Project Recover Mission, Palau.]Photo by Harry Parker Photography

MIA Family Travels To Palau with Project Recover to Uncle’s Crash Site

Lauren Trecosta Families, MIAs 1 Comment

The MIA family of ARM2c Albert “Bud” Rybarczyk, USNR, traveled to Palau to join Project Recover on their most recent mission. Cindy Gray, Bud’s niece, and her son, Adam, flew to Palau in April 2019. They wanted to get as close as possible to where their Uncle Bud flew his final mission. For the family of Bud Rybarczyk, this was another extraordinary event in a series of miraculous unfoldings over the last couple of years. In 2014, Project Recover located his downed TBM Avenger WWII aircraft in the waters off Palau. Rybarczyk crashed after completing a bombing mission on September 8, 1944. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified Rybarczyk’s remains and accounted for him on August 16, 2017. Four …

Heaven Can Wait Family Reunion - Project Recover is committed to bringing the MIA home. Photos by Harry Parker

Relatives of WWII B-24 Crew Gather For Heaven Can Wait ‘Family Reunion’

Lauren Trecosta Families, MIAs 10 Comments

Heaven Can Wait Family Reunion On March 11, 1944, a World War II B-24 bomber called Heaven Can Wait came under anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the waters off Papua, New Guinea, killing all 11 crew members onboard. Seventy-four years later, on October 13th, 2018, relatives of the crew members gathered for a “family reunion” in Victoria, Minnesota. Using side-scanning sonars, high definition images, and underwater robotic technologies, Project Recover located the B-24 in 2017 under 213 feet of water. The family of  Bombardier 2nd Lt. Thomas V. Kelly, Jr, provided extensive research helping Project Recover to locate the aircraft within two weeks on the water. Scott Althaus, lead Kelly family researcher and first cousin once removed to the Bombardier, …

Finding ‘Heaven Can Wait’; Family Shares MIA Research

Lauren Trecosta MIAs, Research 16 Comments

Kelly Family Shares MIA Research On Memorial Day 2013, Scott Althaus did what he thought every family should do on Memorial Day; he began searching WWII records for his family’s war heroes and MIAs. One of the men he wanted to research was his cousin once removed, 2nd Lt. Thomas Kelly, Jr., who had been Missing In Action (MIA) since 1944. Lt. Kelly served as a bombardier in an 11-member crew aboard a B-24 bomber called Heaven Can Wait. Their mission that day was to bomb anti-aircraft positions on Awar Point at the northwest corner of Hansa Bay. Kelly’s B-24 took fire, became engulfed in flames, and crashed into the water off Papua New Guinea. According to a 1992  letter …