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.

Check out related content at these links:

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

 
 
 
 
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