We’re a LONG way from home, but I’m closer to my father than ever in my life. It took more than 24 hours to get here, but was worth every minute.
The main focus of this trip, however, was the hope of locating the Coleman plane (Pat’s uncle) and perhaps finding wreckage from the Anthony plane to confirm the 1980’s spotting of wreckage at the site where the plane is reported to have crashed. And sure enough, wreckage was found on dives from the first and second day after arrival! Pat has sent some 280 photos to contacts who will help identify the pieces. The son of pilot Don Anthony (Ron) and three of Ron’s sons were on the dive with Pat and Cherie. Imagine the thrill.
Pat and the Anthony family divers just returned from diving in an area beyond a reef to look for the Coleman plane. No luck on that effort, but they were granted the splendor of sighting dolphin, sharks, barracuda and giant mantas (which Yap is home to).
Wednesday we will hold the memorial service for my father’s crew (Dietrich) and the B-24 with which it collided. The folks here at the hotel are willing and anxious to do anything we want to make it special.
My cousin Kathy and I were given a tour of the island (which is actually four islands) by two staff members of this uniquely personal small hotel and got lots of inside scoop on the place. The Yapese clearly wants to hold onto their cultural traditions, and our guide told us he was grateful to the elders who in WWII would not succumb to the Japanese persuasion that they adopt things Japanese.
I saw some graffiti resembling “tagging,” and we asked if there could possibly be gangs on this tropical island! Nope, they said. It’s the influence of movies! I saw one teenager with his baseball cap turned sideways. Same influence, no doubt.
All the men have just left to go into the jungles looking for Corsairs and Japanese Zeros and any other planes they might come across. Permission had to be gained from the village to go onto their privately-owned land. A person in the village told that there was an airplane engine somewhere out in the jungle that he knew about. The guys are on there way!
Positive identification has come in for various wreckage parts since I wrote that earlier paragraph. Wow. The pieces keep unfolding.
It’s hot and humid and a little buggy, and my connection can only be gained here in the lobby which is open to all those features. I’m going in the pool.
Posts: 13 | From: San Diego | Registered: Jun 2006
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