United States aviation crash investigators and United States Navy personnel worked for long periods on Mount Erebus amongst the wreckage of the flight and the bodies of the passengers and crew. Five US Navy crew volunteered to help on the mountain with the recovery of victims; initially they were just to photograph the bodies, but within hours it transpired they were needed to take a more active role in the body recovery.
US Navy aircrew were directly involved with the communications support, supply, and body and personal effects ferry flights to and from the Mount Erebus crash site.
“From the very moment the US Navy launched its search, the American assistance to New Zealand in the recovery operation was unstinting, generous and extensive. For that we will always be grateful.”
- Sergeant Mark Penn – 4 June 2009, Erebus Special Service medal ceremony in the US.
“We simply could not have completed the recovery without the incredibly generous help of the US; they told us, ‘if you want it and we’ve got it, you can have it’. New Zealand will always be grateful for their help.”
- Robert Mitchell, Head of Antarctica Phase, Operation Overdue.
Click here to read Mark Penn’s speech at the Erebus Special Service medal ceremony for US citizens involved in the operation.