Looking Through a Straw for a Needle in a Haystack…

So there, I said it, but let me translate that into Japanese so that they can appreciate it as much as you will: 干し草の山の中から針のためのストローを通して見る.

Whew! Glad that’s off my chest…

I have spent the past few weeks painstakingly looking at one areal photo after another of the Operation Hailstone ( トラック島空襲 Torakku-tō Kūshū, lit. “the airstrike on Truk Island”) attack that occurred on the Truk Lagoon atoll on February 16-17, 1944.  Now why would I be doing this?  Well you see it has to do with that pesky concrete slab that the passengers and crew are allegedly buried within (or underneath). As you may realize by some of these photos like here:


Or here:


Maybe even here:


that there are a WHOLE LOT of #@!%^&*$ slabs down there.  Sheesh!  Just to put the task into a better perspective, the island population at the time of the attack is estimated as high as fifty-four thousand military and local population (although it has shrunk to less than 3,200 (1980 census) at the present time.  However on both my previous visits in 2010 and 2011, I would put the population far lower at around 300-500, but who’s counting now?  Before it had laundry facilities, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters, library, sea plane base, electrical grid, vast plumbing system, communication lines… oh, and a huge military operation. So, that too.  After Operation hailstone, and a few other attacks here and there, and the island was reduced to pretty much what it is today.  I really feel for these folks that live there now, as they don’t even have a functioning road system or a reliable electrical grid.  And to meet and speak with them, it don’t really seem to matter anyway as most people I met, both young and old, were friendly, helpful, and offered me assistance without hesitation.

Throughout their continued hardship, they are still helpful and generous with their time and sweat, as you can see in a short video I took of them digging a huge hole, one of many, to find a buried building foundation.


So, now I continue to sift between WWII battle damage photos and compare them with photos from present day.  Let’s hope I can remove the straw or find a huge magnifying glass and get down to business.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Seeklar Diaries says:

    Did any of the mission briefings or damage assessment reports ever mention or mark ‘no go’ targets like hospitals? Ever come across post-occupation Engineer or Provost Marshal reports?


    1. Hello Seeklar,

      They sure did but as oten happens in war, targets were missed or struck accidentally as was the hospital in question.


  2. John Bayer says:

    Guy, I know GPR is one of the tools you’d like to use – this article may give you some more food for thought: http://io9.com/how-surveillance-technology-helps-us-find-lost-civiliza-1199363735

    All the best!


    1. Many thanks John, excellent article and much appreciated.

      All the best,



      1. johnrbayer says:

        You’re welcome. Have a great holiday season.



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