Aggies head to Pointe du Hoc over spring break
to continue documenting World War II battle site


Graduate students and professors from Texas A&M University are heading back to Normandy, France during spring break to continue documenting the Pointe du Hoc battle site where U.S. Army Lt. Col. Earl Rudder led a charge up 90-foot cliffs to engage the German Army during World War II’s D-Day invasion.

The trip will be the continuation of surveying and documenting the site that began in 2004. Erosion from the English Channel, wind and rain is threatening the site.

“Many of the structures there are in danger of collapsing and literally falling into the sea below,” said Robert Warden, director of the College of Architecture’s Center for Heritage Conservation.

The site is of particular interest to Aggies because Lt. Col. Rudder survived the attack and went on to become president of Texas A&M in 1959.

The spring break team will consist of 17 professors, graduate students and consultants from architecture, geosciences and engineering, who will continue to explore what’s called the failure mechanism of the cliff, defined as the cliff’s erosion caused by the pounding of the English Channel surf and the site’s wind and rain.

“It is our goal to complete a comprehensive site record to serve as reference for historians and for future preservation and educational initiatives,” explained construction science professor Richard Burt, a preservation team member going on the trip.
Serra Akboy, a Ph.D. student in architecture, said when a complete data set is gathered the project will move from the documentation phase to a preservation phase.

The Texas A&M group will be joined by five students from Chico State University in Chico, Calif. and their professor Tanya Komas, who earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Texas A&M. Komas teaches concrete repair and preservation.

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