Exploring The Interior Of A WWII Submarine at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

On December 7, 1941 more than 350 Japanese ships attacked Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, the home of the US Pacific Fleet. 

More than 2,000 soldiers were killed during the two hour attack, 1,177 of which died in the battle ship USS Arizona which took a direct hit and sank in less than nine minutes.

Twenty other US ships were sunk or damaged and over 300 airplanes were destroyed, an act that caused the US to officially join the Allies in the fight against Hitler. 

Moored in an inactive part of the harbor sits the USS Bowfin (above), a submarine that sank 44 ships before the end of the war, that has been preserved and is open to the public. 

The Bowfin is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm. A self-guided tour of the submarine and the museum costs $15 for adults, and is free for any military personal in uniform. Visit the official website for more information.

You begin the tour on the sub’s deck before descending a narrow staircase into the belly of the ship.

I would not consider myself to be claustrophobic, but even with all of the hatches open to allow fresh air into the long, narrow boat I still felt uncomfortable at the thought of having to spend any serious amount of time in it.

The controls looked archaic and the living space miniature.

The men who signed up to be closed into the cold body of the sub and lowered thousands of feet into the ocean, with limited radar equipment, were a lot braver than I had ever appreciated.

I got nervous on a twenty minute walk through the Bowfin while it was above the water — those men must have had nerves of steel!

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Exploring a WWII Submarine in Hawaii