Armistice Day

The anniversary marking the end of WWI started as Armistice Day and after WWII was changed to recognize the passing of all American war hero's.  In the mid 50's the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to help recognize all veterans who have served in the military during war or peacetime.  

While growing up, my mother told me stories of both her parents including her father's college days at Columbia University playing football and other sports.  My grandfather, John F Desmond III, served in the military during WWII but died at a young age soon thereafter.  

Growing up, I look over his achievements and all that he accomplished.  I wonder what he would say to me if he were here today.  Working with people that share a common interest and passion to achieve our mission at GeAR is a big story and one that I wish that I could have shared with him.  

GEaR is a small team made up of individuals from different walks of life around the world.  Francis Marley is one of our team members who has a broad-based background.  His military ties offer a form of structure that helps drive the people that work with him.  His relationship with me is more than just a fellow teammate or life coach.  He's become a life-time friend.  

To all the veterans active or inactive today I thank you for your service to this country.  

 

Desert, Jungle, and Desk

To mark Veterans Day, the members of GEaR are sharing stories of their connections to the military and what the significance of the holiday is to them. This post is the first in a series that will conclude on November 11.

By Nick Bratton, Chief Operating Officer

Important influences in my childhood were my grandfathers, Vincent Bratton and Joseph Schneller. Both served in the Second World War in different ways. Vincent Bratton was from Durham in northern England and he served in the British Army. During the earlier years of the war he fought Rommel in the deserts of North Africa. Later, after the Allies had prevailed in that theater, he was posted to the jungles of Burma.

Here he commanded a prisoner camp where a Japanese battalion surrendered to him. In a show of honor, the Japanese commander presented Vincent with his boots and his sword. The boots vanished over the years, but the sword was handed down to me, which I still have along with Vincent's medals and other memorabilia.

Joseph Schneller had poor eyesight that prevented him from serving on the front lines, however he was an intelligent man and enlisted because he understood there were other contributions he could make to his country that didn't involve fighting.  He was posted to an administrative position in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He went about his work in his trademark quiet and efficient way, and after the Allied victory he used to joke "I commanded a desk for the entire war and never lost a single man."  

What I admire about my grandfathers is that although they came from very different backgrounds (Vincent from the depressed industrial north of England, Joseph an immigrant from today's Czech Republic) they understood the larger meaning of their service and they served honorably in different ways.  They were fortunate to survive the war, and Vincent went on to serve in the armies of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, earning further distinctions.  

In an era where our society is increasingly insulated from the wars we fight, I believe it is important that we recognize the contributions and sacrifices that our armed services make in order to protect our democracy and national interests.  Not just on Veterans Day, but every time I meet an active duty or retired service member, I make a point to thank them for their contributions.  The daring and sacrifice of John Pritchard, Benjamin Bottoms, and Loren Howarth are the highest examples of service.  This is an occasion to reflect on what they did and reaffirm our commitment to bringing them home. 

Taking the Desert to the Icecap

At Global Exploration and Recovery we believe in challenging the status quo when it comes to recovery technology or technique.  This includes the most basic of skills that we’ve been using in the field for years, such as the rope techniques needed to descend into and ascend out of crevasses.

We recently learned about a new device that dramatically increases efficiency of raising objects from crevasses or confined spaces.  Curious to learn how it could improve on our traditional rope and pulley systems, we took a close look at it.  The folks at CMC Rescue have created a state of the art, portable artificial high directional (AHD) hoist called the Arizona Vortex.  This device was developed over many years of trial and error in the rugged Red Rock highland of northern Arizona.

GEaR’s Frank Marley along with Brian Horner (Learn To Return) had a chance to evaluate the Arizona Vortex recently and were impressed with its versatility and ease of set up. The device is configurable as a bipod, but it is the tripod configuration that is of interest to GEaR.                      

Whether the GEaR team needs to descend into a crevasse to investigate a historic clue, or ever needs to perform an ice rescue mission the “Vortex” could be a useful tool on the ice. The increase in speed, safety, and user friendliness that this system offers would be a valuable addition to our mission.  

Looking out for Each Other Part II

In 2014 Trevor Sly, a U.S. Coast Guard officer stationed near Seattle, was part of a government mission to Koge Bay in Greenland testing new equipment for the Duck Hunt. As Global Exploration and Recovery plans for our return trip to Greenland in 2016 to conduct a new search for the 3 missing aviators, we have been consulting closely with Trevor to draw on his experience. With his input we are confident we are developing a search strategy that will maximize our chances of finding the Duck and the missing men. On a recent visit to Seattle Trevor sat down with GEaR’s Nick Bratton to discuss his work and involvement in the 2014 mission.

After the slideshow and presentation that Nick gave to the Coast Guard personnel at Port Angeles Air Station in 2013, Trevor was determined to join the effort to search for the lost plane and his fellow aviators. He was ideally suited to the job. Between his mechanical qualifications, weapons skills, and mountaineering experience, Trevor was a walking Swiss Army knife. After his initial application to the announcement for the 2014 mission was rejected, a second chance came up on short notice and Trevor leapt at the opportunity. He was elated to be a part of the team.

Looking back on the 2014 mission Trevor recounts the most valuable lesson he learned: humility.

“When you are in an overwhelming battle with the elements which make Greenland so uninhabitable, you have to be 100% on your game every second of every day. It's not in the nature of Greenland to forgive.

It wasn't about triumphing over the adverse climate, but rather more about proving yourself worthy by withstanding it. Whether it was the sun exposure, the wind, the cold, or just feeling under the weather that day...it was hard. A little humility helped to put things in perspective. There is a reason only a handful of people have ever stood on those rocks in the history of mankind.”

If Trevor had the chance to go back to Koge Bay he would do a few things differently,

“Like effective equipment arrangements for the excavation site, communal tent configuration, mostly logistics stuff. If I were to go back, all I know for sure is that I would do more. There was always more to do. I was just trying to keep up with everyone else (who were all probably trying to do the same). We all handled way above and beyond what our team positions encompassed.”

When asked about his most memorable experience during his Coast Guard career, Trevor doesn’t hesitate.

“It is absolutely the Greenland expedition. Hands down. To be part of the search for the only two MIAs the Coast Guard has, there is nothing like it (I use present tense because I still feel very much involved with the ongoing efforts). It is an indescribable connection. I made some incredible friends along the way. I've not worked with better or more capable people before or since.”

Reflecting on his career, Trevor returns to a theme that GEaR has heard so often in our partnership with the Coast Guard. The most rewarding part is service, being able to help those in need where others cannot.

“I have traveled through villages in Central America after a cartel presence was diminished by the efforts of the task force my unit was a part of. I delivered supplies and medicine to Port Au Prince, Haiti during the 2010 earthquake, and spent 30 days flying rescue and assistance missions in and around the rubble that used to be their capital. I learned and reprogrammed the software in our helicopters' radios so we could communicate with search & rescue units on the ground during the Oso, WA mudslides in 2014. I worked with local rescuers near St. Louis to retrieve people from cars, trees, and patches of high ground during a major flood in the region. I was part of the biggest ice rescue case in recent history on Lake Erie near Ohio when 134 fishermen and snowmobilers were trapped on a 3-mile wide ice floe in 2009. I have helped rescue people with no other chance for survival. I have served my community, and humanity in general. I think that is a very unique opportunity that the Coast Guard affords its members.”

It is this ethic of service with a paramount focus on helping those in need that embodies what the Coast Guard is all about. It was the motivation for the daring rescue mission undertaken by John Pritchard and Benjamin Bottoms on that fateful day in November 1942, a choice that ultimately cost them their lives in the course of saving their countrymen.

When people ask GEaR why we are pursuing this mission to find these men who vanished 73 years ago, a big part of the answer is reflected in the ethic of the Coast Guard. If it had been us stranded on the ice with no chance of rescue, Pritchard and Bottoms would have come for us. We owe it to them to bring them home, that they may be reunited with their families and laid to rest on home soil with the honor they deserve.

Looking out for Each Other Part I

In 2014 Trevor Sly, a U.S. Coast Guard officer stationed near Seattle, was part of a government mission to Koge Bay in Greenland testing new equipment for the Duck Hunt.  As Global Exploration and Recovery plans for our return trip to Greenland in 2016 to conduct a new search for the 3 missing aviators, we have been consulting closely with Trevor to draw on his experience.  With his input we are confident we are developing a search strategy that will maximize our chances of finding the Duck and the missing men.  On a recent visit to Seattle Trevor sat down with GEaR’s Nick Bratton to discuss his work and involvement in the 2014 mission.

So what does Trevor do for the Coast Guard?

His official title is Avionics Electrical Technician First-class. He supervises the Quality Assurance division of Aviation Engineering at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, WA.  Trevor is responsible for overseeing maintenance of the fleet of MH-65 Dolphin helicopters.  He also serves as a search and rescue flight mechanic, aircrew instructor, and instructor for infrared camera and sensor systems. In addition to his technical expertise, Trevor provides vital support services to his compatriots by counselling members who have financial questions or hardships and acting as sexual assault victims’ advocate.

Before moving into his present role, Trevor had one of the most challenging and unusual jobs in the service: counter-narcotics marksman.  He was a sniper trained by Special Forces to disable drug-smuggling boats by shooting out their engines.  From a helicopter.  At night.  In a storm.  He recounts one particularly intense mission:

“I had a case late one night where the vessel's crew tried to evade us by hiding under rain squalls that were littering the area.  With the helicopter door open the whole time we chased them, the rain was coming straight into the cabin.  Some avionics components malfunctioned.  The ammo can mounted on my M240 filled halfway with water.  We broke out of the last squall and flew down right next to them with guns out the door, thoroughly tired of their antics.  Their vessel was soon dead in the water.”

What was Trevor’s introduction to the history of John Pritchard, Benjamin Bottoms, and Loren Howarth?

“I learned about them from the memorial plaques that are hung in the barracks of the Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Alabama.  The barracks are named Bottoms and Pritchard Halls, for the officers and enlisted respectively.  I stayed in those barracks during my marksman training schools.  The crews from those days made Coast Guard aviation what it is today.  Bottoms was one of the first enlisted aircrewman, and I felt a sort of kinship with him.  They were all great men. Cpl. Howarth, as well. Their heroism was staggering.”

With this background of skills and a passion for the history, it was natural that Trevor would gravitate towards the Duck Hunt.  Following the 2013 mission Lt. Mark Haines and Capt. Keith McTigue invited Nick Bratton to give a presentation on the project to the 60-some personnel at Port Angeles Air Station.   He gladly accepted and brought along Capt. Charles Dorian, age 92, who was the radio officer on board the USS Northland and was the last person to communicate with the Duck before it vanished.  Trevor was in the audience.

“I hadn't realized the full scope of the work, and certainly hadn't heard everything about what you had been up against.  Slide after slide of heavy equipment, tents, snow, ice, and some bent ladders. It should have been a deterrent, but instead it made me want to be a part of it.  I remember walking back to my office that day thinking there had to be another mission.

A couple of the guys in my office were talking about your presentation.  One guy remarked that it looked miserable, almost doomed.  ‘I'm going,’ I said.  ‘What?’ they seemed to expect me to clarify as though I was referring to something else.  ‘If they go back, I'm going to go.  I don't care how.  I'm going.’   Everything about it appealed to me.  I have been rock climbing, backpacking, biking, or mountaineering for most of my adult life. Living on a glacier sounded like a fantastic opportunity, let alone the overarching idea that I would get a chance to recover these lost heroes.”

Check the GEaR blog soon for Part 2 of the story, in which Trevor discusses his experiences on the 2014 mission.

 

 

Family First

Much has been said about the families of the 3 missing aviators who are the focus of our search. They are the reason Global Exploration and Recovery is leading the effort to find the men aboard the Duck.  We share the same goal: closure and the chance to lay their loved ones to rest on home soil with the honor they deserve.  Nancy Pritchard is the younger sister of the Duck’s pilot, John Pritchard, and has figured heavily in the coverage of the Duck Hunt, from Mitch Zuckoff’s authoritative work Frozen In Time to her Veterans Day interview also featuring GEaR’s Nick Bratton.

Since the Boston Globe coverage of the 2013 Greenland mission, the story of Cpl. Loren Howarth’s family has not received much attention. Until now.  GEaR recently had a chance to reconnect with Howarth’s family.  We heard memories of this brave young man, what his legacy means to his community, and why his relatives support GEaR.

Loren Howarth was a pivotal character in the fateful events of November, 1942.  He was the radio operator aboard the B-17 that crashed in eastern Greenland leading to the Duck’s involvement. The B-17's radio was damaged in the wreck and it was Howarth’s ingenuity, focus, and persistence that got it working again.  If not for his efforts with frozen fingers the men of the B-17 could never have called to the outside world.  Howarth’s fellow crewman would make it out.  He did not.

Meet Marc Storch of DeForest, Wisconsin.  Loren married Marc’s aunt, Irene. “Lolly”, as he was known, attended a teachers’ college in La Crosse with Marc’s dad.  When Marc’s parents married in 1941 they lived next door to the Howarth's in a boarding house Irene ran.  After America entered the war both Marc’s dad and Lolly applied to the Army Air Corps, but only Lolly was admitted.  After his loss Irene received Lolly’s Legion of Merit medal and passed it on to Marc.  

In the course of a varied professional career, Marc spent 14 years with the National Security Agency.  Through this work he saw many interesting sides to the world, some good and some bad.  “Back then the world was not as ambiguous of a place as it is today,” he explained.  During his stint with the NSA Marc worked alongside members of all the services.  “What they do to defend our security is something I will always appreciate.”  When Marc settled in DeForest he helped to establish a veterans’ park in town.

When asked about the significance of what Howarth did in 1942, Marc is emphatic.

“Lolly represents so many of the young men of that time who uprooted their lives and wanted to help the war effort.  He felt he had to do something.  Everyone in those days made sacrifices.  For Lolly it was never about glory.  The men on that B-17, searching for the cargo plane, they were only trying to save people just like them.  Through his actions he allowed others to be saved.  We should be willing to make some sacrifice to get him home.”  Marc is a firm believer in the importance of reuniting Lolly with his family.

“It’s about closure.  The fact that Lolly was so close to returning, that the Coast Guard was doing extraordinary things to bring him back, is amazing.  It’s important to mom, Lolly still exists to her as the polite, quiet young man she knew.  Anyone lost in a foreign field is never home.  I want Lolly to be rescued from the bleakness of that cold place.”

In spite of these unresolved issues, Marc had some heartening experiences to recount.  A few years back he tracked down Harry Spencer, the co-pilot of the B-17, in a nursing home in Dallas. Marc called him up and they talked about the war.

“Harry remembered Lolly, said he was one of the few men who was willing to gather snow for drinking water for the rest of them.  He recalled Lolly’s bravery, the countless hours spent trying to get the radio to work.  The warmth of those memories was so meaningful.”

GEaR asked Marc what his response would be if they did find the missing men.

“My first response would be joy from knowing the plane had been found. Even if just for one moment someone can stand and say ‘This is the spot where those three brave men were,’ that would be tremendous.”

In 2014 Lolly’s high school held a remembrance of him, hosting a ceremony on Memorial Day. Marc remains encouraged that so many people in the community still remember, still care, and want Lolly home.  With the support of the Storch family, Global Exploration and Recovery are committed to the discovery and return of these brave young men still missing in Greenland.

 

73 years, 4 families, 1 team

On November 29, 1942 three American service members vanished in a storm in eastern Greenland during one of the most daring rescue attempts in aviation history.  Today marks 73 years since Lt. John Pritchard and Radioman Benjamin Bottoms landed on a glacier in their ampibious biplane to retrieve crewmembers from a crashed B-17.  They took Cpl. Loren Howarth on board and flew off into an approaching storm.  

These men and the plane carrying them vanished beneath the snows of Greenland's winter, but their memory lives on and the quest to find them remains a pursuit of a few dedicated individuals.    

The families of these three missing men have not forgotten the bravery, generosity, and resourcefulness that exemplified their service during the war.  Nancy, the younger sister of pilot John Pritchard, recalled fond memories of her brother during a recent radio interview.  The families of Benjamin Bottoms and Loren Howarth also desire to see their loved ones returned to them after 73 years beneath the ice.  This is a long time to wait and much work remains to be done to find these men.  

The other family that is eager to see the recovery of the missing men is the men and women of today's Coast Guard.  The mission of the Duck is legend within the service and the spirit of Pritchard and Bottoms serves as inspiration to all Coast Guard aviators who have come after them.  These are the only 2 members who are missing in action and with 2016 marking the 100-year anniversary of Coast Guard aviation, the time is right to focus on finding them.  

Global Exploration and Recovery is the team to lead the search.  We are making preparations for a 2016 survey and are in close communication with the Coast Guard on the design of the search mission.  The breadth of support we have built through sponsorships and supporters is humbling and speaks to the significance of this work.  Having the backing of the families is a powerful motivator and keeps us going towards the goal of finding the men.    

We also have the support of a growing number of generous donors who are supporting our project by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign.  As we commemorate this somber occasion with respect and gratitude for the sacrifices of Pritchard, Bottoms, and Howarth we ask you to join us in this cause.  Please make a donation today and spread the word of this important project.  The members of all the families appreciate it.

Fund Us to Find Them

Imagine this:  you are sitting in the cockpit of an amphibious biplane in November 1942, about to take off from the frigid waters near the coast of Greenland.  You are going to fly to the site of a crashed B-17 and land your plane on the glacier to rescue the men aboard.  This has never been done before.  Whatever happens next is uncharted territory.  You are their best chance for survival.

Now, 73 years later, a team of scientists and explorers is planning to go to Greenland to search for 3 missing men.  That biplane, a Grumman Duck flown by the U.S. Coast Guard, went down in a storm in the middle of a heroic rescue mission.  It is buried under 40 feet of ice, along with Lt. John Pritchard, Radioman Benjamin Bottoms, and Cpl. Loren Howarth.  Global Exploration and Recovery is the search team.  Finding these men in 2016 is our mission.  You can help make it happen by contributing to our fundraising campaign.

We have established a positive working relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard over the course of 3 previous expeditions to Greenland.  They are enthusiastic that a team of experts from the private sector is pursuing this goal.  We have the support of the families of the missing men.  We have the skills, the experience, the capacity, and the relationships to locate the Duck and bring the men home.  We don’t have the money.

Global Exploration and Recovery is pursuing private funding to undertake this search mission in 2016.  Donations from people like you who appreciate the gravity of this project will help make it a success.  People who understand what it means to the relatives to see their loved ones brought back to be laid to rest on home soil.  We are doing this for the families.  You can help make it happen.  Thank you for contributing.  Even if you can’t contribute, please share the link to our campaign on your Facebook page, Tweet it, and tell your friends.  The more people who know about it, the better.

gofundme.com/greenlandrecovery

Planning for What's Possible

Things have been quiet at Global Exploration and Recovery recently, but we've been occupied behind the scenes with a wide range of preparations.  All four of us have been working steadily to advance towards the near term goal:  returning to Greenland for a survey mission in 2016.

John Bradley has continued to recruit sponsors to back our mission.  His persistence in reaching out to manufacturers, retailers, and other private sector businesses has yielded new fruitful partnerships.  He's also been honing his skills in areas that will be useful to our work:  rescue in confined spaces and both high and low angle scenarios, as well as expanding his medical certifications.  John has also been gathering input from sources in different fields whose expertise will be vital to planning our survey design and strengthening relationships with leaders in the community in Greenland.

Frank Marley has been busy with his military commitments, recently earning the gold standard in the German Armed Forces Proficiency assessment.  This is a prestigious test that U.S. Service members occasionally have the opportunity to take.  Frank has also prepared research plans to access some little-known archives that may contain valuable historical information about the Duck to inform our survey mission next year.

Jaana Gustafsson has been both on and off the radar - literally.  She's been in Nepal over the past several weeks working with a European glaciology team to conduct radar surveys on a glacier near Dhaulagiri, one of the world's fourteen 8,000m peaks.  Her summer research projects have also taken her to the northernmost reaches of Sweden and Norway.  Lessons she's learning from radar investigations in these environments will refine the techniques we use when we return to Greenland.

Nick Bratton has been in regular contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, discussing plans for a partnership in 2016.  Public-private partnerships are an area of interest for the government.  We have the capacity, skills, and resources to collaborate productively with our willing counterparts in the Coast Guard.  The recovery of the 3 missing men remains a high priority for the Coast Guard and they are thinking creatively about how to keep momentum for the mission strong.  Nick has also been leading GEaR's media strategy development.  

As the temperatures grow cooler this fall, look for things to start heating up with GEaR.  Many of the seeds we've been planting this year will bear fruit soon and we're excited to share our accomplishments with our loyal supporters.  Stay tuned!

 

Source: facebook.com/globalexplorationandrecovery

Hope and Solidarity

Global Exploration and Recovery has been tracking the story of two missing teenagers in Florida, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who disappeared on July 24 during a fishing trip.  We wish for their safe return and our thoughts are with their families.  As the search has expanded during the past week we have been amazed by the outpouring of support, resources, and energy that professionals and volunteers alike have committed to the effort.  GEaR wants to recognize some notable contributions:

  • United States Coast Guard.  We work closely with our partners in the Coast Guard and have the deepest respect for the risks they take and the professionalism with which they conduct tireless searches in situations like this.  As a nation we are lucky to have such dedicated men and women patrolling our shores, ready to act on short notice.  We thank them for their leadership and experience in helping to find these missing boys.
  • Volunteers.  Searching a large area of the Atlantic Ocean is a complex undertaking.  Finding Austin and Perry will take a major, coordinated effort.  In this moment of need generous individuals and groups have stepped forward, often at their own expense, to offer diverse skills and resources in support of the search.  People from far and near have donated time, money, planes, boats, cars, homes, celebrity status, and fuel among other things to keep an intense search going.

There are more people to thank in this search than we can name, but we want to highlight the community of kindness that has drawn together from around the country to support the effort.  Even though GEaR is spread around the world we have contributed to the search and encourage others to do so, as well.  

http://www.gofundme.com/PerryAndAustin

Source: facebook.com/globalexplorationandrecovery

Waiting out the Winter



At GEaR we are honest with each other, honest with our partners, and honest with our supporters. It’s in the fabric of who we are and it’s a small way we can honor the memories of the men we’re working to bring home. Let’s be honest: things aren’t looking promising for a return trip to Greenland in 2015. We need to reflect on our approach to pursuing private funding for the project and learn from the experience. We also need to focus on the future.

Like the snows that swirl across the icecap in Greenland, the course of this mission has changed direction frequently and unexpectedly. Like the crew aboard the B-17 bomber PN9E that the men on the Duck found, we have a long winter ahead of us. And like those men, we must be resourceful, persistent, and patient to achieve our goals. For them it was escaping Greenland; for us it’s getting there.                                                                                                      

What have we achieved so far in 2015? We might not have raised the cash we needed to fund the survey mission, but we have made other noteworthy progress. We gained the support of generous and enthusiastic sponsors - too many to list here - who believe in our work and want to contribute to the mission. We have the support of the U.S. Coast Guard for our work and continue to cultivate positive working relationships with our partners in the service. Most importantly, we have the support of the families of the missing men. They are grateful for our efforts and we are motivated by their enthusiasm.                                                                             

The men aboard the B-17 who faced the fierce Greenlandic winter survived because they remained positive and proactive. It’s hard to be optimistic in the face of adversity, but it’s the best way to overcome it. We’re continuing to raise money, explore new partnerships, and tell the story of our mission. There is a lot of work ahead and we can still make meaningful progress now. Nothing ever falls neatly into place in this mission, every gain comes through hard work, and with many simple acts we can achieve a complex goal.

Source: facebook.com/globalexplorationandrecovery

The Raven

What’s in a logo?  Ask ten people and you might hear as many different answers.  In our early days Global Exploration and Recovery set out on a search for a logo to represent our company.  After reviewing many creative submissions from gifted artists who support our mission we selected the raven.  Why a bird – why this bird?  What about it captures the identity of our company in a single form?

 

The raven is found around the world and they feature prominently in cultural mythology.  In Viking legend the Norse god Odin kept two ravens as his eyes and ears.  They are viewed as protectors, creators, and messengers.  Some Native American cultures see them as having brought light into the darkness.

 

In modern times, ravens are understood to be among the world’s most intelligent animals.  They are known to not only use tools, but to design and construct them.  They have highly accurate spatial memories.  They are wily problem solvers and demonstrate self-awareness.  Ravens use sophisticated communication techniques; they can describe events that happened in different places and at different times.  Their ability to learn and innovate is unmatched in the avian world.  New research shows that they are capable of abstract thought and forming opinions.

 

At Global Exploration and Recovery we aspire to embody the creativity, vision, and adaptability of ravens.  Their characteristics represent the approach we take to our work.  The image of the raven is a recurring theme on our website and social media outlets.  We’ll be introducing our official logo soon that includes a raven motif.  The next time you see a crow, jackdaw, or other member of the Corvidus genus, we hope you think of us.

Source: facebook.com/globalexplorationandrecovery

Then and There Meets Here and Now

"You have to go out but you don't have to come back." This is the unofficial slogan of the United States Coast Guard. The remarkable men and women of this service live this creed every day and none embody it more than Lt. John Pritchard and Radioman Benjamin Bottoms. In 1942 these men died in a dramatic and audacious rescue mission in Greenland, along with U.S. Army Air Corps Corporal Loren Howarth. Their plane, a Grumman J2F-4 Duck amphibious biplane, crashed in a storm on a fateful November day near Koge Bay. For 72 years they have been missing, buried beneath the ice of Greenland's coastal glaciers.

Although their bodies remain lost, the memories of these men remain strong. Efforts to find them have met with mixed results in recent years. In 2012 an expedition identified wreckage from the plane in the vicinity of the crash and a 2013 follow-up mission was unable to discover new evidence. A 2014 effort demonstrated the effectiveness of new recovery techniques but also came home empty-handed. Despite setbacks and the near-impossible goal of finding a plane buried in a glacier, our resolve to continue the mission remains strong. These men would have come looking for us. We honor their memory by looking for them.

Now members from recent trips are regrouping, taking a fresh approach to the search. The GEaR team is planning an expedition to Greenland this summer to conduct an extensive survey of the crash vicinity with proven technology and methods. We plan to leave on July 4th, Independence Day, to recognize the sacrifice that these heroes made for their fellow Americans in World War 2.

Why us? Why now? We've been there. We know the terrain, the locals, and the institutions. We understand the science needed to find the men. We have the right tools and techniques for the job. Our unique combination of skills makes us the right team for the job. We have positive, professional relationships with the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Defense, the governmental bodies who are deeply invested in the return of these men and with whom we are coordinating our efforts. We hope you will follow our progress and support our work. Check back for news and updates. Feel free to reach out to us - we'd love to hear from you, hear your questions and ideas.