Visiting Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial and The Pacific Aviation Museum

One of my good friends from high school is currently visiting Hawaii and last weekend I met him over on Oahu the day I set the Tandem Skydiving Altitude Record with SkyDive Hawaii.  We had a few drinks at Dukes Canoe Club in Waikiki and then I let him and his girlfriend explore Waikiki while I checked into the Waikiki Resort Hotel and rented a car from Discount Hawaii Car Rental  for only $20.00 for 24 hours!

I woke up bright and early in the morning from my one night stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel and we headed out to Pearl Harbor leaving the Hotel at about 7:00 in the morning.  I forgot that the Honolulu Marathon would be blocking off much of Waikiki so it became kind of a maze getting out of there and off to Pearl Harbor where we got there just in time to pick up free tickets on the first US Navy boat to the Arizona Memorial.

They issue free tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial

While I have done lots of interesting stuff with the Navy and I’ve seen Pearl Harbor as a guest on several embarks with the US Navy… this was the first time that I had ever gone to the USS Arizona Memorial inside of Pearl Harbor so it was quite special.

One of the displays in the Pearl Harbor Museum

We were going just four days after the 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and I wasn’t sure how busy or packed the place was going to be… but I was quite happy to get on that first boat without having to wait in a long line… as anyone that knows me… knows I hate long lines!

The US Navy provides a free ferry to and from the USS Arizona Memorial

Most of us have seen pictures of the memorial, but I can tell you now personally that it’s a whole different experience visiting it in person.

USS Arizona Memorial

As you enter the memorial, it’s lined with a few flags from around the world.

Flags in the USS Arizona Memorial

Then as you proceed forward into the chamber it opens up and there are 21 windows to view out of the memorial.

Inside the chamber folks can look down at the sunken vessel through a hole in the memorial

You really feel the aura of the place and it’s almost kind of a haunting feeling knowing that you are literally standing on the tomb of so many sailors that lost their lives on that fateful day.

Honoring the sailors that lost their lives

Of course I had to get the mandatory picture of the “Tears of the Arizona”.

"Tears of the Arizona" - Oil still leaks to this day

The memorial is staffed with folks that know anything you may ever want to know about the USS Arizona and are more then happy to discuss things with you.  The total tour of the place once you actually get on the ferry is about 45 minutes long.

One of the few remaining parts of the USS Arizona still above the surface

After touring the USS Arizona Memorial we took a shuttle across to Ford Island and went and got a private Aviators Tour at Pacific Aviation Museum.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

This was also the first time I had ever been to this museum so I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised with the knowledge of our tour docent as he explained the history of the airplanes at the museum.

Inside Hangar 37

I learned some of the stories about the planes and the pilots that flew the planes during the war.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Type 0 (Naval Carrier-based Fighter)

What was really impressive was the shape that some of these old planes had been remodeled to and I know it must take a lot to get them back to looking the way they were during World War II.

The Cactus Air Force

While the tour itself is about 2 hours long… we had a shorter more condensed tour because we had an appointment we had to make with the US Navy so we unfortunately didn’t even get to the other hangar.

Former President George W.H. Bush trained in this actual plane

We made our way to the Laniakea Cafe and had lunch and then made our way to a private submarine tour on the USS Cheyenne courtesy of the US Navy.

The newly restored Ford Island Control Tower

I just wanted to say thanks to the Pacific Aviation Museum for hooking us up with the free Aviators Tour.  Wish we would have had more time to spend with the docent!

One Response

  1. Thanks for coming out to see us at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. Sorry you only saw one hangar, but you’ll be back soon, we hope, to explore Hangar 79, as well. And maybe even the Ford Island Control Tower. We’re still working on it, still raising donations to complete it. But it looks great and it’s stabilized so it’s been preserved.

    A hui hou

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