Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Pacific Real Estate Business Line (REBL) worked closely in collaboration for over ten years with its lessee, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum (PHAM), to open the doors of the historic Ford Island Control Tower on May 30 after being closed for decades.
The NAVFAC Pacific Real Estate Business Line, through its real estate contracting authority manages the Navy’s lease with PHAM, which allows for PHAM to preserve this important beacon of history at the historic setting of United States’ entry into World War II. The lease parcel showcases multi-level attractions, flight stimulators, and vintage aircraft that benefits the Navy, its community and all visitors from around the world.
The historic Ford Island Control Tower project spanned over 10 years with the restoration process beginning in 2012. The work performed included restoring historic windows and walls, replacing 53 tons of steel in the tower itself to stabilize the structure, adding in air conditioning, and updating ceiling, flooring, electrical conduits, lighting, restrooms, office spaces.
The latest stage completed the refurbishment of the historic elevator, which provides access from the ground floor to the upper control cab. The elevator will allow visitors to ascend 15 stories to the upper cab exhibit and observation deck. A final restoration of remaining exterior windows is slated for later this year.
According to Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Director of Exhibits, Restoration and Curatorial Services Rod Bengston, designer of the exhibit in the upper control cab, the following sites can be seen from the top of the tower:
• The Pearl Harbor National Memorial featuring the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum;
• Battleship Row, where eight U.S. Navy battleships (USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS West Virginia, USS California, USS Nevada, USS Tennessee, USS Maryland, and USS Pennsylvania) were bombed and damaged, with four were sunken;
• Military bases and airfields at Hickam, Wheeler, Bellows, Ewa, Schofield, and Kaneohe, where 188 U.S. military aircrafts were bombed;
• Ewa Plains, where the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service initiated the attack;
• Hospital Point, where the USS Nevada was beached;
• The Ford Island runway, surrounding shipyards, and historic buildings.
To celebrate the commemoration of the Ford Island Control Tower, a ceremony was held on Memorial Day with U.S. Pacific Fleet Director of Maritime Operations Rear Adm. Christopher Cavanaugh and Hawaii’s First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige serving as guest speakers.
“I was honored to be a part of the ceremony,” said NAVFAC Pacific Real Estate Director Hope Marini. “What a wonderful moment in history to witness the connection between the past, present and future both physically and spiritually.”