Navy Dolphins Discover Unique Naval History


DOLPHINS FROM THE U.S. NAVY’S MARINE MAMMAL
PROGRAM ARE TRAINED TO DETECT UNDERWATER MINES. RECENTLY, THOSE SKILLS LED TO A DISCOVERY
IN AN UNEXPECTED FIELD, MARINE ARCHAEOLOGY. “SO DURING A ROUTINE TRAINING EVOLUTION IN
ONE OF THE PRACTICE FIELDS OFF OF THE HOTEL DEL CORONADO, THE DOLPHINS REPORTED THE PRESENCE
OF AN OBJECT THAT WASN’T AN AREA THAT WE ANTICIPATED. ONCE THE DOLPHINS HAD MARKED THE POSITION
OF THE OBJECT. AS A MATTER OF OUR ROUTINE TRAINING, THE DIVER HAD GONE DOWN AND INVESTIGATED.
THE OBJECT WAS RECOVERED, SHORTLY THEREAFTER IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THIS IS IN FACT A VERY
UNIQUE PIECE OF NAVAL ARCHAEOLOGY.” THIS DISCOVERY WAS A LATE 19TH CENTURY STEAM
POWERED HOWELL TORPEDO, WHICH ARRIVED AT ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE MAY 29TH FOR TRANSFER TO THE
NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND’S UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY LABORATORY FOR CONSERVATION. “THIS ARTIFACT IS WHAT WE REFER TO AS A COMPOSITE
ARTIFACT, WHICH MEANS IT’S MADE UP OF SEVERAL DIFFERENT COMPONENTS, SEVERAL DIFFERENT MATERIALS.
IN THIS CASE, WE HAVE COPPER ALLOY, WE HAVE IRON ALLOY, STEEL, WE HAVE POTENTIALLY RUBBER
GASKETS. SO A MIX OF BOTH INORGANIC AND ORGANIC MATERIALS THAT ALL HAVE DIFFERENT METHODS
OF DEGRADING, OF CORRODING, AND ALSO DIFFERENT NEEDS SUBSEQUENTLY FOR CONSERVATION TREATMENT.
SO WE HAVE TO KEEP ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENCES IN MIND WHEN WE’RE DEVELOPING A TREATMENT
PLAN AND TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS.” “THIS HAS A POTENTIAL TO REALLY GIVE US AN
INSIGHT INTO HOW THIS REALLY EARLY PHASE OF TORPEDO DEVELOPMENT TOOK PLACE AND IN GENERAL,
THROUGH UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY WE ARE ABLE TO REACH THE AVERAGE SAILOR, WE ARE ABLE TO
REACH THEIR LIFE ON BOARD AT SEA TO CAPTURE THOSE MOMENTS THAT YOU REALLY DON’T SEE IN
THE HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS THAT FOCUS ON IMPORTANT EVENTS, IMPORTANT PEOPLE, IMPORTANT BATTLES.” FOR ALL HANDS UPDATE, I’M PETTY OFFICER JOSHUA
SHEPPARD.

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