Downed TBM-1C Avenger missing since July 1944 now located

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An TBM-1C Avenger missing since July 1944 was recently located in the waters surrounding the Pacific Island nation of Palau by Project RECOVER.

The remnants of a U.S. TBM-1C Avenger were located this month, it was scattered among the lagoon waters and coral reefs which are surrounding Palau’s island chain. Dozens of U.S. aircraft and remains of as many as 80 airmen are concealed within its dense mangrove forest. This recent finding adds to the growing list of wrecks discovered by Project RECOVER.

The TBM-1C Avenger consisted of a crew of three (the pilot, bombardier-gunner, and radio operator-gunner). The improved version was equipped with two wing-mounted .50 caliber machine guns, a .50 caliber in the rear turret, and one .30 caliber machine gun ventral machine guns. The deep fuselage allowed an internal bomb bay in which the Avenger could carry a bomb load of up to 2,000 lb. of bombs, torpedoes or rockets in various combinations.

The Department of Defense’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is currently tasked with recovery and repatriation efforts.

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Wreckage of the U.S. Navy TBM-1C Avenger located by Project RECOVER off Palau. (CREDITS: Eric Terrill (Scripps) / Mark Moline (UD))

Eric Terrill, an oceanographer from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, said: “The importance of our mission is reinforced with each new discovery of a missing aircraft. But this is more than reconnecting with history; it’s about locating the missing to enable the U.S. government to bring them home for a proper burial.

Project RECOVER is a partnership among researchers at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and the BentProp Project to combine the most advanced oceanographic technology with advanced archival research methods to locate aircraft and associated Americans missing in action (MIA) since World War II.

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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

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