|00:00:00||BILLY'S LIFE WAS TIED TO THE SEA FROM HIS CHILDHOOD GROWING UP ON THE GULF COAST IN PANAMA, CITY, FLORIDA.|
|00:00:08||HE SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY HOSPITAL.|
|00:00:11||FOR YEARS HE CARED FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF HIS FELLOW SAILORS.|
|00:00:16||HE FOUND HIMSELF AT HOME BACK IN THE WATER TRAINING AT FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY'S UNDERWATER CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION PROGRAM FOCUSING ON SCIENTIFIC AND SURFACE SUPPLY DIVING.|
|00:00:27||EVENTUALLY, HIS PATH LED HIM TO NOAAA RESEARCH CENTER.|
|00:00:33||IT COMBINED THE ELEMENTS FOR HIS PASSION.|
|00:00:38||LOCATED OFF THE COAST OF KEY LARGO, FLORIDA, THE UNDERWATER LABORATORY IS DEDICATED TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND TRAINING MISSIONS.|
|00:00:46||IT IS THE ONLY PERMANENT UNDERWATER LABORATORY IN THE WORLD AND ITS FACILITIES ARE USED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NASA AND THE NAVY AND COUNTLESS SCIENTISTS AROUND THE WORLD TO TRAIN ASTRONAUTS, DIVERS AND DEVELOP NEW TECHNOLOGY.|
|00:01:02||AQUARIUS AND ITS TEAM HAVE CONDUCTED MORE THAN 90 MISSIONS WITH NO SIGNIFICANT PRIOR ACCIDENTS.|
|00:01:10||THE CONTRIBUTION TO OCEAN SCIENCE BY SMITH AND HIS FELLOWS IS IMMEASURABLE.|
|00:01:16||IT SUPPORTS A LONG-TERM CORAL REEF MONITORING PLATFORM AND OCEAN OBSERVATION PLATFORM AND SURFACE-BASED RESEARCH.|
|00:01:24||SINCE ITS INCEPTION, THE TEAM AT AQUARIUS HAS MONITORED A PROGRAM TO TRACK THE DEVASTATING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.|
|00:01:37||THEY HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REACHED OUT TO THE WORLD BEYOND THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, EDUCATING SCHOOL CHILDREN, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ON THE CHANGES OCCURRING IN THE WORLD'S OCEANS.|
|00:01:50||EMPLOYING STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGY, THEY CORRESPOND WITH STUDENTS AND SCIENTISTS.|
|00:01:57||HIS RESPONSE TO SCHOOL CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS REVEAL NOT ONLY HIS EXPERTISE, BUT SINCERE DESIRE TO SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED AT AQUARIUS IN THE HOPES OF SAVING THE MARINE ECOSYSTEM.|
|00:02:09||THE WORK DONE IMPROVES THE LIVES OF MANY AMERICANS FROM ASTRONAUTS WHOSE HEALTH AND SAFETY IS ENSURED TO FISHERMEN WHOSE LIVELIHOODS DEPEND ON THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE WORLD'S MARINE ECOSYSTEMS.|
|00:02:26||THIS MONDAY, OUR NATION WILL GAZE AND WONDER AT THE ASTRONAUTS WHO WILL LIFT OFF IN THE SPACE SHUTTLE.|
|00:02:36||AS IMPORTANT AS THE WORK THOSE ASTRONAUTS DO, I BELIEVE THE WORK DONE AT AQUARIUS IS NO LESS COURAGEOUS AND NO LESS ESSENTIAL OF OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD.|
|00:02:49||SMITH, ALONG WITH THE OTHERS RISKED AND COMMITTED HIS LIFE DAILY FOR THE CAUSE OF RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION, WHICH BENEFITS US ALL.|
|00:02:59||IN A FEW SHORT MINUTES, ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON, A DEDICATED MAN SUDDENLY LOSS IN THE COURSE OF AN OTHERWISE STANDARD MISSION.|
|00:03:11||LET US NOT RISK LOSING THE WORK THAT HE WAS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT.|
|00:03:15||I NOT ONLY MOURN THE DEATH OF A FRIEND, SON, FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE BUT URGE THIS MISSION CONTINUE.|
|00:03:22||LOOKING FORWARD, I HOPE HIS LIFE WILL CONTINUE TO INSPIRE THE IMPORTANT WORK OF PRESERVING THE WORLD'S OCEANS.|
|00:03:28||I OFFER MY CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY, TO THE ENTIRE AQUARIUS TEAM AND ASK THIS HOUSE HONOR THIS MAN AS A MAN DIED SERVING HIS COUNTRY IN PURSUIT OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS.|
|00:03:42||I ASK THAT THE HOUSE OBSERVE A MOMENT OF SILENCE.|
|00:03:49||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: SO ORDERED.|
|00:04:08||BAIRD: I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE|
Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dewey Smith, a young man who tragically lost his life on Tuesday, May 5, this past Tuesday, in the course of his duties at the Aquarius Undersea Research Station. He will be greatly missed by his friends, his family, and his colleagues.
Dewey's life was tied to the sea from his childhood growing up on the Gulf Coast in Panama City, Florida. As a young man, he served his country as a United States Navy hospital corpsman. For 5 years, he cared for the health and well-being of his fellow sailors. After leaving the Navy and attending college, he found himself at home back in the water, training at Florida State University's underwater crime scene investigation program focusing on scientific and surface supply diving. Eventually, his path led him to NOAA's Undersea Research Center, Aquarius.
Aquarius combined the elements of Dewey's passion for science and the sea. Located 3 1/2 miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, the underwater laboratory is dedicated to scientific research and training missions. It is the only permanent underwater laboratory in the world, and its facilities are used in partnership with NASA, the Navy, and countless scientists around the world to train astronauts, divers, and develop new technology. Since it began operation in 1993 at its current location, Aquarius and its team have safely conducted more than 90 missions with no significant prior accidents.
The contribution to ocean science by Dewey Smith and his fellow aquanauts is immeasurable. The Aquarius Reef Base supports a long-term coral reef monitoring platform, an ocean observation platform, and surface-based research.
Since its inception, the team at Aquarius has employed a coral reef and fish monitoring assessment program to track the devastating impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.
Aquanauts such as Dewey Smith have also successfully reached out to the world beyond the scientific community, successfully educating school children, environmental activists, and government agencies on the changes occurring in the world's oceans. Employing state-of-the-art communication technology, the aquanauts correspond with students and the public while underwater on long-term missions. Dewey's response to school children's questions reveal not only his expertise and eloquence, but his sincere desire to share that knowledge gained at Aquarius in the hopes of saving the marine ecosystem he worked with.
The work done at Aquarius by brave aquanauts such as Dewey Smith improves the lives of many Americans, from astronauts, whose health and safety are ensured through technology developed underwater, to fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on understanding the effects of climate change on the world's marine ecosystems.
Mr. Speaker, this Monday, quite rightfully, our Nation will gaze in wonder and admiration at the astronauts who will lift off yet again in the space shuttle. As courageous and important as the work those astronauts do, I believe that the work done by the aquanauts at Aquarius is no less courageous and no less essential to our understanding of our world and the well-being of civilization.
Dewey Smith, along with the other Aquarius aquanauts, risked and committed his life daily not only for his love of the sea but for the cause of research, education, and conservation, which benefits us all.
In a few short minutes on Tuesday afternoon, a dedicated aquanaut was suddenly lost in the course of an otherwise standard mission. Let us not risk losing the work, however, that he was so passionate about. I stand today not only to mourn the death of a beloved friend, son, brother, and colleague, but to urge that this mission continue.
Looking forward, I hope that Dewey's life will continue to inspire the important work of preserving the world's oceans. I offer my sincere condolence to Dewey Smith's family, to the entire Aquarius team, and ask that this House honor him as a man who died serving his country in pursuit of scientific progress.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House observe a moment of silence in honor of this courageous government employee and researcher. END