In the autumn of 1944, the U.S. Marines and Army, and the Japanese Imperial Army fought for control of a six square mile island named Peleliu (now re-named Palau) in the South Pacific. The objective was to capture and hold the airstrip on the island, to use as a "stepping stone" base, as the U.S. got closer to what would be an eventual invasion of mainland Japan. The commander of the 1st Marine Division, which played a major role in the battle, thought the fighting would last four days. It took two months. It's  been called "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines".

Apart from the action on the ground during the battle, U.S. Marine and Navy aircraft were used to bomb the Japanese, many of whom were hidden a network of caves. A lot of planes were shot down or crashed, with many of those going down in the water near the island.

For years, a group called the BentProp Project has been looking for the planes and men that went down at Palau. So far, they've found 36 American planes and several Japanese planes. And, for the past three years, they've found some of those with the help of the Stockbridge (High School) Advanced Underwater Robotics Team.

On November 9th, Anderson Cooper will have a story on "60 Minutes" about BentProp Project. Part of that story will be how they've partnered with teacher Robert Richards and his students from Stockbridge High School to film these aircraft with their underwater robots. And a few days before the piece on "60 Minutes", a GoPro video will be released, documenting their successful 2014 trip to Palau. The premiere/fundraiser will be November 6th at the Michigan Theater in Jackson.

They're going back next year, but it's expensive and they need help to make it happen. Here's a link to their gofundme.com page, so you can donate.

Pretty cool, huh? Congratulations to all involved. And don't forget to watch them on "60 Minutes" on November 9th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

Banana Don can be reached via email at don.jefferson@townsquaremedia.com and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.