E-mails, letters, photos etc
Recent email from
Patrick Mathew January 24, 2020
From: Patrick Matthews [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2020 7:05 AM
Subject: ONI 1984 Annual Report Excerpts
these to DT in 2017 but probably lost in transition of
during my move from Houston back home to New Orleans
area after retiring and his dealing with medical issues.
Sending as attachments in a size and aspect ratio that
hopefully fits posting on the site. I don't know much
about web design photo requirements and can change that
up for you if needed.
Suggs letter is interesting as well as the snap shot
financial data, amazing the scale of what you could do
36 years ago with only $21.5m in annual revenue. At
Oceaneering International where I finished my career
that amount would have been just a medium sized subsea
construction project. In the early 80's we had so much
cash we couldn't invest it all, so Mr Bayon came up with
the idea of ONI buying 2 or 3 Bell 206 helicopters and
then leasing them back to PHI on market terms. It was a
shrewd financial move but I preferred we keep our cash
for rainy day use. Of course not remotely my decision to
I've sent three snaps of the cover itself in case you need to split it into front and back, or just use the entire image of both. Probably have a few more of the 90's in my archives will dig those out over the coming months and send them to you. Read with keen interest as it was the first time I'd seen this, the early 1995 financial article and interview with George Roussel on ONI's demise in the Press section. ONI's end was both complex and yet simple and as I digest that will send you some remarks. George was a true southern gentleman and one of the smartest individuals I've ever worked for.
Recent email from Richard Longton
From: richard longton [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Best wishes for 2020
we are once again approaching Christmas and trying to
remember what we did this past year. We seem to be
caught into an annual routine as we again departed in
early January driving our RV and heading south for warmer
weather! Following our usual pattern, on the way we
stopped to visit with a number of relatives and
From Oregon, we drove down to Petaluma, California, not far from where our daughter Gina and her family reside. After a nice visit with Gina, John and the grandkids, we continued on our way south towards the Palm Springs area. Here we stayed at a very nice resort for a couple of weeks, before heading further east to Arizona.
final destination was Pueblo Mirage, the resort weíve
stayed in for numerous years. It is a desert-type resort,
offering every type of sport, recreation and social life
imaginable. The only negative is that you have to be
at least 55 years old. We qualify by a
large margin. We enjoy staying in this area, as we
have a number of old friends and work colleagues, (non
from ONI, however) living nearby that we get
with. Always good to catch up with friends.
We only made one other trip this year in the motorhome. It was during the summer months. We went to the Okanagan Valley in Canada, where both our son Mark and daughter Tonya and their families joined us for a great week of fun, camping near a large lake.
didnít have as many visitors either this year, but Dave
and Roz Clayton came on by on their way down from
Alaska! It was such an enjoyable visit. We
hadnít seen them for years. Dave originally was from
Tasmania, Australia, but now they live in Texas. We
worked together for several years during my 12 years with
ONI. It is always nice to get with old
friends. Like time hadnít passed between us.
In the meantime, our best wishes to all for a very nice
Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
(Re: Willie Williams Obit)
Sent: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 5:38 PM
Postcard from Willie Williams to Al Poppe (Note postmark)
indeed know Willie he was the Party Chief on Shoran jobs in
Columbia when I was involved in those mid to
late 70's as the assistant Latin Am mgr to George Fossier. I
suspect Willie was gone from ONI by the mid 80's when the
downturn occurred in the oil industry, as many were at the time
and sad days at ONI. ONI had Ops in Belize thru the
early 90's and I recall a very capable base tech from there that
helped me on a Shoran rig move in Honduras, again mid to late
70's. Belize is a really nice place enjoyed my few times there.
Btw, my Shoran experience was limited as most of my offshore time was using hyperbolic Raydist in the Gulf of Mexico on seismic boats. I loved it especially the oil company exploration vessels like Shell and Mobil operated. My brother Mike was on a Gulf of Mexico construction support vessel project with Willie in 2012, and recalls that Willie died of a heart attack in 2013. Willie was living in Corpus Christi at the time but a quick google search didn't surface an obit for him. I'm fairly certain Willie was from War, West Virginia.
Willie was an unforgettable character.
From: Jesse Lerma <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 1:46 PM
Iíve corrected your email address. Thanks for the kind words. Re Qís did you know Willie Williams? He trained me to become a Shoran navigator off the coast of British Honduras (now Belize). I would really like to track him down.
Sent: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:13 AM
I'm Pat Matthews my email address changed when I retired in 2016 and it must have never gotten to Dave for an update. In any event, here it is please add me to your ONI email distribution. Joe was kind enough to send me your contact. Thanks for picking up the ONI web site admin chore I can tell you've cleaned it up some. Well done.
I worked at ONI from 1971 till 1994 my Dad Tom Matthews started there in the shop after the US Air Force in 1965, having met Joe DeLerno during Korean War Shoran Ops. My 1st ONI job was actually in summer 1968 sweeping the warehouse floor and two trips offshore making up marker buoys for a pipeline lay barge, and later on a dynamite shooting boat with Mike Jarvis.
Finished my career with 20 years at Oceaneering in Houston as their survey manager, we used Joe's company Fugro for most all our operations offshore during my time. But as most all who came through there will say, ONI was a unique place fondly remembered. I can recall many but not all of the unmamed folks in various photos on the site and will send you some I.D.s as time allows. In the meantime should you have any Q's about things that I might help with just shoot me an email.
Bob Suggs was quite the character and his idea to use Shoran commercially was brilliant, and of course later PHI. From temperamental terrestrial based RF systems to GPS / Inertial in a wrist watch, it's been a remarkable evolution to finding out where we are on Mother Earth's surface.
Recent emails from Louis
Don Heavalo sent his photo:
Milton & Katie Hock, sent to me I believe by Milton
From Bob Coddington
December 27th 2018
Dave, I really wanted to thank you for all your time and efforts put forth keeping the name ONI alive and the site running all these year. ONI and all it's people was a big part of my life . . . bigger than I knew at the time . . . and though I don't visit the site as often as I should nor contribute to it, just knowing it's there gives me a lift time to time. I hope you can keep up the good work in the future and I hope to visit it more next year . . . . maybe even contribute to it.
Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a really great and Happy New Years!! I have really enjoyed and appreciated your contact and friendship over the years and hope it can continue for many more. Bob C.
From Ron Hewson:
Grade 8 essay quoted in the Massachusetes Surveyor
What is a Sirvayer?
A Sirvayer (surveyor) is something that grubs around in the woods looking for little sticks and stones. When finds them he some kind of weird dance around them with a funny looking 3 leg crutch he leans on and look at. When he donít find them he walks round all day like heís lost. Sometimes you see them squashed by cars along the roads, especially in the summer when all the other bugs are out. A surveyor has one big eye and one little eye, like Popeye.
He usually walks bent over all the time which is why he always looked so stooped. His face looks like old leather. He curses terrible. He canít read because he measures between things and puts down a number in a little book which is different than what his little map says. He always measures to a stick or a stone, stops near it, and puts in another stick or stone. He is not too bright because he is always making marks on side-walks and roads to find his way home.
His pants are always tore from rock salt and his shoes look like they was made of mud. People stare at him, dogs chase him and he always looks wore out. donít know why anyone wants to be a surveyor.
The following was emailed to me in Feb 2018, by Graeme Wood
My memories of some ONI personnel in the 1970ís still give me a laugh and takes me back to a time of adventure.
The plotting girls at NOLA could always pick Dieterís lines. They said his were the straightest; even though he read a paperback or did some brass polishing while shooting lines. Dieter was a great brass ornament collector. He dragged me to many a pile of junk brass in a dusty old shop or souk in order to help look for a piece didnít have. Within a few hours he could turn a piece of brass junk into a sparkling display ornament.
John Reicher in Cabinda, Angola didnít used his air conditioner despite being only 5 degrees south of the Equator. Didnít like the changes in temperature I guess.
A young trainee from Trinidad & Tobago. Keen as mustard learning to be a mobile operator. Often mistaken for an Arab by Cairo cabbies and immigration staff who always found Mervís Playboy mags even hidden deep in his bags.
Dieter and I made a point of always being
in front of Merv at airport queues as the staff ogled the
Playboy pics. Often, to get away he had to give them the
centrefold or the whole damned mag. While with Dieter
and I Mervís lines became less snake-like and he eventually
shot lines alone; having learned not to overcorrect.....
until one early morning at 2am Iím awakened by a very
On gaining the wheelhouse I find the helmsman would not make any more course changes. I looked into the radar eyepiece to find the tail buoy less than 200 yards in front on our right side. Merv had asked for yet another right turn, which the duty helmsman suspected might cut off our tail. How right he was....I asked for a 90 degree left, and got it. Even so the buoy only just whistled passed the stern. (This last seems more like the Merv Bishop - Doc Bishopís son - that I remember! DT)
Merv was not a tidy packer and often couldnít find his passport. That seemed to change after Dieter threatened to "staple it to his left testicle."
Point Samson (Samís Creek) base station, North West Cape, Western Australia 1972 -73.
Bill Cooper (ONI Bass Strait operations, Victoria) in 1971 wanted to buy our house in Frankston as his home. The attraction was our large garage for storage and repairs. Our house was 120 miles - a two hour plus drive to Sale, Gippsland, Billís base with Esso/Exxon. Bill did buy our house; we were moving near our drive-in cinema at Dromana, and Rosebud Cinema, on the Mornington Peninsula. I was at a loose end having left my job as an electronics tech with Philips Industries, South Melbourne, to travel overseas at some stage. USA was on my list and I had obtained a 6 month US visa but not a Green Card. After conversations with Bill, and with my work experience he saw me as a prospective employee. He had a need for a base station operator in Western Australia, I thought, Ö "why not, might get to visit New Orleans, ha!" All this at the tender age of 22 years.
Flew to Adelaide, joined another employee, then on to Perth, after meeting with the guys from Perth office. Perth to Paraburdoo by small plane. Paraburdoo to Roebourne and Samís Creek, a six-hour drive - could never understand not flying to Port Hedland.
Met up with Jack Jachimczak and he schooled me in use of two-way radio operation, of Shoran and manipulating yagis, and dealing with scorpions, centipedes, spike seeds and so on. His wife/partner was living on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and his Australian visa was running out. He wanted Ďoutí and was giving Perth office drama over it.
Samís Creek base station was just south of Point Samson on a sand hill, west of Wickham and just north of Cliffs Robe River Iron Ore Assoc./Cape Lambert iron ore loading terminal - where desert meets the sea. Iron ore dust was a problem on occasions, clouding out transmission. Jack left after a week, I took him to Roebourne in the old Land Rover we had.
Sourcing water was a problem. Bristow Helicopters reluctantly allowed me to fill up our water tanks from their supply. From memory, I think they said at the time, "Donít come back". Bristowís job was to ferry people to Barrow Island and Burmah Oil Exmouth/Rankin rigs. Provisions were sourced from the small Roebourne supermarket. Temperatures during this period (Nov/Dec) were around 40įC every day. During this period, I rebuilt the Briggs and Stratton with a Ďshort blockí from a crate, and constructed a rudimentary roof for the engine with the materials at hand. During this solitary period, a cyclone came through, no rain but so fierce the only place of refuge was the Land Rover, and it was difficult to see through the windscreen because of airborne sand. Credit to tent installers, it remained intact although Shoran and pantry were loaded with sand.
Some weeks later Peter Coe turned up and started contacting Perth office requesting a larger, better tent, and we then set to rearranging the station. Peter was a character, working slowly but methodically in blazing sun, not your average Englishman. He did talk about Mike Hoare, and from what I gathered I think he was in his troop for a time in Africa. Would like to catch up with Peter - e-mail or whatever. (So would we, Martin!)
The Land Rover, which I relied on so much for water and provisions, was taken from us, some Ďpoliticalí decision, and I thought it was about time I moved on. I eventually left Peter on his own. He seemed happy enough.
Back in Victoria, worked as a car hop at our drive-in, film pickup from distributors in Melbourne, among other things, and took off to the UK shortly after. Married in Dundee, Scotland, then back to Melbourne with STC Cannon, BWD Electronics, before moving to Brisbane with wife and two children. My last job in 2013 was with Danfoss Aust. (a Danish company) selling and commissioning variable speed drives to the resource/mining and water industries in Queensland and Northern NSW.
As a postscript, Bill Cooper in 1973 studied acupuncture, I met up with him in Frankston and from memory this was to be his vocation after ONI. After searching for Bill on Google, I came up with a funeral notice for a William Alfred ĎBillí Cooper who died October 29, 2015. Funeral to be held at Mt Martha, a nice spot between Frankston and Rosebud. It could be him as I knew he liked this area.
From Lynne Henson, CC to me
21 September 2016
We were so sorry to hear of Ianís sudden passing last week. What a dreadful shock it must have been for you.
We are currently away from Tauranga housesitting at the moment so unfortunately we were not able to attend his funeral in Whangarei. We would have liked to come along to represent ONI even though the company no longer exists. Ron worked with Ian within ONI from time to time, & in fact he was initially hired through him in Nigeria in 1966. As with so many ONI people all widely scattered around the globe all the time we only used to meet up with Ian from time to time. However, he was one of the "legends" of the company & when Ron worked in head office New Orleans Ian was frequently mentioned " in dispatches."
I am sure you know of many of the stories of his adventures over the years & I hope that some of these will bring you comfort. ONI was a great Ďfamilyí to work for if you were an adventurous type of person as Ian was of course. His travels & experiences made him one of those operators whom other guys respected & appreciated working alongside. Ian always got the job done even if it was under rather difficult or challenging circumstances.
We do hope that the pain of your sudden loss will ease with time, & that your happy memories of Ian will give you strength & peace. I am sorry that we have never met you but you possibly know of us through our mutual friends, Rich & Pam Longton, from Gig Harbor USA who stayed with us in Tauranga on their last visit to New Zealand.
Kind Wishes & Warm Thoughts to you & your Family. Ron & Lynne Henson, 42 Siemonek Rise, Bethlehem, Tauranga 3110, Bay of Plenty, NZ Ph 07 578 4241.
I ran across your site by accident and it brought back a lot of memories. I worked for ONI in 1967 and 1968 as a boat operator. I was hired out of the Long Beach, CA office and worked in California, Alaska, Venezuela, Columbia, Equador and Ethiopia. John Recher, a friend who Iíve lost track of, hired on at the same time. I worked with Ian Easterbrook in Alaska. A couple of other names I remember are Cully Bickham, from New Orleans, and Red Asher. In Alaska I was on the M/V M.L. Levy and in South America on the Gulf Rex. Went thru the Panama canal on the Gulf Rex.
Thanks for your site and the memories,
Just trolling through on a quiet Thursday evening and was looking back nostalgically at times past and was interested to see if I could find any info on Pam and Rich Longton. Had a squiz through the photos on the website and it really brought back so many memories of all the guys I remembered going through the Kingsford/Double Bay offices for ONI.
I joined ONI in the early 60's. It was a fantastic job and very close to my home. For a suburban office it was totally "out there" as far as the area was concerned. Rich was a great boss and his wife Pam's home was very close to the area. All the guys would come thru the office straight from the Base Stations looking like "Robinson Caruso" look alikes. The ones I remember most Peter Warmke, Phil Cosgrove, Dave Clayton, Gordon Owen and many others.
The job gave me a great desire to travel and on my first O/S trip snagged a spot with Fred in Geneva and did two stints there when his secretary Ann Marie was going on holidays. I did make it to the New Orleans office and remember a night which included some dreadful "gumbo" meal. Fish stuff all floating around in something!
I remember Don Havelo bringing me back
some gold bracelets from South Africa which I treasure to
this day. He bought them as a favour and it was most
appreciated. John Coffman welcomed me to Geneva when I
arrived there from London and he was very gracious. Was very
sad to hear of his passing. A true gentleman.
So many names I recognised on the website. Phil Cosgrove and I were great mates and spoke to him a couple of years ago. Would love to have Rich and Pam's e-mail contact as well as Phil's. Well done on your web site efforts
Best regards, Rhonda Horne (ex ONI - Kingsford, Double Bay, another office can't remember where in sydney, and Geneva (Twice).
The latest on Dan Jefferies,
I hope it hasn't really been since May since I last updated on Dan Jefferies! I've been to Chicago to visit him since he moved into the latest
from Bob Coddington, and others. 10 April 2016
Recently it was brought to my attention that Dan's phone had been disconnected and we had lost contact with him. I did some investigating and found out his health had significantly declined and he was moved to an "assisted living" facility in the Tampa, Florida area. Since then there has been further developments and the following is the present situation.
At last I have the full and complete news on our friend, Dirty Dan!! I talked to his niece a few days ago and she was in Tampa visiting him.
First off, Dan is 87 years old now and suffering severe dementia. Because of that he had to give up his apartment and move to an assisted living place a few months ago. At his new location he did not have a landline in his room and because of his dementia he could not always remember how to use his cell phone. AND he had given up ALL use of email for the same reason. All of that makes it difficult to get in touch with him if you ever try. Mainly you leave a message and then hope. That's about all you can do.
A few weeks ago Dan fell and broke his hip. They operated on him and put in a plate and screws to repair the situation. He's now in a rehab center and is expected to be there until sometime in May. After that he may have to move to a full time nursing home in the Tampa area. His niece sounded positive about his recovery but not so much about his dementia (possibly Alzheimer, and here I'm guessing) and said she's going to think about it but, after he recovers, she may move him from Florida to Chicago where he's originally from and where she lives and can take care of him.
Right now that's all I know and I told his niece to get in touch with me if there is any changes in his situation or location and she promised she would.
Getting old is no party and for some it's even worse. Just be glad for what we do have at the moment, hope we can all remain as well as life allows and try to stay in touch with family and friends. Sooner or later we may all need their support and understanding.
Thanks Bob for the update
Thanks for the news Bob, he dropped off the radar a while back when he was use his TV for email. (bigger text!) Last I heard was from Julie Asher who visited him but that was months ago, we get caught up in our lives and dramas and forget to stay in touch with people who have touched our lives in a meaningful way.
Take care all. Andy Matthews
And from Chuck Grass:
From: Melvin Moll
Really enjoyed the site on ONI. I worked in the office as a Senior Programmer on Jefferson Hwy from 1980 till 1989 before going to work for Shell Offshore. I worked under Ed Christy and after Elliot Christian left developed the processing software on the VAX 11/750 which I called NPS or Navigation Production System to replace the PDP-11/45. I still have a lot of the old FORTRAN code. I also worked on the Flite-Track aircraft and vehicle tracking systems for Shell in the UK, ARAMCO and the Maryland State Police. Before that I worked in the Drafting Department processing data for Shell. Where I am currently living, Maryland that is. It is great reading the history and can honestly say it was some of the best years of my life. Learned a lot and met some great people. Attached is one of the brochures about the data processing department. I am in the picture on the 3rd page with my back to the camera looking at the desk. It was taken in the drafting room built over part of the parking lot. John Johnson is to the left of me and Jerry Neal is hiding behind me. I still have one of the ONI caps, never been worn and my 10 year pin. Thanks for the great website and the stories of those in the field.
Unfortunately the attachment is a PDF document and I have yet to figure out how to display it here. I'm working on it, but don't hold your breath! I cannot now find this email so must not have filed it for some reason, so no photo!
Dave Clayton - Oct 9th 2015
Thank you for the great job you are doing building and keeping the ONI website alive and updated. The following could be used in the ďContactsĒ ONI web site.
In March and April this year 2015 my wife Roz and myself visited several places in Australia. On this recent visit we travelled from Hamilton Island Queensland to the Queensland mainland and visited a town called Bowen. Bowen is where I was based running a Shoran base station for Canadian Aero Services in 1969. This before I new of ONI. I later discovered the Canadian Aero Service party chief, Odmund Fagerniss, had previously worked for ONI after jumping his Norwegian ship in New Orleans and going to work for ONI. Nothing had changed much in Bowen and we drove to Sarina Beach Queensland to spend a few days with Phil Cosgrove. Phil had his Aortic heart valve replaced several years ago resulting in him loosing a great deal of weight and giving up drinking beer and only occasionally has a glass of wine. He maintains a very healthy diet. Gordon is suffering from Emphysema however, still the quick quitted Gordon we all know.
The following pictures of Phil Cosgrove, Gordon Owen, Roz & myself. Phil & Dave at Mackay Marina; Phil & Roz at same; Lunch at Phill's; At Gordon's, overlooking the Pacific: Roz pointing out the restrictions set by Willoughby County Council on a public car park at Northbridge, near Sydney. You obviously can't do a lot there!
Received from Andy Matthews - August 29th 2015Hi dude, Lot's of stories to share but I dare say I'm the only guy that ever got fired from ONI, picked up by Dave Clayton at NCS. Fired again! Over the last many years have been in touch with Ray Landry, Milton and Katie Hock. Recently in touch with Uncle Dan Jeffries as we youngsters, the one's he took under his wing called him. So many cool dudes at ONI, never see that again. Still in the industry as an offshore project manager, more precise tap dance at meetings. Attempting to ease into retirement, ain't working! Wander lust. Living in the RP from '04 after meeting my now wife, we have two fine boys who I figure are going to be US Marines. Bob Cotting No:. 815-734-4624 Dan's is 813-259-9160 Latest picture of me and wife, man I'm getting old. Spoke with Dan last week and he's doing fine, a little hard of hearing but hanging in there. Andy Matthews Sunset Estates 34-10 Wesley Lane Cut-Cut, Angeles City 2009 Philippines GSM +63 927-510-9860 (RP) Skype Mattjam98
September 28th 2015
Dave: Thanks for the update....It is always a pleasure to read and reminisce about the crazy days in the world of ONI!!! I have recounted some stories to "civilians", i.e., non-ONI/doodlebugger types and they are typically aghast...speaks to the mental status of the employees of that era...I have a younger (53) brother who has been doing offshore survey work for many years...all satellite, computers, etc. Single bunk cabin w/bath on 85 to 120m vessels..28 days on and 28 days off...$750 to $900/day depending on location/type of work. He lost his driving license for a while last year...they sent a car/driver to bring him to work (320 miles one way)!! My how the times have changed! Over the past year I have put down to words some memories of my days with ONI...I have attached them for your review...feel free to incorporate them in the ONI archives if you like...I hope to complete them in the weeks ahead... As I believe I've told you in the past, I left ONI in 1975 and went to work for Dearborn Marine (later Offshore Logistics) working my way up to Master. Spent the next 7 years on offshore supply/anchor handling vessels in the Arabian Gulf, Mediterranean, North Sea, S. America and Alaska. "Retired" in 1982 to return to University and majored in Social Work. Past 30 years in this endeavor. I have been working with military veterans for the past 5 years here in New Orleans. Plan to retire in May 2016....hopefully do a bit of traveling thereafter, unfortunately I'll be buying the tickets this go round. The national beer of Ethiopia referenced in my writings! Best regards, Jack Dyer
Hi Dave Here is a picture
that I took this year 2015 with Archbishop Aymond.
I finally received my
Confirmation at 85 years of age. Thanks for creating the
website. I really enjoy reminiscing about my days at
September 28th 2015
And the next day: 29th
I wish you would post a few pictures of our donkey trip to the Valley of the Kings. I didn't have a camera at the time. Klaus was supposed to send me so pictures but that never happened. Just a few on the web site would be terrific. Thanks, Marion Lassiter
DT: Unfortunately I was in the same situation as Marion, but I borrowed a camera from a guy in town - on a yacht cruise - who had run his yacht up on a reef, ripping the bottom out! His camera had been waterlogged, but I took a chance. No photos of the donkey trek - which you can read about in my Crosstalk, P534 Egypt piece - but I do have these, taken at some other time
September 30th 2015Dave: I want to thank you for all your work with the ONI website. You must have had a hell of a good life with ONI., to do all of that Work.. I am 91years old now, and just about all of my co-workers have checked out of this life Hans Karlson, and Al Leffler may still be around, but not sure.
Thomas Mestayer, EX- Operations Manager ORI
October 4th 2015
Dave, sorry I'm so late to reply but the last few months have been rather hectic for some reason. Maybe my old age, who knows.
You are doing a great job with the site and a difficult one I'm sure. I don't visit it often but when I do I always enjoy it very much as I always enjoyed and loved my days at ONI. I have memories that I will never forget and no money could ever buy.
On the subject of memories . . . . If I EVER get organized and just take the time I may someday write my tale about my how I ever found ONI and my first days (actually about three months) at ONI. Does anyone besides me even remember AONI?? For about a year or a little more I actually got paychecks under that name and I may have been the only one . . . if memory serves. Indeed, my first three months were a period I'll never forget and that was before I even left the country on my first overseas job for ONI. ;-) LOL
Keep up the good work and stay in touch as I will also.
Early 2013 - my, was it that long ago! - I exchanged the following e-mails with Jesse Lerma, re Al Leffler
Allen L Leffler
I called to verify that it was the same Al. He wasn't there but I spoke to his wife who remembered that he had worked for ONI. I left my name and number for him to call me back. I'll update you once I've made contact. By the way, Santa Margarita is a small community about 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Al Leffler around 1966
is an e-mail received from whom I remember as Jean
Derivaz, although I note he has anglicized the Jean
Hello Dave, I got your address thru Peter Studer, with whom I worked in the past on ONI projects. I am also an old ONI employee. I joined in January 1970 and I left in 1976. I was a party chief working out of Geneva, mostly in the Middle East, West Africa and the Mediterranean. Then I remained in the business of radiopositioning with NCS International out of Houston, and in 1990 I became the area manager for a joint venture between NCS and ONI in Malaysia (Offshore Navigation Malaysia). Hans Karlsson must remember that very well, and I had Peter Barrett in the team.
The attached picture was taken in Northern Italy in 1970 on a cold March day, working on a project in the Adriatic Sea for GSI with the MV Baronoff, the equivalent of the Western Geo III for GSI. The two Shoran navigators on board were Louis Tessmer (the man with the Dali mustache) and Bill Justice.
I hope to hear more from all the people still around and I will try to dig out more pictures.
Best regards. John L. Derivaz
And from Ian Cartner:
anyone remember Jaques Gruring
From Ted Patro, re the Charlie McCarley mention on the Introduction page.
Addendum from Don Webb
Dave, you've got talent. I love it. Every time I see an old ONI hand, I give them this website.
PS. Ted Patroís rendition of Denis (the menace) Roper is right on. I was there that night, Sandakan, North Borneo '66. Dennis had a concussion and thought he was dying so he began bequeathing his possessions. (I got his Accura watch). It was originally titled Dennis and the Sikh with the Quick Stick. Bob Clasen was party chief. Great story.
From John Lovelock ex, GSI
Pat Matthews to Rich Longton and myself, re some photos Rich sent me.
This email got stuck in my hold folder, and then the BP Deep Water Horizon incident occurred, so today am finally getting around to sending you a reply. And glad to hear the news about Ted, Phil and Gordon.
The golf photo is at Ormond Plantation Country Club up the river from Nola in Destrehan, date is late December 2004 after Christmas, from the left it's me, Aaron Vogel my son-in-law, Aaron Jenkins, and my brother Mike. AJ was an avid golfer and I tried to play a round with him whenever I was in Nola for family visits. I'm guessing his age in that photo at about 79 yrs. AJ was one of my first offshore partners in the early 70's and a good friend through the years.
The other photo isn't ONI
related, Oceaneering and Fugro at our annual hunt
at the King Ranch. The large fellow is John Huff,
OII's CEO at the time who in the 90's offered to
buy PHI from Carroll. He's a really good guy,
extremely smart, rough and tough dude who came
from the drilling business running Eddie Chiles
company. Saved Oceaneering's business in the mid
to late 80's crunch.
Photo's attached are Joe
Breeden and me in Haugesund 1992, Shawn Johnson of
NCSI and his ONM Kuala Lumpur office assistant at
a trade show in Singapore the same year. I've done
a few multi-beam projects with Shawn since then,
though I haven't heard from in about five years.
Joe and I stay in touch, he's works for Fugro
Caribbean mainly on the commercial side now. Joe
was our man in Trinidad from about '81 thru '90,
in Haugesund thru '93 I think when he then
transferred to Nola.
Other photos attached, the ONI building in September 2007 by Joe Breeden. One of "The Cave", my dad's little bar and boat dock in Bay St Louis 1979, Hans and Neida in 2005, Dave Clayton GSI Carino 1973. That's maybe Dan Jefferies in the middle next to Dave but not sure. The Cave photo shows the only one of Fred Harr I've ever seen.
George Roussel's memo about
Shoran reminded me that our last Shoran job was in
1985, Brasil. Petrobras went from paying in US
dollars to local currency, we sold the business to
Trevor Loose who continued thru late 80's. Trevor
leveraged that to buy a local shoe manufacturing
and export business, had mild cancer late 80's and
haven't heard about him since he visited Oschner.
Enjoyed the ONI site and recent update, nice to see it on the web.
Ormond Plantation C C, Destrehan
Pat Matthews, Aaron Vogel, Aaron Jenkins, Mike Matthews
Pat & Spook
Good Ole Boys at the King Ranch
Joe Breedan in Haugesund
Shawn Johnson & assistant, Offshore Navigation Malaysia
GSI Carino 1973 - Steve Romanchuck, Dan Jefferies?, Dave Clayton
I was looking at the
website again and really enjoyed reading bringing
back great memories
I would like you to
put my e mail contact on the website under
I was from the early
days firstly with Lab Navigation out of
I worked all over
the world with ONI as a base station operator and
Party Manager 1969 to 1979 Approx
I am in Christchurch
Great to read about
employees of ONI who I worked with They were
definitely good days
Planning on going to
the UK this year and touring around for eight
weeks or so
Colin L Kirby QSM
I was with ONI for a pretty short time in the early 70ís, but surprised at how many names on the site that I recognize.
Guys on the site I worked with or for; Colin Kirby,
Rich Longton, met Ted Patro, Don Heaverlo, Don
Petersen, Hans Karllson, Ian Easterbrook, Mike Beech
(?), and one very good friend who I am surprised has
not had a mention, Foots Magee. He passed away 9
years ago now.
I worked mobile on the Eugene McDermot 2 in North Australia with a guy named Pat. We stayed together in accommodation in Perth at one time. One of your pictures, of an unidentified base station in Oz is South East Island off Western Australia, I am pretty sure. The place where the atom bombs were tested. If not S.E. Island, other possibility for this site is Spit Point, also in W.A.
Keep up the good work.
10 Dec 2012
My father, Luke Carter, was involved in the Bahamas Aerial Magnetometer Survey back in 1947. Donít know how long he stayed with the group, but he was on the crew of the MV Charlie Bamsu. He served on landing craft during D-Day (Omaha Beach) and always talked fondly of his time in the Bahamas.
Dr. Thomas J. Carter
Associate Professor English
Hi, Dave. Good to hear from you again. I'm glad you got the photos I sent. I will be scanning some others to give to my sibs, so I'll send some of those along to you (perhaps after the holidays). I don't have much to add other than the photos. I do have a couple of documents from Geophysics that mention the Bahamas magnetometer survey, so I've attached them here. You may already have them (in fact, I may have learned about them through your site), but I'm sending them anyway under the notion that a little electronic redundancy doesn't hurt.
Hope all is well with you and that you find this material useful or interesting.
PS: My book, "Beachhead Normandy," has been much delayed at the printer, but it is now available on Kindle. ONI gets a brief mention toward the end. The print version will have a photo of the Charlie Bamsu and one of dad at the helm. So perhaps ONI won't be totally forgotten! Thomas Carter
Just came off the ONI Intro page. Reminded me of an incident on the Seismic Explorer when we were "Shooting" some 60 odd miles offshore, rolling in the swells. The Shoran quad helix was on a Texas Tower that stood just clear of curved main navigation mast. The Shoran kit was installed aft on the bridge, and the "Navigator" was exchanging looks at the screen with both hands on the dials and the pre-plot listing and calling out every tenth shot number.
"Lost the Signal" he said and about five seconds later there was a heavy "Thump Thump" on the wheelhouse roof. The rotator pole had worn through and sheared and the quad had slid down the starboard guy wire ending up on roof. Dave quickly switched off the transmitter to prevent further damage and we all set to work untangling the mess of bent antennas and pig tail of thick coax.
Two hours later, which was the time we needed for a full circle to line up the seismic cable, the tower had been lowered, the quad mounted again with the help of the ships engineers, the rig tested and back on the air.
(DT. I asked Karl if he had any photos, or some names.)
That is really taxing my memory, since it was my first trip on a seis boat that was run by the Whitehall Corp out of Dallas TX. Think it may have been around June/July 1969, mobilized & demobbed in Takoradi, Ghana. Our shore man who was in contact with the two or three base stations was called Bill Routen.
We had two ONI guys onboard, pretty sure one was called Dave, since we were both on day-shift. My documentation about those days was lost long ago during multiple house moves.
Ex Chief Observer
Just a hello to say I enjoyed your page and history of ONI. I donít recall meeting you, but I was the Technical Director responsible for integrating the Micronet to GPS and thus creating the dGPS system.
Thanks for the memories.
I am another ONI old boy, Graham Ellis. I was hired by Gene Talmadge in about 1978. My first job was with Willie Williams in Norway (Trondhiem)
Loved working for the company. Worked with some real maverick's and consider myself very privileged for the experience.
Just in the middle of a move, but have come across a few photos. In recent years I have been in email contact with Peter Wamke, who has been unwell. Haven't heard back from any of my emails for ages, so fear the worse.
Also been looking for Jeff Roe, Mike Corstophen, John Kopp, who I didn't notice in your rogues gallery.
(DT. Thanks for the reply Graham, but please don't bother about the invite to Facebook, I am very anti social re networks and have just managed to cancel my Facebook account. E-mail me some photos when you get settled again though. Where do you live? I had an e-mail joke from Peter last week, though I suspect it is Annie that sends them. I was over there a few years ago and stayed with them for a few days.)
I live in SE London now (Avery Hill SE9). Really pleased to hear Peter is still about. I set up the Facebook page just to try and see who was out there, and all I found was Mike Beech, in 2 years ! As soon as were sorted here I will scan all the photos of those days and email them to you.
These days I work as a freelance Communication engineer. During the 2012 Olympics I was responsible for all communications on the Olympic Shooting venue at Woolwich Common.
I also do street food (pizza cooked in a traditional wood fired oven in about 90 seconds). Currently were building some Cajun Microwaves for the 2014 season, just to produce food that is exciting and really tastes good!
Talk to you soon!
Hi Dave, I only recently became aware of the ONI website you have set up. I worked for ONI from 1974 until 1979 mainly International using shoran, accufix and argo. (Wee Scotsman with a black beard? The beard is now grey, but I'm still wee:-))
I worked with you in the Canadian Beaufort where "Desperate Dan" Jeffreys was our PC. We were still setting rigs up there in November when we watched the Beaufort freeze solid around us. Do you remember the chopper company up there Bow Helicopters who had that epic T- shirt "Happiness is a Bow Job." ? I wore one on my return to NOLA until it fell apart occasioning shock and horror among the local populace.
I also worked with you in Brazil where if you recall we were forced to wait for 3 weeks in a hotel one block off the Cococabana beach, on full expenses, waiting for the gear to come out of customs. It was hell but someone had to do it! Charlie McCarley was our PC on that trip. We joined the GSI vessel M/V Dunlap in Rio when the gear finally was "sprung" from customs.
After ONI I went on to a long career in the business with Digicon / Veritas DGC / CGG Veritas. I think my last contact with ONI was as "The Client" in Mexico where ONI provided a Syledis network for Digicon. This would be around 1990 or so. Joe Mitchell was the PC on that job and I must report he behaved himself impeccably, which for Joe meant refraining from (his party piece) dropping his glass eye in the clients drink when he wasn't looking.
I finally retired in 2009. However some of my best and funniest memories involve my time with ONI. Ray Landry is still the best boss I have ever worked for. Why he didn't fire me for the things I got up to back then will forever remain a mystery to me, but I am very grateful he didn't none the less. John (Mac) McAloon.
Hi Dave, I'll have a look through the old photos and see what I can find. I'm based in Houston these days, last place in the world I expected to wind up. However the family are all here, they do have excellent health care professionals and I have a sick wife these days.
I've been showing her some of the photos on the site as she remembers quite a few of the guys. We were recalling our wedding in NOLA, where someone found a piano and wheeled it into the reception room. Mike Zitsman promptly started playing it and we all had a sing along. Ray Landry was last seen disappearing out the door with a bottle of Scotch under each arm. I was so pissed that Chuck Holt had to take the wedding pressies to our apartment. Not sure who took me, however she swears I told her on our wedding night "I will if you really want me to love, but my heart isn't in it, .......right before I passed out:-))
I don't run into any ex ONI any more, but when I was still working I would run in to Dave Clayton, Chuck Holt & Jack Lane on a regular basis. (Lennie Stanley who worked for me at Digicon, actually sent me the link to your website.) As far as I know they all still live in the Houston area, but it's a huge city & really spread out. If I do run into any of them, I'll spread the word on your web site. I used to be on Dan Jeffreys joke list until he passed away. He would keep me up to date with the guys he stayed in touch with.
Best Regards: John.
Dave, Surprised but very glad to hear about Dan. All I remember is his emails drying up and bouncing, but I'm sure someone told me he had passed away. Then again I might have been having a "senior moment". Tampa was one of the places we were looking at for retirement and I corresponded with Dan a bit on that. Then Irene got leukemia and all bets were off. I take it your still in York?
I still remember that story you told about Louis Connors in a posh hotel in Malta I think it was?
with his fishing tackle toolbox and his tie as always
tucked into his shirt military style, saying to the
very posh lady in his very distinctive WC Fields
accent "Excuse me madam while I put down my lunch
pail." He was a one off, but there were so many guys
like that in ONI.
Charlie McCarley who had a thousand stories; Dick Madison, who managed to get himself arrested on Mardi Gras Day in NOLA; myself and Wayne Cotton almost getting arrested ourselves trying to bail him out, only to find him back in the apartment when we eventually staggered back there; Ian Easterbrook a legend in his time, Gordy Owens talking himself out of a DUI in NOLA while flashing a Queensland driving license; Willie Williams deliberately slipping the clutch is his van to knock a soldier flying in the Congo, getting dragged off and coming back out of the guard box with a wide grin on his face, saying that cost him thousands of CFA Francs but it was worth every penny; I could go on and on.
They were all real characters the like of which I don't think exist any more. It really was a special bunch of slightly mad individuals, most but not all ex-military of one sort or another, at a special time in their lives, who pioneered an industry and had a magnificent time doing it. I'll definitely be back in touch, ....now where are those photos!
7th Aug 2013
Richard W Hunt Jr.
I am a former employee of ONI. I worked for them from mid-summer of 1986 to February of 1988 when Joe DeLerno Jr was in the front office and Joe D the 3rd played tennis with me at the Jefferson Playground #5. My own personal story for why I was there isn't the focus of your page, but I can fill in a few things for you from that period.
joined ONI in July or August of 1986, I forget
exactly when, based on an invitation from Jerry
Krause, who had worked for my former employer, TANO
Corp. I was out of work due to a complex series of
corporate gyrations that ended when I was unable to
take a transfer out of state when TANO got bought
out. With Jerry to vouch for my ability, I had no
trouble getting on-board ONI.
became a programmer/analyst for ONI with a strong
math background due to my PhD in chemistry. The math
background was good because at least I wasn't afraid
of spherical trig functions. My main job was to
maintain the systems based on PDP-11 computers
running RSX-11S, a non-disk system that you
boot-loaded from a tape drive. I helped implement
several device drivers and math routines for the
PDP-11s and also acted as a secondary systems
administrator (doing software installs and special
projects) for the VAX
that was also used for various purposes. I recall it
used an INGRES database package but I didn't mess
with that. The business side of the shop worked with
INGRES. I didn't need it in the things I did.
Among my other projects, I
implemented the assembly-language code to drive HP
multi-color plotters and I also did the math
subroutines for converting Lat/Lon to X,Y using
Cassini-Soldner mapping. The latter had to be done
on both PDP-11 and VAX because we took the tapes
written by the PDP-11 to the VAX in order to drive
the really big flat-bed plotter that drew the
detailed course maps of the shoots. The
Cassini-Soldner mapping was for a job in Jamaica
because at the time, the only places that used CS
mapping were Jamaica and Israel.
also had to help tweak the NavStar satellite
routines because Jerry Krause had done the basic
math but hadn't yet integrated the package for the
case when we had mixed signal sources (e.g. Loran
and a small constellation of NavStar or Transit in
combination.) If I recall correctly, you could give
that version of the PDP-11 boxes a combination of as
few as two LORAN sources, a Transit, and a NavStar -
and still could get below 2 meters position. Of
course, every source you added after that shrank the
circle of uncertainty significantly. There were
cases - not very many, but a few - where we had
LORAN, Spot, Transit, and NavStar running at the
same time. We got below 1 meter on the circle of
uncertainty for those cases. (OK, it was really an
I left the company in February of 1988 after my mother passed away in late 1987. I was free to move elsewhere then and did so. ONI wasn't able to match the salary offer I got from another company and while I liked the people, I had to look out for myself at that point. I'm still in touch with a couple of people who remember ONI from working with us. In fact, my "next-door neighbor" in my office is a former Shell employee who worked with the ONI field engineers when we put new systems on their boats. He's the person who gave me the link.