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SEARCHING FOR MIAs IN NEW GUINEA

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Searching for MIAs in New Guinea

 

MIA Hunters

We joined MIA Hunters (http://www.miahuntersinc.com) for three weeks in New Guinea, searching for Missing In Action WW2 American pilots and aircrews in the jungles of New Guinea.

Bryan (Ron's American brother) and Dave (Ron's Aussie brother) check out what remains of a WWII plane.

Ron just had to try the local 'betelnut', which is truly disgusting and turns the whole mouth and saliva bright red - once was enough!

MIA Hunters

 

MIA Hunters

We spent most of the days on the north coast in and around Serimi, Poreo and Buna, small groups occasionally going some distance by boat, canoe or on foot to more distant crash sites that Bryan (Ron's American brother) wanted checked out. There was always something going on!

 

The mission groups head out to search for MIAs.

MIA Hunters

 

MIA Hunters

Our first day was typical .......

Got up at 6am and had our breaky in our 'dining room' – a palm covered, open sided raised platform that had at least a good view of the sea. Eggs were to become the staple diet for breakfast although we had cereal and toast and jam at times.  

 

MIA Hunters

Headed back down the road in the Cruisers to the track junction and took the track to the village of Buna.  Some of the heaviest fighting of the New Guinea war was fought around here. The Japanese had the area around Buna, the Allies had the area where we were camped further south.

Then when we couldn't get any closer with the vehicle we got out and walked. Our guides knew were the wrecks were and would lead us into them. Sometimes we would need to talk to the local land owner before we headed off into the jungle. Not doing so can lead to serious disputes!

That first day (and a few more to follow) it rained heavily on and off all day and one of the trucks got seriously bogged. With no vehicle recovery gear as we would have in Australia, it was manpower that got the vehicle out! In fact, nearly every day one or the other vehicle got bogged to a lesser or more degree or the road had to be rebuilt to try and avert a bogging!

MIA Hunters MIA Hunters

 

MIA Hunters On the second day of searching  Dennis and his crew, including sons Colt and Trent, made a great find – a B-17 bomber that the local chief, who had put our team onto it, had seen crash when he was a young boy and out with his dad. He said the crew had perished in the plane when it burnt. As a young man some years later he had written a letter to the families and was just waiting for someone to come along to find out what had happened to these men. We were that 'someone'! There’s a lot of wreckage at the site and a US star is visible on the plane's fuselage. 
MIA Hunters

On the second day of searching  Dennis and his crew, including sons Colt and Trent, made a great find – a B-17 bomber that the local chief, who had put our team onto it, had seen crash when he was a young boy and out with his dad. He said the crew had perished in the plane when it burnt. As a young man some years later he had written a letter to the families and was just waiting for someone to come along to find out what had happened to these men. We were that 'someone'! There’s a lot of wreckage at the site and a US star is visible on the plane's fuselage. 

Another day, Gabriel, the fuzzy wuzzy angel who we had met in the village had his grandson lead us into the site where he had been involved in digging a mass grave for 'many' Americans. After a short 4WD trip and a walk along a remote beach we were led inland to the site. The low dome of the grave site was quickly cleared of scrub and grass by our native companions. We had a short prayer there – Kurt said a few words – and a US flag was planted. The natives promised to fence it and keep it clean now that somebody they know, cares!   

 

MIA Hunters And so our days went on here and out of Lae - it was magical and unforgettable for many reasons. For more pics and stories go to our TravelPod site: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/ronamoon/20/tpod.html.

 

Ameila

The world's most famous female aviator disappeared in 1937, as she attempted to become the first woman to fly around the world. With her navigator, Fred Noonan, her Lockheed Electra was last heard from about 100 miles from the tiny Pacific atoll, Howland Island, on July 2, 1937.

From Lae, they took off for Howland Island, 2200 miles away in the Pacific. They never arrived. A monument to her (and not a great one at that) can be found in Lae.

 

MIA Hunters

Our spent some time in the town of Lae sorting supplies and scouts; it was always busy .

Boats loaded down with betelnut constantly come ashore to supply the local needs, while the local market was full of great produce and very, very busy!

MIA Hunters

 

MIA Hunters

Viv with the 'Mama' of the family we stayed with in their family village, about an hour out of Lae. She very generously gave Viv a fabulous bright bag, which they make or buy, to carry their betelnut supplies in.

Some of the great kids who lived in the small family village where we camped.

MIA Hunters

 

See you in the bush.

Ron and Viv.

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