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New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 11:21 pm
by Ron Fusco
Hello, just stumbled onto your interesting and excellent site. I have lived on Saipan, Mariana Islands, for the last 30 years and would be happy to try to answer any questions anyone might have about the Marianas. But, a question of my own.............There is a B-29 wreck on the west side of Mount Tapochau. Does anyone have any info on the circumstances surrounding this crash, and if anyone survived? From the looks of it I would guess not likely.

Posted: Mon May 15, 2006 5:17 am
by David McNeill
Its listed as a 20th AF loss so perhaps somebody here might be able to help?

http://www.20thaf.org/

Saipan B-29 wreck

Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 3:34 pm
by Dan King
I stumbled upon a couple of wrecked radial engines and a wrecked large aircraft radio on Mt. Tapachau back in 2002. I wonder if it's the same wreck. I couldn't tell what kind of plane it used to be, but the radio unit looked like it was the kind operated by a dedicated operator.

Saipan

Posted: Tue May 30, 2006 4:53 pm
by Ron Fusco
Hi Dan, I'm sure it's the same plane. I'm no aircraft historian but I do have a little amatuer knowledge. I'm sure it's a B-29. Strange how no one seems to have any hard info on it.

Ron Fusco

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:07 pm
by jdvoss
I was on Saipan in 1964 and found a complete ( although derelict) Curtiss SB2C Helldiver on former Marpi Pt. Airstrip. Does it still exist? It was in quite sad shape being subjected to the elements.

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:44 am
by Ron Fusco
[quote="jdvoss"]I was on Saipan in 1964 and found a complete ( although derelict) Curtiss SB2C Helldiver on former Marpi Pt. Airstrip. Does it still exist? It was in quite sad shape being subjected to the elements.[/quote]

Hi JD, I've poked around the Marpi Airstrip in the past (from 1974 on) and have never come across any wreckage. If it was in bad shape in 1964 I'm sure there can't be much there today. I know 1964 is a long time ago, but if you could recall a rough idea of the location I might go take another look.

Derelict SB2C

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:16 am
by jdvoss
The Helldiver was located about (+/- 100 yds) from 15 deg 16' 54.30" N x 145 deg 48' 25.02 E. I have looked at google.earth and see no signs whatsoever of the aircraft nor the very large quonset hut that was nearby. When I was there Marpi Pt. was "closed" for entry and I had to obtain special written permission from the T.T. for admitance. I had to give them my time of entry and estimated time of reporting back to the T.T. office and if I didn't show up then they were coming in to search for me. These controls were due to the inherent dangers in the area which was soon confirmed when I ran across a pile of rusty hand grenades. The SB2C was intact but had simply been left behind. Due to corrosion (heat, humidity, salt spray) the skin was paper thin and I was reluctant to cimb on to it as I could have well fallen thru the wing. I do have a photo that Justin will be soon posting . It was difficult to get a decent photograph because of the enveloping jungle growth. I did post a photo of the aircraft sometime ago at http://www.warbirdz.net

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:46 pm
by Ron Fusco
[quote="jdvoss"]The Helldiver was located about (+/- 100 yds) from 15 deg 16' 54.30" N x 145 deg 48' 25.02 E. I have looked at google.earth and see no signs whatsoever of the aircraft nor the very large quonset hut that was nearby. When I was there Marpi Pt. was "closed" for entry and I had to obtain special written permission from the T.T. for admitance. I had to give them my time of entry and estimated time of reporting back to the T.T. office and if I didn't show up then they were coming in to search for me. These controls were due to the inherent dangers in the area which was soon confirmed when I ran across a pile of rusty hand grenades. The SB2C was intact but had simply been left behind. Due to corrosion (heat, humidity, salt spray) the skin was paper thin and I was reluctant to cimb on to it as I could have well fallen thru the wing. I do have a photo that Justin will be soon posting . It was difficult to get a decent photograph because of the enveloping jungle growth. I did post a photo of the aircraft sometime ago at http://www.warbirdz.net[/quote]

JD, there definitely is no quonset hut in the area. Sounds like everything got bulldozed shortly after you were there. It is amazing how quickly things evaporate here, even aluminum. When you saw the plane it was only 20 years old. I saw a radial engine in the dump a while ago and was tempted to drag it home as a lawn decoration, but it was basically just a big glob of fossilized aluminum oxide. Most people wouldn't even have known what it was. While unexploded ordnance was (and still is) a problem in Saipan, the real reason you had to get permission to be there was because it was a CIA playground. Back then the Taiwanese were being trained in Saipan. Everything north of San Roque village was off limits. As unexploded ordnance turns up it is set aside in a safe area, and every 6 months or so the Navy sends up a team from Guam to blow everything up.

Consolidated PB2Y Coronado

Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:43 pm
by jdvoss
Ron:

According to the Lonley Planet travel book for Saipan, they state that just off of Managaha Island there is a PB2Y Coronado in relatively shallow water. Apparently the PB2Y was at anchor when some Japanese, who were hiding on the island, swam out to the aircraft and placed some explosive charges.
Can you verify its existance ?? Also, if you provide me with your e-mail address I'll forward the SB2C Helldiver photo.

JDVoss

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:46 am
by Ron Fusco
JD, I believe that there is a PB near Managaha, but I'll have to confirm that with some of my diver friends. I'm a terrestial type of guy. The glass-bottom tour boat over to Managaha does go over a couple of planes.

My email is RFusco4034@aol.com. I'd enjoy seeing any pics you might have during your time here.

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:41 pm
by whitesharkseeker
I have that info but need to find it. In a nutshell, B-29 crashed into the mountain in 1945 after a mission over Japan. There were no survivors.

-Eric

Re: Consolidated PB2Y Coronado

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:42 pm
by whitesharkseeker
jdvoss wrote:Ron:

According to the Lonley Planet travel book for Saipan, they state that just off of Managaha Island there is a PB2Y Coronado in relatively shallow water. Apparently the PB2Y was at anchor when some Japanese, who were hiding on the island, swam out to the aircraft and placed some explosive charges.
Can you verify its existance ?? Also, if you provide me with your e-mail address I'll forward the SB2C Helldiver photo.

JDVoss

There is an Emily seaplane on the bottom of the lagoon that I dove. No PB2Y that I ever heard of. What sources did the Lonely Planet use?

-Eric

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:54 pm
by Ron Fusco
For White Shark....................

Eric, I would greatly appreciate any info you can provide me on the Saipan B29. thanks, Ron

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:57 pm
by Ron Fusco
[quote="whitesharkseeker"]I have that info but need to find it. In a nutshell, B-29 crashed into the mountain in 1945 after a mission over Japan. There were no survivors.

-Eric[/quote]

Eric, I would greatly appreciate any info you can provide on the Saipan B29. Thanks, Ron

Re: New Guy In Saipan

Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:52 am
by Dave Bucher
A few weeks ago, I missed out on a hike to see this B-29 crash site on Mt. Tapochau, but at least one of the hikers (Owen Gabbie) identified the engines to be the type used by the 29's.

I found the following at http://www.uk-us.org/b29.htm but can't read the french to follow up for more details.

"On one mission as we were passing Iwo my flight engineer informed me we were low on fuel but he estimated we had enough to make it home. After reviewing his data I decided we were too marginal and elected to land on Iwo and refuel. Leo, my flight engineer was a bit put off because I ignored his recommendation. It was a fortunate decision because it turned out that the weather had deteriorated on Saipan and one plane had crashed into Mt. Tapochau. We spent the night on Iwo and as I was led to the tent assigned to transient officers I was informed that someone had been murdered several nights previously by one of the hostiles still at large. Being young and tired I slept soundly anyway. Years later, at a reunion of the 73rd bomb wing, I asked Leo if he ever forgave me for ignoring him and he just grinned"