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Wreck News & Information - December 31, 2001


B-17 'Swamp Ghost' - Saga Continues
MIA B-24 'Ready, Willing & Able'

Guadalcanal Dog Tag Returned

Operation Walkabout 2001 - by Phil Bradley
B-25 "The Wolf Pack - by Michael Claringbould

Bruce Gamble - Black Sheep Author
Shaharom Ahmad - Malaya Historical Group

Journey to Mt. Kenevi by John Douglas
Pohnpei's Sohkes Mountains - by Stan Gajda
Queensland WWII Sites - by Daniel Leahy
SS President Grant - by Don Fetterly
Bougainville - by Josh McDade

DVD Review - "Roaring Glory" P-47
Links - WWII Pacific Websites to visit


1. Editorial by Justin Taylan


Happy new year. This is the final Pacific Wreck Database (PWD) email update for the year 2001. Thank you to all veterans, historians and travelers that have helped contribute to the website over the past year.

This update includes plenty of new information, on the case of an MIA B-24 Liberator nicknamed "Ready, Willing & Able" that was resolved this past month. Plus, the story of the return of a Guadalcanal Dog Tag to the widow of its former owner by two PWD long time collaborators: Stan Gajda and Dick Williams. Congratulations to both of them for their work on behalf of history. Read their story for full details on this amazing feat - and how a dog tag was located, identified and returned.

The "Visits" section includes some amazing travels by long time collaborators, including an incredible report of WWII history on Mt. Kenevi in Papua New Guinea by John Douglas, in addition to his stunning monthly summary. Also, Don Fetterly provides history and photos of diving the wreck of SS President Grant off Milne Bay. And, Phil Bradley continues the tradition of "Walkabout" with a detailed report from West New Britain from his research trip in September - October.

Learn about new developments in ongoing stories, including the infamous and highly sought after B-17E known as "Swamp Ghost" - learn about the new efforts to salvage this bomber, and the opposing viewpoints that make this story a crux of all issues related to WWII wreck ethics and ownership.

I have two specific interview opportunities for WWII Pacific Veteran, from media. Use the submit information page to send your contact information.

Are you a veteran of the Buna/Gona Campaign? For a forthcoming Australian magazine article on the subject, seeking American, Australia or Japanese veterans to interview.

Are you a B-24 pilot / crew member that served over New Guinea? For a future PWD article in 2002.

- Justin Taylan

B-17E "Swamp Ghost" Saga Continues


More on this contentous saga over this intact Flying Fortress in New Guinea. Widely recognized as the most identifable and well know war wreck in New Guinea, there have been many efforts over the years that have attempted to buy it, or recover it. Today, a new effort is underway - with hopes to recover the bomber. Advocates for the wreck insist on it being left untouched, where the war left it, and protected by the PNG goverment. This wreck is a matchpoint of issues of wreck ownership and ethics. Who owns theses sites? The people and goverment of countries where they have layed for over a half century? Can they be bought? Should they be moved? Are they better off as monuments to the past? See the link for the latest news.

B-24 'Ready, Willing & Able' - MIA Discovery & Identification


The remains of a ten US crewmen of B-24 Liberator "Ready, Willing & Able" of the 90th BG were discovered in 1989, and last month the remains have been recovered, identified and returned to their family members. It was lost on March 5, 1944, on a bombing mission against Japanese targets over the Hansa Bay area of Papua New Guinea. The aircraft and crew disappeared on that mission in heavy thunderstorms. No radio transmissions were ever received from the crew, and subsequent searches did not locate them, until 1989. The remains were recovered and identified by the US Army's Central Intelligence Laboratory (CILHI).

Gerald Eckert's Guadalcanal Dog Tag Returned


This is an amazing story that involves a rare dog tag discovery, complete with original chain located in the Galloping Horse battlefield area of Guadalcanal. Equally fascinating is the story about how it was returned to the widow of its former owner by two PWD long time collaborators: Stan Gajda and Dick Williams who connected through this website. This small piece of metal is now reunited with its proper owner, and its past known to the world.

For more information on the two personalities behind this discovery, see the links below. Congratulations to both of them for their work on behalf of history.

Stan Gajda

Dick Williams

5. Phil Bradley - Operation Walkabout 2001


Phil Bradley's Walkabout 2001
This is the first of several installments from long time PWD contributor, Phil Bradley. Phil contributes both descriptions and some amazing photography from his trip this past September / October. Learn about his travels in West New Britain and see WWII history and aircraft wrecks representing all sides, including: Japanese Ki-46, American B-25H, New Zealand Ventura bomber and an Australian Spitfire.

6. Snapshot into History - B-25 "The Wolf Pack"



Another excellent contribution from Michael Claringbould. This is the story of another "swamp" WWII wreck. The Wolf Pack was not on a do-or-die mission the day she was lost. However, it enjoyed an arduous yet productive combat history. Assigned to the 501st Bombardment Squadron of the 345th Bombardment Group in April 1943, the aircraft flew over one hundred combat missions against Japanese airfields and troops in places such as Wewak, Rabaul and Alexishafen. By mid-1944 the bomber was tired and was reassigned as a squadron hack, with many routine duties, including carrying laundry.

7. Bruce Gamble - Black Sheep Author

Bruce Gamble is the author of two books, about the Black Sheep VMB-214: "The Black Sheep" and "Black Sheep One". Read an interview with him about his background, research methodologies, collaborations with Henry Sakaida and forthcoming projects. You might have seen Gamble's name in the The History Channel's "The True Story of the Black Sheep" that premiered last month.

8. Shaharom Ahmad - Malaya Historical Group

Shaharom Ahmad is the creator of the Malaya Historical Group webiste, and a contributor to the Pacific Wreck Database website. Over the past years, he and his website have made many discoveries and contributions to WWII history in Malaya. He has helped locate RAF, US and Japanese aircraft wrecks. Also, several important post-wwii crash sites. Read an interview about recent discoveries, feelings about wreck related issues and background information.

9. John Douglas - Papuan Wreck Dairy


Journey to Mount Kenevi
A fine work of reporting by Papuan Wreck Tec, Wilkinson Egimbari. Read about Wilkie's walk up Mt. Kenevi [adjacent to the Kokoda Trail] 11,000 feet altitude. He found a P-40 a P-39 and a B-25 with bones on board. Good photos; spectacular country.

December PNG Wreck News Update
John Douglas' latest report from Papua New Guinea, including details about Wreck Tec Also, photos of tanks and vehicles in Popondetta. Phil Bradley had asked for photos of tanks at Buna.

10. Stan Gajda - Pohnpei's Sohkes Mountain Defenses

December 1, 2001 Stan Gajda visited the peaks of Pohnpei. To this day, Japanese antiaircraft and large caliber guns still remain that took massive man power to move to the tops of the peaks, and often fired upon Allied aircraft attacking the island. He contributes striking photographs of the views and 6" and 127mm anti-aircraft guns still enplaced there.

11. Daniel Leahy - Queensland WWII Sites


Contributor Daniel Leahy returned from a trip to WWII sites in Queensland, and contributes a substantial section, including descriptions, photos and additional research on may Queensland locations, including: Longreach, Bowen, Caloundra, Baker's Creek, Carnarvon Gorge, Archerfield and Amberley. Also, and update on the restoration progress of the RAAF's PBY Catalina project.

12. Don Fetterly - SS President Grant


Rarely visited or dived, Don Fetterly provides us with an amazing view of this US Liberty ship that sunk off Ulama Reef, near Milne Bay. The wreck is an impressive sight, and the water visibility on this shipwreck is incredible.


13. Josh McDade - Bougainville Travels

Josh McDade has contributed two new sections to his 1999 Bougainville section. One of the few people to travel to the island since the civil war in the 1990's, this update, McDade brings reports from Harinai and Kangu Beach.


Kangu Beach

14.  Reviews - The Black Sheep & Roaring Glory Warbirds


Roaring Glory - P-47 Thunderbolt DVD
This DVD brings the viewer up close and in flight with the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Often overshadowed by other classic warbirds, the P-47 was no glamor girl. Regardless, Republic aviation's Thunderbolt or "jug" earn a reputation with pilots and aircrews for its rugged construction and its ability to sustain battle damage. During the war, P-47's accounted for 3,916 enemy aircraft destroyed, plus thousands of ground targets confirmed destroyed. Today, less than a half dozen are still flying today. This DVD includes footage of the P-47 "Tar Heel Hal" in flight over Kentucky and Indiana scenery.

15.  Links of the Month
Great links related to WWII Pacific, submitted by visitors and collaborators.

Story on NPR News by Lynn Neary - New Guinea MIA Story
Thanks to Doug Walker for this link. Requires Real Player to hear.

Clark Anderson's Underwater Photo Album

Marines at Pearl Harbor WWII

Pearl Harbor History Associates

Richard Bong WWII Heritage Center

Aviation Museums in the USA

Warbirds of India

RAAF Museum - Restorations

475th Fighter Group Historical Foundation

The Phoenix Foundation - Russian Aircraft Relics
Thanks to Phil Bradley for this link

PT Boat Bases During WWII


# # # End of Wreck News December 31, 2001 # # #

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