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Divers in Pearl Harbor uncover secrets of USS Arizona

From Frank Buckley

The USS Arizona, Dec. 7, 1941
The USS Arizona, Dec. 7, 1941

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A videotape of the sunken USS Arizona allows a poignant view of life and death aboard the ship.
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Pearl Harbor
National Park Service

SANTA FE, New Mexico (CNN) -- Sunday marks 62 years since December 7, 1941, when the USS Arizona sank during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Visitors still come to a watery national monument in Hawaii in remembrance of more than a thousand men who went down with the ship.

Divers from the National Park Service are visiting the site as well, in underwater expeditions aimed at helping to preserve the ship.

Using devices including a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to examine different parts of the wreckage, divers and researchers from the Underwater Resources Center of the National Park Service in Santa Fe, New Mexico, have been able to document conditions in the ship.

The ROV carries a camera and, equally important, a probe designed to take scientific measurements.

"Sending the ROV inside of the ship is not just to take compelling pictures, but is to gather important scientific data so that we can help preserve the ship," said Matt Russell of the USS Arizona Preservation Project.

Just last month, Park Service divers completed their most recent trip to the Arizona where, with the ROV, they observed still-intact signs aboard the ship of what was everyday existence six decades ago, from a uniform still hanging on a hanger where a sailor placed it, to tile floors that sailors walked upon and a phone.

"Each of the things that we see on the wreck reminds us there were 1,177 individuals that died," said Dave Conlin, Park Service underwater archeologist.

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