After six years of design, construction and fundraising the long-awaited Arizona Silent Service Memorial,which willhonor veterans of Submarine Service who died in the line of duty is just a week away from being completed.
The memorial which incorporates concrete, steel, copper and other materials depicts a submarine bursting out of the water on an emergency ascent. Last month the monument was transported to Wesley Bolin Park by Sunland Asphalt & Construction.
Crews had to use a large crane to lower it onto a truck from Nate Decker’s Art studio in Anthem. That’s where the longtime copper artist spent the last several months completing the project.
The memorial, which is 14 feet long and 11 feet tall, has been a work in progress for six years. The original rendering of the design, which was started by Artist Renee Palmer-Stevens has changed over the years with much credit going to Decker. With many decades of copper experience, Decker redesigned the memorial to be outfitted with copper, representing Arizona and our copper state heritage.
“I am so honored to be part of this project and to be able to pay my respects for all those who serve to protect our freedom,” said Decker. “My dedication in completing this is only a fraction of the dedication of a submariner and the vets lost for our Nation.”
Completing the project wasn’t easy. Decker says the copper had to be heated, hammered and then sculpted to form the waves, which represent an emergency blow.
“I painted the copper, to create the texture and color you see as the finish. The walls are faced in copper and I used sulfuric acid with ammonia to paint it and create the blue representation of the ocean,” Decker said.
The copper work took more than 800 hours for Decker to complete. He worked on the memorial for several months outside of his studio in Anthem in the blistering summer months.
Commissioned three years ago by the Arizona Silent Memorial, Decker worked collectively with Palmer-Stevens and Jim Martin to redesign the monument in copper. The concrete base was delivered to his studio in February by Sunland Asphalt while awaiting the state’s final approval, before he could begin building the monument.
Castle Steel made the scaled down submarine that sits on top of the concrete base. After Sunland delivered to the memorial to Capitol, Decker painted the 80-foot Arizona flag on the radius wall that adorns the monument. Decker says several Sunland Asphalt employees were instrumental in building the concrete base and doing all the concrete, block & brick work, as well as the plaques on site.
The memorial will honor the more than 3950 lives have been lost on submarines since the inception of the sub.
Others donors include:
Sunland Asphalt & Construction
Castle Steel (donated the submarine)
Old Castle Superlite
WT Jenkins Landscaping
Building Block Masonry
The engineering was donated by Jim Martin, Oscar Oliden and Andy DiLeo.
A formal dedication is planned for April 17th, 2021.
For more information or to make a donation please visit Arizona Silent Service Memorial at https://www.arizonasilentservicememorial.org/.