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by Walt Deas
Pacific Ghosts 2005
DVD (NTSC & PAL)
Menus, Region Free
Cover Price: $29.95
|The Bomber Reef
War In The Pacific
This documentary explores the history of Papua New Guinea, and the wartime history of the USAAF 5th Air Force's 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron that flew the B-25 Mitchell at low level as a strafer. The DVD begins with an overview of the history of Papua New Guinea, its history, people and environment. A tropical paradise that suddenly became the front lines of the Pacific War.
The documentary explores the history of the 38th Bomb Group's 405th Bomb Squadron, and the B-25 Mitchell. AIrcraft of this squadron were adorned with a large green dragon nose art, and flew low level strikes on targets using their machine guns and bombs against the Japanese.
In this larger framework of history, the focal point is the specific history of one crew and aircraft: B-25D 41-30118, which was lost on a strike to Madang, and ditched offshore. The legacy of the crew and their fates at the hands of their Japanese captors is tragic, but a fully researched and documented story, including interview with veteran Garrett Middlebrook, historical photos, footage and research.
For those interested in Pacific Wrecks, the DVD also explores other related wrecks, including the crash site of a B-25 lost in its ferry flight to Australia, Japanese Ki-49 Helen aircraft wrecks in New Guinea and the towns of Madang and Alexishafen where the war was fought. Also, interviews with dive pioneer Bob Halstead, and credit to David Pennefather for his initial discovery of the wreck in 1979.
What is so impressive about this DVD is the amazing underwater documentation of the wreck, and past dives on it, including one diver who penetrated inside the wreck, and made a surprising discovery. Deas is an expert underwater videographer, and brings the viewer to every part of its natural and historic features.
The Bomber Reef is a tribute to this lost crew, and B-25 operations in New Guinea. Also, it is significant in documentation of a remarkably preserved aircraft wreck that is enjoyed by divers who visit the Madang area.
Review by Justin Taylan
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