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Kealoha boasts long, distinguished Air Force career; Chinese radio operators play key role during WWII

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark Johnson
  • 375th Communications Support Squadron information assurance flight chief

Brig. Gen. Dwight M. Kealoha grew up in Hawaii and graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1966.

After pilot and survival training in the Air Force, he deployed twice to Southeast Asia between 1968 and 1970.

Kealoha began flying combat missions during the Vietnam War—more than 300 in total. For those achievements he received two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was a command pilot with 1,128 operational combat hours with a total of 3,600 flight hours. He was also one of five Air Force officers to serve on President Reagan’s transition team, worked with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and served under Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Throughout his career he commanded an A-10 squadron, a Combat Support Group, and two Air Force Wings, including the 375th Airlift Wing on Scott Air Force Base from 1991-93.

He retired after 29 years of active duty and led several companies before becoming the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii.

Kealoha became active in nonprofits, joining the board of Child & Family Service, Aviation Museum of the Pacific at Pearl Harbor, and the Chaminade University board of regents. He is also a student of the Hawaiian Martial Arts of Kapu Kuialua fighting.

He is currently retired for a second time and now lives in Kailua, Hawaii.



Scott has a distinguished history of training the “eyes and ears of the army” during World War II.

Of the 150,000 graduates of Scott Field’s radio school, there were a number of students from foreign allies like France and the UK. In 1942 Scott hosted the first foreign students: 20 Chinese soldiers that completed the school in six months.

As a secret part of the Lend-Lease program, the students wore American cadet uniforms. Language was a tough barrier and it took both English classes and many translators to make the course successful.

The Chinese students not only learned how to repair and use the radios, but also experienced excursions off base. They became both technical experts and experts on American customs and values before they returned to their country.