|Occupying force:|| In the 1930s, the Navy leased a 3,000-foot (914-meter)-square section of land and erected a mooring mast for the rigid airship USS Akron (ZRS-4). However, while flying off the coast of New Jersey, Akron encountered severe weather and crashed in the early morning hours of 4 April 1933. Only three men survived the crash. Thus ended the need for the mooring mast.
In November 1941, the Navy started work on an air station to the west of MCAS Ewa. NAS Barbers Point was originally designed as an auxiliary, or outlying airfield, of NAS Pearl Harbor. Original plans were designed to supply accommodations for land-based operations of two aircraft carrier groups of 90 aircraft, with provision for station personnel. Included were runways, two hangars, necessary shops, storage, and utilities, and quarters for 2,000 enlisted, 250 officers, and 800 civilian workers.
This base was established as an NAS on 15 April 1942 and was utilized for advanced combat training for fighter and bomber crews prior to assignment to forward areas. Additional authorizations after the outbreak of World War II increased the station\'s capacity to a point at which it could support four carrier groups. Personnel accommodations were increased to a capacity of 4,000 enlisted, 450 officers, and 1,200 civilian workers. Additional magazines and training facilities were added and the size of runways and plane-parking areas were increased.
The two main runways, 8,400-by-1,000-feet (2,560-by-305-meters) were originally laid out forming an “X,” or modified radial layout. These runways were to be 500-feet (152-meters) wide with lengths varying from 3,400-to-4,800-feet (1,036-to-1,463-meters). Later, it was decided to enlarge the runways by increasing the width to 1,000-feet (305-meters) and the overall lengths to 8,400- and 8,300-feet (2,560- and 2,530-meters), respectively. With this radial arrangement of runways, control of flight operations was facilitated and the necessity for long taxiways obviated, with resultant greater operational economy and traffic capacity.