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Five-0 Redux

Exploring Ford Island

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The USS Arizona’s anchor.

To the Hawaiians, Pearl Harbor was called Pu‘uloa and was famous for its fishponds and for being abundant with fish and oysters. Its rich waters helped to feed and nurture our people. Today Pearl Harbor no longer feeds us, but still nurtures our minds with its rich history and stories of brotherly love and heroism. Yet when most of us drive by Pearl Harbor, mostly on our way to the airport, or to attend a weekend Swap Meet or to attend a UH football game at the Aloha Stadium, we usually bypass the turn marked Arizona Memorial Place. We’d never dream of fishing its waters now. The last time many of us have visited the USS Arizona Memorial and the other exhibits that share the memorial area—like the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the memorials on Ford Island, like the USS Utah Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial, were for grade school excursions or Boy Scout outings. But if, like me, you are married to someone in the service or are currently serving or working with the military, you’ve attended your fair share of Hail and Farewells or reenlistment and retirement ceremonies on one or more of these solemn historic places.

Pearl Harbor and Ford Island. —CBS
The USS Arizona Memorial taken on the Battleship Missouri Memorial pier.

In “Ho‘apono,” BM1 Ed McKay tells McGarrett about serving with his grandfather, John McGarrett aboard the USS Arizona. After I swallowed the lump in my throat, as any mention of sailors onboard the Arizona on December 7, 1941 makes me a little misty, I thought of how ingenious the “Hawaii Five-0” writers were at incorporating the tragic story of the attack on Pearl Harbor into the story line of the show.

Makes perfect sense, as it is difficult to separate the story of that infamous day in our history from the history of Hawaii, where our hero and naval officer Steve McGarrett is from and where his namesake grandfather fought aboard the USS Arizona.

The USS Arizona Memorial from the boat dock.

After my excursion with my Missouri expert, Neil Yamamoto, as I wrote about in last week’s blog “Behind the Scenes on the Mighty Mo” which you can read about here, I found that there was more on Ford Island that many of you don’t always get to see. To see the USS Utah you need to have military identification and to visit the USS Oklahoma Memorial you need to have a USS Missouri shuttle ticket. Both memorials are a bit stark, but that almost pinpoints how important they are in our history. They don’t need a lot of fanfare and decoration. The simpleness reminds us that we are looking at the final resting places for many of the souls that perished on that fateful day.

So before I get more misty, let’s take a little “Five-0” Tour of Ford Island and I’ll show you a little bit more of my day with Neil and a few other shooting places from “Ho’apono.”

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  • I’ve learned more about hawaii and its history from you Wendie than in my three visits to the islands and all the books I could get my hands on. This is real cool I had my kids read it my little man is into old ships and military history. Cool see you can take the teacher out of the classroom but ……………

  • I’ve learned more about hawaii and its history from you Wendie than in my three visits to the islands and all the books I could get my hands on. This is real cool I had my kids read it my little man is into old ships and military history. Cool see you can take the teacher out of the classroom but ……………

  • Really great blog, Wendie. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.
    I was in Baltimore on Sunday and docked around the back end of Inner Harbor is the “last survivor of Pearl Harbor,” the United States Coast Guard Cutter Taney. Due to an impending storm, we couldn’t purchase a ticket for the tour, and in truth, she looked a little neglected. I wonder if it’s time they move her out of Baltimore and back home to Pearl among the other magnificent memorials you’ve showcased here.

  • The USS Utah Memorial had 58 men perish on 7 December 1941, 55 of whom are still entombed today, along w/ the ashes of an infant girl named Nancy Lynn Wagner…  Her father served aboard Utah, and she had died in the Phillipines prior to her father being stationed aboard USS Utah…  his intention was to bring her back to the US and bury her properly on American soil in the states…  The attack changed all those plans, and as I understand, Nancy Lynn Wagner, and her father are together forever aboard USS Utah…

  • The answer, and I asked Pearl Harbor Survivors the same question, as to why they come back, why they keep telling their stories, and why they choose to be buried either at sea or back aboard the Arizona, is always the same.

    “I’m doing this for them… for the ones who didn’t make it out alive… the ones who didn’t survive the war, the ones who still have a sweetheart waiting for them at home… I want to be buried with my brothers because they’re the only ones that know what we went through… I have to share their stories the best I can because God left me on this Earth for a reason, and that reason is to make sure that my brothers are never forgotten.”

  • I must say this is a great story. I once lived on Ford Island while my ship was in dry dock. I still remember the bullet holes in the hangers. I am bringing my new wife to the islands for the 70th anniversary of the attack. I just wish my military ID was still valid so we could explore Ford Island and all the history there. Thanks for keeping the memories of those that didnt make it in our minds. Wish you the best. Chuck

  • I must say this is a great story. I once lived on Ford Island while my ship was in dry dock. I still remember the bullet holes in the hangers. I am bringing my new wife to the islands for the 70th anniversary of the attack. I just wish my military ID was still valid so we could explore Ford Island and all the history there. Thanks for keeping the memories of those that didnt make it in our minds. Wish you the best. Chuck

  • I must say this is a great story. I once lived on Ford Island while my ship was in dry dock. I still remember the bullet holes in the hangers. I am bringing my new wife to the islands for the 70th anniversary of the attack. I just wish my military ID was still valid so we could explore Ford Island and all the history there. Thanks for keeping the memories of those that didnt make it in our minds. Wish you the best. Chuck

  • Great story, terrific photos!  The add on by Neil regarding the USS Utah was awesome.  There is so much history out there on Ford Island that not very many people know about. 

    • It was USS Oklahoma… she took at least 7 Japanese torpedoes to her port side on 7 December, 1941…  she was moored EXACTLY where USS Missouri is berthed today.  She lost 429 sailors and Marines…  Inboard of Oklahoma was USS Maryland which did not suffer extensive damage during the attack, as she was protected by Oklahoma…

      • Thank you, Neil! I couldn’t remember the name of the ship! I visited the USS Arizona memorial and USS Missouri 11 years ago and had no idea I was right above the Oklahoma site! Can’t wait to get to Oahu again with the family and take them to Pearl Harbor and everywhere else, too! 

      • Thank you, Neil! I couldn’t remember the name of the ship! I visited the USS Arizona memorial and USS Missouri 11 years ago and had no idea I was right above the Oklahoma site! Can’t wait to get to Oahu again with the family and take them to Pearl Harbor and everywhere else, too! 

  • Wendie,
    Great post and photos. I do hope to be able to visit Hawaii someday. Since I do have a current military ID, you have given me some excellent tips as to where I should visit on the bases there. I usually do visit bases when I travel, but you have given very specific locations including sites where the series filmed. That is a double hit. Thank you for the work that you are doing for us mainland fans.
    Paul
     

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