Sunday, January 01, 2006

Navy divers search for remains of downed WW II fliers


Navy Times
By Christopher Munsey
April 20, 2005

Seventeen members of Hawaii-based Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One are using their diving skills to help find remains of American fliers lost in a World War II bombing raid in the Pacific.

The recovery team is searching the wreckage of a B-24J Liberator bomber lost to Japanese anti-aircraft fire during a raid Sept. 1, 1944, in the Palau island chain.

The recovery team was sent out by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, said spokeswoman Army Maj. Rumi Nielson-Green.

The four-engine bomber was shot down with 11 crew members, crashing offshore between the islands of Koror and Babelthuap. Three crew members were captured and later executed by the Japanese, while it’s believed that eight went down with the aircraft, Nielson-Green said.

Wreckage of the aircraft is strewn across an area offshore in water ranging from 34 to 54 feet deep, she said.

“If we didn’t have the MDSU guys involved, it’d be difficult for us to run this operation,” she said.

The work will run until late May, she said.

MDSU-1 previously assisted with a recovery off the coast of Vietnam, she said.



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