CE2 (SCW) Lisa A Sperhake, CBMU 303 Detachment Pearl Harbor
Brandon Bosworth, Assistant Editor, Ho`okele
Service members and civilians from the Navy and National Park Service completed dock repairs June 4 to the USS Arizona Memorial.
On May 27, the dock of the USS Arizona Memorial was damaged as USNS Mercy left the harbor. A team immediately began assessing and repairing the dock, which had been mangled and moved 10 feet from its original location.
The repairs included demolishing and removal of damaged railing, metal decking and seats for the brow, as well as repairing damaged electrical, welding a new rail system, and installing new metal decking. With a goal of getting the job done as quickly as possible, the crew worked late into the evenings to accomplish the task in time.
Capt. Stanley Keeve, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, praised the team’s work.
“The repair effort to get the Arizona Memorial back in operation was an incredible act of dedication and hard work among several commands including our Joint Base Operations (JB3), Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One (MDSU-1), Navy Seabees from CBMU 303, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Walt Leonard from Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance facility, Seal Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1),” he said.
“There were several units and individuals who really stood out during the entire evolution, and they were MDSU-1. MDSU-1 provided diving support for six consecutive days, to include weekends to re-set the anchoring points to the memorial’s mooring platform. This underwater work was demanding and was critical to restoring safe harbor operations.
“They were led by Chief Warrant Officer Michael Miller and Master Chief (MDV) Costin and CBMU 303. Last but not least, the dedication of Cmdr. Mojica, the JBPHH chief staff officer, who took charge of organizing and recruiting the appropriate talent, too, obtained the results we did,” Keeve said.
Master Chief Navy Diver James Costin from MDSU-1 said he and the rest of the crew were working on the memorial “from dawn to dusk” every day. Costin was especially honored to be involved with the repair project because of his family’s history.
“My great-uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, serving aboard the USS West Virginia,” he said. “The memorial has a huge meaning for me and my family.”
Steelworker 1st Class (SCW) William Stimson was in charge of leading the crew from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303 Detachment Pearl Harbor.
“I felt honored to work on a historical site. We were willing to work all hours of the day, so that family members of the fallen would be able to pay their respects. It was great to work inside our rate and do the needed fabrication work,” he said.
“The crew worked very hard and answered every need. I feel privileged to work alongside fellow Seabees and continue to distribute the ‘can do’ spirit for others to follow,” he said.
For Builder 2nd Class (SCW) Roland Palacios, it was an exciting change of work environment.
“The opportunity to do work on the USS Arizona Memorial was a good way to have our work seen by civilians and not just by other military members. It’s great to work on something so world renowned and one of the biggest tourist destinations on Pearl Harbor,” Palacios said.
“The attack on Pearl Harbor was the reason for the formation of the Seabees, and it was an honor to be a part of the crew that did the repairs.”
The USS Arizona was sunk during the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Many of the remains of the 1,117 U.S military personnel that perished during the attack are still inside the sunken ship. It is considered an active U.S military cemetery with more than one million visitors to the memorial annually.