P-MAN IV Update Series, #2
Hello, Palau Supporters!A very rewarding two days. But first, some lessons learned.
Two days ago we made three site journeys. The first was to a reported piece of debris newly discovered on a beach. Looks like an aviation piece. Some sort of tankage. It had plumbing holes and flash holes suggesting aviation. Still had some red paint suggesting Japanese. Odd shape though. Resembles fuel tank from a Twin Beech, only much larger.
We have digital photos of most finds and when we can find a place to upload them, we'll send them to our volunteer at the far end of this internet line for identification. Stand by Bill!
Our second stop was to a known crash site. Major Harry Scullins was shot down in his TBM Avenger in 1944. He and his two crewmen were all killed. The crash site was 6 miles from Peleliu. Major Scullins was attacking a land based Japanese unit. The Marines launched a recovery mission but had to withdraw with only one of the crewmen. Scullins and the other crewman, Bert Smith, had their final resting spot in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Last year, Pat Scannon (the Bent Prop Leader) held a Flag ceremony to commemorate the find.
Right before we left for this trip, Pat found two living sisters of Major Scullins. They have always wondered what happened to their brother. We videoed another Flag ceremony and are sending a Flag to each sister.
The last event two days ago was to a reported Corsair deep in the jungle. Our guide Joe, a great individual jungle man and boat driver, said his uncle saw a plane when hunting there. So we geared up and up a steep limestone cliff we went. Then down. Then up again. Then down.................I think you get the picture. I am in such awe of anyone who did this same thing 60 years ago during the war, with a rifle, and 60 pounds of 'stuff' on his back. And they couldn't go to the hotel at the end of the day. Any time you meet one of these old codgers, just shake his hand and say thank you.
Well, this lead did not pan out. So we returned to the boat, had a great sunset voyage home and went to bed. We all slept well.
Yesterday, we accomplished many errands and made some more contacts with locals who are willing to help us. Then we took a boat trip to Nepthang state (one great thing about Palau is that names are spelled differently in different locations. So for me spelling doesn't count!) so Pat could meet up with the senator there. Then we headed to a spot where a machine gun was found sticking up in a coral head. We investigated, found a significant debris field including two cylinder heads, wing root, elevator and other parts. This was all snorkeling so we're heading back today with tanks.
This coral head is only 4 feet underwater, but slopes down to about 150 feet on three sides. We think we have a linear debris pattern so we're diving deeper to find more pieces. So far, our best guess is a Navy SBD.
Bill and Mary Alice Cantrell joined us from the States. He's the retired Marine LCOL who wrote a book titled "Friends, Dear Friends and Heroes". This is his first time back in the Western Pacific since the war. We were able to take him to a spot that he attacked many years ago, to the spot where his best friend Cowboy attacked a destroyer that was tied up to an island and overall let him and his wife take in the beauty of the area. They are both entertaining us with stories from the war: his Corsair stories and her stories about his Corsair stories!
That's it for today. Just wanted you all to get your money's worth. Take care and I'll have something interesting to report in a day or so.
Blue SKies, Flip