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Navy SEAL Museum & Project Recover in Recovery of Missing WWII Frogmen

Navy SEAL Museum Partners With Project Recover in Recovery of Missing WWII Frogmen

The Navy SEAL Museum is pleased to announce its support of Project Recover. The Museum’s backing comes before Project Recover’s next mission to the island of Palau this month in search of missing Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) members–Howard Roeder, John MacMahon, and Robert Black–who were lost during a reconnaissance mission launched from the USS Burrfish of the island of Yap in August of 1944.

The masked and grease-camouflaged men never returned to their submarine after completing their mission. Dressed in swim trunks and armed only with sheath knives and hand grenades, the men were thrown from their rubber boat due to rough seas and were forced to swim back to the enemy shoreline. Records indicate they hid on the small island of Yap, but were captured on the beach on August 20.  

“This partnership is a no-brainer and part of our core mission to preserve the history and heritage of the Navy SEALs and our predecessors,” said Rick Kaiser, retired Navy SEAL Master Chief and Executive Director of the Navy SEAL Museum. “The term ‘No man left behind’ isn’t just a tagline for the Navy SEAL Museum. It is my solemn oath and duty to do everything I can do in my power to recover the remains of these warriors.”

Project Recover is a public-private partnership that uses 21st century science and technology to uncover the final resting places of Americans missing in action around the globe since World War II, with the intention of returning them home. The group will be conducting a mission in Palau as part of a continued search for the three missing UDT members, as well as several missing airmen. 

New interests lie in the Palauan archives and a recently discovered archeological site that will potentially bring additional information surrounding the missing men. The work will be delivered to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in hope of recovery efforts.

"We are excited and honored to continue our search for these men,” said President and CEO of Project Recover Derek Abbey, PhD. “These brave Frogmen represent the foundation of a proud lineage of American warriors.”

Project Recover, originally the BentProp Project, began as a grassroots effort in Palau in 1993. After significant success in Palau, in 2016 the team expanded its scope globally. Project Recover is now planning for the next phase of operations for 2019-2023, continuing to use the best available science and technology, combined with historic and archival research, to bring American service members home.

“We at Project Recover strive to keep our nation's promise of returning them home with the same resilience and vigor that they put forth ridding the world of tyranny during World War II," Dr. Abbey said.

About Project Recover 

In 2014, a partnership titled Project Recover was established with researchers at the University of Delaware, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and BentProp Project. After receiving a private donation, Project Recover went global, expanding MIA search operations into 17 countries (as of 2019). In 2018, The BentProp Project name was retired and the 501c3 name became Project Recover, Inc.

The work blends historical data from many different sources to optimize underwater search areas with scanning sonars, high definition and thermal cameras, advanced diving, and unmanned aerial and underwater robotic technologies. These new methods are now being applied globally where servicemen are still missing.

Information on finds by Project Recover are then transmitted to the U.S. Government Defense MIA/POW Accounting Agency (DPAA), for formal identification, family notification and ultimately repatriation. Project Recover has an expanding footprint, with cases developing for global search and discovery.

About The Navy SEAL Museum

The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum is the only museum dedicated solely to preserving the history of the U.S. Navy SEALs and their predecessors. Located in Fort Pierce, Florida, the Museum resides on the training grounds of the original Navy combat swimmers, the Frogmen. Built to honor the men who served with fortitude and ingenuity, the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum first opened its doors on Veterans Day in 1985. From humble beginnings, the facility has experienced tremendous growth, achieving national stature in 2007. The main objective of the Museum remains the promotion of public education by providing the opportunity to explore the history of the Navy SEALs through interactive exhibits, while honoring the fallen at the SEAL Memorial and caring for those warriors’ families through Trident House Charities

The Navy SEAL Museum

For further information, contact:

Elaine Ryan

Phone: (772) 595-5845 x 216

Mail to:

Rolf Snyder

Phone: (913) 244-4782

Mail to:




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