Note: when you re-enlist on the Arizona Memorial it's reserved for just that occasion, there are no tourists allowed (we do it early in the morning before it's open to the public). Myself, my enlisting officer and all my invited guests meet at the Arizona complex across the harbor, and then we are all brought out to the memorial for the ceremony in the same boats that take tourists out. I VIVIDLY recall reciting my enlistment oath on-board the memorial that morning. It's quite a sacred spot, and I swear you can feel the presence of the 1177 sailors and marines who perished on the ship during that horrible morning so long ago, and who are forever entombed below.
I was stationed in Pearl Harbor during the 50th anniversary of the attack, and remember that it was quite a big thing. There were lots of survivors who made the trip to the island for the remembrances and ceremonies. Boy do I feel old...that 25 years seems SO long ago. I was stationed out on Ford Island for both of my Hawaii Navy "tours", and to get to work we had to take either the Ford Island ferry or a "small boat" (50 foot utility craft) back and forth every day. If you missed your boat or ferry by 30 seconds you were going to be 2 hours late for work. Now there is a lovely bridge that connects Ford Island with Oahu. It leaves Oahu pretty much across the street from the Aloha Stadium, and lands on Ford Island on part of the old 9 hole par-3 golf course, just a stones throw away from the USS Arizona (the golf course is now 7 holes). Just beyond the Arizona floats the USS Missouri, a decommissioned battleship guarding her fallen sister. On the back side of Ford Island still lies the remains of the USS Utah, another of the three ships sunk during the raid that were never repaired (the battleship Oklahoma is the third, which was actually raised but was too damaged to be repaired).
Most people don't know about the Utah as there's no touristy trip getting you to it's small memorial, and Ford Island is off limits to civilians being as it's part of Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Yet there she remains, out of the limelight, lying on her side with just small areas sticking up out of the water.
This is the building I worked in during my 2nd tour, Command Oceanographic Systems Pacific (COSP), which was later changed to Command Undersea Surveillance Pacific (CUSP) after our 'mission' was declassified. My office was just inside that doorway at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor. NOPF (from the prior picture) is to the far left of this picture only partly visible (the part that has no windows). You can see the bottom of the microwave tower that goes up from between the two buildings.
"Aerial view of "Battleship Row" moorings at Pearl Harbor on the southern side of Ford Island, 10 December 1941, showing damage from the Japanese raid three days earlier. In upper left is the sunken USS California (BB-44), with smaller vessels clustered around her. Diagonally, from left center to lower right are: USS Maryland (BB-46), lightly damaged, with the capsized USS Oklahoma (BB-37) outboard. A barge is alongside Oklahoma, supporting rescue efforts. USS Tennessee (BB-43), lightly damaged, with the sunken USS West Virginia (BB-48) outboard. USS Arizona (BB-39), sunk, with her hull shattered by the explosion of the magazines below the two forward turrets. Note dark oil streaks on the harbor surface, originating from the sunken battleships."
One of the bigger mistakes the Japanese made that morning was NOT destroying the Pacific Fleet fuel storage depot, which is all those white tanks on the Main base of Pearl Harbor, visible above and to the right of the water plume of the West Virginia. Another of the BIG mistakes was not destroying the Pearl Harbor drydock facilities. Had they been destroyed the Navy would have had to attempt to tow heavily damaged ships to the west coast, which would likely have been very time consuming AND costly (how many of them would have sunk along the way?) On a side note, the last ship I sailed back in 2003 (the USNS Victorious) was put into drydock in Pearl Harbor. It was a fascinating experience, and the drydock we used was HUGE...big enough to handle the WWII battleships and carriers I believe). Also on a very lucky note for us, there were no aircraft carriers in port that day (which was probably the biggest error of their plan). Destroying the carriers was the primary goal of the attack, and with our carriers intact we were able to take the war across the Pacific, eventually to the Japanese mainland and victory.
So I ask you to take a moment this December 7th to pay tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who were stationed in Hawaii on that awful day so long ago.