formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

January 12, 2009 Search for Amelia, part 3

The Liberty Gazette
January 12, 2010

The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely

Mike:
Previous expeditions to locate evidence of the fate of Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, and the Lockheed Electra have conducted spot archaeology, where they find an artifact and dig a one-meter square around it. Those expeditions have yielded many interesting items, such as the shoe heels, mirror, and pocket knife we mentioned last week. This May/June trip is for a complete site dig. 18 people have been chosen to spend four weeks on this dig. Researcher Megan Lickliter-Mundon and her teammates will fly from Los Angeles to American Samoa, then take a boat to the island, taking four to five days en route. The boat sleeps 18, has a managed crew, and enough food for a month, so they’ll anchor on the island, and that will be their living quarters. The temperature will probably be 100-115 F. daily; sunny with squalls, where it rains hard about ten minutes and then stops. We’re looking forward to the report by these adventurous researchers. Visit www.tighar.org for more information on this exciting expedition and other fascinating projects. And if you visit the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby, be sure to tell Megan congratulations on being selected by TIGHAR–and tell her you read it in the Liberty Gazette.

Linda: Speaking of missing airplanes, I have a little family history of that. 56 years after his plane went missing, the remains of my grandmother’s cousin, Lt. George Pierpont, and his crew were finally buried. The B24J “Liberator” he piloted disappeared over China during WWII; the crash site discovered by a couple of Chinese farmers in a ravine on Little Cat Mountain. They hit the mountain in remote southern China at 6,500’. The peak was 7,000’. I don’t know whether they were shot down or hit the mountain in bad weather, but they were over enemy-occupied territory, flying east toward Formosa (now Taiwan), easy targets for anti-aircraft gunners on the ground. Cousin George’s bomber group, a crucial part of the 375th Bomb Squadron, 308th Bomb Group in the 14th Air Force, took off from Liuchow, China, Aug. 31, 1944 to bomb enemy ships. His crew was cutting off supply lines for Japanese shipping lanes.

In the fall of 1996, a few weeks after the farmers’ discovery of the crash site, China handed over five military identification tags to the U.S., and an investigation began lasting over three years, unearthing and identifying other remains. In August of 2000, six of the ten crewmembers including Cousin George were buried side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors performed by the 3rd U.S. Infantry, and a fly-over by a B-52 bomber from the 5th Bomber Wing of Minot, North Dakota. Another cousin, Vincent Potter, is still missing. He was flying the hump of Burma. We’re in contact with a man who conducts searches in targeted areas for air crew who perished flying the hump. Maybe some day the remains of cousin Vince will be located as well.

Mike: With many thousands still missing, no matter how long it takes, the return of a loved one’s remains offers some solace to many families.

Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.

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