Volume 14 # 1
May 1998
Departures
This spring has seen the passing of two players in the Earhart drama. Amelia’s sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey, passed away on March 5th at the age of 95. Mrs. Morrisey had not been well for several years and had long since told all she knew about her famous sister and made public what letters and papers she had. We kept her informed of TIGHAR’s activities but never asked to interview her.

On April 16 Ruckins “Bo” McKneely died in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was 89. Bo had been Earhart’s mechanic in 1936 and 1937, and we interviewed him by phone in 1992. His most interesting recollection involved “that fellow Noonan” who, he said, didn’t think much of the fancy navigator’s station installed in the cabin of the Electra. “He rode up front and took his sightings right through the windshield.”

Arrival
Code Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War by George J. Veith. Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 1998. 408 pp, cloth. $25 U.S./ $35 Canada.

Although not about airplanes or archaeology, this book is about sound historical research and correcting common misconceptions. With black POW/MIA flags still fluttering around the country, this detailed and well-written review of the forgotten wartime efforts to account for and rescue lost and captured personnel is both timely and instructive.

Of particular interest to us is that the author, Jay Veith (TIGHAR #0767CE) honed his skills as an historical investigator on Project Midnight Ghost, our search for the lost French transatlantic aviatiors Charles Nungesser and François Coli.

TIGHARs At Work

Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research

AAIRCraig Fuller, TIGHAR #1589C, has formed a company which will research USN and USAAC/USAF accident reports for a modest charge. Craig says, “We have over 80,000 reports on file and we are adding about 5,000 a month. We will send you your report within one week of receiving your request. In the event that we do not have it on file, we will notify you immediately, obtain the report, and send it to you in ten to twelve weeks.” The reports are copied from microfilm; the only way to get them before was to either order the entire roll of microfilm, or go where the microfilm lives. An excellent and worthwhile service. Get in touch with Craig at Falcon Field Station Box 22049, Mesa, AZ  85277; telephone 480.218.8198; email AAIR@aviationarcheology.com; web site http://www.aviationarcheology.com.

Geoffrey Kruesi and the RDF

JapanYoshio Hanai, TIGHAR #1373, is interested in acquiring any information available on Geoffrey Kruesi. Kruesi was a Swiss engineer who probably took out U.S. citizenship. He designed the radio direction finder which was manufactured by Fairchild Co. During the 1930s the Imperial Japanese Navy imported the Fairchild RDF and installed it on Zero fighters, carrier based bombers, and carrier based dive bombers – including in the aircraft used in the Pearl Harbor attack. So ubiquitous was this instrument that the pilots referred to it as a “Kruesi.”

If anyone can help dig out any information, personal or professional, about Kruesi, please get in touch with Yoshio Hanai, 3-4-204, Utukusigaoka 1-18, Aoba-ku, Yokohama 225, Japan; telephone (81) 45-902-8961.

Second Yamamoto Mission Association

USAGeorge Chandler, TIGHAR #0682C, of Pratt, Kansas, has sent us an exhaustive report on the activities of the Second Yamamoto Mission Association (SYMA).

SYMA has spent 14 years researching the shoot-down of Admiral Yamamoto over Bougainville in 1943. The USAF currently gives credit for the shoot-down to Rex Barber and Thomas Lanphier equally. SYMA has as its goals:

1) To encourage the Navy to re-examine the recommendation by Admiral Halsey that Barber be given the Navy Cross, rather than the Medal of Honor recommended by his local commander. The change in the recommendation was based on Halsey’s mistaken impression that the pilots involved had violated security and told the press that the Japanese codes had been broken; however, this has been shown not to have been the case, but rather that the breaking of the code was common knowledge.

2) To encourage the Office of Air Force History to review the complete file on the Yamamoto Mission and the awarding of shared victory. SYMA feels, based on their research, that the mission victory should have been awarded solely to Rex Barber.

Anyone who would like more information about SYMA and the research this fine group has done should write to George Chandler, P. O. Drawer N, Pratt, Kansas 67124; or call 316/672-6421.


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