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September 4, 2000 Wreck News & Information

1. Message from the Creator - Exciting Update
2. The REAL Story of the B-17 'Swamp Ghost'
3. Veteran Reunion - 41st Fighter Squadron
4. Interview - Martin Clemens, Guadalcanal Coastwatcher
5. Book Review - Samurai! Saburo Sakai
6. Solomon Rebellion - "Tank" Photos
7. Link of the Week


1. Message from the Creator - Exciting Update


This week, I am happy to present some of the most exciting content yet added to the site.

The REAL story of the Swamp Ghost - experts and visitors have contributed to this first installment of information. This wreck is of particular interest because it typifies the issue of what should be done with WWII wreckage that still remains... should they be preserved, restored, sold or left to remain where the war left them undisturbed? Although the current attempts to salvage the plane are certainly not the first, they have certainly raised awareness on all levels - from Hollywood, to the government of PNG.

After that, be sure to read the interview with Guadalcanal coastwatcer Martin Clemens, and read the recent article about Saburo Sakai. And, explore the new 41st Fighter Squadron Reunion section of the page. I attended the reunion in June of this year. Next update, I will begin presenting photos, video and interviews from my recent trip to New Guinea.

This is an exciting update for the website. As always, I would like to thank those that email me every day, and willingly contribute information, photographs, history, and even just friendly "hellos".


- Justin


2. The REAL Story of the 'Swamp Ghost'


There are two pacific wrecks that I get asked the most questions about. The first, is Amelia Airheart's. The second is the 'Swamp Ghost'. In view of the present level of interest in the B-17 known as the ‘Swamp Ghost’, the well known WWII icon of Papua New Guinea. This plane has been a source of intrigue for years. As with any legend, there are both facts and lies in circulation... this feature reveals starting facts about the bomber, and details about the current projects that seek to salvage and remove this wreck from its swampy resting place.

B-17 Serial Number 41-2446
  View the 'Swamp Ghost' in the Pacific Wreck Database, and access complete crew list, technical data and brief history

Wherefore the Real 'Swamp Ghost'?
by Michael John Claringbould. This is the most complete, single history I have ever read, including information that will likely be new to most readers, including the identity of the Japanese pilot, credited for shooting down the bomber! Also, the fascinating "Fact or Fiction Section" that reveals the correct & incorrect assumptions, like:

Available for download from the new Aerothentic Website http://www.aerothentic.com

Moviestar, Restoration, or Rust in Peace?
The future of this historic aircraft is very much in doubt. Currently, there are plans to recover the plane, and even make a Hollywood movie about it, starring Patrick Swazye!

Online Quiz
Q: What should be done with the B-17 'Swamp Ghost'?

Your chance to vote!
Recover for restoration, then sale?
Make a movie about the plane?
Leave the decision to a museum?
Let the plane rest in peace?

3. Veteran Reunion - 41st Fighter Squadron


In the beginning of June, I was able to attend the 41st Fighter Squadron's Annual reunion in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a phenomenal event, and I was able to meet several of the veterans that I have corresponded with via email over the past years. During the reunion, I conducted interviews with nearly 20 veterans of the squadron. They extended me great hospitality, showing me their photo albums and sharing their recollections about their service that spanned from Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan.

Erick Kyro - Shaggy Ridge, dive-bombing mission in P-39
Frank Fariello - Shooting down a Japanese "George" at Balikpapan
James Hilburn - Interview and photo scrapbook
Somewhere in New Guinea - Poem by unknown author

This special section of the website is the first installment of excerpt of some of the squadron members. Look for future updates over the next months. Regular visitors to the site will remember this is the same squadron that Patricia Gaffney-Ansel's father [ subject of December 4, 1999 event] belonged to.

Future generations can honor all veterans by talking the time to listen, and help to make sure their memory of service is never forgotten.

4. Interview with Martin Clemens


Read an interview with one of the most interesting living personalities in the Guadalcanal campaign. Peter Flahavin interviews Martin Clemens at his home in Australia. Mr. Clemens and his Solomon Scouts were "Coastwatchers" who operated against the Japanese prior to the US Marines landing on Guadalcanal.

Read Mr. Clemens recollections about all the famous actions, comments about personalities, and even the food situation. Fascinating reading. Thank you to Peter for this superb transcript and photographs!


5.  Book Review - Samurai! Saburo Sakai
Samurai! Saburo Sakai

Saburo Sakai is one of those larger than life figures of WWII. A man of samurai roots himself, his weapon was Zero and his legacy nothing less than extraordinary. A veteran of 200 missions and 64 confirmed victories racked up in China, New Guinea and the Solomons. Most famous for his time with the famed Tainan-Ku flying the A6M Zero, Sakai is the kind of pilot which legends are made.

Japan WWII Pilot Defends Military (AP)

This article was sent to me by Michael Moskow.
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's top surviving World War II fighter pilot has made peace with his former enemies. But as the country prepares to mark the 55th anniversary of its surrender, Saburo Sakai has yet to come to terms with some of his countrymen.

6.  Solomons Rebellion - "Tank Photos"

Section Updated. Get news articles, internet links and photos from Guadalcanl, which is still experiencing violence. Added are pictures of a a "Tank" of the Malatian Eagle Force Armor, photos sent by Peter Flahavin.

7.  Link of the Week

Willie B. Harper's WW II-U.S. Navy Page

This website was created by veteran Willie Harper. He was a crewmember on the USS San Juan CL 54 and PT 38 and PT 45. Also, stationed at the U S Naval Section Base on Isle of Ile Nou-Noumea, New Caledonia-1944


# # # End of Wreck News September 4, 2000 # # #


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