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The Native American Speaks: 06-10-12

Kim Vincent Anderson, wife of Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Craig Anderson, and Kim’s mother, Georgia Kendall, are today’s guests. Kim’s father, Georgia’s late husband, was the older brother of Lt. Walter ‘Dub’ Vincent, who died in an April 1944 bomber crash on the island Espiritu Santo in what is current-day Vanuatu during World War two, along with six other Marines.

The Andersons played a central role in persuading the U.S> Defense Department to undertake a search for the Marines’ remains and the plane that crashed into a mountain on Espiritu Santo at 250 miles per hour in bad weather. In 2007, Craig and Kim Anderson, their daughter Navy Lt. Brooke Desrocher and her husband Max, who is also a Navy officer, trekked to the crash site, hacking their way through jungle for several miles.

We travelled to Kim’s and Craig’s home in the Dallas suburb of Lucas to talk to them and Georgia Kendall about the several-years-long adventure to find Lt. Vincent’s body on the South Pacific island and bring his remains, and those of the six other Marines, home for burial after 68 years.

As we heard from Craig Anderson on last week’s “The Native American Speaks,” a quick investigation shortly after the April 22, 1944 crash showed it was on Espiritu Santo. But, for decades, the Defense Department believed the seven Marines and their plane had gone into the ocean. In the 2000s, author Dan Bookout re-discovered the plane on Espiritu Santo. In 2007, the Andersons went on that trek through the jungle on Espiritu Santo to the crash site and interested the Defense Department in identifying the Marines’ remains and bringing them back to the U.S. There was a funeral for Lt. Vincent in Tulsa on May 5, 2012. A second of the Marines was laid to rest in a Dallas suburb the day before we interviewed the Andersons and Georgia Kendall.

Those remains of the seven Marines that could not be identified will be interred in a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery in October 2012. The Andersons and Georgia Kendall say they will be there. We’ll go away for a bit then return to talk to Kim Craig Anderson.

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