Fort DeRussy's parapets restored
July 12, 2010
FORT DERUSSY, Hawaii - Dignitaries, honored guests, Soldiers and local civilians gathered in front of the U.S. Army Museum, here, to celebrate the completion of two newly restored parapets, July 6.
One hundred years after Army engineers completed construction on Battery Randolph, this was later turned into the museum that Army reservists completed construction on for a second time, recently.
More than 310 reservists from the 980th Engineer Battalion, 420th Eng. Brigade, and the 416th Theater Eng. Command restored Battery Randolph\'s structure to its original appearance.
The $710,000 project opened up more than 7,400 square feet of new administrative space, classrooms, workshops, galleries and exhibits areas for an ever-growing collection of artifacts. Along with creating more museum space, the construction project also restored Battery Randolph, only without the original structure of 15-feet thick walls.
"(The now restored parapets were originally) used as defensive walls from which Battery Randolph's Soldiers and huge, 14-inch guns could remain hidden. Then, when needed, pop up and fire an artillery projectile about the size of a Volkswagen, before returning once again into a concealed position," Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, said in his remarks.
With 15-foot thick parapets, Battery Randolph was also capable of withstanding numerous wrecking balls.
"When factored in with the earthen berms on the ocean side of the battery, (the parapets had) the equivalent of 30 feet of steel-reinforced solid concrete, and the building was capable of withstanding a direct hit from a 2,000-pound artillery shell," Mulbury said.
In 1976, the Army designated Battery Randolph as the home of the U.S. Army Museum, with the purpose of preserveing the past, honoring the Soldiers who died in combat and shareing the significant contributions that the Army in Hawaii has played in the defense of the nation.
"As the threat of ship-to-shore bombardment became obsolete, so too did the need for (Battery Randolph,)" said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, U.S. Army-Hawaii, commanding general, in his remarks. "Having claimed the lives of numerous wrecking balls and causing the eventual bankruptcy of the demolition company, Battery Randolph's reinforced concrete walls and massive construction won both the battle and war, having only lost its protective parapets in the process."
Terry also thanked the reservists for their hard work to restore the historic building.
"You have completed in 63 days, what could have easily taken 18 months under other circumstances," Terry said. "Your work saved the tax payers in excess of over 2.9 million dollars."
The Soldiers broke ground on the project May 8. Three, 21-day rotations later, the engineers not only completed the parapets, but also completed their annual training requirement - performing and perfecting their engineer construction skills, while at the same time, preserving the historic edifice of Battery Randolph.
The Soldiers were also honored with a plaque for their long-lasting contribution to sustain the history and heritage of the U.S. Army Museum.
"The construction wouldn't have been made possible without membership and donations made through the Hawaii Army Museum Society, a nonprofit organization that supports the museum," said Vicki Olson, executive director of the Hawaii Army Museum Society.
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