Archive for June, 2014

Jun 27

A Message From Capt. Henry J. Hendrix II, Ph.D

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:47 AM

On the Ocassion of His Retirement from Naval Service June 27, 2014:

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“It is difficult to believe that 26 years have rushed by since I raised my right hand and swore the oath in the Armory Building at Purdue University, and I am more than a little broken hearted that it is coming to an end. Being an officer in the Navy was always a dream of mine, and I have lived that dream and achieved all that I sought, and more. Wearing the uniform has been a privilege and being selected for promotion to Captain was the highest honor. “A Captain in the United States Navy!” Amazing to me, and humbling. I owe thanks to my parents who raised me to listen to and answer the call of duty. I am indebted to my wife who accompanied me and supported me throughout this journey, waving goodbye far too many times, but always there when I returned from the sea. I thank my children for inspiring me to be a better man and holding me to my promises. I thank my crewmates and shipmates who flew and sailed alongside me along the way, and became like Family to me. I thank the leaders who mentored me and brought me along, who tried to give me good advice, and never abandoned me when I chose to ignore it. I thank those of you whom I was honored to lead. Lastly I want to thank our Navy’s Sailors. They are the most awesome group of heroes that I have ever met, and now as I shed my uniform, eagles, and stripes, I will proudly claim their title as my own.”

~Captain Jerry Hendrix, Ph.D~

Biography of U.S. Navy Capt. Henry J. Hendrix II, Ph.D.

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Captain Henry J. (Jerry) Hendrix served as the Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, and Curator of the Navy. He is responsible for the Navy’s museums, art & artifact collections, the research library, 150 million pages of archives, and for collecting and interpreting U.S. Naval history throughout the world.

CAPT Hendrix was commissioned in 1988 through the NROTC program at Purdue University and earned his Naval Flight Officer wings in 1989. Ordered to Patrol Squadron TEN in Brunswick, ME, he deployed to the Mediterranean, Red Sea, North Atlantic, and Caribbean. Qualified as an Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander, he was named by the Navy League the Casco Bay Junior Officer of the Year in 1990. Joining the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in 1994, he qualified as a Tactical Action Officer and made two Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf deployments, and was named the ship’s Junior Officer of the Year in 1997. In 1997 then Lieutenant Hendrix reported to Patrol Squadron THIRTY, the P-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron as the Fleet Training Officer and led efforts to introduce the Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP) to the Maritime Patrol Aviation community before reporting to Patrol Squadron EIGHT, in Brunswick, Maine, as the Aviation Maintenance Officer. While with the Fighting Tigers, he made his fourth Mediterranean Sea deployment, earned Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing FIVE’s Crew of the Quarter designation, and contributed to the squadron winning the 2000 Battle Efficiency Award. CAPT Hendrix commanded Tactical Air Control Squadron ELEVEN, home ported at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California from 2006-2008, deploying to the Arabian Gulf.

 CAPT Hendrix’s staff assignments include service on the Chief of Naval Operation’s Executive Panel (N00K) where his efforts centered on Homeland Defense, Naval Aviation, and Navy Missile Defense. Additionally, he served in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (Force Development) as the Executive Secretary for the Irregular Warfare Quadrennial Defense Review cell. In 2009, Captain Hendrix was by name requested for assignment to the OSD Office of Net Assessment where he assisted the Director on topics related to future capabilities and alternative security environments. He also served as the Director and Designated Federal Officer of the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Panel where he contributed to the Secretary’s 2012 Department Posture Statement to the Congress.

Captain Hendrix also earned Masters Degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School and Harvard University and a Doctorate from King’s College, London. He was twice named the Samuel Eliot Morison Scholar by the Navy History and Heritage Command, and was also NHHC’s 2005 Rear Admiral John D. Hays Fellow. The author of Theodore Roosevelt’s Naval Diplomacy, he received a number of awards including the Navy League’s Alfred T. Mahan Award for Literary Achievement and the Naval Institute’s Author of the Year.

CAPT Hendrix’s awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two), Navy Commendation Medal (three) and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two). Captain Hendrix is married to the former Penny K. Preston of LaGrange, Indiana and they have two daughters, Amanda and Michaela.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. Naval history and heritage. It is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archaeology, Navy history, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navhist/.

 
Jun 20

NHHC Announces Spanish-American War Documentary Project

Friday, June 20, 2014 1:00 PM
USS Maine Court of Inquiry, 1898. Members of the Navy Court of Inquiry examining Ensign Wilfrid V. Powelson, on board the U.S. Light House Tender Mangrove, in Havana Harbor, Cuba, circa March 1898. Those seated around the table include (from left to right): Capt. French E. Chadwick, Capt. William T. Sampson, Lt. Cmdr. William P. Potter, Ensign W.V. Powelson, Lt. Cmdr. Adolph Marix. Photograph copied from Uncle Sam's Navy, 12 April 1898.

USS Maine Court of Inquiry, 1898.
Members of the Navy Court of Inquiry examining Ensign Wilfrid V. Powelson, on board the U.S. Light House Tender Mangrove, in Havana Harbor, Cuba, circa March 1898.
Those seated around the table include (from left to right): Capt. French E. Chadwick, Capt. William T. Sampson, Lt. Cmdr. William P. Potter, Ensign W.V. Powelson, Lt. Cmdr. Adolph Marix.
Photograph copied from Uncle Sam’s Navy, 12 April 1898.

 

 

By Dennis Conrad, Ph.D., Histories and Archives Division, Naval History and Heritage Command

 There are two wars that defined the modern U.S. Navy: World War II and the Spanish-American War. While the Navy’s performance in World War II gets lots of attention from the media (for example, the History Channel), historians, and history-buffs, its equally impressive record in the Spanish-American War is largely forgotten.

 A new documentary project from the Naval History and Heritage Command, entitled The United States Navy’s Involvement in the Spanish-American War, aims to change that. 

Naval History and Heritage Command historian Dennis Conrad, PhD.

Naval History and Heritage Command historian Dennis Conrad, PhD.

We are now preparing a new documentary history, to be e-published, that will capture the drama and heroism of what one contemporary called “that splendid little war,” which lasted less than four months but catapulted the U. S. Navy to world prominence. No longer an obscure, back-water, fifth-rate sea force, it had become a naval power of the first rank and demanded respect as such. It also marked the transition from a navy of wood and sail to one of steel and steam.

 That war also tore away the shroud of isolation that had hidden this country from the rest of the world and immeasurably broadened its frontiers to lands far removed in Asia, while defining the role the U.S. Navy was to play into the future, to operate forward and protect and defend the country’s access to lands and trade routes far from its shores.

 The first topics will be posted this summer and concerns the run-up to the war.

 Tentatively titled “Pre-War Planning,” the topic covered refutes the idea that the Navy went into war unprepared and unaware. It also takes on the popular idea that only Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt had done any pre-war planning and therefore American naval success was exclusively the product of his genius.

 A second topic of documents concerns the destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor—the incident that led to the declaration of war and cost this country almost as many dead as the war would. Documents in this topic group will explore why the Maine was sent to Havana, the impact of the disaster in the U.S. and in Spain, and the question of whether the Navy’s Court of Inquiry, held days after the disaster, was a real attempt to learn the truth or a sham exercise with a pre-determined outcome.

 The third topic grouping will look at the Navy’s mobilization effort. How prepared was the Navy when the fighting began? What kinds of things were done? Was its stellar performance the product of luck or preparation and, finally, was it truly much better prepared than the Army, whose performance became the subject of criticism and investigation.

 If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see in this Spanish-American War edition, documentary collection, please respond in the comments below.

 

NHHC historian Dennis Conrad, Ph.D, works on the text for a 3-topic documentary on the Spanish-American War that will be released on the internet soon.

NHHC historian Dennis Conrad, Ph.D, works on the text for a 3-topic documentary on the Spanish-American War that will be released on the internet soon.

 
Jun 20

CSS Alabama Continues to Yield Insights to 19th Century Life at Sea

Friday, June 20, 2014 8:05 AM
A shell recovered from the wreckage of CSS Alabama during a 2001-02 excavation shows it still in its wood case, with a rope tying it shut.

BEFORE: A shell recovered from the wreckage of CSS Alabama during a 2001-02 excavation shows it still in its wood case, held together with a rope.

After conservation, each material component of the shell has been preserved.

After conservation, each material component of the shell has been preserved.

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communications and Outreach Division

What is perhaps one of the most important artifacts from CSS Alabama, which sank 150 years ago today off the coast of France, actually came from the ship that destroyed her – USS Kearsarge. It’s a shell from Alabama’s 110-pound rifle that smashed through USS Kearsarge’s transom frame shortly after 11 a.m. June 19, 1864, and lodged in her stern post – never exploding.

CSS Alabama fired this shell from its 110-pound rifle early in the action against USS Kearsarge, landing a critical blow into Kearsarge's stern post. But it didn't explode, allowing Kearsarge to continue the battle, eventually defeating Alabama. Photo by MC1 Tim Comerford

CSS Alabama fired this shell from its 110-pound rifle early in the action against USS Kearsarge, landing a critical blow into Kearsarge’s stern post. But it didn’t explode, allowing Kearsarge to continue the battle, eventually defeating Alabama. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/Released

Fired early in the action as the two ships circled each other, the shell jammed against the rudder, forcing four Sailors to man the helm. But the shell didn’t cripple Kearsarge, as an exploded one most certainly would have. Instead, Kearsarge methodically fired upon the travel-weary commerce raider, accurately sending shot after shot onto her deck and into her hull. Just over an hour after she fired the first salvo, CSS Alabama sank beneath the waves.

After cruising thousands of miles for 22 months, the famed commerce raider traveled her final 270 feet (45 fathoms) to the bottom of the English Channel, just 400 feet from the neutral waters of France.

After the battle, Kearsarge would continue across the Atlantic, cruise the Caribbean and finally pull into Boston Harbor to have the shell removed. Preserved and still encased in the stern post, the artifact showcases Alabama’s outstanding range and firepower that made her such a feared raider. It is also a monument to the importance of keeping gunpowder replenished and uncontaminated.

For 120 years, CSS Alabama’s legend was all that remained. But in 1984, the ship was discovered. Under customary international law, the wreck remains property of the United States although she lies in French waters. A Franco-American scientific committee was formed to oversee the excavation and recovery of artifacts.

Robert Neyland, PhD, the director of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) Underwater Archeology Branch, has been part of the team overseeing Alabama site management and artifact conservation since he joined NHHC in 1994.

Neyland and his crew of conservators and researchers will get another helping of CSS Alabama artifacts next week from the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, S.C., home of the submarine H.L. Hunley. The collection includes 15 artifacts from the 2001-2002 excavation, wood fragments, copper, alloys, buttons, rope and even coal, that took more time for treatment. Already there are more than 500 artifacts in the collection, with a number of them on loan and exhibited around the U.S. and France.

For conservators like NHHC’s Kate Morrand, one of the more exciting artifacts is a round shell with a brass percussion fuse that was found still encased in its original wood box, wrapped in fabric and tied with a rope.

“All very different material to treat, making it all the more difficult,” Morrand said. Each item needs its own type of treatment to mitigate the effects of 138 years in salt water.

The items taken off CSS Alabama have been an eclectic collection that give some insight into the life of a commerce raider as it cruised from South Africa to South America and as far east as Singapore and Vietnam.

“A lot of the artifacts we found with Alabama presumably were taken off other ships,” Neyland said.

As CSS Alabama made port visits, the crew was often treated like glamorous heroes, taken on exotic game hunts in South Africa, more typically attended by the ruling elite. Alabama’s third engineer was killed after his gun went off accidentally upon his return from such a hunt.

“One of the artifacts is the horn from a species of Asiatic or African deer, a souvenir from one of the hunts,” Neyland said. “There’s also a whale’s tooth in the collection, probably taken off an American whaling ship.”

There is a series of coins from Brazil, and a container of odds and ends, including buttons and a thimble.

Items such as Brazilian coins reflect CSS Alabama's life as a commerce raider. Kate Morrand, a conservator with the Underwater Archaeology Branch with the Naval History and Heritage Command points out the two salt cellars that held salt used by the cook on the ship. Photo by MC1 Tim Comerford

Items such as Brazilian coins reflect CSS Alabama’s life as a commerce raider. Kate Morrand, a conservator with the Underwater Archaeology Branch with the Naval History and Heritage Command points out the two salt cellars that held salt used by the cook on the ship. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford/Released

“It’s like the stuff people throw into a drawer in their bedroom,” Neyland said.

Most of the artifacts so far seem to have come from the officer’s area of the ship, a beautiful ceramic chamber pot complete with flushing handle and a collection of white dinnerware accented in different colors, like blue and green. White plates with brown design were likely used by the crew, while green would be for mid-level officers, blue for upper-level officers, and a gold set for the captain, Neyland said.

“The plates, made by the Davenport firm in England, show the fouled anchor design,” Neyland said. “And the different color schemes probably had to do with rank and mess. You get a bit of the sense of the hierarchy, the social status differences between the senior and junior officers.”

The ship’s captain and officers claimed a Southern heritage, while the crew was decidedly European, including Russian, British, and French.

In 2002, a human jawbone was found lodged in the encrustation around a cannon after 138 years in the water. It is likely the remains of one of the nine Alabama crewmembers killed during the battle or one of the 12 who drowned when the ship sank.

“The remains were sent to the Joint POW/MIA Command where remains go to be identified,” Morrand said. “They were able to get DNA from dental analysis of the bone and it was determined to be European since they primarily ate wheat more typical of European cuisine compared to the corn of the United States.”

An exam of the teeth at the Smithsonian Institution revealed the jawbone’s owner was likely between 25-40 and in good health, other than an apparent habit of chomping on a pipe stem.

A ceremonial burial was held for the crewmember’s remains in Mobile, Ala., a bit far from the Confederate burial site located in Cherbourg for those who died during the battle.

“CSS Alabama is a pretty amazing story,” Neyland said. “The ship was built in secrecy by the British, while the French and British were on the fence whether to take sides in the Civil War. The Confederacy always had the expectation that foreign governments would side with them, but that really didn’t happen.”

With the return of more CSS Alabama artifacts next week, the commerce raider has once again captured our imaginations.

 To read more about CSS Alabama’s 22-month voyage as a commerce raider, check out this blog: http://www.navalhistory.org/2014/06/19/beautiful-and-dangerous-css-alabama-ruled-the-sea.

 
Jun 19

Beautiful and Dangerous, CSS Alabama Ruled the Sea

Thursday, June 19, 2014 2:51 PM
Capt. Raphael Semmes, CSS Alabama's commanding officer, stands by his ship's 110-pounder rifled gun during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. His executive officer, 1st Lt. John M. Kell, is in the background, standing by the ship's wheel. Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Capt. Raphael Semmes, CSS Alabama’s commanding officer, stands by his ship’s 110-pounder rifled gun during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. His executive officer, 1st Lt. John M. Kell, is in the background, standing by the ship’s wheel.
Collection of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

 

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communications and Outreach Division

Few ships during the Civil War carried the mystique of the infamous commerce raider CSS Alabama. The side-wheel steamer was the 007 of ships, her sleek and elegant built belying her long-range armament, canons and rifles above and below deck. She could switch out her flags to trick unsuspecting merchant ships and whalers before taking them as prizes, politely depositing the prisoners in an accommodating nation while living off the largess they captured.

For nearly two years, CSS Alabama roamed the world’s seas. But even the ship’s unparalleled success had its Waterloo, and for the Confederate commerce raider, that was Cherbourg, France, 150 years ago today.

Christened on a Sunday, her demise also came on a Sunday, 22 months later on June 19, 1864. But this isn’t just a story on how a ship sank. It’s about the ship and her captain, and like most war missions, the one for CSS Alabama was brought about by politics.

The newly-minted Confederate states sought favor with Great Britain and France in order to continue getting merchandise sent to the United States. In May of 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis authorized secretly building commerce raiders in Great Britain, despite pronouncements by Queen Victoria to remain neutral. Built by the Laird Brothers of Birkenhead near Liverpool, the 220-foot-long side-wheel steamer was Hull #290, the 290th ship built by that yard. On July 28, 1862, #290 launched for a trial run, slipped up the coast and took on armament. Then she sailed for the Azores, where she would meet up with her only captain, Raphael Semmes, a Maryland-born U.S. naval officer who joined the Confederacy and embraced Mobile, Ala., as his new home.

A painting of CSS Alabama (1961), by J.W. Schmidt, Naval History and Heritage Command.

A painting of CSS Alabama (1961), by J.W. Schmidt, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Semmes was pleased with the commerce raider at first sight as he sailed into the harbor Aug. 20, 1862. “I had surveyed my new ship…with no little interest, as she was to be not only my home, but my bride, as it were, for the next few years, and I was quite satisfied with her external appearance. She was, indeed, a beautiful thing to look upon.”

And so it was on a serene Sunday morning, Aug. 24, the newly-christened Alabama began her journey to the tune of Dixie, while the Confederate flag unfurled to the deafening cheers from the Confederate officers from Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, and the mostly European-born crew.

For nearly two years, Alabama was, indeed, a faithful “bride” to Semmes. The Confederate cruiser claimed more than 60 prizes, mostly American merchant and whaling ships, with a total value of approximately $6 million. The U.S. Navy Department offered a $500,000 reward (Congressional approval pending) for the capture and delivery of the Alabama, $300,000 if the ship was destroyed.

The closest the ship got to its home nation was on Jan. 11, 1863 when the raider lured USS Hatteras out of the harbor at Galveston, Texas. Hatteras went to the bottom 13 minutes later.

Alabama lived off its prizes, but nearly two years of cruising had weakened the copper plating on the ship and its armament needed repair. It was also taking a toll on its captain.

“Two years of almost constant excitement and anxiety, the usual excitement of battling with the sea and the weather and avoiding dangerous shoals and coasts, added to the excitement of the chase, the capture, the escape from the enemy, and the battle,” he wrote. And the stress of governing his crew and officers hadn’t always been pleasant with “senseless and unruly spirits” to manage.

“All these things have produced a constant tension of the nervous system, and the wear and tear of body in these two years would, no doubt, be quite obvious to my friends at home, could they see me on this 30th day of June, 1863.”

Yet Semmes would sail for another year, ferreting out information about his enemies by reading newspaper reports, disheartened with news of Confederate defeats, like Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

“We need no better evidence of the shock which had been given to public confidence in the South, by those two disasters, than the simple fact, that our currency depreciated almost immediately one thousand percent,” he wrote.

After sailing the Indian Ocean to Singapore, the Comoro Islands, and then back to Cape Town, Semmes noted the ship’s need to go into dock to have her copper replaced, boilers overhauled and repaired, which he felt could only be done in Europe. And replenish his gunpowder and other supplies. Target practice revealed gunpowder on the ship was so deteriorated only one in three shells exploded.

Semmes wrote Feb. 15, 1864: “My ship is weary, too, as well as her commander, and will need a general overhauling by the time I can get her into dock. If my poor service shall be deemed of any importance in harassing and weakening the enemy, and thus contributing to the independence of my beloved South, I shall be amply rewarded.”

After easily capturing what would be Alabama’s final prize, the aptly-named Tycoon, Semmes noted “The whole thing was done so quietly, that one would have thought it was two friends meeting.”

By May 1864, the once-beautiful “bride” had turned into a “wearied fox-hound, limping back after a long chase.”

Semmes noted the constant excitement of chase and capture over the past years had added “a load of a dozen years on his shoulders. The shadows of a sorrowful future, too, began to rest upon his spirit.”

Alabama sailed into Cherbourg’s harbor June 11, 1864, calling upon the French Vice Admiral Prefect Maritime for permission to land his prisoners. His request for an overhaul was referred to Paris. The U.S. Minister to France protested the use of the port by a vessel with a character “so obnoxious and so notorious.” He also notified Capt. John A. Winslow of USS Kearsarge, stationed off the coast of France near Flushing.

Winslow and Semmes knew each other. Both had shared a stateroom on Raritan and fought together in the Mexican War. Both were energetic and zealous in their respective duties. Winslow left Flushing for Cherbourg June 13.

A few days later, Semmes wrote his flag officer in Paris that an enemy ship in similar size and armament was in the harbor and he had “deemed it my duty to go out and engage her.”

What Semmes didn’t know was Kearsarge had up-armored her engine spaces with heavy chains, covered it with planking, and then painted it the same color as the hull.

Alabama’s captain sent a polite challenge to Winslow saying: “My intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope they will not detain me more than until tomorrow evening, or after the morrow morning at furthest. I beg she will not depart before I am ready to go out.”

Alabama prepared to meet her destiny by moving ashore the ship’s chronometers, gold, payrolls and ransom bonds for captured prisoners. The guns and shell rooms were readied.

Semmes addressed his crew before the battle: “You have destroyed and have driven for protection under neutral flags, one-half of the enemy’s commerce, which at the beginning of the war, covered every sea.”

Contemporary line engraving, depicting an early stage in the battle. Alabama is on the right, with Kearsarge in the left distance. Courtesy of F.S. Hicks. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Contemporary line engraving, depicting an early stage in the battle. Alabama is on the right, with Kearsarge in the left distance.
Courtesy of F.S. Hicks.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

And so it was on another Sunday, this time June 19, when Alabama steamed out of Cherbourg harbor with a crew of 149. Kearsarge, with its crew of 163, was between six and seven miles off the coast, clear of French waters.

At 10:57 a.m., after Alabama pulled to within 1.5 miles of Kearsarge, she wheeled to face her starboard side to Kearsage and fired three times. The advantage of having longer range was lost, however, when some of the shells failed to explode, including the shell that landed in Kearsarge’s stern. Rather than crippling the ship, the “misfire” merely made the rudder harder to handle.

Both ships circled each other while firing volleys, with Alabama firing nearly twice as much ammunition to little avail. One shot from Kearsarge was particularly deadly, hitting and killing nine members of a gun crew. Semmes noted his shots were not effective against the chain-protected hull of Kearsarge and ordered the shots aimed higher, but the hull shots by Kearsarge had taken its toll against Alabama. With water rushing in after 70 minutes of fighting, the Confederate raider tried to limp into the neutral waters of France but Alabama began sinking stern-first. Semmes hauled down his colors and dispatched a boat to tell Kearsarge of his surrender. He ordered his men to save themselves, giving up his papers to a sailor with strong swimming skills. Semmes threw his sword into the sea, rather than surrendering it to Winslow, and then jumped into the water.

Conveniently hovering nearby was Deerhound, owned by a pro-Southern British gentleman. The yacht picked up 40 survivors, including Semmes and 13 of his officers. Twenty-one wounded were sent to Kearsarge, but Alabama’s surgeon refused to leave his sinking ship and drowned with more than a dozen other crewmembers.

Those rescued by Deerhound were taken to Southampton, England, where Semmes was presented with “a magnificent sword, which had been manufactured to their order in London, with suitable naval and Southern devices.”

Semmes’ record as captain of Alabama reflects well of his leadership: Nearly all of his officers sailed into Cherbourg with him, with the exception of the paymaster left behind at another port and the third engineer who was killed accidentally in Saldanha Bay, and nearly all of the original crew. Of the more than 2,000 prisoners the ship held at times during 22 months, not one was lost by disease, and the ship had been self-supporting while cruising in all latitudes without ever docking in a home port.

“My officers and men behaved steadily and gallantly, and though they have lost their ship they have not lost honor,” Semmes wrote the Confederate Flag Officer Samuel Barron in Paris.

“I consider my career upon the high seas closed by the loss of my ship,” he wrote Barron before leaving England.


The captain slipped back into the United States by way of Mexico and Texas, and then finally to his chosen home of Mobile, Ala., brought in like a hero with a special coach.

Capt. Semmes was promoted to the rank of rear admiral on Feb. 10, 1865 and given command of the Confederate Navy’s James River Squadron near Hampton Roads, Va. In April 1865, when the fall of Richmond was imminent, he was ordered to destroy his ships to prevent their capture. He joined Jefferson Davis in Danville, where he was authorized to act in the capacity of a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. And so it was Brig. Gen. Semmes who fought in the South’s final land battle and surrendered with Gen. Josh Johnson May 1, 1865.

With the Civil War over, Semmes was arrested in Mobile on Dec. 15, 1865 on charges of piracy. He was held without trial until April 7, 1866, when he was released. Semmes then taught at what is now Louisiana State University, edited a newspaper in Memphis and spent time writing, lecturing and teaching law. He died in Mobile Aug. 30, 1877.

His career of service at sea, both in the U.S. Navy before the Civil War and in the Confederate Navy, was backed by the words he addressed to President Davis: “Whatever else may be said of me, I have, at least, brought no discredit upon the American name and character.”

To read about more CSS Alabama artifacts coming to the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command on June 23, 2014, check out this blog: http://www.navalhistory.org/2014/06/20/css-alabama-continues-to-yield-insights-to-19th-century-life-at-sea

 

 

 
Jun 12

Dive on Houston Day 4: The Survey’s Final Day

Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:29 PM

By Dr. Alexis Catsambis, Naval History and Heritage Command, Underwater Archaeology Branch

(Thursday, June 11, 2014) Today was our last day of operations on the presumed site of USS Houston. Operations began once more with a morning brief involving the master diver, Senior Chief William Phillips, Chief Warrant Officer Jason Shafer and myself at 6:30 a.m. Following breakfast, the team engaged in gear and camera preparations and by 8:45 a.m. a small boat was in the water to undertake the first U.S. Navy dive of the morning.

BANTEN BAY (June 12, 2014) - Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, translates a brief for Indonesian navy divers during a survey of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States and the armed forces of the nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian Senyk/Released)

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 12, 2014) – Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, translates a brief for Indonesian navy divers during a survey of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

By 11:00 a.m., we had completed three dives between the U.S. and Indonesian dive teams, exploring the mid-section and stern of the wrecked vessel. At that time, Senior Chief Phillips had to call a halt to further dive operations due to the strength of the prevailing current. After reviewing the appropriate charts, we determined that dives could resume at 2:00 p.m.

As planned, we renewed diving operations at 2:00 p.m. which lasted until 5:30 p.m. when lightning and thunder required that we stop diving operations in accordance with established safety protocols. In the three and a half hours we had on site, the U.S. and Indonesian teams completed five more dives, focusing on the midships and bow of the vessel. In total, we have collected several hours of footage that require careful review and comparison with USS Houston’s schematics. As of now, nothing has contradicted the working hypothesis that the wreck site is the remains of USS Houston. However, only careful processing and analysis of the collected data can confirm this tentative identification.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Schafer, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, prepares to dive on the site of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) from the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States and the armed forces of the nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia.

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 12, 2014) – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Schafer, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, prepares to dive on the site of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) from the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

Tomorrow morning we expect to conduct the final dives of the operation to remove the buoys that have been placed on the wreck-site, followed by a ceremony to commemorate the partnership that made this operation possible, and continues to make CARAT14 successful. Collaboration with Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, the Military Sealift Command crew of Safeguard, our Indonesian counterparts and the rest of the supporting teams throughout the operation has been seamless, and all engaged were driven to deliver the best results possible within the short amount of time we were allocated on the site.

BANTEN BAY (June 12, 2014) – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Schafer (left) and Mass Communication Specialist Christopher Perez, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, dive on the site of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) from the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States and the armed forces of the nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian Senyk/Released)

BANTEN BAY (June 12, 2014) – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Schafer (left) and Mass Communication Specialist Christopher Perez, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, dive on the site of the Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) from the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

I am scheduled to depart for Jakarta tomorrow at about 10 a.m. and will arrive in the late afternoon/evening, then depart for Washington the next morning. I look forward to returning to the Washington Navy Yard to begin the process of thoroughly analyzing the data we’ve collected over the last few days.

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Dive on Houston Day 3: A Pause to Honor Our Fallen, Then Work Continues

Dive on Houston Day 2: The Survey Begins

Dive on Houston Day 1: NHHC Underwater Archaeologist Arrives in Jakarta, Begins Mission Planning

Navy to Dive on Wreck of USS Houston (CA 30) during CARAT Indonesia

 
Jun 11

Dive on Houston Day 3: A Pause to Honor Our Fallen, Then Work Continues

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:30 PM

By Dr. Alexis Catsambis, Naval History and Heritage Command, Underwater Archaeology Branch

(Wednesday, June 11, 2014) Today has been an exceptionally long and productive day.

Between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. we began preparations for the day’s dives readying dive gear, prepping cameras and tagging valves, knobs and pumps aboard Safeguard to set the stage for diving operations. Following the first surface-supplied dive, it appeared clear that SCUBA diving provided a more appropriate alternative, as it offered divers increased flexibility to swim along the wreck-site. Divers from Indonesia and the U.S. Navy were both able to dive on the wreck before the 11:15 a.m. arrival of a VIP delegation.

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) - Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, briefs U.S. Navy Divers, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, and Indonesian Navy divers during a survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) – Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, briefs U.S. Navy Divers, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, and Indonesian Navy divers during a survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

The delegation arrived from Jakarta to participate in a wreath laying ceremony which took place at noon on the fantail of Safeguard. In attendance were the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Kristen Bauer, U.S. Naval Attaché Capt. Mark Stacpoole, U.S. Marine Corps Attaché Lt. Col. Miguel Avila, as well as members of the USS Safeguard crew, and the U.S. and Indonesian dive teams. A wreath was passed from the ship to a joint U.S. and Indonesian dive team which descended into the water and affixed it to the hull below.

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) - Deputy Chief of Mission (Jakarta, Indonesia) Kristen Bauer (top left), Captain Richard Stacpoole (top right), and Marine Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Avila stand at attention during a wreathe laying ceremony for the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) – Deputy Chief of Mission (Jakarta, Indonesia) Kristen Bauer (top left), Captain Richard Stacpoole (top right), and Marine Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Avila stand at attention during a wreathe laying ceremony for the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) - Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, pass a wreathe during a wreathe laying ceremony for the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) – Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, pass a wreathe during a wreathe laying ceremony for the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) - A shot from a remotely operated vehicle of a wreathe placed on the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) honoring the more than 700 Sailors and Marines lost when the ship was sunk during World War II. The wreath was placed June 11 2014 during a ceremony onboard the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) – A shot from a remotely operated vehicle of a wreathe placed on the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) honoring the more than 700 Sailors and Marines lost when the ship was sunk during World War II. The wreath was placed June 11 2014 during a ceremony onboard the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

Following lunch with the dignitaries, and having updated them on the site assessment, the delegation departed at 12:45 p.m.

By 1:15 p.m. we were back at work launching a Seabotix remotely operated vehicle in the water on the eastern extremity of the vessel, while divers were undertaking the task of swimming the entire length of the hull to affix a second buoy on the far western extremity.

BANTEN BAY (June 11, 2014) - Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, prepare diving equipment in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) during a survey of the site of the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014.

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) – Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, prepare diving equipment in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) during a survey of the site of the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014.

Dives continued until 5:25 p.m. and were followed by a dive brief that ended at 6:45 p.m.

Today’s operation were very productive allowing us to accomplish a series of tasks including:

* Securely establishing buoys on both extremities of the wrecked vessel.

* Obtaining GPS coordinates for both extremities.

* Establishing that the vessel is lying on its starboard side with its deck, mostly exposed.

* Observing anchor chain, and two large, hollow rings — within which the main gun turrets would have rested — along the Eastern extremity. The characteristics of the eastern extremity match those of World Warr II cruisers as well as USS Houston, allowing us to identify this end as the bow of the wrecked vessel. Additional mangled debris and significant elements lay beyond what has presently been identified as the extremity. I suspect significant battle damage was concentrated in this area.

* Observing a series of cleats, bollards, and a single large hollow ring, similar to those associated with the bow turrets, along the western extremity allowed us to identify this end as the stern of the vessel; once more, such features match those of World War II era cruisers including USS Houston. An extensive series of nets appear to blanket the bitter end of the stern. A significantly deformed area exists adjacent to the location of the former gun turret, potentially the result of the vessel losing its aft mast during the wrecking event.

At the end of the day, we made the decision to halt surface-supplied diving operations altogether in favor of SCUBA operations, affording us increased flexibility to cover the most ground in our last day of the exercise tomorrow.

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) - Navy Diver 1st Class Carlos Marin (right), assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, and Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) with the Indonesian Navy using the Diving Underwater Camera System on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States and the armed forces of the nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia.

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 11, 2014) – Navy Diver 1st Class Carlos Marin (right), assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, and Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) with the Indonesian Navy using the Diving Underwater Camera System on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Safeguard, its embarked MDSU, and Indonesian navy divers are conducting a diving exercise on the wreck of the Houston as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. In its 20th year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States and the armed forces of the nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia.

 

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Dive on Houston Day 2: The Survey Begins

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Navy to Dive on Wreck of USS Houston (CA 30) during CARAT Indonesia

 
Jun 10

Dive on Houston Day 2: The Survey Begins

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 5:05 PM

By Dr. Alexis Catsambis, Naval History and Heritage Command, Underwater Archaeology Branch

(Tuesday, June 10, 2014) Operations began this morning at 6 a.m. when I held a brief with Master Diver Phillips and Chief Warrant Officer Jason Shafer. By 6:30 a.m. Safeguard was located near the vicinity of the first set of coordinates that we had for USS Houston and shortly thereafter three side-scan sonar technicians and I engaged in a small-boat survey of the area to locate the target. After eliminating two possible sets of coordinates, we had a positive hit at 11:35 a.m. on a large metallic target significantly larger than 300 feet long.

BANTEN BAY (June 10, 2014) - Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Perez, currently assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, translates between Indonesian navy and U.S. Navy divers aboard Military Sealift Command's Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 10, 2014) – Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Perez, currently assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, translates between Indonesian navy and U.S. Navy divers aboard Military Sealift Command’s Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One divers were in the water by 11:40 a.m. and by 12:05 p.m. one extremity of the vessel had been marked with a buoy. Indonesian divers went in at 1:45 p.m. to follow the length of the vessel, which lies on its starboard side, and to affix a second buoy at the opposite extremity. By the end of the dive, the second buoy was placed approximately 100 feet inboard from the first.

By 2:45 p.m. we launched the small boat again, having established the orientation of the vessel with the two buoys, to obtain side-scan sonar data along the length of the vessel, on both sides (keel and superstructure). During the third dive of the day, a combined team of U.S. and Indonesian divers moved the second buoy farther along the sheerline of the vessel.

BANTEN BAY (June 10, 2014) - Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 embarked aboard Military Sealift Command's Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), prepare an F-470 rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) for diving operations on the sunken Navy ship USS Houston (CA 30).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 10, 2014) – Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 embarked aboard Military Sealift Command’s Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), prepare an F-470 rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) for diving operations on the sunken Navy ship USS Houston (CA 30).

At 3:15 p.m. we initiated a six-pass side-scan sonar survey of the hull. The survey concluded at 3:50 p.m., succeeding in capturing the overall length of the target (between 570 to 610 feet – Houston was 600 feet in length).

At 4:20 p.m., the determination was made to moor Safeguard in preparation for surface-supplied diving, which would provide divers with increased bottom time. The mooring evolution concluded at 6:15 p.m., after which I met with MDV Phillips regarding tomorrow’s objectives.

BANTEN BAY (June 10, 2014) - Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 embarked aboard Military Sealift Command's Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), prepare to dive from an F-470 rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) on the site of the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 10, 2014) – Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 embarked aboard Military Sealift Command’s Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), prepare to dive from an F-470 rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) on the site of the sunken Navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30).

At the end of the day, the question is, are we moored over USS Houston? I can say the target we are straddling is in the approximate area of the engagement, is of the correct length and time-period, and appears as one of two major wrecks on nautical charts of the area. I did not observe anything in the data gathered thus far that would positively identify the site as USS Houston. However, nothing we have come across thus far would question such identification.

BANTEN BAY (June 10, 2014) - Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

BANTEN BAY, Indonesia (June 10, 2014) – Sailors, assigned to Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, survey the site of the sunken navy vessel USS Houston (CA 30) in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

I will say that we have identified a site that matches the characteristics of USS Houston and tomorrow we expect to begin surface-supply diving and remotely operated vehicle operations on it.

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Dive on Houston Day 1: NHHC Underwater Archaeologist Arrives in Jakarta, Begins Mission Planning

Navy to Dive on Wreck of USS Houston (CA 30) during CARAT Indonesia

 
Jun 9

Dive on Houston Day 1: NHHC Underwater Archaeologist Arrives in Jakarta, Begins Mission Planning

Monday, June 9, 2014 2:39 PM

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

Dr. Alexis Catsambis, an underwater archaeologist with the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Dr. Alexis Catsambis, an underwater archaeologist with the Naval History and Heritage Command.

After a three day and more than 10,000 mile journey from Washington, D.C., Naval History and Heritage Command Underwater Archaeologist Dr. Alexis Catsambis arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia June 9 to begin collaboration on a survey of the World War II wreck of the cruiser USS Houston (CA 30).

The survey is a training evolution as part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014 exercise series and involves Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One divers embarked in USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), assisted by personnel from the Indonesian navy.

110329-N-5716H-632 NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN (March 28, 2011) — The rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) flies Japanese and U.S. flags from the ship's yard arm while anchored in the mouth to the port of Miyako in North Eastern Japan while supporting relief operations. Tortuga is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Tomodachi as directed.

NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN (March 28, 2011) — File photo of the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) off the coast of Japan.

Houston was chosen as the site for the training after reports surfaced of unauthorised disturbance operations on the ship which remains sovereign property of the U.S. under customary international law. In addition to threatening a valuable cultural resource, unauthorised disturbance could also damage what is a popular recreational dive site (non-intrusive, sport diving on Navy wrecks is not only legal, but encouraged as recreational divers are often the first to alert authorities when something is amiss).

USS Houston (CA30) in San Diego Bay with President Roosevelt and Adm. Reeves aboard, Oct, 1935.

USS Houston (CA30) in San Diego Bay with
President Roosevelt and Adm. Reeves aboard, Oct, 1935.

Catsambis is on hand during the dive to provide operations planning support in order for the mission to effectively document the state of preservation of Houston. Documentation methods will include personal inspection by divers, as well as the planned use of sonar sensing systems and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

After arriving Monday morning, Catsambis met with Capt. Mark Stacpoole, U.S. Naval Attaché to the American embassy in Jakarta and an outspoken advocate for the preservation of Houston, which is the final resting place for the more than 700 Sailors and Marines lost with her.

Catsmabis then met to discuss the operation with Chief Warrant Officer Jason Shafer, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One’s Diving Officer for the survey.

Shafer and Catsambis joined the survey’s master diver for an interview with three reporters from Kompas, the Indonesian equivalent to the New York Times. They answered questions and the reporters were given a tour of the ship.

140609-N-NT265-337 JAKARTA (June 9, 2014) – Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, participates in an interview with Indonesian press on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

JAKARTA, Indonesia (June 9, 2014) – Dr. Alexis Catsambis, assigned to Naval History and Heritage Command, participates in an interview with Indonesian press on the Military Sealift Command Rescue and Salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

Following the Kompas interview, Shafer, Catsambis and the survey’s master diver hosted a briefing with the participating Indonesian Navy personnel to discuss the operation.

Ultimately the ship’s crew, the MDSU team, the Indonesian Navy and Catsambis all agreed to a survey plan that will allow the simultaneous undertaking of multiple tasks including “surface-supplied” diving, SCUBA diving and remotely operated vehicle operations. The plan also allows for the maximum amount of time on station

Catsambis said the ship will get underway tomorrow and the dive team plans to begin the survey as soon as possible that day.

 
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