WWII Memorial to be dedicated on Pacific Island of Yap

WWII Memorial to be dedicated on Pacific Island of Yap

Yap Island, FSM, June 12th, 2010:  The Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB) and the Missing Air Crew Project (MACP) announce the dedication of one of the most unique World War II memorials in the Pacific. The newly constructed site displays the wreckage of a plane flown by Ens. Joseph Cox (from Idaho) and will be dedicated July 27th, symbolizing the tremendous sacrifice and loss of human life near this Pacific Island during WWII. The YVB and MACP have been working together for several years to preserve and remember this very special group of soldiers.

In the historical context of WWII and the Pacific theatre, American losses near Yap (now part of the Federated States of Micronesia) were substantial yet continue to be overlooked even today. Strategically located between the Philippines and Guam, Japanese occupied Yap was targeted almost daily from June of 1944 to August of 1945 at the cost of hundreds of American men, 110 of which remain classified as missing in action (MIA). Pat Ranfranz (from Cameron, WI), founder of the MACP has spent over 20 years researching Yap during WWII and the stories behind each soldier and his mission, hoping to preserve their memories for generations to come. Pat’s uncle is among the soldiers that remain MIA.

The memorial to be dedicated on July 27th displays the actual wreckage of an F6F-5 Hellcat flown by Ens. Joseph Cox, one of 36 planes American planes that fell near the island. Joseph’s plane was shot down with three other Hellcats from the USS Enterprise on September 6, 1944 and was only recently recovered moderately intact. “It is truly one of the most unique wrecks and now memorials in the Pacific,” explains Pat. “After the war, most of the wreckage throughout the world was picked over and removed. Fortunately in this case, the Yapese have respected the wreckages as grave sites and taken care to preserve them and remember the American men who lost their lives during the war.” Joseph’s plane was spared from the expanding Yap landfill in 2008 and relocated to government held land. Displayed on a concrete pad next to an all-weather sign and memorial marker describing the man, the plane, and the mission, the YVB together with the MACP were able to construct one of the finest memorials to American men lost in WWII’s Pacific theatre.

Pat Ranfranz is extremely grateful for the work that has been done to make the memorial come together. “This would not have been possible without the work done by the people of Yap and the Yap Visitors Bureau to save and preserve the American crash sites and wreckages that remained after the war. Too many people have forgotten the men who gave their lives for our freedom during WWII. This memorial and others on Yap Island will help to immortalize the forgotten and bring meaning to their sacrifices.”  Attending the dedication will be Yap Governor Sebastian Anefal, US Ambassador Peter A. Prahar and other dignitaries along with the 90 year old brother of the pilot, Ellis Cox of Idaho.

The memorial dedication, open to the press, will take place from 2-4pm near the Public Works building on the Island of Yap. Please contact the YVB for assistance if your organization would like to attend. Both Pat Ranfranz and representatives from the YVB are available for interviews between now and July (see the contact information at the top of this release). Pat Ranfranz will also be available in Tokyo July 19-20th and Guam July 20th while traveling to Yap. For more information about the memorial dedication and Missing Air Crew Project, visit: https://www.missingaircrew.com or https://www.mantaray.com.


Peter A. Prahar, U.S. Ambassador, Federated States of Micronesia standing in front of the Ens. Joseph Cox F6F-5 Hellcat Memorial on Yap Island.
Patrick Ranfranz stands next to the Ens. Joseph Cox F6F-5 Hellcat wreckage after it was saved.

Contact Information:

Patrick Ranfranz
Missing Air Crew Project
Tel: (715) 458-0020
Cell: (612) 282-5624

Bill Acker
Manta Ray Bay Resort
Tel: (691)350-2300
Fax: (691)350-4567 or 3841

1 thought on “WWII Memorial to be dedicated on Pacific Island of Yap”

  1. I just attended a WWII USS Enterprise reunion in Tulsa, OK June 11-13. My father, John Smart (88) flew Hellcats & was in Yap.
    My husband & I would like to do a scuba diving trip to Yap in 2011. I’d like to take my father with us God willing he is still alive & would go!
    Please send me any info on the WWII dive sites & Yap.
    Thank you!
    Laura Smart 425-233-9082 cell
    Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Availability & Reservations

Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly
11:27 21 Mar 18
We stayed at the hotel and dove with Manta Ray divers in early December 2017. The hotel is very comfortable, well run and staffed with wonderful employees. During our visit my wife came down with an illness and the consideration and support from the hotel and dive staff could not have been better.read more
Sandy Stinson
Sandy Stinson
16:03 03 Mar 18
The staff couldn't be more friendly and accommodating. Food is good, (worth upgrading to include all meals). Diving is good too.read more
Alex Divinsky
Alex Divinsky
17:24 01 Jan 18
The best place to stay in Yap. The resort is really nice and clean, the scuba diving is great, and the docked ship that houses the bar, restaurant, and movie screen is very cool. I really enjoyed my stay here.read more
10:44 01 Jan 18
Offers one of the best accommodation service. It also has a uniquely designed restaurant.
Yi-Hsin Lin
Yi-Hsin Lin
00:53 21 Feb 17
The whole place centers around the scuba diving operation. Probably better to find somewhere else if you're not a diver. The dive operation was generally good, but a little too laid back - schedules weren't always clear, and sometimes would change without any notice. Sometimes it was hard to tell if this was really because of changing tides/weather or because of the island pace of life. Pizza is a surprisingly good option at the restaurant.read more
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