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September 17, 2012

Al Kauslick emailed from the USA:

Hi from Al Kauslick in the USA. I was the Euclid Engineer from 1977/78 and 1988/89. I was there with my wife Rita. Rita passed away in 1997. After we returned from BCL in l978 she came down with encephalitis and had a very difficult time medically until she passed away. My job at BCL was to be with the Euclid R-170s and R-190s. The exciting part of my 2 tours had to do with the Yamamoto shoot down and wreckage over Buin. I visited the site several times and took photos, video tape, etc. My cousins husband, Jack Benner was a sergeant in the P-38 group that shot down Yamamoto and he knew the pilots and ground crew. I subsequently was involved with Tom Lanphier, Rex Barber, John Mitchell, et al who flew the mission. There was always a contraversy in the US as to actually shot down Yamamoto. The Air Force aces assn became involved because of the data I had generated and with the help of Senator Robert Dole a review board was set up at the Pentagon and the surviving pilots, ground crew and other experts testified for 3 days. Tom Lanphier had passed away by that time. Lanphier claimed publically many times that he approached Yamamotos Betty bomber from the right at right angles and shot off the right wing and the Betty crashed into the jungle. Rex Barber claimed that he came in from the rear at 6 o'clock and fired into the rear and left engine. The photos and video tape we took supported Barber's claim. However, after a long deliberation the Dept. of Defense refused to change the records and both Lanphier and Barber are equally credited. Barber and Mitchell passed away a couple of years ago. The air force aces assn. was trying to get the Medal of Honor for Barber and Mitchell, but were unsuccessful. If you all are interested try the web site: www.syma.org which is the web site for the Second Yamamoto Mission Assn.

I personally am in great medical shape at 72 years. I have remarried after being widowed for 3 years. I married a high school classmate of mine who was also widowed. When we got married we had a mission statement which is: Our objective in life is to have no objectives in life.

Good luck and good health to all the BCL alumni. Al Kauslick kauslick@cs.com.