The Schofield Barracks is an American Base located in Hawaii. The barracks was built in 1909, and its main purpose is to provide a base for the Army dedicated to the mobile defense of Hawaii, particularly Pearl Harbor.
History of the Schofield Barracks
The barracks was named after LTG John M. Schofield, because he was the person who recognized the urgency to establish a base in Oahu almost 40 years before the barracks was built. Schofield served as the Secretary of War and the Commanding General of the US Army, and is also a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
In 1873, Lietenant General Schofield was secretly tasked by then Secretary of War William Belknap to study the strategic potential and advantage of a permanent Pacific presence of the US, particularly in Hawaii. In his report, Schofield recommended that it is crucial for the US to maintain a presence in Hawaii. It was an ideal place to station warships in the Pacific, in response to the possible threats from countries in East Asia.
In his recommendation, Schofield stated that the US must establish a Naval base in the island of Oahu, next to Pearl Harbor. In 1875, The US entered a Reciprocity Treaty with the then Hawaiian Kingdom, and in 1887, the US acquired exclusive rights to operate, maintain, and use Pearl Harbor. In 1898, the US decided to annex Hawaii.
After its annexation, massive construction began in Pearl Harbor to expand it in 1908. This was made for the purpose of accommodating its warships. In congruence with the improvements being made in Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks began construction in 1909, and here the US housed its cavalry, artillery, and light infantry. The Schofield Barracks became the largest Army post of the US.
Schofield Barracks and the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Schofield Barracks also saw considerable damage and casualties during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The barracks suffered collateral damage as it was positioned right beside the Wheeler Airfield. This happened during the first phase of the Pearl Harbor Attack, which aimed to disable the air defense system of the island. By destroying much of the US warplanes in Oahu, the Japanese were cleared to launch a virtually efficient air raid on the US Navy anchored in Pearl Harbor.
In the attack, the US lost dozens of aircraft, including P40 and P36 pursuit aircrafts. Out of the 140 planes, only a third of that number survived. The rest were severely damaged, or else decommissioned.
Today, Schofield Barracks still stands and is home to 25th Infantry Division (also known as the Tropic Lightning Division), the US Army Hawaii, and the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
Mission of the Schofield Barracks
Prior to and during the World War II, the Schofield Barracks served as the base of the soldiers and servicemen who maintain Pearl Harbor. The barracks was also built as a primary base for the defense of the island of Oahu.
Aside from this, the US army uses Schofield Barracks as a strategic post for an integrated soldier system vis–vis Pearl Harbor, as well as a post for chemical and biological defense training. The barracks also sits next to the Wheeler Airfield, allowing fast reaction when there is a need to scramble warplanes for action.
The Schofield Barracks is not only meant to house infantry and airmen. The base is also housing some 7,000 people who are families of the soldiers stationed in Oahu.
Schofield Barracks has different posts that serve different purposes. These are essential for the operations of the base, and the support of the Naval base at Pearl Harbor. These are the five posts in the Schofield Barracks:
Main Post this is the area where most of the quad-style barracks of the base is located. The barracks are designed after unit command structures, thus, they have a single letter designation. The oldest of the quads are Quad B and Quad C, which were erected in the 1920s. In this post, you will see the Commissary, the Library, the Bowling Alley, the Uniform Clothing Store, and the Aloha Building. In essence, this is the living quarters of the Schofield Barracks, where people go to shop and be entertained.
Housing Areas The name speaks for itself. This is the post where soldiers and their families are housed. It is located on the West of the Main Post, and the Officers Housing Areas are located north of the Main Post.
Area X the name sounds very mysterious, but this is just the training grounds of the Schofield Barracks. It is composed of expansive open air fields for air assault operations. It also has concrete pads to shelter units who are training. Area X also houses the Range Control Office, Firing Ranges, and other combat training grounds.
East Range Training Area this area is specifically made to accommodate urban warfare training. It is also known as MOUT site (MOUT stands for Military Operations on Urban Terrain). Most of the training and testing are done in the East Range Training Area. Here, units are trained for special operations and urban setting combat and operations. This is a crucial training area, since 75% of people around the world live in urban areas. In hindsight, some of the most recent skirmishes in the last five years involving were held in highly urbanized areas like Baghdad and Tripoli.
Kolekole Pass this is simply a road which passes through all the posts in the barracks. This is the main ventricle for transportation inside Schofield Barracks.
Interesting Facts and Figures
- There are over 14,000 people living in Schofield Barracks. This consists of 2,965 households, or 2,902 families.
- The base is one of the largest US facility outside its mainland. Its total area covers 2.7 square miles, or 7.1 square kilometers.
- The Wahiawa Water Reservoir adjacent to the base is a prime tourist destination, attracting thousands of Americans every year. It features lush Hawaiian landscapes, and rainforests surround its huge walls.
- Schofield Barracks tours. You can escape to Schofield Barracks on a holiday, and enjoy Hawaiian cultural heritage right outside your quarters. The barracks has plenty of restaurants and shops that are subsidized by the US government, so you can enjoy them tax-free!