Webmaster - Dave Taylor - by himself, naturally

I joined ONI in May 1964, directly after serving twelve years in the Royal Air Force, mainly with Transport Command, so I was well used to travelling the globe at the drop of a hat. I was also single, averse to the thought of having to join a union - never had been a nine to five person - plus the feeling of wanderlust was by now deeply embedded in my bones.

I was, I believe, one of the very first non-American employees to be engaged by Head office, in New Orleans although I did hold a recently issued "Green Card", and as such, was required to spend two years in the States before qualifying for citizenship. But that "Green Card" also had its downside, for another requirement was that I should pay taxes. Worse still, it also meant I was eligible for service in the US Armed Forces - almost guaranteed at the time - so it was as well that, after three months or so in the Pacific Northwest, ONI chose to send me off to somewhere called Gabon (Yeah! That was the first question I asked; Where! did you say?).

 When I learnt it was in West Africa, I figured even that had to be better than a military tour in Vietnam. Probably just as dangerous in some areas, but at least no one was intent on killing me - well, not every day - and I was being paid well over the rate that miners were raking it in back in the UK - until Maggie got to them, that is!

So, Gabon it was, and, apart from short spells in Spain and Iran, I hardly left West Africa for the next seven years. In fact, I asked to be transferred back there to get away from Iran. Never did like the Middle East; like it even less these days. There again, I'd be very reluctant to set foot in West Africa, too, in this day and age. I've grown older and wiser, and the sense of adventure has diminished somewhat - as it does if your life is likely to be threatened! It appears to me that he best days are past as far as world travel goes.

Back in the early sixties, travel was fine, and relatively safe. Just as well, for we went everywhere, did everything; no Health and Safety back then to spoil the party, either, or to make things even more difficult. We were our own safety advisors, which in my view is how things should be. Same thing applied to flying, very few tourists, and an open airline ticket was valid for twelve months; any flight, on any airline, to anywhere that was within the ticket's mileage value. The right crowd and no crowding.

Once I'd made my escape from West Africa - even Nigeria had been acceptable until the Biafra revolt; lost everything in Port Harcourt, but managed to get out safely to Fernando Po, courtesy of Mobil Oil - it was off to South America, the US and Canada, the Far East - including China - Australia and New Zealand, and like that. South Africa was outstanding at the time, too, but I'd be wary of going back even there today.

So, I joined ONI in New Orleans - still at the Fern Street office - on May 11th 1964, my first job being on the M/V Miss Helen, out of Astoria, Oregon, working seismic for Shell, offshore the Northwest Shelf of the US. 

I recall Miss Helen as being around 80 ft (25m) in length, the seas being around 60 ft - which, naturally, precluded any shooting for the first trip (we had to make a port call every 10 days max, for water). All I learnt was what a "Head" was, and where it was! Spent the whole ten days travelling between there and my bunk - almost the whole crew in one cabin! When we finally did get to shoot, I discovered it was powder, suspended on a balloon and thrown over the stern upon our calling the shotpoint. And as we were working in prime salmon fishing waters off the Colombia river mouth, there was a requirement to carry a representative of the US Fish & Game Dept, who would stop us shooting if there was a fishing boat anywhere in sight, and there frequently was! So we fished, too, trailing a line hung on a boom over the side, and believe me, you can actually get fed up of fresh salmon.

After the second trip I was almost ready to call it a day; thought about going to work for Boeing, in nearby Seattle. But as ONI were short on personnel, a reasonable pay-rise and transfer to a base station on a mountain site in the Olympia National Park was enough to bring about a change of plan. That was me more or less hooked for the next twenty-six years! Oh, there were other times when I felt like chucking it all in - the base station in Iran that took three gruelling days to get to. What stopped me that time was the fact that it would also take three days to get back from whence I came, and I was knackered already. Then, at the end of it, what awaited me was a ten day break in Beirut, when it was the Riviera of the Middle East. Within six months it no longer was, and certainly never would be again.

My first overseas project, that Gabon job, was numbered 84,  my last was 1677, finishing on March 25th 1990. This again was seismic, for Nopec, on board CGG's M/V Stormy, out of Kristiansund, Norway.

In contrast to Miss Helen, by the time I boarded the M/V Stormy, things had changed somewhat. The sea's antics no longer bothered me, anyway, this vessel was considerably larger. It carried a cellar full of fine wines, spirits by the case, the food was French, so very good. Two of us shared a well-appointed cabin, shots were very high pressure air, the firing sequence computer-controlled, as was the GPS navigation. In fact, I was on board solely as an observer/technician. And the Stormy was nowhere near a late-technology vessel such as the Western Challenger and Nordic Explorer, and even these were soon to be outdated by super seismic vessels which deployed up to twelve streamers and multiple gunstrings. But the best vessel I ever served on as far as comfort, facilities and accommodation were concerned had to be SSL's Seisquest. They even had girls on board, which livened things up somewhat! Employed to use their talent in the instrument room, of course!

In the end, although being well paid by ONI, the writing was obviously on the wall, so I jumped ship. I remained in the offshore business for a further nine years. It certainly paid the bills, but by now the adventure was almost non-existent. Although I still got to work in such countries as China, Indonesia, and New Zealand, most jobs were in the Health and Safety orientated North Sea, very routine and very boring, so I decided to call it a day. I was well past sixty anyway, which introduced a degree of reluctance by certain potential employees. I still travel, but only to selected places - Singapore, the Antipodes, the US, the only difference is that I now pay for the ticket. I did recently visit the Caribbean, but found that to be far different to what it had been. It is all now very commercial, rather than the welcoming, laid-back attitude of the old days.

Ron Hewson - by Rich Longton

In May, 1970, ONI Party Chief Ron Hewson took leave from his assignment in Indonesia to travel home to Auckland, where he was presented - by the Governor General of New Zealand, on behalf of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II - with the "Polar Medal". This is awarded for "excellence in the fields of exploration and scientific endeavour in the Antarctic". The prerequisite for this was to have spent at least 12 months below the 70° South parallel. Ron actually stayed in the Antarctic for 18 months between 1961 and 1963.

Assigned to the Antarctic job by the New Zealand Government in September, 1961, as a surveyor with the New Zealand Topographical and Geological Antarctic Expedition, Ron conducted surveying operations during this first "southern" summer, in the mountainous area between 80° and 85° South. It is an area which has elevations up to 16,000 feet, and dog sleds were used to carry the survey party to points as high as 11,500 feet.

As the winter months closed in, Ron and a dozen other men retreated to Scott Base, to set up camp. Scott Base is located at 78°5' South, where the winters are long and cold. During this period, four months of which were total darkness, Ron's job was to strip and rebuild all the sleds and field equipment and to draw reconnaissance maps from aerial photos of the area to be surveyed the following season. In addition, Ron was required to feed and care for seventy huskies and their pups, who lived outside the men's quarters in temperatures as low as minus 55° centigrade.

The following summer, with Ron now appointed leader of the expedition, they proceeded to explore and survey an area which was frequented with extremely rough ice, protrusions, and deep crevasses. As leader, Ron now had the added burden of being responsible for the safety of the expedition. However, it was he himself who came most close to a fatal accident.

Ron in '63

The incident occurred as the field party was making a trip from a base camp in Victoria Land Mountains, north of Scott Base. A snow bridge concealing a crevasse gave way, and the sudden tilt of the sled catapulted Ron over the edge. By luck, the sled wedged itself across the gap, and Ron, secured by a line, landed on a ledge only 30 feet below, while the crevasse itself continued down for hundreds of feet. A special ladder designed for crevasse rescues was used to assist Ron back to the surface. (Yeah, but talk about cool! Years later, Ron told me that, whilst awaiting rescue, he’d actually asked for his camera to be lowered down to him, as the view from down there was tremendous! And, having seen the slides he took, believe me, it was all true.)

Another highlight of this expedition was the finding of the site on which one of the legends of heroic polar exploration was made. At Inexpressible Island, on the coast of Victoria Land, Ron and his field party discovered the remains of the snow cave where Lt V L A Campbell and five others of Scott’s Northern Expedition were marooned for the winter of 1912, living almost entirely on seal and penguin meat. After a hard and difficult winter, during which they nearly starved and froze to death, Campbell and his party departed Inexpressible Island and prepared to sled 200 miles to Ehri Base, at Ross Island, where they arrived in a pitiful condition, but alive. After 50 years, Ron found the sealskin roof of the cave and other paraphernalia left behind, well preserved by the Antarctic cold.

In March, 1963, Ron returned to New Zealand. During his two seasons in the Antarctic, he had traveled over 2,000 miles by dog sled and had mapped over 20,000 miles of previously unexplored territory. In recognition of Ron's survey work in Antarctica, the New Zealand Geological Society approved the naming of "Hewson Glacier" and the 12,000 foot "Mount Hewson".

After two years in New Zealand with the Department of Land and Surveys, Ron travelled to Nigeria where he was employed to survey oil concession boundaries, and it was here he stumbled upon, and joined up with, ONI.

Not long after Ron started work for the company, clouds of war began to settle over the area. During this restless period, Ron had occasion to be caught watching a meeting of the local Shaman or "Witch Doctors" in a small village. Since he should not have been watching their proceedings, they decided to put the "hex" on him and advised him he would not leave Africa alive.

A short time later, Ron was using a small out-board dinghy to move a base station when a freak movement of the boat tossed him over-board and the propeller cut him savagely about the buttocks. He was near death from loss of blood by the time a helicopter was able to take him to the Shell Company hospital in Port Harcourt.

Ron received first-class treatment, but by this time the Biafran War was intensifying rapidly. Two months later, still recuperating and wearing heavy bandages, Ron decided, along with many others, that it was time to assume the identity of a refugee and evacuate Nigeria. With six hours notice, he was able to pack a small case, and with only a small amount of cash, joined a convoy of buses to the town of Onitsha, on the Niger River. From here he went by car to a small airstrip, thence to Lagos. A scheduled flight took Ron on to London where he arrived in shorts, bandaged, broke, with eight months of uncut hair. After some delay talking his way through Customs, he stayed in London to complete his recuperation.

Fit once again, Ron took some less adventurous assignments with ONI in California, Alaska, Nicaragua, Cabinda, Papua New Guinea and West Irian, Indonesia.

Probably one of Ron's most choice assignments was as Party Chief of a 1971 operation in New Zealand. For here he was able to get together with his longtime sweetheart - later to become his wife - Lynne.

Ron & Lynne in a NZ railway coach restaurant

Rich Longton - All roads lead to roam!


Prior to working for ONI I had a stint with the US Air Force, including 3 years assigned in Europe. Following this I worked for several years as an electrical/mechanical designer including time with Boeing in Seattle, Lockheed in Marietta, Georgia and Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California.

In the early spring of 1964 I was hired as an ONI draftsman by Al Leffler in the Long Beach office. After a short time in Long Beach, I was transferred to Astoria, Oregon where I helped open the winter-mothballed office in preparation for the upcoming summer seismic season, operations commencing off the Oregon coast. Other draftsman arrived shortly after, and I was again reassigned, this time to the Anchorage office, working for Red Asher, and arriving only a few weeks after the 1964 earthquake. Several seismic projects took place during the ensuing season and two draftsman were kept busy the whole summer. One interesting side assignment was the requirement for us to issue 30-06 rifles and a box of ammunition to all personnel being assigned to the field. A few newer hires were somewhat taken back by this company requirement, but this preventive measure did save at least one life when a base station operator was rapidly being approached by a grizzly just outside his tent! He managed to get off one lucky shot and the bear fell within a few feet of the tent.


At the end of the summer I was sent to NOLA for the first time (Fern Street office) where I was given a choice of an assignment in either Egypt or Australia. I had visited the Med area during my time in the Air Force, so selected Australia, a place so strange to me at the time I felt the need to look up some background in an encyclopedia. Even after reading about it, and living there for several years, it remains somewhat strange.

I arrived in San Francisco where I had to obtain a visa. During the interview I was asked if I had a criminal record. I believe I replied something like " I didn't know that was still a requirement!". Gene Talmadge joined me, and we traveled together from SF, via Hawaii and Brisbane, before arriving in Sydney, where we were met by John Coffman and Bob Sosa. After a few days getting acquainted with the GSI staff in their Sydney office (including Andy Smith) we loaded up the Shoran equipment and headed north to Bundaberg, Queensland, and set up our project office in a local motel. Shortly after, I was relieved by another draftsman, and drove back down to Sydney for another project off the coast of NSW. Somewhere during this time Steve Sauder (and others) joined us. I recall that Steve had one of the best base stations of all time, just at the edge of Manly Beach in north Sydney! I believe Hans Karlsson was still on the P-202 project for Esso rig positioning down on the Gippsland coast. Later he was replace by Bob Sosa, who in turn was replaced by Bill Cooper, who stayed on another 10 years, or so.

While in Sydney, we had a supply boat pull into Jarvis Bay, about a hundred miles south, and I drove down to organize an agent to provide the necessary supplies. After a long day, I was about to drive back to Sydney when the agent said, why don’t you join me for tea before you drive back. Being new to Australia, I thought that was a good idea, and a cup of tea would be just fine. I followed him to his home in the suburbs and just as we entered and met his wife, he said why don’t we have a beer while the wife is making "tea". I simply thought "Aussies" were obviously very strange, but I would go along and accepted a beer before tea. While we swapped stories and drank the beer, the good wife came out of the kitchen and said that tea would still take awhile and offered a second beer. It was about this time that I noticed the wife had been setting a dining table off in a side room. I was learning a new language. Strangely, tea can sometimes be a reference to dinner! We had a fine meal and I started back to Sydney about 7:00 PM. My car was low on petrol so I pulled into the first filling station only to find it was closed? I drove a bit further only to find the next service station closed as well and fuel was too low to make it back to my hotel in Sydney. While contemplating my next move, another car pulled in to use the air hose and the driver advised me that all service stations closed at 6:00 PM. (Victoria still had 6:00 PM pub closure at this time, while NSW had just changed to 10:00 PM closing!) I could not make it on to Sydney nor back to Jarvis Bay on an empty tank, so slept in the car until the service station opened the next morning. Another very important happening was the fact that I first met Pam, my future wife and globe trotting partner during this early stop over in Sydney.

I was wrapping up the drafting duties in Sydney, preparing to depart for another assignment in the Northwest Territories, when John Coffman sent a telegram advising me to hang tight in Sydney until he arrived a couple days hence. The reason was, he wanted to reassign me to Manila, to supervise two separate shoran projects being run by two party chiefs that were not hitting it off very well. I had not previously met either Jack Jones or Dick Coleman, and found it a full time job trying to keep both focused on their own project, and not interfering with the other guys’ people, supplies, or the ear of the common client, GSI, being managed by JT Harbert.

Upon the completion of these two programs, I was sent back to Perth, Australia where another two projects were starting off the WA coast, one for GSI, the other for Western. By pure chance I again ran into Pam in Perth, who was on an Oz style "Working Holiday" with another girl friend. Of course, our friendship renewed and blossomed before she returned to Sydney. After several months in Perth, NOLA decided they wanted an area office established in Australia and I was selected to find a location and open an office. I initially selected Kingsford, a suburb of Sydney not far from the airport. (Not because Pam was there, but because, at the time, it was where most of the oil exploration business was based.) Over time, I relocated the office twice more, mostly to have better shop facilities.

The next several years were very busy, with many projects throughout Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and SE Asia. As a result, a second office was opened in Singapore, and I believe Ted Patro was the first ONI Area Manager assigned there. Hundreds of ONI employees passed through the Sydney office during these busy days, a couple of hundred hired locally. In addition to Australians and New Zealanders, we hired a number of passing Americans, Europeans and others, most of whom were tourists on the cheap, travelling around the world on a shoe string. ONI gave them an opportunity to have some spending money in their pockets, while assigned to extremely remote base stations where they could not spend a penny of it. We conducted a number of ORI jobs around Australia too. Also, in October 1966 Pam and I were married in Sydney.

Stories of events during this time are as extensive as they are interesting. Not enough space here, but I do recall one event involving chance. Phil Cosgrove had just completed a project and, as was typical at the time, headed home to Sarina Beach in North Queensland for a couple weeks. A few days later, when preparing the client report, we found some vital information was missing. It was necessary to try to phone Phil. At the time, I had to place a call to the town telephone operator who in turn would connect me to Phil’s phone. (no direct dial to Sarina in those days) I had phoned Phil (and Gordon Owen) in this manner in the past, and the telephone operator was always pleasant and liked to chat with the foreign voice on the other end of the line. She was also able to let me know if either Phil or Gordon were not home and in that case she would connect me with the pub she thought they would most likely be in at that particular time of day.

In this last case, the telephone operator advised me that Phil was on a sailing vessel with friends, and would be offshore for the next several days. I questioned if there was a radio aboard, or any other way to make contact. She advise that there was no radio, and all she could think of was the possibility their boat would pull into one or other of two small islands that had phone service. I immediately requested she connect me with the first of the two islands, and when this bloke answered he said no, we haven’t had a boat pull in here for several days. He was about to hang up when he said "Hey, wait a minute, there is a boat pulling into our dock at this very moment. Hang on while I run down and check to see if anyone named Phil is on board".

A few minutes later a huffing and puffing Phil took the line, and his first question was, "how did you find me?" I recall saying something like, ONI has their ways! I did get the info required to complete our report to the client. More on being able to track down Phil later.

The Oz stories could go on and on, but in 1972 I was advised by NOLA to pack up and move to Geneva, to give Fred Muller a hand in that office. Pam, and now two Oz born children, packed for the long trip to Geneva. Ted Patro took over in the Sydney office, which he shortly thereafter relocated to Perth, now the centre of the offshore business.

In Geneva, Fred and I split to workload mostly between clients. He managed the French speaking clients and I the others. More stories from this assignment, which allowed me to make my first expedition to West Africa. On one trip, I was called back to the US, from Cotonou, Dahomey (now Benin). I booked the short flight from Cotonou to Lagos, where I was to connect with the daily Pan Am flight to New York. About the time of my departure a small plane landed, and shortly after, a French announcement indicated the plane was ready for loading. I mistakenly thought this was my flight to Lagos. Even though I showed my ticket (no boarding passes in those days) to both the ground staff at the gate and again at the steps leading up to the plane, they let me board. Several minutes after take off I realized the plane was continuing to climb, not circling for the short hop over to Lagos. I summoned a hostess and with broken French/English managed to determine that we were headed for Cabinda, not Lagos. While I was severely scolded in French, I was scolding them back in English for the rest of the trip. I did manage to win the big argument with Air Afrique ground staff in Cabinda, and they eventually put me up in a hotel and flew me the following morning back to Lagos, where I boarded the Pan Am flight 24 hours later. More good fortune was that, about 30 days later, my lost luggage was returned to Geneva, unopened!


(Déja Vu, Rich. Exactly the same happened to me in Norway, where you would expect better. Flying from Trondheim to Kristiansund ((KSU in airline parlance)), I was surprised to be directed to a Boeing 737 instead of the usual Fokker F27, so I asked the girl at the gate - who was busy talking to her mate instead of checking boarding passes as she collected them. She glanced at my pass, took it, and directed me to the 737. Still unsure, I deliberately asked the stewardess when boarding if this was the flight to Kristiansund. She said yes, and showed me to my seat. Shortly after take-off came an announcement for a Mr Taylor to make himself known to the crew. Turned out I was en route to Kristiansand ((KSN)), via Bergen. Same as you, they refused to admit to the error, but they did hold the Kristiansund flight from Bergen for ten minutes, to await our arrival, which was as good an admission as you could get.)


When I was sent to Geneva from Sydney, JC said that I would likely be returned to Australia in a couple years. (This was probably more a gesture for my good wife, Pam, than for me) Nevertheless, I purchased a new, right hand drive Mercedes, tax free, with plans to eventually take it back to Australia. Of course a couple years later I was not returned to Australia, but rather reassigned to NOLA as Ray Landry’s assistant. I now had a Mercedes with the steering wheel on the wrong side, which would never do in New Orleans. A steering wheel on the correct side is difficult enough there. Out of desperation I contacted Dave Taylor, who happened to be at his home in York, and offered a good deal in a slightly used Mercedes. He agreed and I only had to deliver it, which I did, crossing the Calais-Dover ferry and driving up to York. I pocketed a personal cheque written by Dave on his Caribbean bank account for the full amount. Upon arrival in NOLA I deposited the cheque only to find that it bounced. I eventually tracked Dave down only to hear a more depressing story. His bank had gone out of business (absconded?) and he lost all his funds. However, my part of this story has a good ending and Dave shortly thereafter paid me in full. Not sure if Dave had to sell the car to pay me off, had the cash hidden under a mattress, or what? (No, Rich. If you recall, I paid you in ONI paychecks, over a period.)

Now I found myself in NOLA where all the company politics meet face to face. It was also a place where I was able to meet all the ONI folks who conducted their trade in South and Central America, and rarely ventured anywhere else. A few others like me had also been brought in from the cold: Fred Haar, Dave Clayton, Al Poppe, Tom Matthews and, for a time, Harry Bridges, Phil Cosgrove, Gordon Owen, along with others. Of course many I knew from the field stopped by NOLA for R&R, and it was a primary job to keep them entertained during off hours, which seemed at times to exceed the on hours.

It was in NOLA that Phil once again completed a project with missing information. The job was in Eastern Canada and while most of the rest of the crew came back to NOLA at the end of the job, Phil had requested a few days off before coming back. I questioned if he said where he was going. One person from his crew said he understood that Phil was going to attend a wedding for some relative that lived in the States. Another said, yeh, that’s right, I believe he said he was headed for Kentucky. I said where in Kentucky? No one had a clue. I did not know my way around Kentucky but did recall that one city was Louisville. On a long shot I called directory assistance and ask if there were any families named Cosgrove in Louisville. She answered, yes there were a couple listed. I requested the phone numbers and dialed the first one. A house servant answered the phone and explained that all the family members were at the church for the wedding. I questioned if they had an out of town guest named Phil. She said yes suh, and Mr. Phil is at the wedding with the rest of the family. I said, do you have a phone number for the church? She looked it up and gave it to me. I called the church and a receptionist said that a wedding was about to begin but if I could be quick, she would try to find Mr Phil for me. My question was brief so I said the conversation would be over in a flash. A few minutes later Phil was on the line with his on-going question, "how did you find me?" He was apparently sitting in a pew waiting for the wedding to commence when an usher asked if he would take a call from a Mr Longton from New Orleans. We always had our ways!

Many more stories accumulated in NOLA, but I must move on.

Leaving ONI in 1976, I took employment with an international engineering/construction firm based in Southern California. In addition to construction activities, they were heavily involved in facility management. For example they managed all the Antarctic facilities for the National Science Foundation. I had the experience of visiting all US sites in Antarctica, including the S Pole station. Also visited the Russian S Pole station and, of course, the New Zealand station at McMurdo, walking along the same pathways as Ron Hewson had some years earlier. This new firm also kept me moving, and cumulated in an assignment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on a facility management contract for the Saudi Navy. This large project had 3,600 employees assigned in Saudi.

Following this Saudi assignment I change companies to work for Litton Construction based in Frankfurt, Germany. This involved a very large construction project in Saudi Arabia. Our prime subcontractor performing the on-site construction at seventeen separate remote sites was a German based firm. On one trip to the Middle East I had the opportunity to visit with Ron and Lynne Hewson in Bahrain, where Ron was on some sort of assignment for the local Emir. Another major job was with Aramco when we were based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for six years between 1990 and 1996. During the early part of this time we had the experience of having twenty-three of Iraq’s scud missiles landing in the area. Of course, they were aimed at the oil facilities, but with their unreliable guidance system, being near the oil facilities turned out to be the safest place to be. Those that were not shot down fell very wide of the target.

By this time our two older children were attending university in the US, after having attended 14 different schools before finishing high school. After this project I changed companies and moved several more times around the world. I have now retired, ending up in Gig Harbor, Washington, our thirty-third house since getting married.



Jessie ...who was the proverbial "Girl Friday" in ONI’s Singapore office is a native Singaporean Chinese. Jessie was not unlike many working women the world over, as she competently used woman's in-born capabilities to be not only a successful wife and mother to her husband, Richard, and sons, Benny and Kenny, she also managed to become an integral part of ONI's SE Asia operations as the indispensable right hand of Vice President John Coffman. Jessie's position was ample justification of the pride she took in truly being an asset in the large role ONI played in the radio-positioning field in the Eastern hemisphere. From the time she finished her schooling in Singapore, Jessie had been mainly involved with the import-export business, usually working as a clerk/typist. Those days were definitely coming to an end, however, when she joined ONI in 1968, and began working under the supervision of Ted Patro. In a relatively short time, Jessie had become fully responsible for all the office work in our Singapore location. Until, after a couple of years, her considerable workload had been relieved by the addition of another office worker, who took over telex, switchboard and typing duties. Jessie's hobbies were reading, cooking (although not successfully, she readily admitted), shopping and, for while, she joined the tennis set. Jessie felt her association with ONI broadened her horizons the realm of personal knowledge as well as her general outlook on life. Her vocabulary increased ("...I even learned to swear aloud (occasionally) without being embarrassed"), as did her poise, and words such as "bars" and "bar girls" were no longer cause for her to blush, as in the early days. Such are the advantages of routine exposure to the ONI field-man, as almost any ONI girl can testify. What this attractive young woman accomplished was considerable, and she was, no doubt, admired by many; rightfully so, for she held a company-wide reputation for being not only helpful and reliable, but for usually knowing just what had to be done, and doing it. What more could a person ask than to be so highly regarded by one's fellow workers?



via ONI files ... (or possibly San Quentin, for some!)

Identification was mainly by third parties, so if you are not who it says you are, please let me know! Although the majority I do recognize

Axel Wiese

Don Heaverlo

Eric Amohanga

Harry Bridges

Jim Mahlum

Joe Malloy

John Oxenford

Mike Perkins

Don Peterson

Reine (Ron) Wasserman

Trevor Loose

Hans Karlsson 

Frank Doran, worked in 

Norway & Australia



Identified by Ted Patro as ORI 

operator, Joe Davis. 

It appears to work, this Internet thing!


Paul Tzanos 1970

Mike Beech


Ray Landry

Jan 2006


Lou Conner

John Watkins

Gordie Owen & Phil Cosgrove

Bill Justice

Alain Duvert

"Jack" Jachimczak

Jean Claude Hinault

Jim Flood

Steve McCann

Terry Barnett

Willie Warren Williams, from 

War, West Virginia; how's 

that  for a bit of alliteration.

Walter Bienz

Poor shot of Tony Hennessey

Photo of Tony taken in 

Glenelg, Adelaide, Oz, in 2003

Ulrich Zingg


Hans Karlsson & friend, Holsk, 

Sakhalin Island, USSR, July 2004


At Uluru, Central Australia. Nice bike; hence the e-mail username: hansthebiker.

Fred Rose, 1950s ORI Raydist operator, Gulf of Mexico. From Bay St Louis, Ms. Fred was killed when a hurricane passed through Mississippi.


Tony Hoggart and wife, Christine, wedding day, Geneva.

Peter Warmke with Geoff Metcalfe, at Peter's, NZ, 2009.

Rex Wollen. Shoran & 

Raydist, Jackson Creek, 

Persian Gulf Dec 1958.

Dan Jeffries in NOLA

Mike Jarvis in relaxed mood

?, ?, Fred Brander, Graeme Wells

Ivor Loebbecke with wife 

Dendra and son Derek

In New Orleans. Geoff Rolfe-Smith, Lynne Hewson, Geoff's wife, Ron Hewson, Dave Taylor's wife No.1.

Dave was taking the photo.

Don Heaverlo 

visiting Hans 

Karlsson 1980

Poncho Ramirez, 

Jo DeLerno OTC Houston, 1982

Les Schroeder, Phil 

Cosgrove & Ray Landry, Harahan 1979

Phil Cosgrove and Al Devoe at the same, company barbecue


Paul Tzanos, trying to look busy in the Kristiansund shop

Ian Easterbrook and his bride, Sarintip Sombutcharone, Bangkok May 16th 1977

Jim Strayhorn and his wife, Italy 1959

Living it up in Geneva, 1976. 

Mike Perkins, Gene Talmadge, 

Neida Karlsson, Steve Roussel

The party continues. John Coffman, Neida, Gene

Looks like it was a good one. Neida & Hans Karlsson, Steve, and JC


Juha Sarentaus, a Finnish exchange student who worked temporarily for ONI in 1983


Shortly before his death from cancer, Paul Tzanos and his ladyfriend, Norway 2000

Klaus Kielich


Fred Brander in a familiar pose


Bob Malloy & Geoff Metcalfe, 2010


Don Webb


Jack Dyer - he had been in Smileys for a while.

Pat Matthews at a Houston Convention, 1991

Frances Minguez' 

wedding, Geneva 1979

Frances' wedding

Jean-Louis Derivaz, Sweden 1971

Joe Lock, Gabon

Lou Tessmer

Joe Mitchell

Jack Lane

Jerry Naylor - from New Zealand

Bob Hallenbeck

Jack Lee, from NZ

Pat Mathews, Haugesund 1992

Joe Breeden, Norway 1992

Jess Thompson relaxing in flight

Mike Beech NZ 2011

Eric Amohanga NZ 2011

Al Devoe at the editing desk

Baz Ford

Bob Davis

Fred Haar

Dave Clayton

Lou Conner

Paul Vegas

Rudy Reichenfader

Dave Peery

Charlie McCarley

Doris Wood (Hickman)

For that all important paycheck

Ivor Smith

with a smile!

Milton Hock

Jim (Huff) Huffman

Jeff Rolfe-Smith 2014

Tony Hoggart 2014

Mervyn Williams 2014

Ian Easterbrook 2014

Graeme Wood 2014

Terry Barnett

Peter Coe

Heaverlo & Carlsson

Martin Newey

Interesting Postcard from way back when

Goodbye to a trio of legends (weren't we all?)

Late 60s

Ian Easterbrook




Ian Easterbrook, by Rich Longton

Sadly, I received the following email from Peter Warmke on September 13, 2016

The end of an era.

Just informed by Barbara Easterbrook that our mate Ian passed away last night. Barbara got home at 1900 hours and he was on the floor. Possible heart attack, but she said that’s the way he wanted to go. Completely unexpected. He was in good nick, still playing golf and having a few drinks now and then.

Cheers, Peter Warmke

I was saddened to hear of Ian Easterbrook’s death, September, 2016. I initially met Ian in 1965 in Sydney, when he reported to our office for an assignment as Party Chief on a new project in Papua New Guinea. Ian came across as resourceful, confident and fully capable of taking on the assignment in a very remote part of the world. Over the next several years we worked as colleagues through both good times and some challenging times. Importantly, through it all we became friends. In all situations, I found that Ian was popular with ONI staff, our client reps, and the local community. He had that infectious personality that made an impression with all he came in contact with.

Ian grew up in New Zealand with a reputation as an aggressive sportsman and a person willing to tackle any objective he set his mind to. After attending a local electronics technical school, he decided to see a bit of the world before returning to a possible job back in New Zealand. Little did he know how much of the world he would eventually come to see.

While visiting London in the late 50’s or early 60’s, he met some Americans in a bar who identified themselves as "doddlebuggers". This was actually a Western Geophysical seismic crew on their way to an offshore seismic project off the coast of Scotland. Upon learning that Ian had training in electronics, he was offered a job and a couple days later joined the team when they travelled to Scotland. Ian was quickly indoctrinated into this new life style, and became addicted to the travel opportunities and way of life in the international offshore oil exploration industry, which covered all corners of the world.

A short time later, Ian left Western (in West Africa), and joined ONI, where he rather quickly became a Party Chief. After his initial assignment in Papua New Guinea in 1965, he was assigned to a number of other projects throughout the greater Australian region. I continued to meet up with Ian in such places as Darwin, Perth and Broom, Bass Straight, Victoria, and in Hobart, Tasmania. On these assignments, Ian was always popular with the employees working under him, and with our client reps overseeing the respective field operations. He was an aggressive, hard worker, and when on break was equally aggressive at enjoying life. Broome, Western Australia was a one pub coastal town where seismic boats called in to resupply and to give the crews a break from the 24/7 operation schedule. This was typically party time, and Ian continued to be a leader. The landlord of the Broome pub (Roebuck Inn) was well acquainted with, and appreciated the business provided by the seismic crews during their time off. He welcomed and tolerated their enthusiasm for having a good time.

I recall one night (2:00 am), at home in Sydney, when I received a phone call from Broome, a replacement landlord standing in, as the regular guy was on vacation. He advised me that the ONI crew had taken a beer keg from the bar and tossed it into the swimming pool, where they continued to drink from it. He wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I advised him that I was nearly 3,000 miles away, and it would be better if he contacted our Party Chief, Ian Easterbrook, who was a guest at the pub. The landlord told me that it was Ian who actually tossed the keg into the swimming pool. I stated that there was nothing that I could do to resolve his dilemma, and I advised him that the pub would likely make more money that evening than any normal two week period in that remote town. He thought about this and eventually settled down and no doubt went back to work, earning money for the pub.

In later years I met up with Ian in our Geneva office, Singapore office, and again when I was assigned to headquarters in New Orleans. We always had a memorable time, comparing stories about our adventures around the world. While on assignment is West Africa, Ian gained a reputation as a gifted golf player. On the first occasion he was in New Orleans, he was checking into the office when Bob Suggs overheard his conversation. Mr Suggs called out to him and said he’d heard he was a golfer (word apparently having drifted across from West Africa). Ian said, yes, he played a bit of golf. Bob told him to forget about signing in, just to come back the following morning at 08:00 and they would go off and enjoy a day’s golf. Ian was surprised next morning when Bob drove off with Ian to the airport, where the Suggs’ private jet was waiting. They flew down to a golf course in Mexico where they spent the day playing a few rounds. Quite a welcome to NOLA!

In addition to various assignments in Australia, Africa, Alaska and other parts of the US, Ian spent considerable time in Southeast Asia. He even headed up an ONI team in South Vietnam while the war was still underway. He also headed up the first ONI operation in China, in the 1970’s. A group of western oil companies formed a partnership with a Chinese oil company to explore off the southern coast. Of course, the Chinese at that time attempted to be very much in control of everything taking place on shore, such as Ian’s office operations, and the various Shoran base stations. In one incident, a locally hired base station helper, located on an island, received word that his mother had died. Upon hearing about this, Ian immediately called for a helicopter to go out and pick the guy up so he could attend his mother’s funeral. Shortly after, the Chinese authorities descended on Ian’s office and advised him they were going to cancel the helicopter. Ian replied, that if they canceled the helicopter, he would shut down all the Shoran stations and bring the whole operation to a halt . The Chinese were totally shocked at this blatant rebuff of their authority, but finally relented, and the camp helper was returned home for the funeral. The Chinese later complained to our VP, John Coffman, who eventually, with the application of some humor, persuaded them to forgive and forget.

After retiring from ONI, I understand Ian and Peter Warmke together owned and operated a petrol station in new Zealand for a few years. Following this, Ian and his wife Barbara invested in a B&B at Coopers Beach, some distance north of Auckland.

The last time I saw Ian was in 2013 when Pam and I visited New Zealand. In addition to visiting Ron Hewson, Bruce Burgess, Geoff Rolf-Smith and their respective wives in the Auckland area (thanks to Lynne’s capable organizational abilities), we drove north to Coopers Beach, to visit Ian and Barbara at their B&B. I remarked to Ian that Coopers Beach must have been the longest time he spent in one place since his high school days. He replied that, yes, it was, by far. A couple years after our visit, Ian and Barbara sold the B&B and moved south of Auckland to a small town near the Bay of Plenty.

Jul 23, 2016. The last email I received from Ian stated:

Hi Rich,
Nothing much new here, we are in the middle of winter and I am not a fan of cold weather, I am down to playing Golf once a week now, mainly due to weather, all else is fine, Barbara is waiting to see a back specialist in October, She really has had a lot of pain with her back, but still manages to do all she wants.
They finally buried Bob Stone (an Esso geologist that many of us worked with over the years) last week after a long delay, I think it was something to do with the weather situation in Texas. His family talked him into buying a mobile phone, which he had for a month or so, then gave back. He could not handle it. Nothing has changed.
Hope you and Pam and your family are all in good health, great to hear from you.
Best Regards, Ian


New Orleans 1970

Dan Jefferies

Tampa 2010

Chicago with Julie 2016

Dan Jefferies by Julie Asher.

I first met Dan Jeffries as a teenager. He was one of my dad's ("Red" Asher) best friends, having met through ONI, and became an integral part of our family. We fondly called him "Uncle Dan." Any time he was in town, he would join us for dinner, or a holiday meal, driving "The Brute," - his truck. For years I heard about the Thanksgiving when I took a nap on the family room couch, both dogs asleep on top of me - he had a picture to commemorate the occasion! I was 19 at the time, so he was a part of my life for many years.

I worked for ONI several summers, and if Dan was in town, we always went to dinner. One of my favourite memories was drinks at the Landmark. The same applied when he was in California. He was always the gentleman, even toward the end he wanted to pay for every meal. He would fight me over the tab!

As most of you know, having worked with him, he was always cheerful, had a positive outlook on life. Of course, I was never on a base station with him so that may have not been the case then. But I don't believe he was one of those who put on a good front - he was genuine, in both in words and actions. He was always thoughtful, and willing to help others.

I had the opportunity to know him better in the last few years of his life. Once my dad passed away, I continued checking on Dan, would make periodic trips to visit him. He was always so appreciative, and we had quite a few adventures! One of my favourites was when I learned about his childhood vacations to Sanibel Island. He would drive down from Chicago with his mom, aunt, and siblings. He specifically mentioned a trip in 1935. Needless to say, when we returned, the place had changed drastically! He reminisced about the few buildings that occupied the island plus the wonderful times they had playing on the beach. After touring the island, we stopped at a bar overlooking the water, so he could enjoy his favourite tipple; an Old Fashioned. The day I learned of his passing, I had my first, in his memory.

Dan was a very attractive man in his youth - movie star good looking,

so I never understood why he never married. He certainly dated a lot!

During my visits, he shared a lot of anecdotes about both work and his personal life. He definitely enjoyed a good party; had the photos to support his good times.

I'm not sure what else to write. I just know I miss Dan, and our conversations. I will always have fond memories of our times together, as I know many of you will have, too. I can still hear him concluding our conversations as he affectionately called me "dear heart." I have never known another individual to use that term. It will always remind me of Dan :-))

Bob Molloy 



Bob started out as an Aerial Erector, I think for cable and wireless, until he came across ONI in Nigeria, I believe, and  I worked with both Geoff Metcalfe and Bob many times when with ONI, and always found Bob to be the most reliable guy to have on a crew. Get him set up and keep him supplied and you had no need to worry about his station. Once in town, on break, he was always fun to be with, occasionally drifting off to meet up with someone or other - he was easy to get along with so always had a wide circle of friends. I recall seeing him drinking in the hotel lobby one morning, and remarked that it was a bit of an early start. It wasn't, he was just winding down from a night out! He was one of these guys who knew everyone, because he was so easy going. Like most of the Geneva crowd he eventually bought himself a gold Rolex, and I was always worried he would be robbed of it when out drinking - even though it would have to be a very brave bloke who tackled Bob. Eventually he did misplace it. He didn't complain, just went out and bought a replacement, which he still had last time I saw him.

Ever since retirement from offshore work in 1999 I have got together probably 3-4 times a year with Geoff  - who sponsors this site - and Bob, both of whom lived a one hour train journey north of York. We would meet up for the day, have a couple of drinks, then lunch at one of the country's best fish and chip restaurants, along the harbour in North Sheilds, all the time reliving our ONI days. After lunch - usually late - Bob would take off back from whence he'd come - the pub, and his other mates. He has a son, Ryan, who is a singer, hence the following newspaper article:  It is surely every singer's dream to perform alongside the legendary Barbara Streisand, so when Ryan Molloy was asked to join her on stage just hours before she was due to appear for the London leg of her European tour, he couldn't believe his luck. Streisand, 71, had been let down by classical trio II Volo, who were due to sing the finale with her. The diva's stage manager Richard Jay-Alexander called his old friend Molloy, who for the last five years has starred as Frankie Valli in the West End hit Jersey Boys, and begged him to fill in. 'It was totally surreal,' Ryan, 36,said  'As soon as I got the call I asked if I could have the night off. 'Thankfully my under­study, Jon Lee from the pop band S Club? said he would cover me for the evening. I arrived at the 02 Arena and we only had one run-through with the band, then it was showtime.' In fact, Streisand was so delighted with his performance along­side her son Jason Gould and her sister Roslyn Kind that she requested he sing with them again. 'My heart was pumping when I walked on to the stage,' adds Ryan. 'I looked to my right and there were 18,000 people screaming, and then to my left, there she was.  'I mean, I am just a cheeky little Newcastle boy. It was a dream come true.'

Geoff Metcalfe was telling me about the time he first met Bob. Geoff arrived in Geneva only to find the Hotel Windsor - which ONI used at the time - had no vacant rooms, so Geoff asked if there were any ONI people staying. On being told they had a Mr Molloy, who had a twin room, Geoff asked the girl to check him in with Bob. Will that be alright, she asked, and on being assured if would, he was duly checked in. No sign of Bob.

Geoff got into the spare bed, only to be woken at around 02:30, Mr Molloy asking what Geoff was doing in his room. A bit of chat ensued and then all was OK. Geoff went on to say Bob eventually got his own back when Bob was forced to share a room with Geoff, sometime later, in Libreville, Gabon, when Bob managed to set fire to the room. The age-old cigarette in the bed trick, when drunk! Apparently it went right down and through the mattress.


From Hans Karlsson, 27 April 2017

Dave, Just got of the phone with Mrs Don Webb, who informed me that her husband ex ONIer Don Web died this morning. She asked me to pass the sad news along to you so that you may post it on your website.






Fred C Brander

Fred Brander passed away on September 11th 2009, but there was a lot more to Fred than many realized. See below.



Enlisted in the Army in January 1946 at the age of seventeen. After basic training, went to Germany on occupation duty with Co. B, 16th Inf. Regt, 1st Infantry Division. Returned to CONUS  (Continental United States) in 1949 and had a break in service. In October 1949, re-enlisted and served with various units, until 1951, then volunteered for the Airborne Ranger Companies. Remained in the Ranger Training Command, with the 7th Ranger Co (Abn) until deactivation of the Ranger Companies in August 1951. 

Germany again in 1952, serving four and a half years with the 6th Infantry Regt in Berlin. Returned to CONUS with orders to the 82nd Abn Division, but diverted to the 101st Abn. Initially assigned to Co E, 508th Abn, then to HHC, 506th Abn Battle Group. Later reassigned to Co E, 506th. Transferred to Co D, 327th Battle Group mid 1961, and in 1962 transferred to Co E 327th BG. Went to Korea for one year mid 1963. Upon return, in 1964, was assigned to HHC, 1/506 as Recon Platoon Sgt. In 1965, volunteered for the 1st Brigade, and was assigned to C, 1/327 as 2nd Platoon Sgt. June 1965, deployed with the unit to Vietnam aboard the "Leroy S Eltinge", a luxury liner chartered by DOD.

Remained with C, 1/327 until March 1966, then to MACV and assigned as an advisor to the RVN 37th Ranger BN. Returned to CONUS in September 1965 and rejoined the 101st Abn Division. Initially assigned to HHC 2/501 as Recon Platoon Sgt, and upon promotion to E-8, assigned to A 2/501 as First Sergeant and deployed with the unit to Vietnam in December 1967. Remained with A 2/501 until March 1969 when, after extending tour, was assigned as an advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Division. Remained in this assignment until retirement in February 1973. Remained in Vietnam as a civilian until November 1974.

1974, to Singapore, employed by Offshore Navigation Inc. The company provided navigation for offshore oil survey, positioning of offshore rigs, etc. Lived and worked out of Singapore until 1984. Returned to CONUS and continued to work for ONI. Worked in: Argentina, Australia, Burma, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, East Malaysia, Morocco, New Guinea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, plus a few countries in the Persian Gulf.
From 1990 to 1995, worked as Property Manager for a Real Estate firm, then into full retirement.

Awards & Decorations
Silver Star, w/1 OLC
Bronze Star, w/V 7 OLC
Purple Heart, w/2 OLC
Air Medal, 2nd Award
National Defense Service Medal w/1 OLC
Occupation Medal, Germany
World War II Victory Medal
Good Conduct Medal, 7th Award
Vietnam Gallantry Cross, w/Silver Star
Vietnam Gallantry Cross, w/Bronze Star
Vietnamese Honor Medal 2nd Class
Vietnamese Staff Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal, w/16 Stars
Unit Awards
Valorous Unit Award, w/1 OLC
Meritorious Unit Award
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, w/Palm
Vietnamese Civic Action Medal





Roll of Honour

Ex ONIers known to have passed on


Coleman Frank       Aug 1975

Karel Kovacic          Aug 1975

Tom Baine                       1982

Mike Sawyer            Mid    80s

Tom Mathews Snr   Nov 1988

Robert L Suggs                1989

Tom Marcho                     1996

Charlie McCarley     Jan 1999

Maurice Bayon                 2001

Paul Tzanos                      2001

John Watkins           June 2002

John Coffman             Feb 2004

Herb Eaton                July 2005

George Fossier           Jan 2006

Ray Landry                July 2007

"Red" Asher            April 2007

Joe Delerno               Dec 2008

Mike Jarvis                 Jan 2009

George Roussell                2010

Harry Bridges                    2012

David Glover                     2012

Deiter  Moser                     2014

Al  Poppe                            2014

Dale Wallace              Aug  2015 

Pat Ryan                    Nov  2015 

Thomas Mestayer      Jan  2016 

Dick  Haugen              May 2016

Ian Easterbrook          Oct 2016

Francis Minguez          Dec 2016

Dan Jefferies                Jan 2017

Don Webb                  April 2017

Bob Molloy                April 2017





Could the following have been the Fred Muller who set up and ran the Geneva office in the 60s/70s? Ron Coupe & myself think not, basically because of the age given. Ron also says that to his knowledge, Fred did not have any sons.

His sons, Alain and Claude, are sad to announce that the death of Frederick MULLER known as "Fred" 

occurred in its 98th year, at the Hospital Three-Oak Geneva.

The ceremony took place in privacy in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.

We thank his physician and the hospital staff the for their dedication.

This review serves as a letter to share.

He will be remembered as an endearing character, generous, independent and our hearts be free.

Sent by Alain Duvert




 Plenty of space here for anyone who wishes to send me the data, 

either on themselves, or someone they knew well.

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