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Wreck News & Information - January 31, 2003

- by Justin Taylan
PWD Forum
- Join the New Forum
CILHI Team in PNG - News Release
Dog Tag Discovery - Los Negros, Manus
Vunakanua Development - History vs. Progress

Joe Foss - In Memory, USMC Ace

312th Bomb Group - Roaring A-20's
A-20 "Little Joe" Walkaround

Museum of the Pacific
- Tom McLeod, Curator

John Douglas
- RAAF PBYs & Ramu Wreck
Fetterly & Pearce - New Zero Wreck
Stephen Norris - Washington State P-38E Wreck
Chris Breuer - F-7A Wreck Mt. Wilhelm

Reviews - Always Ready, Roarin' 20s, Australians at War
Links - WWII Pacific websites



It has been a very busy month for Pacific news, there are plenty of reports. There are a lot of excitement, interviews and initiatives are in the works for 2003, plus what ever new discoveries that are yet to be made or whose mysteries are coming to light now. WWII Pacific history is very much alive and well. Pacific Wreck Database continues to grow, thanks to all the collaborators worldwide who assist with making this site the most comprehensive source on Pacific happenings.

- Justin Taylan

PWD Forum - Report by Daniel Leahy, Moderator

The forum is now a month old, and during this time over 70 members have joined and almost 200 posts have been made. There has been some very interesting discussions going on, these include a debate about recovery and restoration vs 'rusting in peace'; trying to identify photos of a sunken B-24; and information about Vultee Vengeance wrecks and survivors. Check out the new forum, and join (free) to post messages. Anyone can browse the forum as a guest. Welcome to the newest WWII Pacific forum on the internet!

Vunakanua - Possible Airfield Development
A historical WWII airfield to RAAF, USAAF and Japanese history abandoned since WWII might be developed in the coming year into a sports complex. This reveals the complicated issue of history vs. progress

Manus News Story - Remains & Seven Dogtags found
Seven Dogtags and some [possible] remains were reported as located in a garden on Los Negros Island; Manus. It is believed these are USN dogtags from men stationed on the island after the fighting, and possibly lost accidentally, and now found.

CILHI Team Investigates Possible B-24 Wreck In PNG
The work of the US Army recovery team continues with an investigation of a B-24 wrecksite.


3. Joe Foss - In Memory, USMC Ace

At the begriming of January, Joe Foss passed away. He was a well known USMC pilot, and 26 victory ace of the Pacific. There have been many interviews with this legionary aviator in the past months. One of my favorite articles about him was the interview published in Ghost Wings Magazine, a wonderful magazine published by young people that honors America's veterans and aviation history

NPR Interview
Thanks to Jack Parker for this link


4. UNITS - 312th Bomb Group

I had the honor of meeting, and interviewing the veterans of the 312th BG at one of their reunions, and put together a video & DVD that covers their WWII Pacific service. The 312th flew the Douglas A-20 Havoc, a fast, heavily armed bomber on low level strafing and bombing missions against the Japanese during WWII. Join former pilots & gunners at the USAF Museum, and listen to their recollections about flying and fighting in the A-20. Hear veterans recall the group's history from its formation to flying in New Guinea and the Philippines. Their legacy includes flying the infamous "Black Sunday" mission of April 16, 1944 when the Fifth Air Force suffered the largest operational loss in history of 37 planes lost to weather.

WALKAROUND - A-20 "Little Joe" USAF Museum


5. INTERVIEWS - Tom McLeod & Museum of the Pacific


Interview with Curator Tom McLeod

Curator of the Museum of the Pacific in Texas, the son of a Pacific veteran, traveler and collector of many rare Pacific artifacts on display in his museum. Also, he has forged a unique friendship with Japanese veteran Shoichi Morii. He talks about his background, work with WWII Pacific history, and travels to the Pacific. Also, he is the author of the book "Always Ready" about the 147th Infantry Regiment (also reviewed this month)

Museum of the Pacific

A private, non-profit research museum initially began in 1995. Today, housed in seven larger rooms of 8,000 square feet. Our wings have spread beyond Pacific WWII items to include over 300 fully dressed mannequins from the USA, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, North & South Vietnam and Sweden. And collections of hundreds of swords, knives, bayonets and several thousand miscellaneous items. See highlights from its impressive WWII Pacific collection!


6. Pacific Wreck Discoveries & Visits

John Douglas - Papuan Wreck Diary
John Douglas is back, with his highly anticipated and well liked "Papuan Wreck Diary" as you will see from his discoveries it has been a busy month, including the discovery of two RAAF Catalinas sunk in Fairfax Harbor, Port Moresby, and the brewing stand to protect these wrecks from the development of an oil refinery in the same location. Also a new mystery wreck in the Ramu. Great work John, and keep up the excellent work!

Don Fetterly & Rod Pearce: New Zero Wreck
Discovered by Rod Pearce and Don Fetterly November 1, 2002. Aircraft is upside down on a sea wall starting depth at nose about 60 feet and tail at 83 feet. No battle damage is apparent; plane either ran out of fuel, or experienced mechanical trouble and ditched. Canopy is pushed back and pilot is not inside. Aircraft is in excellent condition with little airframe damage. There are indications that this wreck could be an A6M5 Zero. Although few of these late model Zeros served in this area, it is a possibility. Thanks to Don Fetterly and Rod Pearce for this information and photographs - and we will await their further investigation to learn more.

Stephen & Chad Norris: P-38E Wreck in Washington
Discovered in 1998, Norris is trying to locate information on this mystery P-38 wreck he discovered in the Mountains of Washington State. The aircraft is a P-38E that was commissioned on September 4, 1942. Its tail number is 41-2276. It flew out of various Army air bases in California and Washington but put on most is its hours and final hours out of Elmendorf near Anchorage. The Army reported in "scrapped" on December 31, 1943. This is all that the old Army records report and obviously this is not the complete story.

Mt. Wilhem - F-7A "Under Exposed"
Chris Breuer contributes photos of this F-7A "Under Exposed" (Photo Reconnaissance B-24) that crashed on Mt. Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea's tallest mountain. For full history of this bomber are presented on the Pacific Ghosts CD-ROM



Always Ready - US Army 147th Infantry Regiment
by Tom McLeod. The story of the 147th "Gypsies of the Pacific" has not been told in most books about the Pacific, despite their role in many critical battles, usually associated with the USMC. They served on Guadalcanal, Emirau, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. This is their story, and it is an essential unit history of a little know US Army Regiment.

Roarin' 20's - History of the 312th BG
by Russ Sturzebecker. The 312th BG were nicknamed the "Roarin' 20's" as they flew the Douglas A-20 Havoc for most of their wartime service in the South Pacific. Written by Russ Sturzbecker, a veteran of the 312th, and a superb researcher, and curator of the group's history, and to this day involved in the 312th's affairs

Australians At War (2 Disc DVD)
Review by Daniel Leahy. Two DVD set, an eight part series that aired on the ABC in 2001. It covers every military campaign that Australia has been involved in since 1899. Only available in Australian / Regiion 4 DVD


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

Last Flight of Bomber 31
Thanks to Chris James for this link

Leonard Victor Waters - RAAF Aboriginal Pilot
Thanks to Daniel Leahey for this link

Hong Kong War Diary
Tony Banham's excellent website

Nihon Kaigun - The Japanese Navy Combined Fleet
Huge site with detailed info on IJN.

World War II Pilots Group
Excellent site with interviews of some Pacific pilots and photos

44th FS Tribute Page
Jack Cook's excellent website

Search for WWII Japanese Midget Sub Sunk off Pearl Harbor
Thanks to Savo

Cannon, Machine Guns & Ammunition
Tony Williams' website, covers many Pacific weapons


# # # End of Wreck News January 31, 2003 # # #

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