Page 2 - OAHU DETONATOR - May, 1964

 

May 1, 1964, marked the 30th anniversary of the oldest ammunition depot in the world, the U. S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu* Hawaii.As we pass the 30th year milestone at NAD, Oahu, let us glimpse into her past.


NAD Oahu consists of the head-quarters and two separate branches located in rural Oahu, The head- quarters which is located at Lualualei is the industrial center and main storage area and the branches are at West Loch (shipping and receiving) on Pearl Harbor and at Waikele (inland storage and special projects) which is north of West Loch. The headquarters at Lualualei is located approximately thirty-file miles from the city of Honolulu in a valley that is ringed by the Waianae range mountains, except toward the south-west where the valley opens to the Pacific Ocean. It occupies 8,062 acres of land.


West Loch Branch consists of 3,101 acres of land bounded on the north and northeast by waters of the West Loch of Pearl Harbor, on the south and southwest by Pearl Harbor Reservation and on the west by cane fields of Ewa Plantation Company. West Loch is twenty miles from Honolulu and about eighteen miles from Lualualei.


Waikele Branch which covers 520 acres is in and bordering on a juncture of three large gulches. Opening into the gulches are tunnel magazines. This branch is nineteen miles from Honolulu, eighteen miles from the headquarters and ten miles from West Loch.


DESCRIPTION AND ARCHAEOLOGY
U. S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Hawaii in its everyday accomplishments is much like any other ammunition depot; however, its Lo-cation with its unique and interesting people who make these everyday accomplishments possible, and the scenic beauty of its surroundings make it completely different from any other ammunition depot in the world. In the days when the mountain ranges of Oahu were spewing their volcanic debris over the island, one violent eruption, which must have shaken all the Hawaii Islands, blew the entire top off of one large mountain leaving a huge crater which is now called Lualualei and Waianae valleys. This crater now accommodates the head- quarters and main production and storage branches of the Naval Ammunition Depot, the Naval Radio station and the towns of Nanakuli, Maile and Waianae. In all, it is approximately 12,000 acres in size with the Waianae mountain range surrounding these valleys. This mountain range boasts of Mount Kaala (4,025 feet) which is the tallest mountain on the island of Oahu. The top of the mountain which had previously filled this crater was blown out to the sea approximately 10 miles and now forms a reef which provides excellent fishing grounds.


There is evidence that the Lualualei valley was used as a weapons production Location many hundreds of years ago. This evidence in the form of "Hoana" stones were found on the site when the present depot was being constructed. These stones were used for sharpening the Hawaiian Warriors' spears and war implements in the days when they were new and revolutionary in design. Since the days of Hawaiian Warriors, many changes have taken place. These warriors are ancestors of many of the civilian employees of today; however, the working force of NAD Oahu consists of all the races of the world. This includes Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Negro, Samoan, Puerto Rican, Guammanian, Korean, American Indian, Filipino, and Haole (white races) with combinations of all of these.


HISTORY
The first naval ammunition depot in the territory consisted of seven above-ground magazines located on Kuahua Island, Pearl Harbor, in the vicinity of the community and industrial areas of the Naval Shipyard, Pearl Harbor. Kuahua was used from 1916 until April of 1934, when it was decommissioned because of its un-safe Location and limited area avail- able for expansion.


In 1929, the Navy purchased 8,184 acres of the McCandless estate (then being used as a cattle ranch), the area now constituting the Headquarters. About the same time 763 acres were also set aside from the Pearl Harbor Naval Reservation for use by the Depot. Construction on these two locations was begun in 1931 and, on May 1, 1934 they were commissioned as the U,S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Hawaii. An additional 325 acres of land adjacent to West Loch Branch was transferred from the Naval Supply Center, Pearl Harbor to the Depot in 1953, thereby in- creasing the land area to 1,088 acres. The latter now contains a greatly improved naval mine facility. The land now occupied by the Waikele Branch was acquired from the U. S. Army in 1942 after construction on the tunnels had begun. It became the second branch of the Depot and covers 520 acres.