New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Information relating to Pacific Wrecks website

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Larry Mayes
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Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by Larry Mayes »

I have been an avid reader of Pacific Wrecks for over a decade and decided it was time to join the Forum. I am retired from the USAF, having served from 1968-1998, including Vietnam 1969-70. I spent 11 years serving in the Pacific and did many wreck dives in places like Oahu, Guam, Okinawa and Kwajalein (including one memorable dive on the German cruiser Prinz Eugen). I love the great work all contributors do for this site and am delighted to enter the discussion.

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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:42 am

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by TracieMaurie »

I'm a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette based in Washington, D.C. I found this site while working on a project on the recovery and identification of military remains, specifically of the "Hot Garters" crew that was shot down over New Guinea on April 10, 1944.
Tracie Mauriello

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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:49 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by rhughes1 »

Hi. I've never participated in a forum so this is all new to me. Anyway, here goes: I and my sisters are the sole living descendants of 2nd. Lt., Earl W. Smith. Returning from a mission against Wewak on August 20, 1943, Smith's P-38 Lightning went into the sea off Paga Point in Papua, New Guinea. The official account of the incident lists Smith as having been killed - no rescue, no recovery - and, as a family we have always so assumed. In 2002-03 a diver by the name of Mark Palmer discovered the plane's wreckage. According to his account of the discovery, as it appeared in, Palmer was directed to the site by a local fisherman who told him that his deceased uncle had rescued the pilot. We are trying to locate Mr. Palmer to see if he can shed any further light on the matter. I have come across Palmer's name several times during internet searches - among other things, he is mentioned as being the president of the Port Moresby Sub Aqua Club. My efforts to reach the club to contact him and to contact him through various e-mail addresses I have tried have thus far been unavailing.

We sure would apprerciate any help finding him. Thank you.


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Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 9:51 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by palmettoexile »

Greetings all. I live in Florida ; my husband is retired USAF, so we're familiar with a good bit of AF/military life. I am trying to learn details of my Dad's service in WW2. Like so many, he rarely, if ever, spoke of his experiences of that time. Any family history to be passed down will have to come from us. And tempus is fugiting much faster than ever..
We have a few details- Name Ernest James Clay,Jr.(known as "Jim"). Home state was S.C. He joined the AAC in 1943 and completed training in Columbia, SC. He arrived in the Asiatic Central Pacific theater in Nov., 1943, attached to the 41st BG. On Jan. 25,'44 he was a Nav/Bomb (B-25M) on a mission to Wotje where we think he was wounded. On Jan., 29,'44. he was Nav on a bombing mission of Taroa-as his a/c returned, they were hit by friendly fire from Navy Hellcats and crashed in a lagoon 5 miles from Mullinix Fld. All the crew were injured-but rescued. We know he was awarded the Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf in June, 1944, by Gen Landon. That is all the information we've been able to find. We do have his separation papers from the AAC and a photo of him with a couple of others in front of what we learned was a training a/c. in SC.
His records were among those lost in the fire in 1973-and the backlog from the archives is horrendous.I'm hoping that someone here either recalls these flights-or Dad-and can share whatever they have.We don't know who his crews were, where he went later (he returned in 1945), or any other information. We have no photos or letters from that time. Any and all information will be greatly appreciated.

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Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 5:43 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by WW2archivist2015 »

Hello, My name is Harry, I have been doing WW2 research since 1992, and now am concentrating on individual veterans, their planes, and what happened during the war. I am currently finishing some work for a good friend, who lost her uncle Lt. Howard Shellington, who was shot down on a mission to bomb the Mandai airfield, on the Celebes Island, on 25 June, 1945. I have most all the details, and just need some one to help me with the info about his plane.B-24-30, #44-42431. It apparently was a new plane, and on it's first (and last) mission. As a member of the 22 bomb grp, and the "Red Raiders", I am hoping to maybe hear from, get a picture of this plane, from someone who knew Lt. Shellington, to complete the story. Can anyone help, or mayhaps refer me to someone who could??
Thanks in advance,

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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:38 am
Location: New England

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by atollbiz »

Hello. Just joined today. My Dad spent the entire war at Hickham Field. My Mom and two older sisters survived 12/7/41 in base housing because he was over in California preparing to ferry those unarmed B-17s to Hickham. He was lucky to be assigned to the second group that landed on Monday rather than the poor guys that were ambushed during landing on Sunday. He and my Mom are together at Arlington National Cemetery. I myself became an Air Force pilot as I had always wanted to be. I look forward to reading the tales from this site.

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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by ahb26 »

My name is Andrew Bodge. My father's cousin, 2nd Lt. John H. Bodge, a P-39 pilot, went missing during a bombing mission on Rabaul on March 12, 1944. (Details here.) I was only vaguely aware of this until a genealogist working for JPAC contacted me about a year ago. Since then, I have discovered this site, learned about new activity on the case, provided a DNA sample, corresponded with the gentleman who discovered the wreck, and recently attended a DPAA Family Member Update event in Portland, Maine. I believe the DPAA plans to conduct further investigation of the wreck in 2016, and I am looking forward to further developments.

Colin Jones
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Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:20 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by Colin Jones »

Hello anyone and everyone, am in Australia and I just found this site today and that was by chance. It looked so interesting, that I had to register. I have a reasonable collection of military vehicles but in particular I have a M3 Stuart that was in PNG No 1554 during the war. I am hoping to find more information about it so I thought this may be a good place to start.

Tom Maxwell
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:54 am

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by Tom Maxwell »


I am Tom Maxwell. I worked on Canton, Phoenix Islands (1972-75) and Kwajalein, Marshall Islands (1985-88) and have an interest in WW2 history. Particular to that interest is Amelia Earhart and how the loss of her flight and disappearance may have impacted WW2 history. It's speculation to a large degree and not in the main line of this forum. But if Amelia Earhart as a POW is of interest to forum members, I hope the moderator will allow such posts. Also there is the question of the plane in the lagoon at Orona, Phoenix Islands. Is it Amelia's plane or a missing B25 whose flight path would have come close to Orona? I live in Freeport, Florida.

John Hetzel
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:32 am

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by John Hetzel »

Hi, my name is John Hetzel, I've been following this site off and on for about 12 years, finally got on board. I'm living in Buka, Papua New Guinea, Lord willing for the next two and a half years. I've seen several sites not listed and would like to update the database as I can, and would like to visit some of the sites that are listed here. Thanks for your work!

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Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by daviemax »

Hello to all.

New member. I note that format is similar to that of WIX.

My primary interest is in post-war B-17 history, which I research with the objective of determining the use and fate of all aircraft extant from 1946-on.

I got onto this site by looking for information on Momote Airfield, where at least 11 RB-17G photomapping aircraft were based in the 1947-49 period.

Dave Tarrant

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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:58 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by almawensi »

My name is Alma Wensi from Vanuatu (New Hebrides during WW2). I am on this forum to assist with my works with a new world war 2 museum development.

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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:55 am
Location: Azle, Texas

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by ColdWarsChild »


I, and my father before me, worked as engineers in the defense plant in Fort Worth, Texas in which B-24 bombers were built in WW2.
The B-24 served in both Europe and the Pacific, and would eventually replace the B-17.

My father went through the Great Depression - it was so severe that In high school he worked in a grocery store and had to give the money to
his parents to feed his siblings. He loved aviation - his heroes were the Lafayette Escadrille from WW1. After high school, he worked in a bicycle factory and used the money to learn to fly in a Stearman Biplane - he could only afford 15 minutes at a time. Ten months before Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps just to be involved in aviation. He advanced to Sergeant, and was then sent to Officer Training School at Yale.
He got his wings, but his role was not as a pilot - he was involved in accident inverstigations. During WW2 he was in Coffeyville, Kansas. In 1946,
he was in the Phillipines. Deteorating conditions caused him to resign his commission. He got a degree in Electrical Engineering on the GI Bill and went to work in the private sector.

Up the street in the neighborhood in which I grew up was another WW2 veteran of the US Army Air Corps.
He had flown B-17s in the Pacific and told me a war story about a reconnaissance mission he flew against a target he identified as "Truk".
He said that, just prior to his mission, there were two failed attempts in which B-17s were sent out and did not return.
In his account, he indicated that, in the two failed attempts, the orders they were given had specified all the details (the altitude, directions of approach, etc.).
He and his crew were determined to return, so they ignored the details in their orders and approached the target at low altitude from the North as though they were coming from Japan.
Per his account, when he arrived at the target, he flew over a mountain range, then reduced altitude over the lagoon and then flew down the enemy runway at low altitude with his crew taking photos during the overflight.
He then headed out over the Pacific at low altitude with the engines firewalled, heading back to base.
They were pursued by Japanese fighters which could not attack from the side because of the low altitude.
He said that the 0.50 cal guns in the rear of the B-17 had greater range than the 20mm guns in the Japanese fighters and that his crew shot down two fighters on the way back to base.
He said that the US Army Air Corp later learned that what had happened to the first two B-17s was that the Japanese fighters would intercept and determine the altitude and airspeed of the B-17
which they would radio back to their antiarcraft batteries, and then the antiaircraft batteries would shoot down the B-17.

His assignment after that was to train Chinese pilots to fly the B-24 in Pueblo, Colorado. According to what I found on the internet, that had to
be between August 1944 and May 1945.

His name was Floyd Robertson.

Curiosity has led me to learn about the use of bombers in the Pacific early during WW2.

I cannot find any record of airborne reconnaissance against Truk early in WW2 on the internet.

From what I can tell, evan as late as mid 1943, the US Army Air Corps had a limited number of forward airfields from which to fly bombers:

Location Approximate Distance to Truk in miles
Guadalcanal 1350
Iron Range Airfield, AUS 1450
Espiritu Santo 1800
Funafuti 2050
Kanton 2450
Midway 2450

On the internet, the longest range of the B-17 (with a 6000 payload) is 2000 miles.
I'm not sure how much additional range there is when the B-17 carries no bombs and is stripped down for a reconaissance mission.
The distances to Truk are so long that such a mission looks impractical during that time period, except maybe for a mission out of Iron Range or

From the data Pacific Wrecks shows, there is a mission that roughly resembles the description I was given, but it is Wake, not Truk:

"FRIDAY, 31 JULY 1942
1 B-17, from Midway Island, flies photo reconnaissance of Wake Island. The B-17 is Intercepted by 6 fighters; in the ensuing fight US gunners claim 4 fighters destroyed."

The time period and mission description seem to fit.
The approminate distance from Midway to Wake is about 1380 miles.
The target geography does not match the description I was given.

Do your records indicate who flew the mission on July 31, 1942?

I'm guessing the reconnaissance could have been early in 1944, but cannot find any Truk reconaissance mission in a B-17.

Thanks for your time,


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Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 4:27 pm

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by jdrexler »

Hello all,

My father and I are on a long running family mission of find information and possibly locating the wreck site of Edwin W. Haselgard. He and his crew went down off Taroa on 1/29/1944 around 0830 in a TBF-1 Avenger #06175. They were flying from the USS Yorktown and belonged to VT-5. Edwin was in the belly gunner position. He is a relative (2nd cousin) and his story has long been told in the family. We have taken up the search. We are getting closer and would like to hear from anyone with information pertaining to the crew, mission or area of operations. Thank you.

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Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 11:46 am

Re: New Forum Policy - New Members Must Post Welcome Message

Post by RogersHawaii »

My father was stationed in China/ India/Burma CBI 20th 8th 948th Engineer Aviation. My father is now deceased. He left behind some photos, notes, maps, and a unit book (like a yearbook). Over the years he never much talked about his job; but nearing his end he mentioned a few things. His units job was to provide maps and models for bombing runs over Japan. Apparently they were involved in the Atomic Bombing of Japan which never sat well with him. He never discussed it. We left it there. Some vets prefer not to discuss their involvement for one reason or another. Lets respect that.

Then one day about 3-4 years ago, a person from the mainland that I work with called to say he was coming to Hawaii. He was invited to visit the MIA/POW Center at Joint Base Hickam Pearl Harbor. He needed a ride. So I was also allowed to attend the briefing and tour. Very nice. As it turns out his Uncles plane crashed in China/Burma and MIA/POW people thought they might have a location. They explained they combined old maps, papers, logs, personal reports, ground witnesses, and other knowledge gained in research to narrow down sites. Very very interesting stuff. My friend left with renewed hope. At the time the MIA/POW people were under scrutiny and efforts for my friends Uncle may have been put on hold. I lost track since then.

But that tour and knowledge gave me interest. Apparently, written information and photos, although not specifically of a crash site, might assist a researcher to verify certain pieces of information which adds to the pot of information provided by others. And somewhere in the mix something of value pops out. I contacted a WWII Museum in New Orleans. I corresponded with someone who advised they would like only Originals of photos, logs, maps, paperwork, scrapbooks..etc.. .including my father birth certificate, enlistment and discharge papers and all that stuff in between. I was up to give copies ...but not ready to give Originals; and especially identity numbers. She advised they wanted the entire history of an individual to show beginning to end of a story for the museum. I am comfortable they were upfront and honest...just that I was not comfortable giving that info.

So here I am today. Holding a box of memories. Then on Memorial Day I go to an online newspaper and there is an article my Mike Ives of the New York Times May 28 2018 "A WWII Mystery Solved. It renewed my interest. I found this site, Pacific Wrecks" researching Patrick Scannon, Michael Claringbould, and Scott Althaus. So where "Might" I go to share what I have to a researcher. Thank you

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