Rearview Mirror: More lessons learned as we wrap up the year

Every December, I look back on the year and write about the interesting things I learned writing Rearview Mirror. This week I wrap up with Part 2 of that highlights series.

Marine Corps Air Station Ewa

I was surprised to learn that the first military base attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, was the Ewa Marine Corps Air Station.

Japanese strategists saw the Ewa plain as the main approach (and exit) to Pearl Harbor, and decided it had to be attacked on the way in. They destroyed 24 planes at MCAS Ewa, killed four Marines and wounded 13 others.

MCAS Ewa was founded in early 1941 and was later incorporated into Barbers Point Naval Air Station, which closed in 1999. Historian John Bond has been working on a book about those airfields and is fighting for the preservation of what’s remaining.

The other thing I found fascinating about the area is that in 1925 the Navy built a 160-foot-tall mooring mast for dirigibles there.

The Goodyear Zeppelin Corp. wanted to use airships to bring mail and passengers from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

The proposed airships were nearly three times the size of a Boeing 747. Flying time from California would have been about 45 hours, much faster than ocean liners. It could bring 75 passengers per trip, or 2,400 a year, to Hawaii.

Mainland dirigible accidents caused the public to lose faith in this mode of transportation, and none ever visited Ewa.

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