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Interview with Mark Loochaz, October 2005, Yap Island


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Cherie Ranfranz (left), Patrick Ranfranz (middle) and Mark Loochaz (right)-October 2005 Interview #2
We (Patrick & Cherie Ranfranz) interviewed Mark Loochaz on two different days while visiting Yap in October 2005. The second interview was taped on a digital camcorder and the file will be posted on this page as soon as possible.

Mark was forced to work as a farmer for the Japanese during the war. Throughout the war he farmed on the hills near Colonia. When the American bombers began bombing Yap in 1944 he stayed on the hills to watch the bombing - no shelters were available. A lot of the Yapese dug caves to hide in during air raids, however, Mark had no where to hide so he was always out in the open watching the raids. He recalls only one American bomber being shot down during the war and remembers seeing three parachutes exist the plane before it crashed to the south of the island. He said one American swam away from the reef and the other two were captured by the Japanese. The two American airmen were taken to a village in blindfolds and Mark witnessed the Americans being interrogated by a Japanese General the villagers called "Edward the Spy". Mark stood about 200 yards from the Americans as they sat blindfolded in t-shirts with the Japanese.

Mark said the two American POWs were taken to the island of Palau with two Catholic Priests and a Filipino man who ran the weather station on Yap. Mark said Father Bernardo was one of his teachers while in school before the war. He later heard that all were killed by the Japanese on Palau. He remembers the following names:

  • Father Bernardo
    (Full name found on web site below: Fr. Bernardo de la Espriella 1926-1944† )
  • Father Luis
    (Full name found on web site below: Fr. Luis Blanco 1933-1944† )
  • Filipino weather man: Acapito Felisa & wife

found the two Catholic Priests names listed on the following web site that validate Mark's information from the interview.

Please let me know if anyone has any additional information about the Catholic Priests or the Filipino weather man. Please email: webmaster@missingaircrew.com

Pictures from our interview with Mark Loochaz's at his store on Yap:

Click on the thumbnail images below to view the full-sized image.


Patrick Ranfranz (left) and Mark Loochaz (right)-October 2005 Interview #1

Cherie Ranfranz (left), Patrick Ranfranz (middle) and Mark Loochaz (right)-October 2005 Interview #2

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Propeller taken from a Japanese Zero in front of Mark Loochaz's store on Yap:

When we were leaving Yap Mark stopped by the airport and provided information about a Japanese Zero wreck that is located near his store. The propeller in the pictures below is from the wreck. Mark said the plane still has it's bombs attached to the wings. Although we did not visit this wreck due to time, we plan to survey the crash site on our next visit to Yap.

Click on the thumbnail images below to view the full-sized image.


Propeller taken from a Japanese Zero in front of Mark Loochaz's store on Yap.

Propeller taken from a Japanese Zero in front of Mark Loochaz's store on Yap.

Propeller taken from a Japanese Zero in front of Mark Loochaz's store on Yap.

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