Team Goes to Mexico for MIA Search Training
Paamul Mexico: BentProp and Project Recover team members completed MIA search training for an upcoming mission to the Solomon Islands. BentProp is dedicated to the mission of searching for and finding MIAs through technology and training. Team members include Dan O’Brien (team leader), Derek Abbey (sonar), Megan Lickliter-Mundon (archaeologist), Charlie Brown (sonar), Jeff Lynett (sonar), and myself, Harry Parker (photographer.)
New and veteran team members traveled to Mexico for diving, training, and equipment practice before heading to the Solomon Islands in June. Most team members on this trip went to Florida for initial training on the underwater sonar. Three new members worked with three seasoned teammates on multi-beam sonar and the latest in video 3D modeling technology. The group split into two teams, one concentrating on sonar, the other concentrating on documenting objects in 3D.
Perfect Diving Conditions for Training
Mexico provided a convenient location for a full immersion experience. Given that the majority of our MIA missions are in difficult to reach locations, the time spent searching in those locations must be maximized. Training missions allow team members to become comfortable with complex technology and gear, and in turn “hit the ground running” when they arrive in locations like the Solomon Islands. The new equipment for both search and documentation is some of the most complicated and demanding yet. The pre-mission warmup proved invaluable as teammates learned to work with each other and their new equipment.
Teammates used three full days of diving in perfect conditions to test each other, their equipment knowledge, and scuba diving skill sets. The dive sites were only minutes away from home base which made operations efficient for MIA search training. A pool provided ample underwater prep for everyone and the equipment. Deeper 75’ ocean dives gave a full rounded experience for both teams.
Latest in Technology
The latest in real time sonar gives an edge to the team for search and recon of possible targets, despite the lack of visibility. Team members tested new features and capabilities on the handheld sonar used by SCUBA divers. This handheld device provides an accurate location, sonar video recording, images, and other vital data needed in search and survey. The cutting-edge multibeam sonar creates a more realistic video presentation than traditional radar/sonar mapping.
The ability to document objects using 3D technology gives researchers offsite a realistic view of documented sites. The models also give shelf life to the projects by creating engaging 3D imagery. These images are readily used by museums, universities and other research and educational facilities.
Megan, our underwater archeologist, held a mini-course on proper measuring of targets and the use of the North Arrow for all documented targets. The ability to do the job right the first time using such a small team for this upcoming mission requires everyone to multi-task to some degree. The team’s good-natured spirit was fun and relaxed.
Living Like Locals
Teammate Charlie Brown set the entire group up at an offseason local resort complete with pool, restaurant, dive shop, boat, and reefs just minutes away. A low key, secluded getaway for complete focus. Perfect for our MIA Search Training. The air and water temps were more than perfect. Team members filled every day with preparation, dives, debriefs, and follow-ups.
Make sure to join our newsletter list at the bottom of this page. Upcoming posts include our trip to the Solomon Islands where this new crop of team members document a known wreck giving an inside peek on what it’s like to be on a mission with Project Recover.
Harry Parker, Photographer
Read other posts related to Team Training:
- Using Technology for Search and Recovery of MIA
- International World War II Conference 2017
- Oceanic Exploration in a Sea of Data
- Wilderness First Responder Course
- National Air and Space Museum B-26 Bomber
Read posts related to Project Recover’s 2018 MIA Search in the Solomon Islands:
- June 2018 – Post 1 – Team Heads Out to Find Solomon Islands MIAs
- June 2018 – Post 2 – Scuba Diving MIA Crash Sites
- June 2018 – Post 3 – The Solomons MIA Search Mission – What Happened