combat streamer. Bellows Air Force Base was named Bellows Air Force station houses the NIKE missile site and Community Facility after the runways were closed.

The station has five inactive runways which were severely damaged and are utilized by helicopters from the Kaneoje Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. The Marine Corps use the Bellows for helicopter operations while the beach and other parts of the station are used as training area. At present, the station has very little military population and the area is used for recreation activities by both active and retired military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense.

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