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We are grateful to the many individuals and organizations whose determination, skill, and creativity were essential to planning, preparing, and completing IODP Expedition 301. We begin by acknowledging the hundreds of scientists, administrators, and support staff who labored many years to bring about the first phase of IODP. We are particularly grateful for the efforts of representatives from the lead agencies and members to IODP who guided the development of planning documents, organized review and oversight panels, and forged the complex international agreements that make IODP possible. The scientific drilling community was pleasantly surprised to begin IODP at-sea operations ahead of schedule, and the Expedition 301 Scientists were humbled to have been selected to participate in this first expedition of the new program.

Planning for Expedition 301 included numerous site surveys and proposal rewrites, along with spirited discussions over several years among proponents and others with interests in the hydrogeology of oceanic crust. Once the Expedition 301 experimental program was placed on the drilling schedule, we had only about 9 months to design, build, and ship numerous engineering and scientific systems before the start of the expedition in June 2004. The efforts extended by USIO administrative, engineering, operations, technical, and scientific staff during this preparation period were extraordinary. The operational plan for achieving high-priority objectives during Expedition 301 was revised (and greatly improved) during several meetings among proponents and USIO staff members, and program funding was found to cover the costs of numerous CORK system components. We would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of Operations Superintendent Mike Storms, and Engineers Derryl Schroeder, Tom Pettigrew, and Richard Dixon during this time. The JOIDES Resolution had been demobilized before Expedition 301, and the vessel had to be transited across the Pacific Ocean and numerous laboratory and engineering systems had to be installed (or reinstalled) and prepared for scientific operations in a short time.

We benefited enormously during Expedition 301 from the hard work, ingenuity, experience, and good humor of the multitalented Transocean personnel, including Core Technicians Joe (Bubba) Attryde and Phil Christie, Operations Manager Wayne Malone, Tool Pusher Jose (Pepe) Estevez, and Drillers Nick Parrish and Charlie Watts. Their heroic efforts, and those of the USIO engineering, operations, and technical staff, were essential for successful assembly and deployment of complex observatory systems, particularly for salvaging and rebuilding the CORK system deployed in Hole 1301B. Several helicopter deliveries of critical parts and supplies were arranged on short notice, and we sincerely thank USIO, Science Services, TAMU, Deputy Director Jack Baldauf for supporting our efforts by approving these deliveries and otherwise working with us to resolve numerous unexpected difficulties before and during the expedition. All of the shipboard technical staff provided outstanding support for scientific activities throughout the expedition, but we would particularly like to highlight the contributions made by Yeoperson Michiko Hitchcox and Curatorial Specialist Paula Weiss. We also thank the officers and crew of the JOIDES Resolution for their service.

None of us who were involved in Expedition 301 could have imagined in advance how challenging or rewarding the experience would turn out to be. It was an amazing voyage.