by Kevin Donahue. A professional artist. He engages in writing, photography, directing and 3D modeling.
It takes a special person to love
a wreck. For me I like the mystery and intrigue that they represent.
World War II all have
a story to tell and the intrigue is finding out what that story is.
Wrecks tell the tale of the men who braved the madness of war. People
that love a wreck feel an obligation to find and tell that story.
My lastest adventure involved an exploration into the WWII
remants on Saipan and Tinian. It was a moving experience for this American
to see where US Marines have faced the Japanese forces on Saipan and
Tinian. Seeing the machine gun nests and pillboxes pointed at the areas
where the Marines had landed at Chalan Kanoa firsthand was moving to
the least. It made me take a step back and appreciate the sacrifice
they made several years ago that made my recent trip to Saipan and Tinian possible.
But I have yet to find the story that will come out
this adventure. I was initially intrigued by the four Sherman tanks
that lie in the shallow
water of Saipan Lagoon. That is what drew me to the mysteries
in the Pacific in the first place. I have always hoped to hear from
a survivor how they came to rest there. I managed to wreck dive an
H8K Emily in Tanapag Lagoon.
The little investigating I did on the island points to the possibility
that the plane was downed by a mine
that it hit in the Tanapag Lagoon. Im currently investigating that
mystery and hope to hear from someone who knows how it came to rest
at the bottom at Tanapag.
I have three rules for wrecks: either leave it where
it came to rest or restore it to some respectable condition. Lastly
preserve it with photographs and research its history. This was my inspiration in investigating the Type 97 Chi Ha tanks on Saipan.
One Tyoe 97 Chi Ha
sits on top of a pillbox on the beach road. Two others which
now rest on what was the old Japanese Aslito Airfield. One tank is painted "house
paint white". A Type 95 Ha-Go
Light Tank rests on the northern end of Saipan that is in too bad a shape
to restore. The tanks are left rusting away with their treads removed
and little done to preserve them.
Seeing that these remnants served more as eye sores instead
of proper war memorials I set out to do something about it. I contacted
a professional tank restorer and negotiated with the Commonwealth
of the Northern Marianna Islands to restore the tank to some reasonable
condition. I am currently mediating between both parties to make
happen. My hope is that this restored tank would better preserve
the Battle of Saipan.
So I am inquiring about info on the Sherman tanks
drowned out on Saipan, the Emily that lies in the waters off of Tanapag
and the Japanese tanks
on Saipan. I hope to tell the tale of these vehicles for future generations.
Having their tale rust away or lie at the bottom of the lagoon forever
would be a shame. If you have any information on them, or know of any