Sand Island Air Force Base, frequently referred to as simply Sand Island, is a former Osean Air Defense Force base located on the eponymous island in the Ceres Ocean, west of Cape Landers. It is the former operating base of the OADF 5th Fighter Wing, 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Wardog".
As Osea's westernmost outpost, Sand Island was at the forefront of hostilities between Osea and Yuktobania during the Circum-Pacific War; several consequential engagements took place over and around Sand Island.
Sand Island is part of a volcanic atoll, which eroded over time into an island; the remains of volcanic activity can be seen within the surrounding area. One of the nearby landmasses features mountainous terrain and is evident of this ancient volcano.
The island itself is flat and oblong, making it an ideal location for an airstrip. The shoals immediately surrounding the Sand Island atoll possess a stunning turquoise hue, and the island's location just north of the equator provides for a tropical, humid climate.
Classified training incident
On September 23, 2010, days before the Circum-Pacific War officially began, a flight of Sand Island's rookie pilots was engaged by unknown aircraft while performing training exercises over Cape Landers. Two of the three flight leads and all of the trainee pilots (except Kei Nagase) died during the incident. Sand Island base security quietly confiscated OBC reporter Albert Genette's camera, which may have captured images of the skirmish, and the Osean command assumed an air of business as usual.
Classified pre-war engagements
The next day, September 24, an unidentified reconnaissance aircraft was spotted violating Osean airspace over Cape Landers. Sand Island's Wardog Squadron, under the command of Cpt. Jack Bartlett, was sent to make the intercept. During the operation, the Sand Island pilots were once again ambushed by unknown fighters. Despite direct orders not to fire, Cpt. Bartlett ordered his pilots to defend themselves, and the hostile bandits were shot down. Osean Central Command later issued orders to all Sand Island personnel classifying the incident.
Three days after the Cape Landers engagement, on September 27, a mysterious spy vessel was spotted west of Sand Island. The ship launched numerous reconnaissance drones throughout Sand Island's surrounding airspace. Wardog Squadron was dispatched to shoot down the drones, when it was ambushed yet again by unknown fighter aircraft. The unidentified hostiles were once again shot down, but during the skirmish, the mysterious vessel fired a surface-to-air missile, which hit Cpt. Bartlett (later listed as MIA). Shortly after this engagement, Yuktobania formally declared war on Osea.
At dusk on September 27, Sand Island fell under attack by a Yuktobanian strategic bombing unit. During the air raid, Wardog's leader, Lieutenant Colonel Ford, attempted to land despite Sand Island control tower's protestations; Ford was shot down and KIA by the Yuktobanian fighters, forcing a pilot known only as "Blaze" to assume command of the Sand Island squadron. Sand Island was successfully defended against the Yuktobanian aircraft, and base personnel set to work repairing the damage from the raid.
On October 4, 2010, the Yuktobanian Navy launched an amphibious assault fleet to capture Sand Island and establish a forward base into Osean territory. Sand Island fell under bombardment from Yuke naval guns as Osean forces defended the island against the Yuktobanian landing units. Although the Osean air forces suffered considerable losses that day as a result of the Scinfaxi's burst missiles, Sand Island was successfully defended and Osea emerged victorious.
Several months later, in the early morning hours of December 7, Major Allen C. Hamilton, Sand Island's adjutant commander, informed base commander Orson Perrault that he had reason to believe the Wardog pilots were enemy spies and brought to light Peter N. Beagle's Belkan heritage. Believing traitors were running loose on the base, Perrault ordered Sand Island locked down, and security patrols were placed on high alert. The fugitives commandeered several training planes from an unattended hangar and made their escape from the island. (The traitors were later intercepted north of Sand Island and shot down; the pilots are listed as KIA.)
Details regarding Sand Island's combat operations following the events of December 7 until the end of the war are unknown. When the war finally ended, however, Sand Island Air Force Base was shut down and abandoned; its tarmac is now populated by colonies of seabirds. Kirk has been observed on the runway, suggesting that Pops still resides on Sand Island in some capacity.
- Sand Island Air Force Base is based on an island of the same name and shape in Midway Atoll; its real world counterpart also made an appearance in Ace Combat: Joint Assault.
- Sand Island is one of the most recurring locations in the AC series: the area in and around Sand Island appears in Ace Combat 5 a total of five times (Missions 1, 2, 4, 7, and 19). Comparable locations include Area B7R in Ace Combat Zero and Gracemeria in Ace Combat 6.
- Open War, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Cutscene 01, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Cutscene 02, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- First Flight, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Front Line, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Cutscene 18, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Final Option, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Cutscene 29, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.