Bellows Air Force Station Base
Bellows Air Force Station is one of the oldest bases in the United States, established in 1917 and initially called Waimanalo. Although it has a rich past, its present days are not that glorious from a military point of view. These days, the base is mostly an installation, or better said, a reservation. It is a training ground for both active and retired military troops who want to stay in shape. Other than that, if they follow a relatively strict set of rules, the civilians can also apply for training courses there. The base is more than just a training spot. It is located on a little piece of Heaven, on the clear shores of the ocean, with a wide beach and surrounded by hills, trees and forests. Therefore, it is an excellent recreational spot for the individuals who like a healthy lifestyle.
The base was renamed to its current name 15 years after it was built, in 1933. It was then renamed after Lieutenant Franklin Barney Bellows, one of the World War I heroes and aces. It was initially established as a temporary base to help during the war. Years later, the necessity to join World War II has turned the base into a permanent military spot, in July, 1941. Bad luck or not, its life as an active combatant in the war was relatively short. A few months later, in December, Bellows Air Force Station Hawaii was one of the hit bases during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Ever since then, it was not really entirely rebuilt. Instead, it was maintained as a low level training base. It is ruled by the 18th Mission group for support, which is based in Okinawa, Japan. In 1999, the base lost some of its area after the Marine Corps decided to acquire around 1,000 acres in order to set up a training base.
These days, the base is a common controversy in the area, causing a lot of trouble for both the natives and the authorities. The natives and the Waimanalo inhabitants militate for the army to leave the area and give it back to the Hawaiians. On the other hand, the army has some different plans. It hopes to enlarge the base and come up with even more facilities. In order to calm the spirits a little, the army has presented plans to turn Bellows Air Force Station Hawaii into a general training place for those who like to stay fit and involve with various activities, rather than for military based operations.
The Marine Corps acquired approximately 1,049 acres of Bellows from the Air Force in 1999. The Marine Corps Training Area Bellows is now part of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, headquartered in Kaneohe Bay. MCTAB adds significant training capabilities and maneuver space for non-live fire military training activities. The Marines and other services use the training areas to conduct amphibious, helicopter, and motorized exercises in conjunction with troop land maneuver training. It is currently the only place in Hawaii where amphibious landings can transition directly into maneuver training areas for extremely realistic military training.
Recent improvements to the training area over the old runway include construction of a forward operating base (FOB) mock-up around the old Bldg. 700, Bldg. 700 renovations, and a modular military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training system that consists of 74 buildings (made from shipping containers) on four separate sites. Additional containers have been moved into the main training area to be used as part of a combat vehicle operators’ course for Marines to simulate driving in real-world conditions.
The overall population at Waimanalo, Hawaii is 5,451.