Texas Governor Rick Perry is planning to travel to the South Pacific to help in the search for missing American Second World War fighters. The Governor of Texas Rick Perry has said he plans to travel to the South Pacific to join a team searching for American serviceman who went missing during the Second World War.
The governor and first lady are due to travel to Palau to join the volunteers who believe they have found two wreck sites containing the remains of missing airmen. The BentProp Project, which found the sites last month, have been searching crash sites for years looking for American servicemen shot down over Palau between 1944 and 1945 by the Japanese. The group is now expected to receive help from the governor, who will be joined on his 12-day trip by World War Two veteran Romus Valton ‘R.V.’ Burgin and retired U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell.
Gov Perry said in a statement: ‘Somewhere in the waters of Palau, or deep within its marshy jungles, lie the answers some families have been waiting generations to hear. ‘The BentProp Project has made a mission of finding those answers, and I’m honored to lend a hand to the 2014 expedition, both in the field and in spreading the word about this exceptional program.’
Gov Perry’s expenses are to be paid for by the BentProp Project, The Dallas Morning News reported.
It is not known whether Wednesday’s attack at the military base in Fort Hood, Texas, in which a soldier turned his gun on himself after killing three people and wounding 16 others, will affect the governor’s plans.The governor and first lady are due to travel to Palau to join a search team of volunteers who believe they have found two wreck sites containing the remains of airmen missing for 70 years. The BentProp Project has been conducting month-long searches at Palau every year since 1999. So far the group has managed to help find and recover the remains of eight American MIAs.
Member Reid Joyce told FoxNews.com: ‘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.’ The group, which uses maps, GPS and Googe Earth to try and find the wreck sites, have been searching in Palau on their latest expedition since March 15. Just over a week later the team found the first site, understood to be the wreckage of a General Motors TBM Avenger which crashed into the water following a mission to bomb a power plant.
A blog post on the group’s website explained how up to three MIAs were associated with the aircraft. The team wrote: ‘So many people had a hand in making this happen. Nine years ago, a Palauan showed us a wing of an Avenger deep in a mangrove swamp. The governor and the first lady will be joined on the12-day trip by World War Two veteran Romus Valton ‘R.V.’ Burgin and retired U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell. ‘The mangrove trees had grown enough to lift the entire wing up out of the water. No other parts were around. He has since died without knowing that the path he started us down came to fruition.
‘Then a Palauan friend of BentProp’s told us a few years later that her father told her of watching the airplane get hit and crashing off the coast. ‘She even pointed to the area where we eventually found the aircraft. So her father’s recollections were passed on to the next generation, and on to us, intact. We’re calling her soon to let her know her father had it right.’
The team then found the second crash site – a Grumman F4F Hellcat, shot down by enemy ground fire – just four days later.