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Keeping history alive

estoring the cannons at CBA was important to many alumni

Students from CBA raise the American flag and then lower it to half staff during the Christian Brother Academy Opening Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The event also saw the unveiling of the newly restored cannons, provided by the Watervliet Arsenal.

Students from CBA raise the American flag and then lower it to half staff during the Christian Brother Academy Opening Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The event also saw the unveiling of the newly restored cannons, provided by the Watervliet Arsenal. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— It was the perfect project for the apprentices at the arsenal, said Jack Henry, an industrial specialist for the arsenal, as the project took them from February till the night before the actual ceremony.

“It takes into account a lot of the manufacturing techniques they need to know in order to be a journeyman machinist,” he said. “There are a number of processes they need to know and the project offered a lot of those processes, so it was quite valuable.”

The process the arsenal used was called reverse engineering. This meant the crew had to take the measurements of an existing part and fit the piece to that part. Henry said because they knew of the particular features they were able to make original measurements and do the manufacturing through there. The work was done at several locations such as the arsenal, the CBA campus and even their own homes. They got some help in transporting the cannon from John Wojtowicz, Inc.

“The opportunity to see all the different working s and how it can come together in the end for a deadline and come together so they’re going to be here forever,” Brant Mert, an apprentice on the project, said.

John Zayhowski, the apprentice training supervisor, said it was a great opportunity for a new and creative task for the apprentices at the arsenal. He said it was some non-conventional training for the apprentices to put everything they had learned to use in one project.

“It included reverse engineering, tolerance, print drawing and the actual manufacturing and fabrication of the actual project,” he said. “The machinist and tool makers that supervised the apprentices and the apprentices that worked on the project outdid themselves ten-fold. The amount of accuracy and tolerance put into these cannons were phenomenal.”

Terry VanFranken, who trained and led the apprentices, said the project was a fulfilling one and that it was great to help the apprentices learn how things are done.

“It’s really nice to see them [the cannons] back in operational and working order,” he said.

Brant Mert, an apprentice on the project, said every aspect on the project was a great learning experience for him.

“The opportunity to see all the different working s and how it can come together in the end for a deadline and come together so they’re going to be here forever,” he said.

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