Some of the current active members of the team:
Dr. Patrick Scannon
Dr. Patrick Scannon is the founder, current team leader and President of The BentProp Project. Dr. Scannon originally started the team in 1993, and formalized the mission structure in 2000. In 2015 he became a Co-Principal Investigator of Project Recover. Project Recover is a partnership among researchers at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and The BentProp Project.
Val Thal-Slocum is a MD-11 Captain for FedEx. She has been with the BentProp Team since 2002. In the off time Val and Husband, Jim enjoy restoring classic aircraft on their private airstrip/home in Moscow, TN. They have two daughters, Holly and Heather. Val is holder of Multiple World record Skydives.
Derek spent 23 years in the Marine Corps filling a variety of roles. Today, Derek is a higher education specialist with a focus on military-connected students and those seeking college degrees. He oversees the Military and Veterans Program at the University of San Diego. He owns his own business that provides coaching and consulting services, from the individual to the executive level. He is an avid outdoorsman and distance runner. Derek resides in San Diego with his wife, Michelle.
Flip Colmer been with BentProp since 2002. Retired U.S. Naval Aviator. 22+ years married to Rebecca. 27+ years with Delta Air Lines. Can’t wait to be back in the field! When not working on BentProp Project tasks, he brews beer, flies general aviation airplanes, and travels with Rebecca.
Dan O’Brien first met Pat Scannon in 1996 and started direct involvement with BentProp in 2001. He has been to Palau 11 times now with BentProp. It never gets boring! His career has followed quotes from Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Buffett “I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, a king, a stand-in, and a stuntman…” “I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then..” He is looking forward to many more MIA search missions!
Thank you to all who have served:
Thanks to the efforts, time, commitment, dedication to the following people that have helped search for and find MIAs with BentProp over the 20 plus years of our history.
Brian Von Herbulis
Special shout-out to team members no longer with us:
We remember Bob HOller
[Bob Holler, lookin’ at you…]Bob Holler, a member of BentProp’s 2007 expedition, died in a skydiving accident in Dublin, Georgia, on 17 March 2007.
A recently retired Air Force Pararescueman, Bob was an extraordinary person – skillful, competent, caring, dedicated, and fun to be around.
Flip Colmer, one of the BentProp team members who spent a month with Bob in Palau between mid-February and mid-March 2007, has added a sad/joyous epilogue to his series of daily updates on that expedition’s progress. Flip has included some great photos from the 2007 trip, from which it’s clear that whatever Bob did, he did it with skill and elan!
Flip’s final daily report from the 2007 BentProp expedition
And with interesting timing, there was a very recent CNN report that describes quite well the profession that Bob Holler chose:
CNN piece on PJs
Here’s a tribute to Bob written by Pat Scannon, BentProp team leader and founder:
27 Days with Bob: More Than a Few But Just Not Enough
Bob’s closing salutation in his letters is his legacy to us: “Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. And above all, enjoy. But remember. Peace.”
Blake Pospisil, the EOD specialist on a 2004 JPAC Recovery Team in Palau, was killed in action in Iraq in December 2005.
In early 2004, three teams worked successfully together in Palau under occasionally trying circumstances: the BentProp team, a JPAC recovery team, and the SeaBees. Toward the end of our trip, the three teams assembled for an all-too-brief final gathering, pictured above. We all got along incredibly well in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect – and best of all, we all really LIKED each other.
One of the brightest, most competent, and friendliest people among the three teams was SSgt Kenneth B. “Blake” Pospisil, USMC, JPAC’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialist (center, in the photo above).
Blake had a deceptively easygoing style, but it was clear that he took very seriously the job of keeping us safe in some pretty hair-raising environments, including the unexploded-ordnance-strewn valleys of Peleliu. Doing the things that we do, we occasionally find ourselves needing to trust our lives to the judgment of other team members. That trust was well placed in Blake.
On 14 December 2005, he was killed in action in ar-Ramadi, Iraq – disarming an IED.