Chapter III
Assignment Paradise: Fighter Command

"Actually Hawaii turned out to be a great assignment. There was a nice social life, and if you had a good sergeant to handle your ground duties you could fly in the morning and be on the beach in the afternoon. War really messed up the whole thing."

2d Lt Charles E. Taylor, 6th Pursuit Squadron
(The Pineapple Air Force, 1990)

Just as Hickam Field was the Hawaiian Air Force's bomber base, Wheeler Field was its fighter base. Periodically, assigned aviators and aircraft would deploy to Bellows Field in Waimanalo or to Haleiwa Field on the north shore for gunnery training.

Wheeler Field

Named in honor of Maj Sheldon H. Wheeler, former commander of Luke Field who died in a plane crash on 13 July 1921, this was the second air station established in the Hawaiian Department. It was located on the old 17th Cavalry drill grounds at Schofield Barracks in central Oahu, bounded on the north by the Oahu Railway, on the east by the main road to Schofield Barracks, and on the west and south by gulches.1

Construction of Wheeler Field began on 6 February 1922 under the direction of 1st Lt William T. Agee of the 4th Squadron (Observation), who departed Luke Field with 20 men to start clearing away trees and undergrowth. Within a month, they had completed a landing strip sufficient to handle the relatively slow and light aircraft of the time; and by 30 June 1923, hangars and storage tanks had been built. Originally called the Hawaiian Divisional Air Service Flying Field, this airdrome at Schofield was renamed in honor of Major Wheeler on 11 November 1922. Maj George E. Stratemeyer became the first post commander on the day that construction commenced.2

Maj Sheldon Harley Wheeler
Maj Sheldon Harley Wheeler (1889-1921)


Wheeler Field, before completion of permanent hangars
Above, Wheeler Field, before completion of permanent hangars, when it was still part of Schofield Barracks (circa 1922-1923). And, below, Wheeler, with hangars in place, as well as barracks, family housing, and other buildings (23 January 1936).

Wheeler, with hangars in place, as well as barracks, family housing, and other buildings


On 10 November 1926, the Hawaiian Department commander appointed a board of officers to study the needs of the Department in connection with the Air Corps Five-Year Program. Three months later, the board recommended the expansion of Wheeler Field into a 400-acre parcel of land immediately east of old Wheeler Field, in a triangle formed by Wahiawa Road, Schofield Road, and the existing Wheeler Field boundary. By 1934, construction had been completed on hangars and other technical structures, family quarters, barracks, and a number of other facilities.3

Wheeler Field became the center of world interest in the 1920s and 1930s as the site of several highly significant achievements in aviation history. On 29 June 1927, Army 1st Lts Lester J. Maitland and Albert F. Hegenberger completed the first nonstop Mainland-to-Hawaii flight from Oakland, California, to Wheeler Field in a Fokker C-2 trimotor airplane called the "Bird of Paradise." Two months later, on 17 August, Arthur Goebel and Martin Jensen landed their tiny planes at Wheeler Field as winners of the Dole Derby, an air race from California to Hawaii. On 1 June 1928, Australian Squadron Leader Charles E. Kingsford-Smith landed his Fokker monoplane "Southern Cross" at Wheeler on the first leg of his pioneer trans-Pacific flight from Oakland, California, to Brisbane, Australia, by way of Hawaii and Fiji. Amelia Earhart departed from Wheeler Field in her Lockheed Vega on 11 January 1935 and successfully completed the first solo flight from Hawaii to the mainland in 18 hours and 16 minutes, landing at Oakland, California.4

On 5 August 1939, the War Department issued General Orders No. 4 reassigning 1,427.81 acres of Schofield Barracks land to Wheeler Field. Less than four weeks later, on 31 August 1939, it became a separate permanent military post. By this time, the air base had mushroomed into a large and productive facility. Many steel and wooden hangars as well as machine and repair shops had been constructed, and combat units stationed there conducted intensive training throughout the year. For aerial gunnery training, they went to Bellows Field, which had been attached to Wheeler for administrative support since 15 September 1930. Until Bellows became a separate military post on 22 July 1941, Wheeler provided all the manpower, equipment, and supplies required to operate that installation.5

On 1 November 1940, the 14th Pursuit Wing activated at Wheeler Field. Assigned units included the 18th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) with its 6th, 19th, 44th, 73d, and 78th Pursuit Squadrons; and the 15th Pursuit Group (Fighter) with the 45th, 46th, and 47th Pursuit Squadrons assigned initially, then augmented later by the assignment of the 72d Pursuit Squadron on 5 October 1941. Other organizations at Wheeler included the 18th Air Base Group (with its 17th Air Base Squadron and the 24th and 25th Materiel Squadrons) as well as various quartermaster, signal, ordnance, and service units.6

In February 1941, the Hawaiian Air Force received its greatest single increase in assigned aircraft since its activation. Thirty-one P-36s, with pilots and crew chiefs, sailed aboard the carrier Enterprise from San Diego to the Hawaiian Islands, arriving shortly after daylight on 21 February. While the ship was still some 10 to 15 miles off the coast of Oahu, the


Map: Wheeler Field, 10 Oct 1941
Wheeler Field, 10 Oct 1941


Engineering buildings and parachute shop Above, engineering buildings and parachute shop; left, the flight line; and, below, the fire station at Wheeler in 1940. (Vincent T. Ryan)
The flight line
Fire station at Wheeler in 1940


planes took off in groups of three from the carrier's broad deck and flew directly to their Wheeler Field destination. This launching of Army fighters from the deck of an aircraft carrier was a historic "first" in military aviation. Led by flight commander Maj George P. Tourtellot, the P-36s were a spectacular sight as they whisked in, three by three, effecting precise and perfect landings. They taxied in front of the hangars and drew up to form a line. Col Harvey S. Burwell, Wheeler's commanding officer, strode to the side of the flight leader's plane to offer his aloha and to extend his post's hospitality. Major Tourtellot returned to the mainland aboard the Enterprise the next day, but the 30 pilots who flew in the other planes were absorbed within units of Wheeler's expanding pursuit wing. Among the arriving pilots were 1st Lts Kermit A. Tyler and Lewis M. Sanders, 2d Lts George S. Welch, Othneil Norris, John M. Thacker, and George A. Whiteman--who were all destined to have key roles in the drama that unfolded during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.7

Within the next two months, more modern pursuit planes began arriving. In March 1941, Wheeler pilots welcomed sleek new Curtiss P-40Bs that had come right off the assembly line. They had a top speed of 352 miles per hour, compared to 314 for the P-36 and 234 for the P-26, and also mounted six machine guns while the older pursuits had only two. Those units still operating P-26s were the first to get the new fighters. By mid-April, there were 55 P-40s in the inventory, and more arrived during the ensuing months until the Hawaiian Air Force had a total of 99 P-40 aircraft assigned.8

Intensive training became a way of life for the pilots. Lieutenant Sanders, who had been appointed commander of the 46th Squadron, cautioned his men to "Learn something every time you fly. There's a war coming on. I don't know just when, but knowing what you're doing is your life insurance." Air raid alerts became a regular part of the flying routine, and between March and October 1941 assigned personnel participated in seven exercises, two of which were alerts directed by Washington. The intense training took its toll in flying mishaps that resulted in a number of deaths and serious injuries, but it was the younger, inexperienced pilots who usually made up the accident statistics.9

It took good pilots to fly the modern military warplanes, but it also took other men, just as good in their own line of work, to keep those planes flying. The mechanics, sheet metal workers, and other unheralded ground support personnel were conscientious and serious about their responsibility to ensure safe and efficient flying at all times. Edward J. White, a young recruit from Concord, New Hampshire, learned this firsthand. When he arrived in Hawaii after sailing from New York aboard the Chateau Thierry, he and other Army Air Forces personnel assembled at the pier for roll call. Those with last names from "A" to "part of the S" went to Hickam Field, while he and others in the remaining group were put on the "Oahu Express" train and transported to Wheeler. After completing basic training, they were interviewed for the duty they desired. Most of the men wanted to be aircraft mechanics, but Ed White chose sheet metal work instead and was assigned to the 18th Air Base Group's sheet metal shop at base engineering.10

Capt Jack Gibbs, the base engineering officer, was well liked by his men; and SSgt "Ace" Snodgrass, who ran the sheet metal


PFC Edward J. White in Sheet Metal Shop at Wheeler Field, 1940
PFC Edward J. White in Sheet Metal Shop at Wheeler Field, 1940.

shop, was highly respected. The Wheeler shop was unique because of the depot-level work accomplished there, far above and beyond that normally expected of an airfield sheet metal shop. Sergeant Snodgrass, known as "a natural born mechanic [who] could do almost anything," conducted a school for those interested in learning about aircraft sheet metal. This was not compulsory, but those who attended qualified as aircraft mechanics; and their "AM rating" entitled them to the same pay as a staff sergeant, regardless of whether they wore private, private first class, corporal, or sergeant stripes. When they attained the rank of staff sergeant, they lost the AM rating but received the same pay. The maintenance of their planes was of prime concern to these men, and they took great pride in their work. White recalled a new apprentice completing a job and saying, "Oh, it's good enough." He was quickly asked, "Would you want your life hanging on that repair you're making?" When he answered, "No," he was told, "If it isn't good enough for you, it's not good enough for anyone either--fix it right."11

The enlisted troops were extremely serious about their work but managed to have their share of fun and found ingenious ways to make life more comfortable for themselves. In 1940 for example, following the big Thanksgiving dinner for enlisted personnel, held in the final assembly hangar, the men knew that the mess fund had been hit hard for this lavish feast and they could expect only sparse meals for the next few days. Unwilling to suffer such a cruel fate, they raided the hangar and took the leftover food to the sheet metal shop, keeping it refrigerated in a container that


Thanksgiving feast in the final assembly hangar at Wheeler Field, 21 November 1940

Above, Thanksgiving feast in the final assembly hangar at Wheeler Field, 21 November 1940 (Edward J. White). Below, the dinner menu, with "Cigars" and "Cigarettes" listed right after the desserts. (Donated by W. W. Collins and Douglas Van Valkenburgh)

Dinner menu


held dry ice. For the next few days, instead of going to the mess hall, they heated and ate the roast turkey. Using an oven in the shop that was set at 1200 degrees for heat treating aluminum alloy, they placed the turkey on a piece of aluminum, with one man raising the oven door and another shoving the turkey in for a count of eight to ten, then pulling it out. The system worked well, and the men enjoyed a second, third, and fourth Thanksgiving that year.12

During their off-duty time, Wheeler personnel enjoyed the same recreational activities and places of interest as their counterparts at Hickam Field. In addition, they patronized many of the restaurants and bars in nearby Wahiawa, Hawaii's second largest city. Especially popular was Kemoo Farm Restaurant located across the street from Schofield Barracks' Funston Gate. It was a common sight to see long lines of people waiting to dine in the eucalyptus-framed building overlooking Lake Wilson. On Sundays, buck privates and generals alike would line up outside the restaurant door for a home-style breakfast of pancakes and waffles.13

As war clouds gathered over the Pacific and the intensity of alerts, exercises, and other training activities increased, Hawaii's military community as a whole still maintained a peacetime mentality and continued to operate with a business-as-usual attitude. On 7 August, just four months before the blitz, Wheeler Field held a big "GALA DAY" to commemorate the dedication of the Wheeler Field airdrome and post office. The program included a welcome by General Davidson, 14th Pursuit Wing commander; presentation to the wing commander of the key to the new post office by Mr. Albert P. Lino, Postmaster of

Dance held in the consolidated mess at Wheeler Field
Dance held in the consolidated mess at Wheeler Field, sponsored by the 18th Air Base Group, circa 1940-1941. (W. Bruce Harlow)

Honolulu; presentation of athletic awards and trophies, an aerial demonstration, and an all-star baseball game. Incredibly, the public was invited to visit Wheeler for this occasion, unrestricted except for a ban against cameras. Needless to say, "Tadashi Morimura" (alias of Takeo Yoshikawa, a trained intelligence agent who was the Japanese Navy's top spy) took advantage of the invitation and wandered freely around Wheeler Field, missing nothing. He watched the P-40s in flight, observing that "they were very fast" and the pilots' "flight technique most skillful." He noted such things as the number of hangars, direction of runways, their length and width, and the fact that three aircraft took off at once, then recorded his observations when he returned to the Japanese consulate.14

On 27 October 1941, Col William J. Flood assumed duty as post commander of Wheeler Field from General Davidson, who retained tactical responsibilities as


Active participants in Wheeler's sports program
Active participants in Wheeler's sports program: Members of the 46th Pursuit Squadron's championship basketball team, pictured here with Athletic Officer Lt Bill Southerland, circa 1940-1941. (Clarence Kindl)

commander of the 14th Pursuit Wing. With the buildup of men and planes in the Hawaiian Air Force, a housing shortage surfaced. A wooden barracks was hastily erected for junior bachelor officers, and many enlisted men were billeted in tents located between Hangars 2 and 3 along the flight line.15

In late November, Colonel Flood reported to General Martin's office, along with the other base and tactical commanders, was briefed on a message outlining the strained relations between the Japanese and the United States, and instructed to implement Alert One for sabotage. Earlier, earthen bunkers had been built all around Wheeler for about 125 aircraft so they would be suitably dispersed and protected from air attack. Colonel Flood asked if he could keep the aircraft dispersed, but General Short disapproved his request. He therefore had all the aircraft pulled in and parked together on the ramp, then increased the guards around the aircraft and around the perimeter of the field.16

On Saturday, 6 December, following a classic peacetime parade, all but essential Wheeler personnel received the weekend off. The aircraft of all but two squadrons, however, remained lined up on the ramp in front of the hangars. The 47th Squadron was at Haleiwa Field on the north shore and the 44th Squadron was at Bellows Field in Waimanalo for gunnery practice. The officers and enlisted men at Haleiwa and Bellows, who had their fill of the primitive living conditions, lost no time heading back to Wheeler for a hot shower and a night of partying at the Officers' Club or in Honolulu.17


Tent City, located between Hangars 2 and 3

Above, Tent City, located between Hangars 2 and 3, along the Wheeler Field flight line. (Harry P. Kilpatrick).

Below, Cpl William H. Roach, 45th Pursuit Squadron, in front of his tent quarters on Wheeler's hangar row.

Cpl William H. Roach, 45th Pursuit Squadron


Bellows Field

Originally called the Waimanalo Military Reservation when established by Presidential Executive Order in 1917, Bellows Field was renamed in 1933 in honor of 2d Lt Franklin B. Bellows, a World War I hero who was killed in action near St. Mihiel, France. This 1,500-acre installation on the southeast coast of Oahu, located about five miles south of what was then called the Kaneohe Naval Air Station, had Waimanalo Bay bordering its eastern perimeter and Waimanalo town to the southwest. Wailea Point marked its northern boundary along the seacoast, with the sugar mill village of Lanikai extending above.18

Bellows Field occupied a stretch of white coral sand and rock that varied from 10 to 20 feet above sea level, with a central knoll about 55 feet high. Near the northern boundary, a rise of volcanic rock jutted into the sea and formed Wailea Point. Approximately three miles from shore, the Koolau Mountains ran northeast to southwest as a solid wall back of the reservation, with rich sugar cane acreage and some marshland stretching between the sandy shore and the steep slopes of the mountains. Rainfall was abundant, and dust was not a problem despite the strong prevailing winds.19

2d Lt Franklin Barney Bellows
2d Lt Franklin Barney Bellows (1896-1918) (Wilmette Historical Museum, Illinois)

At first, Bellows was a satellite of Wheeler Field and served as a training camp, providing a bivouac area for the Infantry, a target practice area for the Coast Artillery, and a strafing and bombing practice range for the Army Air Forces. Sugar cane and guava bushes covered the land except where cleared away for training areas and for tents in which the men slept while at Bellows for gunnery training. There was also a single asphalt runway, 75 feet wide and only 983 feet long (later lengthened to 3,800 feet), and a wooden air traffic control tower.20

In early 1941, the small group of enlisted men who maintained the installation were members of the 18th Air Base Group at Wheeler but on detached service at Bellows, under the supervision of TSgt Salvatore Torre, the first Bellows camp commander. They were primarily responsible for base maintenance, which included upkeep of the rifle pits, pistol range, and strafing targets. In addition, they monitored the use of barbecue pits and shelters along the beach.21

The beach at Bellows was one of the finest on the island and a favorite picnic ground and swimming spot where Hickam and Wheeler Field personnel frequently spent their free time. There were also reports of "good pheasant hunting from the beach to the mountains" (although the legality of this activity was never mentioned).22


Aerial view of Bellows Field, 27 October 1941
Aerial view of Bellows Field, 27 October 1941

As the commanding officer, Sergeant Torre lived in a small stone building, which was the only permanent structure on the installation at the time. The other assigned personnel lived in tents set on wooden frames located in a flat grassy area lined with palm trees. There were two rows of about 30 tents, with the entrances to the tents facing each other and separated by perhaps a hundred feet. This open space was used as the squadron formation area. At the south end was the mess hall, a wooden building which also served double duty as the dayroom. Behind the west row of tents was a latrine and shower facility, a little further north was the guard house, and on top of "Headquarters Hill" was the officers' club. A small two-room shack nearby served as the dispensary. The focal point of activities at Bellows was the operations shack located at the bottom of the hill adjacent to the flight line. It served as a combination radio room and armament facility.23

March 1941 marked the beginning of many changes and a program of expansion at Bellows. On 23 March, Lt Col W. V. Andrews succeeded Sergeant Torre as camp commander. During the month, both the 86th Observation Squadron with its O-47B aircraft and the 58th Bombardment Squadron with B-18s moved from Wheeler Field to Bellows. A month later, on 29 April, the 58th Bomb Squadron transferred to Hickam Field, because its newly assigned A-20 aircraft could not be accommodated with the facilities existing at Bellows. Squadron


tent area at Bellows Field, 1940

Above, tent area at Bellows Field, 1940. (Gene Taylor)

Below, headquarters building at Bellows in 1941. (Jean K. Lambert)

headquarters building at Bellows in 1941


Operations shack at Bellows
Operations shack at Bellows, located at the bottom of "Headquarters Hill" and adjacent to the flight line.

personnel at first hated their new duty station at Bellows. The tents which housed them were old and rotten, so equipment and personal belongings sometimes suffered considerable damage during heavy rainfall. Hordes of mosquitoes that bred in cane field ditches around the camp made life miserable and caused Colonel Andrews to issue orders on 26 March 1941 decreeing that "between retreat and reveille the members of the guard, while on post, will wear the campaign hat and mosquito headnet."24

Despite the discomfort and inconveniences, morale remained high and the men gradually began to enjoy their Bellows assignment. Cpl Chuck Fry of the 86th Observation Squadron found that "living was quite pleasant, with good food, excellent beach for swimming and walking, and perhaps a 30-40 minute ride to Waikiki in Honolulu when you were off-duty." Transportation was scarce in those days, however, so the men spent most of their off-duty hours on the base or in the adjacent community of Waimanalo, where they had limited use of the tennis courts and the gymnasium. Participation in sports competitions between officers and enlisted men also filled much of their leisure time; and with an outstanding beach in their own backyard, most personnel sported a fine suntan and generally maintained a good physical condition. A unique one-time benefit enjoyed by Bellows personnel on 11 June 1941 was an extra day off in memory of King Kamehameha I. This was a legal holiday observed by the Territory of Hawaii; and Bellows published General Orders No. 5 proclaiming Kamehameha Day a holiday for Bellows Field also, "with all activities suspended except for necessary guard and police duties."25

Members of the 86th Observation Squadron bore the brunt of guard and


fatigue duties at Bellows Field during the summer and fall of 1941. With pick-and-shovel labor, they moved tons of coral to level off several shoulders of land for field operations. The squadron's communications personnel laid several miles of telephone wire for the base system, but grass cutters continually severed these wires, adding to the headaches of the communicators. The primary function of the 86th Observation Squadron, however, was air-ground liaison work, and assigned personnel received numerous commendations for their cooperation and spirit in supporting the ground forces' maneuvers. On 14 June 1941, seven new officers reported to the squadron for observation training, to fill a requirement for trained observers to participate in forthcoming maneuvers. Several squadron members, on the other hand, went to Wheeler Field for their training at radio, photography, and clerical schools, while others attended the mechanics and armament schools at Hickam Field.26

On 22 July 1941, Bellows Field became a separate permanent military post under the jurisdiction of the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department; and Wheeler Field was relieved of any further responsibility for its operation. Three days later, on 25 July, Colonel Andrews' official title changed from camp commander to base commanding officer.27

An accelerated construction program began. A contractor moved in south of the tent billeting area to build two-story wooden barracks around a large oval area, with orderly rooms and supply and other buildings located in the center of that oval. Bachelor officer quarters and many other structures seemed to spring up overnight, and work also started on a new and bigger runway. The barracks facilities were finished first, and assigned personnel moved into them in the fall of 1941. During the first week of December, a civilian contractor began work on a project to install a sanitary system. Using a trenching

An O-47B aircraft of the 86th Observation Squadron at Bellows Field in 1941 (William E. Simshauser)


Map: Bellows Field, 1 Oct 1941
Bellows Field, 1 Oct 1941


machine to dig into the sandy soil, he soon had excavations about 24 inches wide and 4 feet deep running in various directions in the bivouac area. These trenches later saved many lives.28

While all this construction work was going on, a major mission change occurred in August 1941 when the Hawaiian Air Force established a Casual Training Camp at Bellows to provide basic training for newly arrived casuals (recruits). Ten enlisted men from Hickam and ten from Wheeler, assigned to the Casual Detachment to run the training camp, were attached to the 86th Observation Squadron for administration, quarters, and rations. In addition, eight more enlisted personnel from Hickam reported to Bellows as recruit instructors and were attached to the 86th. By 27 September, the Casual Detachment had a strength of about 500 men, with frequent turnovers due to trained personnel being assigned from the camp to permanent duty stations and new recruits arriving in their place.29

Col William E. Farthing became Bellows Field's new commanding officer on 1 September 1941 but relinquished command to Lt Col Leonard D. Weddington on 27 October. Maj Clyde K. Rich was assigned to Bellows on 15 September 1941 and named base executive officer, base operations officer, and base materiel officer. Also in September, Mrs. Catherine Brush became the first female civil service employee at Bellows Field when she assumed her duties as secretary to the commanding officer.30

Through all these changes, the 86th Observation Squadron continued to operate as the only permanent unit assigned to Bellows Field. It substantially increased in size, beginning on 13 September 1941 with the assignment of 25 second lieutenants, including Millard C. Shibley, Jr. Two months later, on 17 November, Lieutenant Shibley was on a routine patrol mission as the pilot of O-47B aircraft No. 39-84, which crashed into the sea one-half mile off Bellows shortly after takeoff. When the plane hit the water, it broke in two, instantly killing Lieutenant Shibley and his observer, Warren French of Swampscott, Massachusetts. This was the first fatal air crash for the squadron since its activation on 1 February 1940. Bellows' main gate, which led directly to the tent area at the time, was later named in Lieutenant Shibley's honor.31

In addition to military operations, the 86th also supported the local community in numerous ways. In November 1941, for example, an O-49 light observation plane piloted by 1st Lt Richard L. Allen transported Santa Claus to the polo field at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, where a crowd of wide-eyed youngsters waited anxiously to see Santa arrive in an airplane. This was the first time Santa had been brought by air to the children of Honolulu.32

In late November, when the commanding general of the Hawaiian Department ordered Alert One to guard against sabotage, Colonel Weddington had his trained 50-man ground defense unit take their assigned positions and issued what little ammunition was available at Bellows. This depleted the regular guard force, however, so the ground defense unit reorganized and assumed post guard responsibilities. The aircraft at Bellows were parked together in one place, not because of Alert One but as a routine practice due to limited space.33


the main gate at Bellows Field

Above, the main gate at Bellows Field, named in honor of 2d Lt Millard C. Shibley, Jr., who died in an O-47B plane crash on 17 November 1941.

Below, one of two O-49 aircraft at Bellows Field in 1941. This was the type of plane used to bring Santa Claus by air to the children of Honolulu for the first time in November 1941. (John J. Lennon)

two O-49 aircraft at Bellows Field in 1941


Earlier, beginning on 7 November 1941, personnel and P-40s of the 44th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) at Wheeler Field began deploying to Bellows for a month's aerial gunnery training. This involved the squadron's twelve P-40 aircraft and a complement of crew chiefs, assistants, armorers, radio men, and other support troops. They flew a practice mission on Saturday, 6 December, but did not immediately refuel their aircraft afterward. This was in line with the normal practice of the various squadrons conducting aerial gunnery training at Bellows. When they finished on a Saturday afternoon, they usually waited until Sunday to refuel their airplanes. Also, during the week, they normally cleaned the guns on the aircraft and armed them the next morning when they were ready to go; however, on Saturday afternoons, they removed the guns from the aircraft to do a more thorough job of cleaning. Consequently, on 7 December 1941, the P-40s at Bellows were parked wing-to-wing, low on fuel, and some had their guns removed.34

On Saturday evening, 6 December, the week-long exercise was completed. This meant a reduction of restrictions, with 50 percent of personnel allowed passes. Most of the 44th Pursuit Squadron's officers returned to their home base at Wheeler Field to enjoy the remainder of the weekend with their families. Only four of the officers remained at Bellows.35

Howard Taylor, who was the Provost Sergeant and responsible for ground defense of Bellows recalled: "We had .50-calibre, .30-calibre, and 20-mm artillery for perimeter overhead defense, and heavy artillery on beaches. On Saturday, 6 December, we were told to take down all arms and lock [them] in [the] Armory and take our passes to Honolulu." Cpl Clarence McKinley of the Signal Section was one of the many who went to town on pass Saturday night. He returned to Bellows about two o'clock in the morning on Sunday, 7 December, and went to bed in his tent.36


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