SynopsisDivers exploring the waters off Guam's World War II landing beaches stumbled upon a trail of mysterious steel sheets. These sheets, identified as "Marston mats," were used during WWII by Navy Seabees to construct stable roads on shifting sand. Five of these 10-foot-long mats were discovered along a WWII battlefield now under the National Park Service's jurisdiction. These mats, with their origin in Marston, North Carolina, played a vital role in facilitating the movement of equipment and troops during the war.ArticleIn the depths of the Pacific Ocean off the shores of Guam, a group of divers embarked on an intriguing exploration, unraveling a sunken trail that carries the echoes of World War II. Beneath the ocean's surface, they uncovered sections of steel planking, known as "Marston mats," which played a pivotal role during the war.These pierced steel planks, each stretching to ten feet in length, have a remarkable history. They were the brainchild of Navy Seabees and were designed to address a significant challenge faced by the military during World War II, the need for stable roads on shifting sands. Five of these mats were detected by sonar, lying silently near Agat Beach, part of a World War II battleground now under the stewardship of the National Park Service.The origins of the name "Marston mats" trace back to their testing grounds in Marston, North Carolina. These unassuming mats proved to be invaluable during the war, enabling U.S. forces to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They facilitated the movement of mountains of equipment, countless vehicles, and thousands of troops with remarkable efficiency.Underwater archaeologist Matthew Hanks, working with the National Park Service, described the significance of these discoveries. He emphasized that the utility of the pierced steel planking was particularly evident in the Pacific Islands, where sandy, rain-soaked terrain posed a considerable challenge. When deployed, these interlocking planks, each measuring 10 feet in length and 15 inches in width, created a durable, corrosion-resistant surface, effectively stabilizing sandy beaches.The uncovering of these planks was part of an expedition that sought to investigate seafloor objects concealed beneath Guam's WWII underwater battlefield. While some discoveries, such as shipwrecks, aircraft, and amphibious vehicles, were instantly recognizable, others remained shrouded in mystery.Among the finds were steel planks, detected by side-scan sonar, which appeared to have no connection to any known vehicle, ship, or aircraft. These Marston mats, despite their seemingly unassuming appearance, represent a remarkable piece of military history.This discovery was just one among 250 seafloor objects earmarked for further examination during the expedition. Additionally, the team uncovered unexploded WWII mortars and artillery rounds, shedding light on the war's turbulent history in the region. Notably, a line of blast craters inside the barrier reef off Asan was discovered, believed to mark the sites where underwater "Japanese obstacles" were destroyed by U.S. underwater demolition teams.ConclusionIn essence, the sunken Marston mats offer a tangible link to the challenges and innovations of World War II, serving as a reminder of the extraordinary efforts made to overcome adversity during those historic times.