NEWS | May 2, 2024

Utah National Guard to participate in engineering vertical construction at Pearl Harbor – Media Invited

Utah National Guard

Press Release 24-013, April 25, 202

Contact: Lt. Col. Chris Kroeber, 801-716-9063

For Internal Release / Planning

Utah National Guard to participate in engineering vertical construction at Pearl Harbor – Media Invited

DRAPER, Utah – The Utah National Guard invites local media outlets to embed with its unit, the 116th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, as it supports the U.S. Air Force and Marines in restoration of Hangar 79—Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 24-26, 2024, with the main media day being June 26.

Media agencies desiring to attend this event will need to fund their own participation and RSVP by Monday, May 13. The Utah National Guard will assist and escort participating reporters during their visit. Media will have access to visit the project site, interview Soldiers, and take photos and video of work being done.

The Ford Island Historical Restoration Project performed by citizen Soldiers, has taken years of planning and would not come to fruition without National Guard involvement. The Utah National Guard will be supporting a Department of Defense military training opportunity through the Innovative Readiness Training program. The IRT program provides key services and hands-on opportunities for the U.S. military to work, support and leave lasting benefits for American communities, while also providing joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. The IRT is a unique opportunity for Soldiers to receive real-world training while in a simulated deployment setting. For a unit to leave its home state and take everything needed to deploy and complete the mission in a new location is an invaluable training opportunity.

The Utah National Guard has long and historic ties deploying to and working in Hawaii. Utah National Guard’s Company K, Second Regiment of Volunteer Engineers were sent to Oahu during the Spanish American war in August of 1898. They built a barracks at the base of Diamond Head, helped build some other fortifications around the island and helped with the survey of Pearl Harbor.

Four historic Utah units, the 115th Engineer Battalion (historic lineage ties this unit to our current 116th Engineer Vertical Construction Company), 222nd Field Artillery Battalion, 213th Field Artillery Battalion, 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion, all attached to the 40th Infantry Division, were deployed to help rebuild and defend the island following the attack on Pearl Harbor. They served on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. The 115th Engineer Battalion and the 222nd Field Artillery Battalion aided in building defensive fortifications around the islands.

On December 7, 1941, after the initial bombs were dropped, the USS Utah, was moored on the other side of Ford Island and hit by torpedoes at the start of the attack, it quickly rolled over and sank. Fifty-eight of Utah's crew died. The ship was never salvaged and remains where it sank in Pearl Harbor, giving Utah even greater ties to the island and to this mission.

The Utah National Guard is excited to offer media the chance to observe and record this important restoration to one of the most iconic monuments in the United States. With more than two million visitors per year, Pearl Harbor is the most visited site in all the Hawaiian Islands. The 116th Engineer Vertical Construction Company is proud to support this IRT mission to help preserve the history of the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred more than 80 years ago. That single event shocked the entire world and forever changed its destiny.

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Media notes: Media agencies desiring to attend this event will need to fund their own travel costs and RSVP by Monday, May 13.

Refer comments/questions to Ileen Kennedy at 801-403-7655 (text) or email at ng.utngpao@army.mil.  

Address of where the restoration project will take place:

Hangar 79—Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, 319 Lexington Blvd, Bldg. 37, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818

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