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75 Years On – Beneath Pearl Harbour

“December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The attack [yesterday] on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost.”

Franklin D Roosevelt, USA President

Beneath Pearl Harbour
Beneath Pearl Harbour

In the spring of 1998, Brett Seymour received a phone call from Daniel Lenihan – then Chief of theNational Park Service Submerged Center (NPS SRC) – inviting Brett to join a special project. A team of underwater archaeologists from the Submerged Center were heading for Pearl Harbour. Their goal was to restore photo stations on the wreck of the USS Arizona. These stations were established by the NPS in the mid-1980s to monitor the accumulation of marine encrustation.

Brett Seymour had no idea what this phone call would spark a multi-decade mission to image an icon.

“Looking back, in my 20-plus years with the NPS, I have had the honor of diving on USS Arizona more than any other site.”

The US Navy oversaw this wreck site until 1980, when it shared the task with NPS SRC. Since then the National Park Service Submerged Center team have performed a series of corrosion studies, oil analysis (the Arizona still leaks five to eight quarts a day), and interior investigations to figure out how long the ship’s superstructure might last.

Beneath Pearl Harbour, Brett Seymour, Naomi Blinick, Best Publishing, USS Arizona, National Park Service, NPS, Submerged Unit, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Deeperblue, DEMA Show 2016
The 1984 Arizona illustration with handwritten notes from additional mapping dives in 1986, used as a reference for a physical model of the site.

These studies have also included putting together an underwater photographic resource of the Arizona to educate and inspire those who will never see what lies beneath the surface first hand.

“The broken warship is both a dream and a nightmare assignment for an underwater shooter”, Seymour explained. “Although the site is completely closed to any non-official diving, and military diving is limited, trying to capture a 608 foot battleship in 3 – 6 foot viz is a challenge. Obtaining the one image that tells the story is a quest.”

Beneath Pearl Harbour, Brett Seymour, Naomi Blinick, Best Publishing, USS Arizona, National Park Service, NPS, Submerged Unit, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Deeperblue, DEMA Show 2016, The Underwater Marketing Company
Brett Seymour – Deputy Chief, National Park Service Submerged Resources Center – pictured with his book ‘Beneath Pearl Harbor’ at the 2016 DEMA Show. Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company

Now on the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Arizona, Seymour’s images have been published in hardback. The 168 page book – ‘Beneath Pearl Harbor, Underwater Views of An American Icon‘ – takes the reader on an intimate journey to the hidden world of this great battleship, whilst remembering those who served on her. The stunning images are interspersed with personal recollections from Arizona survivors and the stewards who watch over this war grave today.

Publisher: Best Publishing
Price: US$35.00


All profits from this book go to support Pearl Harbor and the preservation of the USS Arizona.

Rosemary E Lunn
Rosemary E Lunn
Rosemary is the founder of The Underwater Marketing Company, co-founder of EUROTEK and established TEKDiveUSA. Roz is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, a BSAC Advanced Instructor, a rebreather and a Trimix diver. Before moving into the PR field she worked as a full time recreational instructor in the UK and abroad, on History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, as a safety diver and modelled underwater. She is a prolific freelance writer. You can find Roz on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on her blog.