Flight's most important objective is to research loss
underwrite annual expeditions to search for MIAs.
2008 History Flight funded and conducted two six-week
long searches in the Marshall, Caroline and Gilbert
Islands. One search resulted in the finding of U.S.
Navy Pilot Lt. Harry Brown in the wreckage of his airplane
that was shot down over the Pacific Island
of Yap. A second MIA Hellcat was found by a History
Flight-funded search in 2009.
History Flight also hired a geophysical inspection
firm and brought a geophysicist
to the island of Tarawa to search for "lost" Marine
graves with a ground penetrating radar. In the six
weeks that our team spent
on Tarawa – interviewing local residents
who had accidentally unearthed
20 American skeletons during construction activity
on the island – we were able to locate,
identify and survey five large
American burial sites and three individual sites that contained
over 200 U.S. Marines left behind after WWII. It is
the largest single MIA find in the history of the American Armed
In May 2009 we completed a comprehensive, 400-page
report on our Tarawa findings and submitted it to the
U.S. Government in the hope that they will mount a
Clockwise from upper left: History
Flight Director Mark Noah (left) with Pat and
Cherie Ranfranz (MIssing Air Crew Project) and
two Yapese guides during 2008 mission to Yap; American
Sherman tank discovered in
1997 on Peleliu, whose crew, MIA since 1944, was finally
returned home; Wreck of an F6F-5 from the USS Enterprise
piloted by Lt Harry Brown, whose
were found in the wreck by he Missing Aircrew Project
and History Flight in 2008; and Ground-penetrating
radar being put to good use on
Tarawa by geophysicist James Harrison, who worked
with History Flight when we located
the lost graves of over 200 Marines missing
in action since WWII.
In August 2009 Congressman
Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced a non-binding resolution
in the U.S. House of Representatives supporting the
recovery of the Tarawa Marine graves. In September
the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command spent two weeks on
Tarawa in a preliminary mission prior to their major
recovery effort planned for 2010.
In October 2009, the 2010
Defense Spending Authorization Bill Section 523 specifically
directed the Dept. of Defense to recover the Marine
graves from Tarawa and
to recognize the civilian
search and research efforts that made the discovery
possible. In November
History Flight was invited to brief the 2nd Marine
Division Tarawa Veteran's
Reunion on the subject and we received thanks from senior
USMC leadership members for our role in this effort.
support of our programs has helped make this and future searches possible and is greatly appreciated.
Under the personal supervision of our Airframe and
Powerplant-certified FAA-rated flight instructors,
History Flight provides flight instruction scholarships
as well as an introduction to hands-on aircraft maintenance,
repair, and restoration to young people who demonstrate
a keen interest and financial need. We are seeking
to expand our program from two students per year to
ten, and your support will enable us to have a very
positive impact on the lives of promising, aviation-oriented
young people with a respect for historic American aviation,
regardless of family economics.
In exchange for significant donations, History Flight offers educational flights to managers or employees of sponsoring corporations and foundations. These programs can be customized to suit the donor, and can range from hands-on introductory flights in beautifully restored WWII aircraft to a series of lessons in how to fly them. This can be both a very exciting adventure and a valuable motivational tool for quality employees and officials.
We invite you to share our dedication to these objectives by providing donations of cash, appreciated securities, or any type of mission-related equipment for which we will provide a tax deduction based on fair market value.