by Wil S. Hylton.
“Are their spirits waiting to be remembered, or at least not forgotten?”
At the end of World War II, 78,750 Americans were listed as Missing In Action (MIA) with roughly half in Pacific.
In 1993, Dr. Pat Scannon traveled to the Pacific and the Palau Islands as part of a search team looking into the first combat kill of the young naval aviator, George H.W. Bush. Bush’s plane was on a photographic mission in the summer of the 1944 when he sank a 150-ft fishing trawler. Their search concluded when the wreck was located and weapons were found among the debris verifying the validity of the air strike and clearing controversy that innocents were killed.
Following the completion of the trawler mission, Pat and his wife hired a guide to explore the islands and other war wrecks. As fate would have it, the guide took them to a beach to view a section of an aircraft wing. The sudden realization that it was a downed American aircraft changed Pat’s life forever. Pat’s detailed journal reports, ”I just came around that bend in the coral, and I was a different person.”
Hylton has crafted a remarkable narrative from Scannon’s dedicated research and personal journals. As a fairly uninformed American, I was mesmerized and held captive reading about the little covered Pacific battles.; shocked by what now appear primitive, WWII aircraft and equipment used by our military.
The story flows backward and forward through the lives of the lost servicemen still haunting these Pacific islands, their families still waiting for information 60 years after last contact and with Pat Scannon’s dedication to finding answers. Scannon’s integrity, patriotism, tenacity and ingenious methods have led to the recovery of many lost war heros. We follow Pat from his initial curiosity to the founding of the Bent Prop Project dedicated to locating and assisting with identifying American prisoners of war (POW) and missing in action (MIA) from World War II and other conflicts around the world.
This slim 272 page book will stir your emotions.
It has deeply stirred mine. Unbeknownst to me, my family had a WWII link to this Pacific timeline. My father, a WWII veteran, was very silent about his war experiences. Reading this book has given meaning and answers to some of my own questions.
Highly recommend reading.