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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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  • Aunt Susie

    “His  parents raised HE and his brothers…” ???  ~Mark Sundeen discussing Noah Pippin. Is this a reflection of the education system in the U.S.? I can’t believe a writer of the caliber of Mr. Sundeen can make such a grammatical faux pas as one is used to hearing all too often these days. Would he say, “My parents raised I to be …” or “His parents raised HE to be…”  Why are some people so opposed to or afraid of using the objective case? A simple word such as ME now defaults to MYSELF, another usage that makes me cringe. Ex: “She took myself and Bob to the movies.” Yikes. Ouch. OK, Robin, that’s my rant; how about a show on language sheep!

    • Chickenrider

      Language serves us, not the other way around… The purpose of language is effective communication. If we are all able to easily understand what was being communicated is perfection really so important?

      • Guest

         Yes it is, especially, when one is being paid. The educational system within America reflects the effort of America. Now that our educational system is 25th in the world, all educated people should be SCREAMING.
        Thanks, Aunt Susie. Keep up the good work.

        • Guest2

           It’s eg. not ex.  Are you and Aunt Susie aware that the English Language has evolved over time?  You should read some writings from a couple of centuries ago.  You and Aunt Susie would be SCREAMING at the mispellings.  Neither of you even helped the situation by posting the correct answer.  Only they were considered correct.   Many of those spellings make more sense to me than the ones we use today.  I agree with guest.  If folks can understand each other, that’s what’s important.  You are not relieving suffering by pointing out errors in grammar or whatever, therefore it is not that important.  No comment on the life of the Marine?  I bet you and Aunt Susie don’t even remember what the show was about.  All you’ll take away from this 10 years from now is that the interviewer used he and not him.  Sad.  By the way, English is not my first language but I do agree that it is the most useful language for communicating with a great diversity of people.   Therein lies its value.

          • Aunt Susie

            I was very affected by the story. Too bad my feelings were abruptly interrupted by the glaring grammatical error of the writer. It is attitudes such as the kind you and Chickenrider are demonstrating that have led to the U.S. having a ranking so far below that of many other countries in academic achievement. All one has to do is read various comments online to see the deplorable state of education today–people unable to spell or use reasonably correct grammar and punctuation. I believe that sloppy language reflects sloppy thinking. This is a time in our nation when we cannot afford sloppy thinking if we are to maintain a position of leadership in the world.

        • Aunt Susie

          I greatly appreciate your comment, thank you. How wonderful to know that some people still want an educational system that strives for excellence.

    • Jmsjacky33jack

      Get a life Aunt Susie. OMG….please dont comment such bs…I enjoyed this interview and wondered why I havent heard of this story before. I am glad I heard it. My prayers are with this man and his family!

      • Aunt Susie

        “….please dont comment such bs..” You left out the apostrophe in don’t. 

  • Rosalie Pippin

    Excellent interview!  Interviewer was well prepared and knew what she was asking Mark Sundeen. Thanks Mark and Interviewer!

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