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FrFan

Until they are home: Navy diver searches for Americans MIA

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I posted this one because we shall not forget about people who gave their lives to make ours better, and also because I dove over 10 times on this B17 wreck (Calvi being my hometown). Unfortunately this B17 was damaged by a boat anchor and plundered throughout the years.

October 24, 2012 - In February 1944, a B-17 aircraft was attacked by German fighter planes and crash landed in the Mediterannean Sea just off the coast of Calvi, Corsica, France.

Now, 68 years after the plane came to rest less than 100 feet below the surface, and less than 300 yards from shore, it is the mission of Navy Diver Senior Chief Michael Woods, to bring home an American lost in that World War II battle.

"I think this mission we are on is very important and another testament to how great our nation is," said Woods, part of a Navy recovery dive team working for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). "Regardless of when or where, we will do everything possible to bring our brothers and sisters home."

Woods, a 38-year-old Warren native who resides in Virginia Beach when not deployed, is corresponding with kindergarteners in Toni Schlaire's class at Oakwood Elementary School. The students send cards and care packages to show their support.

Continue here...

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A few time before arriving on target, the 97th Bomber-Group is attacked by german fighters.

A B-17, serial 42-31044, is badly hit by enemy shots. We have foud the pilot of this plane, second leutenant Frank G. Chaplick, who told us with details his last and terrific mission :

"F. Chaplik report : while approaching our target, the group had to make a marked left turn to correct our attack angle envisaged on the flight road. Our plane being on the right wing of the formation, I was shifted and almost isolated to prevent a risk of collision. That was fatal for us, because our B-17 was took under enemy shootings.

With 2 engines in fire, and a third with cough, ther was othing left to do, even holding the commands

Unfortunately, our radio-operator and the side machine gunner had been killed during the attack. Quite as terrible, our tail machine gunner have just the force to inform us by the intercom that he was dying.

Suddenly, a Me-109 had the bad idea to fly side by side with us on our left a few moment!

Immediately, the navigator directed the two .50 machine guns of the chin turret on him and sifted it literally of impacts.

The German plane dive of the nose by releasing a long black plume of smoke, while P-47 arrived extremely fortunately at the rescue stopping immediatly the fight.

One of them escorted us and we took a direct course to Corsica.

Then, a call with the Calvi's control tower let us know that the landing track was to short to receive a damaged plane of our size.

I decided then, in spite of our 2 now cut engines (fire having been extinct thanks to the wings extinguishers), to make a first passage to evaluate the ground. Again on the sea, I was on our final approach when the third damaged engine stopped. Now, having enough power at this time and losing immediatly altitude, I had nothing any more but one choice: to make a water landing.

That's the way I landed the B-17 on the water, very close in front of the Calvi's citadel.The plane didn't break during the operation, and floated a few minutes, which enabled us to evacuate it, except the 3 machine gunners killed during the attack and whose bodies sunk with the wrecks."

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