Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) private mega yacht Octopus visited Yap with SUV
I received a message from a diving friend who lives on Yap that Paul Allen’s private mega yacht “Octopus” visited Yap recently. Evidentially, the yacht has a remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV)that can dive to 10,000 feet. I would have flown out to Yap on a moments notice if I knew someone had an ROV on Yap that could help us find my uncle’s missing plane as well as other American planes we have seeking. An ROV that goes to 10,000 could be used to locate some of the planes that we thought were impossible to locate. Too bad the folks on Allen’s yacht did not do a few Google searches about Yap prior to arriving on the island. They would have likely found my Missing Air Crew Project web site and perhaps had an interest in helping. I’m not sure what they do with their ROV on the yacht, however, I can’t imagine a more worthwhile cause then locating missing planes and men. I’m sure it’s impossible to try and get in touch with Paul Allen to see if he plans to return to the Yap area in the future. It’s interesting and ironic that the underwater search equipment I have been seeking for years actually arrived on Yap and departed. So close yet so far away! I might have missed this opportunity to use an ROV in the waters near Yap but at some point in the future I plan to arrive on Yap with the underwater search equipment to locate the planes!
The following email was sent to a Paul Allen fundation email address found on the internet. I'm not sure if he will receive it but it was worth a try:
Dear Mr. Paul Allen;
In regards to: Octopus recent visit to Yap Island with ROV onboard. ROV could be used to locate my MIA uncle and other missing American men from WWII
I received a message from a dive friend who lives on Yap that your private yacht “Octopus” recently visited the island. He also mentioned that your crew members mentioned that your yacht has a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) that can dive to 10,000 feet. This is very ironic and of great interest to me since I have been trying to find away to get an ROV to Yap to search for my MIA uncle and 100+ other missing American men who were lost over or near the island during WWII. It’s very likely that your yacht unknowingly passed over my uncle’s missing B-24 as you arrived into the Yap harbor. The plane sunk “just off” the SE coast of Yap on June 25, 1944 with all 10 crew members onboard.
My wife and I (Patrick and Cherie Ranfranz from Shoreview, Minnesota) have spent almost five weeks in the last two years searching for my missing uncle and 100 other American’s who were lost near the island during WWII. My uncle, T/Sgt John R. McCullough, was a member of the Coleman B-24 Crew (13th Air Force, 372nd Bomb Squadron, 307th Bomb Group) who were shot down by a Japanese fighter over Yap Island and declared missing on 25 June 1944. I have spent the last 20 years researching the June 25, 1944 shoot down and loss and started traveling to Yap to do hands-on searching in 2005 because I was frustrated by the slow pace of government efforts to recover more than 78,000 service members missing from World War II. We have been spending his own money to fly to the South Pacific to search ourselves.
We have spent numerous hours in the water scuba diving attempting to locate the B-24 bomber that crashed into the ocean near the SE coast of Yap and sunk to the ocean floor entombing the 10 men. Although we have been close to locating the plane and the men, it has been like searching for a needle in a haystack without the use of underwater search equipment such as side scanning sonar and remote underwater search vehicles (ROVs). We have spent tens of thousands of their own money over the last two years to search. Even with this expense, we have not been able to afford to purchase or rent the underwater search equipment that would be most helpful in locating the missing planes. We have relied on researching the historical records in the archives to try and determine the approximate location of the missing planes. It seems simple in theory to locate a large 4-engine bomber that the historical document lists as sinking “just off” the SE coast of the tiny island but in practice the planes are very difficult to locate in the ocean waters. This is not to say that we have not been successful in our searches. We have not found my uncle’s B-24 as of today but we have located numerous other American and Japanese crash sites in the water, jungle and mangrove swamps near Yap. Some of the American crash sites that we have located are likely MIA wreck sites. The information we have gathered will be turned over to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to confirm.
I have created the Missing Air Crew Project and MissingAirCrew.com Web site to post my research, search efforts as well as to document the history of the men who were lost near Yap during WWII. Although it's been sixty-four years since the planes went missing, it's never too late to start the search to bring the men home. The crew should not lie anonymously in the waters near Yap Island. The crew member families need to know where their loved ones lie. Their bodies never have been found and their families never have known the peace of closure. Here are a few links to read more about my Missing Air Crew Project and search efforts:
In short, if the Octopus has any plans to return to Yap we would greatly appreciate your assistance to locate some of the missing planes and men using your ROV. I can’t imagine a more worthwhile cause then locating missing American planes and men to help provide closure to the families. It’s interesting and ironic that the underwater search equipment I have been seeking for years actually arrived on Yap and departed onboard your yacht. So close yet so far away!
I can be contacted at:
Patrick Ranfranz Missing Air Crew Project 3165 Victoria St Shoreview, MN 55126
---------------------------------- Patrick T. Ranfranz Missing Air Crew Project & 307th Bomb Group Historian Web: www.MissingAirCrew.com Home: 651-490-9720 Cell: 612-282-5624 Office: 800-328-2560 Ext. 7610 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MissingAirCrew.com project is dedicated to the mission of locating the unaccounted for men and planes who were lost near Yap Island during WWII. We should find our fallen men and bring them home, no matter where they fell, or how long ago they have been lost. The missing men were sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers who never got the chance to live out their lives.
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