Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Ford Island Control TowerJuly 20, 2022
Iconic Pearl Harbor Landmark Open to the Public
The historic Ford Island Control Tower stands as a silent witness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, a memorial to the Greatest Generation and the day “which will live in infamy.”
Now open to the public, you will not want to miss the Ford Island Control Tower at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on your next visit to Pearl Harbor. Keep reading to learn more about the top 5 reasons to add the Control Tower to your Pearl Harbor pilgrimage.
1. Docent led tour shares the story of December 7, 1941 and honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice
A 40-minute guided Top of the Tower Tour offers insight into the full story of the December 7, 1941 air attack. During the experience, visitors will hear the stories of not only the Sailors and Marines aboard the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS West Virginia, USS California, USS Nevada, and USS Utah, but also the stories that share the importance of the Ford Island Hangars, Pearl Harbor Dry Docks, and the Naval Hospital during that fateful morning.
2. Offers a 360-degree view of World War II in the Pacific - from the moment the bombs fell to the signed surrender
Standing 168 feet above ground, you can imagine the waves of Japanese aircraft approaching Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor, viewpoints in your sights. You can visualize the aircraft gliding over the clear blue waters of the Pacific toward Pearl Harbor. Feel the chills come over you as you look out to see the USS Arizona memorial
The Top of the Tower Tour offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the entirety of World War II from one vantage point. Seen from the Top of the Tower, the USS Arizona Memorial represents the beginning of America’s involvement of World War II in the Pacific. The Hangars, dry docks, and Bowfin Submarine represent the rebuilding and strength of American forces that fueled our nation’s response to the Pearl Harbor attack, carrying us through WWII. And, you can see the USS Missouri – on whose decks the Instrument of Surrender was signed ending WWII in the Pacific. The Top of the Tower Tour offers unmatched views that help to tell the story of Pearl Harbor.
3. Experience a moment of remembrance for those who were lost on that fateful morning
The Top of the Tower Tour offers an uninterrupted moment to remember, thank, and honor the fallen at Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, 1941, 2,321 service members were killed at Pearl Harbor and the surrounding airfields. The Ford Island Control Tower, a silent witness to the attack, memorializes the 1,177 of those who died aboard the USS Arizona, 429 aboard the USS Oklahoma, 191 who died on Hickam Field, the 106 and 105 who died aboard the USS West Virginia and USS California, respectively, and all others who fell during the air attack on Pearl Harbor.
As you look out at the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, Ford Island, the hangars, and the rest of the unforgettable view, embrace the moments, feelings and chills as you reflect and honor the service members and civilians who made the ultimate sacrifice on that fateful morning.
4. Be one of the first in decades to experience the Top of the Tower
After undergoing more than a decade of renovation and restoration, the Ford Island Control Tower opened to the public just over a month ago. The Top of the Tower Tour allows us to welcome visitors for an exclusive experience inside the upper control cab for the first time in decades.
With only 120 tickets available for this exclusive experience each day, we invite you to be among the first and the few to witness this new view and experience the Pearl Harbor aviation battlefield.
5. Experience the ascent to the Top of the Tower inside the historic elevator
The view and tour at the top of the Ford Island Control Tower are not the only unique experience provided by taking the Top of the Tower Tour. The tour begins on the bottom floor of the Ford Island Control Tower where visitor board the historic elevator for the ascent to the top.
Installation and construction of the upper control cab positioned at the top of Ford Island Control Tower began on November 15, 1941. The upper cab, positioned on top of the reinforced water tower, was considered important to give the Navy high level viewing of the runway and the harbor. Otis Elevator installed the elevator as part of that project. The upper cab, under construction during the attack, was finished in April 1942. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum began restoration of the Control Tower in 2012, addressing structural integrity, weather-based corrosion and other conditions impacting both the tower and the adjacent Operations Building. Following 10 years of restoration, the historic elevator was finally repaired and renovated to meet modern safety standards. This allowed us to put the elevator back into service transporting guests to the Top of the Tower.