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The Mystery Of The Missing Marine

Noah Pippin as a Marine in 2003. (Courtesy: Pippin Family)

Why does someone go missing? In the case of former Marine Noah Pippin, we may never have any answers because he left so many unanswered questions behind when he disappeared in August of 2010. A few hikers, including another vet, saw him before he vanished in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana. Mark Sundeen tells his story in a lengthy article in Outside Magazine.

“It seemed like everyone that Pippin ran into in his last final days in civilization were left with this really haunted sense that this was a man wrestling with demons. I heard this from the hikers, from the hunters, from the motel owners that this was man struggling with something,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Sundeen says the place Pippin was is difficult to get to.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of searching. Last year the snows were so deep they couldn’t get a search crew in there ’til August and by October it starts snowing again. It’s about a three or four day hike to get to the spot where he was last seen. And then it’s just thick forest, lots of steep cliffs. You’d have to have a crew of 20 or 30 people fanning out looking under every boulder if you’re looking for a body.”

Still, Sundeen said, Pippin’s parents, Mike and Rosalie Pippin, still have hope they will see him again.

“They’ve certainly accepted the possibility that they won’t see him again but they’re not going to forget about him. They’re always praying and hoping that he’ll be back,” Sundeen said.

Noah Pippin saw some of the bloodiest fighting in the Iraq War. He got out of the Marines in 2007 but never seemed to find anything besides the military that he could hold onto.

He eventually joined the National Guard and was supposed to show up for duty in California on September 11, 2010.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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