Friday, October 31, 2008

And The Greatest of these is....

Ammon Sky

I took these photos this morning. On what had been a depressing morning (two funerals this week) plus a very hard work schedule and a bad book review, God sent me something to remind me of the things that really matter.

Photos of Philly

Rodin Museum, the Thinker.

Love Park, downtown Philly.
Liberty Bell. I'd already seen it, so I didn't want to go through security, but got a pretty good shot through the glass.

Tun Tavern, birthplace of the Marine Corps. One of my life's biggest regrets is my physical disqualification during Marine OCS. I'm a Marine at heart.

Korean War Memorial. Great statue.
Holocaust Memorial. Lest we EVER forget...

Irish-American Memorial. This is an amazing piece of art.

The Pope was at this cathedral. And celebrated Mass in Philly in 1979. I may be one of this guy's biggest fans. Pope John Paul II, you are missed.

Skyline from Town Hall.

Independence Hall---where our Founding Fathers got us off to a great start. Now, can we do them justice?
Philly skyline from the steps of the Museum of Art. I felt like Rocky.

And speaking of Rocky....

I took some time to see Philly while there last weekend. Here are a few photos for those who are interested. Philly is a city packed with history. I love it. I walked all over South Philly on Saturday. The World Series was in town. The whole city was going crazy for the Phillies, who have since won the Series. I was in Philly to honor the memory of my friend Leonard Herman, who was buried at Mt. Sharon Cemetery on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rest in Peace, Dear Friend

Sadly, both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Jewish War Veterans failed to show at my friend Len's funeral despite their assurance they would be there. Very sad indeed. But Len did get a good tribute in the Philly Enquirer. And God gave us a lovely fall day to lay our good friend to rest.

Miss you and love you, my friend.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Honoring a Hero this Weekend

July, 2008. My best friend Len and me. Columbus, Georgia.

Readers, I will be off-line for the next three days so that I may honor an American hero, Leonard Herman.

Despite the economy, and my own economic problems, I am happy to be leaving tomorrow morning before dawn to fly from Idaho Falls to Minneapolis and then on to Philadelphia, PA, to attend the graveside services for my great friend, Leonard Herman. Len will be laid to rest Sunday at Mount Sharon Cemetery in Springfield, PA, just outside of Philly. Len was born and raised in Philly by parents who had emigrated from Russia, and lived in the Philadelphia area until a decade or so ago, when he moved to Columbus, GA to be with his daughter, Linda, her husband, and Leonard's grandson Jordan.

Somehow, from the reaches of rural Idaho, thanks to the internet, I was able to arrange for the Jewish War Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to be present at the service, despite the fact that their annual conventions are the same weekend on the other side of the state. We also managed to get his obituary in the Columbus, GA paper. However, we failed in getting it into the Philadelphia Enquirer--despite the fact that they ran half a dozen stories about war hero Leonard Herman when he returned from World War Two with a chestful of medals.

My final honor to my friend is to deliver his eulogy at the graveside. It is humbling and an honor. It's also a tribute to Leonard Herman's own complete open-mindedness and respect for people from all walks of life. Where else would you find a Roman Catholic delivering the eulogy at a Jewish graveside?

Len, we love you and men such as you rarely walk amongst us. Thanks for letting us be your friend.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

95th's Brad Petrella Flies Final Mission

Sad news once again. Brad Patrella, Sr., who served with honor in the 95th Bomb Group in Horham, England, during World War Two, flew his final mission . If you were to saunter up to the bar at the Red Feather Club in Horham today, you would find yourself bellying-up to 'Brad's Bar'. When he was in the 95th, Brad served as the bartender at the Red Feather Club.

I had the incredible honor of meeting Brad at the 95th Reunion in Tucson last spring. He was spry and full of memories of his time at Horham. His smile and his love of life was contagious. My condolences go out to Brad's family, including his son Brad, Jr. whom I also got to meet.

What follows is a tribute and obituary for our friend Brad Petrella.

Have a safe journey, Brad. We'll miss you, buddy.

Brad Petrella, 85, of Wintersville died Sunday, October 5, 2008 at Acuity Specialty Hospital. He was born February 22, 1923 in Mingo Junction a son of the late John & Felicia Petrella. He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church; 95th Bomb Group Heritage Assn.; and Red Feather Club.

Preceding Brad in death were two brothers Tony & Rocky Petrella. Surviving are his wife Rose M. Thomaselli Petrella; children John (Deanna) Petrella and Nancy (Tom) Schloss both of Wintersville and Brad (Gail) Petrella of Avon, OH; grandsons Mark Schloss, David (Emily) Schloss & Nicholas Petrella; great grandchildren Sage & Ava Schloss; sisters Mary Stover of Steubenville & Rose Kenealy of Fresno, CA.Per Brad’s request, there is no visitation. Friends are invited to attend a funeral liturgy with mass 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Blessed Sacrament Church with Msgr. Kurt H. Kemo officiating. Entombment at Mt. Calvary. There will be a 1 p.m. reception at Shorac Family Center after the cemetery committal services.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to 95th B.G. Heritage Assn., Attention : G.I. Hammesfahr; P.O. Box 71, Metuchen, NJ 08840-0071.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cottonwood Time on the Snake River Idaho

Photos speak for themselves. It was a good day to be alive!! So beautiful I almost could not stand it.

A Car Story

God works in mysterious ways. This was proven to me again this week. After sixteen years of driving my '85 Honda CRX, I decided one morning while shivering on the way to work that I didn't want to face another Idaho winter with a broken car heater and no rear window defroster. Scraping ice off both the outside AND the inside of my windshield at zero degrees, while peeking through a tiny thawed section of window, was not my idea of a good time and what's more, my seat was only attached to the frame by one bolt, meaning that if I were to get into a wreck, I would be hurled ejection-seat style out either the back or front window, depending on the direction of impact. Enough already. It was time to let go of my baby, my little blue friend who had carried me near and far and still could, for that matter, as it ran like brand new.

Not being a wealthy person, I visited my favorite used-car dealer, whose children I taught back in the early nineties. He runs a small used-car lot called 'Kelly's Screaming Deals' here in Ammon, and he's a good guy who's sold me three excellent cars in the past. There are several models of cars that have always caught my fancy. One is the CRX. The other is the Chevrolet Impala--a 1964 Chevy Impala to be exact. Well, Kelly didn't have a '64, not that I could have afforded on anyway, but he did have three Chevy Impalas on the lot. He's just bought them from the Weber County (Utah) Police Department. These cop cars have a 3.8 L V-6 that has tons of power but still gets fairly good gas mileage (20 in town, 30 on the highway). One of the three was pretty rough in some ways, cosmetically, so it was pretty cheap. It ran strong. It had cloth front seats and a plastic bench seat for drunken or bleeding arrestees. It had holes where the light rack and other cop stuff had been mounted, all patched with some kind of black resin. I bought it.

Now came the next question. What was I going to do with my little CRX? Granted, it was worth all of $400 to $500 and got 40 miles per gallon, so it would sell instantly if I listed it. But there was an inner voice in me telling me not to sell it. I couldn't quite figure out what I was supposed to do with it. My wife would kill me if I left it out front. Our driveway has almost as many cars in it as Kelly's Screaming Deal, what with my wife's car, my son's car, my daughter's car, and my daughter's fiancee's car. So, what to do?

I work at a high school for kids who have not succeeded in regular schools. For many of them, it's because life has been none too kind. I decided to give my car to the most deserving student at school. On Tuesday, I told my classes that I had a car that looked rough but ran great. It needed a new home. The requirement to get it was that the recipient had to have a demonstrated need and had to be a mechanic who could fix the problems, like the heater and the seat. One of my students approached me. He had a friend who had just gotten his license, but had no car. His father had lost his job because he was very ill and they were living on public assistance. The father, though blind, had until recently been a Certified Master Mechanic, and he was able to work on a car even without his sight. The young man, only 16, was taking on the responsibilities for the family.

It was a perfect fit. Here was somebody who needed the car, and who had the skills to fix it up.

Yesterday afternoon, I watched my little friend the CRX drive away for the last time.

This was a good example of how God uses different people to achieve an end. He directed me to give the car away. The student from school, also a Christian, instantly thought of his friend and interceded for him. The end result, a family that needed a car now has one.

And everybody is happy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Dear Friend Flies Final Mission--Owen Larson, 100th Bomb Group Nav/Bombardier

My good friend Dr. Owen Larson flew his final mission on September 19, 2007 in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. Owen was a wonderful human being. He gave me so much help when I began research for my first book. Like most WWII vets, he insisted he had done nothing special. Well, I beg to differ. Just scroll down and look at how many missions Owen flew in a B-17 over enemy territory---each mission was tough in its own way--and you'll see he was a hero. Missions to places like Berlin and Warsaw--35 in all--including one of the Shuttle Missions. Owen send me this photo many years ago of himself outside his airplane, "I'll Be Around". That's why I use this plane as my avatar on the site.
Owen, you were a great man. I miss you. Our prayers are with your wife in her time of mourning. Have a safe flight.

The following is Owen's Obituary, which I received in the mail today from his wife.

Larson, Owen E., M.D.

Owen Earl Larson, 87, Sister Bay, ended a courageous battle with cancer on September 19th at his home surrounded by Alice, his wife of 62 years, and their children. Owen was born in Green Bay on Aug. 21, 1921, to Dwayne and Elvira Larson.Owen moved to Appleton when he was in junior high school and graduated from Appleton High School in 1939. He then attended Marquette University until he suspended his studies in 1941 to join the U.S. Air Force. Owen was a bombardier and navigator with the 8th Air Force and flew 35 missions out of England during World War II. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1950, when he retired as a 1st Lieutenant. After returning from the war, Owen went back to Marquette University to complete pre-med and medical school on the GI bill, graduating from Marquette Medical School in 1950. He did a rotating internship at Harper Hospital in Detroit, and a partial surgical residency at the VA hospital in Milwaukee. He practiced medicine in Clintonville, Wis., for 12 years and then Theda Clark in Neenah until he returned to Marquette to do a residency in Anesthesiology. Dr. Larson specialized in Anesthesia at Theda Clark until he retired from medicine in 1986. He and Alice then moved to Sister Bay. Owen loved to learn new things. He thoroughly enjoyed becoming proficient at such endeavors as operating a HAM Radio, (call letters K9LWG), playing the piano and the guitar, photography, and painting stunning portraits and landscapes of those he loved, and the places he loved. During his life he was an active participant in The Benevolent Order of the Elks, The American Legion, Veteran's of Foreign Wars, and The Knights of Columbus. He also served as Chief of the Department of Anesthesiology at Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah and was a 50 year member of the State Medical Society. Owen will be remembered for many things. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. In his later years, he was devoted to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, never missing a birthday or special event in any of their lives. Owen's legacy will be long and fruitful, and will continue to blossom for generations to come in his daughters and sons, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all whose lives he touched, who loved him and will remember him always.

Missions of 1st Lt Owen E.J. Larson
from 100th BG website (compiled by Mike Faley)
1. 11/08/44 Villacoublay

2. 13/08/44 Nantes

3. 14/08/44 Ludwigshaven

4. 24/08/44 Ruhland

5. 25/08/44 Politz

6. 26/08/44 Brest

7. 27/08/44 BERLIN

8. 1/09/44 Mainz

9. 3/09/44 Brest

10. 5/09/44 Stuttgart

11. 13/09/44 Sindelfinger

12. 18/09/44 Warsaw (Second Russian Shuttle)

13. 19/09/44 Szolnok

14. 25/09/44 Ludwigshaven

15. 27/09/44 Mainz

16. 2/10/44 Kassel

17. 3/10/44 Nurnburg

18. 5/10/44 Handorf

19. 6/10/44 BERLIN

20. 7/10/44 Bohlen

21. 12/10/44 Bremen

22. 17/10/44 Cologne

23. 22/10/44 Munster

24. 5/11/44 Ludwigshaven

25. 9/11/44 Saarbrucken

26. 10/11/44 Mainz

27. 21/11/44 Osnabruck

28. 26/11/44 Hamm29.

29/11/44 Hamm

30. 30/11/44 Merseburg

31. 2/12/44 Coblenz

32. 12/12/44 Coblenz

33. 18/12/44 Mainz

34. 24/12/44 Biblis

35. 25/12/44 Kaiserlautern

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn Snow

First real snow of the autumn last night. I took these right outside our front door.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

--Robert Frost, 1923

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Google Earth Allows Aerial Tours of 13th Bomb Wing Airfields

95th Bomb Group Air Field, Horham. In the lower portion of the photo is the tiny village, and in the upper is the main runway and taxiways.
Above, the 390th Museum at Parham/Framlingham, Suffolk.
Above, the 100th Bomb Group tower at Thorpe-Abbotts, Suffolk.

I'm enjoying surfing the world with the new, improved GoogleEarth. It's an amazing program, with satellite imagery of literally every spot on the planet. The new version even allows you to swoop down and see the contours of the land and buildings in 3-D.

Above, larger cities like London even get the 3-D building effect.

Above, looking northeast from my neighborhood in Ammon, Idaho.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Background Photo for Blog

This brilliant photo montage is by my friend Michael Joyce. In honoring this one departed WWII airmen, I think he has captured the spirit of this blog perfectly.

The blog continues to be dedicated to preserving the memory of the great men who flew in World War Two. God bless them all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Great Photos in Honor of Leonard Herman

Photos above copyright by Michael Joyce 2008.

My friend Michael F. Joyce writes from New York: "Rob, The "Wings of Freedom" Collins-Foundation was in Schenectady, New York this weekend with the WWII war birds. I took these photos of the B-17 "Nine-O-Nine" and brought them back in time, in honor of this great WWII hero Leonard Herman.


Mike, your tribute is wonderful. Len would have really loved it. I can just imagine him drawing a bead on this Me109 down in the nose. Thanks so much. Rob

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Leonard Makes the Front Page in Columbus, GA

My faith in America is solidified tonight, after talking to Linda, Leonard's daughter. She told me that Leonard Herman made the front page of the Columbus, Georgia newspaper, in this outstanding, factually-correct story by reporter Larry Gierer. It is so nice to know that the passing of one of our World War Two veterans has merited front-page coverage commemorating his final mission. As I told Linda tonight, the story should be front-page in the New York Times. When we lose these men, we lose the best of ourselves.
Thank you, Columbus (GA) Enquirer for honoring a World War Two veteran.

Posted on Tue, Oct. 07, 2008

Decorated World War II airman dies
Leonard Herman died at age 92 on Sunday


Leonard Herman

Linda Collins laughs when she says nobody in her dad's crew worried more about their airplane getting shot down than he did.

"He was the only Jew aboard and they were dropping bombs on Germany," she says.
Her father, Leonard Herman, 92, died Sunday in Columbus. He was one of the most decorated airmen of World War II. Among his combat decorations were the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. A bombardier, he was credited with shooting down two German fighters. Twice he saved the lives of his crew, once flying his airplane home after the pilot was killed.

He participated in the battles of Northern Europe, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe.

With the Army Air Force, he flew 25 missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier for the 95th Bomb Group and was wounded. He completed a war bond tour, trained fliers to go overseas, then was reassigned to the U.S. Ninth Air Force and returned to Europe, flying additional missions as a bombardier on A-26 Intruders and B-26 Marauders.

He and Rob Morris wrote a book called "Combat Bombardier" based on his exploits.

"My father was very proud of his war record," Collins said. "He loved to tell the stories to my son."

"He was my hero," said Randy Kranepuhl, a retired soldier who works at Fort Benning. "His stories were always interesting. This was a guy who took part in the first daylight bombing of Berlin. He was always friendly. He told me he was a salesman and joined the Army after a car accident. He said God wanted him to do something else."

It was something that had nothing to do with shooting or bombing that was possibly just as great an accomplishment for Herman. Along with his brother, Edward, and another soldier, Robert Hilliard, Herman helped pressure the U.S. government into changing its policy toward German concentration camp prisoners who had been liberated into the American sector. Many lives were saved. The story of his action was later told in a documentary, "Miracle at St. Ottilien." And Hilliard, who was a college professor, wrote a book about it, "Surviving the Americans."
Displaced Jews were being held behind barbed wire in camps guarded by U.S. soldiers with unsanitary conditions and inadequate food supplies. Some were sick and didn't have medicine. Many had to wear prison garb or discarded SS uniforms.

"We were the United States of America," Herman told the Ledger-Enquirer in a 1998 interview. "We were supposed to be the good guys."

Hilliard and Ed Herman were privates stationed at St. Ottilien, a church village, and they saw the treatment of the Jews. They paid a German printer to print thousands of letters asking for help.

Leonard Herman used his contacts and made sure influential people saw the letter. In the 1998 interview, Herman called himself "a novelty" at that time. "I was someone who survived, a lucky guy," he said of his service in Germany.

Eventually, Earl Harrison, the American representative of the Intergovernmental Committee of Refugees, saw the letter and wrote a report, which made it to the desk of President Harry S. Truman. On Sept. 30, 1945, the headline in The New York Times read: "President Orders Eisenhower to End New Abuse of Jews."

After the war, Herman married an Army nurse, Pauline Rubin. He will be buried next to his wife in Philadelphia. Herman ran his own textile company, Seagull Manufacturing.

"He came to Columbus to be closer to me," Collins said. "He wanted to be near family. Everyone was his friend. He was the most outstanding, sweetest guy. Everybody loved Mr. Herman."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Leonard Herman Flies Final Mission

God speed, Leonard. Happy landings...

Just received word from Linda, Leonard's daughter, that Leonard Herman passed away today.

My world just got a lot more lonely. I'll never fill that gap in my heart that was filled by my buddy Leonard. I love you, Len.

I am including in this post the hardest writing assignment of my life: Leonard's obituary, which I wrote this morning before I knew for sure we'd have to use it.

Len, I'll never have another friend like you. I pray your mission is successful, and that you are, as we speak, in the arms of God.


"Leonard Herman, 92, of Columbus, Georgia, one of the most decorated airmen of World War Two, flew his final mission on October , 2008. Leonard flew two tours of duty in the service of his country as a combat bombardier.

Leonard was born to Lena and Lewis Herman in Philadelphia, PA, on September 10, 1916, the third of five children. He attended Philadelphia public schools, graduating from Overbrook High School. While in grade school, he worked as a ball boy for Philadelphia’s Negro League baseball team, and met many of the great players of the era. After attending college for a short time, he became a traveling salesman. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, later transferring to the Army Air Force, where he trained first as a pilot and then as a bombardier. He flew 25 dangerous missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress bombardier for the 95th Bomb Group (H) in the early days of the air war over Europe in 1943, when the odds of completing 25 missions were slim, and was wounded in combat. He was credited with shooting down two German fighters. Upon completion of his tour, he was reassigned to the U.S. Ninth Air Force and returned to Europe, flying many additional missions as a bombardier on A-26 Intruders and B-26 Marauders. He flew missions up until the last days of the war. Along with his brother E. Edward and another young GI named Robert Hilliard, Leonard pressured the United States government to change its policy towards liberated concentration camp survivors in the American Sector of Germany, thereby saving thousands of lives. The story was made into a book and later an acclaimed documentary entitled ‘Saving St. Ottilien’. For this action and for his two tours of combat, he was nominated for a belated Medal of Honor, and has a United States Post Office named after him in Boca Rotan, FL. Among his many combat decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. He participated in the Battle of Northern Europe, Battle of Northern France, Battle of the Rhineland, Battle of the Ardennes, and Battle of Central Europe.

After the war, he met and fell in love with a young Army nurse, Pauline Rubin, of Philadelphia. They were married 1946 in Philadelphia. Leonard then embarked on a successful career in the textile industry, and ran his own large company, Seagull Manufacturing, for many years. Leonard and Pauline also raised their daughter Linda in the Philadelphia area.

In the seventies, Leonard became involved in the 95th Bomb Group and the preservation of its history. He was the project coordinator, along with Ellis Scripture, of the acclaimed oral history of the group edited by Ian Hawkins entitled “Courage, Honor, Victory”. He remained very active in the 95th Bomb Group until poor health prevented his active participation. In 2007, he published his memoirs.

Leonard was a member of the Jewish faith. He was preceded in death by his wife Pauline Rubin Herman and his brother E. Edward Herman. He is survived by two brothers, Herbert and Irwin; a sister Miriam; his daughter, Linda Collins; son-in-law Larry Collins; grandson Jordan Collins; and numerous nieces and nephews. Leonard was an outgoing, loving man and everyone was his friend.
Funeral/memorial services will be held ________. Condolences can be sent to _____."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Leonard Herman: One Last Mission

I just got a phone call from Linda Collins, Leonard Herman's daughter who has taken care of him for so many years. Her beloved father, and my beloved friend, is preparing to go to the angels this evening after suffering heart failure earlier today. Please pray for Len, that he may go without pain and that God will gather him to Himself. I pray that soon Len will be with his dear wife Polly. He took such good care of her in the last years of her life, when she was suffering from Alzheimers. He was such a sweet man. He told of one time, when Polly did not know who he was anymore and he was taking daily care of her. She had him sit down next to her on the bed, and said, "You are such a very nice man. I'm married, but do you think my husband would mind if you lay down and I put my head on your shoulder for a while?" And Leonard lay down next to her and said, "I don't think he'd mind at all, Polly."

Pray for the Collins family. They live in Georgia, far from the support of the family up in Philly. There are many things to be done. Linda has done such a good job with her dad this past year as his memory failed him.

I thank God I was able to go visit my pal Len this summer in Columbus. We had such a great time. We went out to eat Chinese, and he out-ate me. He had a funny habit of sneaking his dentures into his napkin. I pretended I didn't notice. We went to a movie, but left early because Len thought it was terrible. But we ended up at Barnes and Noble, and had a great afternoon looking at books about the air war. We also had many hours of enjoyment just sitting on the couch, talking. Leonard was the perfect friend. We spent so many hours enjoying each other's company. We always ended our talks by saying "I love you", and I'm so glad we did.

Len just turned 92 this past month.

I will never, ever have another friend like Leonard Herman. In fact, a person is very blessed to have one such friend in a lifetime.

I love you, old friend. May God welcome you with open arms into your eternal reward.

Dan Farnham Finds WWII History under the Sea

My friend Dan Farnham lives on a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific, called Kwajalein. Kwajalein's main island, where Dan lives.

Dan doing what he loves best--diving a World War Two aviation wreck.

Dan and I share a common passion for World War Two aviation, though we have slightly different focuses. Dan has parlayed his interest into a fullfilling hobby, and is on the cusp of a writing career, I think. He had his first article and photos published in Aviation History Magazine's November 2008 issue. Asked how he got interested in World War Two aviation, Dan responds:

"When I was a kid in the '70s, I remember watching the TV show "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (later renamed "Black Sheep Squadron" in season 2). That is what kindled my interest in WWII aviation, specifically naval aviation in the Pacific Theater. Although I love all aspects of WWII aviation, the PTO is my favorite area. That, and my favorite movie was "Midway", with Charleton Heston, etc. "

"I grew up with a love of aviation as a result of all that- not to mention the F4U Corsair is my all-time favorite plane! I was always writing short stories as a kid, loved to read, won every spelling bee I entered in 1st through 4th grade. Got my pilot's license in college, but couldn't fly for the military because of my eyesight- it's not 100%. Took Journalism and Mass Communications in my first college stint. I've been into scale aircraft modeling since 1986, and most of my subjects are WWII aircraft. I've always been into amateur photography as well, but never more than having a "point and shoot" to take pictures with. I didn't plan on getting into a lot of writing, it just kind of fell into my lap. Not long after I came to my present location, Kwajalein Atoll, I learned to scuba dive and I began photographing WWII ship and aircraft wrecks out here. A fiend of mine who runs a scale modeling website I frequent suggested I write an article on some of the plane wrecks I'd been diving on. So I did. And the rest came from that one article. So, I you could say that what I'm doing now is a culmination of lifelong hobbies and interests. "

"Kwajalein Atoll is a restricted military base, so very little has come out from here regarding the WWII wrecks in the lagoon. I guess I'm one of the VERY few writers to ever write about the wrecks here. My main problem is that I have so many ideas for writing, and so many wrecks to write about, and not enough time to write it all! :) "

So sit back and go on a virtual dive with Dan. All photos in this article copyrighted by Dan Farnham and used with permission.

"Here's one of the two 'Avenger' wrecks I've seen and photographed."

"Here's an F4F-4 Wildcat. This is one of 10 that I've counted in the aircraft graveyard, and I'm told there's more."

F4U 'Corsair'.

SB2C 'Helldiver'.

R5C 'Commando', which was the Navy designation for the C-46.

"A PBJ-1H 'Mitchell'. The PBJ's were Navy versions of the B-25 series. This is one of eight in the aircraft graveyard. I've seen and photographed four, so I have to get back up there and photograph the other four as well."

"Another SBD at "13 SBD's". Amazing that after 60+ years the plane is still upright! This is the second of two that remain upright at the site."