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Summary of General Findings of P-MAN IX

During 15 February - 16 March 07, I made my sixteenth return to Palau, this time with the P-MAN IX team for 4 weeks, continuing our search for Americans missing there since WWII. [NOTE: specifically designated as Missing-in-Action (MIA), Body Not Recovered (BNR), including Prisoners-of-War (POW)]. Like last year, this year we carried with us new archival data and photographs, from both American and Japanese sources, on top of our ongoing leads to guide our explorations. The P-MAN IX team brought both a continuing broad base of expertise and capabilities concerning Palau in four of the six team members. Bob Holler, retired with thirty years as a USAF pararescue expert and Derek Abbey, an active duty Marine aviator just returned from Iraq, each brought a wealth of new expertise and enthusiasm.

The BentProp Project has been reporting and coordinating its efforts for several years with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Hawaii (JPAC, formerly CILHI). During the P-MAN IX mission, two JPAC teams (one recovery, one search) were in country, during which time JPAC and the P-MAN IX teams conducted their separate missions as well as interacted on several occasions to share findings and data. While in country, we presented our field findings on two new potential MIA-associated crash sites and one potential POW burial site. In addition, the team continued its interactions with the Palauan Historical Preservation Office (HPO) and other agencies. During P-MAN IX, the team also continued its dialog with many key Palauans, including Palau’s Vice President Elias Chin, the President’s Chief of Staff Billy Kuartei, Senator Surangel Whipps, as well as several governors, chiefs and elders.

The P-MAN IX primary (NEW) TARGETS (T), in brief, as listed in our pre-mission proposal to HPO and JPAC, included:

In addition to these primary TARGETS, the team proposed investigation of secondary (previous) TARGETS which have been the subject of prior searches, depending upon whether new information is available (or not). In each instance the team proposed conducting interviews to determine if the status changed sufficiently to warrant a search. If a search is justified and after obtaining appropriate permissions, the team will investigate the following PREVIOUS TARGETS (PT):

Many other American aircraft lost over Palau have never been found. Accordingly, the P-MAN IX team also requested that we be able to continue with its interviews with Palauans to seek information which might lead to additional crash sites, MIAs or POWs. Should such information prove sufficiently compelling, the team left open the option, as appropriate and with permission, to investigate such leads.

The team continued throughout the mission with its documentation effort in collecting meaningful GPS coordinates, photographs and videos to add to its historical record from prior missions. The P-MAN IX team stayed in contact with HPO, JPAC and NHC throughout its mission, reporting significant or unexpected findings occur. The P-MAN IX team provided HPO, JPAC and NHC with a preliminary summary of its findings before it left Palau.

P-MAN IX key events (each of which is described in a separate Attachment, all of which are listed under the Attachments tab in the menu at the top of each page):

  1. NEW (PT4): Finding, partially identifying and documenting one new American crash site (a partial Corsair crash site, unknown BuNo, believed to be an FG-1A flown by a Marine aviator who remains MIA) in a mangrove swamp on the west coast of Ngeremlengui (Target PT4), 02MAR07; JPAC visit 08MAR07.
     
  2. NEW (No Target Number): Finding, partially identifying and documenting one new aircraft (primarily engine), possibly SBD Dauntless, USN or USMC, unknown BuNo on a coral head named Chide, east of Carp Island, 03MAR07, JPAC visit 13MAR07.
     
  3. NEW (No Target Number): Finding, identifying and documenting with JPAC team one new Japanese aircraft fuel (drop) tank (without associated aircraft located), type unknown, on a small island off of Peleliu, JPAC visit 13MAR07.
     
  4. NEW (No Target Number): Finding, tentatively identifying and documenting one new Japanese float (without associated aircraft located) in shallow water on the edge of a coral head, , west of Aimeliik, 28FEB07.
     
  5. NEW (PT1-related): Finding, identifying and documenting one new American tire/wheel assembly from a B-24 (most likely from B-24 ‘453) in mangrove swamp in Airai, 28FEB07.
     
  6. NEW (No Target Number): Ancient findings in jungles of Ngeremlengui and Ngatpang with Jolie Liston, 27FEB07.
     
  7. RE-VISIT: Extending USN Avenger (BuNo unknown) debris field discovered during P-MAN VIII in jungle east of East Road on Peleliu, JPAC Visit 13MAR07.
     
  8. RE-VISIT: Possible POW/MIA site in Ngatpang jungle, 16FEB07, JPAC Visit 07MAR07.
     
  9. NO FINDINGS: Re-evaluation of known Corsair site in Ngeremlengui via 1946 IJA maps suggesting burial site is in known crash site area.
     
  10. NO FINDINGS (NT3): Negative searches for Aimeliik Corsair, 17, 24FEB07, 26FEB07 (Helicopter), 02MAR07, JPAC Visit 08MAR07, 09MAR07.
     
  11. NO FINDINGS (NT4): Possible “blue aircraft” in Aimeliik determined to be a boat wreck.
     
  12. NO FINDINGS (PT2): Negative searches on Ngeruktabel for a blue aircraft on ridge line.
     
  13. NO FINDINGS: Negative search for a “Douglas” blue aircraft near Medorn, JPAC Visit, 18FEB07.
     
  14. NEW INTERVIEWS: Many other American aircraft lost over Palau have never been found. Accordingly, the P-MAN IX team continued to request and conduct videoed interviews (with permission) with Palauans to seek information leading to additional crash sites, MIAs or POWs. The team conducted approximately 13 hours of interviews with Palauan elders and hunters in Ngeremlengui, Ngatpang, Aimeliik, Airai, Meyuns, Koror and Peleliu. Brief summaries of these interviews will be included in the P-MAN IX final report.
     
  15. ADDITIONAL INTERACTIONS WITH JPAC:
    • Side Scanning Sonar (SSS) Evaluation in Ngeremlengui Area, 10MAR07 (NO FINDINGS)
    • Revisiting the FM-2 Wildcat in Airai, 12MAR07
    • Hunting Down Rumors of Bones in Koror, 12MAR07 (NO FINDINGS)
    • P-MAN IX Appreciation Night for JPAC, 11MAR07
     
  16. SITES IN 2007 HPO PROPOSAL NOT INVESTIGATED: The P-MAN IX team did not visit the following targets as proposed in our proposal document to HPO, for the following reasons:
    • NEW TARGET 1 (US grave site, jungles, Ngeremlengui)
    • NEW TARGET 4 (Report of Aircraft Debris, mangroves on Western Aimeliik)
    • PT-3 (Report of Aircraft Debris on Island West of Ngeruktabel)
     
  17. PRESENTATIONS:
    • Making one invited BentProp presentation at Sam’s Dive Tours, 06MAR07
    • World-wide premier of Last Flight Home, 14MAR07
     
  18. REPORTING: Preliminary findings of P-MAN-IX to the Palau Historical Preservation Office, Palauan Office of the President, Office of Vice President, JPAC and NHC, 14MAR07.

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