P-MAN X (2008)
The P-MAN X expedition has wrapped up. We were in Palau from 23 February through 22 March 2008
- P-MAN stands for Palau - Marine, Army
Air Force, Navy. X means
this is the tenth expedition since
we started numbering them.
- Read Progress Reports that
were posted during the expedition
- Read the P-MAN X final report here
The year leading up to P-MAN X
The team returned from the 2007 Expedition in mid-March. As usual, they brought back a long list of things to research.
Sadly, a few days after the team's return home, Bob Holler, one of last year's team members, was killed in a skydiving accident.
A major development during the year was the release in June of an amazing documentary film by Jennifer Powers and Dan O'Brien, called Last Flight Home. The film covers what we do and why we do it, and it explores the reactions of some of the family members of crew members of three of the aircraft whose locations the BentProp team has identified over the past few years, and which have been the subject of recovery missions by JPAC.
Katie Rasdorf and Mark Swank, two of the team's volunteer researchers in the DC area, have spent huge amounts of time this year at the College Park, Maryland research facility of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
We had a windfall of some new (to us) and very useful information about the Army's Graves Registration Service from Doug Drumheller, a Pennsylvania researcher who is deeply involved in a search for the burial site(s) of a number of U.S. Marines who were killed on Guadalcanal during WWII and who remain MIA.
Various team members attended several Palau-related squadron reunions over the course of the year, this time often providing screenings of the Last Flight Home documentary as part of their attendance. A highlight for some of us was being invited to participate in a Veterans Day celebration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Most of the attendees at the early-afternoon screening of Last Flight Home stayed for another hour or so for an update and question-and-answer session. We had a VIP tour of the museum led by our very own retired brigadier-general docent, had a sumptuous meal of museum-cafeteria hot dogs, and got to attend a great concert in the evening by the Air Force Band.
Several team members attended a planning meeting for the 2008 expedition in Michigan in early November. We reviewed targets, research, and procedures, and went over Pat Scannon's first-cut planning document in great detail. This document will form a large part of the proposal that we will send to various agencies in Palau prior to our arrival in February. Communicating in great detail with government agencies in the Republic of Palau is something that we've always tried to do - to give them an idea about what our proposed searches and schedule will involve and to solicit official approval for those activities. Then while we're in-country we also try to keep everyone informed of our progress, from the offices of the President and the governors of several states to the Historical Preservation Office, especially the National Archaeologist.
JPAC will once again sent multiple recovery teams to Palau for several weeks, beginning in mid-January. One team finished recovery efforts at the underwater crash site of the Arnett B-24 that our team located and identified in 2004. They've devoted two prior recovery missions to that site and this year they finally closed their investigation there. They were in Palau through the end of February - which overlapped with our planned time there this year - and we were able to interact with them a bit and share additional information with them about some other sites that they're considering for future recovery missions. A second recovery team did a dig at the TBM crash site on Peleliu that we discovered and identified in 2006. Although they did not recover remains at the site, some personal effects that they did recover were instrumental in confirming our identification of the aircraft as the one that was shot down on the morning of the invasion of Peleliu, 15 September 1944.
Here are some links to other information about JPAC's involvement in Palau:
http://www.navy.mil/view_gallery.asp?sort_row=1&category_id=15&sort_type=0&page=1 (go to this site and search for "Palau").
Plans for the 2008 expedition
- Investigation of several crash sites found during P-MAN IX and
follow-up on new POW/MIA information from P-MAN VIII, P-MAN IX and new
archival information since P-MAN IX:
- Three New Targets (NT)
- Five Return Targets with new leads (RT)
- Three Palauan Targets for investigation (PT)
- Continue elder interviews throughout Palau for possible sightings
Click the map to see a larger version:
- Submit Proposed P-MAN X Plan in January 2008 to Palauan and US authorities
- Initiate contact with local authorities upon arrival for final approval of proposed plan
- Coordinate with Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) on proposed
Initiate ongoing site investigations
- Initiate local interviews and reprioritize new searches based on new information
- Update this Web site daily while in Palau
- Summarize all findings at conclusion for official and public reporting
Progress Reports from P-MAN X (2008)
In Palau, the current time (GMT +9) is:
And the weather there is
While the 2008 expedition was under way (24 February - 22 March), we posted progress reports more-or-less daily here on the BentProp site. Over the past several years many of you have become regular, eager, enthusiastic readers of the progress reports. Thanks for your interest and support! And thanks for being understanding on those occasions when we got behind by a day or so - there were times when there just weren't enough hours in the day, and we fell asleep before we could finish documenting the day's efforts.
The reports listed below are mostly written by Reid Joyce, BentProp's Webmaster. For an alternate take, you can also read team member Flip Colmer's regular blog contributions on our sister organization's Web site at flip.
Rpt # - Date - Topic
- 01 - 02 January - Prologue
- 02 - 28 January - Prologue 2
- 03 - 20 February - The Team
- 04 - 24 February - The first wave of BentProp arrives
- 05 - 25 February - Getting Started
- 06 - 26 February - Tune-up hike
- 07 - 27 February - More protocol
- 08 - 28 February - Back to Police Hill
- 09 - 29 February - About those bombs...
- 10 - 01 March - Aikoku Bridge. Jungle. Max. Party.
- 11 - 02 March - GPS wrangling, interviews, Laura arrives
- 12 - 03 March - Trolling for sharks; Japanese cave; ancient Palauan cave; underwater aircraft wreckage
- 13 - 04 March - Presidential authorization: we revisit the Arnett B-24 site; more trolling for sharks; more aircraft parts, but we're clueless...
- 14 - 05 March - Data mining; visit with the Chief
- 15 - 06 March - Police Hill and a ton of other stuff
- 16 - 07 March - Short hike, long hike
- 17 - 08 March - Bena Sakuma was right
- 18 - 09 March - Getting it right can take a long time; a dip in the river
- 19 - 10 March - Mixed bag
- 20 - 11 March - First finds; interviews
- 21 - 12 March - Spleen
- 22 - 13 March - Serious hiking
- 23 - 14 March - Peleliu
- 24 - 15 March - Climbing. Swimming. Bats.
- 25 - 16 March - Green apples and interviews
- 26 - 17 March - Work and play
- 27 - 18 March - Debrief; Flip and Grover's last day
- 28 - 19 March - Interviews, stood up, and a shallow, silty dive
- 29 - 20 March - Up on the roof; Vince comes through with a painted lady
- 30 - 21 March - The curves cross; bat bones
- 31 - 23 March - Keeping the tradition alive