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The following pictures were taken of the wing wreckage that was found from a VMTB-232 TBM-3 Avenger that crashed on Yap Island on March 16, 1945. The wreckage was found on the northeast side of the old Japanese airstrip. The wing was originally located last year by Stan Gajda and the Yapese family that owns the land. Stan was on Yap and sponsored by the History Flight organization to help with the first few days of our 2008 trip. The Yapese had always assumed it was wreckage from a Japanese plane since the area is littered with Japanese plane wreckage. About 40 feet from the wing is the fuselage and wheels from a Japanese Zero fighter. Stan led us back to the wing and with his help it was clearly identified as the left wing of the TBM-3 that crashed on March 16, 1945. Stan spent two days searching the area for the rest of the wreckage without success. We spent an afternoon going through the jungle around the airstrip trying to sort through the Japanese wreckage for any American parts without success. The wreckage is likely located inside a swampy area near the wing, however, this area is difficult to walk through. The Yapese plan to spend more time helping us search this area to locate the rest of the plane wreckage that was photographed at the end of the war when the grave sites were recovered.
More information about this loss including the mission reports, crew information and pictures can be located at the following link:
Please feel free to submit comments about the airstrip to Pat at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on a thumbnail image below to view the full sized image.
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