Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Downed WWII aircraft treasures in the South Pacific

I've been watching the amazing HBO mini-series "The Pacific" and I was reminded that there is a zillion dollars worth of cool stuff waiting to be salvaged from the jungles.

Before my father died he told me about treasure at was buried in Luzon and he also told me where some perfectly good vintage WWII bombers and fighters were ditched in the jungles of New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomon Islands.

The Japanese were a formidable enemy, and we lost a bunch of planes:

Back then you could buy a B-17 for less than 10 million dollars, but today you cannot get a B-17 at any price. The triangle between Mareeba airfield in Queensland Australia, Rabaul Harbor and Guadalcanal is littered with hundreds of WWII aircraft, some worth millions of dollars!

You have to admit, the B-17 is the most beautiful aircraft ever built:

My Dad, Louis Burleson was in the 30th squadron of the 19th bomb group which lost many planes, some which had to be ditched while still in great condition!

The Japanese ever flew some of them!

A B-17 captured by the Japanese

There is gold in them thar hills!

Those downed aircraft in the salt water are ruined, but those that crashed in arid regions are still intact, a real gold mine!

Just last month they hauled out the 30th squadron “Swamp Ghost” B-17 41-2446 from the 19th bomb group:

Salvaging the B17 "Swamp Ghost" from the jungle

It took a team months to haul her out, and it probably cost a small fortune, but this aircraft is a national treasure.

They have tried hard to account for all of the B-17’s but they missed a few, and I know where they are!

If you know where to look you can even see pieces from Google earth . . .

I finally found the 30th squadron patch from the 19th bomb group. It looks funky like something from the 1960’s:

The 30th squadron patch from the 19th bomb group (heavy)

I think it may be time to see if I have what it takes to salvage some of these historical treasures.