Three years ago, the World War II tugboat Hoga arrived at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Friday, at an event commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor, the public will be allowed to tour the boat for the first time.
The boat, a National Historic Landmark, has been off-limits while awaiting hazardous materials clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency. Lead paint and asbestos abatement and removal have prevented both tours and renovations. Friday's event will allow the public to walk through certain decks. The event will also honor Arkansas native and World War II veteran Harold Mainer.
“He [Mainer] was on the USS Helena at Pearl Harbor during the attack and he was also on the USS Munsee at the surrender at Tokyo Bay alongside the Razorback submarine. We have two bookends of World War II and he served the entire war, and so he served alongside both of the ships, boats that we have here, which is pretty incredible,” said Camille Smith, the museum’s Director of Special Events.
Smith said the staff is eager to begin renovations in order to share the historic boat with visitors.
“The Hoga really played a huge role at Pearl Harbor and we're really excited to honor her. She fought fires on the USS Arizona with a crew of 12 people for almost 72 hours straight. And she also pushed the USS Nevada out of the channel, so that the other boats could get out,” Smith said.
The ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday and the tours will follow from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.