The P-MAN VIII expedition is finished!
Dates for P-MAN VIII were 15 February through 15 March 2006.
The year leading up to P-MAN VIII
We brought back a ton of information and new questions that we accumulated on the 2005 expedition - which left our list longer than it was when P-MAN VII started. Over the rest of 2005, here are some of the things we accomplished:
- Visited the National
Archives and Records Administration (their research facility in College
Park, Maryland) to pursue leads of various kinds.
Museum in Honolulu, whose archives contain many WWII-related records
and photographs that are not duplicated in any other archives. We found some incredibly
valuable aerial recon photos of the "Ngatpang hill" area - shot in early
September 1944, a week before the invasion of Peleliu.
to work closely with JPAC and Palau's Historical Preservation Office (HPO)
in pursuing new POW/MIA-related leads that we uncovered during P-MAN VII.
- Monitored the progress of two JPAC recovery
efforts that began in Palau in March and April 2005:
- A land team (Recovery Team 1, or RT-1) that arrived in Palau in mid-March,
whose targets included a TBM-1C Avenger site on Peleliu and an F4U-1D Corsair
in Ngeremlengui state on Babelthuap. Both sites were earlier discovered
and identified by the BentProp team.RT-1 recovered remains at the Peleliu
site, but found no remains at the Ngeremlengui site. These remains were repatriated
- returned to the JPAC lab at Hickam - upon the conclusion of RT-1's mission.
The long process of identifying remains has begun, but could take as much as two
- An underwater team (RT-2) that arrived in early April, which included several Navy divers, whose target was the underwater B-24 crash site south of Aimeliik that the BentProp team found last year. This site may contain the remains of up to eight American airmen. RT-2 had to suspend operations for safety reasons, after having recovered one set of remains. They hope to return later this year or early next year, with a plan to stabilize a dangerous portion of the aircraft's fuselage, and with considerable optimism about the likelihood of finding additional remains.
- A land team (Recovery Team 1, or RT-1) that arrived in Palau in mid-March, whose targets included a TBM-1C Avenger site on Peleliu and an F4U-1D Corsair in Ngeremlengui state on Babelthuap. Both sites were earlier discovered and identified by the BentProp team.RT-1 recovered remains at the Peleliu site, but found no remains at the Ngeremlengui site. These remains were repatriated - returned to the JPAC lab at Hickam - upon the conclusion of RT-1's mission. The long process of identifying remains has begun, but could take as much as two years.
The results of any given JPAC team's recovery efforts may not be known for some time after the field mission is complete. Even given recovery of remains from the land and water sites in Palau, that's just the beginning of the process. Remains are returned to Hawaii for identification, which can take months. Although we're all deeply committed to the identification and repatriation of remains of American MIAs, we have to remember that it's sometimes a long and technically challenging process, and that it's not always possible to identify remains. When we learn anything that can be released to the public, we'll let you know...
While the expedition was under way, Reid Joyce posted progress reports daily here on the BentProp site:
- 1 - 10 Feb
- 2 - 15 Feb
- 3 - 16 Feb
- 4 - 17 Feb
- 5 - 18 Feb
- 6 - 19 Feb
- 7 - 20 Feb
- 8 - 21 Feb
- 9 - 22 Feb
- 10 - 23 Feb
- 11 - 24 Feb
- 12 - 25 Feb
- 13 - 26 Feb
- 14 - 27 Feb
- 15 - 28 Feb
- 16 - 01 Mar
- 17 - 02 Mar
- 18 - 03 Mar
- 19 - 04 Mar
- 20 - 05 Mar
- 21 - 06 Mar
- 22 - 07 Mar
- 23 - 08 Mar
- 24 - 09 Mar
- 25 - 10 Mar
- 26 - 11 Mar
- 27 - 12 Mar
- 28 - 13 Mar
- 29 - 14 Mar
- 30 - 20
Mike Olds has a personal blog to which he contributed regular updates during this year's trip. You can read his slant on the proceedings at http://www.michaelolds.com/archives/archive_2006_02.shtml (this link no longer working).
Flip Flips; his blog doesn't
As in some past years, it was the intention of team member Flip Colmer to post his perspective on the expedition's progress on his blog. Unfortunately, Flip was unable to join us this year - he blew out a knee the week before P-MAN VIII began, at the end of a practice skydive in Thailand, in preparation for the world-record 400-way jump that the World Team subsequently completed - alas, without Flip. With all his new-found (recovery) time on his hands, he helped the team with research and pumped out some interesting stuff on his blog - while lounging on his couch in Michigan, eating bonbons and directing other people's snow-clearing activities. You can read Flip's musings at bentprop.org/flip/.
To head off any more questions: despite what it says in Flip's blog, Mike Olds is NOT Flip's son...although they do resemble one another in terms of cunning, perseverence, and sense of humor.