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  Wreck News & Information - November 25, 2002


CILHI - Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii

Brian Bennett - CILHI Consultant in PNG

Bill Sabel - Kolomongana

RAAF Identity by Daniel Leahy

Widow & Family Search Mindoro for P-38
"Yamamoto" Tour April 2003 by Steven Mago

Reviews - P-47/P-51 Aces, Japanese Aircraft & More...
Links - to WWII Pacific websites




Welcome to this month's Pacific Wreck Database (PWD) update... this month's content focuses on MIA's - with a feature story on CILHI and Pacific MIAs. Also, interview with Brian Bennett - who I had the pleasure of meeting in person in 2000. And, the story of one family's search in the Philippines for their father. Also, a veteran & author Bill Sable and collaborators from around the world - making this a great update. Plus, as always, another months worth of knowledge added to the site from collaborators worldwide.

This website has been online 5 years & 9 months, ad free and for the sole purpose of WWII Pacific history & profiling the veterans & people of the Pacific. As you probably know, the website is unsponsored, with an website staff of one.

SPECIAL FUNDRAISER - 2003 Nose Art Calendar
Your purchase helps PWD, and you get something in return! For details, and to order, see: Donations help to add more hosting space, and new initiatives, photographic costs and new research projects. For complete help information, see:

Yours in history,

- Justin Taylan
email -
Pacific Ghosts -


2. CILHI - Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii

SPECIAL REPORT - You have probably heard the name "CILHI" on Pacific Wreck Database before. the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii. This is the US Army group that investigates, recovers and identifies American MIAs from all over the world, and all conflicts.

The focus of this feature is on CILHI's work with PACIFIC WWII MIAs. Learn about their mission, tasks, and see profiles of three "famous" CILHI cases: the recovery of USMC Makin Raiders, a B-24 wreck in China, and a late war loss of a B-25 in Indonesia. All three of these MIA cases, like so many others have been 'solved' by CILHI's good work - The remains returned to the United States, and their families.

The work of CILHI continues today and into the future. There are still thousands of MIA cases unsolved, many in the vast Pacific, from WWII. Many people profiled on Pacific Wreck Database has assisted CILHI, or are themselves relatives of MIAs they recovered & identified. All Americans should be proud of the good work they do for American war dead & their families. Are you a relative of an MIA? Learn how your DNA can help them.

NEWS STORY - Bringing home the dead from WWII
NBC News story produced by Kerry Sanders aired on Veteran's Day, about the work of CILHI in New Guinea with two Black Sunday B-24's discovered in New Guinea earlier this year. Also, interview with Patricia Gaffney-Ansel, daughter of another New Guinea MIA Case solved. For more on Patricia Gaffney's story, (one of the first interviews featured on PWD), see:

CILHI Story Re-Airs Thanksgiving
A different version of the same story in PNG will air on NBC Nightly News Thanksgiving Day.
The NBC Nightly News airs between 6:30 and 7pm in most American cities.

3. Brian Bennett - CILHI Consultant in PNG

Brian Bennett has been living in Papua New Guinea for years. Aside from an intimate knowledge of the Rabaul area's war history, Brian has been responsible for locating several of the most captivating wrecks in the Rabaul and New Britain area. Currently, he is work as a consultant with CILHI to locate MIA sites. Read his interview to learn more about his fascinating life, discoveries, and work today to help locate American MIAs sites in New Guinea.

4. Veteran Bill Sabel - Kolomongana

Interview with Bill Sable - "I am now 86 years old and enjoy telling anyone who will listen about my experiences of introducing watermelons to the natives of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific during World War II. During World War II, I was an officer with the 350th Engineer General Service Regiment and we left the states in January 1943 for the South Pacific. As the military was segregated in the war years, the enlisted men in the 350th were black while the officers were white."

Author of the book, "Seeds of Hope"


5. RAAF Kittyhawk Identification Mystery

by Daniel Leahy, of RAAF Database and collaborator on PWD, sheds light on the exact identities of the airframes of two famous RAAF wrecks, the P-40 Kittyhawks of Allan Whetters, 75 Squadron and Peter Turnbull, 76 Squadron, both lost in the Milne Bay area of New Guinea. As is often the case with wartime records, this information is not directly noted in documentation. Read his description of his research process used to identify these P-40's, and his findings, that help reveal more about these two important wreck sites.


6. Widow & Family Search Mindoro for P-38

Two Daughters & Widow return from a 2001 trip to the Philippines, to locate the crash site of 1st Richard P. Stier, who crashed on Mindoro Island 13 July 1945. Widow Gerry Stier was 78 at the time she made the trip to and that she had never remarried. This trip was the highlight of her life. With the assistance of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) we believe we have discovered Lt. Stier's P-38 crash site. Report by Dick Kustra (Mary Beth Kustra's husband)


"Yamamoto" Tour April 2003 by Steven Mago
Contributed by Steven Mago, of PNG Experience Tours

This April will mark the 60th Anniversary of the shoot down of the Japanese Admiral Yamamoto over Bougainville. Ever want to travel to PNG, and the wreck of Yamamoto's plane? Also, Rabaul and other locations for a eight day trip. Hopefully, after the trip, PWD will also get a report from Steven, photos, and some interviews with participants with WWII stories.

9.  Book Reviews

P-47 / P-51 Aces of the Pacific
by John Stanaway. Documents the history, personalities and aerial engagements of Thunderbolts and Mustangs in the Pacific. For fans of the famous fighters, this book will be an essential part of your collection and the stories within will permanently find their way into your imagination.

Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War
by Rene J. Francillon Mitsubishi, Nakajima and Kawasai, just a few of the famous companies that went on to design and build some of the most famous aircraft of WWII. With over five hundred pages, this is the definitive book on Japanese WWII aircraft - a must reference book for any Pacific historian.

Eagle Against The Sun
Review by Adam Lynch
.  Author Ronald Spector took advantage of then newly declassified intelligence files, but that he used those files and other new material to weave a remarkable single volume history of that epic conflict that examines old facts with new insight.

B-24 Nose Art Directory
Review by John Painter. This is a wonderful reference book for the B-24 enthusiast or for those looking for family history. it lists all nose art by name and by group or squadron when available. many of us only have the name of the planes our relatives flew on and this book provides cross reference to units for many of them.

10.  Links of the Month
Great links related to WWII Pacific, submitted by users of the Pacific Wreck Database site

Bent Prop's April 2002 Expedition to Palau

War in the Night Air
Thanks to Scott Gordon for this link

P-47 - Internet holds big surprise for retired Air Force Colonel
Thanks to Otto Cater

Database of All Australian WWII Servicemen
Amazing research tool - thanks to Daniel Leahey for this link

Zero at National Museum of Aviation, Pensacola Florida
Thanks to Red Harber

PT-Boat Losses WWII

War Remains & Cultuer of Preservtion in the Southwest Pacific
Article by Georrey White

TWELVE TO ONE - Fighter Combat Tactics in the SWPA
Excellent website by Jim Doss

Trip To Saipan
Excellent photos and history

Northern Mariana Islands and World War II

20th AF - 330th BG
Excellent website by Steven Smisek

Archeology Magazine: A Long Road Home - Artcle by William Belcher
Article on MIA George Gaffney in November/December 2002 Issue of Archeology


# # # End of Wreck News November 25, 2002 # # #

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