WWII Remains Recovery

Discussion about wrecks and losses as well as historic sites in the Pacific.

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WWII Remains Recovery

Post by martha_c » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:20 am

My uncle was U.S. Navy and was lost 22 Apr 1944 along with 9 other Navy and one AAF weather observer when their PB4Y-1 was shot down by the Japanese in the Puluwat Island area. Two years after the loss the remains of 7 were retrieved, moved to the U.S. Military Cemetery on Moen Island, and later moved to Hawaii for final ID of remains and final burials. I have all the official records on my uncle but still have holes in the story. Here is what I know, which will lead to my questions:
The Japanese were still in possession of Puluwat and Alet Islands when the war ended. They surrendered to the Americans about a month later. The American Graves Registration Service (AGRS), Pacific Zone (PAZ) was responsible for searching the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific for survivors and remains. The AGRS ceased to exist many years ago.

My question--Who has the records today for searches and retrievals that occurred in the South Pacific area from 1944 to 1949? I have made many inquiries but have not received an answer. I am always referred back to my uncle's IDPF and OMPFs, which I already have and they do not have that information.

Specifically, I would like records of who found the remains buried on Puluwat Island? How did they know where to dig--interviews with locals or did the Japanese tell them? When and by whom were the remains moved to Moen Island? When and by whom were the remains moved to Hawaii?

Any ideas from anyone are appreciated. I have been working on this a year and a half and still do not know these pieces.

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Re: WWII Remains Recovery

Post by RSwank » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:57 am

There was a book published in 2013 or so called "The Search that Never Was", by J. L. Wright.

https://www.amazon.com/Search-That-Neve ... 1625166796

Some of it can be seen online here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=nJOdA ... ic&f=false

I don't know if it specifically covers Puluwat (from what I can see of the Table of Contents on the Google site, I think not) but the author of the book may be able to give you some leads on where to find the search records.

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