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Around The Fleet


Destination Hawaii

Azure blue waters lapping onto warm beaches stretching a spectrum of colors, from a silky smooth pearl white to the blackest of black, stretching as far as the eye can see. Peaks of long extinct volcanoes cut through the vibrant green landscape. Welcome to Hawaii.

Made up of eight islands and more than 20 atolls stretching across the South Pacific Ocean 2400 miles west of California, Hawaii was settled by early Polynesians 1500 hundred years ago and did not see its first European contact until British explorer, Capt. James Cook, arrived in 1778. Just over a hundred years later Hawaii would become a United States territory.

The Department of the Navy established Naval Station, Honolulu on Nov. 19, 1899 and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard was established in 1908.

The following decades were relatively quiet along the Hawaiian Island chain, but December 7, 1941 changed everything. The early morning attack from the Empire of Japan killed 2,335 American servicemembers and 68 civilians. It was followed the next day by the most famous American political speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "a date which will live in infamy". Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. The address is one of the most famous of all American political speeches.

August 21, 1959 after years of legislation and votes, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America.

Today the scars of the Pearl Harbor attacks have faded, buildings were rebuilt and the land reclaimed the craters left by bombs. Only the wreck of USS Arizona, laying at the bottom of the harbor with 1,177 of her Sailors entombed, serves as a stark reminder of the cost of war.
Visitors to this tropical paradise are greeted aloha, e komo mai or hello and welcome.

The same goes towards the Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen who are stationed here. There are many different adventures waiting for servicemembers and their families to embark on.

From surfing the warm Pacific waters to climbing up the extinct volcano known as Diamond Head, Hawaii offers many options for everyone.

Photo collage for the story Aloha, published by All Hands Magazine.

For some orders to Hawaii for two, three or more years, may give a person thoughts of island fever, but for Machinist's Mate (Weapons) 3rd Class Peter Rodriguez that hasn't been an issue.

"It's all about what you make of it, or you can get out and experience Hawaii," said Rodriguez. "When I first got here [two years ago] I took advantage of MWR because they show you around the island."

And that island fever?

I smile spreads across Rodriguez' face, and he pauses for a moment before answering.

"I was told before I came here I'd wish I was in San Diego, but once I got out and experienced Hawaii, I really didn't want to leave. Now when I go on leave, I want to come back to Hawaii, I don't want to stay on leave."

For those PCS'ing to Hawaii with families rest assured that the community strives to make that move across the ocean as easy as possible.

Radford High School at Pearl-Harbor Hickam ensures that families transitioning to Hawaii is a smooth process for new students.

Principle James Sunday, himself a former military child and Radford alumni, uses his experience to makes sure Radford's nationally renowned transition center gives the incoming students not just a warm welcome, but roots to the school and local community.

"I preach to my faculty and staff every single day the importance of giving these kids roots, giving them a home," said Sunday. "You ask a military child where they're from; they can probably tell you three, four, five different places. One of our goals here is to have [Radford] students when they're asked where home is; they say Hawaii."

The MWR Information Tickets and Travel office offers a variety of choices for your next adventure. From scuba diving in crystal clear waters among brightly colored corals and fish or hopping a plane to the neighboring Big Island and viewing nature in its raw form on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii offers more than just sunshine and luaus.