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DaveTrojan

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 #1 
ALOHA

There are wrecks and then there are historic wrecks!
Just in time for the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  

This investigation required a multi-state team to complete this report. I want to again thank Craig Fuller and Blade Shepherd-Jones for their help with this project.   I did this because I have a passion for Hawaii aviation history and especially interested in wrecks from the Pearl Harbor attack.
DaveT

21 page Story attached with pictures and link to video.

WWII P-40 Warhawk wreck discovered in Kailua Bay

An underwater P-40 Warhawk wreck was recently rediscovered and investigated in Kailua Bay off the north shore of Oahu. Using information provided by someone who first found the wreck more than 37 years ago, the wreck was rediscovered and investigated. A link to the the attack on Pearl Harbor and Bellows Field was found. 

A team guided by Aviation Archaeologist, Dave Trojan, including: sport diver, Blade Shepherd-Jones and archivist, Craig Fuller of Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research, (AAIR) spent months searching for and documenting the aircraft crash site. The team discovered several important artifacts including: Allison V-1710 engine, landing gear, and other wreckage from the plane. The team documented the site with photographs and video. Using military archives and oral histories, the wreck was identified as a very rare P-40B or C model that most likely crashed early in the war.


“This discovery is a tangible reminder of the WWII aviation history of Hawaii, said Trojan. “Sunken aircraft sites like the P-40 Warhawk convey the sacrifices young aviators made throughout World War II in the Pacific. Aviation Archaeology is an exciting way we can help to uncover these wrecks and the stories that go with them.”

“This is an exciting time for underwater wreck discoveries in Hawaii,” said Dave Trojan. The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory is conducting WWII maritime archaeology research and it is hoped that this discovery will add to the body of knowledge of Hawaii undersea wrecks. This wreck is another piece of the puzzle of Hawaii aviation accidents and another important part of our aviation history.

Further research is ongoing to positively identify the wreck and conserve artifacts that were recovered from it.


 
Attached Files
pdf Mystery_P-40_wrecks_compressed.pdf (984.06 KB, 246 views)

ChrisBaird

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 #2 
Wow!    Now that's what aviation archaeology is all about.
Nice work.
10 to 12 feet of water, that simplifies things.
What an historic find.

Must've been a lot of work going through the history cards looking for (hoping for) engine serials.

That looks like some live .30 cal ammo they have there!

Is it possible that other wreck is an O-47B?

I wonder if the Wheeler Base Unit (AAFBU) would have any history or records on their P-40 losses cross-referencing with Field Numbers or whatever.  Looks like it later became 17 BH&ABS 18 Service Group.   

Great story!

--> Chris B.
ChrisBaird

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 #3 
You probably seen this...

DateAircraft TypeSerial NumberSqdnGroupHome BaseAFActionDPilotCountryUS StateLocation
411117 O-47B  39-8486OS  Bellows Field, HI  KTOACR 5 Shibley, Millard C, Jr USA HI 300 yds offshore Bellows Field, HI 

--> Chris B.
Dennis

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 #4 
Dave.  Excellent report (as always with you).  You covered ALL of the important points.  Being somewhat of a "Pearl Harbor student", I too was aware of the mention of the recovered P-40 in "East Wind Rain" (I only recently gave that and many other books away in my "downsizing").  Of note is the missing tire/rim on the recovered P-40, yet the gear is retracted.  I always figured this was from the magnesium dissolving due to the salt water - we occasionally find what looks like dismounted tires at Florida sites, but it is actually where the rim has dissolved.  Then I saw the rim in the pictures of the wreck. ?????? Go figure.
I can only hope that the wreck does turn out to be Bishop's plane, time will tell.
One question, and I could be wrong here: I always thought the H-81 series (P-40B + C) were called "Tomahawks", where the P-40E and newer (H-87) were the "Warhawks".  I could be wrong.
Again, fascinating story, and great coverage.  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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P-40 Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s. The British Commonwealth and Soviet air forces used the name Tomahawk for models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C, and the name Kittyhawk for models equivalent to the P-40D and all later variants.
DaveT
DaveTrojan

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 #6 
There are more Good wrecks in the area including this VERY interesting wreck off Bellows. A P-47 Thunderbolt crashed June 21, 1944, pilot 1st Lt. William Sparks that has been well documented, "Right Under the Boat, A Shallow Plane Wreck in Kailua"

The P-40 wreck in my story is 3 miles NW from Bellows

Link to story, pictures and Coordinates
http://www.huiwaa.org/lifeline/plane_wreck.html

It is most likely getting cold where you are. Something to think about.

Soo many wrecks, Soo little time. Grab your snorkle and fins and Gooooo...

P-47 wreck map location and engine picture

P-47 Plane_wreck Bellows.jpg  

   P-47 motor Bellows.jpg

Dennis

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 #7 
Dave, I hadn't seen the video on my first "visit".  The video leaves me with a few observations.  I suspect the wreckage in the video is a "salvaged" P-40 and it could possibly be Bishop's plane.  The front of the engine is missing it's gearbox.  From my observation it has been removed, rather that having broken off.  All of the studs appear to be there and there are no nuts on them.  If the case were broken off, there should also be broken studs and possibly some of the case would still be attached to the block.  If the case had dissolved (as the right cylinder head and valve covers have done), the nuts would still be on the ends of the studs.  Also, some of the propeller and spur gear should have been near by.  Also, the accessory case on the rear of the block appears to have been removed.  There are some studs with nuts still on them, but others with the nuts removed.  Of interesting note is that you can see the valves laying in the cylinders on the side of the engine where the head has dissolved.
Now the wing remains.  The gear leg with the wheel attached appears to have been partly retracted when it hit the water (note the bent retract struts).  The position indicates it is the right side gear (they fold with the wheels up).  As I understand it, the gear on the P-40 was locked in position by hydraulic pressure.  A failed hydraulic system might allow the gear to fold into a partly retracted position and certainly it could fold back on hitting the water.  This also rules out that it could be the P-40 indicates as Bishop's in the "East Wind" picture.  As the right gear is shown and the rim is missing from it
At least one P-40 at bellows had it's gear box and propeller damaged as the after battle pictures show one with no prop and a damaged nose.  On one hand, maybe Bishop's plane was recovered and scavenged for parts?  On the other hand, one would think they had plenty of good engines from the burned out planes at Wheeler.  There are many pictures of the remaining noses of P-40s and even one showing a crew removing the prop from a burned out P-40.  Thoughts.  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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I agree to looks like the wreck was salvaged. When I talked to one of the boys who first found the wreck back in 1977 and showed him the video and pictures, he said the wreck was much better then and had valve covers on at that time. So it appears the wreck was salvaged between 1977 and now.
DaveT
Dennis

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 #9 
While I don't doubt that stuff was removed between 1977 and now, the valve covers (magnesium) have dissolved.  Seen this before.  It looks like they were removed, but the bolts are still there.  The magnesium just "disappears".  As I said, almost the entire right cylinder head has dissolved, but the valves are laying in the cylinders and a section of the right intake manifold is laying in the "valley" between the banks of cylinders.  The head bolts are all still in the block and protruding as if the head were there.  A guy learns this stuff in a corrosive state like Florida [smile].  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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 #10 
Several developments in this case:

 - Tip received about another wreck in the area. A good friend of mine who lived at the end of Lanikai and did a lot of snorkeling there in 2004-5 told me he saw what where definitely aircraft parts just a few hundred yards off of Wailea Point (between Lanikai Beach and Bellows). As a former navy pilot, he was credible. This location much better fits the location of Lt. Bishops P-40.

Also I'm finding out there are several more known aircraft accidents from Bellows that ended up offshore
Here is one OA-9 (Grumman Goose) crashed 300 yds offshore Bellows Field, HI on Nov 17th 1941. I need to obtain the accident report for this one

Lastly and most interesting is I had read from several After Action reports about a plane the was reported shot down and crashed into Kailua Bay. At the time (7Dec41) it was believed to be a Japanese fighter. I now believe it was most likely Lt. Sterling's P-36. He is still listed as MIA.  

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ghsterlingjr.htm

story was featured in Pearl Harbor's Lost P-36, FLIGHT JOURNAL, Oct 2002

I will try and get University of Hawaii to do an underwater search of Kailua Bay for the Lost P-36 and its MIA pilot. Lt Sterling. and maybe they will Lt. Bishop's P-40 too.
ALOHA
DaveT



Dennis

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 #11 
Thanks for adding that Dave.  From reading Lord's "Day Of Infamy" many years ago, I was aware of that story (but Lord didn't mention the part about the 2 Japanese pilots being accounted for).  I was also aware that Sterling was still missing.  Isn't there still one Japanese plane and pilot still unaccounted for?  Dennis
DaveTrojan

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Further developments.
The artifacts recovered back in 1977 and have been stored in a closet for over 37 years are going to be placed on public display!


The artifacts are going to be displayed in the new Marine Corps Base Hawaii air station operations complex . Construction was just completed last month.            

This project involved the construction of a new Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Operations (Ops) Complex and Aircraft Fire and Rescue Station (AFRS) at MCB Hawaii. The new facility will consolidate airfield operations, the air passenger terminal, the air cargo terminal, and the aircraft rescue and firefighting command center building in a centralized location. 

An Interpretive Center is part of the project and will function as an effective method to educate the traveling “public” using the new terminal about the origins, history, and changes made to NAS/MCBH Kaneohe.

ALOHA
DaveT

 

 

Dennis

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 #13 
Does that  include any machine guns?
DaveTrojan

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Yes. I hope so. I recovered more than a dozen machine guns last year from dump site. I hope to put one on display.
Anybody want to join me in Hawaii end of January for wreckchasing, help recover more stuff and set up displays at Kaneohe? PM ME FOR DETAILS
DaveTrojan

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Teenagers found pieces of a plane underwater, but its pilot is unknown

Hawaii’s military history pops up in unexpected places.


News story posted today, Monday, December 22
attached

 
Attached Files
pdf P-40_Star-Ad.pdf (230.51 KB, 75 views)

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