P-MAN XIII (2011)
The 2011 expeditions ran from
1-19 February and
19 March-15 April
- P-MAN stands for Palau - Marine, Army
Air Force, Navy. XIII means
this is the thirteenth expedition since
we started numbering them (in 1999).
- While the team was in the field, we published Progress
Reports as close to daily as possible.
- A few months after completion of the 2011 expeditions, we published the P-MAN XIII final report, which you can read here.
The year leading up to P-MAN XIII
Several team members attended a 1.5-day training session on 19 and 20 January on operation of the Marine Sonic "Sea Scan" side-scan sonar device. You can read about the SSS training session here. In a spectacular expression of support, Marine Sonic has donated one of their SSS devices to the BentProp team!
The team left for Palau on 17 February, and they returned home on 12 March. During this year's trip, they located a Marine Corsair crash site in Ngatpang for which we've been searching for several years. While they were in Palau, they submitted regular progress reports, which you can read here.
An event at Arlington National Cemetery honoring all of the crew members of B-24 #42-73453 was held on 29 April. There was a service at the Old Post Chapel, followed by a procession to the interment site. After the ceremony, there was an invitation-only reception hosted jointly by BentProp and the 307th BG(H) Reunion Group. You can see some photos and a video about the event here (be sure to scroll to the bottom and view the video).
Following the Arlington event, Palauan team member Joe Maldangesang began a cross-country trip (his first visit to the U.S.), during which he stayed with various team members as he made his way from Washington, DC to California. You can read about Joe's odyssey here.
In September, Rick Smith took a course in Chesapeake Technology, Inc.'s "SonarWiz 5" seafloor survey software, which is a high-powered and complex package for analysis of Side-Scan Sonar data. We were stunned and delighted to learn that Chesapeake has donated two licenses for this software to BentProp, allowing us to take full advantage of the spectacular SSS system that was donated to us by Marine Sonic earlier in the year! Hang on to your wigs and keys: these software licenses are valued at $10K each!
Several team members made several more research trips to NARA over the remaining months of 2010. Team member Mark Swank, whose tireless research has narrowed our search for the execution site of the POW B-24 crew members from the '453, has now been in Afghanistan for a little over a year and a half. He returned home for two weeks' leave in October, and joined several of us for a couple of days at NARA while he was here. That's dedication! His TDY in the sandbox ends in the spring.
Plans for the 2011 expeditions
BentProp is going to Palau twice this year! Two missions are planned, P-MAN XIIIa, 1 – 17 February, and P-MAN XIIIb, 19 March – 15 April.
P-MAN XIIIa objectives:
Zones 1-7 in the following map are the key SSS search areas for 2011:
In February 2011 a small contingent of BentProp team members will be in Palau to exclusively conduct SSS (Side-Scan Sonar) operations in search of underwater crash sites in Zones 1-7 in the map above. These are locations around Arakebesan, Malakal and Ngeruktabel. The 2010 team had focused on a small number of locations in these areas for surveying via side-scan sonar (SSS). If targets of specific interest are obtained during this year's P-MAN XIIIa mission, the team will dive and document those sites if there's enough time. This is an extension of the SSS work initiated in 2007 by JPAC and continued by the P-MAN XI & XII teams in 2009 and 2010. The P-MAN XIIIa operational goal is to conduct a survey (after obtaining appropriate permissions) in the noted areas for American aircraft debris and document their findings for the P-MAN XIIIb effort.
The P-MAN XIIIa mission participants are:
- Dan O'Brien (Team Leader)
- Rick Smith (Water Ops)
- Paul Schwimmer (line tender)
- Flip Colmer (assistant line tender).
P-MAN XIIIb Objectives
We will further refine the objectives for the larger 2011 mission after review and analysis of the SSS data acquired during the P-MAN XIIIa mission.
The P-MAN XIIIb mission is scheduled for 15 March through 15 April. The participants presently planning to make the second trip are:
- Pat Scannon (Team Leader)
- Derek Abbey (Field Mission Coordinator, or as he likes to be called "Field Marshal")
- Flip Colmer (Coordinator from afar)
- Bill Belcher (JPAC, but on vacation - maybe)
- Warren Bruce (returnee, land nav, safety, and other things)
- Molly Osborne (Nav, GPS goddess)
- Dan O'Brien (SSS, second assistant to GPS goddess)
- Casey Doyle (First time to Palau, Grandson of Jimmie Doyle, who was nose gunner on B-24 #42-73453, which was shot down in Palau on 1 September 1944)
Progress Reports from P-MAN XIII (2011)
While the 2011 expeditions are under way, we will try to post 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 will likely include contributions by several of the field team members. Each report will indicate who wrote what.
2011 Expedition Progress Reports
Report # - Date - Topic
- 01 - 27 January - Getting ready (Flip)
- 02 - 04 February - First water day (Paul)
- 03 - 04 February - Great water day (Paul)
- 04 - 05 February - Catching up (Dan)
- 05 - 07 February - Short and sweet (Paul)
- 06 - 07 February - A 4-day catchup from Dan (Dan)
- 07 - 09 February - Flip catches up and goes home (Flip)
- 08 - 09 February - BentProp torpedoes its first (already-sunken) ship (Paul)
- 09 - 12 February - Lost boy (Paul)
- 10 - 21 February - Dan O'Brien departs Palau in full stream-of-consciousness mode
Report # - Date - Topic
- 11 - 15 March - Derek arrives.
- 12 - 16 March - Derek arrives - the sequel.
- 13 - 17 March - Sunrise, Landscaping, and Casey meets the Red Rooster.
- 14 - 18 March - Casey Doyle, cub reporter, steps up to the keyboard.
- 15 - 18 March - Revisit a jungle crash site and meet with the Reklai.
- 16 - 19 March - Warren writes about a whirlwind tour of Babeldaob.
- 17 - 21 March - Interviewing an elder; shopping for spear guns.
- 18 - 22 March - First water day: Derek and Warren get a current quiz.
- 19 - 23 March - Bats, swamps, tuna, and chili fries.
- 20 - 24 March - Mud by any other name is still mud. Pat arrives.
- 21 - 25 & 26 March - Diving in Kossol Passage. Casey gets his coin. Peleliu.
- 22 - 27 March - Dan broke what?
- 23 - 28 March - Jungle. The Corps honors Joe. Warren departs.
- 24 - 29 March - Casey dives into family history. Swimmng with yellow fishes.
- 25 - 29 March - Flip's back. Team nutrition improving. LIDAR is cool but expensive. Steep, ugly jungle climb looms.
- 26 - 31 March - In the jungle with Simeon and Flip's new shirt.
- 27 - 2 April - Balance: a fun "tourist" day, followed by a slow, boring one (by Flip).
- 28 - 2 April - Happy as a clam, swimming with the sharks, finding Nemo (Derek's take on the "day off").
- 29 - 3 April - Molly Osborne arrives.
- 30 - 4 April - Working through the SSS target list, and a hike with our favorite archaeologist.
- 31 - 5 April - Molly renews an old friendship. Wesley: snakes alive!
- 32 - 6 April - Interviews, TV celebrities, diving on Peleliu, dinner with Matt Harris.
- 33 - 7-8 April - Helicopter scouting. Mangrove crawling. FINDING STUFF. Scaring the customers at Krämer's. Watching Paul Collins dive. Rain.
- 34 - 8 April - Wesley's contribution to the team is formally acknowledged.
- 35 - 10 April - Diving again on the LVTs. Jungle hiking. Starting to think
end of the mission...
- 36 - 11 April - Mantas! Prehistoric jungle! And a return to Police Hill.
- 37 - 11 April - The "Millennium Biib" needs a tune-up. Back to Police Hill.
- 38 -
12 April - A last hike on Peleliu. Respects to a fallen Marine. Cave crickets.
And a whisper from the other side.
- 39 - 13 April - Following Abbey's tip back to Kossol Passage. Remember
Lucy, and the football? Tomorrow the team says goodbyes, packs out, and heads home.