In October of 2018, Project Recover went to the Persian Gulf to survey four square miles off the coast of Failaka Island, Kuwait. The 5-member team was on a mission to locate possible wreckage of an A-6E which crashed after a direct hit in 1991 during Desert Storm.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) approached Project Recover to evaluate the case and consider a mission to the Persian Gulf. While there have been some exploratory missions in the area, none have produced actionable results.
A crew member from the A-6E is one of two U.S. servicemen still Missing In Action (MIA) from that conflict. Experts believe the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile. While there were no eyewitnesses to the crash, Project Recover was able to interview three pilots who were involved in the action. They were able to provide new detailed information that narrowed the large potential search area.
Searching for A-6E Wreckage in Kuwait
Using a small chartered vessel, the team trekked to and from the site daily to search for the A-6E wreckage in Kuwait. The depth of the survey area was shallow. As a result, it was necessary to use towed and vessel-mounted instrumentation. The team used side-scan sonar to identify any potential wreckage on the seafloor. They used a magnetometer and sub-bottom profiler to confirm ferrous metal sources and the depth of these sources in the seabed.
The team completed the planned survey area and found an area of scattered ferrous debris with significant magnetic signatures. There were a number of other objects detectable on the seafloor. Project Recover conducted some preliminary dives in coordination with the U.S. Army’s 86th Dive Detachment stationed in Kuwait. Visibility, however, was zero, and the results were inconclusive.
Project Recover remains interested in searching for the possible A-6E wreckage in Kuwait. We are working with DPAA in consideration of a follow-up mission as well as additional surveys in the area.
You have gone a long from the early days of trolling alongside a boat in the Palau Islands. You are like an extension of DPAA. Wish I could join in. I do, however, continue to show The last Flight Home after my MIA talk, which I give several times a year.
Can you give more specifics regarding the crash of the EA6? What was the squadron, time and date of the crash, the incident number, suspected crash area, and Carrier launched from?
There may be more information available in various archives which can be researched.
Be aware that the Iraqis mined the gulf extensively during Desert Storm, and some of your ferrous metal detection could be sunken mines.
Hello Richard, we are working closely with DPAA and the local agencies in the region.
Hello, my name is MAJ Rus Currie. On Tuesday or Wednesday (waiting for a sandstorm to come and go) a group of us from Camp Arifjan are going to Failaka Island next week to lay a wreath for the Naval Officer whose body washed ashore two months after his A6 was shot down. The Officer who organized the trip served with the Weapons Officer who washed ashore. If you would like I can provide pictures of us laying the wreath in their honor.
We would be honored! Sending an email response to you shortly on where to send the pictures.
Rusten D Currie I am the father of the VA-36 Bombardier/Navigator LT Patrick Kelly Connor whose body was recovered. Patrick is buried at Arlington National Cemetery Section 60 – 7717. Neither the pilot LTCDR Barry Cook nor substantial parts of the Intruder aircraft have been recovered.
Chip Finley had priority email from Kuwait information memorial event that we received today (at 10 day trip), My computer skill’s does not let me know how to send all of pictures. We very much appreciate your participation in Patrick and Barry Cook.