VIII Update #12
This morning we all met at the Mayumi restaurant for breakfast (it's a dead ringer for every summer-camp dining hall you've ever seen), then headed out on some separate missions. Don, Jane, and Sarah planned to spend the morning touring the island with Tangie (whose knowledge of the island and its military history is legendary), while we did some exploring.
Tangie dropped us off at a well-known "boneyard" area we hadn't seen before, then he escorted the family until he dropped them off at the airport (on the topographic map it's euphemistically called "Abandoned Landing Strip," which didn't seem to comfort Jane much) for the short trip back to Koror with Matt Harris, the Aussie pilot who flies the twin-engine Brittan-Norman Islander for Belau Air. On the way out, Matt swung around and flew them back over the course of their uncle's final flight. When they reached Pope's Ridge, they dropped some flowers as they soared past. Perfect tribute. Neat people.
We looked around the boneyard until noon, trying to identify the various pieces of aircraft that reside there. "Junk pile" might be a better description of this place, because there are very few pieces of aircraft junk that would be readily recognizable to most people as even related to airplanes. There were several radial engines, evidently Japanese, and a number of pieces of wing and fuselage, most of which were pretty small and pretty mangled. This is evidently an area into which a number of Japanese aircraft were pushed after being destroyed on the ground during the various American attacks that led up to the invasion of Peleliu. The only items that we were able to identify as definitely American were a couple of cockpit controls with placards in English. We've tentatively identified these as belonging to an F-4U Corsair, several of which were junked in this area during the period after the invasion when several Marine Corsair squadrons were based here.
Tangie met us with sandwiches at about 1:00, after the family headed back to Koror with Matt. After lunch we did some more exploring, finally calling it quits at about 4:30.
Beverages-and-crunchies-at-sunset. Early to bed.