|Missing Air Crew Website and Yap:
The driving force behind these modern day expeditions to Yap is Patrick Ranfranz and his website, www.missingaircrew.com. As the nephew of an American
bomber crewman lost over Yap Island in 1944, Patrick has dedicated himself to locating and documenting every American aircraft lost on or around Yap Island
during WWII. Over the past several years, numerous American military aircraft have been located, documented and identified both on the island and in the
waters surrounding the island. Through the terrific efforts by Patrick and members of his group, numerous Missing In Action cases have been discovered and
solved, bring comfort and closure to the families of these brave American aviators who were lost during the war.
www.missingaircrew.com is non-profit organization that rely upon donations to help fund their projects. For anyone who has a love of aviation history, WWII
history or a desire to assist in locating and solving some of the many Missing In Action cases from past wars, donations to this organization would serve as a
wonderful tribute to our brave soldiers and airmen who gave their lives for our country. I implore anyone with an interest in history to visit this website and
contribute what you can to assist in the quest to solve some of the mysteries of our military past, and help to bring closure to the families of these fallen soldiers
Another benefit resulting from these Missing Air Crew expeditions to Yap Island is that for the local economy and the Yapese people. Through the efforts of
Patrick and the Yap Visitors Bureau, the local people of Yap are learning about the abundance of WWII history on the island and the importance of preserving
this history for future generations to enjoy and learn from. From one account, the island receives approximately 4,700 visitors a year, and it is hoped through the
preservation of the existing aircraft, along with the promotion of the historical importance of the island, and the fascinating culture and history of the Yapese
people, Yap will continue to see the number of visitors it has each year rise to increasing numbers. Visitors will also enjoy the fine craftsmanship and artistry of
the local people. www.missingaircrew.com/yvb/
In addition to the people and the natural beauty of the island, Yap provides some of the most stunning scuba diving found anywhere. With visibility up to 200
feet or more, the waters off of Yap provide a stunning display of wildlife and WWII history. Everything from sea turtles, sharks to Manta Rays can be found in
abundance in the waters of Yap, along with hundreds of species of brightly colored tropical fish of all shapes, sizes and colors. For anyone who has a love of
scuba diving, you haven't seen any place like Yap.
|July 26th, 2010: I had the opportunity to accompany a terrific team of researchers and historians to the Micronesian island of Yap, in search of a B-24 lost over
the island in 1944. The experience was more than an adventure, it was a glimpse into the harsh realities of WWII aerial combat in the Pacific Theater, and a stark
reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by American airmen who braved the skies of the Pacific against the Japanese, in defense of our great nation during the war.
I also had an opportunity to spend some time on the island of Guam, observing the now silent battlefields where United States Marines once waded ashore, fighting
to rescue the island from the occupation of the Japanese. The experience of this trip not only had a profound effect on me as an American with an interest in WWII
history, but also on my views as a collector and a preservationist of historical items.
A much more comprehensive overview of the background for this trip can be found at www.missingaircrew.com. This website, created and operated by Missing
Aircrew founder Patrick Ranfranz, provides an amazingly detailed overview of the history of Yap prior to and during WWII. Patrick's website serves not only as a
historical accounting of Yap and the American airmen lost there during WWII, but also provides an astounding display of dedication to preserving the history of those
American airmen who lost their lives on Yap. It is well worth the visit to read the interesting history of this small island and of the American airmen who lost their
lives on missions over this island.
This page is dedicated to the American airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice, and who lost their lives over this small Pacific island during WWII.
|Yap, Micronesia: July 2010
The search for a B-24 lost in 1944
|Yap and the People of Yap:
Yap Island is located in the Caroline Islands, a short 1 1/2 hours flight time from the island of Guam. Despite its beauty and the wealth of history it contains, the island
has remained simple, non-touristy and inviting. The people as a whole are friendly and kind. The locals wave and smile as you pass by, and seem willing to help and
provide assistance whenever possible. Although there are several different languages spoken by the inhabitants of Yap, the people on the island generally speak English
and communication is not a problem.
The people of Yap are steeped in tradition and local customs should be adhered to when visiting the island. Seeking permission to enter onto someone's land in order
to view aircraft wreckage or other WWII relics is common, as is walking with something in your hands when passing through any of the many villages. Still, you will not
find a nicer group of people anywhere in the world. The island is known for its stone money, which can be found throughout the island.
Yap has had an interesting history dating well into the 16th century, having changed ownership by larger nations several times. During WWII, the Imperial Japanese
Army and Navy took control of Yap Island, establishing among other installations, a airfield for Japanese fighters and bombers on the island. On June 22nd, 1944,
American B-24 Liberators of the Thirteenth Air Force made the first strike on Yap Island, striking the Japanese airfield as a secondary target during their mission.
Caught by surprise, the Japanese were unable to get any of their aircraft into the air to beat back the American bombers, and a large number of Japanese aircraft were
damaged and destroyed where they sat on the airfield. Today, many of those same aircraft can still be viewed where they were destroyed over 65 years ago. For a
more detailed description of the history of Yap, please visit the following link: www.missingaircrew.com/yap.asp.
|The tail and cockpit sections of a destroyed Japanese Betty bomber, still sitting
where it was destroyed by American bombers over 65 years ago.
|Remnants of two Japanese Zero fighters, still in place where they were destroyed over 65 years ago.
|The engine of a United States Marine Corps Corsair fighter, located where it came to rest on
the island of Yap, after being shot down in 1944.
|see the following link to their website: www.visityap.com.
For additional information about the craftsmanship and artistry found on
Yap, please visit the following link to the Yap Art Studio and Gallery at:
For additional information concerning scuba diving on Yap, please visit
the following link: www.diveyap.com.
|And please visit the following link and contribute what you
can to the outstanding efforts of this important group:
|The remains of a United States Navy F6F Hellcat fighter, flown by Ens.
Joseph Cox, which was lost on September 6, 1944. The aircraft has been
recovered from the jungle and was dedicated as a memorial on July 28,
2010. For more information concerning the story involving Ensign Cox,
please refer to the following link on my website:
For more specific information concerning Ens. Cox and his final mission,
please visit the following link: www.missingaircrew.com/trip/american5/.
|Shown above, the men of the Coleman crew were the main focus of the expedition to Yap. Lost over the island in 1944, the friends and families of these men deserve to
know their whereabouts, and their final resting place. Although their last mission is well documented, locating their aircraft is still a primary goal. The funding for this
trip and previous trips to the island have all been provided by those who made the decision to participate. For more information on how you can help to locate these men
and their aircraft, visit www.missingaircrew.com.