As for 106 before the Navy can even claim ownership they must complies with 110 and 111 which they don't hence my stance is that the US Navy doesn't have any ownership claims. You have to follow 110 and 111 before you can claim 106.
Where in sections 110 and 111 does it state this? I do not see how non-compliance with 110 or 111 causes the Navy to lose ownership, and regardless of whether or not the Navy is claiming ownership, section 106 still has to be complied with for a recovery.
Section 110 stipulates in part “The heads of all Federal agencies shall assume responsibility for the preservation of historic properties which are owned or controlled by such agency… that historic properties under the jurisdiction or control of the agency, are identified, evaluated, and nominated to the National Register… that such properties under the jurisdiction or control of the agency as are listed in or may be eligible for the National Register are managed and maintained in a way that considers the preservation of their historic, archaeological, architectural, and cultural values in compliance with section 106”
I can see the argument that the Navy has failed to do what is listed above, though NHHC was at one time working to identify and evaluate known crash sites, but there is no timeline that this must be completed within, so not actively working toward completion is essentially the same as not having gotten around to it yet. “Not having gotten around to it yet” does not mean they can no longer claim ownership.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say you are correct, that since the Navy did not comply with 110, they have no ownership claim…
If the site is on Federal land (Dept of Interior Forest Service and Nat’l Park Service, for example), excluding land owned by the Navy, and if the (potentially) historic property is going to be recovered by the Navy, or by anyone else, then section 106 would apply—regardless of whether the Navy was removing one their own planes or someone else’s plane (i.e. Air Force or civilian). If it were you or I removing that plane from the Federal land, section 106 would still apply. Section 106 requires the permitting agency (the Federal agency who owns/manages the land) to:
take into account the effect of the undertaking on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register.
Now, if the Navy were conducting something on their own land that would adversely impact a historic property, then Section 110b would be applicable:
“Each Federal agency shall initiate measures to assure that where, as a result of Federal action or assistance carried out by such agency, an historic property is to be substantially altered or demolished, timely steps are taken to make or have made appropriate records…”
As for Section 111, it is primarily saying that if an agency cannot use a historic property for its original purpose, then, to the extent practicable, they should find an alternate use for the property. It is primarily invoked for things like old buildings—rather than destroying the fire lookout, use it as a rental cabin. The argument could be made that the Navy is not using the crashed plane for its original purpose as an aircraft, but under Section 111 that does not mean the Navy has lost ownership, just that the Navy cannot do something else with it without considering options first. And one of the options that may be considered and chosen is to do nothing with it.
Also speaking of the US Navy and private Land we should also discuss those nice little rules. Hint the US Navy can't stop you from recovering anything on private land
I agree that this looks to be the case, but as far as I know it has not been taken all the way through court and is not yet case law. If you know of a case, please let me know. The Martha’s Vineyard court case was settled out of court when it looked like there was a chance the USN might lose that case. As to Lex’s Brewster Corsair, I was under the impression that he received ownership by an act of congress before the court case was settled.
As Pete said, this would make for a good discussion panel on its own. Matt has already agreed to provide an update to the presentation he gave at the first meeting on laws and regulations. Perhaps after that we can have a formal discussion. I will add that knowing what is legal and what is not is an important part of determining ethics.