Day 10 was spent immersed in my passion for military history at one of the world’s most historic sites: Pearl Harbor. After arriving the night before, I set out for Pearl Harbor by public bus. The public buses on Oahu are wonderful. The Hawaiian bus drivers are incredibly nice and helpful. Just tell them where you need to go and they are full of suggestions and will often call out to you to make a transfer. I have been taking buses all day and found everyone of the drivers to be hugely helpful and kind. Trips cost only $2.50 and you get to see more of the island (including areas with large numbers of homeless people).
After visiting the Pearl Harbor museum (which has an actual Japanese Type 91 that was found and detonated). It is still largely piece. It was a remarkably accomplishment for the Japanese, who added wood attachments on the tail fins that would come off after hitting the water. The U.S. assumed that Pearl Harbor was to shallow for an attack. The Japanese proved us wrong. (We would continue to use the Mark 14 torpedo for two years before it was truly functional).
I then took a boat over to the USS Arizona memorial. which is continuing to leak oil after all of these years. The ship is still visible from its gun turret above the water and deck just below. The memorial is quite moving.
Nearby is the USS Missouri where the war came to an end with the signing of the surrender by the Japanese on its deck. So the two ships lay next to each other. One symbolizing the start of the war for Americans and the other symbolizing its end. Truman visited the Missouri repeatedly (Margaret Truman christened the ship). Many (correctly) felt that the war should end on one of the ships that was present at Pearl Harbor but Truman insisted that the ship named after his state would be given the honor. He was wrong in my view. I agree with the many in the Navy who wanted to have the Japanese come to the deck of one of the ships from Pearl. Nevertheless, it was a thrill to stand where the surrender was signed. The most poignant moment came when Douglas MacArthur had As witnesses, American general Jonathan Wainwright, who had surrendered the Philippines, and and British general Arthur Percival, who surrendered Singapore, as his witnesses. Both men had only recently been released from cruel Japanese prison camps (Wainwright was released only a week earlier) and both men weighed no more than 100 pounds. It was a thrill to stand in that very spot. (The surrender may have saved my father’s life since he was due to be in the leading assaults of the Korean invasion as part of the crew of a Landing Ship Tanks (LST)). Near the spot is a slight dent in the superstructure of the Missouri where a kamikaze hit the ship during the Battle of Okinawa. (The Japanese pilot was later found and given a proper military funeral the next day). It was an amazing time on the “Big Mo” which saw service into the 1990s (including the Gulf War).
After exploring Pearl Harbor, I took the bus to near Diamondhead to watch the sunset. I found an incredible spot near the lighthouse where surfers were riding waves.
I made it back via the public bus to the hotel after a glorious day that began at Pearl Harbor and ended with the sunset over Diamondhead.