Ford Island Control Tower
“AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR THIS IS NO DRILL.” These were the first words broadcast from Ford Island as the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor commenced.
For nearly seven decades since, this historic landmark, the Ford Island Field Control Tower, has proudly stood guard over Pearl Harbor and Ford Island – a monument to the brave men and women who fought in WWII. Epic movies such as Tora! Tora! Tora! and Pearl Harbor further immortalized the Tower on the silver screen.
Construction of the 158-foot control tower began in early 1941. At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the tower structure had been about 80% completed and without the aircraft control tower on the top. This portion was finished on May 1, 1942. Originally, it was painted with a solid dark primer. Shortly after completion of the upper control tower, it received a three-tone light gray, medium gray and dark gray camouflage that graced this structure throughout all of WWII and well into the late 1950s.
Contrary to some rumors, the Ford Island Water Tower was never used for submarine training; the much smaller 100 foot tall dive tower is still intact across the East Loch of Pearl Harbor, in the middle of the Submarine Base.
Its familiar red and white paint scheme didn’t appear until the early 1960s and was very evident during the filming of Tora! Tora! Tora! that weather, corrosion, and neglect has taken a drastic toll over the years, threatening to erase this symbol of American resilience and sacrifice. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum has made it a top priority to restore and preserve the tower for future generations.
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization which is dependent on its members, volunteers, and donors for support.