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WWII Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles McGee Packs Them in at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and 400 guests paid tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and the vital role they played during World War II with a special “WWII Tuskegee Airman Hangar Talk” by decorated WWII Tuskegee Airman Pilot Colonel Charles McGee. The event commemorated African American History Month.

Colonel McGee fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and holds a record for one of the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in United States Air Force history. Colonel McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group. The Tuskegee Airmen were pioneers who fought racial prejudices to fly and fight for their country during WWII. His career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and three wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Colonel McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (25 times).

Also honored at the Hangar Talk was WWII Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham. Baham served as a crew chief for the 337th Composite Group at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Baham is a dedicated volunteer at Pacific Aviation Museum, sharing his story with visitors as a greeter in the lobby of Hangar 37.

The day before, on Friday, February 3, more than 250 Honolulu students in grades 6—12 were invited and attended another Museum presentation geared towards youth entitled, “In His Own Words,” presented by Colonel McGee.

“It was such an honor to have a veteran pilot of Col McGee’s stature and distinction speak with us,” said Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Prior to 1940, African Americans were prohibited from flying for the U.S. military. Even in light of extreme racism, African Americans fought to defend their country, which led to the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of WWII. Their dedication to defending the freedom of all Americans and their acts of heroism paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Tuskegee Airmen completed more than 1,500 missions.

Pearl Harbor: Then and Now

Firsthand accounts of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, with combined photographs taken during the attack and modern day locations where events took place.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/ElGxN2yGiZ8]

 

National Park Service Grants $1.3 Million to Preserve and Interpret World War II Japanese American Confinement Sites

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced more than $1.3 million in grants to help preserve and interpret the sites where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans – two-thirds of them U.S. citizens – were imprisoned during World War II.

Concentration Camp“Our national parks tell the stories not only of American success, but of our failures such as the dark history of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II,” Jarvis said. “We make these grants so that present and future generations are reminded what happened and how the people survived these camps. And we make these grants to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to the concept of ‘equal justice under law’ that grew out of these and other civil rights experiences.”

The 14 grant projects include:

  • Creation of a memorial to honor Japanese Americans forcibly removed from Juneau, Alaska and sent to the Camp Lordsburg Internment Camp in New Mexico and later to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho
  • Installation of exhibits at the San Bruno Bay Area Rapid Transit station featuring photographs by Dorothea Lange and Paul Kitagaki telling the story of forced relocation of California Bay Area Japanese Americans
  • A plan for acquisition and preservation of an abandoned root cellar, one of the few remaining original structures at the former Heart Mountain site internment site in Wyoming
  • A kiosk in a Chandler, Arizona park that focuses on daily life and the importance of baseball at the Gila River Internment Camp
  • An exhibit at the Los Angeles Go For Broke National Education Center, “Divergent Paths to a Convergent America: A 360 Degree Perspective of the Japanese American Response to WWII”
  • Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, “Exploring Honouliuli: A Multimedia and Virtual Tour” Honouliuli Internment Camp, Honolulu County, Hawaii

The Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program supports projects in seven states. Today’s grants bring grant totals to $12 million of the $38 million Congress authorized when it established the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program in 2006.

Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program may go to the 10 War Relocation Authority camps established in 1942 or to more than 40 other sites, including assembly, relocation, and isolation centers. The goal of the program is to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the World War II confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law. These are competitive grants with required matches – a dollar of non-federal funds or $2 in-kind contributions for every grant dollar.

A full list of the funded projects follows. For more details about these projects, visit: http://www.nps.gov/hps/hpg/JACS/.

For further information: Kara Miyagishima, Program Manager for the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, 303-969-2885 or kara_miyagishima@nps.gov

  • City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska. “Empty Chair Project”, Minidoka Relocation Center, Jerome County, Idaho and Camp Lordsburg, Hidalgo County, N.M.  $80,000.00
  • City of Chandler, Chandler, Ariz., “Nozomi Park History Kiosk”, Gila River Relocation Center, Pinal County, Ariz., $9,380.00
  • The Regents of the University of California (UC-Berkeley, History Department), Berkeley, Calif., “Japanese American Confinement in the Records of the Federal Reserve Bank”,  Multiple Sites, $18,488.00
  • Contra Costa Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Contra Costa, Calif., “They Wore Their Best: Photographic Exhibit of the Works of Dorothea Lange and Paul Kitagaki” Tanforan Assembly Center, San Mateo County, Calif.  and 10 WRA Sites, $67,537.00
  • UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, Calif., “Aiko and Jack Herzig Archival Collection Project” Multiple Sites, $154,960.00
  • Japanese American Citizens League, San Francisco, Calif., “JACL Teacher Training: Incarceration and Confinement Sites”, Multiple Sites, $62,845.00
  • National Japanese American Historical Society, San Francisco, Calif., “Camp Collection: A Digital Library”, Multiple Sites, $33,467.00
  • Go For Broke National Education Center, Torrance, Calif., “Divergent Paths to a Convergent America: A 360 Degree Perspective of the Japanese American Response to WWII Incarceration”, Multiple Sites, $369,765.00
  • Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, “Exploring Honouliuli: A Multimedia and Virtual Tour”, Honouliuli Internment Camp, Honolulu County, Hawaii, $111,557.00
  • Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, Portland, Ore., “Farm Security Administration Documentation of Agricultural Labor Internment Camps in the Pacific Northwest”, Multiple Sites: Nyssa, Malheur County, Ore.; Rupert, Minidoka County, Idaho; Shelley, Bingham County, Idaho; Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, Idaho $92,386.00
  • Nikkei Heritage Association of Washington (Japanese Cultural Center of Washington), Seattle, Wash., “Unsettled-Resettled: Seattle’s “Hunt Hotel””, Minidoka Relocation Center, Jerome County, Idaho, $102,810.00
  • Wing Luke Memorial Foundation (Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience), Seattle, Wash., “Inspiring Future Generations: Journeying from Confinement Sites to Battlefields with Japanese American Soldiers”, Multiple Sites,$111,600.00
  • Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation, Powell, Wyo., “Heart Mountain Archives Project”, Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Park County, Wyo., $97,279.00
  • Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation, Powell, Wyo., “Heart Mountain Root Cellar Planning and Preservation Project”, Heart Mountain, Relocation Center, Park County, Wyo., $33,621.00

Total $1,345,695.00

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor to Commemorate The Battle of Midway With Shattered Sword Author Jonathan Parshall

Marking the 71st Anniversary of the “turning point in the Pacific” epic battle, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will present a special program featuring Jonathan Parshall, co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, Tuesday, June 4.

Shattered Sword The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

The event is free to Museum Members and $25 for non-members. It will feature a Book Signing and Meet the Author at 4pm, a Reception at 5:30PM, and “The 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Midway” Presentation by Mr. Parshall at 6:30pm with a question and answer period following.

Jonathan Parshall’s interest in the Imperial Japanese Navy developed in childhood. He has written for the U.S. Naval War College Review, Naval Institute Proceedings, and World War II magazine, and has contributed to several books on the topic. In 1995 he founded www.combinedfleet.com, the foremost Internet site on the Imperial Navy. He was a member of a 1999 expedition by Nauticos Corporation and the Naval Oceanographic Office that discovered wreckage from the carrier Kaga, sunk at Midway.

According to Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff, “Author Jonathan Parshall is the foremost authority on Midway. We’re very excited to have him as our keynote speaker for this year’s Midway commemoration.”

Tickets are online at PacificAviationMuseum.org or available at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. RSVPs are required by May 28 and seating is limited. For more information, call 808-441-1007 or email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is open 9am to 5pm daily and is accessed by shuttles from the USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at Pearl Harbor. www.PacificAviationMuseum.org, 808-441-1000.

 

 

“Honor Flight: One Last Mission” – Hawaii Premiere and Reception at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Honoring those who have served, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has announced a special Memorial Day observance Friday, May 24 with the Hawaii premiere screening of the movie Honor Flight: One Last Mission. A reception honoring veterans is at 5:30pm; the screening of Honor Flight is at 6:30pm. The event is free for Museum Members and Volunteers; $25 for non-members.

Click for more information

Click for more information

The acclaimed documentary film Honor Flight: The Last Mission is the story of four living WWII veterans and the community that gave them the trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial constructed to honor them, nearly 60 years after the war. The Los Angeles Times calls it, “enormously moving.”

Seating capacity is limited to 200 for each screening. Reservations for the May 24 evening event are required by May 17. RSVP, tickets, and all information are online at PacificAviationMuseum.org. Call 808-441-1007 or email  Education@PacficAviationMuseum for more information.

The “Swamp Ghost/B-17E” Arrives at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

You may have seen it on the freeway this morning, April 10, in seven Matson containers, with a Honolulu Police escort. One of the most talked about artifacts of American aviation history–the Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress bomber #41-2446 “Swamp Ghost”–makes its home at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, today, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

B172

The remarkable story of this WWII aircraft has been featured in numerous media, including National Geographic, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Daily News, and Smithsonian magazine.

B-17E 41-2446 was one of the bombers in the Kangaroo Squadron stationed in Townsville, Australia. It was to have been one of the B-17s in the flight that made it to Hickam Army Air Field during the December 7, 1941 attack. It was delayed due to engine problems but flew to Hickam on December 17 and then leapfrogged its way to Townsville, Australia. On the night of February 22, 1942, five B-17s took off from Townsville with the mission of attacking ships at Rabaul, a harbor of Japanese-held New Britain. The mission was the first American heavy bomber offensive raid of World War II.

b174

Unfortunately, this B-17 never made it back. Having sustained damage from enemy fire causing the aircraft to run out of fuel, it crash-landed in the remote primitive Agaiambo swamp on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Over the next several days, the nine-member crew battled malaria, fatigue, and heat exhaustion, while they hacked their way through razor-sharp swamp grass to safety. Amazingly, all nine men made it back to the base alive.

b173

Having crash-landed in one of the most remote locations on Earth, the aircraft virtually “disappeared” and slipped into an oblivion that lasted almost three decades, until Australian soldiers on routine maneuvers spotted the aircraft in 1972, still partially submerged in the swamp and nicknamed it Swamp Ghost.

B17

To the soldiers’ amazement, it was found to be in remarkable condition and fully intact; the machine guns were in place, fully loaded and, in the cabin, there was a thermos with what used to be coffee. It soon became obvious that this plane would become the best-preserved example of a combat B-17 in existence.

The amazing story of this aircraft doesn’t end there. Over the next 30 years, David C. Tallichet and the Swamp Ghost Salvage Team attempted to recover the bomber. The government of Papua New Guinea became involved, which further stopped the process. Finally, after years of negotiations, it was cleared to return to the United States in 2010. In 2011, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor began negotiations to receive the aircraft.

“We are absolutely thrilled that this national treasure will call Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor home,” said Kenneth DeHoff, Museum Executive Director. “The B-17E ‘Swamp Ghost’ will be one of the crown jewels in our aircraft collection. While we restore these aircraft to static display standards of aviation museums globally, this one will take us several years to raise the funds to do so. We expect it to cost $5 million dollars,” said Mr. DeHoff.

b175

When funds are received and restoration is complete, the B-17E Flying Fortress will be on display in a specially constructed outdoor exhibit, resembling the Papua New Guinea swamp in which it was found, the perfect backdrop for this historic artifact. Donors are invited to purchase a brick for a loved one or WWII pilot, in the garden setting of the exhibit, and help restore the aircraft. The Museum invites donations of historic aircraft and aviation memorabilia. Donated artifacts are professionally cared for and enjoyed by millions of visitors from all over the world. The Museum also invites monetary donations for its restoration and education programs, as it is a nonprofit, private Museum, which depends on members and donors. To support the Museum, call 808-441-1006 or donate online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in the Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.

 

Hawaii Students Visiting American Heroes Exhibit at Bishop Museum

American Heroes

Students from Hawaii Schools who will be visiting the American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal exhibit at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum on April 10, 11 and 14, and will get to experience a piece of “living history” when they meet with WWII Nisei soldiers as part of their field trip, as follows:

SCHOOL VISITS WITH WWII NISEI VETERANS AT CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL EXHIBIT
LOCATION:  BISHOP MUSEUM, CASTLE MEMORIAL BUILDING

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Kaimuki Middle School
Session 1:  9:00-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:30-9:45 a.m.
Session 3:  10:00-10:15 a.m.
Session 4:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 5:  11:00-11:15 a.m.
Session 6:  11:30-11:45 a.m.

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Castle High School
Session 1:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 2:  11:00-11:15 a.m.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 – FINAL DAY OF EXHIBIT
Kamakahelei Middle School (Big Island)

Date:  Sunday, 4/14/13:
Session 1:  9-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:15-9:30 a.m

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

“We wanted to make the exhibit come alive for these students,” said Mona Wood-Sword, member of the organizing committee.  “Meeting these true American heroes, talking story with them, will make the exhibit that much more meaningful for them, and that was part of our mission when planning the exhibit:  To teach the next generation about the heroism of these brave soldiers.”

The teachers from the visiting schools have asked their students to prepare questions for the veterans, so the discussions should be lively and interesting for both the veterans and students.

In addition to speaking with the visiting schools, the veterans have been busy with weekly panel discussions (see attached schedule) and other appearances.  WWII veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service – all honored with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal – have shared their stories to standing-room-only audiences at Bishop Museum’s Atherton Halau.

The final two Saturday panels will be, as follows:

April 6, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hawaii’s Internment and Role in the Legislative Campaign for Redress
Presented by:  Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Panelists:  Ryan Kawamoto, “The Untold Story,” Brian Niiya, Former JCCH Program Director, and William Kaneko, Attorney and Former President, Honolulu JACL
Moderator:  Carole Hayashino, President and Executive Director, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

April 6, 2013 • 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
“Okage Sama De” True Stories of Japanese Americans during WWII
Presented by:  Alton Chung, Professional Storyteller

April 13, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Commitment to Education
Presented by:  State of Hawaii Department of Education
Panelists:  Joan Funamura, Clayton Kaninau, May Price, and Charlotte Unni
Moderator:  Ann Mahi

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Veterans Network, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  Accompanying educational materials were developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

The national tour of seven cities – New Orleans, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR, Chicago, and Houston – is made possible by the support of AARP, Cole Chemical, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, and Southwest Airlines.

ABOUT THE 100th INFANTRY BATTALION
The 100th Infantry Battalion was a unit within the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division.  Compromised mostly of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) from the Hawaii Army National Guard, the 100th Infantry Battalion also included volunteers from Japanese internment camps, which were then located throughout the United States during WWII.

Battalion members’ stature, fitness levels, and unified camaraderie during training, prior to their deployment, made the 100th Infantry Battalion a strong unit heading into combat.  With the “Remember Pearl Harbor” motto, the 100th Infantry Battalion were consistently motivated to prove their loyalty to the United States.

During their 20 month combat term in Europe, the unit became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for the number of casualties lost.  They fought in six war campaigns in Italy and France, earning the unit four Presidential Unit Citations.  http://www.100thbattalion.org/

ABOUT THE 442ND REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
Considered to be one of the most decorated combat units in United States military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisted of a share of enlisted soldiers, as well as volunteers who fought in Europe during WWII.  Two-thirds of their original unit were Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or Nisei, from Hawaii, while the rest were Nisei soldiers from the Mainland.

The “Go For Broke” motto means to risk everything in order to win.  Activated under the command of Colonel Charles W. Pence, the 442nd worked closely with the 100th Infantry Battalion.  Intelligent and zealous in learning their military duties, the 442nd understood patience and the importance of strategy while in combat situations.  Over 14,000 men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Their values of service, loyalty and sacrifice earned the unit over 9,000 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 560 Silver Stars.  http://www.the442.org/

ABOUT THE MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
The Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was a group of smaller units consisting of Nisei soldiers during WWII.  Their average unit size was between 10-20 men.  Playing a vital role in the U.S. military tactics during WWII, the MIS units used linguistic skills to gather intelligence, read captured enemy maps and documents, and conduct translations and interrogations.  MIS unit members were at heightened risk because they could be confused for enemy troops by their own U.S. military personnel.

MIS post-war work proved crucial for the transition during Japanese occupancy.  MIS servicemen provided indispensible assistance during Japanese war crime trials, in the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs), and in establishing positive relations between U.S. military forces and Japanese civilians.  Working under mostly classified orders, the MIS units did not receive the recognition other units and battalions had during and post war.

ABOUT BISHOP MUSEUM
The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I.  Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens.  More than 350,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren.  For more information, please call (808) 847-3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.

New Signs Promote Pearl Harbor Heritage

New historical signs known as wayside exhibits are being installed this week at various spots around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to provide more information to inquiring visitors about historically significant sites on base.

Pearl Harbor Sign

Hawaii (Feb. 27, 2013) Builder 2nd Class Reynaldo Castro, left, and Utilitiesman 2nd Class Jeremy Orndoff, from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Self Help, install a series of wayside exhibits at USS Parche Submarine Memorial Park. The wayside exhibits enhance the landscape by providing visitors with more thorough descriptions of the landmarks and incorporating photos with information at historic sites around Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

The project took off after several years of planning by Navy Region Hawaii, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The idea is that when you see the wayside exhibits, it puts history in context. There’s nothing like a photograph to give one a better description of what they are looking at,” said Navy Region Hawaii Historian Jim Neuman.

There will be a total of 12 exhibits, to include locations around the former Pearl Harbor Submarine base: Lockwood Hall, the Submarine Base Chapel, Sharkey Theatre and the USS Parche Submarine Memorial Park.

Some of the exhibits include multiple signs that provide photos, historical facts and personnel profiles.

“It’s great! I think visitors will appreciate it. It shows that we understand that we have history, that we care about our history, and that we want to preserve that history,” added Neuman.

Neuman went on to say that the signs are synchronized with the National Park Service in design so visitors can see a more uniform presentation of information throughout the Pearl Harbor area.

“It’s definitely very informative when we do work like this. We learn what these various ship and submarine parts are doing here. With the pictures, it will help people understand why they put this here, why the propeller is over there, and what the memorial is all about,” said Builder 2nd Class Reynaldo Castro of the NAVFAC Self Help Seabees.

Pacific Aviation Museum is Seeking Volunteers for New Student Education and Tour Programs

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s Education Department has new student education and tour programs for 2012 and requests volunteers to help deliver these programs, plus develop additional ones, help manage events, process data entry, research, transcribe oral histories, and work on the Museum’s successful outreach program to 6th graders, “Barnstorming.”

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Hanger 37

Other volunteers are need in all areas of Museum operations, as well, from docents delivering tours to mechanics helping restore historic aircraft in the Restoration Shop.

The education programs target pre-school students through high school seniors and focus on math, science, social studies, technology and engineering connected to the principles of aviation and history of aviation in the Pacific. The opportunities are perfect for those retired from the fields of education. The Museum will train and a minimum of at least one day a month is required to be a volunteer.

Volunteers sought for the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Volunteers receive many benefits: They work hands-on with aircraft, meet and talk story with veterans and experienced pilots and mechanics, receive free admission to the Museum and to the other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, receive discounts at the Museum gift shop, free admission to all Hangar Talks and lectures, an annual “Volunteer Appreciation” party, and more.

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Loretta Fung for more information and a volunteer application at 808-441-1008 or Loretta.Fung@PacificAviationMuseum.org. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or partnered with a parent. The Museum will provide documentation for service hours.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, located on Historic Ford Island, 319 Lexington Boulevard, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which depends on its volunteers, members, and support from donations. 808-441-1000; www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

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!

Stabilized Ford Island Control Tower Dedicated Today at Pearl Harbor

The newly stabilized Ford Island Control Tower at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor was dedicated in a ceremony on the Tower Lawn, today at 11:00AM, as part of the Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary Ceremonies.

Showing off the first phase of the monumental stabilization work that has been done to save the historic landmark where the first attack alert was broadcast on December 7, 1941, the Holland American Legion Band played while the flag was raised on the top and a T-6 Texan made several passes over the assembled crowd of 200.

On top of the Ford Island Control Tower - Building S84. Executive Director and Associate Curator of the Pacific Aviation Museum raise the flag

Speakers at the event included: Acting Governor/Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz (Governor Neil Abercrombie who was instrumental in garnering federal funds to begin the preservation efforts is off island at a Governor’s Conference); Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff; Museum Board President Clint Churchill; Lance Wilhelm, senior vice president of Kiewit Building Group, the contractor for the Tower; and CAPT Jeff James, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Click on image for a panorama from the top of the control tower

To completely restore the Ford Island Control Tower, it is estimated that $7.5 million will be needed. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie when he was in Congress was instrumental in helping to secure $3.8 million through the Department of Defense appropriations for the stabilization and restoration of an historic landmark. This allowed the Museum to begin work. The Museum is in a capital campaign to raise the remainder needed for the complete restoration. Donations may be made online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

The Ford Island Control Tower complex constructed in 1941 consists of a 3rd level Aerological Center and Observation Deck on top of the 2-story Operations Building, and the Air Traffic Control Center on top a 158-foot steel water tank tower. It played a major role in the naval activity at Pearl Harbor, especially during World War II. The Tower is registered as a Category I structure in the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Historic Preservation Plan of 1978.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is open 9am to 5pm daily and is accessed by air conditioned shuttle buses from the USS Arizona Memorial/Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Daily, visitors from all over the world view the vintage aircraft, enjoy hands on technology experiences including combat flight simulators, hear moving stories told by aviation-experienced docents, and see “A Day That Shall Live In Infamy” through historic films and audio. The Museum gift shop and restaurant are unique in their offerings and their authentic 1940s ambiance. Phone (808) 441-1000 or visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org for tickets and more information.

Pacific Aviation Museum is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization located at 319 Lexington Boulevard on Historic Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s 5th Anniversary Celebration

Bill Paty, Wounded Warriors, and Ford Island Control Tower In the Spotlight at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s 5th Anniversary Celebration on December 1st.

Guests will get the very first look at the newly stabilized Ford Island Control Tower as the PBS Little Big Band strikes up the popular 1940s tune, “Accentuate the Positive!” and friends of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor gather on Thursday evening, 5:30 to 10PM to dine, dance, and celebrate the Museum’s 5th Anniversary. The fundraiser for the Museum’s education and restoration projects will also honor those who have made important contributions to the nonprofit aviation attraction, and to those who serve our country.

Stabilization of the Ford Island Control Tower officially began Friday, February 25, 10am with a blessing, it was announced by Pacific Aviation Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Special Museum awards for the evening will go to Bill Paty for the “Building Bridges Award” and to BAE Systems and the University of Hawaii CRDG, for the “S.T.E.M. Education Award.”

“The Tower stood guard over Ford Island on the day of the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, so its historical significance is immense,” said DeHoff.

The Basis Foundation of California, which provided the funding for the Museum’s Lt. Ted Shealy Restoration Shop, the 1940s working machine shop housed in Hangar 79, is hosting 16 members of the Wounded Warrior Project who will be honored at the gala. The Museum is a continuing sponsor of returning veterans.

The Ford Island Tower complex constructed in 1941 consists of a 3rd story Aerological Center and Observation Deck on top of the 2-story Operations Building, and the Air Traffic Control Center on top a 158- foot steel water tank tower. The Tower played a major role in the naval activity at Pearl Harbor, especially during World War II. The Tower is registered as a Category I structure in the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Historic Preservation Plan of 1978.

Guests will be treated to 1940s musical entertainment and dancing and enjoy award-winning cuisine by Chef Chai of Chai’s Island Bistro, along with fine wines. The fun begins with aircraft and vintage military vehicles and 1940s re-enactors greeting the guests. A silent and live auction will be held for items such as trips and hotel stays, fine wines, jewelry and art.

Tickets and tables may be purchased by calling Director of Development Carol Arnott at 808/441-1006 or purchasing online at PacificAviationMuseum.org. The Museum is located at 319 Lexington Boulevard on Historic Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Oahu.

Flying Tigers Exhibit Opens at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor opened its American Volunteer Group “The Flying Tigers” Exhibit with a dedication and gala reception yeterday in honor of the pilots and support personnel who protected the China skies. It is a permanent exhibit, which is housed in the Museum’s Hangar 79.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

A Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Flying Tiger, which was one of the most popular and successful American aircraft of WWII, joined the aircraft collection at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in July of 2010 and is the centerpiece of the new exhibit. The aircraft is valued at $1.5 million and is on loan to the Museum from FedEx.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

Prior to the United States involvement in World War II, a group of volunteers was formed to train and equip the Republic of China Air Force with fighter aircraft. They soon became the only aerial support for a country under attack. Parallel to the effort was a group of air transport pilots who “flew the Hump” carrying war material, food, and other supplies. If it were not for these two groups, life in China might be much different today.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

According to Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff, “The P-40 displayed in our new Flying Tigers exhibit is depicted as number 67, flown by pilot Robert Prescott. On the tail horizontal stabilizer are the names of some of the American pilots and crew who supported the ninety P-40 aircraft received in China to fight. It’s an incredible addition to our Museum and we’re grateful to FedEx.”

Pacific Aviation Museum Tiger Exhibit

Artifacts included in display cases around the exhibit include uniforms and patches that were worn by both American and Chinese members of the three fighter squadrons and the transport group, tools and gear carried by the crews, and original photographs of the aircraft, people and airfields.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

The exhibit is dedicated to one of those transport pilots who was a great supporter of aviation and Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in his later years—Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The event featured a special tribute to Senator Stevens who was a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force and flew the Curtiss C-46 and Douglas C-47 cargo transports “over the Hump” into China, in 1944 and 1945.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

Built in 1942 for the Royal Canadian Air Force and used primarily for training during WWII, the aircraft changed ownership before being shipped to Hawaii in 1969 to be used in the filming of Tora! Tora! Tora!

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

The aircraft recognizes Flying Tiger Line founder Robert Prescott, American Volunteer Group (AVG) ace and a member of Flying Tigers in China. The AVG consisted of pilots recruited from U.S. Forces and contracted with the China National Aviation Corporation to fly for China. The Tigers are credited with 299 confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed during their service from 1941~1942. The FedEx aircraft on loan to the Museum is the P-40E model painted to resemble the Flying Tigers P-40B Number 67. Many of the pilots signed the left side and the support crew signed the right side of the horizontal tail assembly, during a reunion in 1981.

Opening of the P-40 AVG Exhibit

Manufactured by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the “67” on the side of the plane represents the original number that crashed early in the fighting. A red illustration on the front fuselage represents the Third Pursuit Squadron, “Hells Angels.” An insignia on the wings represents the Chinese Air Force.

Hawaii Flags Ordered to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Legislator and First Circuit Court Judge Katsugo Miho

In observance of the memory of former state Representative and First Circuit Judge Katsugo Miho, Governor Neil Abercrombie today ordered that all U.S. and Hawai’i flags at all State offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset, September 29, 2011.

Kats Miho's Story

Click to read Kats Miho's Story

“Kats Miho was a unique person in the best sense of the word.  He was always encouraging and supportive of the best in you – never pessimistic of Hawai’i or its future,” Governor Abercrombie said. “He genuinely believed in politics and in you as a person.  In my life personally and politically, he was someone I could always call on for advice, counsel, and support. In his public life, Kats Miho’s contribution to Hawai’i is old school.  In other words, he was always for Hawai’i, first, last, and always.”
Miho, born in 1922 in Kahului, Maui, served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Miho received his law degree from George Washington University Law School and became a lawyer in private practice. In 1959, Miho was elected to the State of Hawai’i House of Representatives and served for five terms. He was appointed as a Family Court Judge where he served for eight years. Miho was also involved in the community, including the Japan Goodwill Sumo tournaments, Japan-Hawai’i High School Goodwill and Friendship baseball series, 442nd Veterans Club of Honolulu and the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation.

Ford Island Control Tower Set for Dedication on 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

The newly stabilized Ford Island Control Tower at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will be dedicated in a ceremony Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 11:00AM, a part of the Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary Ceremonies, it was announced today by Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Ford Tower

Ford Tower being stabilized

“We’re ready to show off the first phase of the monumental stabilization work that has been done to save this historic landmark where the first attack alert was broadcast on December 7, 1941,” said Mr. DeHoff.

Ford Tower

Ford Tower

Work on this first phase of renovation began January 2011. Mason Architects was the architectural design firm. Kiewit Building Group was the contractor. Both are in Honolulu.

Ford Tower

Workers work on the top of the tower

Events at the Museum December 7 (included in the price of admission):

  • Home of the Brave Quilt project – 10am to 2pm, Hangar 3 Sign a quilt and see quilts being sewed for the families of fallen Hawaii soldiers
  • Ford Island Control Tower Dedication, 11am, Tower Lawn
  • Holland American Legion Band, 1pm, Tower Lawn

A special Commemorative 70th Anniversary Coin will be available in the Museum Store.

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Japanese Tea Ceremony for Peace Held on USS Arizona Memorial

Media Release:

Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th grand tea master of the Urasenke School of Tea, performed a sacred Japanese tea ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial at the World War II Valor of the Pacific National Monument, July 19.

Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th grand tea master of the Urasenke School of Tea, prepares sacred tea to honor the deceased entombed at the USS Arizona Memorial. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/RELEASED)

More than 200 Japanese and American guests gathered at the USS Arizona Memorial to witness Sen perform the centuries old tea ceremony. Due to the limited space, more than 300 attendees watched the event unfold at the World War II Valor of the Pacific National Monument theaters.

Guests and attendees applaud Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rodriguez, Ray Emory and Sterling Cale at a Japanese tea ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial. The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, led by Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th Grand Teamaster of the Urasenke School of Tea, hosted a sacred tea ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and peace. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/RELEASED)

In the spirit of reconciliation and peace, Sen, a veteran of WWII, dedicated a bowl of tea to the 1,177 deceased who are memorialized in the Shrine Room. The ceremony, also known as “Okenchashiki,” is a sacred tea ceremony to the spirits of the war dead for world peace, conducted without words or music, allows for all participants, regardless of language, nationality or religious beliefs, to share in a spiritual communion together.

Japanese guests listen to the interpreter during a Japanese tea ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial. The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, led by Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th Grand Teamaster of the Urasenke School of Tea, hosted a sacred tea ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument to honor the men who died on Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/RELEASED)

“There’s a wonderful phrase in Japanese when translated means ‘One time, one chance, one time, one situation, one opportunity,” said Sen, through an interpreter. “Today, this sacred tea ceremony was important on many different levels. It was an offering of sacred tea to the souls who are lost on the USS Arizona. On another level, it was an apology of sorts, a deep regret of the incident and war. The third important message was ‘world peace’ that we all came together at a hallowed place in this sacred opportunity to pray for world peace.”

Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th Grand Teamaster of the Urasenke School of Tea, prepares sacred tea to honor the deceased entombed at the USS Arizona Memorial. The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, led by Sen, hosted a sacred tea ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument to honor the men who died on Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/RELEASED)

During WWII, Sen was a pilot for the Japanese Navy who flew missions off the coast of Okinawa. As a veteran, Sen said the expeience made him truly believe the horrific nature of war.

“War is horrible,” said Sen. “But I also realize that one person alone cannot stop a war. We must all work together to stop war.”

Since 1950, Sen has visited more than 60 countries promoting the Japanese culture and performing tea ceremonies around the world. Sen has performed the tea ceremony for world figures such as First Lady Laura Bush, Princess Diana, former Premier of Russia, Gorbachov, and former Vice President Al Gore.

Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks at a Japanese tea ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico)

Attendees of the ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial included Pearl Harbor survivors Alfred Rogriguez, Sterling Cale and Ray Emory; Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Patrick Walsh; Consul General Yoshihiko Kamo of Japan; Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Pacific West Regional Director Christine Lenertz of the National Park Service; former Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi; and other dignitaries. The event was chaired by former First Lady of Hawaii, Jean Ariyoshi.

“I’m happy to have been invited to the tea ceremony,” said 89-year-old Cale. “It’s a good thing. I’m honored. I met a lot of people who I would not have met otherwise.”

Sixty-five years after the end of WWII, the United States and Japan have formed a new bilateral relationship of harmony and economic friendship.

Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th Grand Teamaster of the Urasenke School of Tea, offers sacred tea to honor the deceased entombed at the USS Arizona Memorial. The National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, led by Sen, hosted a sacred tea ceremony at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in a spirit of respect, reconciliation and peace. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico/RELEASED)

“Through this sacred ceremony on this hallowed setting, we honor the sacrifices of an extraordinary generation, which made possible the gift of peace to generations that followed,” said Walsh. “Today, our quintessential gifts have been the opportunity for a proud, strong relationship with our counterparts from the Japan Self-Defense Force.

“Earlier this year we learned about our strength and the endurance of our friendship. In times of crisis, in an hour of tragedy, at the moment of calamity, we learned about ourselves and the brotherhood of humanity,” said Walsh. “If history ever records a time and a place to learn about the commitment we make to our fellow man, it would be Japan in the days that followed March 11, 2011 where more people came to offer assistance than departed to avoid damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami and radioactive contamination.”

Ford Island Control Tower Blessing Friday at the Pacific Aviation Museum

Tower Blessing Friday at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Media Release:

Stabilization of the Ford Island Control Tower officially begins Friday, February 25, 10am with a blessing, it was announced today by Pacific Aviation Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

“It’s time to begin this long awaited and badly needed Tower stabilization project. The Tower stood guard over Ford Island on the day of the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, so its historical significance is immense,” said DeHoff.

Present at the blessing will be Lance Wilhelm, senior vice president of Kiewit Building Group Inc., the contractor for the stabilization project, along with Project Manager Scott Ruppel, Project Engineer Matt Brannon and Kiewit Business Manager Alma Ohta.

“We look forward to assisting Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in the stabilization of the historic building and control tower that defines the skyline in Pearl Harbor,” said Wilhelm.

This is the second project that Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and Kiewit Building Group have done together. Kiewit Building Group was the general contractor for the current site of the Museum when it opened December 6, 2006.

Also attending the blessing will be Glenn Mason, president of Mason Architects, Inc., architect for the project, and Project Manager Angela Thompson. Commander of Navy Region Hawaii RADM (Rear Admiral) Dixon Smith will also be in attendance, as well as CAPT (Captain) Richard Kitchens, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

It is estimated that $7.5 million is needed to completely restore the Tower.  Former Congressman and now Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie was instrumental in helping to secure $3.8 million through the Department of Defense appropriations for the stabilization and restoration of an historic landmark.

The Ford Island Tower complex constructed in 1941 consists of a 3rd story Aerological Center and Observation Deck on top of the 2-story Operations Building, and the Air Traffic Control Center on top a 158-foot steel water tank tower. The Tower played a major role in the naval activity at Pearl Harbor, especially during World War II.  The Tower is registered as a Category I structure in the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Historic Preservation Plan of 1978.

The Tower and two-story concrete building and its third story observation structure have been in need of attention over the past 30 years and have deteriorated. The steel components throughout the structure which include the tower skin, stairs, landings, ladders, beams, fascia and flanges are experiencing severe corrosion. Many of the components require repair and refinishing, and in some areas complete removal and replacement.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history.

The Museum, located at 319 Lexington Boulevard in Hangars 37 and 79 on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, recently, was ranked one of the “top ten aviation attractions” nationally by TripAdvisor. Phone (808) 441-1000 or visit www.PacificAviationMuseum.org for tickets and more information.