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Posted 11/30/2017

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By Lisa Hunter
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District

A Mobile District employee was recognized for his work as the Recovery Leader for a joint American and Vietnamese team that spent three months in Vietnam recovering the remains of prisoners of war or missing in action.

Matt Grunewald is one of the archeologists assigned to the Mobile District. The archeologists are responsible for all aspects of cultural resources support for the district. One of the most significant missions the archeologists work is the preservation of Native American artifacts at various Corps sites.

Grunewald, who has worked for the Mobile District for 8 years, served as the team leader for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency from July to September 2016. As the team leader for more than 50 personnel. Grunewald directed all field investigations and was responsible for all technical aspects of the recovery mission.

“It was an honor and a great opportunity to be part of the [Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency] recovery mission,” Grunewald said.

Grunewald’s team was assigned to a mission in the Quang Tri Province, an area with very rugged terrain. During the three-month mission, Grunewald and his team lived austere conditions in a jungle base camp.

To overcome the challenges of the steep slope, erosion management, and previous disturbances from war-time activities, Grunewald developed an advanced research design that helped the team to successfully complete their mission of locating and returning the remains of American who had been prisoners of war or were missing in action.

As an archeologist assigned to the Mobile District, Grunewald is primarily responsible for cultural resources support for the military projects in the District’s Support for Others Program.

For his dedication and ingenuity, the Mobile District Commander, Col. James DeLapp presented Grunewald with the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, March 8. DeLapp stated that Grunewald was the only civilian member on the team.

“Matt not only volunteered to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he also volunteered to travel to Vietnam to provide his technical expertise on this recovery mission,” DeLapp said. “Matt’s expertise in archeology and leadership were a major contribution in keeping the Nation’s promise to all servicemen and servicewomen that they will not be left behind.”