Sun, May 27, 2012
The Pilot Went Down Flying A C-47 In 1942
It was often called the "skyghway to hell" ... but was perhaps better known as "The Hump". The region in the Himalayan mountains claimed nearly 700 airplanes, and often their crews, as the U.S. worked to help supply China during its war with Japan.
Clayton Kuhles, a self-described "adventurer", has reportedly spent $100,000 of his own money in an effort to locate some of those planes that went down, and bring closure to the families who lost loved ones during the war. According to a report appearing in the U.K. newspaper The Mail, he has found 22 crash sites. His most recent find was a C-47 which went down on November 17th, 1942, flown by 21-year-old James Brown of Winnetka, IL.
Brown was flying with Captain John Dean, a Flying Tigers veteran and a Chinese crewman when the plane went down. After much research, he located what he thought to be the coordinates of the crash ... Cangshan Mountain in Burma. He made three trips to the region in an effort to locate the wreckage. He finally did so with the help of only a 17-year-old guide. He fought his way through a thick stand of bamboo at 14,000 feet, and found the airplane.
Kuhles, who travels to the region every year in his quest to locate missing airmen, said that finding the airplane was a bit like opening an ancient Egyptian tomb. While he is unable to bring back human remains due to a strict transportation ban, he is able to bring back personal items such as dog tags for families. And he brings those families the comfort of knowing where their loved ones lie.
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