Wednesday was spent on tour. Following a good breakfast burrito in the hotel (What? Mexican food on the islands?) we began a day-long venture to see the sights of WWII. Jeff and I were enlisted to help with the buses of which there were three. We helped with wheelchairs and answered questions.
My bus was the last one and there were only four of us: Scott, a sub enthusiast from Portland; and Alice and James Allen. Mr. Allen served aboard Wahoo on her second war patrol. We spent the time chatting about his experiences on the way to the Arizona Memorial. He related he was the lowest man on the totem pole when he arrived in 1942 but how he made friends with the two other new members of the crew: Ens. Griggs and Henry Glinski. After the second patrol, Allen went on to serve in Silversides and then Scorpion. However, he was burned while working on her batteries and missed patroling aboard her.
At the Arizona Memorial we got our first real taste of history. The introductory movie was a great reminder of the circumstances of the Pearl Habor attack. We rode the boat out to the memorial and silently filed off. The monument's simple elegance reinforced the stark reality that the shattered hulk below us was a massive gravesite. True to all I had heard, the oil still seeps out and makes its way to stain the surface. The slick stills the waters as it gently makes its way down the channel toward the sea.
Next we enjoyed lunch at the Bowfin Museum and toured the outside exhibits. We also found time to crush a penny in the machines located at each toursit spot. My wife Julie loves these and I've been diligently cranking the handles to government currency into a keepsake.
We took the bus back to Ford Island and went aboard the USS Missouri. Our guide was of the stand up comedian variety and his act was highly polished. Through a very informative tour he kept the jokes coming in a sly manner.
While standing near the plaque in the deck where the surrender documents were signed, we were treated to a beautiful sight. Across the harbor a Los Angeles class submarine got underway and headed out to sea. It was a wonderful reminder of Wahoo, who'd made the same trip so many times.
Finally we went to the Pacific Aviation Museum. This newly opened exhibit in a former hanger on the airfield presented an amazing collection of aircraft depicting events of the early stages of WWII: a Zero in a carrier setting; a B-25 decked out as Lawson's Doolittle Raider "The Ruptured Duck"; a F4F Wildcat on Guadalcanal. Definitely worth the extra effort to get there if you find yourself in Hawaii.
We made it back to the hotels late in the day and we were on our own for dinner. Time permitting I will post pictures soon.
Fair Winds And Following Seas
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