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Support Operations

P-MAN XVI (2014)

The 2014 expedition began on 15 March
and ran through 15 April

  • P-MAN stands for Palau - Marine, Army Air Force, Navy. XV means this is the fifteenth expedition since we started numbering them (in 1999).
  • While the team was in the field, there were Progress Reports that we tried to post as close to daily as possible.
  • A few months after completion of the 2014 expeditions, you'll be able to come back here to read the P-MAN XVI final report. Be patient.

Click here to read the regular progress reports as they're posted during this year's expedition.

This mission will an extension of the underwater search mission from P-MAN XV. Over the past year, the BentProp Project has continued our relationship with Dr. Eric Terrill and his team of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) experts at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography (UCSD),.and Mark Moline of the University of Delaware. In addition, we have continued to work with the Stockbridge High School (SHS) Advanced Underwater Robotics Team which has conducted joint missions with us over the past two years..

The result is that the P-MAN XVI team has created a unique set of underwater search collaborations with an unprecedented capability to explore Palau’s ocean floors for Americans Missing in Action associated with aircraft (throughout Palau) and landing craft (off Peleliu). In parallel, we have continued to conduct extensive research at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA, College Park, MD, USA) and other archival sources, particularly in reference to 1) a B-24 reportedly shot down SW of Koror (US and Japanese sources) - possibly in Western Lagoon, 2) both old and new reports of multiple American aircraft crashing in Palauan waters, 3) new information leading possibly to a new crash site of a TBM-1C Avenger and crew off western Aimeliik, and 4) continued work to refine the boundaries of our search area for execution and burial sites of several U.S. airmen, UDT team members, Jesuit priests, and a Palauan family in Ngatpang.

As in our prior missions, upon our arrival in Palau we will schedule and make a courtesy call with the Historical Preservation Office of the Palauan Bureau of Arts and Culture (BAC/HPO). We also will make calls to additional Palauan officials (e. g., President Remengesau and other national officials, governors, chiefs) and individuals, as appropriate, as well as to the US Ambassador to discuss our plans. Finally, the P-MAN XVI team will provid, per our protocol, a preliminary confidential summary of its findings, before leaving Palau, to BAC/HPO, and, in the United States, to JPAC and Navy Historical and Heritage Center (NHHC).

As with prior missions, the P-MAN XVI proposal incorporates plans solely for the continuation of our search for American sites of possible MIAs, and for preliminary evidence at those sites that suggests that American MIA and/or POW remains may be present. In an ongoing agreement with BAC, we intend to stay in regular contact with the Director BAC, during our mission. We have no plans or intentions for excavating or removing human remains or associated artifacts. We will not remove, or permit anyone to remove for us, any artifacts or remains from such sites, unless specifically directed and approved by BAC/HPO (in concurrence with JPAC) to do so. As always, we do intend to obtain GPS coordinates, to map and to photograph any new findings we make. Should we discover evidence of human remains, we will immediately notify BAC/HPO and JPAC and cooperate in any follow-up actions as directed.

Many other American aircraft lost over Palau have never been found. Accordingly, the P-MAN XVI team will continue to request interviews with Palauans to seek information leading to additional crash sites, MIAs or POWs, using the BentProp consent forms developed with the help of the Palauan BAC. Should such information be sufficiently compelling, the team may elect, as appropriate and with prior permission, to investigate. As mentioned above, the P-MAN XVI team plans to stay in contact with BAC/HPO, JPAC and NHHC should significant or unexpected findings occur and will provide BAC/HPO, JPAC and NHHC a preliminary summary of findings before leaving Palau.

As always, the members of the BentProp Project recognize that permission for our searches in Palau is granted by the Palauan government as a privilege. We will continue to respect the Palauan people, their rules, and customs. On behalf of the P-MAN XVI team, we look forward to our return to Palau.

P-MAN XVI TEAM MEMBERS (you can read brief bio sketches here)

Pat Scannon, Team Leader

Derek Abbey

Bill Belcher

Flip Colmer

Casey Doyle

Dave Gianakos

Jolie Liston

Joe Maldangesang

Dan O’Brien

Sean Richardson

Nell Scannon

Rick Smith

Mark Swank



Progress Reports from P-MAN XVI (2014)

In Palau, the current time (GMT +9) is:

And the weather there is

Click for Koror, Caroline Islands Forecast

While the 2014 expedition is under way, we will post regular progress reports (see below). Over the past several years many of you have become regular, eager, enthusiastic readers of the progress reports. Thanks for your interest and support! And thanks for being understanding on those occasions when we get behind by a day or so - there are times when there just aren't enough hours in the day, and we fall asleep before we can finish documenting the day's efforts.

This year's reports will include contributions by several of the field team members. Each report will indicate who wrote what.

2014 Expedition Progress Reports


    Report # - Date - Topic

  • 01 - 01 Mar - Pre-departure update.
  • 02 - 16-17 Mar - The new arrivals settle in.
  • 03 - 17 Mar (2) - The jungle isn't always green - sometimes there's red tape.
  • 04 - 18 Mar - Revisiting known sites, and a couple of new ones. The van saga continues.
  • 05 - 19 Mar - A nice walk in the woods. Cool wildlife.
  • 06 - 20 Mar - A padlock can (temporarily) spoil a nice hike.
  • 07 - 21 Mar - Flip's finally in country. Here's his first report.
  • 08 - 22 Mar - Photo Journal by Sean Richardson.
  • 09 - 22 Mar - Flip's version.
  • 10 - 23 Mar - Sean's 23 March photos.
  • 11 - 23 Mar - Flip's notes on 23 March.
  • 12 - 25 Mar - Success, TBM-style!
  • 13 - 25 Mar - Sean's photos for The Big Find.
  • 14 - 26 Mar - A 2005 retrospective: finding a TBM wing in the mangroves, hearing a family legend,
    and closing another circle. THIS is why we don't give up.
  • 15 - 27 Mar - Data analysis, murky water, and the Alien Finder.
  • 16 - 28 Mar - The team eats another bear: an F6F Hellcat we've been seeking for a decade.
  • 17 - 28 Mar - Sean's photos for 27 March.
  • 18 - 29 Mar - Sean's photos for 28 March.
  • 19 - 30 Mar - Sean departs. Stockbridge arrives. Sam gets a present.
  • 20 - 01 Apr - At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
  • 21 - 02 Apr - Pat tries out a new tool. Casey teaches Nell to point. Belcher revisits an U/W dig site.
  • 22 - 04 Apr - Resuming the search for the Ngerchaol TBM. Visitors approach - both human and weather.
  • 23 - 05 Apr - How many minutes in an hour?
  • 24 - 06 Apr - Anchors.
  • 25 - 06 Apr - After the...storm?
  • 26 - 08 Apr - Toys and DVs.
  • 27 - 09 Apr - Peleliu: the last flight of Bill "Nose" Cantrell; R.V. revisits the battlefield.
  • 28 - 10-11 Apr - Newly discovered shipwrecks. Once more to the Corsair.
  • 29 - 12 Apr - It's winding down, but we're still squeezing secrets out of Police Hill.
  • 30 - 14 Apr - You can see pretty far in clear water. Who knew?
  • 31 - 14 Apr - Casey, Derek, and Joe hike Arakebesan. Casey tries out for the circus.
  • 32 - 15 Apr - Last-day missions: "No, really - I think it's over there..."



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