P-MAN VI Update #22
Sunday, February 8, 2004

The Civic Action Team LogoToday was SeaBees-appreciation day.

Since we first arrived in Palau, the men of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One have been incredibly helpful to us. They've volunteered to help with several searches - with information, graciously contributed labor, and even some serious machinery. They've accompanied us on land and water, and even invited us to hang out with them for a Super Bowl party!

They've shared in a couple of our disappointments, but also clearly shared our joy and awe when we found the new B-24. They couldn't get enough of the stories about this amazing find. They really, deep-down understand our mission and our commitment, and they understand some of what we felt when we identified this B-24 after so many years of trying to find it.

We were eager to let a few of the SeaBees see this site and feel some of the reverence and respect that we've felt in the presence of the aircrew whose remains are most likely still aboard. None of the BentProp team members are Navy-trained divers, nor were the three Navy men who came with us this morning. But all are competent sport divers, and the very few people who have visited the B-24 with us have been absolutely as respectful around this grave site as we have always been.

Thanks to the SeaBees! You guys are the greatest. And you've got some cool shirts, too...

We made two dives on the B-24 site. Our working objective was to locate additional pieces of debris that we hadn't spotted on previous dives - and we did find some. We'll probably get back out again after the rest of the team is finally here from Thailand. We still need to make some wider sweeps of the areas around the primary wreckage, and having a larger number of divers will help. We also want to make some measurements of relationships among some of the pieces, to get a more solid picture of which pieces are where, and exactly how they're oriented. And we want to take photographs of many of the loose objects in place, which should help both JPAC (if and when they begin to address this site) and the Palauan authorities, who have firmly resolved to protect the site against looting.

Tonight BentProp team member Dan O'Brien arrived from Thailand, so we picked him up at the airport shortly after 9:00. We brought him back to Lehns in Koror, but then headed back out to the airport to say Bon Voyage to Esther, Joe's wife. Esther was leaving on the 2:30 a.m. flight to Honolulu with her son, who will be receiving medical treatment in Hawaii for awhile, so we wish both of them a safe trip and speedy return. Flip Colmer may arrive from Thailand either tomorrow or Tuesday. Dan is here to replace Jennifer, who will be going back to California tomorrow night.

Onward and Upward! Strength through Joy!

- Reid