U.S. - Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs
Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD)


Trip Report for TDY to
Kamchatka, Russia
30 June - 18 September 2001

1. Purpose of TDY:

a. Coordinate and help guide CILHI recovery effort for remains of US Navy World War Two PV-1 "Ventura" bomber crew lost 25 March 1944 on Mutnovskiy Volcano.
b. Conduct interviews, generate leads, and investigate other crash sites for information on missing US service personnel in the Russian Far East.


2. JCSD/DPMO Participants: MG Roland Lajoie, Mr. James MacDougall, Mr. Michal Kowalski, Maj Richard Reimers (JCSD Moscow), Cpt Dave Willis (JCSD Moscow).

3. Summary: The combined DPMO/CILHI advance party arrived in Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka on 4 August. The main body and their equipment arrived on 6 August. Throughout the operation, DPMO assistance was critical, as personnel applied country-specific knowledge and language ability in helping resolve a number of bureaucratic obstacles and coordinating local support. Once the recovery effort was fully underway, DPMO representatives also commenced interviewing local residents and investigating other possible US aircraft crash sites. Liaison with the permanent media presence proved to be labor intensive and time consuming. From 17-20 August MG Lajoie toured the site, met with surviving family members of one of the crewmen, and was interviewed by both NBC News and a documentary film crew. After his departure, the JCSD team conducted interviews and a search trip to the Northern Kuriles and Cape Lopatka. The CILHI team completed the recovery mission and departed Kamchatka on 10 September by USAF C-17.

4. Media: Media coverage to date has included segments on NBC Nightly News and the NBC Today Show. NBC will also air a Dateline segment. Parallax Productions will be producing a full-length documentary for PBS-Nova. On September 4, DPMO and CILHI representatives conducted a well-attended press conference. This event aired on local Russian television, and generated several favorable newspaper articles and radio reports. We also conducted telephone interviews with Associated Press and ITAR-TASS reporters.

5. Conclusion: This mission clearly met both of its objectives. The CILHI team anthropologist observed that the remains of at least two of the PV-1 Ventura aircrew were recovered. DPMO efforts to investigate other crash sites and generate leads were also very successful. Examples of these efforts include:

* Determination that aircraft wreckage we recovered from along the Avacha River, along with a data plate provided by a local source, are from a Lend-Lease A-20 Havoc aircraft.
* Identification of a crash site at Kambalniy Bay as that of a US Navy PV-1, which crashed August 20, 1944. The crew survived and was repatriated after the war.
* Recovery of part of a fuel bladder from a B-25, which apparently crashed at sea.
* Enough leads have been generated to justify a research trip to Kamchatka next year.

Courtesy DPMO Website - http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

Department of Defense,
Defense Prisoner Of War/Missing Personnel Office
2400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-2400