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Wreck News & Information - April 21, 2003

Read InterviewEDITORIAL
Planes of Fame Air show
Join Us in Chino, CA May 17-18!

Read StoryNEWS
Neel Kearby P-47 Tail Donated to USAF Museum - Robert Greinert
PWD Helps Return A Guadalcanal Dog Tag

EVENTS - RAAF Beaufort Unveiling
Read InterviewFirst Restored Beaufort in the Southern Hemisphere
HARS's Beaufort Restoration Team - Robert Greinert
Unveiling Ceremony at AWM - Daniel Leahy
Beaufort Walkaround - Daniel Leahy

Read InterviewsINTERVIEWS
Two Figures in New Guinea Wreck & MIA Discoveries
Richard Leahy - Involved in the discovery of dozens of WWII wrecks
Dave Pennefather - Former New Guinea Patrol Officer & Wreck Hunter

Update on the PWD Form

Reviews - Ghost Wings Issue 9, B-29 Hunters, SBD Units, G4M1 Units
Links - WWII Pacific websites



Welcome to another Pacific Wreck Database (PWD) update. In a new format, only a "short" version of the newsletter is being emailed, with the link to check the full issue online at:

This update is full of both old and new collaborators, and some amazing news & developments related to restoration, and donation of an extremely historical aviation relic, the remarkably preserved tail section of MIA / KIA Col. Neel Kearby shot down over New Guinea to the USAF Museum. Also, I have a special notice to readers in the Los Angles area...

Event DetailsPlanes of Fame Air show - I will be guest speaker at the Chino, California's Planes of Fame Museum's annual air show, May 17-18. Also, I am pleased that several associates, Bruce Fenstermaker, Henry Sakaida and Gary Nila will also be joining us at our WWII Pacific tent. I look forward to meeting more of the west coast readers and veterans at that event! I think it will be an amazing event. At the air show, the museum's authentic A6M5 Zero is scheduled for flight, and dozens of other famous WWII aircraft. For additional info on their renowned air show, directions, and a discount coupon, visit:

Yours in history,

- Justin Taylan
email -
Pacific Ghosts -


2. NEWS - Return of Pacific War Relics

Neel Kearby Tail Section Donated to USAF
Read Storyby Robert Greinert . This tail is particularly historic to USAAF and 5th Air Force history. It is from the P-47 that Col. Neel Kearby, a 22 victory ace, and medal of honor recipient. He went MIA in this aircraft over Wewak. In 2001, the remarkably intact tail section, with original paint and US Army serial number visible were recovered by HARS in Australia, and now are to be donated to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. This is one of the most important donations in the history of the PWD website, and are honored present its story.

PWD Helps to Return USMC Dog Tag
Read Story
This story begins on Guadalcanal, with the discovery of a WWII dogtag. Via email, Jimmy Nuake contact Pacific Wreck Database for assistance in locating the former owner of the dog tag, and to learn more about its history. On the first phone call, the owner's daughter, Ann Modzel was found. Learn both sides of this story, from two sides of the world, and the generosity of those who found it, to return it to the grateful family.


EVENTS - Unveiling of RAAF Beaufort A9-557 at AWM
HARS Restoration Team at Australian War Memorial
Click For Storyby Robert Greinert . Learn about the restoration work and team behind this restoration. This Beaufort wreck is the only restored Beaufort in Australia, and one of the few in the world. Its role in Commonwealth & Pacific WWII history is significant and honored by this restoration.

Unveiling Ceremony at Australian War Memorial
Click For Storyby Daniel Leahy. The restoration of DAP Beaufort A9-557 has been completed and the aircraft was placed on public display for the first time in ANZAC Hall on March 8, 2003. On March 28, the Australian War Memorial, in conjunction with the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons Association, held a commemorative function to officially unveil the restored aircraft. Originally, only about 70 guests were expected to arrive, but in the end closer to 450 were in attendance. These included veterans, relatives, Air Force dignitaries and researchers.

Walkaround of Beaufort A9-557
Click For Story
by Daniel Leahy contributes a photographic walkaround of the restored AWM bomber. For additional information on this aircraft, visit

Interview - Two Figures in New Guinea Wartime Discovery

Richard Leahy

Click For InterviewThe Leahy's family name is synonymous with Papua New Guinea history and exploration. Richard Leahy lives in Lae, and over the past decades, has been involved in the discovery of dozens of WWII wreck sites, MIA sites and the work of U.S. Army CILHI to recover remains to return them to the United States.

David Pennefather

Click For InterviewAustralian Pennefather spent most of his life in Papua New Guinea as a 'Kiap', or Patrol Officer and businessman. During his travels, his interest in wartime history blossomed, and his travels to remote villages lead to the discovered of many wartime relics and wrecks, including several aircraft discoveries. He shares some of his recollections and work in New Guinea from the late 1960's until the late 1980's.


5. Update on the PWD Forum


Report by Daniel Leahy, lead moderator. The forum is coming along nicely. Recently there have been discussions concentrating on NEIAF and Japanese aircraft wrecks in Australia, aircraft carriers in the Second World War and more requests for information about relatives who served during the war. If you have not already done so, browse the forum, and join in order to post.

Over the four months that the forum has been active, there have been:
371 posts , 113 topics, and now includes 143 member users



Read ReviewGhost Wings Magazine, Issue 9
Ghost Wings, America's fast growing and celebrated aviation magazine, has just released its best edition to date, the stunning Issue 9. Boasting groundbreaking stories of military aviators and aircraft from WWII to Vietnam, Issue 9 includes crisp original artwork and seldom-seen vintage photos, in full color layouts.

B-29 Hunters of the JAAF
Read Review
by Koji Takaki & Henry Sakaida. Little is written about the Japanese air defense of the the home islands at the end of WWII. This story is told in with vivid pilot profiles, mission histories and stunning photographs. History and accounts from both the Japanese and American sides of the campaign allow the reader to understand the vicious aerial combat that occurred in the skys over Japan, from late 1944 until the end of the war.

SBD Dauntless Units of WWII
Read Review
Barrett Tillman's book tells the story of SBD units during WWII, and tells the stories of its pilots and missions. At the time of its design, it was one of the world's most modern and advanced dive bomber designs, that filled the multiple roles of scout and dive bomber in the USN. His research covers Dauntless operations through the war, including unit strengths, losses, successes and even air-to-air victory totals.

Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII
Read Review
Author Tagaya tells the history of this famous bomber. At the start of the war, the bomber changed the course of history off the Malay peninsula in particular, Bettys were instrumental in the sinking the British battleships Repulse and Prince of Whales. Like the dive bombers and torpedo bombers at Pearl Harbor, the Betty's success sunk the reign of the battleship.


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

Reunited with a Trusted, Dependable Friend
By former P-38 Pilot Wayne P. Rothgeb

AWM Beaufort Restoration Display
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for this link

The Hunt for the Last Mystery Shipwreck
Article by Chip Lambert & Mike Mair

Kilroy Was Here - WWII & Korean War Website
Website by Patrick A. Tillery

B-24 Best Web
Excellent site by Daniel L. Stockton

Army Air Forces - MACR Search
thanks to Daniel L. Stockton for this link

Thanks to Phil Bradley for this link

Battle of Leyte Gulf
Ken Friedman's excellent webiste

Warbirds Over New Zealand
thanks to Pioneer restorations for this link

Guadalcanal Battle Sites
Peter Flahavin's excellent website

# # # End of Wreck News April 21, 2003 # # #

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