History You Take For Granted... Right Under Our Noses

May 30th, 2010
By

On an early gloomy and rainy Sunday morning, I made my way down to the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor although that wasn't my intended destination.

As I was driving there, images of what "it was like" started stirring up in my coconut shell and there was no way in the world that I would have been able to come close in imagining how it would have been with bombs, explosions and sun scorching infernos blasting on that day, December 7, 1941.

Movies and pictorials was all I had to fall back on trying to envision that disastrous day - but that wasn't enough. Walking on the hallowed grounds, standing above the memorials and taking a moment - several moments - to reflect, respect and remember what happened nearly 70 years ago wouldn't fit into one day let alone a week.

NEO, a history major and a devoted Kwonic, was extremely gracious enough to stop by - on his day off nonetheless - and be our personal tour guide to one of the most iconic treasures in not only World War II history but in the world itself, the great USS Missouri or more commonly known, the Mighty Mo'.

A very educated history buff with information, facts and stories up the wazoo, it's amazing his head didn't explode from the wealth of knowledge stored up in his noggin'... and he didn't hold back. I was extremely impressed with his thoroughness and passion for not only the Mighty Mo' but for history itself.

As we toured the great ship, NEO painted a vivid picture of how it was like being on board. Simplistic things we take so granted in this automated electronic day was literally "man-handled" back then but with amazing precision and efficiency. Pictures will never do it justice as it is a monument that needs to visited and experienced first hand.

In tribute to all our service men and women (past, present and future) this Memorial Day, follow along as WWD! humbly honors one of the United States greatest treasure resting where it all began in our waters at Pearl Harbor,

E Komo Mai Mighty Mo'! 

 


Two amazing sights... Battleship USS Missouri and the Arizona Memorial

 

The newly renovated - and still renovating - Pearl Harbor Historic Sites is at the very least, very renovated. It has a very modern and ecological redesign as well as making sure not to lose the ambiance of the historic site.

 

The only way to the USS Missouri is by shuttle for civilians as it's docked on Ford Island

 

All 50 state flags line part of the dock in the order of joining the union

  


Some of the massive fire power on board the Mighty Mo'

 

Artillery shells - empty of course - come 6ft tall

 


Hard to see but that little speck in the middle is a boat that will gun you down if you dare enter Pearl Harbor without permission. They even keep an eye out on the Mighty Mo' visitors for any suspicious activity.

 


Under the massive guns the Mighty Mo' is known for and they are hugemangeous! A total of nine 16-inch guns, each equipped with a 65-foot-long, 116-ton barrel that could fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds with pinpoint accuracy - basically from Pearl Harbor to Haleiwa as NEO says.

 

The number signifies how many rounds have been fired from this specific turrent and the map shows the location of hits

 

A very interesting story about the dent made along the railing. Check it out by clicking here.
 


The model is hard to see through the reflection but under each turrent is four levels of mad efficiency. Back in the day, the sailors assigned to the turrent could load all three turrents in less than 30 seconds. Today? In under 15.

 


Tactical command central
 


The view for the tomahawk missles

 

Looks pretty old school huh?
 


Classic

 
 

Future Captain and XO?
 


The view from the upper deck

 


Check out the maze of wiring

 


I didn't chance it
 


The navigation bridge seemed pretty "plain" considering the firepower that was below it

 


:grin:  Do you "see" anything?
 


Notice the bubble level? If the bubble passes "60" on either end, the boat capsizes - not a good thing when you're at sea.
 


 


I'm guessing this was installed after the war
 


Captain's cabin
 


Damage control
 


Damage control crew
 


Pretty tight quarters
 


The view back then at the time of surrender

 


The view today

 

  


There are two instruments of surrender signed - one for the Allies and one for Japan. On the Japan copy, Col. Lawrence Moore Cosgrave from Canada signed his name on the wrong line and thereafter everyone else had to cross out their own name and resign on the succeeding line thereafter.   :oops: 
 


Chicken skin speech
 


It is and will always be an eerie site of the USS Arizona still leaking oil

 
 

The Mighty Mo'
Check out the website by clicking here, http://www.ussmissouri.com/

 

For those planning on visiting Pearl Harbor - a word of advice. Don't try to do both the Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri on the same day unless you have a super sized stamina tank. Even though they are virtually near each other - besides becoming exhausted walking all over - you really do a disservice by "rushing" through.

There are two other attractions to visit (with paying admission) while you're there, the USS Bowfin (attack submarine) and the Pacific Aerospace Museum.

 


Muchos Mahalos again to NEO for coming down on your day off and sharing your mana'o, mo'olelo's and your passion for such an iconic piece of history.  

 

We soon may not remember..... but let's never forget.

 

 God speed to all the service men and women of all of our armed forces.

 

 

 

Hint hint........ Stay tuned for June 1st's blog entry

Hint hint........ Stay tuned for June 1st's blog entry

Hint hint........ Stay tuned for June 1st's blog entry

Did I mention to stay tuned for the June 1st blog entry?   :razz:

 

FOR MORE PICS OF THE MIGHTY MO', CLICK HERE!

21 Responses to “History You Take For Granted... Right Under Our Noses”

  1. Scott:

    That is so cool. I've always been impressed with NEO and it's great to see someone with passion for such a worthy subject matter. I got to spend a lot of time on base while I worked for the state the last couple of years. It was always a privledge to be on that historic base.


  2. matt:

    cool history and pics.
    I still one babooze in suspense


  3. David In Oregon:

    BL: Glad you got to go there. I think every Hawaii resident should go there at least once in their life. The one thing I wish you could have seen, was the USS Utah, located off the other side of Ford Island. Lots of people know about the Arizona, and more recently, the Missouri, but many still don't have a clue about the Utah.

    Having worked on base, I've seen a lot of things the general public hasn't seen. It's sometimes a bit unnerving to stop and look around at things. You see the sides of buildings where bullets from the Japanese planes shot them. You see broken windows, and so many other things. Talk about chicken skin.

    Nowadays, there is the Admiral Clarey Bridge, which allows cars to drive onto the island. When I was there, the bridge wasn't yet built. The only way to access Ford Island, was via a USN ferryboat. Although it is only a short distance from Ford Island to Pearl, the ferry trip seemed to take forever. Sometimes I'd wonder if the operator of the ferry went slow on purpose.

    During the trip, you can't help but look around the harbor. Making the trip, I couldn't help but look around and think of that horrible day. What must it have been like to be there that Sunday in 1941 and see the fleet in flames?

    Thanks for the memories.


  4. zx6r:

    Yes BL,

    I have had the privilege of viewing Arizona side of Ford Island from the top of a ship docked at Pearl Harbor, and it is a somber experience to realize just what happened at that site. From my elevated perch, I could imagine the japanese planes swooping in and the madhouse of activity on the ground as the sailors struggled to respond to the attack. I have visited the Arizona Memorial several times and in never fails to elicit a flood emotions for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of America.

    A fitting subject for Memorial Day. God Bless America.


  5. Makiki:

    Great post and perfect timing!

    As always I enjoyed visiting through your eyes. I feel shame I've never taken the time to visit the memorial. Definately added to the list!

    Alan from Makiki


  6. Coconut Willy:

    Great pics!

    I actually have been on the Mighty Mo. You can feel the history on board.
    Sadly, I haven't made it to the Arizona yet.

    Did you know Japanese groups have been having parties on the Mighty Mo? I wonder if they know the irony?


  7. sally:

    Looking at your pics brought back the memory of when I took a full guided tour a few years ago. Yes, it was interesting, educational, emotional, wonderful all rolled into one experience.

    Thank you for sharing BL, it was worth the wait.


  8. NKHEA:

    Howzit BL :)

    Gatta go, will be back to read latta's ;) :)


  9. hawaiiobsessed:

    Great post BL! Very fitting for Memorial day.


  10. KAN:

    Thanks for reminding us of what's important, BL. Great pix, as always, and great message. NEO - you da man.


  11. Alohikea:

    I spent last Memorial Day at the Arizona Memorial and had the honor of hearing a couple Pearl Harbor survivors speak to the crowd. I was able to get one whole talk on video and feel blessed to have this veteran's words committed to history. God Bless all our Veterans!


  12. NEO:

    BL-Thanks so much for posting this... It was truly my honor and my privilege to be able to share the spirit and the stories of the ship that has truly become my "home." I dunno what it is, but everytime I'm there, I just feel a sense of calmness, and definitely a sense of humility. It's an amazing place to be.

    Scott- Mahalos, IDK what I did to make you "impressed" but t'anks eh? :)

    Matt- Me too brah, I stay in suspense yet too! (Come on BL give us one hint at least!!! WWD?!?!?!

    DiO- The USS Utah was actually a training ship, they used for target practice, it originally was a Florida-Class Battleship, but they had to get rid of it after the Washington Naval Treaty in 1920. She sank on 7 Dec. 1941, with 58 sailors aboard; 54 are still there, including the ashes of one infant girl, named Nancy Lynn Wagner. She died in the Philippines, and her father who was stationed aboard Utah, was going to bring her ashes stateside for burial, but instead she's aboard Utah, with 54 sailors standing guard.

    zx6r- Most def. a flood of emotions, even though I work there every day, the flood of emotions still hits, EVERY time.

    Makiki- mebbe I'm a little biased, but methinks EVERYONE should visit the Missouri at least once in their lifetime.

    Coconut Willy- yep, it IS ironic, but to me, just goes to show how far the two countries have come in the past 65 years.

    sally-do you remember who your guide was? I can pass along kudos if you like. :o)

    NKHEA- hurry back eh? (wea you "gatta" go? au'au? kaukau? moemoe? hehe :o)

    hawaiiobsessed- I TOTALLY agree!

    KAN- nah, I not DA MAN, I just love what I do. BL is DA MAN for writing up this great blog!

    Alohikea- those veterans at the Arizona have some AMAZING stories huh? Glad that you got the story on film... Those guys want to share the story so that we NEVER FORGET.

    Gomenasai, didn't mean to flood the comment stream, but I'm the dude that was lucky enough to take BL and his fam around the ship, and I can't begin to tell you what an honor it was.

    NEO


  13. 9th Island Girl:

    Wow, thanks for the informative post, BL and NEO! As many have already said, it's a fitting post to remember our veterans and those who have died for our freedom.


  14. B:

    thank you for the excellent post. the pics are all awesome. good job Neo.

    to all those who have served or are serving to protect our freedom, we honor you.


  15. Ynaku:

    BL and NEO. Outstanding. We honor all those that sacrificed their life for our freedom


  16. M:

    Howzit BL and NEO!

    Awesome job!


  17. Alan Spelder:

    Great history. Sweet pics. My dad was on this ship. It helps bring the stories to light! Thank you for sharing.


  18. losthawaiian:

    Great article BL. I've always wondered why we never went to Pearl Harbor when we were in school (elem., intermediate or high). I finally got a chance to go about seven years ago when I brought my clan (daughter, son-in-law and grandkids) to visit from cali. The memorial was very moving and the Missouri tour was excellent. My son-in-law, who was born and raised in Mo., was very impressed and took a lot of pictures to share with his dad( a vietnam vet), who's family line have been in Mo. since way before the civil war. We bought him a shirt with the Missouri logo and ship number and he said that he can't walk around anywhere in Mo. without being asked about it. He's very proud of it and understands the historical significance.


  19. HNL2LAS:

    wow, thanks BL and NEO----ooohh NEO sighting.. hee hee..

    Funny how we live here but we never see everything yah?? I was an adult before I went to the Arizona Memorial, and I was lucky enough to paint a tiny bit of the USS Missouri when it came to Hawaii over a decade ago. I had never known the significance of that ship until then! Seeing all the pictures and the info is awesome!


  20. Proud Mom:

    BL and clan, thank you for sharing and for the wonderful photos of the tour. Because I don't do stairs well and can't walk very far, I probably will never get a chance to personally tour not experience the Mighty Mo first hand. Your photos brought that experience to life for me. Thank you. I don't like to brag but I'm Mighty proud of my "Encyclopedia NEO" and the rest of my military family!


  21. Braddah Lance:

    E Komo Mai Alan Spelder and Proud Mom to WWD!.

    And proud you should be Proud Mom. It's rare to find a person with so much enthusiasm for one's job and NEO certainly exemplifies that. I'm glad the pics helped bring the Mighty Mo' to you.