MOWEAQUA, Ill. (WCIA) — A Moweaqua native has been a part of a special military mission in Alaska for over a year, and her efforts were recently featured on national television.

Captain Lyndi Minott, a graduate of Central A & M High School, serves as an Operations Support Division Chief at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. She is leading a team of military and civilians in support of the mortuary mission at Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. 

Their mission involves a massive C-124 Globemaster which lost radio contact during a storm over 70 years ago while on its way to the Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. All 52 people onboard died, including 41 Army and Air Force passengers and 11 crewmen.

In March 2021, Minott became a part of the mission, which is operated in partnership with Alaskan Command and other agencies.

“When we travel, we typically carry important items with us, and to see those items on the glacier can be a solemn reminder that these service members have spouses and children missing them every day,” said Minott. “I’m humbled by the opportunity to support this mission and join a team of professionals who are committed to making a difference in the lives of families by helping bring their loved ones and personal items home.”

The team has conducted recovery operations every summer since the discovery of the aircraft a decade ago.

“I can’t recall any artifacts I’ve personally found,” said Minott, who has served in the Air Force for eight years. “As a team, we’ve recovered ID’s, dog tags, and jewelry with names or initials engraved. These items can be more easily traced back to the flight manifest and provided to family members.”

Minott said June is the best window of opportunity to conduct recovery because the snow has melted along with layers of ice, which provides better conditions for finding human remains and artifacts. This past June, ‘CBS Sunday Mornings‘ crews filmed a segment of the recovery mission, which aired on Nov. 13.

The segment featured Minott speaking with national correspondent Lee Cowan.

“It was an amazing experience to have the CBS crews on-ice to be able to tell how the Air Force along with our joint service partners execute this mission every year,” said Minott. “I was honored to have the opportunity to share how much goes into this mission and the dedication by each one of the service members who help make this mission possible each year.”

While filming, the crew experienced first-hand how members of the mission fly to the glacier every day by helicopter. They highlighted the intricacies of the environment, terrain features and the agencies, like the weather team, recovery team and Alaska Army National Guard flying squadron that help with the planning and mission execution.

“The feelings I had watching the CBS special were of excitement, nervousness in trying to recount what I said while being interviewed, and by far, grateful to be a part of such an impactful mission,” said Minott. “I was nervous about the crew traversing the ice with their high-tech video equipment. I have a newfound appreciation for reporters who go out and endure the environment they report on for the public.”

Since the recovery mission’s inception, 45 of the 52 service members aboard that C-124 have been identified. Minott and her team vow to continue their search until all of the victims have been recovered and brought home.

“The highs and lows of the mission are synonymous,” said Minott. “It is always exciting and rewarding to find human remains and personal artifacts on the glacier, but at the same time it can at times make me think about the men on the aircraft, their ages (many of them younger than my current age), their families and their fate. The items we find have a sense of connection, because to me they show what was valuable to those service members.”

If her schedule permits, Minott plans to continue to be a part of the recovery mission in 2023.