The relics of World War II symbolize an era in history, which many people don’t get the chance to see in their lives.
Taking a step into history, 18 leathernecks from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, were given the opportunity to visit some of the sites and see what the war looked like while participating in a period of Professional military education in Aiea, March 26.
Visiting the USS Arizona War Memorial, the USS Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, the Marines not only listened to old stories, but got to touch history as they toured the innards of the Missouri.
Stepping away from the standard Professional Military Education procedure, which regularly takes place in a classroom environment, the Marines got the chance to view history up close.
“The intent of this exercise was to familiarize Marines with the events of the pacific battles in World War II,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Hazard, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, S-3. “It familiarized them with the history, from the start [of the attack at Pearl Harbor] to the end of WWII.”
Hazard said it was the battalion commander’s intent to get Marines out and do something a little different. Hazard said he figured getting them out on tours would be more beneficial than sitting and watching a movie or listening to a lecture.
Donning the Service “C” uniform, the 21st century Marines went from the era of internet and cell phones, to ‘a day that will live in infamy.’
After a short video brief on the attack on Pearl Harbor, they embarked on their own epic journey in history as they were shuttled out to the memorial.
They viewed the remains of the Arizona and a wall with the names of the service members who lost their lives on the attacked vessel.
“I’m motivated to be out here,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan J. Scott, supply clerk, S-4. “I saw a couple Scotts on the wall and I want to look up their names [to see if they were related].”
From the Arizona Memorial, the group moved to the USS Missouri where they received a guided tour of the ship and the opportunity to sit at some of the battle stations and view the cramped living quarters where Marines and Sailors resided.
“It’s amazing to see how small the living quarters were inside such a large ship,” said Lance Cpl. Alex Orozco, comptroller, MARFORPAC. “I couldn’t imagine being on a ship while it’s being attacked.”
After a break for lunch, the Marines launched their final campaign to the Pacific Aviation Museum for another guided tour.
There, they viewed a restored Japanese Zero, an American A-36 Apache and an A-24 Dive Bomber. They also learned about Japanese tactics and how the U.S. fought the air battle against them during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hazard said the Marines get more out of actually touring the memorials. Plus they’re representing the Marine Corps and in a public setting.