Coast Guard Academy cadets study pieces of history to help solve modern problems

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

 

By David Santos, Communications Director, U.S. Coast Guard Academy

A group of cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy are studying samples from the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project aimed at solving modern problems.

Cadets from the Marine and Environmental Sciences program are examining the relative corrosion rates of a sample of armor plating and an associated rivet from the famous ship sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The electrochemical research is designed to advance understanding of possible corrosion processes that may impact the degradation of the ship and other vessels and structures of similar construction. The cadet investigation will also contribute to the understanding and assessment of current potential pollution threats posed by legacy vessels.

One of the cadets who took custody of the USS Arizona samples, Cadet Dylan Finneran, offered the following remarks during a brief event to mark the occasion at the U.S. Coast Guard Museum, Jan. 23, 2015.

 

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

 

December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces killing 2,403 and wounding 1,178 Americans, and destroying many aircraft, cruisers, destroyers, and base installations. From all this death and destruction one vessel stands out, for so many of those who honorably served and died that day aboard the USS Arizona. Today, it stands as a memorial to those who gave their lives in the defense and service of our country.

We are here today to memorialize their service, as well as ensure that their legacy and memorial lives on. Seventy-four years after the Arizona’s sinking, oil still leaks from her hull, with 2.3 quarts escaping into the harbor per day due to corrosion of the ship. These environmental impacts have concerned corrosion scientists from the University of Nebraska and the National Parks Service for some time.

These two groups have honored the Coast Guard Academy by allowing us the opportunity to possess these samples, add to their research and help them preserve the legacy of the Arizona, the environment, and identify other oil-containing wrecks. Using these samples, the Academy Corrosion Research team plans to investigate how rivets and hull plating may contribute to galvanic corrosion by determining which of these components will corrode more quickly and cause the vessel to collapse, releasing oil.

 

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets officially take custody of two pieces of the USS Arizona as part of a corrosion research project, Jan. 23, 2015. USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy and was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

 

Our research team is excited to contribute to such a high profile case, Coast Guard missions, and develop innovative ways to combat undersea pollution from legacy vessels. We look forward to taking what we learn from the lab and applying it to the field.”

“Projects like this one give teams of cadets opportunities to use their acquired knowledge and develop creativity in solving real world problems,” said Capt. Richard Sanders, Professor of Chemistry in the Academy’s Science Department. “This is a prime example of what makes the Academy such a unique institution.”

 

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