TIGHARs on Tinian 5

November 12, 2004
5:30 a.m., Fleming Hotel, San Jose Village

But for Hiro and his students, the whole group was assembled around the table in the Fleming Restaurant last night. I don’t have all the names memorized – there’s Joe the charter pilot, former sailor (following in Noonan’s footsteps), but I didn’t retain his last name. Similarly with Arthur, “expedition coordinator” for The Deep radio show – nice guy with a fascinating travel background – and several members of the video team.

Mike Fleming
Mike Fleming. Photo by Tom King.

As I’ve seen happen before, there was great concern about “controlling the release of information,” and as has happened before, I got upset and became overly aggressive in promoting an open-communication policy. When will I learn? The leadership expects big discoveries and doesn’t want them misreresented; therefore they impose a release policy that turns out to imply that the archaeologists have to get management sign-off on their technical photos, that we can’t send reports (like this one) home to our friends, colleagues, (in Kar’s case) financial supporters, and people with a need to know (like, in this case, Amy Kleppner). And that if a reporter pops out from behind a rock and asks one of us a question we’ve got to refer them to management. I find this kind of thing – which happens innocently, I’m sure – very, very irritating, and have difficulty controlling the sarcasm with which I let people know it. Kar, Marilyn, Randy and Mike had similar concerns, but were more polite about it, and I think we eventually reached agreement that we can talk to folks and have control of our own notes and images, but will not represent ourselves as sharing the “official” output or statements of the project. I remember similar arguments like this early in TIGHAR’s days in the field, similarly resolved, and I recall kicking myself afterwards for being such a nasty, offensive, arrogant SOB. Some things never change.

Mike also explained his plans for the fieldwork. He’s expecting Bob and St. John to point out the depressions they found last year, which Mr. Naftel is sure are the ones he saw back in ’44, and we’ll then clear them of vegetation, map them in, and dig them as expeditiously as possible. He says there’s physical and anecdotal evidence of bulldozing at the site, which is worrisome. Are the depressions really artifacts of grave digging in the 1940s, or tractor-tread gouging in the 1980s?

Breakfast at 7; on-site by 8.

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