A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
March 27, 2008 Volume 38 / Number 5

Child Care Center

CIM at Pointe du Hoc

Students Investigate Historic D-Day Site

Five Concrete Industry Management (CIM) students traveled with Professor Tanya Wattenburg Komas to Point du Hoc in Normandy, France, over spring break to assist in evaluation of concrete bunkers at the site. The beach was one of three locations for the historic World War II D-Day landing in June 1944.

The photo above this story shows the group standing on top of the Observation Post by the monument to the Rangers who scaled the cliff under fire on D-Day to take Pointe du Hoc. The form of the monument represents the Ranger Dagger stabbing up through the German Post.

The students, Chad Golden, Robert Hostettler, Andrew Billingsley, Courtney Sheehan, and Alex McAvoy, used state-of-the-art ultrasonic pulse testing equipment, loaned by a company that constructs bridges and dams, to test the soundness of the concrete in gun casements. Tranducers sent and received ultrasonic pulses through approximately 80 inches of concrete. Field-rugged computers, also loaned by the company, made it possible to enter the data and run tests on the velocity of the sound waves pulsing through the concrete on site.

Komas, professor of a class in concrete repair and preservation, part of the CIM program, set up the research opportunity with colleagues at Texas A&M, who are part of an effort to evaluate the site of the historic landing for the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). Texas A&M will survey the site and evaluate the cliffs on which the concrete structures rest.

Chad Golden is on top of the casement holding a transducer that is sending ultrasonic pulses through the approximately 80 inches of concrete to where Robert Hostettler is holding the receiving transducer. Andrew Billingsley (seen through the barbed wire) is running the test data on the velocity of the sound waves to determine soundness of the concrete.
CIM students at Point du Hoc
The students will produce an “existing conditions” report that will combine the previous laboratory testing results and the upcoming fieldwork results. It will serve as the basis for proposing the next phase of work.

“The trip was an amazing experience for us all,” said Komas. “The students completed an incredible amount of work with proficiency and professionalism, several days of which were accompanied by gale-force winds and heavy rain. That they are participating in a work of this magnitude is exciting for them and for me.”
Pointe du Hoc is the most culturally important site of the 1944 World War II Normandy invasion. An American military cemetery is located above the cliffs. The coastal battery consists of a variety of structures such as gun emplacements, casements, and personnel and ammunition bunkers. Constructed as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall campaign, it was strategically placed between the Utah and Omaha invasion beaches.

Kathleen McPartand, Public Affairs and Publications