Justin R. Taylan
Series Creator
Email  justin@pacificghosts.com

Justin's grandparents were instrumental in the development of his curiosity or this era, a fascination that has developed into expertise. His first introductions to Pacific wartime history came from his grandparents. His paternal grandfather, a Filipino, who during the war assembled Chance-Vought F4U Corsair aircraft, and Boeing B-29s, while his relatives suffered under the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.

(r) Justin Taylan with villager and outer wing of Japanese Zero

His other grandfather, Carl R. Thien was a combat photographer and soldier in the US Army, serving in combat with the 201st Counter Intelligence Corps, in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. The story of Thien's Army service was the subject of Taylan's 1994 book No Place For A Picnic, an illustrated novel about his grandfather's wartime service and the resultant relationship fostered between grandfather and grandson. After publication, the book was awarded prominent accolades and reviews, including placement in the prestigious selection list for the New York Public Library. It was also favorably reviewed in the Washington Post and Voice of Youth Advocates, and in 1996 was selected by the New York Public Library as a feature book.

To research the book, Justin and his grandfather returned to the places the latter had during his war service in Australia and New Guinea - the first time since WWII he had returned. During that remarkable visit, Justin was staggered to still see the remains of war everywhere in New Guinea - bomb craters, remains of aircraft and abandoned army equipment. These observations sparked a burning desire to learn the history of these "Pacific Wrecks" - how they got there, and how and why they lie undisturbed to this day.

In 1997 Justin began utilizing the internet for research, and established the site Pacific Wreck Database. The website began as a database of Pacific wreckage and quickly grew with the help of veterans, authors, experts and travelers from around the world. Today, the site has become a huge community of participants and collaborators and to its own credit has assisted in the discovery of "new" wreck sites, identification of others, returning artifacts such as photographs and dog tags, and reuniting former aircrews. It has a puritanical and idealistic mission as well, for it advocates the protection of these sites, and actively discourages illegal salvage or destruction of these priceless relics.


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