O‘ahu used to be nearly twice as big as it is now. (Thompson) The Island consists of two major shield volcanoes: Waiʻanae and Koʻolau; the eroded remnants of which are the Waiʻanae Range and the Koʻolau Range.
Waiʻanae is the older of the two (breaking the ocean surface ~3.9 to ~2.8 million-years ago) and makes up the western part of O‘ahu. Koʻolau volcano started as a seamount above the Hawaiian hotspot around 4-million years ago. It broke sea level some time prior to 2.9-million years ago.
Mokoliʻi (Chinaman’s Hat) and Mokuoloe (Coconut Island) are erosional remnants of the bedrock Koʻolau basalt; Kapapa and Kekepa (Turtleback) Islands are of limestone; and Ahu O Laka Island is a sand bar that is uncovered at low tide. (Moberly)
Kualoa is an ancient Hawaiian land division (ahupua‘a) at the north end of Kāne‘ohe Bay, windward O‘ahu. The ahupua‘a extends from the coast to the top of the nearly vertical, fluted mountain behind.
Kualoa is important as a symbol of sovereignty and independence for O’ahu, its role as a place of refuge, its role as a place where sacrificial victims for religious rituals were drowned, and its history as a sacred residence of chiefs.
In modern time, Coast Artillery existed as a distinct branch within the Army since 1901 and as a combatant “line” arm after 1920. Its stated mission was to protect fleet bases, defeat naval and air attacks against cities and harbors, undertake beach defense while acting as army or theater reserve artillery, and provide a mine-planter service.
Prior to WWII, Oʻahu defenses were divided between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu Harbor; however, with more military facilities being constructed on the island, the coastal defense program also expanded.
The area of Kualoa Regional Park has been modified in the past as a result of different land uses. Prior to World War II the lands were part of the sugarcane plantation of Kualoa.
The lands were converted to a fighter airfield during the World War II period, and reverted to grazing use after the war. The City and County of Honolulu condemned the land in the 1970s and converted it into a park.
Behind the beach at Kualoa Beach Park and running into the Kualoa Ranch property was a temporary facility used for a World War II airfield.
Kualoa airfield was evidently constructed during the early portion of WWII (maybe around 1942) and probably used as a satellite field for units assigned to Bellows Field, and was used mainly for training.
The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was a May 10, 1942 photo of Kualoa Field, which showed the field as having a single north/south runway.
It was depicted as having a single 6,500′ (north-south) runway. No evidence suggests that Kualoa was ever paved.
The entire runway was formed of pierced steel planking. The steel planking makes a strong case that the military had no plans to keep Kualoa open any longer than it was needed.
The road to Ka‘a‘awa and farther up to the north shore crossed over Kualoa’s runway, so the cars would have to wait whenever an airplane took off.
A row of revetments for protected aircraft parking was along the west side of the runway.
In about 1944, construction project ‘302’ was started for Kaneohe’s 3rd battery. It had two 6-inch guns, built at the northern reaches of Kāneʻohe Bay. Local engineers modified the conventional plans to fit local geographic conditions.
The battery was not named until after the end of the war (it was later named, Battery Cooper (after Avery J Cooper)) and it served for about 5-years as part of the World War II-era coastal defense program.
The 28th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, operating P-38, F-4 and A-24 aircraft was stationed at Kualoa between October 9, 1944 and May 8, 1945. The 18th Fighter Group, operating P-40s, also was stationed there briefly.
Since Kualoa Field had been constructed on land that was not owned by the military, it was returned to its original owners after WW2.
The Kualoa Airfield was closed at some point between 1944-1947 (as it was labeled “Kualoa AAB (Closed)” on the 1947 Hawaiian Islands Sectional Chart.)
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