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October , 2000 Wreck News & Information

1. Tribute to A Legendary Ace - Saburo Sakai
2. Message from the Creator
3. 312th Bomb Group - Roarin' 20's
4. Operation Walkabout - Part II, Port Moresby
5. Interview - John Douglas, Wrec' Tec
6. Exclusive! Swamp Ghost - The Killer of "Swamp Ghost"
7. Pacific Nose Art - Girls! Girls! Girls!
8. Guadalcanal Diary - Veteran Bill McLaughin (Interviewed by Peter Flahavin)
9. Museum Section Additions
10. Book Reviews - Henry Sakaida's Aces Series
11. Links - Ghost Wings, Japanese Military, PBY, Infamous Photo

1. Tribute to the Legendary Ace

As some of you already know, there is some sad news to report.

Japanese ace, Saburo Sakai, passed away on September 24, 2000. He was 84. Aside from being a legendary pilot, who scored 64 confirmed kills, he was an ambassador for peace and understanding, sending his daughter to a university in the United States "to learn English and democracy.'' She married an American, and he has two U.S.-born grandchildren. According to him: "Glorifying death was a mistake,'' he said. ``Because I survived I was able to move on and make friends in the U.S. and other countries.''

Below is the link to an interview he conducted in August of 2000. Anyone with additional interviews / links for Saburo Sakai, please email them to me.

Japan WWII Pilot Defends Military


2. Message From the Creator

Another busy month for the database, full of new information. This update, look for Operation Walkabout 2000, Part II - Port Moresby.

Also, I had the honor of spending three days with veterans of the 312th Bomb Group in Dayton, Ohio for their reunion. It was quite an experience. See the new 312th section for some of the people interviewed, and highlights. This will be another ongoing section.

Added is a wonderful interview with John Douglas, a name familiar to those who read the bulletin board or Aerothentic Update sections in the past. While in New Guinea, I got to meet this fascinating man... and like everyone in this field is quite dynamic and fascinating character that would take another website to cover! He shares with us his favorite wrecks in PNG, and introduces us to his Papuan Wrec tecs!

On a lighter note, see the updated nose art gallery for some great new examples of WWII Pacific Nose art, complete with full aircraft histories!

- Justin


3.   312th Bomb Group Reunion


I had the honor of spending three days, from September 28 - 30, 2000 with veterans from the 312th Bomb Group. The group had its 52nd annual consecutive reunion in Dayton, Ohio, near the USAF Museum. The reunion includes members of HQ, 386th BS, 387th BS, 388th BS, 389th BS.

Some of the more famous homes of the 312th in New Guinea were Port Moresby, Gusap, Nadzab, Hollandia, where the group flew the A-20 as a low-level ground attack aircraft. In the Philippines, Tacloban, Florida Blanca, among others. The 386th Squadron was converted to B-32's in the middle of 1945, and flew missions over Tokyo, one of the few units to use this bomber in combat.

This update, read Eloit Young's story, The Crash Landing. Contributed by his son, Eliot R. Young, Jr.

4. Operation Walkabout 2000 - Part II, Port Moresby


During July and August, I traveled to Australia and Papua New Guinea to retrace my grandfather's WWII service, and visit war wrecks and battlefields. This is the second installment of this new section.

Port Moresby

Coming next update... Rabaul


5. Interview - John Douglas, Wrec 'tec


I had the honor of meeting John at his home in Port Moresby during July of 2000. Together, we traveled on searches to Popondetta and Wewak. During my visit, I got to meet the man who has been such an important part of the website, while doing what we both enjoy most: talking history and exploring wreck sites.

In Papua New Guinea, Mr Douglas spends his free moments wreck hunting throughout the country and developing his knowledge of the battlefields. His unique military / aviation archeology is immensely satisfying, and twelve years of exploring has led to a deep knowledge of wrecks and battlefields in the South West Pacific. In this extensive interview and ongoing section, meet some of his Wrec 'tecs, travel with John to his favorite wreck sites, and learn about his ongoing work and recent discoveries.

6. The Killer of Swamp Ghost


Exclusive Photo! Two 4th Kokutai A6M3s patrol over the Gazelle Peninsula near Rabaul in 1943. This is the unit that intercepted Eaton's B-17. From a private Japanese collection.

Also, if you have not already done so, be sure to read "Wherefore the REAL 'Swamp Ghost" for a complete account of the interception of the B-17s over Rabaul, and the identity of the pilot who claimed the B-17 as a victory!


7.  Pacific Nose Art Gallery - GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!

By popular demand, lots of new RACY nose art added. Aside from their curves or catchy names, these are some spectacular shots of Pacific Nose art, as always complete with full history. New this update are:

B-24 How'm I Doin'
B-24 Heaven Can Wait
A-20 Yodel Bloomer
B-25 Blonde Bomber
B-17 The Daylight Ltd.
B-25 Charmin' Lady
B-25 Calamity Jane
A-20 Sweet Li'l Kitten
A-20 Rough as a Cob
A-20 Miss Behavin'
A-20 Pistol Packin' Mama
B-25 Cactus Kitten
P-38 Florida Cracker (rare color shot)
312th BG "Skull & Crossbones"


8.  Guadalcanal Diary - Bill McLaughin
Interviewed by Peter Flahvin

A veteran of the Americal Division, he talks about Japanese Air Raids, his battalion of 12 howitzers (Schneider WWI 6" guns) almost hub to hub on that spit of land Pt. Cruz, then loaded with half buried bodies, and foxholes full of Japanese dead, coated with slimy white shifting covers of maggots. Guadalcanal was the worst country we found down there in more than 3 1/2 years of war .


9.  Museums & Restorations Updated

USAF Museum
I visited this impressive museum in September with the veterans of the 312th BG. Their impressive collection of aircraft & displays include the B-29 "Bockscar", and rare aircraft like the O38, P-39, A-20 and P-47 of particular interest. Surprisingly, their collection contained no Japanese aircraft, despite the fact the museum owns many Luftwaffe aircraft.

Australian Armour Corps Museum
Contributed by Peter Flahavin, this museum has some captured Japanese tanks from Rapopo Airfield, Rabaul.

Pioneer Aero Restorations
Contributed by Dave McDonald

10.  Book Reviews


Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45
by Henry Sakaida

Japan, like German, produced some of the most infamous and highest scoring aces of WWII. The legacy of Japanese Navy Aces, and the images they conjoin are almost larger than life - incredible pilots who truly dominated the skies in their sleek A6M Zero in the first year of the Pacific war.

Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-45
by Henry Sakaida

  The Army Airforce operated entirely independent of the Naval Aviation. The segregation of the two services meant they rarely collaborated on strategic aims. As with the Navy, the Army Air Force achieved excellent results early in the war, but as the months dragged on, found itself flying a difficult battle against more numerous enemy pilots and planes.

11.  Links of the Week

Japan Militaria
Adam Tsuda Guy's new website

The Infamous Wreck Photo
Great site, contributed by Goh K. Loon

Paul Irving "Pappy" Gunn
A link from Peter Dunn's website about this famous 5th AF figure

E-Groups - PBY
Contributed by Heijo Kuil, message board dedicated entirely to PBY news, information, veterans, and information requests.

Ghost Wings
Who ever says that the younger generations have no interest in history should look at this wonderful website. Created by four high school and college students, it is an excellent site.


# # # End of Wreck News October , 2000 # # #

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