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Author Topic: October 1937 exploration  (Read 77535 times)

Mark Petersen

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #45 on: June 30, 2010, 11:14:55 AM »


If you look through the site you will see that TIGHAR has photographic evidence of tracks leading to the Lagoon and Windward Shore from the Seven Site.

Eh?  I hadn't heard this before (my apologies for playing catchup).  I checked the FAQ but didn't see mention of footprints.  By site do you mean the Forum or elsewhere on the website? 

Link for your information;

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Research/Bulletins/21_RecentHab/21_RecentHab.html

Thanks for the link!  Very interesting. 

"the surface survey made by USS Bushnell in November 1939, the map maker noted the presence of an "old trail" between the lagoon and the ocean at a location about one kilometer northwest of the “7.” The feature can be seen in the 1939 aerial mosaic and in the 1938 photo. "

What do we know about the old trail described in the bulletin?  (apologies again if this has already been discussed).
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Alan Williams

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2010, 11:31:19 AM »

Yes - Utah it is. Good stuff!

Hey, Ric, just wondering about how several different items I've come across  on the site might potentially intertwine together...

First, I've read you're looking at the next expedition possibly being in two years, 2012. I recall you writing that that would be the 75th anniversary of the flight, which would be a good media hook. Next, I've read the upcoming expedition might have for the first time a higher-profile sponsorship, which to me sounds like might entail things like multiple ships and professional camera crew and similar. Finally, I recall hearing serious consideration is being given to devoting the next expedition primarily to ROV exploration, with possibly of access to more expensive/sophisticated/deeper going/sensitive equipment than ever used at Niku for that purpose.

So, were a high-profile sponsor to kick in the funds to use exotic sensing gear, the expedition could potentially have confirmation of the smoking gun  on the actual day of discovery - that evening TIGHAR could have an Electra engine proudly identified. Maybe the expedition needs to take some bottles of champagne this time? Do I see a several part television show in the crystal ball?...

Regarding team members for the next expedition, I see bios for an earlier expedition but not for the most recent one. Just wondering, are most of the expedition members already chosen for the next expedition? Also, if the next effort will focus on remote sensing of the sea floor will you have a reduced on-island effort and consequently smaller team?

Just wondering, practically speaking, if some form of what I've described is accurate, and if so, wondering if there wouldn't be strong competition for places on the next team considering the possibly higher expectation it will come back with a conclusive find. Thoughts?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2010, 01:11:33 PM »

At this point, any discussion of the next expedition is wishful thinking.  We need to figure what we found on this trip before we know what another expedition could or should look like.  We've always wanted to do a conclusive search for the airplane in the deep water near the island.  We are, after all, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.  But deep water searches are expensive. We search on land because that's where we can afford to look, hoping to be able to establish a strong enough case that AE was there to be able to raise the money for a deep water search.

We should get bios up on the website for the Niku VI team.  They are an extraordinary group of people.

There is always strong competition for places on the team, but we always try to take several rookies.  On this trip we had a total of 15 regular team members (volunteers whose way was paid by TIGHAR).   Four were first-timers.

BTW, there was a professional camera crew covering this trip and the crystal ball seems to show a two-hour special on a major network possibly later this year.  I'll tell you more when I can.
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Michael HALL

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2010, 02:04:27 PM »

well there's two rookie positions taken, two down two to go

Oh for wishful thinking!  ::)

 ;D ;D ;D ;D
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2010, 05:00:10 PM »

In modern Search & Rescue terminology, what the Colorado fliers performed was a "hasty search."  It's the first step in the search process. Statistically, the probability of finding what you're looking for in a "hasty search" is about 10%.
I have read in some of the discussion posts from about eight years ago that the three observers on the Colorado planes were ROTC cadets.  I wonder where the trained observers were and why they were not aboard on this important mission.  Instead of having six pair of trained eyeballs looking for signs of  Earhart, Lambrecht had only his pilots to count on.  Those cadets probably were clueless and lost as a goose on the entire flyover.  That is the one part of the operation that does not set well with me, it seems unprofessional.

I hesitate to label the Colorado search as “hasty” because that is tantamount to labeling it a cursory search and that seems to be the major objection that the Lambrecht supporters and  heirs have.  Cursory denotes perfunctory and even nonchalant.  Lambrecht and his aviators should be given the benefit of the doubt and granted credit for doing the best job that they knew how to do.  Not seeing signs of Earhart nor the Electra on Gardner Island on July 9, 1937 does not make Lambrecht and his aviators incompetent nor does it make them guilty of malfeasance. They were honorable men sent forth on a mission and they did it to the best of their ability.  From my days as a combat helicopter pilot, years ago, we were sent on missions where we were not all that successful and some days suffered heavy combat damage, it was all part of the tour of duty.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #50 on: July 11, 2010, 08:03:50 PM »

I have read in some of the discussion posts from about eight years ago that the three observers on the Colorado planes were ROTC cadets.  I wonder where the trained observers were and why they were not aboard on this important mission.

The observers on the Gardner Island search were not ROTC cadets. Two were regular enlisted observers and one was the ship's Ass't 1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer.  The "trained observers" were not trained in aerial searching.  The mission of the battleship's planes was to act as forward observers to adjust the fire of the big guns.

I hesitate to label the Colorado search as “hasty” because that is tantamount to labeling it a cursory search and that seems to be the major objection that the Lambrecht supporters and  heirs have.  Cursory denotes perfunctory and even nonchalant.

"Hasty search" is a technical term.  The pilots did what they were ordered to do.  Nobody is faulting them.
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2010, 08:19:34 PM »

I have read in some of the discussion posts from about eight years ago that the three observers on the Colorado planes were ROTC cadets.  I wonder where the trained observers were and why they were not aboard on this important mission.

The observers on the Gardner Island search were not ROTC cadets. Two were regular enlisted observers and one was the ship's Ass't 1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer.  The "trained observers" were not trained in aerial searching.  The mission of the battleship's planes was to act as forward observers to adjust the fire of the big guns.

I hesitate to label the Colorado search as “hasty” because that is tantamount to labeling it a cursory search and that seems to be the major objection that the Lambrecht supporters and  heirs have.  Cursory denotes perfunctory and even nonchalant.

"Hasty search" is a technical term.  The pilots did what they were ordered to do.  Nobody is faulting them.

Not to belabor the point but the aerial search was a very significant event. It is central to your hypothesis.

According to your records, what specifically were the orders given to Lt. Lambrect in regards to the search of MeKean and Gardner?  I have read Capt. Friedell’s and Lambrect’s report but  find no mention of specific orders for the search planes. In the absence of specific orders how do you know “the pilots did what they were ordered to do.” 

Are the records of the U.S.S. Colorado available and if so where are they on your website?  If not, why? It would be interesting to review the logs and mission briefings if available, also what exactly was the stated mission of the float planes? I am not sure that the sole mission of the plane was aerial adjustment of Naval gunfire.  The sea plane was used as a scout and for patrol duties and later in search and rescue.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2010, 09:20:23 PM »

According to your records, what specifically were the orders given to Lt. Lambrect in regards to the search of MeKean and Gardner?  I have read Capt. Friedell’s and Lambrect’s report but  find no mention of specific orders for the search planes. In the absence of specific orders how do you know “the pilots did what they were ordered to do.”

We haven't found any record of written orders issued to the pilots or notes of briefings or debriefings so I guess we don't know what the pilots were ordered to do.  We do know that they went out and searched for the Earhart plane and it seems unlikely that they did that on their own initiative.

Are the records of the U.S.S. Colorado available and if so where are they on your website?  If not, why?

The Colorado deck log is on the DVD that comes with hard cover edition of Finding Amelia.

It would be interesting to review the logs and mission briefings if available, also what exactly was the stated mission of the float planes? I am not sure that the sole mission of the plane was aerial adjustment of Naval gunfire.  The sea plane was used as a scout and for patrol duties and later in search and rescue.

Great.  Let me know what you find out.
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Mark Petersen

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2010, 12:28:10 AM »

I am not sure that the sole mission of the plane was aerial adjustment of Naval gunfire.  The sea plane was used as a scout and for patrol duties and later in search and rescue.

Ric didn't say the sole mission, he said "the mission" meaning the primary mission.  It's common knowledge that sea planes from battleships from that era were primarily used as Ric has stated.  I doubt that pilots had a lot of training related to searching desert islands.  The depression era navy of 1937 had scant funds to work with which is why we started the war with torpedoes that didn't work and poor night fighting capability.  I'm sure that the pilots did the best with what they had though.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2010, 07:21:51 AM »

Some insight into the attitude of at least one of the Colorado pilots toward the Earhart search may be had from Lt. jg William Short's letter home, written during the search (also on the Finding Amelia DVD). In the mid-1930s U.S. Naval Aviation was somewhat like that of the Royal Air Force in those years - small, laid back, everybody knew everybody, sort of an exclusive flying club.
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2010, 09:54:13 AM »

I am not sure that the sole mission of the plane was aerial adjustment of Naval gunfire.  The sea plane was used as a scout and for patrol duties and later in search and rescue.

Ric didn't say the sole mission, he said "the mission" meaning the primary mission.  It's common knowledge that sea planes from battleships from that era were primarily used as Ric has stated.  I doubt that pilots had a lot of training related to searching desert islands.  The depression era navy of 1937 had scant funds to work with which is why we started the war with torpedoes that didn't work and poor night fighting capability.  I'm sure that the pilots did the best with what they had though.

The problem I have with that argument is that the inference is:  that the pilots and observers on the planes from the Colorado were primarily adjusters of Naval gunfire, were not well trained, under funded in the depression, therefore, they knew nothing about reconnaissance much less how to scout an Island, however, bless their hearts,  they did the best that they could and it is no mystery why they did not find Earhart.

This is the inference that I have observed throughout this forum and website and I don’t think that it is correct.  It is an indictment of Lambrecht and the USS Colorado and appears to be made for the purpose of  impeaching the report of Lambrecht that he saw no signs on Gardner that would warrant a further search.
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2010, 09:56:22 AM »

Some insight into the attitude of at least one of the Colorado pilots toward the Earhart search may be had from Lt. jg William Short's letter home, written during the search (also on the Finding Amelia DVD). In the mid-1930s U.S. Naval Aviation was somewhat like that of the Royal Air Force in those years - small, laid back, everybody knew everybody, sort of an exclusive flying club.
Ric, from my experience, that is still the atmosphere in Naval aviation, at least it was at Subic Bay with the 7th Fleet in the 60s and 70s.   
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Scott Erwin

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #57 on: July 13, 2010, 03:20:57 PM »

Some insight into the attitude of at least one of the Colorado pilots toward the Earhart search may be had from Lt. jg William Short's letter home, written during the search (also on the Finding Amelia DVD). In the mid-1930s U.S. Naval Aviation was somewhat like that of the Royal Air Force in those years - small, laid back, everybody knew everybody, sort of an exclusive flying club.
Ric, from my experience, that is still the atmosphere in Naval aviation, at least it was at Subic Bay with the 7th Fleet in the 60s and 70s.   

You say that like it's a BAD thing...

~ A former Naval Aviator
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William G Torgerson

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #58 on: July 13, 2010, 06:12:37 PM »

Some insight into the attitude of at least one of the Colorado pilots toward the Earhart search may be had from Lt. jg William Short's letter home, written during the search (also on the Finding Amelia DVD). In the mid-1930s U.S. Naval Aviation was somewhat like that of the Royal Air Force in those years - small, laid back, everybody knew everybody, sort of an exclusive flying club.
Ric, from my experience, that is still the atmosphere in Naval aviation, at least it was at Subic Bay with the 7th Fleet in the 60s and 70s.   

Hey, I was at Subic, not stationed but just visiting from the Midway AirWing, in the '60's and I can tell you that if we were given a mission we did our level best to do it properly.

Additionally, I have some experience doing air searches and I can tell you that under the best of circumstances they are not easy.  People are small objects and it's a big world.
The Mark 1 Mod 2 eyeball is not the optimal location device .... but it's what we have to make do with.

Bill Torgerson (who has about a 50% success rate)
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Mark Petersen

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Re: October 1937 exploration
« Reply #59 on: July 13, 2010, 06:48:33 PM »

Jeff, well said!  I think your post nails it on the head.
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