This poster is part of Preserving U.S. Military Heritage: WWII to the Cold War, Fredericksburg, Texas, June 4-6, 2019.

by Doug Jones

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World War II claimed its first combat casualties in the Gulf of Mexico when a German U-boat sunk the freighter Norlindo off of the Dry Tortugas in May, 1942. By the end of the war, torpedoes, shellfire and depth charges had sent another 55 Allied merchant vessels and one U-boat to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Now, over 70 years later many of those vessels have been discovered during archaeological investigations in support of offshore oil and gas exploration activities. The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is tasked with overseeing those activities, including meeting the agency’s responsibilities for archaeological site protection under the National Historic Preservation Act. As part of those responsibilities, BOEM has sponsored several scientific studies to identify, map, and document these historically significant shipwrecks and war graves, as well as to observe how they are both affecting and being affected by their surrounding deepwater environment. As a result, in 2018 BOEM successfully nominated nine World War II shipwrecks to the National Register of Historic Places, and hopes to continue searching for and studying these important artifacts of the Nation’s military and maritime heritage.


Doug Jones is a senior marine archaeologist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the team lead for archaeological resources analyzed in conjunction with BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico Region oil and gas, and marine minerals leasing activities. Mr. Jones has been with BOEM since 2010, prior to which he was a marine archaeologist with an engineering, environmental and cultural resources management consulting firm in Austin. He received a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech and a M.A. in Maritime Studies from East Carolina University, with a concentration in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology.

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