The three .45s were presented to the Best Defense Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on helping military veterans and their families. The group recently escorted 65 World War II Veterans to Hawaii for a week of events surrounding the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese attack that occurred on Dec. 7, 1941.
The three unique 1911 pistols crafted by Sig Sauer Custom Works include the Pearl Harbor Commemorative, the USS Arizona Commemorative, and the USS Oklahoma Commemorative.
The custom grips on each of the pistols were designed and manufactured by Chad Schumacher at Allegory Goods, crafted from teak decking salvaged from the famed WWII battleship USS North Carolina. While not present at Pearl Harbor – no preserved museum ship was – North Carolina was in the fleet at the time of the attack, stationed in the Atlantic, and was soon rushed to the Pacific to carry on the fight against the Empire of Japan.
Each gun is customized by Outlaw Ordnance with a Battleship Gray Cerakote and specialized engravings. The Sig Sauer 1911s are Government-sized models, similar in format to the guns carried as sidearms by members of the Army, Navy, and Marines during the attack but feature modern features such as Gold Dot Novak front sights and Wilson Combat serrated rear sights.
The two other guns are named for battleships that were irreparably damaged during the attack and never returned to service.
As noted by the National Park Service, who maintains the USS Arizona's memorial, the battleship "was hit multiple times in the first few minutes of the attack. One bomb penetrated the armored deck near the ammunition magazines in the forward section of the ship, causing a massive explosion" that resulted in the largest loss of life during the Pearl Harbor attack.
According to the National Park Service, USS Oklahoma capsized at 8:08 A.M., 12 minutes after the battleship took its first torpedo hit. The 429 Sailors and Marines who died aboard the warship marked the second greatest loss of life at Pearl Harbor after the loss of the Arizona.
Of note, the Navy had de facto retired the names of Arizona and Oklahoma for generations, only recently reissuing them in 2019 for use by two new submarines that are under construction.