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    Australia, U.S. Dive USS Arizona during RIMPAC

    Australia, U.S. Dive USS Arizona during RIMPAC

    Photo By PaulPaul Berry | 180705-O-N0842-4007 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM - The Royal Australian Navy...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet     

    Royal Australian Navy clearance divers were afforded the rare opportunity to see the USS Arizona Memorial from a perspective few people in the world get to experience it. As part of integration activities being conducted during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2018, Australian divers scuba-dived the wreck of USS Arizona with the U.S. National Parks Service and Royal Canadian Navy.

    The USS Arizona Memorial is a World War II grave site for the 1,102 servicemen killed when the ship was bombed by the Japanese Navy on December 7, 1941. The site is recognized as one of the most important war graves in modern American history and U.S. National Parks applies a significant amount of effort to ensure the site remains preserved and protected. The clearance divers were escorted around the sunken wreck by National Parks Service divers who are familiar with the site.

    Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Post, commanding officer of the Australian clearance diving contingent in Hawaii, said diving the USS Arizona was a surreal experience.

    “We’ve done the memorial tour from the shore side, and to get down there with that knowledge of what it’s actually all about was just a real honor,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something that we’ll never forget.”

    To preserve the integrity of the wreck and out of respect for the servicemen who are entombed inside the hull, divers are forbidden from entering the ship. Teams were given specific instructions before entering the water.

    Lt. Cmdr. Post, who dived the wreck, said divers were allowed to shine their dive torches through open portholes in the hull to inspect for degradation.

    “It was an eerie feeling, knowing that the last people who moved inside the ship were probably close to our age more than 75 years ago,” he said. “Looking through the porthole, I could see ladder bays and bulkheads, and I guess just behind that, the grave-site of any number of brave U.S. servicemen.”

    The Australian clearance diving contingent at RIMPAC is a mix of clearance divers from both the east and west coasts of Australia, posted to Royal Australian Navy’s Mine Clearance Diving Squadron and Australian Clearance Diving Team Four.

    The RIMPAC diving contingent comprises Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Underwater Salvage and Expeditionary Reconnaissance elements in Hawaii, with Expeditionary Reconnaissance and Task Group elements embedded with landing forces in southern California.

    “We’re integrating with the Canadians and U.S. Coast Guard salvage units, and other units are embedding with EOD nations,” Lt. Cmdr. Post said. “Cooperation is the key for RIMPAC—we’re here to see other nations’ tactics and procedures, and look at how we can integrate them into our own procedures.”

    Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 27 to Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.



    Date Taken: 07.05.2018
    Date Posted: 07.07.2018 19:44
    Story ID: 283516
    Location: AU

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