Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Pearl Harbor, HI
The Valor in the Pacific Memorial – the USS Arizona site — is the destination in Pearl Harbor and how best to remember that “day which will live in infamy.”
The Valor in the Pacific Memorial is managed by the National Park Service. They limit the flow of people out to the Arizona through a ticketing process that is complicated but that is completely detailed on their web site (see below). You will start your visit at the Visitors Center where you will absolutely want to view the 23-minute documentary on the attack as well as look at various interactive exhibits on the prelude to war. You may rent headsets in almost any language; the Navy runs the shuttle craft out to the site. Expect to spend 2 ½ hours here.
Hours: Daily: 7am – 5pm
Street Address/GPS Address: 1Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI 96818
Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor, HI
Said General Douglas MacArthur. “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain with death — the seas bear only commerce — men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight…”.
That speech was broadcast to the world from surrender deck of the battleship USS Missouri. It made the Missouri one of the most celebrated ship in the Navy but by no means did it end her seafaring career. From World War II she went on the serve in Korea in the 1950s and then in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. She was decommissioned in 1992 and returned to Pearl Harbor in 1999 to be berthed as a museum ship.
The Missouri has been restored to her World War II battle colors and her interior spaces have exhibits that show a ship at sea, but don’t expect a lot of glitz and flash. Maintaining her period authenticity has been a guiding principal. Audio sets are available for self-guided tours but there are several optional guided tours. The Surrender Deck is included in all tours.
Hours: Daily: 8am – 4pm
Street Address/GPS Address: 63 Cowpens St., Honolulu, HI 96818
USS Bowfin Submarine and Museum & Park, Pearl Harbor, HI
Launched exactly one year to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Bowfin was called “The Pearl Harbor Avenger.” She completed nine major combat patrols in the Pacific and is credited with 16 large Japanese vessels sunk plus 22 others. . The surrender of Japan occurred as she embarked on her tenth patrol.
The Bowfin stands as a tribute to the submarines and submariners lost in service to our nation during World War II. Her exhibits include battle flags, ship’s bells, models, an example of a Regulus cruise missile, a Poseidon SLBM missile (which carried multiple 40 kiloton warheads), and one of the infamous manned Japanese suicide torpedoes. You can enter the submarine and tour the museum on your own or elect the optional VIP tour conducted by former submarine commanders ($600 for a group of up to six). You can also buy tickets that combine the Bowfin with the other Pearl Harbor museums. See https://visitpearlharbor.org/pearl-harbor-tours/
Hours: Daily 7am – 5pm
Street address/GPS Address: 11 Arizona Memorial Drive, Honolulu, HI 96818
Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor, HI
The final piece of any Pearl Harbor remembrance would be a stop at Ford Field. Here you will discover the exceptionally well done Pacific Aviation Museum and learn the full story of the Japanese air attack not only on the ships but on Ford Field, too. Start in the old Hanger 37 and see the 12-minute movie on the attack. Then walk the exhibits starting with an actual Japanese Zero fighter presented in a diorama depicting the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu with surrounding audio effects. Hanger 37 has several World War II era planes. They is a B-25 Mitchell like the one Doolittle used to strike back against Japan, a P-40 Warhawk, one of the war horse of the CBI Theater, a Navy SBD Dauntless dive bomber used against the Japanese fleet, and an F4F Wildcat fighter which bridged us over in the early days of the war.
Continue on to Hanger 79 and see the bullet riddled glass on both ends (yes, those are from the attack). This hanger is literally overflowing with a well preserved assortment of military aircraft all restored to their period colors and markings. Among the planes you’ll see are a B-17 bomber, most of the Century series fighters (the F-100, F-102, F-104, F-105), many of our Korean- and Vietnam-era helicopters (the Kiowa, Choctaw, Cobra, Seahawk, and Sea Knight, among them), plus the modern fighter jets (the F-14, F-15 and a F-111 Aardvark fighter-bomber of the Gulf War).
Docent guided tours are available or you can do a self-guided tour with their audio. To round out your visit try your hand in a flight simulator, stop for a snack in the café, or visit the gift shop. Various vendors offer ticket packages that combine this destination with the Bowfin, Missouri, etc.
Hours: Daily: 8am – 5pm
Street Address/GPS Address: Historic Ford Island, 319 Lexington Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96818