Your Home of the Brave Tour starts as a WWII Army Air Corps uniformed guide picks you up from Waikiki around 6:00am in a comfortable, air-conditioned touring van. This early start is important to beat the crowds at the first stop, Valor in the Pacific Visitor Center and the Arizona Memorial.
Your departure with Home of the Brave Tours marks the beginning of a unique journey back in time to the 1940's. Throughout the day you will hear interesting and historical facts about the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, as well as during, and after World War II. Reminisce to the musical memories of the Glenn Miller Band and live radio broadcasts aired on the "Day of Infamy", including Franklin D. Roosevelt's Declaration of War. World War II veterans and their family members are encouraged to share their own stories.
to Military base operations, actual tour routing and military
sites visited may be changed or substituted without advance
Your first stop on the tour is the Valor in the Pacific Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial. Administered by the National Park Service and located on the Pearl Harbor Navy Base. Your guides will give you all the ins and outs you need to fully enjoy the visitor center including what to bring (and not to bring) and tips such as where to sit for optimum viewing of the memorial.
You will visit the historical museum and view a 23-minute documentary film on the attack of Pearl Harbor. Via the Navy shuttle boat, you will board the Arizona Memorial, which is the final resting place for the majority of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives during the Pearl Harbor attack. The USS Arizona Memorial was constructed to honor American servicemen and civilians who were killed on December 7, 1941. Other military sites were also attacked, killing 2,390 Americans; over 320 aircraft were destroyed or damaged and 21 vessels were sunk or damaged.
Because the USS Arizona accounted for almost half of the casualties, it has become the central symbol of commemoration. Pearl Harbor - December 7th 1941, a date which will "live in infamy", is one of the most well remembered and significant events in the history of our nation and acted as a catalyst in bringing the U.S. fully and actively into WWII with the rallying cry "Remember Pearl Harbor".
"This tour was excellent. It was very
interesting to visit all of the places I had read about --
it makes the whole day on December 7, 1941 very real."
- J. Davenport
Wheeler Army Airfield
On your way to Wheeler Army Airfield, your guide will keep you immersed in the romance of the era with vintage movie footage playing on the on-board movie screen, as well as pointing out points of interest on the maps and photos that adorn your vans "cabin".
The next stop on the tour is Wheeler Army Airfield, constructed in 1922, it was the site of several major historic aviation events prior to December 7, 1941. Among them, the first non-stop Mainland to Hawaii flight in 1927, the great Dole Derby air race from California to Hawaii, the first trans-Pacific flight from the U.S. to Australia in 1928, and the first Hawaii-to-Mainland solo flight in 1935 by Amelia Earhart.
On December 7th, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft attacked Wheeler Army Airfield without warning. The main objective of the enemy was to destroy the Hawaiian Air Force, thus eliminating any air opposition so they could cripple the U.S. Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. Your guide will give you an analysis of the Army Air Corp pilots heroic response to the attack while flying against incredible opposition from the enemy. You'll hear an account of our first two aces of the war, Lt's Ken Taylor and George Welch.
Wheeler Army Airfield was home to the 15th and the 18th Pursuit Groups, flying P-36's and P-40's. Today it is home to the 25th Infantry Aviation Brigade. You can photograph a P-40 World War II fighter plane used in the movie, "Tora Tora Tora" and drive along the flightline where Japanese dive-bombers destroyed and set ablaze hangars while fighters strafed rows of American aircraft neatly positioned on the airfield.
"An outstanding day - both for myself,
my wife and my two children. The guides' enthusiasm and wealth
of knowledge really brought the trip to life. Great use of music
and video, we'll be back again!" - M. House Schofield
Schofield Army Barracks
The next stop along the tour, filmed in the movie "From Here to Eternity", is Schofield Barracks, the largest Army Base outside the Continental United States. Japanese attack aircraft flew over Schofield where they "warmed up their guns" on the way to bomb Wheeler Field and Pearl Harbor. After the attack, the 24th & 25th Divisions at Schofield Barracks were deployed to the north and south shores to defend against further attacks.
In 1942, the division began their deployment to the South Pacific, landing in Guadalcanal, the Solomons, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Phillippines. You'll visit the museum dedicated to the history of the 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" where you will enjoy World War II pictures, tanks and weapons. This proud division courageously served in combat throughout WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam conflict, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. On Mondays (Museum closed) we visit the United by Sacrifice Memorial which honors the soldiers of 4 different wars.
"Excellent job! Makes history more
meaningful. Professional and accurate. Need to get kids at an
early age to be exposed to this kind of presentation."
- T. Piants
Traveling on to Fort Shafter, the oldest U.S. Military base on Oahu completed in 1907, it looks identical to the way it looked on December 7, 1941. From 1921 through WWII, Fort Shafter served as an anti-aircraft artillery post and on December 7, 1941, the Coast Artillery batteries established gun positions on the parade ground and sustained the only known casualties at Fort Shafter. The "Pineapple Pentagon" (nickname of the headquarters for the U.S. Army Pacific Command) is situated here among stately plantation-style homes.
You'll drive along beautiful Palm Circle which was strafed on December 7, 1941 and view Lt. General Walter T. Short's famous residence - Quarters 5. General Short was in charge of security for the Hawaiian Islands and Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. You'll see a beautiful fountain built by Italian prisoners of war, King Kamehameha's cannon, and enter the "Pineapple Pentagon", where you will view historical bronze-works and paintings, and admire the many battle-flags earned by the U.S. Army in the Pacific. Also on display are the names of almost 400 U.S. Army soldiers that are recipients of the Medal of Honor. Because of Home of the Brave's special relationship with military personnel, you are often greeted and addressed by present day high ranking officers who are stationed on the base.
At the Fort Shafter Military Club you will enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch overlooking the club's golf course, providing you with the opportunity to visit with your fellow travelers and hear their stories.
"I come every year to Hawaii and take
the Home of the Brave Tours. It gets better every time!"
- T. Romero
Punchbowl National Memorial
After lunch, travel to one of the more spectacular vantage points on Oahu. Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery is known to the Hawaiians as Puowaina, or "Hill of Sacrifice", this is the final resting place of more than 30,000 American Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen. Among those buried here are 586 Pearl Harbor victims, Medal of Honor recipients, Ernie Pyle (the famous WWII war correspondent) and many "unknowns" from wars in the Pacific. Here you will see the Statue of Columbia, surrounded by marble columns containing the names of more than 10,000 Americans missing in action in the Pacific.
As you make your way to the Home of the Brave Museum, enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Honolulu, including the State Capital Building, the Statue of "Father Damien", Washington Place (the Governor's Mansion), the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial, Iolani Palace and it's adjacent guards quarters, King Kamehameha's statue, the Territorial Office Building, one of the oldest Christian churches in the islands (built out of blocked coral), and the Honolulu Advertiser Newspaper building.
Home of the Brave Museum and Gift Shop
Last but certainly not least, you will visit the Home of the Brave Headquarters museum and gift shop...
Undoubtedly, our guests favorite stop of the day is at the Home of the Brave museum. This exclusive and nostalgic WWII museum honors the brave men and women who fought courageously during WWII. It is filled with fascinating artifacts and stories from veterans and their families that have visited over the years. We host one of the largest and most unique collection of 1940s memorabilia and photographs that represent America's greatest generation. End your day with a step back in time to the 1940s to reminisce with the sights and sounds of an era that would change the course of history forever.
"This is the best tour I have ever taken."
- J.R. Dietz
"Out of the eight tours we took in Hawaii, this was
undoubtedly the best!"
- B. Wilder
"We just wanted to thank you for a GREAT tour! We
could not get over how knowledgeable Olav was regarding the
events leading up to and surrounding Pearl Harbor. Olav started
telling stories when we got on the bus at 6:15am and did not
stop telling stories until we got off the bus at 2pm. As someone
who thought they understood what happened at Pearl Harbor
from books and movies, I have to say, I learned more in eight
hours than I have in the previous 46 years about Pearl Harbor."
Marty, Prina and Gabriel