United States Navy Aircrew – 30 March 1944

Rock Island Avenger, 21-22 April 02 A number of years ago, a Navy TBM Avenger was discovered by a visiting pilot, Duncan Cameron, while exploring the rock islands along the western side of Ngeruktabel, which he immediately reported to the US consulate. While most of the Avenger lies upside down in ~ 25 feet of water along the northern base of the island, parts can also be seen on the island above the wreck.

Members from CILHI subsequently were called in from Hawaii and were able to confirm the crew’s identities from one set of dog tags (belonging to ARM2c Louis J. Sumers). They also removed some remains found on this Rock Island. This Avenger, flown by LT(jg) Jarrell S. Jenkins, with third crewmember AMM1c Thomas B. Conlen, was last seen in action by his USS Cabot wingmen beginning a dive on 30 March 44.

Although the crash was not witnessed, the aircraft appears to have impacted first onto the northern face of the coral island, then slid into the water at the island’s base. Dan Bailey later described the site in detail in his book, World War II Wrecks of Palau. The P-MAN IV team reexamined both the water site and the land site, photodocumenting the area and taking GPS readings. Considerable debris from the cockpit area, including canopy structure, remains on the island, which suggests the Avenger impacted inverted onto the island before sliding down into the water. The upside down port wing still displays an intact Yag radar antenna, which represents an early aerial application of this technology.


Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment