2009 BentProp Progress Report # 02

P-MAN XI Update #02 - The 2009 Team
10 January 2009

Introducing the 2009 team:


Pat Scannon (Team Leader)

BentProp expeditions: 1993-2009

No bio info submitted.


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Flip Colmer (2009 Mission Commander)

BentProp Expeditions: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009

Flip was born in New Rochelle, New York and spent all of his childhood in the suburbs of New York City prior to escaping and going to college in Colorado.

He completed High School a half year early and went off to Colorado State University where he majored in skiing, tubing down rivers and flying. He managed to get a B.S. degree in Business Administration which he promptly put to good use teaching scuba diving. In Colorado. Makes one pause doesn’t it?

While in Colorado, he was on the National Ski Patrol, The Larimer County Sheriff’s Dive Rescue Team, a S.S.I. certified scuba diving instructor and learned to skydive. He was an avid backpacker and nature photographer. He also was a housepainter and a real estate salesman.

In 1978 he heard his country call and joined the U.S. Navy. He earned his Wings of Gold in 1980 and went to the fleet to fly the A-7E Corsair. He also had a tour as an instructor pilot teaching Student Naval Aviators flying in the T-2C Buckeye and an F/A 18 Hornet tour. He had cruises on the USS America, USS Ranger and two on the USS Midway. He also logged landings on the USS Eisenhower, USS Lexington and USS Roosevelt. After 10 years active duty, 360 carrier landings, 2500 hours and another 10 years in the Reserves, Flip retired from the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander

In 1989 Flip heard the call of the airlines and joined Northwest Airlines. He has flown as First Officer on the DC9, 727, Airbus 320 and as Captain on the DC9. He currently flies as Captain on the Airbus 320/319. He gets to see the sun every day he goes to work. When you live in Michigan that is a big deal.

When he left Colorado, he did not leave skydiving. Although retired from the sport now, he accumulated 3700 skydives and over 70 hours of freefall. He was an instructor for many years and founded and operated a skydiving center in Michigan. He has been a part of a number of world records for large formations: 100, 120, 200, 243, 300, 357 and almost in the current record of 400. If you notice in the expedition dates above, there is a break in 2006. While skydiving in Thailand just prior to that year’s mission to Palau, Flip trashed his knee and had to limp back home to get it repaired. No record, and no time in the jungle that year.
He has an interest in most aspects of aviation and has owned 3 airplanes over the years. His first was a single seat Pitts Special aerobatic airplane. He concurrently owned a Meyers 200. Both were sold many years ago but he and his wife recently purchased another Meyers 200 which they plan to tour the country with.

After 9/11, Flip wanted to do something for his country again. Just like most people, he wanted in, but realized that younger folks than him would carry the burden. Active duty really wasn’t an option. However, something would come up.

It was his time in skydiving that led to his involvement with The BentProp. Dan O’Brien, a world famous skydiver and mentor of Flip’s, asked if he would be interested in hacking through jungles, slogging through muddy mangroves and scuba diving in ugly waters. If he was, then he should interview with Pat Scannon because Pat had a pretty cool project going.

Flip passed the arduous interview process and was planning on only going on one mission. However, he loved Palau, loved the adventure and was bowled over by meeting the family members of the men who never made it back from the war. This became his contribution to the country. As long as Pat will have him, Flip will keep participating.

Flip is married to Rebecca. They will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary in August, 2009. They met due to skydiving. She used to manage a parachute manufacturing company and retired from the sport with 1100 skydives. Today, she is a successful author with 11 books published, a web based caregiver records storage company and more to come.

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Warren Bruce

BentProp Expeditions: 2009

Warren grew up in Mclean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. Upon high school graduation, he enlisted in the US Marine Reserve as an aviation ordnanceman. He attended U.S. Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, completed follow-on training, and joined the F/A-18 squadron of VMFA-321 at Andrews Air Force Base, MD where he rose to the rank of Corporal. While in the Reserves, Warren attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where he earned a B.B.A in Finance. Shortly after graduation in 1999, Warren received a commission as a Marine officer and student naval aviator. After three years of schooling, Warren was winged as a naval aviator and selected F/A-18s at MCAS Miramar in San Diego.

Warren completed three deployments with VMFA(AW)-242 and VMFA(AW)-121 while totaling nearly 1700 hours of flight time. He spent two tours in Iraq providing close air support with the F/A-18D - frequently teamed up with Bent Prop member Derek Abbey for several missions. The third deployment was to Iwakuni, Japan, where Warren participated in many international exercises with several countries including Australia and Japan. Warren just recently returned from a ground tour in Basrah, Iraq as a Fire Power Control Team Leader providing terminal attack control and fire support while embedded with the 7th Iraqi Army Division.

During Warren’s spare time he volunteers as a side walker and ranch hand at a therapeutic horseback riding center for disabled children in Lakeside, CA. Travel is another favorite activity as he visited the landing beaches of D-Day and the American Cemetery in Normandy, France. He has also toured the Outback of Australia and did a scuba dive in a shark tank in Sydney for reasons still unknown. He hopes to make a worthy contribution to the Bent Prop team and continue to further the success of such a noble cause.

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Wil Hylton

BentProp expeditions: 2009

Wil is a staff writer for GQ magazine, and the author of the article "Leave No Man Behind," about BentProp's 10-year quest to locate a B-24 that was shot down in Palau on September 1, 1944. In the course of reporting, Wil visited Palau with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, joining the excavation team to search for human remains in the underwater wreckage discovered by BentProp. Along the way, like so many others, he fell in love with the islands and Palauan culture, and since the night his plane swept off the runway heading home, he has whiled away the hours trying to find a way back. This year, he'll have his chance as a member of P-MAN XI.

In addition to his work for GQ, Wil's writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Outside, Esquire, Details, and Harper's magazines, and his articles have been included in the books Best Political Writing of 2005, Best Music Writing of 2003, and Best Business Stories of 2002. Over the years, he has also covered science, film, music, and travel, including stories about climbing 20,000-foot mountains in the Andes, becoming the first person to complete the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway trail, and bicycling a thousand miles in rural Cuba.

Wil lives in the mountains of Virginia with his wife, Jenny, 2-year-old son, Liam, and a whole mess of rattlesnakes and bears.

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Jolie Liston

BentProp expeditions: 2006, 2007, 2009

Jolie is a sixth generation Texan born in Harlingen close to the Mexican border. She spent her childhood traveling and wanting to be a wilderness guide or counselor. She ended up becoming an archaeologist and received her MA from the University of Oregon. She has been a contract archaeologist in the Pacific for the past 20 years, half of those on Palau.

Jolie is a PhD student at the Australian National University where she is studying Palau’s earthworks. Her interests include monumental architecture, cultural chronologies, evolutionary ecology, warfare, historic preservation, and landscape archaeology. Mainly, she wants to ensure Palauans know about their past and to encourage the local community to preserve and manage their cultural properties.

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Joe Maldangesang

BentProp expeditions: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Joe, who lives in Koror, has been part of the BentProp team for over a decade. Joe is a Boat Captain, Master Guide, Teller of Legends, Expert Diver, and Betel-Nut Aficionado. Among many other things, Joe was instrumental in 2004 in helping the team locate the underwater crash site of an AAF B-24 that was shot down in September 1944, and for which the BentProp team had been searching for many years. Joe's sons, pictured here with Joe in a photo by Joe's lovely wife Esther, are Doyle Colmer Maldangesang (left, named after Jimmie Doyle, nose gunner on that B-24 and Flip Colmer, another BentProp team member) and Quint Scannon Maldangesang (right, named after Quintus Nelson, a Marine F-4U pilot whose aircraft crashed in 1945 only a few hundred meters from where Joe works, and Pat Scannon, BentProp team leader). The Palauans understand family!

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Molly Osborne

BentProp expeditions: 2009

Molly lives in Tucson, AZ but is originally from Wisconsin - a small town called Oregon south of Madison. She has worked for the VA on and off for the past 10 years for a total of almost 7 years.- she is a clinical dietitian, specializing in kidney disease. She has an inpatient floor which consists of mostly cardiology, but it keeps her on her toes for other things as well!

As of the fall of 2007, she had been in Tucson for almost 9 months. Before that she took some time off (quit work at the San Diego VA in 2005) to travel all over the place (U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia), spend time with her boyfriend Bob Holler, compete in a 4-way 2006 , and go to Thailand to be part of the 400-way in 2006.

She first learned in more detail about what BentProp was when she met Bob and they started dating in 2003. Through him, she got to know Dan, Val, and JimBob much better. Then she first met Jennifer and Pat at Bob's memorial. She had talked to them both on e-mail before, so it was so nice to meet them! She has helped spread the word about BentProp and it's a perfect subject at the VA - many of her patients are really interested in it. She has met a few aviators and many, many WWII guys although they are fewer in numbers every day. Currently she has a purple heart patient and a POW in dialysis from WWII.

Molly is in the process of getting Last Flight Home shown at her VA on a bigger scale (it's already been on the movie schedule in dialysis) and just helping spread the word....especially after the movie came out. Her family is helping spread the word back in Wisconsin too, especially now since it was shown in Oshkosh.

Other than that, she is pretty fit, athletic still (college athletics, and was playing touch-rugby or 'touch footie' as the Aussies say it, while in San Diego), outdoorsy, and she's really looking forward to learning how to SCUBA dive!!

She wants to pursue more education in clinical nutrition research but is also torn with the thought of getting her nursing degree (it would be very fast with her background) just so she can travel and have more time off!!! Maybe she will just do both.

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Katie Rasdorf

BentProp expeditions: 2009

Katie is a former U.S. Marine and a diver (see photo at right), but her wet-suit advertising sometimes sends the wrong message.

This will be Katie's first trip to Palau, although she has provided many Katie-months of expert research over the past several years at the National Archives.

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Paul Schwimmer and friendPaul Schwimmer

BentProp Expeditions: 2009

Paul Schwimmer brings over 41 years of land surveying experience to the Bentprop team. Paul is owner and president of Arbor Land Consultants, Inc., and resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his truly very tolerant wife, Audrey (a true blue University of Michigan Wolverine). His son Marcus goes to Adrian College, studying History, while his daughter, Carlye, is a junior at Ferris State University in the land surveying program.
One of the problems previous teams have faced is the lack of adequate mapping capability. Since many of the team's search locations are based on old hand-drawn maps, Paul is currently designing an interactive mapping system that will allow the team to focus on much tighter target areas, thereby reducing valuable search time.

Paul's free time is equally divided between volunteering with Michigan's Pride and Honor Flight program, the Boy Scouts, Chelsea Rod and Gun Club, the Saline American Legion, chasing caribou across the tundra up near the Artic Circle, flyfishing for cutthroats in British Columbia, and snorkeling in the Bahamas with the Sea Scouts. Just your average dude, refusing to age gracefully. Prized possessions include (besides his truly tolerant trophy wife) his American Paratrooper wings, Canadian Paratrooper wings, Jungle Expert Patch, and his Green Beret. His personal goal for the 2009 mission is to use his field experience to help the team bring our boys home. It's been long enough. De Oppresso Liber.

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Rick Smith

BentProp Expeditions: 2009

Rick is a certified project manager, received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, and is currently enrolled in Boston University’s masters program in project management. He is an IT manager at Microsoft, where he supports the Business Online Services division.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Rick worked for 10 years as a manager and consultant for Hewlett Packard. He resides in Bellevue, Washington with his wife Linda and two children. Rick is an avid scuba diver, and his diving is currently concentrated in Puget Sound, where he is active in technical and unified team diving. He has over 400 logged dives, and has completed courses from GUE, PADI and NAUI. Rick's next objective in dive training is a cave diving course in Florida. He loves dive travel, and has enjoyed diving in Palau, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Hainan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Bermuda, Hawaii, California, and Mexico, and he hopes someday to dive off of Antarctica. He also enjoys snow and water skiing, hiking, rowing and baseball.

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Mark Swank

BentProp expeditions: 2009

Mark was born and raised in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He attended the Williamsport Area Community College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania before joining the US Army in 1980. He lives with his wife Dreama in Severn, Maryland, about 10 miles from downtown Baltimore.

Mark spent 10 1/2 years in the US Army as an Electronic Warfare Signals Intelligence Morse Code Intercept Operator (for you civilians, that's a ditty bopper) achieving the rank of Sergeant First Class (E7). After leaving the military Mark trained in Unix Systems Administration and has become certified as a Senior Oracle Database Administrator. Since that time he has co-authored several books on Web Database Programming. He has supported contracts for several government agencies including the US Department of State, US Department of Agriculture, NASA Goddard Flight Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and is currently employed at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Mark and his wife Dreama have four children (two boys and two girls) and five grandchildren (3 girls and two boys). All are spoiled.

Mark and Dreama also own a local sports bar in Gambrills, Maryland known as Crofton Cantina. The bar sponsors pool leagues, dart teams, horse shoe leagues and softball teams. Mark is a huge NASCAR fan (Go, Dale Jr.!) and an avid Baltimore Ravens fan. He also enjoys bowling and currently maintains a 204 average (imagine what it could be if he didn't drink while bowling).
Both Mark and Dreama enjoy playing golf and spending time at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland.

Although this is Mark's first BentProp expedition to Palau, he has provided continuing expert support for several years as a researcher at NARA in Washington, DC.

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- Reid

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