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Missing TBM-1C Avenger Discovered After 72 Years

A Grumman Avenger flying over HMS Magnificent - Missing TBM-1C Avenger Discovered After 72 Years

The US Navy TBM-1C Avenger Was Found By Project RECOVER

72 years after it disappeared toward the end of World War 2, Project RECOVER has found a TBM-1C Avenger in the waters around the Pacific Island nation of Palau. It’s estimated that the islands and archipelagos around Palau conceal several dozen downed US aircraft and the remains of as many as 80 US airmen. Thanks to the use of advanced oceanographic equipment, this is only the latest of numerous aircraft that has been discovered by Project RECOVER members. This particular find wouldn’t have been possible without a substantial financial donation from Dan Friedkin, founder, and chairman of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation and long-term member of the Project RECOVER team.

This recovery is another step closer towards Project RECOVER’s goal of finding the final underwater resting places of all Americans missing in action since World War II,” said Friedkin, adding “As someone who gained a passion for flying and admiration for our country’s brave service members as a child, I will continue to support the efforts of Project RECOVER and their partner organizations. Every family member impacted by the loss of a service member deserves this type of closure.

The importance of our mission is reinforced with each new discovery of a missing aircraft,” said Eric Terrill, an oceanographer from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, one of Project RECOVER’s three founding organizations (along with the University of Delaware and the BentProp Project), adding that “this is more than reconnecting with history; it’s about locating the missing to enable the US government to bring them home for a proper burial.

After Project RECOVER finds aircraft like this TBM-1C Avenger, they provide detailed information about the discovered wrecks and all the possible links to missing airmen to the Department of Defense’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA). The DPAA then takes over the recovery and repatriation work, including notifying the families of the missing airmen.

Image: US Navy

Anders Clark
Anders Clark was introduced to aviation a few short years ago, and has developed an interest in aviation history and what the future of aviation will bring. A writer and editor, Anders enjoys researching and sharing the stories of aviation.
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