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Wreck News & Information - November 5, 2001


Beautiful Betsty - Lorene McDaniel Sands
Phil Maggart - Search for MIA brother Charles
MIA B-25J - Near Consolacion, Cebu 13th AF

Rod Pearce - PNG Diver & Explorer
Don Fetterly - WWII Researcher & Traveler

Snapshot into History - Culton's Adventure April 12, 1943
Aeothentic Photo of the Month - P-61 "Bat Outa Hell"

Visiting P-39F 41-7191 by John Douglas
New Caledonia - Jean-Louis & Flo Duprey
Taroa Island - Stan Gajda

Books & DVD - The Black Sheep & "Roaring Glory" TBM Avenger
Links - WWII Pacific Websites


1. Message from the Editor


This month's update is full of information, and interesting interviews, with two relatives of MIAs and two influential personalities in the field of WWII wreck research and discoveries - Rod Pearce, and Don Fetterly. And, two new collaborators in New Caledonia - Nicolas Duprey and Flo Thibeaux.

October 30th was an important day for Michael Kindig Osborn, whose father, Major Earl Robert Kindig, MIA since 1944, was laid to rest on October 30th, 2001 at Arlington Cemetery. Learn about this tragic wreck, and the half century mystery finally resolved and honor for this hero come home.

I would also like to highlight John Doulas' amazing contribution this month, a piece titled "Visiting 41-7191" and, his appeal for sponsorship and funding for a new initiative to arm his Papuan network of wreck tecs with cameras and additional equipment - learn how you can donate your old gear and help reveal new wartime legacies and wreck sites.

Additionally, thanks to Ryan Towers for clarifying the "SCDR" marking on Japanese aircraft wreckage, a historical question posed last month. For an update on this marking, see http://www.pacificwrecks.com/history/scdr/

- Justin

2. Relatives of MIAs


Lorene McDaniel Sands
Second part of the Beautiful Betsy interviews - read about Lorene McDaniel Sands, wife of MIA pilot William E. McDaniel.

Phil Maggart - Search For MIA Brother
On a mission to Buna on 5 December 1942 when it was lost. An Australian salvage crew found the aircraft, The Happy Legend, in the mountains in February of 1943 and several crew recovered, but the rest of the crew remain MIAs to this day, including pilot Charles Maggart.

MIA B-25J near Consolacion, Cebu
A complicated MIA cases that has a legacy of discovered remains that spans decades, but as of yet the members of the crew are still listed as MIA.


3. Interviews - Rod Pearce & Don Fetterly
This update, I am proud to feature two inter-related interviews about two figures who have made significant contributions to WWII Wreck research with their discoveries, MIA work and research. Both offer amazing insights into their backgrounds, lives and what it was like to locate some of the best ship and airplane wrecks in Papua New Guinea waters...

Rod Pearce - Diver & Explorer

Rod Pearce, the owner of Niugini Diving, has been diving Papua New Guinea's waters for over 30 years and is accredited with discovering PNG's two premier wrecks - B-17 "Blackjack" and the S'Jacob shipwreck, plus a host of other smaller ships and aircraft lying throughout the region's waters. Join him for an in depth interview about his background, experiences and discoveries.


Don Fetterly, WWII Historian & Traveler

Don Fetterly is part traveler, part researcher, videographer, historian and sonar innovator. His work has brought him all over the Pacific, and shed light on the historical aspects of some of the most interesting aircraft and shipwreck of New Guinea, and helped to research these sites along with Rod Pearce. Learn more about Fetterly's background and travels, and how his work impacts WWII veterans.

Kavieng 2001
Both Pearce and Fetterly visited this former Japanese base, and 5th Air Force target in February, 1944. View their photographs of some of the underwater sites in the harbor, including Japanese floatplane wrecks, and B-25C "Stubborn Hellion" that was lost on that mission.


4. Snapshot In History - Culton's Adventure April 12, 1943

After a relative lull in Japanese air-raids against Port Moresby a large one was planned for 12th April 1943. The background to its inception was due to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's fear of the recent growth Allied air power in the SWPA. He therefore decided to provisionally commit the full weight of Imperial Navy carrier-based aircraft to deal determinedly with this threat. Led by the Commander of the 751st Kokutai, Masaichi Suzuki. Leading a combined force of seventeen G4M1s from the 751st and twenty-seven from the 705th Kokutai, the real sting in the formation's tail was 131 A6M3 and A6M2 Zero fighters which escorted the formation all the way from Rabaul.

The 41st and 80th Fighter Squadrons, flying Airacobras and Lightnings respectively intercepted the raid. One Lightning and four Airacobras were lost, but all pilots bailed out and survived, being Richard Culton, Richard Kimball, Keating and Ferguson. Culton, flying P-39D-1-BE serial number 41-38351 engaged a Zero which he later claimed, when another Zero opened fire from his six o'clock. Pieces of 20mm shrapnel exploded of the engine block of his Allison engine and lodged in Culton's neck. Read the an account of Culton's bailing out and escape, and see a photograph of the tail of his P-39, today on display at the PNG Museum in Port Moresby.

5. Photo of the Month - P-61A "Bat Outa Hell"

Aerothentic Publications www.aerothentic.com presents this month's photo, and detailed history. This month, learn about P-61 "Bat Outa Hell". Apart from her brazen nickname Bat Outa Hell, in technical terms, this is Northrup's Black Widow P-61A-11-NO U.S serial # 42-5609. She served with the 548th Night Fighter Squadron of the Seventh US Air Force. This truly is an original photo, taken over the Hawaiian Islands, for Bat Outa Hell never scored kills in any combat zone.


6. John Douglas
- Papuan Wreck Diary

Visiting P-39F 41-7191
Read John Douglas' amazing account of visiting this newly discovered P-39 wreck - what he was thinking and saw as he approached the site - the first person to visit the site since its crash over a half century ago, after a local hunter had only recently discovered this plane.

Support WWII History - with your old cameras or gear!
Wreck tecs are Papuans who share our enthusiasm for WWII history and explore the country side for new wreck sites to document and learn their histories. Country to what many believe, these men share our enthusiasm in the past, the only difference is they need the tools to document and report their finds. Already, their work has lead to the discovery of countless new sites, including several MIA and significant historical wrecks previously unknown. With additional support, I believe more exciting stories, like that of 41-7191 can come from this network...


7. Nicolas Duprey & Flo Thibeaux - New Caledonia


Nicolas Duprey & Flo Thibeaux
Meet the two newest members of the Pacific Wreck Database community: Nicolas & Flo. They live in New Caledonia and bring a report of several wreck sites from train missions. Their discoveries have provided more than just photographs - also signatures inside air frames and a call for information on the known crew members of these aircraft. Although no combat too place here, the island was a major airbase and staging area for ferrying aircraft and the 13th Air Force.

8. Toroa Airfield - Stan Gajda


Gajda contributes his recollections and photographs of the old Japanese airbase of Taroa, in Maloelap Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. This massive base of the central Pacific was well developed at its height. Remains of aircraft and defense are still present, as his 1988 trip reveals. Bombed with thousands of tons of US bombs, this base now sleeps overgrown, as a reminder of that violent past.


9.  Reviews - The Black Sheep & Roaring Glory Warbirds


Roaring Glory - TBM Avenger DVD
Another fine product in the Roaring Glory series, hosted by Steve Hinton. This DVD brings the viewer up close and in flight with the Grumman TBM Avenger. Versatile in mission, it could be used as a torpedo bomber, level bomber, or scout. The aircraft featured in the DVD is painted in the markers of former president George Bush's TBM colors and markings as it flew in the Pacific, complete with "Barbara" painted on side of cockpit.

The Black Sheep by Bruce Gamble
VMF-214, nicknamed the "Black Sheep" is probably one of the best know squadrons of the Pacific theater. Despite this fame, there is plenty about this squadron not covered by simply the popular culture's representation of the group in the "Ba BA Black Sheep" television show. For those that read Bruce Gamble's account, they are treated to an exhaustive summary of the unit, day by day and pilot by pilot.



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

Tarawa on the Web
Johnathan Stevens excellent website

Captain John Alden Tilley's Story
Thanks to Phil Bradley for sending this link.

Harald Bolten's Diving Homepage

New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum

B-24 Website

Maritime Disasters of WWII

History of the 4.2 inch mortar

Troopships of WWII

Japanese Ordinance Diagrams

Infantry Divisions

Japanese Bombs of WWII

# # # End of Wreck News November 5, 2001 # # #

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