Nearly 150 years after 16 USS Monitor sailors died when their vessel sank in a New Year’s Eve storm, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries released forensic reconstructions of the faces of two crewmembers.
Officials unveiled the reconstructions and dedicated a plaque in memory of the Monitor crew during a ceremony Tuesday sponsored by the United States Navy Memorial Foundation at the Navy Memorial in Washington.
The skeletal remains of both sailors were discovered inside the Monitor’s gun turret after it was raised from the ocean floor in 2002. While much has been learned about the physical characteristics of the men, their identities remain a mystery. By releasing images of the reconstructed faces, NOAA hopes the public will be able to assist in the ongoing effort to identify the sailors.
“These are the faces of men who gave their lives for their country at a pivotal moment in American history,” said David Alberg, superintendent of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, which was established by Congress in 1975 to protect the Monitor wreck site. “The best-case scenario is that someone will emerge, perhaps a descendent, who can give these faces a name.”