Multi-million dollar facelift at Pearl Harbor

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

FORD ISLAND (KHNL) - A multi-million-dollar project to restore precious pieces of history at Pearl Harbor is in the works.

The Pacific Aviation Museum is spear heading a massive facelift at Ford Island to bring remnants of Pearl Harbor back to how they were on that tragic day.

They're reminders of the heroism, bravery and sacrifice shown on December 7, 1941.

Among the buildings bombed during the surprise attack - Hanger 54, Hanger 79, where you can still see bullet holes splattered on the windows, and the control tower, which is deteriorating to the point where it has become a safety hazard.

"The Navy abandoned it in about 1995 and there hasn't been any maintenance work on it since that time. As you see, the glass is all out of the windows, the roof has deteriorated, there's a lot of water immersion right now," said Pacific Aviation Museum Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

To preserve these national landmarks, the Pacific Aviation Museum is raising money for a $100 million facelift. At hanger 79:

"We'll walk people through and show you what life was like on an aircraft carrier as the airplanes would work their way through the maintenance shop, work up and down the elevators and then come out onto the flight deck," said DeHoff.

So far, the museum has raised $15 million.

"This is the restoration shop that was the actual restoration shop in 1941. It was here when the bombing occurred and we have brought the restoration shop back exactly like it used to be," said Anne Murata, the museum's marketing director.

Raising the remaining $85 million over the next seven years could prove tough, especially with the economic crisis. But the Pacific Aviation Museum is banking on the generosity of those who believe that restoring the past is priceless.

"Because of history right, what happened in World War II. Once it's gone, it's gone you can never replace it," said Brian Garrett, a visitor at the museum.

The Pacific Aviation Museum will hold a dinner/dance to help raise money for the project. The 40's style party is December 6th, the night before the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks.