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Patrick Ranfranz
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We have been going non-stop over the last week searching the water, jungle, and mangroves on Yap. I have been too exhausted to post updates on the web site throughout the trip. I will post a complete summary of our trip after we return on September 29. The trip has been a great success and we still have three days remaining to locate additional sites Here’s a quick update regarding the planes we have located and identified.

Yap Island Mission Loss—10 August 1944: We located the wreckage of a B-24 in the harbor on our first dive last week. We were able to locate this site right away due to the help of a former Yap resident, Tim Schubert. We spent three days diving the site and mapping out the wreckage field. I’m 90% confident that we have located the Anthony B-24 that went down over the island on August 10, 1944:

• B-24
• 13th AF, 307th BG, & 371st BS
• Crashed near the mouth of the Yap Island harbor
• 8 of 10 crew members MIA (2 were POWs)
• http://www.missingaircrew.com/yap/mac/10aug1944.asp

Yap Island Mission Loss—6 September 1944: With the help of Tim Schubert’s family on Yap we were able to locate the crash site of Howard Holding. The Holding Hellcat is not as intact as the Cox plane we located last October. This plane went into a hill hard and the wreckage is scattered across the entire hill. We located identification tags, machine guns, engine numbers, and a lot additional pieces to clearly identify the plane as a Hellcat. The crash site is within ½ mile of the Cox Hellcat site.

• F6F-5 Hellcat
• From the USS Enterprise, VF-20, USN
• Mid Air Collision with another Hellcat (Joseph Cox). We found the Cox Hellcat last year.
• Ens. Howard A. Holding (MIA)
• http://www.missingaircrew.com/yap/mac/6sept1944.asp

We have also located a number of other crash sites on land and in the water. We are trying to identify the sites. For example, we have located a number of 18 cylinder engines. A few of them are clearly American engines and others are Japanese. In addition, we have visited a number of Japanese wrecks including fighters and bombers. Some of the fighters still have their 20 mm cannons in the wings. It’s ironic because my uncle was shot down by a Japanese fighter with a 20 mm cannon.

In short, I will post comprehensive information when we return.

Thanks,

-Pat

Posts: 707 | From: Cameron, Wisconsin | Registered: Dec 2004  |  Logged: 63.84.110.232
rum dum
Senior Missing Air Crew Member
Member # 4

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Pat,
Sounds like a great trip. I can't wait for the full report.

John

Posts: 12 | From: virginia | Registered: Jan 2005  |  Logged: 206.248.223.4
   

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