E-mails, letters, photos etc

Recent email from Patrick Mathew January 24, 2020

From: Patrick Matthews []
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2020 7:05 AM
Subject: ONI 1984 Annual Report Excerpts


Sent these to DT in 2017 but probably lost in transition of email addresses 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.

Mr 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 make.

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.

(832) 567-9617


Recent email from Richard Longton

From: richard longton []
Subject: Best wishes for 2020

Here 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 friends.  

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.

Our 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.

We 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.

Recent emails from Pat Matthews

(Re: Willie Williams Obit)

From: Patrick Matthews 
Sent: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 5:38 PM

Hi Jesse,

Postcard from Willie Williams to Al Poppe (Note postmark)

Do 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 <>
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.


From: Patrick Matthews 
Sent: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 5:13 AM

Hi Jesse,

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 Hereford

 October 8, 2019

Jesse.  Sorry i disappeared on ya.  I appreciate your kind attention to my email.  Our  contact regarding raydist/navigation has stirred many memories.  a wonderful  thing.  it floods the mind.  in a good way.

A brief war story.  as a youth my academic achievements where minimal.  i found myself in need of employment for the period of academic probation.  i flunked out of university.  my friend was working at ori for the summer.  he introduced me to a guy named woody. somehow i got a job at ori.  my friend worked in the drafting dept.  not interested in the boats. i had no choice.

after a few weeks on fern st, i was assigned a crew.  a second operator on the m/v FB Walker, a shooting boat on a Western Geophysical crew working out of Aransas Pass tx.   i got no briefing on what to expect. just a bus ticket. i rolled up to the dock, to find the crew loading the charges.. as they threw them down into the hole,  i was shocked.  why didn't they explode?  i was green.

the next morning when i woke we were underway.  we were still inside the jetties but it was already rougher than a cob.  i was seasick.  first time.  i was given a choice.  stay the course or return to the dock.  a return would mean an end to my brief ori career.  it was a defining moment.  of course i didn't  know it at the time.   i stayed the course.  i also was still sick.  this guy handed a yellow pill to me and said it would help.   it put me to sleep.  it was Dramamine.  ironically later in life i sold Dramamine.  after three days of Dramamine induced sleep i emerged from my rack.  i was a mess.  but no longer sick.

my first radist operator introduced himself .  yes he was a character. name?  minus joe landry.   his nickname was "negative joe".  he took me under his wing and we made a good shooting boat team.   i can see our operating position clearly.  right behind the wheelhouse.

after a short time i brought my Swan SW 240 triband transceiver on board to work the world and my buddy Jan  W4ZEJ, who was on a shell crew. strung up a 40 dipole.  it was a wonderful experience.  propagation was excellent. each night i had to break down the shack and store it under the raydist desk .  after a few days waiting out a hurricane we left grande isle.  i woke up to the sight of my beloved swan 240 being heaved about in 15 foot seas.  apparently we went back out prematurely.  we did not shoot a line but took refuge in the Mississippi river.   by the way last time i fired up the swan it worked well.

Louis Hereford

September 11, 2019


yes please add my email address the your email list.  i would love that.  life is really quite remarkable. i have not found many images of raydist on line. However i came across a site with three images.  one was  two raydist guys in their operations positions( 1958 ), the next was a picture of an antenna array,  the third was a picture of a guy keeping lane count. 

that guy was Jan B McMinn. originally of nola more recently of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  we played football and were band members at PA Capdau Jr High, nola.  we were very close friends.  we never worked on the same crew but as ham radio operators,  we brought our ssb transceivers on the boats and communicated after the shooting was secured for the day.  he worked just two or three summers mostly off Texas.  my point is , what are the odds his picture would show up on line? 

I have plenty boat stories but due to time passage i don't think i have any pictures.  but i will keep an eye out.  that said, believe it or not i kept a large orange plastic bag used to float the nitro carbo nitrate.  i have not seen it for a while but i have it,  even stranger, on an estate sale exploration here in Birmingham, Alabama,  i cam across an ONI paper weight.  it has the ONI logo like the one on the letter head.  as i said , life is strange,  micky and sylvia also said that.

perhaps you would agree, the boats had some "interesting" characters. never met a bad guy,  but many  who were unique.  one of my favorites was a boat crewman. he had  hygiene issues.  when asked about his view of personal hygiene he explained  "as far as i am concerned, dirt won,t hurt you unless it hits you in big pieces".  i ve  kept this in mind.

by the way, my friend Jan passed in the early 1990s.  He pursued a legal career but remained close to the sea.  i'll stay in touch.  do you have a list of contacts you can share.  best regards

Louis Hereford


September 10, 2019

Hey Jesse.  i am speechless.  my surfing the web has brought me to many interesting places. none more so than this ONI one. let me introduce myself.

i am a Raydist guy.  i flunked out of Tulane U in new orleans and needed a reboot.  ironically this was summer of 63.  a friend was working on fern st in the office so he arranged for me to speak with Woody. i guess it went well cause i got the job. 

i had no idea of what i was getting into.  i worked in the office for a few weeks till i got the call to join a crew in aransas pass, tx.   i arrived around 10 pm .  they were loading the MV fb walker with charges.  i was petrified.  i had not been briefed at all. i just knew we would soon be killed by an explosion. 

i was wrong.   the next morning we set out , while inside the jetties i found myself seasick .  i too found that to be a pivotal point in my life. they told me i could go back to dock ,  once out at sea i would have to root hog or die.  what a choice.  i said press on.   once at sea a guy from Burma offered a yellow tablet.  i took it.  i stayed asleep for three days. the yellow pill was Dramamine.

i was struck by your comment regarding oni shaping your life. while just a new orleans punk kid,  working summers " on the boats" it provided an intangible quality which i enjoy today.

i am so grateful to have found this site.  i have only scratched the surface.  better late than never.  i recall a few names.  i only met him a few times, but Bob Schmidt, was W5GHV, a friend of Liberato  Gallo W5GHP, father of Lou Gallo K5TNR.  Lou and i grew up together in Gentilly , new orleans.   i discovered Bob lived a few houses down from a girl friend in gentilly woods.

i feel like a fringe player in the ONI story.  Raydist played a pivotal role in my life.  yes i was at anchor in the Mississippi river, waiting out bad weather when JFK was killed.  the ONI/ORI was truly a "ya had to be there" story to understand or appreciate.  believe it or not, i have an orange plastic bag used to float the charge.  sad but true.  Charge over,

Louis Hereford


Don Heavalo sent his photo:

Milton & Katie Hock, sent to me I believe by Milton

From Rich Longton, with Jack Lane and Pam
at Gig Harbor December 17th 2018.
Congratulations on your new book.
I look forward to reading it.

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.

Dieter Moser.

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.

Merv Bishop

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 panicky Merv.

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."

Martin Newey

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

Dear Barbara

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.

Joe Fox

Hi Dave,

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,

Joe Fox

Rhonda Horne

Hi Dave,

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

Hi all! 

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.

Bob C.


Thanks Bob for the update

Phil Cochran

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:

Thank you one and all. That list of names brings many memories. Some great
some hilarious . none bad. ONI was the best group of i ever worked with. It
took Dan to make that list come out. Thank you Dan and all the rest.


From: Melvin Moll

Hi Dave,

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

Hi Dave,

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 2015

Hi 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


Julie Asher
September 27th 2015

Glad to hear from you! I expect that my email address will no longer change - not using any offered by cable companies, they change too.  You mentioned the 1964 earthquake in Alaska - my dad, Harry Asher, went up there two (2) weeks
after its occurrence. As a child, I remember watching the after shocks from the sunlight basement - my mom had to boil water. That was our first transfer to Alaska. My dad ultimately ran the Alaska and Calgary operations before leaving the company in 1981 (I think?). He passed away in 2007. I recently saw Dan Jeffries in Tampa. Not sure when he retired from ONI, but he's remained in touch with many. He just turned 87 this past August. He was up in Alaska working with my dad in the '70's. Attached is a familiar sight for anyone associated with the company - always time for a cocktail

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 ONI.

Don Heaverlo

September 28th 2015

Thanks Dave. You are doing a great job. I am obviously getting your emails but my correct address is Also you should add Andrew Reese: The best to you,

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 2015

Dave: 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.

Bob Coddington


Early 2013 - my, was it that long ago! - I exchanged the following e-mails with Jesse Lerma, re Al Leffler

DT: Did you ever hear anything of Al Leffler? He was manager in the Long Beach? What reminded me was a book I just read by a British (now Australian) glider pilot who mentioned him. I knew Al was very keen on gliding but he must have ended up very good as he was one of only three American pilots selected for a particular International competition.

Jesse Reply: Frankly, I didn't remember Al but I am terrible with names. However, I did some sleuthing on the internet and found several soaring references related to him.  He was very good as he was inducted into the Soaring Hall of Fame in 2001. I found an undated picture of him on the hall of fame website which I have attached. More importantly, I found his contact information.

 Allen L Leffler

Home (805) 438-5520 2340 W Pozo Rd Santa Margarita, CA 93453-9620 

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.

Just a follow up to my last email.  Al called me back and we had a short conversation. He was aware of your ONI website but hadn't visited it for a year or so.  He worked for ONI for 20 years mostly on the US west coast but would occasionally travel to put out fires.  After ONI he started his own navigation company but sold it after 10 years and then retired. He didn't remember me or you by name.  To jog his memory I brought up the guy that put out the mayday call that I related in my story.  He said "yeah, that was the Japanese guy." Actually, he didn't seem all that interested in reminiscing so we didn't talk for long. Anyway, that kind of wraps things up from here.

Al Leffler around 1966

Probably 2002


Following 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:

Hi Dave,

What a great idea the website is. I can only read a few paragraphs at a time as so many memories come flooding back. You had a photograph of a Loran C base station in New Zealand to identify - I think the person inside the hut was a camp helper and the on the outside was Jerry Naylor.

 I have a feeling I met up with you in Nigeria. I was there when the troubles started. Herb Eaton was the PC at the time. I spent the latter days in a bar listening to reports of the war from the BBC on the radio when a person came in and said if I wanted to get out to be at a certain place on the beach to be picked up by a helicopter - and to leave any baggage behind. I was then taken to an offshore rig where I met up with Willy Williams in a large poker school.  But all this is another story.

Keep up the good work and I will endeavor to get a story together.

Kind regards Ian

Does anyone remember Jaques Gruring

Hi Dave,

First of all, congratulations for this great WEBSITE it is superb!

Yes I was also an ex ONI employee between 1969-74 working in MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA, USA, (in New Orleans and Gulf of Mexico) Nicaragua, Gabon, Cameroun, Egypt, Libya, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Qatar, Malta, and more... I had a great time and fantastic souvenirs of this period. I am Swiss National, live now between Croatia and Switzerland. I have loads of great pictures of this period but as you know, on slides, which I have to download. I know John Derivaz, Jean Claude Hinault, Denis Cooper (great guy), Larry Slagle (who forgot me in the Qatari desert for 45 days!!!) Wolf Engelman, Bill Justice (He loved Women and Whisky), Jean Claude Hinault, Willie Williams (so friendly), Lou Tessmer "Tess" great guy and so much more. I would love to talk to you about this period! Are you on Skype ?? My Name is Jacques Gruring "Jack"  jacques8835 (skype)

Kindest regards


We do occasionally contact each other via Skype. DT.

Hi Dave.

I assume you are Perth based, are you any relation to Ian Taylor ex G.S.I.?  I am real glad to hear you are intending to keep The ONI "clan" reunited. Are you aware of the "Offshore Navigation Inc." page in Facebook? Also on Skype you will find Peter Warmke/ Hans Karlsson /Eric Amahonga/ Ian Easterbrook. Peter Warmke seems to be the one for contacts. I stayed with him and Annie, March this year for a few days. It was great to see the names and memories from the past. I believe I may have Crosstalk's in storage. I will look later and let you know. My Singapore/Malay wife Faridah and I are close friends with Gavin and Hamimah Abbott, who also live in Christchurch. Gavin is a surveyor similar age to me (a wrinkly as my daughter says!) he was  the client on survey boats and land crews for a long time though I never crossed working paths with him. I go back to the early days with LabNav and black Jack Erasmus/ Dave Gough/ Tim Huth/ Jess Thompson and all from Holland close workshop/storehouse/dosshouse, and of course Jim Lassiter. Cheerio for now will be in touch. 

Best regards..............Mike Beech


Hi, Mike, Not sure what you are going to receive here as I was replying direct to your mail when everything just disappeared! That's Sky for you, only really interested in selling you TV; Broadband and phone are free so they put no effort into them. Will have to look to changing again, but no problem as I now have a domain e-mail address: best if you use that from now on as they get forwarded to Sky anyway.

Now my reply. Not Perth Based, I am in York, UK. Never been on Facebook. Does that date me or what! Will go and have a look though. I have seen the Coastal surveys website, in fact that is partly responsible for the idea of an ONI site. html Got that from Lynne Hewson. The site is no longer to be found at this address!  

I do recall Ian Taylor - no relation - and I worked with him a few times. Didn't he own a bookshop in Perth or Freemantle? Out of the four people you mention on e-mail, I would agree that Peter is the one who answers regularly, we even chat on Skype now and again - I am Deltatango 6 - although Hans Karlsson is quite responsive, too. Eric only forwards me e-mails, and Ian rarely replies. I do have a few more ex-ONI contacts as well. Be good if you could dig out your Crosstalks, particularly if you have Nov 76.

Right, I will now go and look at facebook and see if I can find my way around.

Regards,  Dave

From Ted Patro, re the Charlie McCarley mention on the Introduction page.


I believe this refers to a job in North Borneoí either the Late sixties or early seventies.  Western Geo had two seismic crews working in North Borneo, one out of Jesselton  one out of Sandakan. I was on the Jesselton crew and did not see the incident first hand. I believe Don Heaverlo was present. 

The story was as follows, The ONI crew had been drinking in one of the many night spots in Sandakan when one of the crew came in the bar and advised there was a much better bar down the street with much better looking girls to drink with. One of the ONI crew a young American by the name of Dennis G. Roper ( Dennis the Menace) had not finished his drink and attempted to take the drink with him to the next bar. The bar tender advised young Dennis not to take his glass out of the bar, Dennis being young and brash approached the door of the bar where a Sikh sat on a stool to control entry and as the crew found out later also to exit.

The Sikh advised Dennis do not leave the bar with the glass or I will  hit you with my stick. Young Dennis being the person he was advised the Sikh he was not fast enough as young Dennis was an ex golden glove champion boxer (wishful thinking), at that moment the crew found Dennis laid out cold on the floor. Dennis was not aware of how fast the Sikh was for several hours when he woke up in the Sandakan hospital. Dennis returned home after this incident as there were other occasions that the client was not very happy with.

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

Hi Dave,

Received an email from Steve Romanchuck the other day, suggested I might be interested in your website  I was fascinated to see all the guys who "educated" me 40 years ago staring out at me!.

The three amigo's, Jack Lane, Bob Molloy and Howie Adams. Fred Haar, Phil Cosgrove, Dale Wallace, Gene Talmadge, Dennis Cooper, as well as those great guys there was Willie Williams, who pissed me off by telling me he could get a full pension after just 15 years in the field,

Louis V Tessmer, the original Evil Kneival performing wheelies around Luanda at 0300 and me visiting him at 0400 in hospital to admire his broken bones. Dale Wallace was right, that is Frank Doran, I have never seen a man so badly eaten by mosquito's as Frank was when he came in from a base station in Fernando Po.

Then there is Jean Louis Derivaz, cool hand Luke! Somehow I managed to get through Douala airport without getting my passport stamped. This concerned Jean Louis, so the following night he broke into the immigration office, found the correct rubber stamp and stamped my passport for me! He was so cool, but I thought we would both get shot.

You even have a photograph of Jack Lane's Lotus. He left it in my garden shed for six months, much to the delight of my five year old son; my wife also thanks Howie Adams for introducing her to oysters in New Orleans. In addition to all those guys on your website there are also photographs of four GSI pirates who also "educated " me, George Sellers, Dave Brown, Tony and Liz Morgan and Isabel and Norman White.

All in all I'm computer illiterate myself so you did a pretty good job! Just two minor observations, you have Bob Malloy circa 1974/1990, well he was certainly "educating" me in 1969 or 1970 in S.W Africa and Gabon, also in Bob's profile there is a photo of a crew party, you could only recognize Bob and Dennis Cooper, well the slim young guy next to Denis is ME! probably Luanda I think, 1970-71.

 On reflection I think I spent more time paying ONI's Bar Bills than GSI's! nah, that can't be true!

Great guys, Great era, 

Thanks for reminding me of it Dave,

Best Regards,

 J K L


My reply: Hi, John, Good to hear from you. Bob's dates came straight from Bob himself, and face to face, not over the phone. I'll take it up with him next time we meet up for fish & chips - in between one pub and the next! He is wrong, of course, for he is at the Gabon beach party and that was in 1972, and I recall him long before then. Still, he told me that the Atlantic trip was planned in a bar in Las Palmas (Louie's, supposedly owned by an ex ONI guy. Think I recall this bar myself but can't remember any details of who), and as you see from Jack, nothing of the sort

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 

Sad sight - ONI Headquarters buildings in 2007 - photos by Joe Breedan

Hi Dave-

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 Contacts

I was from the early days firstly with Lab Navigation out of Washington and later changed over to Offshore Navigation Inc

I worked all over the world with ONI as a base station operator and Party Manager 1969 to 1979 Approx

I am in Christchurch New Zealand and still working with the Antarctica Program (contractor to the 109th ANG USAF)

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


09/Dec/2012 Dave,

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.


 Baz Ford

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.

Tom Carter

Dr. Thomas J. Carter

Associate Professor  English
P: 540-375-2366

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

14 May 2014

Karl Wilson

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.

Karl Wilson
Ex Chief Observer
Seismic Explorer

24 April 2014
Tom Hylas

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.

Feb 2014
Graham Ellis

Hi Dave,

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.

Hi John, I have Dave Clayton on Skype, was talking to him last week. You've got Dan Jeffries wrong, I saw and talked to him, also on Skype, just last week, when Ron & Lynne Hewson were visiting him in Tampa. I have e-mailed Chuck Holt but never had a reply. Jack Lane I was in touch with when I was putting his Atlantic crossing on the Website. I still see Geoff Metcalfe - his company sponsors the Website - and Bob Molloy regularly. We meet up in South Shields for a beer and fish & chip lunch - best fish & chips in England, and thus the world! We are due to meet up again in the next couple of weeks. 

Best regards


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?

Louis 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, 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.

I 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.

I 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

11/750 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.

I 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 ellipse...)

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.