Arizona Memorial to be reconstructed


POSTED: Sunday, March 22, 2009

Test pile drivings will begin later this month at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center site at Pearl Harbor as work begins on a $58 million program to rebuild the tourist destination's facilities.

Watts Constructors LLC was awarded a $32.6 million contract in September as part of the first phase, which includes a new 17,750-square-foot visitor center. Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc. has been hired as the project's pile-driving subcontractor. The existing visitor center will remain open during construction.

Phase 2, which will begin in early 2010, includes demolition of the existing visitor center and construction of new exhibit pavilions. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii is administering the construction. The estimated completion date for this project is September 2010, with a formal opening planned for Dec. 7, 2010.

The new complex will house state-of-the-art exhibits and accommodate 1.5 million people, 362 days a year. It will include a ticket office, concession, administrative and support areas, exhibit space, theaters and restrooms, plus site improvements such as crosswalks and walkways, security walls, fencing, landscaping and vehicle and bus parking.


Brig. Gen. Lloyd Miles, who took the 25th Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team to Iraq in 2004, will return to the area as commanding general of Coalition Military Assistance Training Team, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq. He is now deputy commanding general and assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry Center and School, Fort Benning, Ga. The Iraqi deployment was the largest for the Tropic Lightning Division since it was sent to Vietnam in 1965.


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Vincent Okamoto, a Vietnam War veteran, will be the keynote speaker next Sunday at the 66th-anniversary luncheon of the formation of the World War II 442nd Regimental Combat Team at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

James S. Burns, retired chief judge of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, will serve as master of ceremonies. The luncheon, which will begin at 10:30 a.m., is being held on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Burns' father, the late Gov. John A. Burns, a supporter of equality for Japanese-Americans.

Okamoto was born in an internment camp during World War II and served in the Army in the Vietnam War, earning a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters, and induction into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Americans of Japanese ancestry, is the most decorated unit of its size and duration of service in the Army's history.


The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. presented its 2009 Congressional Award to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, for his outstanding service to national defense, homeland security and veterans, service members and their families. The VFW Congressional Award has been presented annually since 1964 to one member of the House or Senate for significant legislative contributions on behalf of veterans and military service personnel. U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye received the same award in 1987.


Pearl Harbor

» Rear Adm. Thomas C. Traaen, Pacific Fleet deputy chief of staff for logistics, fleet supply and ordnance, will be assigned vice director for logistics for the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.

» Cmdr. Gary Pinkerton has assumed command of the nuclear attack submarine USS Tucson, relieving Cmdr. Paul Spear.