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Author Topic: After the Landing  (Read 279259 times)

C.W. Herndon

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #195 on: June 12, 2012, 01:26:09 PM »

We also used a lot of colored smoke (notice that our smoke was different from yours) to mark pickup and landing zones. The only way to quickly find them. The ground troops also carried brightly colored (there's that word again) panels to help mark their location.
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #196 on: June 12, 2012, 11:37:42 PM »


All I'm trying to do is to establish the right category for the act of faith that you and Malcolm share. 

No act of faith, in fact I haven't indulged in an act of faith for as long as I can remember. I am simply suggesting that because we are told in a video flyover of the island that people are hard to see then that will condition those not used to it to accept the idea. I didn't have that problem - however I am used to using my sight to find objects in unusual places. It is a matter of experience, not magic or even any real distinctive ability. Just something you learn. I might add that much of my aerial observation was done from leaning out a helicopter's open door in temperatures that would match Nikumaroro's at the height of summer so I can appreciate what one of those navy observers was facing. Damn good fun though  ;D

It is a matter of getting the eye in tune. On my very first excursion to a site as a baby archaeologist I couldn't for the life of me spot a single stone flake amongst the bits of rock and stone - not one, while all around me people were finding them everywhere. I finally gave up on the pride, admitted my utter incapacity to see anything and asked one of my fellow students to point one out to me - then it was like a light bulb moment, all the theoretical stuff I knew from class about the bulbs of percussion, the striking platform, the small flake marks on the surface etc. just sought of sprang into 3D. After that I never a problem - in fact on surveys for mining companies our geologists would often come along with me on a bit of the survey just to see what the archaeology business was all about. They all had the same problems I had on my first excursion as a student, which was all bits of broken stone look the same, and then after I showed them what to look for suddenly we had all these budding archaeologists. It is simply a trick of the trade - nothing especially brilliant.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 12:07:34 AM by Malcolm McKay »
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john a delsing

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #197 on: June 13, 2012, 12:03:30 AM »

Jeff,  at Fort Campbell, Ky. home of the 101st Airborne division, we jumped at 1250 ft. and used smoke to judge wind drift. Aircraft usually were; C119, C123, C124, or C130's. Heli's were H34's or Huey's. and yes, we could easly see people on the ground. I don't think I am the only TIGHAR member to belive if AE /FN were still alive, that 6 people, in 3 airplanes, each airplane viewing the ground below at different angles, would have spotted her ( or them ). Of course there is the possibility that she was never on this island.
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Gary LaPook

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #198 on: June 13, 2012, 03:09:42 AM »



(BTW, Andrew, can you explain how you got the extremely low PODs in reply #6. Do you have other POD tables than the ones I posted that cover these extremely low PODs? If so, please post them. Since you claimed that it takes 4 passes to raise the cumulative probability of detection to just 0.95%, if searching for a person in dense cover, how many passes would it take to raise the cumulative POD to the 80% necessary to end the search? Let's say you had to search for a missing person in heavy cover in a quadrangle five miles on a side. Using your numbers, it would take flying 200 miles just to get to the 0.95% cumulative POD. (0.5 mile spacing means 10 tracks each 5 miles long = 50 miles, times 4 passes = 200 miles.) A Cessna 172 flying at 90 mph would take two hours and 15 minutes and there would be additional hours for flying to and from the search area and for making the turns at the ends of each track. A Cessna 172 costs about $120 per hour so this search would cost at least $300 and would produce less than a one percent probability of finding the missing person so it must cost about a zillion dollars to raise the POD to the 80% necessary to end the search. In your experience, Andrew, what track spacing was used for searching for persons in the woods of Colorado and how many passes were made prior to ending the search? Do you have any of your work sheets that you used for planning such searches that you could scan in and share with us?)

gl
I reviewed some older posts made my Andrew before I got involved on this forum and found that Andrew had used the POD table in a more reasonable manner here, the exact same way I used it in my prior posts on this subject. He assumed a one mile search visibility (I had used a four mile search visibility, which I still think is correct) and half mile track spacing (as had I) and came up with a 10% POD for spotting a person in the thick brush for one pass using the same method with the POD tables that I had used, (my calculation resulted in 30%.) He then correctly used the cumulative POD table to show that the POD would rise to 20% after three passes. Let's use Andrew's numbers. The track spacing would actually have been less than 0.5 NM because the strip of land is much narrower than that so the POD per pass would actually have been greater than 10%. (See diagram of search tracks here.)Continuing the cumulative POD calculation, the three planes had enough time, 18 to 28 minutes according to Ric, for each of them to complete 3 to 5 complete circuits of the island. Each pass by each of the planes is an additional search for cumulative POD purposes so there were actually 9 to 15 passes, not the three that Andrew stopped his calculation at. Even using the low 10% per pass assumed by Andrew, the cumulative POD increases to 85% after 9 passes, and this is using Andrew's numbers, not mine, it should actually be higher. So even if they were not able to get to the beach when they heard the planes the POD is still quite high, much higher than Ric and Andrew estimated.

Looking at spotting Earhart and Noonan in the open, on the beach or reef, and using Andrew's one mile search visibility and 0.5 mile track spacing, the POD table shows a 35% POD for one pass. (I had computed 75% using the four mile search visibility.) This increases to 60% after the second pass,(using Andrew's numbers) 70% after the third pass (one circuit of the island by the three planes), 80% after the fourth pass, 85% after the fifth pass and 90% after the sixth pass (two circuits by the three planes). Since the track spacing was actually less than 0.5 NM the POD would actually be higher for each pass and with possibly 15 passes the cumulative POD would be above 90%.

Ric speculates that they were deep in the bush and did not have time to get out into the open before the search planes departed, but does this make any sense? Ric has described the great difficulty in hacking through the scavola so why would Earhart attempt to do that unless they saw a McDonald's sign beckoning from the interior. And they did not have the machetes that Ric's party had. Ric speculated that they would do this to obtain some shade from tall trees in the interior but the helicopter overflight shows tall trees right on the beach. The Bevington photo also shows tall trees on the beach so there is then  no reason for the Earhart to struggle through the scavola since they could set up camp in the shade of the trees along the beach.


The search and rescue manual, including the probability of detection tables, was developed by serious, professional people dedicated to the saving lives. Since these tables would be used to plan searches and to decide when to terminate a search it is quite likely that the PODs were conservative and pessimistic and not optimistic and they they actually understate the POD. If they overestimated the POD then searches would be terminated prematurely, leading to the death for the lost person. Based on this it is also likely that well trained search personnel actually achieve higher POD than the table predicts. So even if the Navy searchers were not as proficient and as well trained as modern personnel they probably were able to obtain the stated PODs or very close to them, well above the 10 to 20% claimed by Ric.

So IF Eahart was on Gardner there was a high probability that they would have been spotted even if they were in the bush and a very high probability if they were in the open which supports my contention that they were never there.

gl

gl
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 03:33:10 AM by Gary LaPook »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #199 on: June 13, 2012, 03:23:33 AM »

John, I have spent most of my life living less than 40 miles from Fort Campbell and its drop zones. I have seen them and flown over the surrounding area for years as a professional pilot. I also spent a tour at Fort Bragg as a paratrooper. I will agree that the paratroopers used the smoke to estimate wind speed and direction. So did the pilots, however the pilots also used to smoke to help plan their approach to the drop zone to compensate for that wind so that the paratroopers could land on the drop zone and not in the trees. They had to start their approach from miles out in order to arrive at a point to start the drop that would allow the paratroopers to drift to the DZ. T-10 parachutes did not allow for much last minute correction of where you were going to land, especially from 1250 feet of altitude.

We usually had "path finders" on the ground who talked to the pilots to help with wind speed and direction but that included only the last mile or so of the flight. They sometimes also used a radio beacon to help guide the aircraft to the DZ but the smoke allowed the pilots a final fix to the drop zone to home in on.

I will agree that you can see hundreds of paratroopers with parachutes and equipment on the relatively flat and "cleared" area of a drop zone but things are a lot different with only a few people in an area with fairly "lush" vegetation.

I don't know if AE and FN were on Niku or not but I do believe, based on my experiences, that it would have been very hard to have spotted them from those old aircraft, on that atoll, and at the altitude that they flew unless AE and FN had been using some type of highly visable markers.
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« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 04:29:05 AM by C.W. Herndon »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #200 on: June 13, 2012, 07:37:45 AM »

No act of faith, in fact I haven't indulged in an act of faith for as long as I can remember.

You've told us that you believe in doubting.  It's part of your creed.

Here is the act of faith I was questioning:

Those naval aviators were trained observers not just people grabbed out of the crew for the task so I would allow them some professional expertise and I expect that you should do so also.

You believe without evidence--at least, without any evidence you have brought into this discussion--that the kind of training given the observers equipped them with "professional expertise."  I've asked to see the evidence upon which this assertion is based; without evidence, it is merely an opinion--a belief held without objective evidence in its favor.

My belief about the value of their training differs from yours.  I'd be happy to modify my belief if you provide the evidence.  Until then, it is merely a contest of beliefs.  I've provided what evidence I can that S.A.R. is a WWII development.  What evidence do you have that training in directing naval gunnery included training in doing aerial searches for survivors?

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... I am used to using my sight to find objects in unusual places. It is a matter of experience, not magic or even any real distinctive ability. Just something you learn.

We agree that people can learn how to use their sense of sight better.

We disagree whether the training given the naval observers provided them with the kind of experience necessary to learn how to improve the odds of spotting survivors.  That was your thesis.  As far as I can determine, it is a fact-free assertion.

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It is simply a trick of the trade - nothing especially brilliant.

Yes, the S.A.R. folks also have accumulated tricks of the trade.  The relevant question is whether such a body of knowledge existed in 1937 and whether it was transmitted to the six men who flew the Niku mission in their training.  Anecdotes about what you learned to do on the ground are not evidence about the kind of training given to those men.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #201 on: June 13, 2012, 10:23:36 AM »

The search report said “Here signs of recent habitation were clearly visible but repeated circling and zooming failed to elicit any answering wave from possible inhabitants and it was finally taken for granted that none were there”

1.   If they repeatedly zoomed and circled the same spot they saw signs, then they spent less time searching elsewhere on the island.

2.   If flying in formation, some sets of eyes could be busy staying in formation, as well as navigating, working radios, signaling each other etc.

3.   They may not have even heard the planes to come out of cover.

4.   They may have heard the planes, came out of cover, only by then the planes were repeatedly zooming and circling the area where they saw signs, someplace they were not at that time.

5.   The time the search took place was after radio signals stopped, and when AE and FN may have started to search the island and left the area near the plane where they left 6 days worth of signs of recent habitation.
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #202 on: June 13, 2012, 07:00:22 PM »


You've told us that you believe in doubting.  It's part of your creed.

Here is the act of faith I was questioning:

Those naval aviators were trained observers not just people grabbed out of the crew for the task so I would allow them some professional expertise and I expect that you should do so also.

You believe without evidence--at least, without any evidence you have brought into this discussion--that the kind of training given the observers equipped them with "professional expertise."  I've asked to see the evidence upon which this assertion is based; without evidence, it is merely an opinion--a belief held without objective evidence in its favor.


What is it about the job description "observer" that you cannot grasp?
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #203 on: June 13, 2012, 07:37:42 PM »

What is it about the job description "observer" that you cannot grasp?

If there is an objective job description (something that exists outside of your imagination--what an archeologist might call an "artifact" or a historian a "primary source") that we could look at, I would be happy to see what it says.

If the job description exists only inside your head and is not available for empirical observation by people other than yourself, I'm afraid it has to be categorized as a figment of your imagination.
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John Ousterhout

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #204 on: June 13, 2012, 09:14:44 PM »

"Observer" is not much of a job description, being only one word.  It's more of a title than a job description.  What we lack is the detailed job description that the "observers" might have been expected to comply with.  We don't know what their training consisted of.  We completely lack documentation, either in the form of training manuals and course outlines, nor in the form of personal recollections or even anecdotes.  The primary requirements for a Naval Artillary Observer might have been the ability to fly an airplane while working a radio.  Search and Rescue training, as we think of it now-days, appears to have been completely absent in the 1930's Aerial Navy Training lexicon.  The obvious need for formalized training appeared in the early days of WWII, and resulted in the training manuals that Gary frequently references.  It could be argued that losses like that of AE/FN created the formalization of SAR training, but without documentation we can only make assumptions based on guesses and faith.
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Malcolm McKay

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #205 on: June 13, 2012, 10:25:22 PM »


If the job description exists only inside your head and is not available for empirical observation by people other than yourself, I'm afraid it has to be categorized as a figment of your imagination.

Sorry Marty I am not going into one of those non sequitur discussions of yours. I suggest that you do a little reading on the role of lookouts and observers in the pre-radar and other electronic location device days prior to 1939. Now while you may have strong doubts about the sharp eyes of naval observers whether on board a ship or in the air they were there to serve a very express purpose. Naval observation aircraft were the eyes of the fleet beyond the visual limit imposed by the horizon and part of that work which did include monitoring the fall of shells was looking out for all sorts of things that might pose a threat to the fleet e.g. small vessels, submarine periscopes etc. Now while I happily accept that you adamantly disagree with me concerning the observational skills of the aviators searching for Earhart (it is a discussion forum after all) I, after considering the issue, do not so there we must leave it.

But the fact that the navy fliers did not see Earhart or Noonan has in a perverse way come to be used as evidence that they were on the island but were either too weak or incapable of signalling the aircraft. That is because the people who are convinced they were there have to find a reason why the navy pilots didn't see them and therefore have to provide an explanation for this.

So far I see three basic explanations offered (there may be more so feel free to add to them  :) ), all of which include the "accepted fact" that by then the Electra had been washed off the reef, 

1. The navy pilots and observers were only trained to see very very large shell splashes so anything less than 70 or 80 feet in height, white and wet was outside their skill set which clearly excludes Earhart and Noonan on height grounds alone as well as quite possibly the wet part (I'm leaving out the white bit because by then both would have had a healthy sun tan), or

2. Earhart and Noonan were collapsed in the shade somewhere lamenting the bad clam they had for lunch and missed the fly over, or

3. Earhart and Noonan were like the Monty Python parrot - dead, deceased, shuffled off the mortal coil etc. for any number of reasons, all of which are purely conjectural.

Therefore those reasons despite being pure guesswork, and all based on the assumption that the US Navy observers were utterly unskilled, are used to advance the argument that Earhart and Noonan were there. Call me difficult (go ahead, I don't mind, I have a broad back) but I find it amusing that it can be argued that the undeniable fact that Earhart and Noonan were not seen is undeniable proof that they were there to be seen. It has chutzpah I admit.  :)
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Greg Daspit

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #206 on: June 13, 2012, 10:27:19 PM »

Ric G. said in another thread "There were three airplanes, each with a pilot and an observer.  Lambrecht's observer was Seaman First Class J.L. Marks. He had flown just once before on this cruise, with Lambrecht on the morning flight the day before.  The other observers on the McKean/Gardner/Carondelet Reef flight were Radioman 3rd Class Williamson who rode in the rear cockpit of Fox's airplane, and Lt. C. F. Chillingworth, the ship's Ass't 1st Lt. and Damage Control Officer, who rode behind Bill Short.  More often than not during the Earhart search, the observers seem to have been whoever could cadge a ride - one of the three "AVCADs" (Aviation Cadets) or one of the ship's officers"
http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.15.html
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« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 10:36:36 PM by Gregory Lee Daspit »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #207 on: June 14, 2012, 07:52:57 AM »


If the job description exists only inside your head and is not available for empirical observation by people other than yourself, I'm afraid it has to be categorized as a figment of your imagination.

Sorry Marty I am not going into one of those non sequitur discussions of yours.

Just trying to objective, Malcolm.

If you have something outside your head that other interested parties may observe with their senses, then you have some data to back up your opinion.

If you don't have anything outside your head that others can examine empirically, then you have a belief.

With empirical evidence, others can check your results.

Without empirical evidence, all that your peers can do is to read your mind instead of observing the artifact or reading the primary source.

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I suggest that you do a little reading on the role of lookouts and observers in the pre-radar and other electronic location device days prior to 1939.

I'm not the man who made the unsupported act of faith about how the six men from the Colorado were educated.  The person who makes the claim has the burden of proof.  All I have to do, following your lead, is ask questions about whether you've met the burden of proof that you have taken on.

I've shown you the links to the reading I've done on the history of S.A.R., which is the relevant educational tradition in question.

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Now while you may have strong doubts about the sharp eyes of naval observers ...

No, I have no doubts about the quality of their eyesight.

But you yourself provided an anecdote which, for the sake of argument, I will assume to be true, about how you were trained to use your eyesight in the field and subsequently taught others the same skill.  Both before and after acquiring the skill of recognizing what was sought, your eyesight was the same.  What changed was not the quality of your eyesight but your ability to use it properly in the search you were doing.

That shows that education can improve the use of one's natural talents.  So the specific issue is about what kind of training was given to the six men who searched Niku.

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whether on board a ship or in the air they were there to serve a very express purpose.

So far as I know, the express purpose of the spotter planes on a destroyer was to find targets and direct gun fire.  Looking for a ship or plotting the fall of rounds is on a different scale than searching for people on the ground or in the water.

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Naval observation aircraft were the eyes of the fleet beyond the visual limit imposed by the horizon and part of that work which did include monitoring the fall of shells was looking out for all sorts of things that might pose a threat to the fleet e.g. small vessels, submarine periscopes etc. Now while I happily accept that you adamantly disagree with me concerning the observational skills of the aviators searching for Earhart (it is a discussion forum after all) I, after considering the issue, do not so there we must leave it.

No, I do not disagree with you about the "observational skills of the aviators."  I disagree with you about your objectivity in making the claim that the kind of education they were given equipped them for the kind of search that was needed over Niku.  I'm will to change my mind if and when you provide something that comes from outside your own mind--something objective--that shows that the training they received was the kind of training needed to find AE and FN. 

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But the fact that the navy fliers did not see Earhart or Noonan has in a perverse way come to be used as evidence that they were on the island but were either too weak or incapable of signalling the aircraft.

Some may use it that way.  I don't, and I don't think you will find that proposition in TIGHAR's own publications.  In the absence of evidence either way, we cannot be sure what their physical was (assuming, of course, for the sake of argument, that they were on the island in the first place).

If they were on the island, and if they were incapacitated, that might explain why the searchers did not see them.  This is pure logic.  It is unassailable.  It is not an assertion that they were on the the island nor that they were injured; it is a connection between two ideas (present, but hurt) and another idea (not able to get the attention of the searchers). 

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That is because the people who are convinced they were there have to find a reason why the navy pilots didn't see them and therefore have to provide an explanation for this.

True.  If AE and FN were on the island, then there must be some reason why they were not found by the Navy.  That, too, is a logical argument, and is unassailable.

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1. The navy pilots and observers were only trained to see very very large shell splashes so anything less than 70 or 80 feet in height, white and wet was outside their skill set which clearly excludes Earhart and Noonan ...

Yes.  Your claim is that anyone trained in any form of observation becomes omnicompetent in all kinds of observation; your anecdote about being trained to see things differently contradicts your first claim.  The kind of education given can affect the kind of observations that are made.

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Therefore those reasons despite being pure guesswork ...

When I question your guesswork, you accuse me of non sequitur arguments.  I guess you value your guesswork more highly than I do.

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, and all based on the assumption that the US Navy observers were utterly unskilled

Straw man.  I haven't said that they were "utterly unskilled."  The position I've taken is more nuanced than than.

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, are used to advance the argument that Earhart and Noonan were there.

False.  I do not reason that the failure of the search to see them is evidence of their presence on the island.  What I claim is that the failure of the search to find them is not evidence that they were not on the island.  That is a different position from the one that you are rejecting.

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Call me difficult (go ahead, I don't mind, I have a broad back) but I find it amusing that it can be argued that the undeniable fact that Earhart and Noonan were not seen is undeniable proof that they were there to be seen. It has chutzpah I admit.  :)

If anyone were making that argument, it would be absurd.

What is peculiar is your perception that someone has made that argument.  Now in addition to your fact-free speculation about the nature of the airmen's education, you've started seeing things that aren't there in this thread.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #208 on: June 14, 2012, 07:55:56 AM »

Ric G. said in another thread "... the observers seem to have been whoever could cadge a ride - one of the three "AVCADs" (Aviation Cadets) or one of the ship's officers"
http://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,517.15.html

Nice piece of reading, Gregory!  I had been assuming that the "observers" all were "trained naval gunnery observers."  That assumption may have been unwarranted.   :o
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: After the Landing
« Reply #209 on: June 14, 2012, 09:28:50 AM »

Ok---the observers task was to observe. I assume they were briefed on the search they were a part of--looking for a plane, possibly people either on the water, or on one of the islands they were searching.  (ever told your child to look for a road sign while you were busy driving? Not a 'trained' observer, but is capable of the task, as I'm sure our navy observers were).

The reality is they did NOT find AE & fred, not the electra, for whatever reasons. Another reality is that maybe AE & fred werent in a position to be found.
But to say the navy observers werent capable is not a fair statement, whern they are not here to defend what they did. Granted, perhaps the Navy found 'bodies' to put in the back seats. But I would think that they were briefed on looking for anything resembling a crash site, people stranded, or in the case of islands, anything that looks out of place. Yes, at altitude that is tough. But I'm confident that if they saw something out of place, they would have reported it to the pilot, for further investigation. The reports say nothing was found. The navy said the same thing about PT109 too-----
Tom Swearengen TIGHAR # 3297
 
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