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MDSU 1 Assists with World War II B-24J Recovery Efforts

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050502-05
Release Date: 5/2/2005 3:00:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class Martha Kennedy, Maritime Force Protection Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 in conjunction with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is currently conducting recovery operations off the coast of the Republic of Palau.

Seventeen members of the 25-member team are from the Hawaii-based MDSU 1. They are providing the diving and recovery support for the forensic recovery of a World War II B-24J Liberator aircraft that was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire in September 1944.

“Being involved in a mission of this type is very rewarding,” said Chief Warrant Officer Chris Spann, officer-in-charge, MDSU 1, Det. 7. “We are helping to bring closure to the families of the brave airmen after 61 years.”

The JPAC mission is to recover the human remains and material evidence, such as personal effects and aircraft parts, that will aid the identification process of Americans who went down with the plane.

MDSU’s divers have completed more than 140 hours of dive time since arriving early in April.

The wreckage is located in water ranging in depth from 50 to 70 feet with sand, coral and silt on the bottom. The team is using MK-21 with Surface Supplied Dive System, commonly referred to as “hard hat” diving. This enables the diver to stay under the water for long periods of time.

The operation is scheduled to continue through May.


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