Welcome to Paradise: Military Installations in Hawaii

Hawaii is a temporary or long-term home for over 300,000 military personnel and their families – and maybe you are lucky enough to have been assigned to work or live in one of these military installations in Hawaii. REAL is happy to provide more information and answer some of the commonly asked questions about Hawaii’s military bases.

Which military branches are in Hawaii?

Every branch of the military is represented in Hawaii, including the army, navy, air force, coast guard, and marines.

What percentage of Hawaii’s population is military?

According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, about 3.6% of Hawaii’s population was in the armed forced in July 2016. 

How much money does the military generate for the state of Hawaii?

After tourism, military is the second largest industry in Hawaii, so military members are welcomed to the islands. The military presence in Hawaii generates nearly $15 billion for Hawaii’s economy and adds around 102,000 jobs for Hawaii residents, or civilians, according to the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce. 

What are the military installations in Hawaii?

Technically there are 11 bases across Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. However, there are some other stations and military buildings that also play important roles in Hawaii’s military presences. Here is more information on fourteen bases and stations located on the Hawaiian Islands:

Pacific Military Range Facility (PMRF) Barking Sands, Kauai

Located on the “Garden Isle” of Kauai, PMRF supports a variety of training exercises and developmental tests involving space, air, surface, and sub-surface units. On its 42,000 square miles of sea and airspace, there are state-of-the-art communication and telemetry suites. PMRF is the world's largest instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range. It is located near the local neighborhoods of Kekaha and Waimea.

PMRF also offers 26 beach cottages on a peaceful, picturesque 7.5 miles of beach. With views of Niihau and humpback whales, PMRF has been rumored to be the best kept secret in the Navy.

Aliamanu Military Reservation

The Aliamanu Military Reservation (AMR) is located inside a volcanic crater. Some parts of the crater hold special significance in ancient Hawaiian history, as revealed through remnants of a heiau (temple and burial terrace for ancient Hawaiians). Today, Aliamanu housing is filled with plenty to do, including swimming the pool, working out in the fitness center, attending the chapel, or signing your children up for fun classes. AMR is near the local neighborhoods of Salt Lake, Red Hill, and Foster Village.

Bellows Air Force Station

Located on the Windward side of Oahu in the neighborhood of Waimanalo, Bellows boasts the best of Hawaii paradise: lush tropical plants, white sandy beaches, blue waters, and spectacular views of the Koolau Mountain Range and islands offshore. Bellows has 111 popular, fully-furnished lodging rentals, five group campsites, ten cedar camper cabins, four part pavilions, and its very own bar – Braddah’s BrewHouse Pub. Amenities on Bellows include wifi, three sand volleyball courts, a disc golf course, a miniature golf course, a full-size driving range, and a paintball area. Bellows is near the local neighborhoods of Waimanalo, Kailua, and Hawaii Kai.

Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (Kalaeloa)

Located past Pearl Harbor on the Westside of Oahu, this station also serves general Oahu aviation as well as units of the Hawaii National Guard. With an 18-hole golf course and beach recreational areas, this is a beautiful station. The local neighborhoods include Kapolei, Ewa Beach, and Makakilo.

U.S. Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC) Honolulu

USCG ISC Honolulu serves as the major Coast Guard Support Command in Hawaii. With views of Downtown Hawaii, the base is located at the end of Sand Island Access Road of Nimitz Highway. This installation has a variety of recreational facilities, including fields and a swimming pool, and is located near the local neighborhoods of Kalihi, Nuuanu, and Moanalua.

Fort Shafter

Fort Shafter has a reputation as one of the most beautiful military installations in the world with rolling hills and tall palm trees. It is the oldest Army installation in Hawaii, established in 1907. USARPAC, the Army Service Component Command to the U.S. Pacific Command, provides advanced regional security, peacekeeping operations, and responses to crises. Fort Shafter is located near the neighborhoods of Kalihi, Moanalua, Salt Lake, and Kakaako.

On Fort Shafter there are an array of services and entertainment options to meet almost every need or desire. The bowling center is a popular place as well as the restaurant Mulligan’s. On base, there are schools, a dental clinic, a library, mail center, vet clinic, tailor shop, fitness center, and travel services. 

Helemano Military Reservation

North of the neighborhood of Wahiawa, as you are driving toward Oahu’s North Shore, Helemano Military Reservation (HMR) serves as the home to the 125th Signal Battalion. 600 family units, a chapel, a fitness center, pool, racquetball courts, and store are housed here, surrounded by pineapple fields.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH)

These two historic bases were combined into a single joint installation for both Air Force and Navy missions. The total base population is over 66,300 active duty personal, civilians, and family members – the largest per capita installation on the Hawaiian Islands. Convenient neighborhoods to buy a home near JBPHH are Salt Lake, Aiea, Waimalu, Moanalua, Pearl City, Kalihi, Kaneohe, and Kakaako.

The historic Pearl Harbor complex includes Naval Base Pearl Harbor, Naval Station, Naval Shipyard, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, and the Naval Medical and Dental Clinics. Outside the base are headquarters of the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, and the Personnel Support Activity Detachment (PSD).

Nine miles from Downtown Honolulu is Hickam Air Force Base, home to the 15th Air Base Wing and the Pacific Air Forces Headquarters. The base encompasses more than 2,800 acres on Oahu’s southern shore. Hickam not only borders the Pearl Harbor complex, but also the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam offers a range of amenities and services. The Navy Exchange or NEX at Pearl Harbor has more than twenty restaurants and offers clothing, food, a barber and beauty salon, and much more – all at reduced prices compared to civilian shops. Activities on base include bowling, fitness centers, a ticket office, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, beach and recreation equipment rental, multiple swimming pools, golf courses, a skateboard hanger, tennis center building, and much more. As Hawaii’s base with the most personnel, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam seems to have something for everyone.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Camp H.M. Smith

Camp Smith is located atop a ridge of the Koolau mountains, boasting a stunning view. The 224-acre site is headquarters to the Pacific Command (PACOM), which is responsible for all military operations throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is also home of the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Nearby neighborhoods include Aiea, Salt Lake, Waimalu, Pearl City, Kaneohe, Waipahu, and Mililani.

What is there to do on Camp Smith? There are a few restaurants to enjoy as well as a fitness center with basketball, volleyball, cardio machines, and weights.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Kaneohe Bay

On the windward side of Oahu, at the end of the H-3 freeway, lies MCBH Kaneohe Bay. Between the neighborhoods of Kailua and Kaneohe, on the Mokapu Peninsula, MCBH Kaneohe Bay houses III Marine Expeditionary Forces Hawaii and the Marine Forces Pacific Band. This base is home to 8000 marines and sailors who have access to pristine private beaches and the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course, known to be one of the best on the island. There are popular beaches on base, including Pyramid Rock and North Beach, which has great year-round surfing.

As you look around at the building on base, you cannot help but think of the history. Kaneohe Air Station was the first place on Oahu to be bombed on December 7, 1941, by the Japanese. Many of the original buildings from this World War II era are still standing, and there is also a memorial marker on Kansas Tower. Ancient Hawaiian burial grounds and the endangered Hawaiian Stilt Bird can also be seen on MCBH.


Naval Computer & Telecommunications Area Master Station (NCTAMA), Pacific (PAC) – Wahiawa Annex JBPHH

NCTAMA PAC JBPHH Wahiawa Annex is the largest communication station in the world. It is located about three miles north of the neighborhood of Wahiawa on 700 acres in the Koolau mountain forests. Command mission is to provide communications to all Naval commands in the Pacific area as well as to Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force commands. Other nearby neighborhoods include Haleiwa, Waialua, Mililani, Waipahu, and Pearl City. What is there to do on MCTAMS PAC? There is a bowling center, fitness center, and a library on this 700-acre base filled with trees.

Schofield Barracks

At the bottom of the Waianae mountain range in central Oahu is Schofield Barracks, the largest army base on the island. Schofield Barracks is home of the 25th Infantry Division and 8th Theatre Sustainment Command. Most of the three-story barracks were built between 1914 and 1933, bringing to life the history of the base. Close by neighborhoods include Wahiawa, Haleiwa, Waialua, Mililani, Waipahu, and Pearl City.

What does Schofield Barracks offer? There are medical and dental centers, a main exchange, restaurants, a bowling center, automotive service centers, banks, chapels, beauty shops, childcare and schools, a golf course, an arts and crafts center, a theater, a pool, and more. With around 11,000 soldiers calling Schofield their base, there are a range of amenities to make this military installation convenient and comfortable.

Tripler Army Medical Center

The highly visible pink walls of Tripler Hospital are an architectural icon to Oahu residents. Tripler Hospital is located on Moanalua Ridge near Fort Shafter and provides both inpatient and outpatient services to active duty, retired, and veteran personnel and their families. Nearby neighborhoods include Moanalua, Salt Lake, Kalihi, Honolulu, and Aiea. Within Tripler there is a pool, gym, post office, express exchange, barber, chapel, and other services.

Wheeler Army Airfield

Historical moments on this installation include the first non-stop flight to the mainland in 1927 and the first flight by a woman, Amelia Earhart, to California in 1935. Now Wheeler Army Airfield is used by the 25th Infantry Division (Light). Convenient neighborhoods to Wheeler are Mililani, Waipio, Wahiawa, Haleiwa, Waialua, Pearl City, and Waipahu. Wheeler is smaller but does have a golf course, elementary and middle school, gym, and medical and dental offices nearby.

Where is the naval base in Hawaii?

Of all the military installations in Hawaii, the joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is the largest and also probably the most well known worldwide. The U.S. Naval base in Hawaii is the Naval Station at Pearl Harbor and is located near Honolulu, Oahu, by the Honolulu International Airport. This was the site of the Japanese attack in World War II that triggered the U.S. entry into the war.

When I arrive in Hawaii on military orders, where should I live?

Housing in Hawaii is not always easy to find or immediately available. Active duty military member who receive orders to a military base in Hawaii can receive a Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) for up to 60 days, which can cover your lodging in a hotel as well as meals. However, if you are in the Navy or Air Force, you must first call the Navy Lodge, the official government lodging when on PCS Orders in Hawaii; their number is (800) 628-9466. Application for TLA must be made at the Housing Office of your permanent duty station within 72 hours of arriving on Oahu. TLA is normally authorized for the first 10 days and can be renewed in 10-day increments with proof of your Hawaii home search.

Once you have laid down on your hotel bed in Hawaii paradise, it will be time to begin your home search. There are a number of housing options for military members in Hawaii:

  • Buying a home
  • Living in on-base housing
  • Renting in a quasi-government community
  • Renting in civilian housing

Read more about our guide to financing a Hawaii home purchase during a military assignment, including putting 0% down and possibly earning thousands of dollars of appreciation during your Hawaii stay.

Should I live on a military installation in Hawaii?

Living on a military base in Hawaii does have some benefits. Note that where you apply for base housing depended on your branch. Living on a Hawaii military installation has these benefits:

  • You don’t have to put down a security deposit.
  • You are granted a utility allowance. Off-base utilities can run anywhere from $300 to $500.
  • Bases have complimentary yard service.
  • There is dependable maintenance 24 hours a day, unlike of base where you could be waiting for your landlord or the local handyman for over a week.
  • Bases have pet-friendly policies. Many Honolulu apartments do not allow pets.
  • All Hawaii bases are located conveniently near schools, your workplace, and military support services, including the Commissary.

Conclusion

The military installations in Hawaii play an important role in the economy as well as the real estate sector. And the U.S. military’s role in Hawaii has had historical effects in international history. Many military members travel to the islands each year to work and live on one of the military installations – all while serving the United States and protecting its people. If you are a military member who received PCS Orders to Hawaii, e komo mai or welcome!