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Volunteers Search For WWII Airmen Missing For 70 Years

Courtesy: US Army
April 04, 2014

A group of volunteers is taking on a very important task: searching for the remains of three WWII airmen who have been missing in the South Pacific for 70 years.  The nonprofit leading the search is BentProp, a group that has sought to find remains, and in the past has found such remains of 8 MIAs. 


A search team of dedicated volunteers is reporting a startling discovery in the murky waters of Palau in the South Pacific: two wreck sites that may contain the remains of three World War II American airmen missing for 70 years.

The nonprofit BentProp Project found the sites last month. For years they have been searching crash sites for hundreds of American servicemen shot down by the Japanese over Palau in 1944 and 1945. Before now their searches helped locate and recover the remains of eight MIAs.

“It doesn’t take long to realize the real importance of what we’re doing, to completely buy-in to the mission, and to find these guys after 70 years is pretty satisfying, ” long-time BentProp member Reid Joyce told

The group has been flying to Palau to conduct a month-long search for MIAs every year since 1999.

This year the group is getting some high-powered help.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he and the first lady will travel to Palau Saturday to assist BentProp’s mission. It was unclear whether Wednesday’s shootings at Fort Hood, in which an Army specialist killed three, wounded 16 and then fatally shot himself at the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, would affect his plans.

“Somewhere in the waters of Palau, or deep within its marshy jungles, lie the answers some families have been waiting generations to hear,” Perry said.

Perry said he will be joined on the 12-day trip by World War II vet Romus Valton “R.V.” Burgin, who saw action on Palau, and Marcus Luttrell, the ex-Navy Seal who wrote “Lone Survivor” about a doomed mission in Afghanistan to find Usama bin Laden. He said the trip is not being paid by taxpayers.

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