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    North Carolina Anthropologist Searches for Missing Service Member

    North Carolina Anthropologist Searches for Missing Service Member

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Amara Timberlake | Dr. Sarah Kindschuh, a scientific recovery expert assigned to the Defense POW/MIA...... read more read more

    Dr. Sarah Kindschuh completed her second joint field activity with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), as a scientific recovery expert in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam. Kindschuh led a team in search of a Navy pilot believed to have crashed there in 1968, during the Vietnam War.

    Kindschuh is originally from Whiteville, NC, and completed her Master’s degree at the University of South Florida. She spends most of her days working in the DPAA Lab in Omaha, Neb. but looks forward to the challenges of working in the field.

    “It's very scientific and methodical,” said Kindschuh. “We’re creating a giant grid of four-by-four [meter] units, excavating about 30 cm deep at a time.”

    Sarah and her team of 14 joint-service military personnel dug 35 of those four-by-four-meter units, with the help of 100 local Vietnamese residents. They excavated through high temperatures and heavy rain over the course of 38 days, screening dirt by the bucket, in search of osseous material, or human remains. Although the team did not bring home remains, Kindschuh’s expertise helped reveal several pieces of aircraft wreckage and life support equipment that will help determine the direction of future excavation operations.

    “Each excavation builds on the last, so by the time the identification is made, the effort is actually pretty huge,” said Kindschuh.

    Kindschuh takes a lot of pride in her work and said the level of effort and energy the U.S. commits to recovering and identifying missing service members is important.

    “They sacrificed their life for Americans,” said Kindschuh. “It’s important to bring closure to the family but also to make sure that these guys who did not come home, have the opportunity to be identified and repatriated so that they can be buried the right way.”

    Although Kindschuh is not a uniformed service member, she said her job as a forensic anthropologist is how she serves and gives back.

    “As an anthropologist, this is one of the ways that I can [serve], said Kindschuh. “This really is my way of making an impact on someone, even if it's just one family who I've contributed to the identification of their loved one.”

    DPAA's mission is to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation. When American personnel remain unaccounted-for at the conclusion of hostilities, the DoD personnel accounting community becomes the responsible agent for identifying and accounting for the missing.



    Date Taken: 12.19.2019
    Date Posted: 12.20.2019 15:03
    Story ID: 356577
    Location: VN

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