By Ana Maring
Eighty-one years ago this week, Sailors and civilians turned the tide of the War in the Pacific. The shipyard each of us call home today played a pivotal role ensuring our Pacific Fleet was ready to surprise the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) at the Battle of Midway. A couple weeks before the carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) would arrive at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Navy cryptologists, linguists, and intelligence personnel broke IJN’s code in the basement of our historic Building 1 at what was then called Station HYPO. The Nō Ka ‘Oi (best) work of this team who were forerunners of modern information warriors gave the Navy critical intelligence to secure its first major naval victory against Japan at the Battle of Midway in World War II.
On May 28, 1942, a war torn and battle damaged Yorktown floated into the very same Dry Dock #1 where USS Hawaii (SSN 776) now sits. A three-month repair estimate from the shipyard was announced. However, intelligence analysts from Station HYPO had convinced Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz that the IJN would strike Midway Island June 4, 1942, resulting in a near impossible repair timeline to return Yorktown to the Fleet – three days! This is when our Nō Ka ‘Oi legacy was created.
With water still draining from the dry dock, our civilian workforce wasted no time getting the ship back into fighting shape. More than 1,400 tradesmen would work around the clock for 72 hours to get the job done. Even our island community contributed with a series of rolling blackouts throughout Oahu to support the vast electricity needed for the enormous welding effort. Then on the morning of May 30, with shipyard workers still on board finalizing repairs, Yorktown steamed out of the Pearl Harbor channel on a course straight to the battleground of one of the most decisive victories in history.
In 1942, ahead of the Battle of Midway, our workforce saw the unprecedented challenge of Yorktown and met it with Nō Ka ‘Oi work and effort. Eighty-one years later, the legacy continues of repairing our fleet’s force on time, every time. Just last week, USS Michael Murphy completed her maintenance period three days early!
Pacific Fleet, the most combat ready naval force on the planet, is supported by the vital maintenance done at PHNSY & IMF. Today’s workforce continues the Nō Ka ‘Oi spirit set by those who have gone before us, – those who did not back down, did not give up, and gave their best. Our challenges may be different, but our dedication remains the same. They were Nō Ka ‘Oi, we are Nō Ka ‘Oi!