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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Jan 17

Investigating an American WWII Naval Battlefield

Posted on January 17, 2017 at 7:59 AM by Communications Department

On Wednesday, January 18 from 7:00 - 9:00 PM, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Monitor National Marine Sanctuary will present Echoes from the Deep: Investigating an American WWII Naval Battlefield at the Mariners’ Museum. Doors open at 6:15 PM. The lecture is free for members and non-member adult and child tickets are $5.
In August, NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary launched an expedition to explore the deepwater shipwreck sites of the German U-576 and the freighter Bluefields off the coast of North Carolina. Discovered by NOAA in 2014, the shipwrecks represent the only WWII battlefield off the U.S. East Coast where the aggressor and its casualty, from the same engagement, lie nearly side by side on the seafloor.

Joe Hoyt, NOAA Maritime Archaeologist, on a dive (Credit: NOAA)
Using two small submersibles, the NOAA team acquired exciting new images of the sites by using laser scanners, multi-beam sonar, and photogrammetry to create models of the shipwrecks and virtually raise them from the seafloor. The virtual models will now help NOAA share this history with the public and shed light on a little known chapter of WWII.

While NOAA archaeologists documented the sites, marine biologists studied the habitat of the natural resources on the shipwrecks and the surrounding area. The combination of the two objectives gave NOAA a more complete picture of the marine environment and the current state of the shipwrecks preservation.