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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.

My Pearl Harbor Memories

Well today is considered “Pearl Harbor Day” and we all know what happened that fateful day.

This has been an interesting year for me as I got to join a few others on some exercises that the military did and most of them were at or around Pearl Harbor.

My way of commemorating today will be to put this little post together of the experiences I got to have!  So here are my Pearl Harbor memories from this past year.

It all began over a year ago when I had the opportunity to meet one of the most powerful men I have ever met, The Commander of the Pacific Command, Admiral Willard.

I was too nervous to do anything other then shake his hand and I certainly didn’t want to ask any questions that might have gotten me in trouble!

I guess this event went over well enough so they then invited me go Out to Sea on the Navy Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon.

This was pretty spectacular as I didn’t know a submarine would show up out of nowhere!

Since I got a bit sea-sick on the USS Chung-Hoon, I guess it was the Navy’s way of making sure I didn’t get sick on another trip by bringing me aboard the USS Mercy for a tour of the worlds largest trauma centers… and it floats!

Despite what you may think… we were pretty free to take pictures of most the things we saw on these events!

After the tour of the USS Mercy a couple months later, I got the opportunity to go up in a C-17 and fly from Oahu to the Big Island for a simulated mission.

During the flight they opened the back and did some simulated air drops.  Then the next thing you know they had some F-17’s that were simulating an attack on the plane!

It was cool because when they landed in Kona… they actually let me sit in the cockpit!

It felt weird flying to Kona and then landing… and then taking off again… but that’s just what we did and we returned to Oahu.

The following day I did something that just totally blew my mind… and that was getting the chance to Land on the Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan and getting Catapulted off out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!.

This was pretty cool as I actually got to sit in the Commander’s Chair!

When we first landed we missed the chain that was suppose to catch our plane so we gunned it off the end and made another pass around and then landed safely.  That wasn’t near as exciting as getting catapulted off though!

And while most of the things listed above happened on or near Pearl Harbor… the most recent thing I was able to attend courtesy of the Navy was the practice day at the Kaneohe Air Show where we got to get up close and personal w/ Blue Angels!

So while many people may have bad memories about Pearl Harbor… I certainly can say that all my memories of the place have been pretty spectacular!