Bloody Battle

In many WWII histories, the fight for Palau – among the bloodiest campaigns on the Pacific front – is overlooked. But thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Japanese died in fierce combat on land and over water in three major military operations in 1944 and 1945. About 100 US planes and one minesweeper were lost. Many US aircraft were never found; their crews designated “Killed in Action.”

Over the last seven years, Dr. Patrick Scannon has become the Indiana Jones of military archaeology, searching for missing WWII planes and crews in the South Pacific. “I’m filling in a page of history,” says Scannon, “not just for the sake of what happened on some little coral islands 50-odd years ago but to make sure we don’t forget any of the people who sacrificed their blood and sometimes their lives.”

Among his most dramatic finds was a Corsair that crashed into an almost vertical cliff. Some reports said the pilot escaped but was mowed down by enemy fire. Scannon determined that no one could have survived the crash.

Scannon is interested in hearing from anyone with information about the air war in Palau. Write him at PO Box 170208, San Francisco CA 94117.