SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The pealing of the bell reverberated throughout the white clapboard country-style church as U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii community members and guests met to celebrate the completion of the Soldiers Chapel renovation, here, Sept. 24.

The clear sound originated from a real, brass bell and not from a modern, digitized recording.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Kenneth Zitz, senior lay leader, presented the history of the bell, donated by the 5th Cavalry Regiment in 1913, and other historical facts.

Zitz said that thousands of Soldiers and family members have attended services in Soldiers Chapel throughout the last 100 years.

The five-month, $874,733 renovation brings the chapel into the modern age, including a new, up-to-code, handicap-accessible ramp.

The rededication ceremony was a historic event for Zitz\'s family, as the family has a history of baptisms in the old Soldiers Chapel.

Attending the ceremony also provided a bittersweet moment for Chaplain (Maj.) Leslie Forbes-Mariani, chaplain resource manager, as she was the last chaplain to deliver a message in the chapel before the remodeling.

"It was good to be on hand to reopen the chapel (and) to see the finished work," she wrote, in an e-mail, adding that it was a great joy to see the chapel before and after the remodel.

Chaplain (Capt.) Samuel Olmos, deputy chaplain, USAG-HI, served as project officer and was excited to be a part of history in the making.

In an e-mailed response, Olmos said that the ceremony celebrated "... the combined efforts and support of an outstanding Schofield Barracks community. It is a true testament to the great leadership at Schofield. During the ceremony, we reveled in the history of Soldiers Chapel, but, at the same time, we added a few historical pages of our own. It was great to be part of something much bigger than any single person or any single generation."

Ensuring the project complied with federal law was the most challenging aspect of the project, according to Darren Carpenter, resident engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Honolulu District. Federal law requires that all repairs, renovations and alterations to federal buildings are reviewed under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

The review process also requires consultation with the State Historic Preservation office.

Besides getting a new ramp, the chapel's interior and exterior received a fresh coat of paint.

Interior work included repairing the existing chapel sanctuary and altar area and adding an addition to the existing office. Exterior work replaced damaged wood siding and replaced the existing sidewalk around the building.

<b>Soldiers Chapel Facts</b>
Aca,!AcThe first chapel on Schofield Barracks was built in 1913 in Castner Village (upper post) and the second Soldiers Chapel was built in 1920.

Aca,!AcSoldiers Chapel was moved to its current location by D-Quad in 1925.

Aca,!AcSoldiers Chapel was built out of two separate chapels: Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani paid for the original 1913 chapel, which is the entrance, today. A larger, standard Army chapel sanctuary was later attached to the entry.

Aca,!AcThe chapel is a National Historical Landmark and boasts a rare, 1931, vintage pipe organ, one of only two of its kind in Hawaii.

Aca,!AcThe chapel was featured in the 1970 movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

View more photos on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-hi/sets/72157624910875459/">Flickr</a>.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16