East Carolina University’s (ECU) Department of History, Program in Maritime Studies is leading the Joint Recovery Team, an effort with Task Force Dagger Foundation (TFDF) to survey and excavate WWII aircraft crash sites in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in the western Pacific.
DALLAS (PRWEB) AUGUST 12, 2019
The project was developed as a public-private partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to further DPAA’s mission to locate, identify, and recover the remains of unaccounted U.S personnel from previous wars. This is the fifth archaeological project that PMS has conducted in partnership with DPAA. Others include: https://blog.ecu.edu/sites/ecunow/blog/2018/06/05/graduate-students-work-in-saipan-could-help-with-recovery-of-servicemen-mia-after-wwii/, https://news.ecu.edu/2017/09/08/undersea-mission/.
ECU associate professor Dr. Jennifer McKinnon is leading the survey and excavation as part of a summer field project with TFDF. The project is two-pronged and consists of geophysical survey techniques including side scan sonar and magnetometry mounted on an AUV in search of a World War II bomber crash site in Laulau Bay. Identified targets are investigated via ROV and closed-circuit rebreather dives. The second part of the project involves underwater test excavations of a World War II fighter located and identified during last year’s mission. Excavation of the site will hopefully allow for correlation with a specific aircraft and lead to eventual recovery of the remains of the missing pilot. The project includes faculty, staff, and graduate students of the Program in Maritime Studies and College of Allied Health, ten veteran volunteers from TFDF, and staff of the Florida Public Archaeology Network.
TFDF is a nonprofit that serves U.S. Special Operations Command members and their families. The Joint Recovery Team is part of TFDF’s rehabilitative therapy programming to help reintegrate medically retired service members into civilian life and assist them with a new mission, purpose, and focus in the field of underwater archaeology and military history. As an example, Master’s student, Patrick Smith, is a TFDF-affiliated retired psychological operations specialist who joined the Program in 2017. This is the second year the Joint Recovery Team has travelled to Saipan and investigated WWII aircraft crash sites with ECU.
TFDF Board Member and team lead, Mark Stephens, said “These lost service members gave their today so we could have a tomorrow. It’s an incredible honor for us to be a part of this humbling mission of attempting to find, recover and ultimately repatriate our lost. This partnership of academia, government and a benevolent organization is an amazing collaboration of learning, experiences and perspectives for everyone involved.”
The project is funded by the DPAA, however, the information and content and conclusions do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred on the part of DPAA, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Government, or the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. Additional funding and equipment support was provided by Scuba Pro, Big Blue Dive Lights, Kitanica, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Ocean Technology Systems, Shearwater Research, NAUI Worldwide, London Bridge Trading, and Horse Soldier Bourbon.
Mark Stephens, said “These lost service members gave their today so we could have a tomorrow. It’s an incredible honor for us to be a part of this humbling mission of attempting to find, recover and ultimately repatriate our lost. “