WWII pilot’s remains recovered near Palau

  02 Mar 2018


By Rhealyn C. Pojas


Remains of missing personnel from World War 2 were recovered by an Underwater Recovery Team (URT) after completing an excavation of multiple aircraft losses that were shot down in 1944 near Ngerekebesang Island in Palau last February 25.

The URT, which was comprised of United States Army, Navy, and Air Force service members and Department of Defense civilians, embarked aboard Military Sealift Command’s USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) as deployed by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). [restrict]
According to an article published by https://www.dvidshub.net on February 26, the identity of the recovered remains will only be released once complete and thorough analysis can positively confirm identification and the service casualty office conducts next of kin notification.

Lt. Cmdr. Tim Emge of the 7th Fleet Salvage Officer was quoted in the article in saying that the Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 1-6 divers that were tasked for the job have been spending more than 12-hour-days in the past months, adding that the URT spent weeks excavating the area by using a variety of archaeological tools and also meticulously inspecting the bottom sediment during their search and recovery operations.

Civilian Mariner and USNS Salvor Master Capt. Mike Flanagan also said in the same report, “The biggest advantage the Navy has with us on the Salvor is that we are standing by for them with a decompression chamber on board for divers, and we have heavy-lift capability.”

“It’s just a robust ship. With our 40-ton-lift crane we can bring large and heavy objects off the bottom of the ocean,” Flanagan added.
Flanagan said that they did a four-point moor on top of the aircraft that had been untouched for about 74 years.
According to the same report, the operation was supported by the Koror State Government, the Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation, the Environmental Quality Protection Board, and other Palauan authorities.

The recovery team is highly specialized and diverse and consisted of a forensic archeologist, diving officer, master diver, forensic photographer, explosive ordinance disposal technician, and noncommissioned recovery specialists, the report stated.  [/restrict]