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MERS is committed to disseminating publicly available information to further the maritime knowledge base. 

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USS Dorado (SS-248): On Eternal Patrol
"We knew we were going to have a rough time with this submarine from the beginning." Those words were written by Don Wheeler, a former DORADO crewmember who participated in the sea trials, in a letter to the author. DORADO was a U.S. Gato-class submarine, launched on May 23, 1943, set sail for Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal on October 6, and was lost with all hands somewhere in the Caribbean Sea six days later. This book is quite possibly about one of the worst "friendly fire" incidents in U.S. military history. It is the story of a U.S. submarine attacked by a patrol-bomber aircraft attached to VP-210 out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Within these pages you will read the formal Court of Inquiry that concluded, incorrectly, that the aircrew probably bombed a U-boat that was known to be in the area. Included in this book is the U-214 logbook which shows that they witnessed the bombing of DORADO. In this book is also the story of the author's search for the submarine over a 20+ year period. ISBN 978-1-257-95155-0


A Remote Sensing Survey to Locate the Remains of USS DORADO (SS-248) Off of Bahia de la Ascension, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Maritime Education and Research Society (MERS) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose aims and objectives are to research and to advance education and training in the techniques pertaining to the study of various maritime fields of endeavor for the benefit of the public. Such fields include the continuing assessment of ecological impacts on coral reefs around the world, the research of maritime events that have shaped history, underwater archeology, the training of individuals and groups in the above fields, and the publication of all such research for the continuing education of the public. Our first field study was called The Dorado Expedition and continues to this day. This is a research program to determine if a World War II US submarine was lost on the coral reef system off the Yucatan Peninsula as mentioned by Mexican locals in the 1970s.  ISBN 978-1-329-09883-1


The Identification of Potentially Hazardous Material Discovered In and Around the Mesoamerican Reef Region of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
In 2007 an underwater survey of the coral reef system off Bahia de la Ascension (Punta Allen, Mexico) discovered 26 anomalies among the reef, ranging from “man-made geometric patterns” to “unusual shadows” to “unusual bottom disturbances” to “possible debris fields.” It is the search for and the analysis of the impact of these 26 anomalies that is the subject of this report. A Maritime Education and Research Society (MERS) Diving Team, supported by the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Subdirección de Arqueología Subacuática (INAH) and the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve re-visited the area nine years later to inspect these 26 sites to ensure that the reef system remained healthy despite the findings of such anomalies, many of which were clearly man-made and resting on the reef. ISBN 978-1-329-85639-4

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This MERS Research Publication No. 003 (MRP 003) researches and catalogs the ships, aircraft and other items of interest that now mostly rest underwater along Florida’s Gulf Shores from Perdido Bay to Cape San Blas – across six Florida counties.  The book is in chronological order, beginning with the possible wreck of some Spanish ships in 1533 “between Pensacola and Mobile Bay” to the present.  This research describes more than 700 individual seafaring vessels and aircraft wrecks as well as hundreds of other items used in making artificial reefs – automobile hulks, reef balls, bridge rubble, dismantled oil rigs, etc.  ISBN 978-1-365-41505-0.

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The PB2Y Coronado was a large flying boat patrol bomber designed and built by the Consolidated Aircraft Co., San Diego, CA, and used by the US Navy during World War II in bombing, antisubmarine and transport roles.  Of the 217 built, ten were provided to the British Royal Air Force (RAF) serving with the RAF Transport Command.  Four were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard base located in San Francisco, CA.  Coronados also served as a major component in the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, being flown by Pan American Airways (Pan Am) and American Export Airlines, Inc.  Obsolete by the end of the war, Coronados were quickly taken out of service.  Only one example remains and can be seen at the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida.  Each of the 217 Coronado Bureau Numbers (BuNos) is represented by some piece of its history within this book.  ISBN 978-1-6671-2532-9.


The Vought OS2U Kingfisher became a rugged and dependable catapulted floatplane assigned to the US Navy’s battleships and cruisers and a handful of destroyers who utilized them as artillery spotters, long-range reconnaissance, search and rescue missions and even administrative flights.  The Kingfisher played a vital role when radar technology was in its infancy.  While the US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard flew them, these Kingfishers also served in the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and even the Soviet Navy.  There were 1,519 built and less than 1% survive today, mostly in museums around the world.  This book not only introduces the reader to the stories behind how these Kingfishers performed their varied missions, but also lists the FINAL DISPOSITION of nearly all 1,519 airframes!  This research took some 2,000 hours to complete and is the first book of its kind to show every Kingfisher, by their Bureau Number, and what happened to them.

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Some 7,140 Curtiss SB2C Helldivers (and their Canadian versions) were built before and during World War II.  While the U.S. Navy flew the majority of these aircraft from aircraft carriers in the Pacific Theater, countries such as Australia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Thailand and the United Kingdom were also recipients of surplus planes and parts.  A dedicated effort by MERS attempts to find any existing history of every Bureau Number (BuNo) associated with these Helldivers.  Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of aircraft from many nations rest on the bottom of our oceans from World War II alone.  Among them, hundreds of SB2C Helldivers.  While some are considered memorial gravesites, many Helldivers were lost at sea while their pilots and radio-gunners survived, and many of these aircraft were simply pushed over the sides of aircraft carriers for lack of space or even lost due to extreme weather.  The author has undertaken a monumental effort to trace the history of every Helldiver and to look at how many were lost at sea or crashed and sank in smaller bodies of water such as the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay.  This research has never been done before.  While the exact history of what happened to every Helldiver may never be known, this is that research.  ISBN 978-1-716-10273-8.

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This MERS Research Program (MRP) Report No. 004 (MRP 004) was initially a research project on the 26 Civil Air Patrol (CAP) pilots and crew who lost their lives flying off the East and Gulf Coast shores of the United States searching for U-boats during World War II.  Not anticipating the far greater impact that the CAP played during WWII, the list was expanded to cover the total of 70 CAP personnel who lost their lives while also towing aerial targets, delivering mail, participating in War Bond drives, etc.  Further research on this research project reflects the dozens of other CAP personnel who were also killed while not on official duties or otherwise injured during WWII.  ISBN 978-1-716-16457-6.


The story of USS Serpens (AK-97) is an important chapter in Coast Guard history - the most tragic loss of life in the more than 220 years of Coast Guard service to the United States.  Contained within these pages is the official ship’s War Diary along with some 200 personal letters sent from Serpens’ crew to their friends and loved ones waiting for them to return home.  On 29 January 1945, while sitting off Guadalcanal, Serpens exploded.  Of the roughly 250 crew and Army stevedores on board at the time, only two Coastguardsmen survived.  While this is the story of ship and crew, the final chapter still needs to be written – the awarding of the Purple Heart.  It was awarded, the two who survived and several families of those killed received them, and then through misstep or miscommunication, the medal was rescinded.  This is not acceptable.  Co-author Robert Breen was two years old when his father died aboard Serpens; his fight to reinstate the Purple Heart on behalf of the relatives of the Serpens’ crew is honorable.  The 75th Anniversary of the Coast Guard’s loss was in 2020.  This book and research was funded, in large part, by the Maritime Education and Research Society (MERS) and is separate from the MRP series of books which MERS publishes.  ISBN 978-0-359-87305-0.


Glenn L. Martin’s Mars aircraft, the largest operational seaplane manufactured in the United States, had its beginnings based on an earlier seaplane Mr. Martin built—the Pan American Airlines' "China Clipper.” What began In 1938 as a four-engined "aerial battleship" carrying ten tons of bombs—complete with a wingspan of 200 feet and a two-story hull 120 feet long—the XPB2M-1 prototype Mars soon transitioned to a trans-Pacific transport and air passenger airplane mostly flying between Naval Air Station Alameda, CA, and Honolulu, HI. After the prototype, the U.S. Navy ordered 20 more under the JRM designation, although only six were eventually built. Named Philippines, Hawaii, Marianas, Caroline, a second Hawaii and Marshall Mars, only two exist today as static display fire-fighting behemoths at Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada. This book is the story of these seven aircraft.

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