It is a long flight, but one Texas governor has a singular calling. Rick Perry has departed for the Republic of Palua, where many thousands of U.S. forces saw fierce fighting during the Pacific campaign of World War II on the islands of Peleliu and Angaur.
Mr. Perry has joined up with the BentProp Project, an independent group that has indexed crash sites of 29 American aircraft - Corsairs, Avengers, B-24s and cargo planes. They now seek clues and possibly remains of some 80 U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy airmen who are still missing in action.
“Somewhere in the waters of Palau, or deep within its marshy jungles, lie the answers some families have been waiting generations to hear,” Mr. Perry says. “I’m honored to lend a hand.”
Mr. Perry, incidentally, was an airman himself. He served 4 1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 to 1977; he flew the C-130 Hercules, a cargo aircraft.
The expedition to Palua is privately financed; no tax dollars in use here.
Mr. Perry will be joined by a number of vets, including including World War II vet Romus Valton “R.V.” Burgin, who served as a mortar man in the First Marine Division, in the and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. A documentary film is also in the works; Mr. Perry, meantime, recommends interested folk check the site BentProp.org