Around the drowned crater, the debris field extends in all directions.Large sections of the fuselage are intact, and Noddin mentions that a bear once used it as a den.Ravaged by black bear claws and more than a decade of North Woods winters, it still stands — as Grass puts it, “to let the world know that we don’t forget.” rom a 21st-century perspective, the carnage that Maine witnessed during World War II is hard to comprehend. “The logistics of ferrying all of these aircraft to Europe were very complex,” Noddin says.
“We had a little ceremony where we fired a one-gun salute as we read each of the names of the people on the plane,” Grass says.
Look more closely, though, and you notice the unusual geometry. They’re steep, almost 90 degrees, to a depth of about 18 inches. This placid pool in the vast woods, about 10 miles southwest of Caribou, is not a natural feature. No sooner were they airborne than they were recalled because of low clouds and visibility. A seventh, which had lost radio contact, made it safely to Newfoundland. Army investigators determined that the pilot likely became disoriented.
The plane came out of the clouds in a steep descent, too low to recover.
Most of the plane’s paint was burned off or has worn away, and almost 75 years of exposure has dulled the aircraft aluminum to a matte finish.
Still, most of the larger pieces show surprisingly little deterioration.Brambles hide fallen logs, and picking through the brush takes focus, but the first glimpse of the wreckage changes the searchers’ mood.