The “King Air Hangar,” appropriately named because the Marine Corps Air Station New River Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron maintains the two UC-12F and one UC-12W “King Airs” at Hangar AS-840, has been part of the Marine Corps’ history for more than 97 years.
The hangar’s legacy can be traced back to the Marine Corps’ early expeditionary years immediately after World War I, when the Marine Corps enforced American foreign policy in the Caribbean. On March 31, 1919, Squadron E initially operated from the Haitian Navy Yard at Bizoton, with seven HS-2 seaplanes, six JN (Jenny) landplanes and marginal facilities. However, by November 1921, the facility was considerably enlarged, runways were lengthened and new hangars (one of which would become AS-840) were constructed, resulting in the consolidation of assets at the newly named Bowen Field.
The Works Progress Administration began to upgrade an abandoned Marine flying field for use by the newly formed Fleet Marine Force in Parris Island, South Carolina, in January of 1934. One of the improvements was to transport and reassemble one of the metal hangars constructed at Bowen Field, which was designated AS-705. The Marine flying field became operational in March 1935, was renamed Page Field in July 1935 and was commissioned a Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) on Dec. 1, 1941. Following World War II, MCAS Parris Island was disestablished in 1946 and, like New River, served as an outlying field to MCAS Cherry Point until the start of the Korean War.
Although New River was originally commissioned as a Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Facility in 1944, disestablished in 1945 and reactivated as a Marine Corps Air Facility on Oct. 1, 1951, the installation had no more capability to support air operations or host Marine Corps aviation squadrons than it did when disestablished in 1945.
In 1942, the air station, then known as Peterfield Point, acquired a standard-type, wooden nose hangar and did not acquire another hangar until 1952, which became the first step in a massive expansion program for the air station. In 1952, the metal hangar reassembled in Parris Island was once again disassembled, transported and reassembled in the old air field area across the taxiway from the previous location of the 1942 wooden nose hangar. It was designated AS-840.