3 June 05
What follows is a quickly assembled summary of a recent trip that Clem Major (of PostStar Productions) and I made to Palau. Although it centers around our short stay in Palau, this is actually a story that started in September 1944 with the loss of two aircraft, a USAAF B24 (A/C# 42-73453) with 11 crewmembers from the 307th BG(H)/13th AAF on September 1 and a US Navy TBM-1C Avenger (BuNo16596) with 3 crewmembers from VT-20/USS Enterprise on September 13 both lost in combat in preparation of the invasion of Peleliu by the 1st Marine Division on September 15, 1944. The crews of these two American aircraft died fighting for our country and with possibly one exception, their remains had never been located. This has now started to change.
* Names in BOLD were captured and later executed by Japanese military.
Through an amazing set of interactions spreading out over the past 12 years, both aircraft have been located and identified. As of May 24, 2005, remains possibly of some of these missing airmen, from both crash sites, have begun being repatriated back the United States of America. And while the job of returning all findable remains is not complete and full identification is only in the early stages, the process has begun in earnest.
To list all the individuals and agencies who made this happen would fill a separate report but to give you an idea of key participants over the years, here is just a taste:
Of the many, many people who generously donated their time and energies to make this series of events happen, I believe each would permit me to say that this all is about saying thank you to these airmen, who sacrificed their lives in defense of our country and the people of Palau, as well as to these airmens families, who have lived with the consequences of this brutal war to this day.
On June 24, a formal repatriation will take place in Hawaii for these and other MIAs as part of JPACs world wide mission.
For some of you, this report will supply too much information, to others, not enough: my apologies to both. But stay tuned.
Page last modified 5 May 2005