Bits & Bytes

Crosstalk items other than  Projects

Crosstalk, November 1980


On the day this is written I have just received reports of the destruction overseas of seventy-seven pieces of Shoran equipment. They were destroyed in order to comply with the requirements of export regulations without going to the expense of returning it to the USA. This is not anywhere near all the Shoran that has been discarded recently, but just happened to reach my desk all at once.

There are those who may say that it is high time ONI is getting rid of that old World War II equipment in favour of newer, somewhat more accurate (and much more expensive) hardware. In a sense they will be right. Everything has its allotted time and place that must eventually come to an end. Nevertheless, I cannot help but be somewhat saddened at the prospect.

Why should anyone be saddened over the junking of some old equipment? After all, it is only aluminum, copper, glass and insulation. Perhaps it is because I can remember when seventy-seven pieces of Shoran were much more than ONI owned. Or perhaps it is because I can remember how we used to scan the surplus property sales for even a single piece, much less seventy-seven pieces. Or perhaps it is because of the effect that Shoran has had on my life and the lives of so many other people since "Little" Cooper and I saw our first Shoran set at RCA in Camden, New Jersey in July 1946. Born of US and British wartime desperation, ingenuity and know-how, it has served ONI well during the past 34 years. Even as recently as fiscal 1979, it was still our most widely used positioning system. Properly maintained and employed, it can still do a creditable job in spite of its age. Little, if anything, else of World War II vintage has remained so active so long.

More than serving well, Shoran, in the hands of a lot of dedicated people, working hard all over the world, built our company. Without Shoran there would, in all probability, not be an ONI today. Without ONI there would not have been a lot of other things, friendships, acquaintances, associations, other companies, etc. There might not even be a Petroleum Helicopters, since ONI was involved in its formation and early growth. Certainly, some other organizations or companies would probably have filled the void in ONIís absence, since the need was there, but it would not have been ONI, and most of us would not have been part of it.

So as Shoran continues to be pushed from the field to the scrap heap, let us not too joyfully celebrate its going. A friend is passing.

George Roussel


Crosstalk March 1978


A recent shipment of cable depth controllers to the M/V ARTIC SEAL, in Trinidad, stated in the instructions that to operate at the depth required by our crew (40 feet/12.2 metres), they should be set on a spring balance at 24.1 Ibs (10.9 kilos). However, a spring balance was not included in the shipment, nor was one available on the vessel.

Checking the Quality Controller's log the next day, we came across the following entry: "0700 hrs. New depth controllers being set using 24 Ibs of "Blue Bird" margarine tied to string in a turkey bag." One presumes that the wrapping and string weighed in at 0.1 Ibs, as the cable rode perfectly at 40 feet.

Dave Taylor


Crosstalk  January 1978


ONI & the US Navy - Working together

January of this year (1978) marks ONIís fifteenth continuous-year of providing positioning services to the US Navy used in speed and maneuvering trials primarily by nuclear powered submarines at a of naval and commercial shipyards in the United States. In January of 1963, ONI entered what was then a new market for its positioning services. Those of us who were at ONl in early 1963 remember the air of enthusiasm manifested by those first ONI teams who broke new ground in solving many new operational problems that through the years resulted in a long list of successful trial completions.

Among the memories of the first operation at Groton, Conn, are those recollections of an exceptionally cold New England winter that seemed to make our outdoor activities all the more difficult. The record however, shows no frostbite injuries!

As with any new specialized endeavor, there were a number of necessary modifications to our usual navigating techniques in order to accommodate special Navy positioning requirements. A new technique that was successfully implemented and was to later become a commonplace procedure with marine geophysical operations was the transfer to a surfaced-submarine of a "lane count" (positional information) from a Raydist-controlled airplane. This transfer was required so that the Raydist navigator aboard the submarine could update his positional information each time the submarine surfaced after a series of underwater test sequences.

Technician Paul Jensen and field engineer Bill Terry vividly recall those long overwater flights in a twin-enginged aircraft in flying conditions just above the minimum. Ira Craft, assistant operations manager, recounted the story of a surface collision by the USS Daniel Boone - on which he was sailing - with a freighter that cut across the submarine's path in the ship channel at Newport News, Virginia. Fortunately, this accident did not result in any injuries to personnel, but the sub was several months in drydock while being fitted with a new bow!

After a rather long period of minimal activity in recent years, there has recently been a welcome increase of ONI's service activities at several of the Navy facilities on the US Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. Among ONI personnel participating in recent and current operations are Milton Hock, Charles Sullivan, Charles DeLerno, William Ose, Michael MaGraw, Kenneth Gaudet, Paul Vegas, Samuel Sain, James Boney, William Terry and Ernest Murray.

George Barry

and in the  May 1982 Crosstalk 



Offshore Navigation has been contracted to the US Navy since 1962 to furnish electronic reference equipment as an aid in checking out the navigation system aboard the various nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. In the past, we have been aboard the Fleet submarine, Fast attack submarine, Fleet Ballastic Missile submarine, and now, the US Navy's latest nuclear warship, the Trident submarine. The first Trident Class Nuclear Powered Fleet Ballastic Missile Submarine, USS OHIO, SSBN 726 was launched April, 1979 at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp. in Groton, Connecticut.

The Trident is 560 feet in length, 42 feet in hull diameter, has a draft of 36 feet, a displacement o f 16,764 tons on the surface, 18,750 tons submerged, 24 missile tubes, and a complement of 156 officers and enlisted men.

Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp. is contracted to the U. S. Navy to build six Trident submarines. ONI completed the navigation trials on the USS OHIO in June, 1981, using the latest US Navy owned DRS Raydist equipment. The Navy purchased three DRS Raydist systems in November 1980, and ONI continues to maintain and warehouse the equipment in its Harahan, LA facility.

ONI began its pre-trial installation of the second Trident submarine in April, 1982. This vessel is the USS MICHIGAN, SSBN 727, which should be set for its maiden voyage in the near future.

We expect to participate in at least one Trident sea trial a year which is the schedule of production Electric Boat plans to maintain. So far, it is going along as scheduled.

Milton Hock



The personnel Position Indicator which featured at the back of Crosstalk was quite popular. Here is the one for Sept 1982


Aguillard L; Alves S; Andrews J; Arlington D; Atkins J; Austin E; Barber K; Barrosso T; Becker, 0; Berry M; Boswell C; Branch S; Brown S; Brunner S; Caballero M; Carter K; Cassidy P; Castell D; Click G; Clifton J; Coates R; Cohen R; Collins J; Connell J; Coody R; Coole A; Corcoran J; Core R; Coster M; Czigan M; Dixon J; Draughter W; Dubuc M; Evers R; Farnham C; Fenerty M; Florie R; Foland C; Ford G; Fraser G; Frankfutter M; Fuhrman D; Gagnet C; Gaines G; Garraty P; Goelzer K; Grant T; Greene J; Groves J; Heinicke R; Harkins R; Hixson M; Huffman J; Hundley R; Hurley R; Hutchinson M; Hutchison K; Jackson F; Jenkins P. Johnson, F. Jones, J. Karmazin, A. Kelly, T. Ketteringham, J. Kildow, K; King D; Kingsley C; Knaak K; Knaak R; Leftridge J; LeJeune M; LeGrande D; Lloyd G; Malone T; Martin C; Matlock R; McCarty J; Meade P; Mendheim M; Merritt J; Meynard L; Moen T; Moore F; Morris W; Morton, H. Murray, E. Nelson, J. O'Leary, D. Oubre, P. Petty, P. Perret, R. Phillips T; Pollet R; Pollet G; Pruitt C; Quan R; Randle R; Rangel R; Ray A; Reed D; Reed D; Richmond J; Roberson M; Rodgers R; Russo J; Scholl B; Schutte K; Scott E; Selby T; Sexton T; Siebels, C Skinner; R. Smart G; Steen F; Sullivan C; Swinney P; Talley K; Tapia D; Thomas M; Troescher G; Udell D; Vigurie R; Vilk B; Waugh D; White R; Wiseman G; Woodruff M.


Bridges H; Coe P; DeBloos J; Hassett B; Heaverlo D; Hennessy T; Hoggart A; Lehmann J; Molloy R; Patro T; Walsh S; Wells G.


Abbott E; Adams H; Amohonga E; Ayers H; Aylor T; Bartlett C; Brennan C; Cunningham W; Davis R; Dion J; Dobish C; Duffy W; Edwards D; Gautier D; Godun T; Hirth N; Hoyle D; Jeffries D; Keller T; Koberstein K; Marryat K; Mackenzie J; Matthews A; Northcott G; Phinney C; Robertson B; Ryan G; Simon D; Tulk G; Twa P; Webb R; Young D.


Angel G; Bergstrom K; Bienz W; Bowe M; Brown R; Cooper D; Chan K; Deschane D; Dunn P; Eaton H; Flahrety J; Gair M; Peery D; Perkins M; Smith I; Talmadge G; Wallace D; Warmke P; Wroe G; Yeo E.


Barrett P; Bland R; Brander F; Chandra R; Chareonsondon T; Corstorphan M; Daryana; Easterbrook I; Hannaronk S; Hart D; Jarvis J; Manuel P; Matoria R; Molloy K; Murray P; Omar A; Ow J; Owen G; Park Y; Rani H; Sharma R; Singh J; Smith G; Srioutai N; Sudarsono B; Toke D; Watkins J; Yasin M.


Breeden J; Cantu G; Clothier D; Dugas C; Gopaul R; Guzman G; Justice W; Guzman J; Knott A; Kyshakevych R; Loebbecke I; Loose T; Martello M; Ollervides J; Reece A; Rowley L; Ryan P; Schmitter H; Shirey J; Slattery R; Smith G; Smith H; Taylor D; Thompson J; Vega Jr E.


Crosstalk, September 1980



ONI's favourite watering hole in Singapore is finally closing down to make way for highway expansion in this bustling city. The Ai Hou Kee bar and restaurant has been a home, eating and drinking spot, and a second office for all of us in this area since the Singapore office was moved to its present location on Penang Road in November 1970.

The history of this fine old establishment goes back to before the Second World War and the Japanese invasion of Singapore. A sign outside the door still declares that it is "ON LIMITS" for allied troops. The story goes that a number of these allied troops who were captured by the Japanese and held in Changi prison were supplied with food and refreshments during their captivity by the owner of the Ai Hou Kee, Mr Tan. At this stage it was a coffee shop only.

After their release from prison, a number of the ex-prisoners of war persuaded Mr Tan to change the coffee shop into a bar-restaurant, which he did, and this is the same Ai Hou Kee that we know today, apart from a slight modernization a few years back. This included changing the old girls with their uniforms of regular street clothes to new girls with cheongsam dresses which have slits up to thigh level, which we find pleasing.

Mr Tan has always been a great help to ONI personnel. Apart from supplying the obvious, in quantities which are staggering, he cashes paychecks, advances money, and lets us sign the tabs when we are broke, which is often.

The number of tales, and lies, which have been told at the two ONI tables over the years are too numerous and outrageous to mention here.

Most ONI-ers have fallen in love with at least one of the Ai Hou Kee girls, both old and new, at one time or other, and many is the time that the same girls have loaded one of our people into a taxi outside at the end of an evening and instructed the driver where to deposit the body.

One of the only bad things about our second home is the large open monsoon drain directly outside the front door, Dave Peery knew this spot especially well, having seen it from all angles. Most of our people use the back door where such hazards do not exist.

Now, like all good things, the Ai Hou Kee is coming to an end. We will all miss it, from the fine old Chinese decor and paneling to the deerís head and grandfather clock. The years of association have been very pleasant, but now the era has ended.

lan Easterbrook

The one and only

A couple of the interior wall panels, 

now owned by Peter Warmke



Crosstalk March 1982


The skies of the Persian Gulf provide no flash of green. I watched each sunset daily from the beach by Kuh-e-bang. I was rewarded by fantastic rays of every conceivable hue, but no vivid burst of instant light has yet been seen.

I have peeped across vast reaches of the Pacific from a freezing mesa in Baja, California, eyes streaming in the lashing Baja wind, and held my breath in keen anticipation as the sun's upper limb merged with the horizon. But no longed for aurora ever appeared.

In the South China Sea, where the sun goes down like thunder into China 'cross the way' three weeks of absolute dedicated and unremitting observance failed to detect even a hint of green over that Asiatic seascape.

I have looked for days across the Bight of Benin where colors come in many tones... except green.

Forty days in Colombia I spent at sundown on the sweeping veranda of a seaside hotel, fortified by contraband whiskey and smoked oysters, as faithful to each twilight rite as a Muslim to his evening prayers, and noted nothing beyond the stunning play of light on the Sierra Nevada range.

On the Tyrrhenian coast I drank the ruby-red San Geovese to ward off the Latin chill as evening approached. I waited, I hoped, I dreamed, but Corsica received the Italian sun without expressing any hint of flashing verde.

We struggled mightily on the west coast of Palawan to erect a one hundred foot Shoran tower with a short boom. I, the base operator, camp helper, and two headhunters we had impressed into service. I supervised, running first one way and then another, shouting instruction as the others strained to coax the reluctant antenna into an upright position. Just before it reached that attitude of forty-five degrees, where the strain eases off, I suddenly screamed, "Hold it, Hold it"; and all the action ceased. I turned quickly and gazed intently at the horizon. The sun was half behind that demarcation and I steadied myself against a Nipa palm, trying not to breathe. Slowly, the giant crimson sphere descended into the inscrutable ocean and was gone. Guess what! No green flash. Only a magenta firmament streaked with purple, gold, and orange.

Viewed from Inchon harbor, old Sol retires into the Yellow Sea. Multi-colored lights infuse the Korean sky a full forty minutes after his demise but judicious observation reveals no flare of oriental jade.

"Look, look," I cried. Lying to my demure wife in Trinidad when sundown splashed the Venezuelan sky with an iridescent flush. "There!" I cried in counterfeit glee. "There! Did you see it - that radiant flash?" She turned dull eyes, strained by tense gazing, and regarded me with a blank stare, tinged with pity, shrugged and turned away, perhaps to hide an obvious demeanor of contempt.

On a rocky hill in Gozo, hard by the isle of Malta, I gazed toward Tunisia with bitter disappointment. If that pristine North African sky produces no transitory tourmaline twilight, what price detection in any sea bound land?

Who created this fantasy? Who in history saw it first? Cortez? Magellan? Columbus? Some obscure Phoenician poling his papyrus pirogue into the mouth of the Nile? An apostle adrift on the Sea of Galilee? Has anyone ever filmed the event? Does anyone have a true and trusted friend, relative, or perhaps a mortal enemy who has actually seen the phenomenon? I say not!

So take back your Persian Gulf, your Bay of Bengal, your Caribbean Sea, and your Hudson Bay. Let it rest. The myth has been debunked. Thirty years of dedicated visual research has exposed the legend for what it is - an old wives tale with no more substance than an Aesop fable. THERE AIN'T NO GREEN FLASH!

Lance Sterling

But from the Crosstalk of March 1983

The March 1982 issue of Crosstalk contained an article by Lance Sterling on the green flash. His conclusion was that "there ain't no green flash." However, this fabled phenomenon is surprisingly well known and sightings are most common in the tropics. Perhaps more accurately described as a green ray, the final bit of sun to disappear below the horizon can, when conditions are right, appear as an intense green jewel. Refraction causes white light to separate into a spectrum of colors, and atmospheric water vapor absorbs most of the colors except red and green which are displaced vertically with respect to each other. The red image sets first leaving behind a speck of green to the joy of all who view it . Chances are that if Lance keeps looking, he'll spot his ray of green.

Bits & Bites Editor


And I will vouch for that. Captain Chris Grubba and I spent many a sunset in the wheelhouse of the Eugene McDermott II on many locations around the coast of Australia, mug of tea and a packet of Tim Tams to hand, searching for this elusive Green Flash, and we were rewarded on more than one occasion, though never very frequently. It seems a variety of differing conditions require all their boxes ticking at exactly the same moment in time for it to occur. But believe me, occur it certainly does, even if it does take 100% concentration to spot it. And donít blink, for that is about as long as it lasts! Not imagination either, otherwise it surely would have occurred far more often than it did.

Dave Taylor


Anyone who met Charlie McCarley will be well aware of the wealth of stories he could tell about ONI personnel, a lot, one suspects, relating to personal experience. Here are some he had published in the August 1977 Crosstalk.


(The webmaster has taken the liberty of converting some spelling and phraseology into 'proper' English! :-))



Circa 1960 a big sportsman from the lower forty-eight came to Alaska to seek out a bighorn sheep; he figured the world would be a better place minus another of the pernicious beasts. He did not stint in preparation. He brought along the best of modern equipment and hired the most sage guide in the territory.

When preparations were complete, they set off from their base camp in the Alaskan panhandle and spent several days working their way to the top of a remote towering peak which, according to local lore, was innocent of man's intrusion. A few feet from the crest of this impervious outcrop the mighty hunter was struck on the head by an empty can of Campbellís Chicken with noodles. The astonished party clambered, exhausted, over the rim of the hill, only to discover a populated facility, complete with two dingy tents, a sputtering gasoline engine, an elaborate array of antennas, and two bearded dudes regarding them with sombre eyes.

This same bucolic setting has been appraised by Shepherds in Greece, and in Arabia, forest rangers in Sweden, pygmies in Africa, housewives in California, and possibly Martians in flying saucers. For it was, of course, your ordinary ubiquitous ONI base station camp. Therein lies a tale, a saga that sixty percent of the employees insist should be told, thirty percent are undecided and ten percent have threatened to tell.

If one wished to relate a story in its entirety, it would be long in the telling and perhaps' subject to amendment by certain publications. Possibly, however, a few discreet notes from ONI history might escape the zealous censor's fastidious pen.


There was a supervisor in Venezuela who, upon returning to his quarters at a late hour, was likely to beat up his two parrots; piqued that they scorned the King's English and insisted upon conversing in Spanish. His other "hobbies" were setting fire to his bed and painting the kitchen brown. The latter he accomplished by placing an unopened family size can of chili-con-carne on the kitchen cooker, then falling asleep on his smoldering mattress. He would sleep so profoundly that the resulting explosion a short time later would fail to arouse him.


A Vice-President and a humble draftsman went to a spectacle at the ball park in Maracaibo, Venezuela. This entertainment culminated in a fight between an African lion and a scurvy looking bull - probably Texan. The VP and the draftsman, were dubious. They expatiated freely, exchanging clever, side-splitting remarks concerning the authenticity of the heralded contest.

The bull was pacing nervously in his corner of the caged arena. The houselights dimmed. There was a fanfare of trumpets, a rattle of drums, and ...... enter the lion from offstage centre, with a mighty roar and a bound. The indignant bull immediately ran through the side of the cage, into the midst of the audience, lion still aboard.

The audience, somewhat discouraged to find itself joined by a bull, with lion attached, acted in concert and scattered in all directions. Some leaped from the stands, some climbed convenient lamp standards. Others, including HD, sprinted at top speed for the nearest exit. It is not recorded whether the VP also ran at top speed, but it is a well-known fact that he was close on the heels of the humble draftsman when that one reached the exit. Perhaps his motive was to point out the unlikelihood of the lion consuming a skinny draftsman with all those plump Venezuelans at hand!


In Ethiopia, a prominent Vice President was deprived of his cashmere sweater by machinery in the form of 1929 Alfa-Romeo. The sweater slipped unobserved under the seat and became tangled in the drive shaft. This smudged and wrinkled the article to a great extent. It had to be cut free with a razor sharp knife before the vehicle could proceed. I donít believe the VP ever wore the garment again.


One recalls the best bartender in the world. He presided over the cocktail hour in Las Palmas. Not to be confused with your ordinary, everyday public house practice, this event took place daily at the Parque Hotel, and attracted a horde of the loveliest, most pliant and charming young ladies ever assembled under one roof. No man amongst us would miss it of his own volition.

Once, a fellow in a frenzy of impatience not to be late for this social feast, inadvertently brushed his teeth with a tube of First Aid Cream! He made it on time, but hasnít gotten the taste out yet.


Copenhagen is a fairy tale city out of Grimm, via Walt Disney. It teams with beautiful, sociable girls whose charm is undiminished by their proclivity for smoking whacking great cigars.

It is no small pleasure to ride the icy streets in a sleigh, snuggled under a rich fur robe with a complaisant Danish model, or to stroll with her through Town Hall Square, feeding popcorn to pigeons and eating polsers. As you well know, polsers are an exquisite example of the hot dog. They are remarkably delicious, and people have been known to stand up to their knees in snow, packing them away at 02:00 on a freezing Danish morning. I know a man who ate eighteen!


In Karachi I saw an organ grinder abusing his monkey, and butted in. The OG became agitated at my interference and knocked the lid from a wicker basket attached to his organ. I suddenly found myself exchanging glances with a malevolent-looking six-foot cobra! I quickly lost interest in the whole affair, and took to my heels, leaving the monkey to his fate. A graphic lesson in non-involvement.


On a flight to Teheran from Abadan, a draftsman travelled with a Shoran technician. Once on board the aircraft, the technician engaged our fellow passengers in robust conversation, and persisted throughout the flight. A few minutes out of Teheran, an Englishman leaned over to the draftsman with a pained expression on his honest English face. "I say" he said, indicating to the technician. "Do you know that bloke?"

"Oh yes," replied the draughtsman brightly. "He's with me."

"Well, by Jove. E's worse than a bloody tape recorder" grimaced the Englishman.


In Trinidad, a boat captain established a relationship with a local girl. He lavished presents on her, even to half his kingdom. He rented her a cute little flat, decorously furnished with all amenities, and a furry white kitten.

Upon returning unexpectedly one day, he was incensed to find his lady consorting indiscreetly with another gentleman. Filled with righteous indignation, the wronged captain secured a bucket of paint from his vessel, and in the ladyís absence, proceeded to paint her quarters a bilious shade of green.

Walls, windows, bed, stove, couches, rugs, chairs and curtains; all received his attention. After a bit, he stood back to observe his handiwork, and spotted the only unpainted item left. Whereupon the furry white kitten received a generous coat of the remaining paint. Local wags immediately turned this episode into a popular calypso ditty, entitled, I believe for export, The Girl with the Green Cat.


One ONI party chief, ex-draftsman, kept encountering Art Buchwald (a famous columnist for the Herald Tribune, amongst others) during his years of travel. Buchwald was seen at La Scala, Milan, on the Via Veneto, in Rome, The Prado, Madrid, the Palace Bar in Copenhagen, twice on the Orient Express and once in the Chinaberry Inn, Laurel, Mississippi. They never exchanged a word, those two, but knowing glances were passed.


It was once the custom in Nigeria, when times were hard, for the tribesmen to capture a base operator and hold him for ransom. The going rate for a reasonably competent BO was five pounds. However, inflation set in. One Party Chief, responding astutely to a base stationís loss of contact for several days, went directly to the adjacent village. He was greeted formally by the Village Chief, and informed that the missing operator was indeed the villageís captive. Then the following exchange took place:

Party Chief: "OK, you got fellow him belong me."

Village Chief: Not so fast, old chap. Five pounds wonít get it anymore. We will require no less than ten. (He held up ten African fingers for emphasis.)

Well, the hapless internee cooled his heels for several more hours whilst the reluctant PC negotiated with the penurious patriarch. He finally paid the ten pounds, but obviously considered it no bargain. A case of "WAWA" (West Africa wins again.)

(I know all about this one, was once in the position of captive. I received a note from the chief which read, You will not be allowed to live until the money is paid. My first thought was the hope that the "live" was a spelling mistake! DT)


Two hands from Texas checked into a double room in Rome. It was their first trip abroad. One repaired to the facility to freshen up, while the other lounged on his bed relaxing. Suddenly the relaxer heard a ghastly shriek from the bathroom. He leaped up in terror and rushed in to find his companion alive and breathing, but in a profound state of shock. It seems he had mistaken an essential piece of European plumbing for your more American conventional device. With the intent of discharging it he had subjected a delicate portion of his anatomy to any icy jet of water at about 500 PSI.


From Bob Baldwin to Don Webb

The reason that I mentioned getting hold of Charles's notes is he had called me one time trying to get a contact for Gus Gustofferson. Gus had been the chief navigator on the Ethiopia project of which Charlie was party chief for 3 years. One of Charlie's kids was born there and Bill Gleason and I were the Chief witnesses for the birth certificate. What a drunk that turned out to be. Some day when you have a week I'll tell you about it. Charlie started as a draftsman (which is why he had Hans as a technician) and then was PC on a number of jobs, so would have put together a lot of notes. But did they survive or go with him? I have no idea. Maybe one of his kids would know, or his ex, Lucy. I always wondered how she got hooked up with him, but we will never know.

Charlie was one of the Korean Baton Death March survivors, if I remember it correctly, and one time he was trying to describe a sound of silence to me, but could not make me understand, until he came up with this: You know the silence you hear just before the hand grenade that has been thrown in your foxhole goes off. Well, while I had not heard that particular sound, I did not have a problem visualizing it, and never asked again.



Crosstalk September 1980



I recently completed my first trip abroad for ONI, and what a trip it was! Someone from accounting was required in Sydney, Australia, to meet with the Registered Accountant (the equivalent of a CPA in the States) who is handling the formation of our Australian subsidiary.

Upon arriving in Sydney, I was met at the airport by the accountant and shown a little of the city before I crashed, suffering from what I was sure was terminal jet lag. During the night, John Coffman arrived, and we met for breakfast before going to the accountants office. We held two days of meetings, but were able to include trips to the Gap and Bondi Beach - a nude beach - (Eh! OK, well almost. DT), as well as a nightime foray into the Kings Cross area of Sydney,

I had brought my jogging clothes with me and had every intention of running every morning, especially since the temperature was staying in the low 70s. However, after the first few days, I could see from the hours we were keeping that I would be lucky if I got to run at all. Before leaving New Orleans, it had been decided that I should also go to Perth and Singapore to conduct mini-audits of these offices. So, Wednesday, John and I were up early to catch the TAA (Trans Australia Airlines) flight to Perth.

In Perth, I met the office gang of Ted Patro, Ron Rounds, and Sandy Clitheroe. Also in town were the likes of Gordon Owen and Dave Taylor, a motley crew if there ever was one. John and I stayed until Saturday and then flew Qantas to Singapore. One of the last things I remember of Perth was seeing Ted and Ron being propped up by the bar, Gordon having just made friends with a guy standing about 6' 6", and Dave stumbling off mumbling to himself. The saner members of the gang had retired earlier.

We arrived in Singapore on Saturday night, and I figured I could, at last, do some sightseeing, since nothing was planned for Sunday. I went on a city tour Sunday morning and arrived back at the hotel in time for Ian Easterbrook and Eric Amohanga to call. First visit was to the Beefeater, where we had drinks and lunch. Later, we had drinks at the Tangle Inn, and we met some GSI and Digicon people, and, following that, we went to The Grove, where we had more drinks. By this time, I learned that I could not hope to keep pace with these guys, so I was careful to order a sufficient quantity of straight coke during the day in order to keep my wits about me.

Eric and I walked to the office Monday and I met the rest of the crew, including Anna Warmke, and the world famous, Jesse. I had begun hearing about Jesse in Sydney and Perth. (Even clients discussed her in reverent terms.) Well, after my stay I became a believer. How she did what she did to my airline ticket I will never know, but that's another story.

The Ai Hou Kee Lounge had recently closed and the staff seemed lost without it. We had lunch at Jack's a couple of days where we met "Super Sarge" and "CIA George",

John Coffman and his wife had some of the staff and myself over a couple of evenings and I am grateful to them for their hospitality. lan Easterbrook's wife helped me buy some gifts in Singapore, and everyone I met with ONI could not have been nicer.

Tommy McCormick


Crosstalk May 1979


Some years ago, John Coffman and Charlie McCarley entered a restaurant and noticed a sign that read, "IF YOU ASK FOR IT, WE'VE GOT IT." Naturally, this put Mr McCarley's mind to work, and when the waitress came to take the order, Charlie politely asked for an elephant ear sandwich. Without flinching, the waitress took down the order, asked what he would like to drink, and disappeared to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the waitress came back to the table, empty-handed, and immediately Charlie shouted, "Aha! I suppose you're going to tell me you're all out of elephant ears."

"No sir." the waitress replied, "But we are out of those large buns we serve them on."


From January 1986 Crosstalk

So we have to be looking at Computers as they were in 1985

Thinking about purchasing a computer soon? Just a few years ago, a personal computer with 4K of memory (ie a memory capable of storing 4000 characters) was a device to behold. Quickly, however, if you didn't have an 8K system, you didn't have much. That soon became 16K.

Nowadays, if you want a serious machine, you look for the brochure to have 64K printed on it somewhere.

Suppose you're a professional programmer and want a first class system for your personal use. When you go to the local computer retailer, you obviously should say, 'Where's the beef?' But just how much memory are you going to want? Should you ask for a 128K? 256K? Why not go for broke and ask for 2000 K?! (commonly referred to as 2 megabytes) Of course, remember that this is just the internal computer memory, so for disc storage, why not tack on another 70 megabytes. Don't forget speed. Ask for a computer that's fast. Let's see,..try asking for one twice as fast as ONI's VAX computer system. Sound crazy? It does until you see Jesse Pollard's new Motorola VME 1121 computer. It has all of the features listed above and uses AT&T's UNIX System 5 operating system. The price? Including the terminal, Jesse got it for the bargain basement price of $19,000.00.

Those were the days eh!


Crosstalk January 1981



It's the old familiar rags to riches story and it started with that good news/bad news phone call:

Bad news; "Jeff you're going out Monday" (after four days off).

Good news; "But you'll be sailing on the Geco Beta"; that one kind of evened it out. Well, I'd heard of the Geco Beta before, and I figured it was probably a fairly nice boat; little did I know. When I arrived at the dock in Tampa, my first reaction was an instant smile and a definite awestruck sensation.

After asking numerous people, I finally found my way to the recording room, where I saw Steve Branch (my first operator) and I deducted from his Cheshire cat grin that he was feeling the same way I was. Great.

The boat is beautiful. She was built in Brevik, Norway and was completed in March, 1980. She has a length of 246 feet, weighs 1600 tons gross, and draws 18 feet of water. There are accommodations for 40 men in 1 and 2 man cabins, each complete with a shower, head, desk, and couch. According to the Norwegian crew, she's the nicest and most well equipped seismic boat on the water today. Now for some of the extras, there's a telephone system throughout the boat; (when it's time for Steve to relieve me, I just call our cabin), there's a beautiful day room with radio, television and VTR that comes complete with an assortment of popular movies. We have shuffle board, ping pong and exercise equipment on board. She also produces about 4,000 gallons of distilled water a day. (Great drinking water, that doesn't have rust in it.) If I get hungry while on shift, I just jump in the elevator and it takes me direct to the galley. After a long day at the office, ha! the sauna. That's right, or should I say righteous. Anyway, it's a great place to unwind.

I sure have been sleeping much more soundly since coming aboard the Geco Beta.

Jeff Wilson


Didnít have a picture of the Beta on file, but here is a sister ship, the Gamma; similar, though slightly newer, so probably slightly nicer; although nothing as nice as the boats today Iíll wager. DT



Crosstalk May 1979



Sometime this year, ONI will provide radio-positioning services to the University of New Mexico for the purpose of locating and hopefully recovering the remains of the Bonhomme Richard which lay somewhere in the English Channel off of Flamborough Head. Sunk on September 24, 1779, this was the converted East Indiaman on which John Paul Jones won his greatest victory.

During the late 1770's, the British Navy literally swarmed around the American coastline in overwhelming numbers, and many Continental ships were taken trying to leave port. Powerless against English ships of the line, the Americans turned the attack toward commercial vessels which tied the British Empire together.

John Paul Jones was one of the first captains in the new American Navy. His first command was the tiny Providence in which he successfully raided on the Canadian coast. In 1777, he sailed for Europe in the sloop, Ranger, to harass shipping in the Channel. By bringing the war to England's doorstep, he diverted many English ships and increased the British merchant's cry that they were being driven from the seas. Civilian militia in Ireland, Scotland, and England were raised to fight his raids. It was on this cruise that Jones encountered the HMS Drake. It was the first time an English vessel and a Continental Navy ship of the same size had met. In less than an hour, every British officer was either dead or wounded and the Drake was so damaged, it was declared unsalvageable and burned.

After his success on the Ranger, the decision was made to remove Jones from this ship and give him a more powerful command, but since no ships were available at the time, he remained in Paris until 1779. It was May of this year that he was given command of the Dug de Duras, an old armed merchantman. This ship was renamed Bonhomme Richard in honor of Ben Franklin. Jones scoured the countryside for ordinance and came up with 6 eighteen-pounders, 28 twelve-pounders, and 10 four-pounders. Most of these were used and some actually declared unfit by the French Navy. (It is hoped these guns will help to identify the wreck)

It was on this ship that Jones sailed into the Channel to continue his raids. On September 23, 1779 Jones sighted a convoy with the British frigate, Serapis, for defence. Even though the Serapis was a new ship which could throw nearly twice the metal of the Bonhomme Richard, Jones rushed to the attack.

For John Paul Jones, the Battle of Flamborough began poorly when two of his eighteen-pounders blew up at their first shot, killing thirty of the crew. But despite this, and the fact that British cannon fire was rapidly destroying the Bonhomme Richard , Jones' men poured a steady stream of musket fire and hand grenades into the Serapis. When the American ensign was shot away, Captain Pearson of the Serapis asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Jones immortal reply boomed out over the gunfire, "I have not yet begun to fight."

At this point of the battle, the ships were tied together with rigging which had been severed by shot, and many of Jonesí sharpshooters climbed into the rigging of the Serapis. An American grenade found it's way into a powder store, and flames leaped up through the main hatch of the British frigate, threatening to burn both ships. This seemed to be too much for the crew of the Serapis and she struck her colors. Both crews worked to clear wreckage and smother the flames.

The Bonhomme Richard was a ruin. Holed repeatedly below the waterline, pumps destroyed, and masts shot off. Below the main deck, Jones ordered the cannon be heaved over the side in an attempt to raise holes above the level of the water. Too little, too late, the Bonhomme Richard sank the next day. Jones was able to make port in the Serapis which was later declared ruined and broken up.

Captain Pearson was knighted for his gallant effort against the fanatic rebel Jones, and was quoted in the press as desiring a rematch. Upon hearing this, Jones said, "Next time, I will make him a Baron."

In 1976 a survey of the area revealed several promising wrecks, and what could be the jettisoned cannon of the Bonhomme Richard. As next to nothing is known of the ship herself, historians are eagerly awaiting a survey of the wreck. With a little luck, one of the most famous events in the founding of our country may be brought to light with a little help from ONI.

Mike Sutton




The Second Attempt - June 1979

Undaunted or either crazy, I (author, Clive Cussler) returned again to search for Jones' ship in June of 1979. This time, profiting from the previous year's gullibility, I worked with Eric Berryman who had a score of connections and put together a terrific team of people.

Colonel Walter Schob and Wayne Gronquist handled the day-to-day logistics. Peter Throckmorton was on hand as our in-house marine archaeology expert. Bill Shea from Brandeis University operated the magnetometer. All the above became good friends and trustees of NUMA.

Manny and Margaret Thompson of Bridlington gave enormously of their time and support. Elaine Friedman stood in as chef. Ed LaCoursiere from Klein & Associates ably watched over the side scan sonar while Willie Williams ran the mini-ranger navigation unit of ONI.

The big prize, though, was Jimmy Flett our Scottish skipper. A man couldn't ask for a finer friend. Along with Jimmy came the Arvor II, a bonny boat built in Buckie, Scotland.

Karen Getsla-Auman was our resident psychic. The journalists who accompanied the expedition were Timothy Foote, Jan Golab and Jean Jordan, all warm, fascinating people.

The research on the Richard came from Norman Rubin and Peter Reavely, leading experts on the battle and the ship. Rubin projected the rate of sinking and estimated the condition of the ship after two hundred years on the sea bottom. Reavely supplied valuable historic data gathered in England and spent a few days with us during the expedition.

Armed with proper research and a solid crew, we conducted a far more efficient operation than the previous year. This was also the first year we carried the NUMA Eureka flag. We also flew the Explorers Club flag.

Clive Cussler


DT. I had an interest in this search, being originally scheduled as Mobile Operator. I was replaced by Willie at the last minute due to family problems. There was a good article ("The Bridlington Rectangle"), in the June 1980 edition of the Men's porno magazine OUI, detailing a pub crawl on which Willie took Clive Cussler in the town of Bridlington. Magazine is available on the Internet for around US$10.



Crosstalk September 1979



(From a Yorkshire Post correspondent)

A team of United States scientists and divers yesterday called off their search along the Yorkshire coast for an American flagship which sank 200 years ago - and it will be two years before they can try again.

The Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the American Admiral, John Paul Jones, sank in September, 1779, during a battle between British and American naval ships.

The navigator with the searchers, Mr Willie Williams (ONI Senior Mobile Operator), said they had scoured some 120 square miles off Flamborough Head. "We are still confident that we shall find the ship because of the highly sophisticated equipment we are using," he said.

Marine experts know where the battle occurred, but the ship drifted for 36 hours before sinking. This has made locating the wreckage more difficult, Mr. Williams said.

It was the third attempt to locate and salvage the flagship and, like the previous one, was backed by the U S author, Clive Cussler, who wrote "Raise the Titanic." He has so far spent £100,000 on the searches.

A team from the National Underwater Marine Agency in the United States, of which Mr Cussler is founder and chairman, combed the coast off Flamborough Head in a chartered boat, Arvor III.

But the search was called off because the cash ran out and the tides were not suitable.

"The search can only be carried out during a few days of the year, usually in June," Mr Williams said.

The team is to investigate wrecks off the French and US coasts next year, but will return to Flamborough Head in 1981.

"We had hoped to locate the Bonhomme Richard this year because this is the 200th anniversary of its sinking," Mr. Williams said. "There is no reason at all why we should not find it because we now know a detailed area where it did not sink."

The battle was hailed as the first American naval victory and Jones as the founder of the American Navy.




Crosstalk November 1980



Singapore office receptionist Annie Yeo and senior mobile operator Peter Warmke were recently married in Singapore. Acting as best man cum chauffeur was Gordon Owen.(Although it almost did not turn out that way.)

The night before the marriage, Peter, accompanied by several colleagues, participated in the traditional stag party, and all wound up, shall we say, somewhat tipsy.

Next morning,(or more correctly, later that same morning) Annie had the somewhat difficult job of getting the bridegroom up and able to attend the Chinese tea ceremony and marriage registration. Normally, both this task and transportation is left up to the best man, but since Gordon Owen and his car were no where to be found, Peter went to the office desperately seeking help. Area Manager John Watkins kindly offered the use of his car, and Mike Singh took on the driving duties. Project Supervisor Pat Murray was persuaded to stand in for Gordon if need be.

When Gordon, who had been sleeping through all of this, finally woke, he also sought help at the area office. Too late to attend the tea ceremony, and not having the faintest idea of where the Registry of Marriages might be located, he persuaded John Watkins to drive him (in the nick of time) to witness the marriage.

Fortunately, Annie was calm enough to recognize her bridegroom in the crowd, and as far as we know, she really is married to Peter, and not one of the other ONI personnel present.

Peter and Annie later enjoyed a Szechaun dinner party held for them at the Intercontinental Forum Hotel.

Jessie Ow


Email from Bob Baldwin to Don Webb - 2012

The reason that I mentioned getting hold of Charles's notes is he had called me one time trying to get a contact for Gus Gustofferson. Gus had been the chief navigator on the Ethiopia project of which Charlie was party chief for 3 years. One of Charlie's kids was born there and Bill Gleason and I were the Chief witnesses for the birth certificate. What a drunk that turned out to be. Some day when you have a week I'll tell you about it. Charlie started as a draftsman (which is why he had Hans as a technician) and then was PC on a number of jobs, so would have put together a lot of notes. But did they survive or go with him? I have no idea. Maybe one of his kids would know, or his ex, Lucy. I always wondered how she got hooked up with him, but we will never know.

Charlie was one of the Korean Baton Death March survivors, if I remember it correctly, and one time he was trying to describe a sound of silence to me, but could not make me understand, until he came up with this: You know the silence you hear just before the hand grenade that has been thrown in your foxhole goes off. Well, while I had not heard that particular sound, I did not have a problem visualizing it, and never asked again.


Don Webb Remembers

(or My More Lucid Blackouts)

It was past midnight in Sandakan, North Borneo when all of the bars were closing. Except the for the New Bluebird Bar, which was allowed open because it served some sort of food. As you enter the bar, there up and to your right was a glass case, which was topped by a stuffed Civet Cat (a form or Borneo skunk.) Just past the cat was the cash register.

Gordon and I sat down an ordered a couple of "Snowflakes". (Beer made of fermented no telling.) These were not our first beers of the evening. Gordon was fixated on the Civet Cat. After a while, he said, "I want that cat, Dono."

Well, as a Mechanical Engineer I would know all about the building design features. The wiring was the exposed type, running on the walls and ceiling in wiremold. Then it hit me. "Gordo, hereís the plan. First you walk up to the glass case and close your eyes. I will pretend that I am going to the bathroom and when I pass near the switch box, I will kill the lights. I will holler GO, at which point you will open your eyes and grab the cat and run for the door. Your eyes will have become accustomed to darkness so you will be able to see fine and all of the patrons, and cashier, will be suddenly blind when the lights go out.

"Great plan mite." Then Gordo ambled over to just in front of the case with the cat. He closed his eyes and was stiff as a palace guard. I counted a couple of minutes while the patrons stared at the stiff bloke. After a guessed period of adequate time, I rose and began walking towards the bathroom. I turned and pulled the switch and hollered, "GO". Gordo opened his eyes, grabbed the cat, and started running towards the door. ÖÖÖ..The lights did not go outÖ But the fans started up.

Gordo stopped, turned and sheepishly walked back to the glass case where he re-installed the cat. And we both went back to our now-windy table. I think it was about 2 minutes before the Chinese patrons figured out what happened and started roaring laughing. Iím glad I didnít graduate in demolition.


Don Webb Remembers, part the second

John Narramore

John was a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force (highest rank possible for a non-commissioned officer. Only a handful in the entire Air Force. He ran a Shoran Net in Korea and was an ONI Base Station Operator and later a Party Chief.

Most quotable quote. John was on a mountain (El Contrabando) about 100 miles north of Tampico, Mexico. He called in "Unit 2, this is Unit 3"." Roger unit 3, this is Unit 2. Whatís your problem? Over" Hey Don, Iíve got diarrhea real bad. Roger John, Understand. How bad is it, John". "Man, itís so bad, I ate a banana and it came out with the teeth marks still in it".

John and the Kissing Bandit

When a Norteís winds approached 70 mph, John gave his death cry over the radio that he was blown off El Contrabondo, losing his tent, camping gear and radio. Tony Wells and I gathered new tents, stove, lantern etc., packed it in the truck and ran to Aldama. (A tiny village near the foot of the mountain.) We met John is a little taberna and began consuming cervazas while waiting for morning to ascend the mountain. John was sitting with his back to the door, exchanging smiles with a couple of senoritas while Tony and I were opposite John at the table. In walked two huge Rurales (RooRhaLes.) Rurales are basically outlaws whom the government deputized because they couldnít control them. They were used primarily to guard against other outlaws. The rode around in jeeps and carried machine guns.

Well my eyes started to widen as the first Rurale came up behind John and began to frisk him from the shoulders on down. John (believing this to be one of the senoritas) smiled from ear to ear then puckered up as he rose and turned, I guessed, to smooch the senorita. At the realization of what was going on, John bolted backward as the unbelieving Rurale brought his hand to his .45 and reared backward. We all raised our hands as a deafening silence ensued for a couple of seconds after which the Rurale and his sidekick roared laughing which gave license to me, Tony and John to laugh our heads off. John offered them a cervasa, which they refused then left. We all shudder to think what would have happened if John had closed his eyes when he puckered.

John and Peruvian Blood

While John was in Peru, he suffered a bleeding ulcer and required 3 pints of blood, which was supplied by the local hospital. After the transfer (which was Negro blood) he was asked if he had any curious reactions. He said none; except on some nights he would wake up screaming "Free Angela Davis" You gotta love John.


Don Webb


Crosstalk November 1980



On June 12, 1980, I departed NOLA for my first overseas assignment, and what was to be my first Arctic cruise. After a quick stop in Los Angeles to pick up my work permit, I arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 13th for what became eleven days of fun and hard work, making the installation on the M/V E 0 Vetter. June 13th was a Friday, and I should have realized that it was a sign of things to come.

Monday, co-worker D C Jones arrived, and the serious work began. One week later, two ARGO installations and one LORAN-C installation were complete. Our work was slow due to the fact that GSI was installing completely new seismic equipment in order to perform the first 3-D job in the Arctic.

On June 26, the E 0 Vetter set sail for a less than memorable voyage. The first day underway, engine trouble developed. After ten days of hard but fruitless labor, a tug was dispatched to tow us into the exciting community of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. There are words to describe Dutch Harbor, but being a discreet individual, I'll use none of them here. Two weeks later, I was back in NOLA.

On July 29th, Pat Ryan and I left NOLA, and this time I was not to be denied the pleasure? of making it within the Arctic Circle.

I was introduced to this area by Party Manager, Dennis Simon. I accompanied Dennis on a helicopter trip to refuel generators on existing base stations... and it was cold. The temperature was 26į Fahrenheit, and Dennis said he thought that was warm... but for a southern boy from Mississippi, that is cold, especially for July.

July 31st came and it was back to the E 0 Vetter, or "Better" Vetter, as everyone began to call it. The only other major problem to crop up took the form of holes in the ship's hull, created by breaking ice. As they were deemed "not too bad"* we went to work.

On August 9th, after four days of calibrating GSI's fancy equipment, the first kilometer of program was shot. Sixty-six days later, and without a port call, I might mention, the season abruptly came to an end due to the rapidly forming ice.

For me, the entire experience was unforgettable.

Tom Moore


*EDITORS NOTE - How can holes in a ship's hull be "not too bad"!


Crosstalk July 1979, September 1980



It is imperative that one remain on a friendly basis with the cook. Don't get him all choked up by leaving a mess in the galley after you have fixed yourself a "DAGWOOD".

When groceries are delivered to the boat, it is customary for all hands to pitch in and help get them aboard. You need the exercise anyway.

On most vessels, accommodation is limited. Therefore, wretches that leave their personal gear scattered all over the bloody boat will be frowned upon. Frequently, I have stumbled over enormous guitar cases. Believe me, Iíve been sorely tempted to jump on 'em!

There will come a time when the immediate presence of your colleague will be a matter life and death. Please don't wake up the rest of the "watch" below by rushing to the sleeping quarters, turning on all the lights, and crying out in stentorian tones, "I NEED HELP!" A poke in the ribs with a blunt instrument is effective, and has interesting results. The unfortunate recipient will sometimes leap out of the sack like a "startled Gazelle".

The same thing applies when going on or off watch. If others are sleeping, try to be as quiet as possible. People that make three and four trips back to the cabin so they can rummage through their lockers will not be appreciated.

We had an Indian bloke on board who went by the name of "Fluttering Buzzard". This SOB would keep playing his radio when the rest of us were trying to get our heads down. It got so bad, that we finally had to scalp him.

In recent years, our title changed to "Navigator". Let us be worthy of this Handsome Handle. Course change requests of one degree, when the man upstairs is steering by a magnetic compass with a ten foot sea running is just plain ridiculous and will only inspire remarks such as "OH GOD, another clown!"

When in transit from one work area to another, the driver wants to know where to go. He may ask you what course to steer. Make sure that the course you give him does not take the vessel across a shoal area where there may be an acute shortage of H20. Naturally, most skippers will check this. But, there are exceptions. I know.

Be familiar with the magnetic variation in your area. The line direction shown on preplots is relative to true north.

The calibration process can be done with the calibration point abeam. I don't like this method because good seamanship prohibits the skipper from getting close. Hence, the distance off is hard to judge. If you put the bow up to the platform, there is no chance of the skipper getting caught with his pants down. He can always back away in a hurry if needs be. (Don't forget to measure the distance from antenna to bow.) On our Boat, the skipper will put the bow within ten feet or so. We only calibrate at small structures. Large ones cause distortion which may not be apparent on the tape. When tying new points, pick the smallest platforms you can find.

If you really mess up, like coming in on the line a country mile off, or, heaven forbid, a lane bust, don't try to cover it up. You will be found out anyway. The client should be informed immediately. The reputation of our company is dependent on the integrity of the mobile operators.

In conclusion, from the clientís point of view, time is money. But, running over the cable because you made a splendidly short line change is no way to win friends and influence people!

John Nelson


Crosstalk March 1983



In November 1973, ONI moved its office from Sydney to Perth, a distance of 2,500 miles from East coast to West. We were lucky to obtain a good office/warehouse combination where we have remained for almost 10 years. During this time we have seen Perth grow enormously since many mining and oil companies have also moved West to join the resources boom in Western Australia. Vast amounts of offshore and onshore gas, iron ore, nickel, gold, and recently diamonds have been found in WA, but unfortunately little oil so far.

During the last decade ONI operations expanded, and in 1980 ONA - Offshore Navigation (Australia) Pty Ltd was founded, which necessitated an increase in staff. Unfortunately this led to a lack of breathing and writing space in the office, and in mid-1982 an extension was made which doubled the existing space, allowing non-smokers to breath easier.

The office staff consists of Area Supervisor, Ted Patro, assisted by Sandy Bennett, Marianne Wells, and Ron Rounds, with occasional participation by Gordon Owen, Harry Bridges and Don Heaverlo. The remaining member of staff (some say the most important and intelligent), who, although unpaid, is a large German Shepherd called "Cheeta", whose favourite diet is "Mailman on a Motorcycle". Cheeta is gentle to those who know him, and has been around for two years, deterring any would-be burglars, and almost everyone else.

We are fortunate with respect to the position of our office: close to the city and airport, and our tenants at the back of the warehouse are four truck owners. One of these, Allan Bottcher also doubles as surrogate base operator when the occasion demands.

Transportation is extremely important in our operations, as Australia has over 10,000 miles of coastline and one third of this lies in the State of Western Australia, which also has the majority of offshore oil exploration. In Perth we are able to put our equipment into the field with a minimum of delay by road or air. With such huge distances there are also a variety of weather patterns, from the below freezing temperatures of Tasmania, to the 50+ degrees Celsius (120į F) of the north west. In between is the Mediterranean climate of Perth, which is only one of the reasons it has been voted a favorite recreation city by the 25,000 US sailors who visited there last year.

We are all happy to be living and working in the city of Perth, and hope we will be visited by more ONI people in the years to come.

Ron Rounds


Crosstalk March 1981



Last spring P1283 was underway in West Australia. One of the Maxiran stations, Culver, was located 80 kilometers from the nearest hardtop road. At the end of the job, base operator, Peter Searel, was driving back to town with the station, when for some inexplicable reason the equipment caught fire in the back of the truck. Peter and his camp helper bailed out of the truck abandoning it to its fiery fate. Luck was with them though in that the first person they had seen in six weeks happened to be in the area in his Land Rover, otherwise it would have been a long walk back to the highway. After the fire had burned itself out they salvaged all that was left of the Maxiran, brought it back to Perth, and Ted Patro had it mounted and hung on the wall of the area office. It resembled a $64,000 piece of modern art.

Al Devoe



Crosstalk September 1978



Project 835, South Africa, still has Tom Toay as party chief/mobile operator, with Bob Brown and Paul Tzanos as base station operators. This combination started in 1965 and has been doing a good job ever since. Most of their work is involved with the Shoran system on well location operations. Occasionally, other odd assignments are given to them, or another crew will pass through to remind them that ONI is still alive and well.

Early in July this year, Peter Barrett made his second trip to Trondheim, Norway, to get the ARGO net set up again. Peter ran the ARGO crew last year, so was well prepared. Knowing all the little-known problems that always seem to come up, he was able to get things off to a good, start. Bob Molloy was a great help also, as he was on his second tour and knew what to expect. Terry Aylor, recalling the problems he had setting up the mobile installation last year, reduced equipment installation time down to a minimum. Adding to the crew were Ivor Smith and Les Hutcheson on the WESGECO vessel Western Europa, and Dick Madison on a supporting base station. Everyone worked well together, and the job came off with only minor hitches. The ARG0 net worked perfectly and the favourable weather held out. Due to problems unrelated to positioning, the crew was released early, expecting to return in a week or two to continue operations. This never came about, as the client had to cancel the remaining portion of the work until next year. As a result of the good job this crew did, and the performance of the equipment, it looks like ARGO will be recalled in 1979. If this comes about it might be a fun tour for whoever is assigned, as the work will extend as far as Tromso, Norway... .about as far north as it is comfortable to go.

It was way back in April that Walter Bienz flew down to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to prepare the Shoran equipment for work off Ghana. Klaus Keilich, Terry Barnett and Mike Clark joined him in early May, with Tony Hoggart arriving a week later. This two-week well location failed to live up to its time requirement as our well-tanned but bored crew completed operations in mid-July. Walter enjoyed his stay so much he had his family fly down and the four of them spent their vacation together there. To his good fortune, he was there long enough to see the Esso well location start and completed in August. Kurt Pedersen, Terry Barnett, Phil Thompson and Chander Singh helped him with this one. Walter returned to Geneva in time to spend a few days at home and then take off on another assignment. This time with the Swiss government. At this writing, Walter, a Swiss citizen, is undergoing his annual three week military training.

Recently, the Geneva office received its first two Motorola Mini-Ranger sets. Klaus Keilich and Leonard Wickman have one set in operation in Kavala, Greece. Nothing but good reports from this well location crew. Peter Barrett and Phil Thompson are in the Siracusa area of Sicily with the other set. Their operation is also a well location operation and things are working fine for them.

lan Easterbrook, Tony Hoggart, Bob Molloy, Thongchai Chareonsondon and Les Hutcheson made a trip to Pointe Noire, Congo, for a well location expecting to be gone for no longer than two- weeks. It turned out to be more like four weeks. That would have been no problem except that Easterbrook' s uncle flew into Geneva from New Zealand a few days after lan departed! Ted Easterbrook became a confirmed tourist while waiting for lan. And Tony Hoggart's wife's parents flew in from New Zealand while Tony was gone. Tony returned in time to spend a couple of weeks with them before they had to return home.

A change has occurred in the Geneva office staff with the departure of our secretary, Elena Corvaro. Elena will be missed. Cristina Barzelatto is a very pleasant replacement. "Chris" is from Chile and has just completed her schooling here in Geneva. She is living with her parents, members of the United Nations. Chris started working for us in June and we hope her stay will be a long one.

Gene Talmadge


Crosstalk January 1981



Many of us at ONI have fond memories of those two weeks spent as trainees on the M/V Sea Transporter. Well, not necessarily "fond", but memories nevertheless. However, we have learned that some people are not familiar with Projects 100 and 400 at all. So those of us who make up the "school boat staff" would like everyone to know a little more about the school-boat and it's mission.

The Sea Transporter is being leased by ONI from Howard Anderson of Pascagoula, Mississippi, who provides a full crew and catering. The boat is a 132 foot vessel commissioned in 1944 as a Navy ammunition transport. In July of this year the Sea Transporter was placed in dry dock and fitted with twin rudders, making her very responsive to the helm. For those who remember, however, that round bottom hasn't changed, and with the present winter weather, we can sometimes tell which of the ex-Navy types spent their time dockside or on aircraft carriers.

The school boat serves as the second phase of a three part training program. That is, to provide practical training on the equipment in a ship board environment before final training onboard a client vessel. Initial emphasis was placed on Raydist training, but since has expanded to include Argo and Maxiran, as well as providing a testing platform for new equipment.

The objective of the offshore segment of training is to provide field entry level education to trainees. Because of the differences in what various companies want in terms of data collected, and the differences in individual first operators, we strive to provide training that will allow the new operator to adapt to different situations.

It should be remembered, though, that the "school boat graduate" is not a finished product, and senior operators in the field, who have trainees placed with them as a "third man", have the responsibility of continuing the training. The three of us on the school boat would like to see the development of better communication with the operators in the field. We would especially like to hear of any problems that might require modification of the training program. Please feel free to contact us directly or through the training department.

P100/400 is currently operating out of Pascagoula, and the boat docks across from 2810 Front Street. So, if you are in the area while the boat is at dock, please accept our invitation to stop by and look over the operation.

John Matta, Jeff Collins and Rod Farnham


Anyone have a picture of the school boat please




Crosstalk May 1981


The beginning of my involvement with our sister company, Offshore Navigation (Canada) Limited, started in June of 1978 with Tom Baine and I heading up north on a short term assignment to set base stations. This also marked the start of our use of the Argo system in Canada. Throughout the course of the season, Tom and I were to work our way from the southern tip of Nova Scotia northward to Ellesmere Island. For those of you not up on your Canadian geography, Ellesmere is located in the Northwest Territories about 600 miles above the Arctic Circle, or roughly 3,200 miles north of New Orleans. Needless to say, airconditioning is not required there. As weather conditions became worse in the high arctic, we gradually worked our way south again, finishing the season in October. Our successful application of the Argo system during this time meant the end for Shoran and DR Raydist in Canada.

Returning to Canada in 1979, I experienced what was probably my most memorable season. In the remote areas of Canada, our transportation is almost exclusively by helicopter. You can imagine my consternation when I discovered that the experience of the pilot assigned to me for the season consisted of only 300 hours flying time as a traffic monitor in the Province of Saskatchewan. But as later events were to show, he turned out to be one of the best pilots I have seen. Altogether, we put 500 hours on the ship for the season, and spent about 20 days sleeping out on the tundra.

Once, when flying to a station called Cape Mercy, we were forced down because of high winds. Safely landed, we discovered that one of the choppers transmission mounts had broken. Hundreds of frozen miles from nowhere, we hot-wired the base station batteries to the chopperís radio and began calling for help. Five cold and hungry days later, another of our client's choppers picked us up, and after maintenance to body and machine, we were back in business. This was also the year that while parked on pack ice next to a boat, I was to take my first and hopefully last dip in the Arctic Ocean. Thank heaven for the survival suit we are required to wear when flying. Mike Coster was on the boat and observed the whole episode. Afterwards he remarked that he wished heíd had a camera, as I was the biggest seal he had seen that year.

Flying in snowy white-out conditions, ice fog, high winds, bone chilling coldness and close encounters of the polar bear kind have become the norm for our base techs assigned to Arctic operations. Still, the Arctic is a breathtakingly spectacular part of the world in which we work. Where else can you see a polar bear, fox, wolf, musk ox, caribou, walrus, seal and whale all in one area? If you ever get the chance to visit there, I recommend that you don't pass it up.

Bob Webb






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