XBEL Bellows AFB

XBEL Bellows 1.0 DOWNLOAD 333KB

Bellows Air Force Station (Bellows Field) is a United States military reservation located in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Once an important air field during World War II, the reservation now serves as a military training area and recreation area for active and retired military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense. Bellows AFS is operated by Detachment 2, 18th Force Support Squadron of the 18th Mission Support Group based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Located on the opposite side of Oahu is the similar Pililaau Army Recreation Center, part of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers system.

Created in 1917 as the Waimanalo Military Reservation, the base was renamed Bellows Field in 1933 after Lt. Franklin Barney Bellows, a World War I war hero. Bellows Field was made a permanent military post in July 1941, and it was one of the airfields attacked during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. One B-17, AAF Ser. No. 40-2049, was forced to land at Bellows during the attack when enemy aircraft activity made landing at Hickam Field impossible.

Bellows Field was used for recreational gliders in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A truck would tow a glider into the air, then the glider pilot would release the tow cable and then catch updrafts from the prevailing wind blowing inshore and deflecting upwards from the very nearby mountains. In this way the pilot could keep the glider in the air as long as desired.

Bellows AFS was also the Air Force transmitter facility site for long haul HF (High Frequency) radio communications from the late 1950s until HF radio was largely replaced by the military satellite program. HF radio links were established using highly directional Sloping “V” antennas to Clark Air Base, Philippines, and McClellan AFB, California. Message circuits were originated or relayed at Hickam AFB, near Pearl Harbor, and sent to Bellows for re-transmission over the HF systems. The receiver site was geographically separated from the transmitter site to prevent RF interference from the high power transmitters.

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