Recon dives USS Arizona; Marines mix history with readiness
By Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez
| U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific | May 07, 2013
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
Marines with Force Reconnaissance Company, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and currently attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, dove the USS Arizona here April 27.
The team is currently on Oahu conducting readiness-related sustainment training.
Diving the Arizona was an opportunity during their weeklong diving regimen to use a closed-circuit breathing apparatus, allowing them to operate underwater releasing few or no bubbles, while they navigate the depths.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Hunter Sorrells, platoon sergeant, Force Reconnaissance Company, it was, more importantly, a chance to see a piece of American history.
“They’ll be able to look back on this and say that this is the highlight of their diving career,” Sorrells said. “It’s more historical value. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
As the Marines surfaced from the water their earlier “just another dive” attitude was gone.
“It was an honor and a privilege because you have be a part of the U.S. military to dive this ship,” said a force reconnaissance Marine. “I hear [only] approximately 2,000 other people have ever dove in this site.”
“It’s an extraordinary opportunity,” said another Marine. “So just getting to do it, in itself, is just an awesome opportunity. Just being there in the first place was really motivating.”
A group of National Park Service divers took the Marines down to see the USS Arizona, showing them different parts of the ship that had been impacted during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
As the tour boats came and left the USS Arizona Memorial, the Marines talked about the things they saw just below the surface.
“At this point, since the ship has been down there so long, most of it’s covered in reef,” said a Marine. “But you can still see a lot of the artifacts on the ship. You can see the guns and where a lot of the damage to the ship took place. “
The Marines will continue their sustainment training on Oahu until mid-May, conducting jumps, marksmanship training and visit, board, search and seizure training.