FAVF is leaders in the technical expertise, procedures and protocols to search, locate, and repatriate the remains of every missing American service member. We remain steadfast in our commitment to that continuing mission. The Fallen American Veterans Foundation is currently engaged in 7 repatriation missions that can bring home as many as 53 WWII MIAs NOT on the Defense Department schedule.
WWII Coast Guard J2F-4 Grumman Duck
On Nov. 9, 1942, a U.S. Army Air Force B-17 crashed on the Greenland ice cap during a search mission, stranding the crew of seven. On Nov. 28, 1942, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. John Pritchard and Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Bottoms flew their J2F-4 amphibious Grumman “Duck” aircraft to the crash site, made a daring, unprecedented landing on the ice cap, and rescued two members of the crew.
The next day, despite bad weather closing in, Pritchard and Bottoms went back. Once again they landed on the ice cap, and picked up U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. Loren Howarth. But on the flight back, Lt. Pritchard ran into unavoidable fog and crashed his amphibious biplane. Death was instantaneous to the three on board. While the aircraft was spotted from the air on several occasions, search and recovery personnel were never able to reach the crash site. The aircraft is now covered by decades of snow and ice.
In 2010, at the request of the US Department of Defense Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), the Fallen American Veterans Foundation and North South Polar took the search and recovery (SAR) mission lead. FAVF and NSP initiated procedures and protocols that would initially disprove the position JPAC thought contained the aircraft fuselage. Two years later, in August 2012, after two years of intense FAVF and NSP information gathering and analysis, the FAVF/NSP led, joint US Coast Guard team, using historical information, ground penetrating radar, a magnetometer, and metal detection equipment, the J2F-4 Grumman Duck fuselage debris field was successfully located 38 feet below the ice near Køge Bugt.
FAVF is dedicated to returning to the site to retrieve the remains of the three airmen buried there, and to return those remains to their waiting families.
Bottoms and Pritchard’s final flight
The George 1 Antarctic Repatriation Project
A U.S. Navy Martin Mariner PBM-5 flying boat, codenamed George 1, grazed a ridgeline, exploded and crashed on Antarctica’s Thurston Island on Dec. 30 1946. Six men survived the crash and were rescued off the ice 13 days later. Two men were killed instantly in the explosion as propellers tore through the fuselage. A third man died hours later. At the request of the families involved, a specialized FAVF team is planning an expedition to perform a site survey to locate the preserved frozen bodies of the remaining crewmen from a depth of up to 150 feet under the surface of a glacier. Current politics within the US Navy and the US Senate continue to delay their return. FAVF continues to its work with legislators to mandate the men’s return.
The Greenland C-53 Skytrooper Repatriation Project
FAVF is dedicated to recovering the remains of five crewmembers of a WWII C-53 Sky Trooper” an Operation Bolero aircraft that also went down on the Greenland ice cap less than three months later and only five miles from the Lost Squadron forced landing site. Radio transmissions and flare sightings indicate that the men survived, but conditions at the time did not permit their rescue from a station only 10 miles away. Their remains are presumed to be with the aircraft and buried up to 370 feet below the ice.
The Greenland Single Seven WWII MIAs
FAVF is conducting an investigation to repatriate the remains of seven U.S. service members buried in scattered graves around southeast Greenland. Their remains were logistically impossible to bring home at the time they were killed during WWII.
WWII Papua New Guinea MIA Location Field Project
FAVF is working with historians and the indigenous people to locate, investigate and inventory multiple WWII crash sites that contain the remains of U.S. Service Personnel in preparation for their repatriation.
The WWII B-24 Philippines Repatriation Project
A hiking group recently discovered the heavily moss-covered location of two B-24 Liberator bombers that disappeared into a cloudbank en route to a bombing run 65 years ago. One of those bombers was never seen again. FAVF is working with local councils and hikers to search the sites and facilitate the return of up to 21 members of the two crews to their families.