Veterans

July 10, 2012

7th Dive Detachment helps preserve history at USS Arizona

by 2nd Lt. Lauren Looper
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Army photograph by 2nd Lt. Lauren Looper

Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, prepare to head beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to inspect and tour the USS Arizona Memorial, June 28, 2012.

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of America’s greatest historical landmarks.

The sunken ship is a tomb and the waters surrounding it are restricted. Diving at the memorial is a rare and special privilege, given only on special circumstances and only to the most experienced of divers.

So it was an honor when the 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, had the opportunity of diving there, June 28.

“I’ve been diving a lot and you just felt the weight of World War II on your shoulders under the water,” said Lt. Col. Darman Place, battalion commander for the 65th Eng. Bn., summarizing the event.

Army photograph by Pfc. Caleb Whisman

SFC Beau Woodcox (Master Diver), 1st Sgt, 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, supervises entry of divers into the water next to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, June 28, 2012.

The dive served as the culminating event for the detachment’s sergeant’s time training. On the days leading up to the dive, Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of classes, as well as inspections of the supports for the USS Arizona.

The structure must be inspected every 10 years in order to ensure that it is safe and stable. The training at Pearl Harbor was mutually beneficial to the National Parks Service and the 7th Dive Detachment. The National Parks Service saved money by not having to contract the work out and the Detachment received useful training and the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Detachment’s young divers benefit from this kind of training. Army Divers are in the unique military occupational specialty 12D, whose duties include inspecting and cleaning watercraft propellers and hulls, patching damaged watercraft hulls, salvaging equipment, patrolling the water, helping with underwater construction of piers and harbor facilities, and surveying rivers, beaches, and harbors for underwater obstacles.

Jobs such as the inspection of the USS Arizona are technical and require that soldiers learn about scuba diving as well as how to weld, cut, use power tools and use explosives underwater. Young divers learn these skills during their entry level dive training, but master the trade through mentoring from 1st Class Divers and Master Divers.

“We’ll send one experienced diver down and one new diver down,” explained SFC Beau Woodcox (Master Diver), first sergeant of the 7th Dive Detachment. “He’s [new diver] getting training the whole time we’re gathering good information for the park service. They [experienced divers] are inspecting the piles; making sure they’re going to last longer. As they are doing that they are showing the new divers exactly what to look for and they’re going through the class they did on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Army photograph by SSgt Brandton Rohde

SFC Andrew Harrison, Diving Supervisor, 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, dives at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, June 28, 2012.

After the inspections, the detachment was able to relax and take in the momentousness of touring the USS Arizona underwater.

“When you get to some parts of the vessel you can see where some of the bombs made impact with the ship and you can get a sense of how much damage was done to that ship,” said SSgt. Brandon Rohde, 1st Class Diver, 7th Dive Detachment. “It was pretty cool just to get to dive the Arizona.”

It was a well-earned reward for a hard working and dedicated unit.

“The 7th Dive Team is an amazing unit that does just about everything we do on land, underwater,” said Lt. Col. Darman Place, Battalion Commander, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “It’s no surprise that they were called out here to do this work. They are widely regarded as the best dive unit in the Army and are certainly on par with anything the Navy has to offer.”

Army photograph by 2nd Lt. Lauren Looper

Members of the 7th Dive Detachment, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, prepare to dive down to inspect the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, June 28, 2012.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced July 1 that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Sgt. Joseph M. Snock Jr. of Apollo, Pennsylvania, was buried July 6, in Arlington National Cemetery. In...
 
 

VA expands disability benefits for AF personnel exposed to contaminated aircraft

The Department of Veterans Affairs June 18 published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part...
 
 

Soldier missing from World War II accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 16 that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John W. Herb of Cleveland, Ohio, was buried June 18, in...
 

 

VA campaign encourages public to help raise PTSD awareness

As the country recognizes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA National Center for PTSD is inviting the public to participate in its “PTSD Awareness: June 2015” campaign, which began June 1. This year’s goal is to help more veterans, their families, caregivers and community members understand what PTSD is and know that there are...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn

U.S. paratroopers, WWII veterans pay homage to D-Day 71st anniversary

Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn U.S. Army veterans Cpl. George Shenkle, center right, of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and Sgt. Isaac Phillips, center left, of the 4th Infantry Division, sa...
 
 

VA launches community-based employment service for homeless veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced June 10 a new employment program aimed at helping job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness, and those on the brink of homelessness, gain stable and long-term employment. The new program, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services, relies on Community Employment Coordinators who know their communities and can work with local employers to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>