Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Celebrates 100th Birthday

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) -- It's most famous for what happened on December 7th, 1941 but Pearl Harbor's history dates back much further.

It was a packed house at Pearl Harbor Tuesday to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Naval Shipyard.

Today, we see the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard of the 21st century. When it was established as a coaling repair station a century ago, it was an undredged lagoon. Today, the shipyard is the largest industrial employer in Hawaii and hundreds of its employees mark the centennial with a celebration.

Gary Moniz started working as an apprentice in 1964.

"I rose rapidly through the upper ranks here at the shipyard. The shipyard is an outstanding place to work. It afforded me many opportunities, buying a home, educating my children, feeding my family all the good things we look forward to in life," he said.

A time capsule buried in 1983 was unearthed and replaced with two more. Entertainment included lion dancers, a tree blessing, and the national anthem sung by Hawaii's own Jasmine Trias.

John Thackrah, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy spoke at the ceremony.

"This harbor may only be a tract of land and water but the events that have occurred here have played a pivotal role in defining history. Our naval history, our nation's history, and the world's history," he said.

That history continues to live on in the shipyards employees.

"We had a manager by the name of Mr. William "bull" Bennett and he was a bull. He lived on that vessel to get the work done in a record time of 49 days," Moniz said.

On Saturday, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard will have a family day. It will be the first open house there since 9/11.