The P-MAN IX expedition ended on 15 Mar 2007
The year leading up to P-MAN IX
We returned from the 2006 Expedition in mid-March with the usual list of things to research, and as usual, the list we brought home was larger than the list we had when we started the trip.
Many of the research issues we've been working are a direct result of the substantial collection of Japanese maps that we turned up during and after the P-MAN VIII trip.
We received some WWII-vintage Japanese maps of Palau from Vernice Stefano, project director at the PALARIS office. She had uncovered them on a trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. We received some additional maps from Yoji Kurata, a biologist who was living with his family in Palau before the war and who was conscripted into the Japanese army on his 18th birthday, a month before the US invasion of Peleliu and Angaur. He was injured during the fighting on Angaur, and was held in the US as a POW after the fall of Angaur. He and his daughter Emiko have been extremely gracious and useful sources of information.
We also received some military maps from Minoru Kamada, our research contact in Tokyo, and some excellent aerial photos through Pat Colin of the Coral Reef Research Foundation and through Katie Rasdorf and Mark Swank, our skilled research volunteers at NARA.
This newfound trove of maps has been guiding our planning for investigation of land targets to the point where - as of late October - we can imagine devoting this entire upcoming expedition to land-based searches.
On the other hand, there was a development late in 2006 that could change the land/underwater equation for the 2007 expedition: the possibility of some side-scan sonar (SSS) support through JPAC. As our 2007 expedition got under way, a JPAC Recovery Team was already in Palau, beginning to resume recovery work at the Arnett underwater B-24 site. So maybe we'll get wet.
Proposed primary search list for 2007
We've developed a list of our primary targets for this year, which we fully expect to change the first day we hit the field. But we'll share it with you:
While the expedition was under way, we posted progress reports more-or-less daily here on the BentProp site. Most of the updates were written by Flip Colmer; Report #20 was written by Derek Abbey.
- 01 - 07 February - Prologue
- 02 - 11 February - A fallen Marine goes home to Saipan
- 03 - 14 February - Joe
- 04 - 15 February - Safe arrival in Palau
- 05 - 16-17 February - Grin & grip; jungle; automotive adventure
- 06 - 18 February - Wilson, Jason, and a creepy antenna
- 07 - 19-20 February - JPAC on the barge; Ngatpang interviews
- 08 - 21-22 February - More interviews; a nice LONG rest in the jungle
- 09 - 23 February - Fruit basket; spelunking; more interviews
- 10 - 24-25 February - Dogs, cats, and more interviews
- 11 - 26-27 February - Helo mission; jealousy; hiking with Indiana Jones' daughter; creepy crawlies
- 12 - 28 February - 1 March - Water! Our old friend Jake; B-24 wheel; new mystery stuff; a little more grin & grip.
- 13 - 02 March - Newbies meet the mangroves; finding new stuff; auto mechanics 101
- 14 - 03-04 March - New find; Palauan feast; waterlogged GPS
- 15 - 05 March - More work on junior archaeologist badges; remedial auto mechanics
- 16 - 06-07 March - Derek coordinates the coordinates; presentation at Sam's; show-and-tell for JPAC; hiking with Kurata-san in the little shop of horrors; aeronautical graffiti
- 17 - 08 March - Flag ceremony in the mangroves; funny hats
- 18 - 09-10 March - Back to the B-24; Bob strokes a fish; good Samaritans
- 19 - 11-13 March - Debriefing this year's effort; starting to plan next year's; winding down; dinner and camaraderie; Flip's usual going-home adventures, but with a new twist: smooth sailing!
- 20 - 11-14 March (by Derek Abbey) - Reviewing and planning; more interviews; snorkeling; wading in the rain; Flip's boots (finally!)
- 21 - 18 March - Sad epilogue: 2007 team member Bob Holler died yesterday in a skydiving accident in Dublin, Georgia.