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Introduction to Fort Shafter
Oahu Island, Hawaii

Information about the Fort Shafter Military Base on the Island of Oahu.

History of Fort Shafter

Fort Shafter has been home to the senior Army headquarters in Hawaii for nearly a century. Construction began in 1905 on the ahupua'a of Kahauiki, former Hawaiian crown lands that were ceded to the United States government after annexation. When the post opened in 1907, it was named for MG William R. Shafter (1835-1906), who led the United States expedition to Cuba in 1898.

Palm Circle was laid out as a cantonment for an infantry battalion. The barracks and officers' quarters were arranged around a parade field ringed by Royal Palms. The 2d Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment was the first unit stationed at the new post. Palm Circle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fort Shafter gradually spread out from Palm Circle. Tripler General Hospital once stood where the highway intersection is today (the hospital moved to its present location in 1948). In 1914 a regimental-sized cantonment area was constructed (near Richardson Theater). The Hawaiian Ordnance Depot was built in 1917 as a separate post (near today's post exchange). In 1921 the Hawaiian Department moved to Fort Shafter from downtown Honolulu. Finally, a new area was constructed in 1940 for Signal Corps elements.

War came suddenly to Fort Shafter on 7 December 1941, where the Hawaiian Department commander, LTG Walter C. Short, occupied Quarters 5. One soldier, Cpl. Arthur A. Favreau, 64th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), was killed on post by an errant Navy shell. Fort Shafter became a busy headquarters and the barracks on Palm Circle were converted to offices. The major headquarters was named successively US Army Forces, Central Pacific Area (1943-44); US Army Forces, Pacific Ocean Areas (1944-45); and US Army Forces, Middle Pacific (1945-47). In 1944 the Army Corps of Engineers erected the "Pineapple Pentagon" (T-100, T-101, and T-102) in just 49 days. Two large fishponds were filled in to form Shafter Flats.

For most of the next half century, Fort Shafter has remained the senior Army headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. In 1947 the headquarters was renamed US Army, Pacific. The post continued to adapt to meet the Army's evolving requirements. In the early 1960s the new Moanaloa Freeway split the post in two. In 1974, when the headquarters was eliminated, Fort Shafter became home to US Army Support Command, Hawaii, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division (relocated from Fort Armstrong). In 1979 the Army established US Army Western Command, which was renamed US Army, Pacific in 1990. In 1983 the Army conveyed to the State of Hawaii 750 acres of undeveloped land on the mauka end of post. Today Fort Shafter remains the focal point for command, control, and support of Army forces in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

Above history provided courtesy of the
United States Pacific Command


See also:
- Other Military Bases on Oahu



Related Links
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Elsewhere on the WEb
Fort Shafter Marks a Century of Service
Fort Shafter Housing
Wikipedia Fort Shafter Article



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