P-MAN XII Progress Report #15 - More metal in the jungle. Lots more.
06 March 2010

To make a small story shorter, we went back to the suspected Corsair crash site just southwest of Ngatpang Bay (Ngeremedoo Bay), and expanded the debris field from 4 pieces to over 60 pieces. And pieces they were, not parts. This thing was salvaged long ago. The reason we are scouring the pieces is that the pilot is still MIA. Maybe if we can positively identify this particular airplane, we can make a case to scour the ground for a grave.

As is the team's custom when we find a site that has a high probability of being associated with an MIA, the team held a flag ceremony right there in the middle of the debris field — with both the Palauan and American flags. We'll hang onto the flags used in the ceremony at this site, and if we can positively identify the aircraft and confirm that it's the one we've been researching and seeking, and if the rules ultimately allow us to make contact with the pilot's family, we'll give the flags to them.

[The after-action report from the loss of the aircraft we've been looking for indicates that the aircraft was very low and going very fast when it was hit in this area by AA fire — and it immediately plunged into the jungle. You'd expect a long, narrow debris field. Based on coordinates supplied by the team, Dan O'Brien reports that the site of the aluminum the team is finding is 312 feet from the latitude and longitude reported by the 1947 GRU (Graves Registration Unit) team, and 1,200 feet from a spot on our rough "red dot map" where there's a symbol that means "pilot buried here." The GRU team was told that locals or the Japanese buried the pilot, but were not successful in confirming that or locating the burial site. But circumstantial evidence that this is the site we've been looking for is really piling up, eh?
- Reid]

Flip's time [he's been the author of this year's field reports to date] is drawing to a close. He leaves Monday morning (8 March) at 0235. This is the part of the trip we all hate. The rest of the team is staying until the 12th. So they will certainly get a day or two more on this new site and see if they can find a part that tells us what we need to know.

We took Josie Minon out to dinner. After 20 years of service with Neco Marine, she's retiring and heading home to the Philippines. We will miss seeing her next year when we come back. She has helped BentProp in countless ways over the years.

Not much to say tonight — how about a few pictures from today:

Josie Minon - thanks for your many years of helping BentProp!

Paul (rear), Pat (with metal detector) and Warren, finding and tagging pieces of metal
in the jungle — where there shouldn't be pieces of metal.

Any of you old Corsair mechanics recognize this?

Or this?

Or this?




Joe, Paul (behind leaves) and Derek take a Pringle's break.

Ceremony with Palauan and U.S. flags: Joe, Pat, Mike, Paul, Flip, Derek, Warren.

Joe and Mike fold the Palauan Flag.

Joe and Paul with flags we'll deliver to family - if we can positively ID this crash site.

Warren, Joe, Derek, and Mike, totally in the moment.
This will strike a chord with every other team member who's ever taken part
in an MIA flag ceremony at a crash site.
Just in case anyone thinks we don't take this seriously.

- Flip

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