PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Leaders from the Pacific Aviation Museum (PAM) and Commander, Navy Region Hawaii signed a lease for the Ford Island air control tower and observation deck during a ceremony on historic Ford Island Sept. 2.
The signing of the lease will allow PAM to start a $7.5 million restoration and stabilization project on the tower and observation deck.
The tower is where a radioman issued the first radio broadcast of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. Exploding bombs shattered lower-level windows during the assault.
"The tower is part of the Navy's history and our country's history, and it is important that we continue to preserve this historical site," said Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. "As the history of Pearl Harbor continues with current and future generations to come, we need to have memorials and reminders of all the important history that happened here more than 65 years ago."
The first phase of the project will include abating the tower and building of hazardous materials, repairing the steel structures around the water tower and observation level, and painting the exterior.
The second phase will include renovating the interior two stories of the Operations Building, from the garage to the observation level.
Kenneth DeHoff, executive director for PAM, explained the importance of renovating the tower.
"Keeping the tower from deterioration is one of our highest priorities and most important projects right now," DeHoff said. "We are extremely grateful to have this opportunity and we're anxious to get started on preserving this important beacon of history."
The 158-foot tall tower is seen by more than two million people a year during their visit to the National Park Service's World War II Valor in the Pacific Monument.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.