Project Leader John downing
John is a retired business owner residing in San Diego County (USA) with Pat his wife of over 35 years. He first came to ADMAT in 2008 to begin his study of maritime archaeology. Since then he has spent over 30 weeks at the ADMAT Center in Monte Cristi, accumulating over 350 hours underwater, working as student, student assistant, and project leader. He has earned his PADI ADMAT Specialty Underwater Survey Diver and Search and Recovery Diver certifications, and is now rated as an assistant instructor on ADMAT’s Underwater Survey Diver course.
Working in maritime archaeology John has participated in the survey and excavation of Le Casimir, The Island Wreck, and has lead surveys of The Tile Wreck and Wreck Two with ADMAT. He has also participated in two site surveys with Diving With a Purpose in Florida including the possible site of The Guererro, a slave ship that sank in the Florida Keys.
He also works in terrestrial archaeology in the Southwestern United States. John and Pat are certified as Archaeology Technicians and Site Stewards with California State Parks. Their activities include active membership with the Colorado Desert Archaeology Society, American Rock Art Research Association, The Archaeological Conversancy, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. He has participated in numerous surveys and excavations and is currently leading site surveys and creating site records for the California State Parks archaeologists in the Colorado Desert.
Before retirement John studied and worked in advanced electronics from 1970-1976 as a surface to air missile technician in the U.S. Navy exiting as a First Class Petty Officer (E-6). He served for four years on the U.S.S. John Paul Jones spending over 20 months in South-East Asia and earning National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, Good Conduct, Combat Action, as well as a Meritorious Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expedition, and Humanitarian Service Medals from his participation in operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975.
Upon leaving the Navy he spent ten years as a field service manager working in the fast food industry overseeing the development, installation, and maintenance of early business computer and data communications systems. During this time John and Pat’s recreational pursuit was the sport of competition skydiving. Having logged over 2,100 and 1,400 skydives respectively, accomplishing numerous world records and medaling in the U.S. National Championships three times.
Leaving the corporate world John founded his own company, Downing Sound and Communications, which provided audio electronic systems for businesses. In 1999 he began flying sailplanes (gliders) leaving his skydiving behind but not his parachute! Flying his sailplanes cross-country has become a passion for him and he has accumulated several state and one U.S. national record in that endeavor. He successfully sold his company in 2002 and retired from business management.
In addition to diving and archaeology John enjoys hobbies and interests in amateur astronomy, astrophotography, kayaking, camping, and underwater photography. He and Pat also volunteer as Forest Fire Lookouts with the National Forest Service and California State Parks.