Peleliu is a small volcanic island in Palau strategically located between the Marianas and the Philippines. It has been vitally important to the Japanese since 1918 and served as their regional headquarters during World War II. The Japanese defended Peleliu with over 10,000 troops and held over 30,000 troops on the main islands of Babeldaob, expecting the main battle to be there.
The Battle of Peleliu was among the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater. Of approximately 28,000 US troops on Peleliu, 35 percent were either killed or wounded. In all, 1,800 U.S. servicemen were killed and 8,000 wounded in the Battle of Peleliu.
How We Helped
In April 2014, Hillwood Airways, then known as ATX Air Services, teamed up with Darcy Anderson, Hillwood vice chairman, to travel to the Republic of Palau in support of a volunteer expedition. The volunteer expedition was part of the efforts of the non-profit BentProp Project, founded in 1993 by Dr. Pat Scannon to identify World War II wreck sites and the remains of U.S. service members within the Palau Islands.
Hillwood Airways provided transportation for members of the team, including Governor and First Lady Rick and Anita Perry, their daughter Sydney and several U.S. military veterans. Among them were former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, founder of the Lone Survivor Foundation, and 92-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Texas, R.V. Burgin, a survivor of the Battle of Peleliu and the author of the book, Islands of the Damned.