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American Planes and Men Lost on Missions to Yap Island

Ens. Cox, Lt. Lillard, Ens. Holding

Three of the F6F-5 Hellcat pilots shot down over Yap Island. Left to right: Ens. Josepth Cox (Sept 6, 1944), Lt. Zack F. Lillard (Nov 22, 1944), and Ens. Howard Holding (Sept 6, 1944).

The following is a listing of American planes that were shot down or crashed on missions against Yap Island during WWII. The list includes AAF, Navy, and Marine planes. My goal is to continue to buld out this page to make it a comprehensive resource of all planes lost over or near Yap. Throughout the war Yap was a major Japanese communications center and staging area for the Marianas. For more information, please see the following information to better understand the American missions against Yap Island during WWII:

American losses of planes and men on missions to Yap include:

  • 34 American planes lost
  • 159 men involved
  • 120 KIA/MIA
  • 30 Rescued

I would greatly appreciate anyone's help to locate information regarding the men and planes listed below. I would like to document the men lives as well as the losses on Yap. Please help make this page comprehensive. Submit additional information, updates, newpaper articles, pictures, and supporting documents to: pat@missingaircrew.com

Date: Type of Plane: Unit: Location: More Info
1 April 1944 First American raid against Yap Island. US carrier planes raid Yap with no losses. TF 58 under Commander Fifth Fleet (Admiral Raymond A. Spruance). The Yap airfield was found under construction but with no planes yet present.
13 June 1944 B-24 5th AF, 43th BG, & 67th BS Blew up before reached the target. View Info
14 June 1944 B-24J 5th AF, 90th BG, & 320th BS Lost far off Yap. View Info
23 June 1944 B-24 13th AF, 5th BG, & 23rd BS South of the island View Info
25 June 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 372st BS 9º25'30"N - 138º05'E. Just outside the reef south of the island View Info
5 July 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 372nd BS 150 miles to the south of Yap Island. View Info
13 July 1944v B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 370nd BS Crashed in ocean 30 minutes after bombing Yap. 80 20’N – 139 513E. View Info
15 July 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 372nd BS 5-8 miles south of Yap Island. View Info
15 July 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 370nd BS 5-8 miles south of Yap Island. View Info
15 July 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 371st BS Ditched south of Yap Island. View Info
19 July 1944 B-24J 13th AF, 5th BG, & 394th BS 95 miles south of Yap Island. View Info
22 July 1944 F6F-3 From the USS Cabot (CVL-28) Enroute to Yap. Crashed on arrested landing at sea. Pilot rescued. Enroute to Yap. View Info
26 July 1944 SB2C-1C Helldiver VB-2 from the USS Yorktown Hit by AA fire and crashed near the reef on the west side of the island View Info
27 July 1944 TBM-1C Grumman Avenger VT-31 from the USS Cabot Ditched in ocean one mile off the northeast of the southern tip of Yap. View Info
27 July 1944 SB2C-1C Helldiver VB-2 from the USS Hornet Dove into the Ground due to aileron failure. East side of Yap near Japanese lighthouse.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in October 2008 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
27 July 1944 F6F-3 Hellcat VF-31 from the USS Cabot Returning from the Yap Island strike forced to ditch because of flack damage to aircraft after returning to the task force but was picked up unharmed. View Info
28 July 1944 F6F-3 Hellcat VF-31 from the USS Cabot Ditched 15 miles from Yap. Ditched because of flack damage to his aircraft after returning to the task force. View Info
August 1944 American Catholic Priests (2) Civilians Taken to the island of Palau with two American POW's (from the Anthony crew) and a Filipino family who ran the weather station on Yap. The Yapese and the church believe all were killed by the Japanese and buried on Palau. View Info
9 August 1944 B-24 13th AF, 5th BG, & 394th BS Never made the squadron rendezvous over Sorol Island on mission to Yap. View Info
10 August 1944 B-24 13th AF, 307th BG, & 371nd BS Crashed near the mouth of the Yap Island harbor. View Info
13 August 1944 Four UDT Men US Navy UDT men from the Submarine USS Burrfish All four men lost on Yap. View Info
6 September 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-20 from the USS Enterprise Crashed just west of Yap Town (now called Colonia) on land.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in October 2005 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
6 September 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-20 from the USS Enterprise Somewhere in the vicinity of Yap Town (now called Colonia). Land or water.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in September 2006 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
6 September 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-20 from the USS Enterprise Somewhere in the vicinity of Yap Town (now called Colonia). Land or water.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in September 2006 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
6 September 1944 SB2C Helldiver VB-20 from the USS Enterprise Takeoff crash from the USS Enterprise. View Info
8 September 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-13 from the USS Franklin Ditched off off Yap. View Info
13 September 1944 September 13 Admiral Halsey recommended that the proposed invasions of Yap and Mindanao be cancelled, in favor of a direct strike on Leyte (closer to Manila, and to Tokyo). With General MacArthur's concurrence, Halsey's bold new plan went up the chain to General Marshall, President Roosevelt, and other top Allied planners, then in conference at Quebec. They agreed as well, and 5 weeks later, the Americans waded ashore on Leyte - two months earlier than in the original plans.
24 October 1944 F4U Corsair VFM-122 Shot down by antiaircraft fire over Yap. Crashed about a mile in from the southern end of the island.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in October 2005 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
31 October 1944 FG-1A Corsair VMF-121 from station at Peleliu Shot down while attacking the Gagil-Tomil Airfield.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in September 2006 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
12 November 1944 FG-1 Corsair VMF-121 from station at Peleliu Crashed at sea due to engine failure. View Info
18 November 1944 FG-1 Corsair VMF-121 from station at Peleliu Ditched 10 miles off southern tip of Yap after being hit by AA fire. View Info
21 November 1944 FG-1 Corsair VMF-121 from station at Peleliu Hit water or ground while strafing off of Map Island while attacking a barge.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in August 2009 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
22 November 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-20 from the USS Enterprise Shot down over airfield while making a strafing run. Plane lost tail and exploded near east end of the airfield.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in August 2009 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
22 November 1944 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-22 from the USS Cowpens Failed waveoff and ditched next to carrier after returning from mission. The pilot did not make it out of the plane. View Info
22 November 1944 F4U-1 Corsair VMF-114 4000 yards due east of the southern tip of Yap Air Strip and just over the barrier reef. View Info
3 February 1945 F4U-1D Corsair VMF-122 from Peleliu Island Crashed landed at sea due to AA hit. 29 Deg. 30 Minutes North Latitude and 138 Degrees 11 Minutes East Longitude. View Info
11 February 1945 F4U-1D Corsair VFM-122 Crashed at sea due to engine failure 5-8 miles off Yap. View Info
23 February 1945 PBM-3D Martin Mariner VPB-22 from Ulithi Island Sunk off the east side of Yap island close to shore. View Info
16 March 1945 TBM-3 Grumman Avenger VMTB-232 From Ulithi Island Lost left wing and crashed near the east end of airfield.

FOUND: This crash site was located and identified in October 2008 by Pat Ranfranz and the Missing Air Crew Project. View more information.

View Info
21 March 1945 F6F-5 Hellcat VF-12 from Marine Air Base, Ulithi due to damaged USS Randolph Hit ground while strafing due to AA fire View Info
22 March 1945 F4U-1D Corsair VMF-122 Crashed at sea due to engine failure. View Info
25 March 1945 F6F-5P Hellcat VF-86 from the USS Wasp Lost due to weather. View Info
3 August 1945 F6F-5P Hellcat VMD-354 from Guam Crashed 5 miles SW of Yap Island. View Info
5 September 1945 Japanese surrender Yap Island in ceremony on board destroyer Tillman (DD-641).
View Surrender Documents

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