Air Force Bases

Nike Missile Oahu Defense Area Hawaii

In 1956, plans were made to convert the Hawaii Army National Guard's 298th Infantry Regimental Combat Team into an Antiaircraft Artillery Group. As training began for this newly designated gun unit, plans again changed. The 298th Antiaircraft Artillery Group became the first National Guard unit in the United States to be equipped with the Nike Hercules.

Originally, the U.S. Army Pacific planned to build eight batteries at six sites around the island. Eventually this plan was scaled back. Oahu received six batteries: (OA-17) Kahuku in the northeast, (OA-32) Bellows Field in the southeast, (OA-63) Barber's Point in the southwest, and (OA-84) Dillingham in the northwest. Barber's Point and Bellows Field each hosted two batteries. The antiaircraft command post was at Wahiawa and Headquarters facilities were located at Fort Ruger. Responsibility for construction of these Nike Hercules sites went to the Corps of Engineers Honolulu District. The selection of the Bellows site caused a confrontation with the new state's governor. However, the Army prevailed over Governor William F. Quinn's objections to placing two batteries along the best swimming beaches on the windward side of Oahu. Unlike many of the stateside sites that housed missiles in underground magazines, these sites were simply open-air launchers mounted on concrete pads surrounded by earthen berms. Construction contracts were awarded in 1960.

Under the Command of U.S. Army Pacific, these Nike Hercules sites hold the distinction of being completely manned by the National Guard units from activation through deactivation. On March 4, 1961, the Guard received the first battery at Bellows from the Corps of Engineers. Hawaiian Guardsmen had already distinguished themselves during training at Fort Bliss, Texas. At a December 1959 firing practice at McGregor Range, Hawaii's first missilemen contingent succeeded in besting all previous range records.

Hawaiian missilemen had an advantage over their continental counterparts as Annual Service Practices were conducted locally at the Dillingham battery site located adjacent to the Kahuku Guided Missile Range.

The sites were deactivated in 1970.