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MIA search on Iwo Jima.

AN investigative team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has returned to its home at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, following a 13-day mission to search for the Marine combat cameraman who filmed the famous scene of Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.

Marine Sgt. William Genaust was killed in March 1945 on the island (now called Iwo To), near a tunnel that later collapsed. He died only days after he shot footage of victorious Marines raising the American flag on Feb. 23, 1945 on top of Mount Suribachi.

The iconic still photo of the same scene was taken by Associated Press photographer Mr. Joe Rosenthal, and was replicated at the Marine Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"We conducted the investigation to map and survey the southwest side of Hill 362A and to find the location that matches the 'circumstances-of-loss' records," said Maj. Sean Stinchon, team leader and officer in charge of JPAC's Worldwide Analysis and Investigations division. "We were attempting to find the site that contains the remains of an unaccounted for American after we'd exhausted all of our historical research efforts here at JPAC. The next logical step was to send a team to Iwo Jima to investigate the hill.

"We didn't know what to expect when we got to Hill 362A," Maj. Stinchon said. "Historical records indicated that Sgt. Genaust was killed in a large cave on the southwest side of the hill, so that was our focus area. Additionally, we were looking for areas that had collapsed or caved in. We had a map drawn by a Navy engineer after the battle that showed all of the known tunnel and cave networks on the hill, and used that to orient ourselves to the terrain.

"We found two sites on the southwest side of Hill 362A that were not mapped by the engineers," Maj. Stinchon said.

The team's final reports have to be evaluated by the command before a decision to excavate or to continue investigating is made.

The United States returned Iwo Jima to the Japanese in 1968. Today, some 13,000 Japanese soldiers listed as missing in action after the battle have still not been accounted for, Maj. Stinchon said.

For more on JPAC, visit www.jpac.pacom.mil

--JPAC Public Affairs Office
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Title Annotation:Army News: From the Army News Service and Other Sources; missing in action
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Words:385
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