Kahului Naval Air Station
|Historical Name of Location||Kahului, Maui, Hawaii|
Contributor: David Stubblebine
ww2dbaseNaval Air Station Kahului on the north shore of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands was a very busy base for the United States Navy during World War II. Sharing the load with NAS Barbers Point and Kaneohe on Oahu, Kahului oversaw aviation training for carrier aircraft and air group workups. The formal presence of Naval aviation on Maui dates to at least 1940 when Utility Squadron VJ-3 arrived at Puunene Field, five miles south of Kahului. In 1942, Puunene was commissioned as NAS Maui at the same time negotiations were being finalized to lease land from a private sugar company for a larger air facility on the coast at Kahului. Construction began at Kahului 16 Nov 1942 and the station was commissioned 15 Mar 1943 with Commander Phil Haynes in command. The smaller air station at Puunene was renamed NAS Puunene at that time.
ww2dbaseKahului was opened with two operable runways; the main runway of 7,000 feet running northeast-southwest into the teeth of the prevailing tropical trade winds and a secondary runway of 5,000 feet running north-south. There were bomber revetments for 12 airplanes and fighter revetments for 61 airplanes, plus a large ramp area that could accommodate many more aircraft. Air operations at Kahului officially commenced 20 Sep 1943 with the arrival of Composite Squadron VC-23 and their SBD Dauntless scout bombers. This was but the first of many Navy squadrons to spend time flying from Kahului during World War II. Besides facilitating squadron and air group workups, Kahului was instrumental in working up several Carrier Aircraft Service Units (CASUs) that would later board aircraft carriers to service and maintain the aircraft.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, the Navy demobilized many of its forward training bases fairly quickly and Kahului was deactivated in Dec 1947. Almost immediately, the facilities were taken over by civil aviation and quickly grew into Maui's primary hub for commercial airline traffic. The majority of airline passengers traveling to or from Kahului fly through Honolulu but in recent years, direct flights to the west coast of the mainland United States have become more frequent. Kahului remains a very active center of aviation.
United States Navy
Abandoned and Little Known Airfields
University of Hawai'i at MÄnoa Library
Hawaiian Aviation Archive
Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society
Last Major Update: Dec 2019
Kahului Naval Air Station Interactive Map
Kahului Naval Air Station Timeline
|16 Nov 1942||Construction for Naval Air Station Kahului began on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii.|
|15 Mar 1943||Naval Air Station Kahului on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii was commissioned into service with Commander Phil Haynes in command.|
|20 Sep 1943||Air operations at Naval Air Station Kahului on Maui, US Territory of Hawaii officially commenced with the arrival of Composite Squadron VC-23 and their SBD Dauntless scout bombers.|
|15 Jun 1944||US Navy 142nd Construction Battalion relieved the 39th Construction Battalion in the construction of the Naval Air Station Kahului in US Territory of Hawaii.|
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|WW2-Era Place Name||Kahului, Maui, Hawaii|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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