Pearl Harbour, Oahu
Still at her mooring blocks, The USS Arizona lies in 38 feet of the Pacific ocean with 1,177 men who went to their watery graves the morning of December 7, 1941.
The memorial was created in 1962 and was built to traverse the battleship like a cross. At low tide the Arizona's main deck is visable above the waterline.
An interesting fact: when monies were being raised to build the memorial the donations were few and far between. Until it came to the attention of Elvis Presley. He did a one night show which yielded $62,000. Congress then authorized $150,000 and the State Legislature added another $50,000.
The rusting battleship is slowly leaking out the oil and fuel she carried on that fateful day. Plans are in the works to shore it up.
Take the US Navy tour:
The U.S. Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours begin on an average of every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
We booked a shuttle through RELIABLE to this solemn memorial on Sunday morning. We were picked up at 8:20 a.m. and arrived around 9:10 a.m. The cost was $36.00 for three of us, plus a tip.
(pic #2) You'll be given a ticket at the visitors center designating the time you board
(pic #3) The shuttle boat takes you to the site.
(pic #4) The gift shop, where you'll find memorabilia related to this event
Our guidebook urged us to be at the memorial by 7-7:30 am, but our driver said that he had dropped people off at that time and the line was triple to what we experienced at a later arrival.
A small museum displayed artifacts, models of various ships, torpedos, maps and other pertinent information on the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An audio tour of the museum is available. After this we waited for our tour to be called....
*There is no charge to tour the USS Arizona Memorial. At the visitor's center a 23 minute movie is shown of the Battle of Pearl Harbor before boarding the shuttle.
Just as the USS Arizona memorial signified the start of WW2 for the U.S., the USS Missouri completes the circle since it's where the Japanese surrendered. This was the "world's last operational battleship" and the last one commissioned by the U.S.
To begin your tour, you must locate the USS Bowfin submarine at Pearl Harbor. It's here that you purchase your ticket (about $16 each) and catch the bus taking you to the USS Missouri, affectionately referred to as Mighty Mo.
Once you board the ship, you'll be moving clockwise to the various sites:
the main battery
the wardroom and museum exhibit
Kamikaze attack site,
tomahawk deck (added in the 1980's),
a view of their weapons system
see their flying bridge and conning tower
the surrender deck
Certainly, everyone visiting Oahu knows the history behind Pearl Harbor: on Sunday morning 7 December 1941 a Japanese surprise attack nearly destroyed the entire U.S. fleet docked at the U.S. Naval Base there. Yet, visiting the memorial run by the National Park Service will make it real like never before. First, you will see a short film covering the entire Battle of Oahu -- the Japanese also attacked Hickam Air Base, Schofield Barracks, Honolulu Harbor and other points on the island. Then you'll take a short boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial, which lies astride the sunken vessel itself. I didn't realize until I got out there that you can still see some of the USS Arizona from the platform of the memorial and that oil still leaks from the fuel tanks below deck -- it has continued in a slow trickle since 7 December 1941!. Finally, you'll be reminded that over 1000 sailors still lie entombed in the USS Arizona, victims of the attack. It was a lot more moving than I expected.
War is a bad thing and there are places like this that you can see why. Of course, from a natiolalist point of view it depends on which side you are with but then you will miss the point. The 15‘ we stayed on Arizona Memorial gave us food for thought about human nature...
Anyway, Pearl Harbor bay is famous all over the world for the japanese attack on December 7, 1941. More than 300 japanese planes managed to cause 2403 deaths of us soldiers in less than 2 hours! 9 vessels sunked and 12 other seriously damaged. So, yes, there is a lot of history here. The Arizona Memorial shows respect to those that died that day, the USS Bowfin submarine and the Missouri Battleship will put you inside a little more while the surrounded museums will fill the last question you may have. You will need half a day to see everything though.
Upon your arrival at Pearl Harbor you have to orient yourself! You have to know where everything is because some sights are away from here so you have to plan ahead the order of the things you will see. The visitor center and the museum for the Arizona Memorial and the Bowfin Submarine are located next to each other but Missouri Battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum are on Ford Island. A shuttle bus will take you there, it departs near the luggage store, it’s free but you have to show your ticket of the USS Missouri or The Pacific Aviation Museum for boarding.
Then prepare for long queues! First you have to go to the right at the luggage store and leave there your backbacks, purses or camera bags! It costed us $3. Don’t worry about water, you will find free tap water and there is also a cafe. Then proceed to the box office for your tickets. Spend time and decide in advance what you want to see. Some sights are for free, for some others have a fee, but for all of them you need a ticket anyway. We took our free tickets for Arizona Memorial at 8.15 but we’ve been told that we had to be at Arizona Memorial museum at 9.15. So, we spend the 60‘ at the Bowfin Submarine and the Submarine museum, then we visited Arizona Memorial and then the Ford Island. If you have to wait more than 2 hours go to USS Missouri/Pacific Aviation Museum first. If you just want to visit Arizona Memorial you can wait at the cafe and drink something.
Here’s the tickets prices(2009):
USS Bowfin, Battleship Missouri & Pacific Aviation Museum $37
USS Bowfin & Battleship Missouri $24
USS Bowfin & Pacific Aviation Museum $22
Battleship Missouri & Pacific Aviation Museum $28
USS Bowfin only $10 (incudes a small museum)
Battleship Missouri only $16
Pacific Aviation Museum only $14
Arizona Memorial free
As we disembarked, we were told not to take any photos or talk in more than a whisper. We were to enter the memorial respectful of the men entombed below on the USS Arizona (pic #2).
As we moved to the back of the memorial through a narrow doorway, a room opened up before us and an entire wall enscribed with the names of those who lost their lives on this ship appeared.
At the left side of the wall memorial, another list was etched in stone--men who survived the bombing but desired to be placed with their shipmates after passing on later in life.
pic #3 Oil leaking from the submerged vessel (Tears of the Arizona)
pic #4 Boy Scouts presenting a wreath in front of the wall (pic # 4).
Although Pearl Harbor offered a tour of the USS Bowfin, too, we didn't have time to visit this 1942 submarine. If you have time, this info. might help.
The tour takes about a half hour and costs $10, less for children 4-12. It's located to the right of the visitors center and where you purchase tickets to the USS Missouri.
The USS Bowfin successfully sunk over 40 subs during WW2. A self guided tour takes you throughout the sub, giving visitors a taste of what life would have been like inside this narrow metal tube. A submarine museum close by is said to be worth viewing, as well.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Where WWII Ended with the Surrrender of the Japanese Forces. With over six decades of life at sea and 60,000 tons to explore, the Battleship Missouri Memorial is an interactive educational and inspirational monument.
This is probably the busiest attraction in Oahu, the long queues all seasons prove that. You have to be there early in the morning to get your ticket that states the exact time you will be allowed to get into the Arizona Memorial Theatre. We had to wait only 60‘ (there are other things to do here anway so don’t worry but I’ve heard some people had to wait for hours during high season!).
Actually, Arizona Memorial has two different sections. First, you visit the Visitor Center where the souvenir store is and you can spend some time till you see your time that your tour begins on the screens, dont go earlier they wont allow you to enter. Then, by showing your ticket, you get inside a theater where you watch a documentary film with the historical facts of what happened that day, the Day of Infamy, on December 7, 1941. Arizona battleship was one of 21 vessels that received direct hits from the more than 300 japanese planes. It sank in less than ten minutes and of course many of its men died inside it, 1177 in total. USS Arizona was one of the sunken ships that never been able to be risen again.
After the short documentary, you will board on a boat (!) and you visit the second section of the Memorial (pics 1-2) which is an offshore shrine over tthe midsection of the sunken USS Arizona battleship!. Don’t forget that the ship became the final resting place for some of the us troopers that lost their lifes during the japanese attack.
What you can see here is an entire wall that lists the 1177 names (pic 3). While you wait for your boat to come again you can enjoy the view around the Memorial and see also the USS Missouri Battleship which is near (pic 5). Pic 3 shows oil floating up under the memorial, it’s what they call the Tears Of Arizona!
The Arizona Memorial is open daily 7.30-17.00.
Keep your ticket as a souvenir! At the back of it you will find a biography of a US soldier that served US army in Pearl Harbor during WWII. Every ticket is different of course.
The souvenir store has some a big variety of magnets ($3), postcards and some nice illustrated books.
The USS Missouri battleship is a must if you are really into military history or you love automobiles and boats.
It’s 270 meters long and it was launched at the end of WWII. Some other important facts about it are that it participated in the battle of Iwo Jima and after the war it was its deck that the formal Japanese surrender took place! It is the last us battleship.
First you have to purchase your tickets at the box office which is next to USS Bowfin submarine. The ticket for USS Missouri Battleship costs $16 or $28 for the combine ticket that includes the Pacific Aviation Museum. The Missouri battleship is on Ford Island, which is an active military base so you can’t drive upon the bridge, just take the shuttle bus near the box office.
You will need much more time than for the USS Bowfin submarine because it’s big enough with many stairs also. Many corners need time and don’t forget to use the audio tour if you don’t have a guide with you.
There are so many things to see here on Mighty Mo (its nickname), the wardroom that houses an axhibition now, the deck where the japanese surrender took place, the missile launchers and other weapon systems, the main and secondary battery etc There is a delux tour which takes about 2 hours but we were very tired and skip it but if you want to know details of every gun or machine on the battleship you’ll like it.
This is the reason we wanted to see Hawai'i, but wanted to see U.S.S. Arizona foremost.
To board the memorial, you need to make sure you have a ticket which is free. You have to see a movie and from there you board a boat provided by the navy. Be aware, they can cancel the boat ride if the waters get too choppy. Best time to see the memorial is first thing in the morning. They expect folks to be cordial and respectable because it is a somber place to visit.
The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The 184-foot-long Memorial structure spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship and consists of three main sections: the entry room; the assembly room, a central area designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the Arizona are engraved on the marble wall.
The USS Arizona Memorial grew out of wartime desire to establish some sort of memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those who died in the attack. Suggestions for such a memorial began in 1943, but it wasn't until 1949, when the Territory of Hawaii established the Pacific War Memorial Commission, that the first real steps were taken to bring it about.
Initial recognition came in 1950 when Admiral Arthur Radford, Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), ordered that a flagpole be erected over the sunken battleship. On the ninth anniversary of the attack, a commemorative plaque was placed at the base of the flagpole.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who helped achieve Allied victory in Europe during World War II, approved the creation of the Memorial in 1958. Its construction was completed in 1961 with public funds appropriated by Congress and private donations. The Memorial was dedicated in 1962.
According to its architect, Alfred Preis, the design of the Memorial, "Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends, expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory....The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses...his innermost feelings."
Bowfin was launched on 7 Dec 1942 and nicknamed the Pearl Harbor Avenger. Bowfin claimed 39 Japanese merchant ships and four Japanese military ships sunk. The single French Vichy French merchant ship - Van Vollenhoven - which was sunk off Saigon in convoy with Japanese ships. CDR Alden lists two more unidentified vessels that Bowfin may have sunk, and one large seaplane carrier/tanker that was damaged by a Bowfin torpedo. Mines laid by Bowfin on her third patrol may have sunk or severely damaged at least two other ships. Thirteen small craft were also sunk by her deck guns.
USS Bowfin remains a legend, for among these 188 submarines, Bowfin ranks 17th in tonnage and 15th in number of ships sunk. Fifty-two of 288 combat submarines (almost one out of five) and 3,505 out of 14,750 WWII U.S. submariners (almost one out of four) began their "eternal patrols" before Japan surrendered.
Arizona Memorial Museum Association
A non-profit association cooperating with the National Park Service, the Association operates a bookstore at the USS Arizona Memorial that provides visitors with educational material about the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific.
We visited the USS Bowfin submarine (pic 1) early in the morning at about 8.30! I know it’s too early but the submarines aren’t like your cruise ship, you really have limited of space to move around so it’s better to see it without anyone else inside (there was another couple that got inside and left in 5’! I don’t know what they were expecting).
First of all take advantage of the free audio tour, it will help you to understand every little button you see. At some parts of the submarine a lady gave us some extra information too. The audio tour focus on the daily life of the crew and how they managed to live in such a small place. You can see all the small and big buttons of the submarine (pics 2-3) but also the sleeping areas (pic 4), the kitchen (pic 5) etc Definitely, it wasn’t a place for people suffering of claustrophobia!
The submarine launched in 1942 and sank 44 ships before the end of WWII, I guess it was a good number.
The ticket for the Bowfin Submarine costs $10 and includes the small museum next to it.
After the USS Bowfin submarine we had a little time to visit the small submarine museum that is located next to it. The ticket for the Bowfin Submarine costs $10 and includes the museum
The museum is small enough so it won’t be boring for you and has some nice items with good information (use the free audio tour). It focuses on the development of submarines, you can see original parts of real submarines (pic 4), scale models (pic 5), photos etc
Between the entrance for Arizona Memorial and the USS Bowfin submarine is a small park with missiles and other weird items like torpedos etc Of course, it’s normal for a military base to decorate like that the place, isn’t it? Take some photos of the Arizona Memorial that you can see on the distance and continue your way.