For a night, history was alive for the HPU men's basketball team aboard the USS Missouri
Courtesey Brent Curry, HPU Sports Information
PEARL HARBOR, Hawai'i - It is the nightmare scenario that twenty-something-year-olds dread - giving up their cell phones for a night.
It was on the site, Pearl Harbor's Battleship Row, where a very real and different nightmare unfolded for twenty-something-year-olds more than 70 years ago.
History came to life for the Hawai'i Pacific men's basketball team as the Sea Warriors spent the night on the famed USS Missouri.
The event was fitting, as it was sandwiched between games of the HPU Basketball Classic, which was played at Bloch Arena on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.
The Sea Warriors toured the USS Arizona Memorial and then spent time living like sailors, sleeping in the same bunks and eating in the same mess hall.
Maybe more importantly, there was no texting, facebooking, tweeting or talking on the phone. HPU basketball players and staff alike had to communicate the old fashion way - face-to-face and only with the people around them.
"More than anything, the time we spent together with coaches, players and the sports information guys was the best experience," HPU senior guard Jelany White said. "It is different when you are on the court. We got (a chance) to learn new things about each other and to bond. That's important because down the line we are going to need each other."
The joking with teammates was fun, but there also was a serious educational component of the day.
Tour guide Josh Stutz led the team on a private tour, with no one else on the ship, which included many areas not offered to day-to-day visitors. Among other areas, the team was able to see the inside of one of Missouri's gun turrets, the officer's mess, the barbershop and the combat information center - all before dinner.
Throughout the tour Stutz challenged the players to solve difficult situations that ranged from four person push-ups in which nobody's feet could touch the ground, to flipping over a tarp the entire team was standing on.
After eating dinner on the mess decks, the team continued through the engine and mechanical rooms of the ship before ending the tour on the Surrender Deck.
After starting the day learning about the entrance of the United States into World War II, at the USS Arizona memorial, Stutz gave the historical account of the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, the document officially ending World War II. The team was then free to retire to sleep in the same bunks that U.S. sailors slept in while the ship was commissioned.
Following a night of sleeping in bunks designed for sailors that are a max of six feet, two inches tall, the team made their way to the mess decks for breakfast followed by the raising of the American flag.
Team photos under Missouri's massive 16-inch guns singled the team was released after having spent 16 hours onboard the ship.
"The day was really cool; I learned a lot of history. I knew a little bit coming in but the tour guide knew so much. I didn't know about the battleships or how the actual combat was fought in World War II," White said.
Head coach Darren Vorderbruegge commented on his team's experience onboard the Missouri.
"This was a tremendous experience for our team," he said. "We all learned new things about American and world history. The USS Missouri has an incredible story and we now have a special connection with the great vessel. This was as positive of a team bonding experience as I have seen. The strong connection between HPU and the military on Oahu continues."
Now that everyone has their cell phones back, the rest of the world can hear about the HPU men's basketball team's brief service in the Navy.