P-MAN XI (2009)
The P-MAN XI expedition was conducted 18 February - 12 March 2009.
- P-MAN stands for Palau - Marine, Army
Air Force, Navy. XI means
this is the eleventh expedition since
we started numbering them (in 1999).
- While the team is in the field, you can read Progress
we'll try to post as close to daily as possible.
- The P-MAN XI final report is now complete. Here's where you can view the complete Final Report.
The year leading up to P-MAN XI
The team returned from the 2008 Expedition in mid-March. As usual, they brought back a long list of things to research.
In June 2008, an amazing documentary film by team members Jennifer Powers and Dan O'Brien, called Last Flight Home, was released. 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.
Team members Katie Rasdorf and Mark Swank, two of our volunteer researchers in the DC area, continued to spend huge amounts of time this year at the College Park, Maryland research facility of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). They located and continued to search huge collections of testimony from war-crimes tribunals held shortly after WWII ended, and which still offer up elusive clues (and occasional red herrings) about the location of execution and burial sites of some of the POWs whom we are still seeking.
Early in our 2008 expedition, JPAC completed their third and final underwater recovery mission to the B-24 site that we located in 2004. JPAC now considers the B-24 site to be closed, having recovered an undisclosed number of sets of remains from the site. All remains have been returned to JPAC's forensic lab in Hawaii for identification. When that identification is complete and JPAC has formally announced the results, we'll let you know here on BentProp.org.
A second 2008 JPAC 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 TBM 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.
Although JPAC will probably not send any recovery teams to Palau in 2009, we're told it's likely that they will return to at least a couple of BentProp-located sites in 2010.
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 2009 expedition
- Land-based searches for execution/burial sites of known American POWS, making use of considerable new evidence gathered from archival research, and possibly using some new technology such as ground-penetrating radar
- Water-based searches of several high-probability crash-site locations, possibly using some new technology such as side-scan sonar
Progress Reports from P-MAN XI (2009)
While the 2009 expedition was under way (18 February - 12 March), we posted progress reports more-or-less daily (see below). 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've gotten behind by a day or so - there are times when there just aren't enough hours in the day, and we fall asleep before we can finish documenting the day's efforts.
This year's reports included contributions by several of the field team members. Kudos this year to Molly Osborne, whose reports were the most timely of all of the reporters. And major thanks to everyone else who contributed! The reports that Flip Colmer sent for posting here were also included in his blog at FLIP.
2009 Expedition Progress Reports
Rpt # - Date - Topic
- 01 - January 02 - Prologue
- 02 - January 10 - Introducing the 2009 team members
- 03 - February 03 - Almost ready to go, and an update of an update
- 04 - February 14 - Under way! Sort of! Molly and Flip begin reportage.
- 05 - February 16 - Molly arrives in Palau
- 06 - February 19 - More arrivals. Vans. The Red Rooster lives.
- 07 - February 21 - Flip goes "adult." Chance meeting with old friends.
- 08 - February 22 - Rick and Wil check in with reports
- 09 - February 23 - Flip catches up. Bandwidth wars. Power blips.
- 10a - February 24 - Molly, Warren, and Flip
- 10b - February 24 - Reid Digresses; More Flip
- 11 - February 25 - More water and jungle
- 12 - February 26-27 - Rick, Molly, and Warren contribute. They went to Peleliu
- 13a - February 28- Katie, Warren, and Wil
- 13b - February 28 - Flip (2 reports)
- 14 - March
02 - Sonar school. More police hill. Elevator
- 15 - March
02 - Special announcement about B-24 '453
- 16 - March 03 - Warren and Mark depart; Paul steals car keys
- 17 - March 04 - Molly and Flip - SSS, stone money
- 18 - March 05 - Fox two. Mark takes the Krämers challenge - and doesn't lose!
- 19 - March 06 - Two new fruit-bat devotees and a third interview; Wil heads home
- 20 - March 07 - Wil's (creepy) passion, new (old) map, and team departure schedule
- 21 - March 08 - Banquets and dive lights
- 21a - March 08 - Flip catches up almost
- 22 - March 09 - Traveling companions
- 23 - March 10 - Molly parties in the weeds
- 24 - March
10 - Military escorts, and Doing The Right Thing
- 25 - March 10 - Leave No Man
- 26 - March 10 - Molly learns how hard it is to leave
- 27 - March 11 - Molly departs
- 28 - March 11 - Flip's still catching up
- 29 - March 12 - Flash! P-MAN XI extended!
- 30 - March 12 - With time to spare, Flip catches up on his writing
- 31 - March 14 - Pictures from Molly and Katie
- 32 - March 15 - You can breathe again - Flip's home
Mark Swank's POW Site Reports
Mark was tasked this year with creating a plan and leading a land team in a search for the execution and burial sites for several American POWs who are known to have died in the area of "Police Hill" in Ngatpang. Mark wrote the following installments of his report upon returning home. This information will also be used by JPAC to support their decision whether or not to send a Recovery Team to attempt location and recovery of remains.