Thursday, November 18, 2004
Matthew A. Russell has been an
archeologist with the National Park Service Submerged Resources
Center since 1993. He serves as Project Director for the USS
Arizona Preservation Project.
Today was the final day of operations for
the 2004 USS Arizona Preservation Project, which we mostly spent
moving gear off the Memorial, and beginning the cleaning and packing
process. Tomorrow we’ll finish packing everything and send it back to
Santa Fe via FedEx.
Art Ireland oversees the assembly of gear
for the team's return to Santa Fe. NPS photo by Brett Seymour.
We took time out today to spend some time
with good friends and colleagues Rich Wills, from the
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
(JPAC), and Dave Grant, from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Rich and
Dave are underwater archeologists we’ve worked together with on several
past projects, including the 1996 assessment of
H. L. Hunley and the 1999 investigation of USS
Housatonic, which was Hunley’s victim. Rich kindly
offered to give us a tour of JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory on
Hickam Air Force Base, where United States’ service personnel who have
been lost in previous conflicts are brought for identification and are
returned to their families. It’s an impressive facility and JPAC’s teams
conduct challenging archeological excavations around the world, both on
land and underwater, to locate fallen Americans. We appreciate Rich
taking time from his busy schedule to show us around.
JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory on
Hickam Air Force Base, near Pearl Harbor. NPS photo by Brett Seymour.
Overall, we’ve had an extremely
successful project. We accomplished all our project goals with only
minor setbacks along the way, and none of them kept us down for long. A
project as large and complex as this can only be successful with the
collaboration of many individuals, institutions and partners – if I
tried to list everyone here I would inevitably forget many deserving
people, but to everyone who helped us along the way (you know who you
are), we thank you. We especially appreciate the support of the staff of
the USS Arizona Memorial, who have put up with our disrupting
presence for the last three weeks, and the numerous US Navy commands who
have helped us out in many small ways. We also gratefully acknowledge
the Department of
Defense Legacy Resources Management Fund and the
Arizona Memorial Museum
Association, who continue to contribute funding for this project.
Model of the USS Arizona by Robert
Sumrall site in the Memorial Visitors Center. NPS photo by Brett
We’ve had fun doing these daily updates,
and hope they’ve helped bring our work to a wider audience, while at the
same time giving some insight into what happens “behind the scenes” on
an SRC project. If it proves successful, we hope to make this standard
operating procedure on future projects.