Kwaj News & Messages

Shermie's Place

Updated: 05/07/2014 07:19 PM EST

Submit Your News Article
shermiewiehe@gmail.com

 

 

I'm getting so old

the CANDLES cost more

than the CAKE

Jim Oakley

Kwaj - Retired Golfer

Email:

  eileenjim1@aol.com 

Thank you Shermie for the creation and upkeep of Kwaj website.

We all appreciate it.  Marty Ramsey


New 2nd flag pole at Kwajalein Jr-Sr High School

On the morning of Wednesday, 10-APR-2013, at start of school, there was a brief ceremony for the first raising of the RMI national flag on the newly constructed 2nd pole at Kwajalein Jr-Sr High School. Putting up the 2nd pole was John Sholar's Eagle Scout project, suggested to him by Superintendent Al Robinson and math teacher Bonnie Oyamot. John received help from many, including San Juan Construction company professionals. Lotta concrete was poured. He is greatly enriched by the experience. All 7th thru 12th graders were present. It had been an oversight that the 2nd pole was not there already. The Command flag set near the Air Terminal already includes an RMI flag.

"Ri'katak" is the name of the 20+ year old program that introduces a handful of Marshallese Ebeye resident students into the Kwajalein School System as Kindergartners each year. A wonderful initiative. A 12th grade Ri'katak named Edward Bobo was selected to do the 1st flag raising. All 12th grade Ri'kataks were invited to be in the official photo. Edward is the one wearing the shirt that says SENIOR. Peripherally, Edward's older brother Jeff, was also a Ri'katak, and a few years ago became the first RMI citizen to graduate from a US Service Academy; the Coast Guard Academy in New London Connecticut. I worked with Jeff and Edward's grandpa, Kabwij Bobo for 30+ years until his retirement in February 2013.  Provided by Robert Sholar - RobertsLar@aol.com


Click on Photo to Expand

 

Memories of Kwaj

Hydroponics & Honey Bees
Secrets to Successful Kwaj Gardening

Mike & Julia Brogden -
mitchnjulia@morrisbb.net

Pacific Echo - July 1981 - Page 1, Page 2


Color "Fades" and "Wrinkles" Invade

Jim & Jo Caskey - JiJoCas@aol.com

Kwajer - 05/1968-10/1993. Jim: RCA & GE; Operations & Maintenance Manager, KREMS, Roi-Namur. Jo: Part-time at Recreation Services, Surfway, PDR, Beauty Shop.

It's so nice to receive the great photos from Jim and Jo.

"You both look great and thanks for keeping us Kwajers up-to-date"

Shermie


Kwajalein - 1972


Austin, Texas - 2012


Mike and Julia Brogden (Kwajers 1967-71, 1972-86) celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, February 19, 2013.  Congratulations Mike & Julia!  Mike & Julia's email is  as follows: mitchnjulia@morrisbb.net.


Francis (Frank) H. Serafini
Roi-Namur Assistant Resident Manager
Kwajalein / Roi-Namur 60s-70s

Note from Shermie:  Frank was well known for making Roi-Namur beautiful by planting 100s of
coconut trees.  He was highly respected by the Roi-Rats for his excellent management of island
life and not forgetting "Shermie & Friends Band" was treated very good by Frank's Staff during
our trips to entertain the Roi-Rats.  Some of the best memories of performing was at Roi-Nmaur.

Thanks Frank!  Roi-Namur will never be the same.  The days you were managing were the best!


Note from Frank B. Serafini (Frank's son):  Frank came to Roi circa ’63 and his current home is still covered with doting memorabilia of the island for which he does not take any credit in developing.  However, the many gifts that fill his house speak volumes of the enduring connection to his Roi-Rats.  Fond recollections of the “Outer Islands” are palpable to all who visit him.  An increasingly private and quiet man since his final assignment with Global Associates in Saudi Arabia (circa ’78), he remains in excellent physical health, and is warm and friendly to all who make the effort to engage him. Wife, Mable, passed in ’87, but the 4th generation of living Serafinis (Frank “III”’s daughter, Anna Marie, Norway) carry on.  Frank lives at 14103 Kint Circle, San Antonio, TX 78247.  He does not use digital devices, does not hear well on a phone, and has no e-mail.  However, please write.  Alternatively, frank.b.serafini@shell.com will happily pass along your regards.  He always responds, but kindly be as simple and descriptive as you can regarding your relationship and shared activities.  Otherwise, he’s 97 years old and just the same ol’ guy he always was.  Very Best Regards, Frank B.


Most Complex Missile Defense Test Ever: The US military last week conducted its "largest, most complex missile defense flight test ever," announced the Missile Defense Agency. Flight Test Integrated-01 was a combined developmental and operational live-fire exercise that included airmen in the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and airmen, sailors, and soldiers operating in the western Pacific around the Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll. The Oct. 25 drill (Kwajalein time) involved the simultaneous engagement of three ballistic missile targets and two cruise missile targets to stress the integrated performance of the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems and the Navy's Aegis BMD element. Initial indications are that THAAD "successfully intercepted" its first-ever medium-range ballistic missile target, while PAC-3 "near simultaneously destroyed" a short-range ballistic missile and a low-flying cruise missile over water, according to MDA's release. Also, the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) "successfully engaged" a low-flying cruise missile over water and launched an SM-3 Block 1A interceptor against an SRBM. However, "there was no indication" of an intercept of the latter, states the release. (FTI-01 fact sheet) (See also Lockheed Martin release and Raytheon release)

US hits four targets in Pacific missile defense test
Published October 26, 2012 - Associated Press

HONOLULU –  The U.S. military intercepted four out of five targets over the Pacific Ocean in the largest and most complex test of the nation's ballistic missile defense system, the Missile Defense Agency said. The test at Kwajalein Atoll on Wednesday was designed to demonstrate the system's ability to defend against a raid of five nearly simultaneous threats, agency spokeswoman Pamela Rogers said. The targets included one medium-range ballistic missile, two short-range ballistic missiles and two low-flying cruise missiles. Soldiers in the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command used the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to shoot down the medium-range target, officials said. Two targets -- a short-range missile and a cruise missile -- were intercepted by the PAC-3 Patriot missile defense system operated by the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. Sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald destroyer engaged the other cruise missile. They also tried to knock out the other short-range missile with a SM-3 Block 1A interceptor but were unable to confirm they had shot down the target. The Air Force had a role, as airmen from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center operated a portable radar system specifically designed for ballistic missile defense, called the AN/TPY-2, Rogers said. Kwajalein is a small atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands where the U.S. maintains a ballistic missile defense site. It's halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Hope for Kim - My Hope Whispers:  I'm and island girl. Born and raised on Kwajalein, a tiny island in the pacific ocean. It will always be my home, no matter how many years I am away. In 2008 I was diagnosed with Budd Chiari Syndrome, a rare liver disease. At the time I was pregnant with my second son. My whole life was turned up sided down. Can you help Team Hope support Vital Alliance and Donate Life? We are raising money to help raise awareness about the need for more organ and tissue donors, visit my website:  http://www.myhopewhispers.com/

Air Force Daily News Release - Air Force Issues RFP for Space Fence Development, Production: The Air Force released the request for proposals for the next phase of the Space Fence radar program: engineering and manufacturing development and production and deployment. Service acquisition officials want bids in by Nov. 14, according to the solicitation documents, which they posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website on Oct 4. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been maturing their respective Space Fence designs under Air Force sponsorship. The RFP's release comes about a week after the Air Force announced plans to base the first Space Fence site on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands, with initial operations commencing in Fiscal 2017. A subsequent second site is notionally planned for western Australia. The Space Fence will be part of the Air Force's overall space surveillance network and will feature an S-band radar system that the service wants to be capable of detecting, tracking, identifying, and characterizing space objects in low and medium Earth orbits.

Air Force Daily News Release - Kwajalein Gets Fenced In: The Air Force will base its first Space Fence radar site on Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands, announced Air Force space officials on Sept. 25. Construction of this site is scheduled to start in September 2013 and take 48 months to complete, leading to the site commencing initial operations in Fiscal 2017, according to the service's release. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have been maturing their respective Space Fence designs. The Air Force is expected to select one contractor in early Fiscal 2013 for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of this program, according to service documents posted at the Federal Business Opportunities website. In addition to Kwajalein, the Air Force will potentially establish a second Space Fence site in western Australia that would begin activity in Fiscal 2020, state these documents. The Space Fence will feature an S-band radar system capable of detecting, tracking, identifying, and characterizing space objects in low and medium Earth orbits. It will be able to discern an object the size of a softball orbiting more than 1,200 miles in space, according to the release. The Fence will be part of the Air Force's overall space surveillance network. 

Kwaj Housing - Silver City
The latest incarnation of Kwaj housing. These fiberglass domes form a double row along the Oceanside and end of the island, around the edge of what used to be Silver City. If only it had a round door, you'd expect a hobbit to step out. And like a hobbit hole, these are surprisingly comfortable.

Mary JEAN STOUGHTON (Smith) Fureigh - Hi Shermie, I have created a blog about Jean at kwajprogrammer.Wordpress.Com. I encourage you to tell your friends about the blog and leave comments. Please post the email I sent you recently about Jean and her stroke and her condition. Be sure to read at least some of the attachment I put on Jean's blog last night. It was sent to me by a retired project manager and scientist, Bill Haloulakos. Larry Fureigh, theradioman@windstream.net

Jean and I met in 78 on a tiny 55-acre Meck Island at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. She spent the period of 78-90 living on Kwajalein ( 750-acre – the biggest island in the largest island of the largest atoll in the world). Larry was big into scuba diving and asked Jean to take a scuba course because the location was superb for that. We made a deal. Jean would take scuba diving if Larry would take a square dancing class. They had an idyllic life on Kwajalein living in government quarters– living in a trailer with no wheels. So it was a ”natural transition” for them to switch from living in a 10 X 50 foot trailer w/o wheels to a 39 1/2 x 8 foot trailer with wheels (an RV). So, in 90 they threw a goodbye party for themselves and invited a host of friends and a small band and departed their island life and spent 9 years of full-time RVing with their mail being sent to a mail forwarding service in Livingston, Texas.


Jean & Larry Fureigh

78-90 Meck & Roi, initially on Meck. MDAC pulled out after 25 years in late 84. Married Larry (Meck Medic) in 81 at parents 'home in Fullerton, CA by Rev. Elden
Buck. Celebrated 31st anniversary on 1 Aug 12. Stroke caused major impairment of speech & lost use of right hand, arm, and leg. Undergoing a limited amount of PT, ST, & OT 5 days weekly. Her cell (501) 365-6710 remains OFF 99% of time but ordinarily her voice mail messages are “harvested’ by family: husband, Larry Fureigh (501) 589- 5956 cell, who still lives at home moving around a bit on his walker & wheelchair. Larry (70-90) visits 1-2 times weekly as does his sis, Jeanette (501) 605 7874 jfwood101@aol.com. Jean would love to hear from you and it is possible that Jean’s email kwajprogrammer@windstream.net still has Larry confused and his very expensive speech machine will, in spite of the great, wondrous machine, according to Larry’s computer guru, age 19, is not receive email from more than 1 email address. His machine will READ emails and other printed material and Larry is building up his skills, although meager, on the high tech machine. Or, if Jean’s e-mail is bounced back to you, then just type Jean in the subject line and for sure Larry or his sis will EITHER read your email to her in person or in the case of tongue-tied Larry – over the phone via his high-tech talking machine. Larry Fureigh's email: theradioman@windstream.net. Their trip of a life-time occurred in 95-96 wen they sold their 89 Ford Diesel tow vehicle to a friend in Texas and got extra-long stay visas & visited her son & 2 (now 3) grandkids in Auckland, NZ, their 3rd trip there. Larry cannot really communicate on the phone well enough to be understood. He has had PD for 12 years and Jean has had AD for 3-4 years. When you leave a message on Jean’s cell, be sure to leave a message re the time date of your message. If you would like to ATTEMPT to ask her questions recommend you stick mostly to questions using very familiar words which be answered with YES, NO, or MAYBE. I’m going QRT ON the net, 73s to all from me and my XYL (ex-young lady). Although we of our ham tickets in Kwaj we didn’t operate much till we arrived in NZ and were issued local call signs. We also enjoyed SCUBA. Larry was very active in KS & taught scuba spare-time patterning his style after the late Joe Barton. Jean’s former boss, scientist/engineer named Bill Halpulakos from southern CA and a retiree from Douglas Aircraft when he sent Jean a 50-page highly scientific report he and Jean with a 3rd colleague compiled in 75. Bill paid her a very high compliment when he said that without this crucial report, SkyLab would never have happened and said that Jean had been very good mathematician and a very skilled programmer. (Bill’s wife suffers from dementia and he spends the PMs with her at a nursing home every day,.

August - My wife Jean, age 79, is a proud graduate of Whittier, class of 55 – if I am not mistaken. In late July she suffered a major stroke and is in Southridge Nursing Home & Rehab in Heber Springs, AR. Although her progress in physical therapy has been not nearly as much as we would have liked, she is making some limited recovery. Her speech to late has been largely limited to 1 or 2 words when she is asked something. In short, she does not initiate speech but will often reply to your comments with expressions like ”OH!”, ”GEE!”, or “YES,” or “NO,” or “MAYBE” to your questions. She is in a very tiny semi-private room in the nursing home and spends a great deal of time in her bed, but my sis and I are pressing the decision makers (with complete agreement from the PT staff), that she should be removed from her bed and placed in a wheel chair more often and taken to the dining room for meals as OFTEN as possible. Her cell (501) 365 6710 collects voice mail which her family OR family’s representatives will “harvest” and play for her. Perhaps you might be willing to leave her a short message – 3 minutes per message – on her voice mail. When you call, please leave at the beginning of your message the date and time you called. If you would like for Jean’s attendant to return a call to you – let us know that you would like for us to have Jean call you back. Jean also has Alzheimer’s disease, SO even if you know/knew her well, please “paint her a picture WHO you are” and give her plenty of background on how you fit into her life. Again, Jean’s cell is (501) 365-6710. Her husband, Larry’s voice mail is (501) 589-5956. Sister-in-law is Jeanette (501) 605 7874. Larry & Jean’s FAX is (501) 589-2684.

Jean has been a regular financial supporter of Whittier College for several decades. She kept anything and everything she ever received from Whittier. She was justifiably top-notch proud of her top-notch education she received from the professors. Her favorite was Dr. Pyle.

Jean had worked for a number of years at McDonnell-Douglas (MDAC). In 75 she was assigned to a very important 3 person project led by a highly esteemed scientist/engineer from Douglas Aircraft, Bill Haloulakos. Bill is now retired and spends all his PMs with his wife who is in a nursing home with similar memory problems as Jean has experienced the last 3-4 years. I don’t have Bill’s email on front of me now but I recall that it included a 50 page attachment which was a highly technical study for their employer which Bill said made POSSIBLE the building of Skylab. On another very crucial study, done by an MDAC team of 4 headed by Bill on the problem of the infamous “collapse of the cargo door” in flight of 1 of the MDAC aircraft, Bill had many wonderful things to say about Jean’s acumen and abilities as a mathematician and skilled programmer.

If you knew Jean, I’d appreciate it if you would give her a voice mail message on her voice mail real soon. Alternately, you may desire to send her an email kwajprogrammer@windstream.net and I shall download the email into my newly acquired “talking machine” and then PLAY your message to her in my “mechanical voice.” I am far from adept at programming the machine and this afternoon at Southridge I intend to correct the machine’s idea of how to pronounce the word “Jean.” I simply must program into the machine JEAN as, let’s say, “Jeene” or “Gene.” Then I will find the pronunciation I like best. Thanks to all.

Jean would like to hear from you!!


Kwajalein Ekatak Yearbooks - Resource Material for the Kwaj Community Website - I received 24 Ekatak books from Herschell & Sandi Atkinson to use as resource material for the Kwaj Community Website.  I now have the Ekatak Yearbooks of the following years:  1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987 - by Shermie Wiehe.- If you are interested in a receiving a photo from the album, email me, shermiewiehe@gmail.com.

Giordan Kariara Boutu Harris
Marshall Islands Olympic Team Member
Mon Kubok, Ebeye, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands

WORLD OLYMPICS - MARSHALL ISLANDS - LONDON 2012

Giordan's 2012 World Olympics

Men's 50m Freestyle Swim Competition

2 August 10:00 - 50m Freestyle Heats
2 August 19:30 - 50m Freestyle Semifinals
3 August 20:09 - 50m Freestyle Final

Giordan started swimming and joined the Kwajalein Swim Team at age 6, while attending school at George Seitz Elementary, Kwajalein Atoll.  At age 12 he entered his first swim competition, Pacific Mini Games, in Koror, Palau, he was the youngest swimmer to participate in the games and was the only swimmer representing the Marshall Islands.  At age 13 he set the Kwajalein pool record for the 500 meter free style.  His swim career was promising and even the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee started to take notice and were scheduling him to attend worldwide competitions.  Abruptly though, he was forced to take a break from swimming to recover from a snapped clavicle (collarbone) injury caused during a basketball game.  He would be out of the water for almost 2 years.  It wouldn’t be until age 17 that he would return to swimming.  He trained endlessly to drop his times, and still has been on ongoing effort to surpass the swimmer he once was.   All that training paid off as he is now the fastest male swimmer in the Marshall Islands and marks one of his major accomplishments as attending the first ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, 2010 and being selected to represent the Marshall Islands in the 2012 World Olympics.
 

Giordan Recovers to Set Personal Best

“I’m glad I got a personal best, the fastest I’ve ever gone, and I’m glad I did it at the London 2012 Olympics and I did it with my country’s flag on my back.” These were the words of Giordan Harris, a 50m freestyle swimmer from the Marshall Islands, just minutes after his Olympic debut here in London.

Giordan competed in the 3rd heat of the day, and as the swimmers were lead out to their platforms, the crowd did not disappoint as the atmosphere picked up inside the Aquatics Centre.

“I don’t perform well in front of an audience.” “I just tried to imagine they weren’t there and swim like I was at practice.”

As Giordan took his place on the platform, it was time to pull out the best performance of his life. Swimming in lane 1, Giordan was closest to the crowd he was trying to shut out, focus and determination etched on his face.

“All I could think about was all the training leading up to this one moment, and how quickly this moment came…..I still remember about 3 years ago when they told me I had the chance to compete at the London 2012 Olympics, and I feel like it went by in the blink of an eye, I knew I had to do my best in this race just to make all of those years of training worth it.”

Giordon swam a really solid race finishing 6th in his heat, and setting a new personal best with a time of 26.88 seconds.

An especially pleasing result for the teenager as he revealed the struggle he’d had to make the start line. “I had a torsion injury two and a half weeks back and I ended up going into surgery, I was out of water for the last 2 weeks and I literally just got back into the pool this last week.”

The Olympic qualities within Giordan are clearly there for all to see.

“I was confident and believed in myself, recovering after my injury and all the hard work I put in, I just had faith in myself and pulled through.”

So after the struggle of an injury, a very confident Marshallese athlete took to the pool for his Olympic debut with style, a new personal best and a proud nation very pleased with his efforts.

UPCOMING EVENTS

2012 - World Olympics, Jul 27 - Aug 13  

2012 - FINA World Championships,
           Istanbul, Turkey, Dec 12 -16

 
When he’s not swimming he takes care of his younger sisters, Jayana 10 and Jolina 6.  He helps coach and mentors the younger swimmers of Ebeye.  Giordan was raised on Ebeye, Marshall Islands, at 2 miles long and 276 yards wide with over 15,000 people, it’s the most populated island in the Pacific.  He hopes to be an inspiration to the overpopulated island and bring attention to the much needed funding for the children of Ebeye or as he calls them the future Olympic athletes of the Marshall Islands.    He is proud and excited to be representing the Marshall Islands at the 2012 World Olympics and has been training at the Olympic Training Camp, Liverpool, England since early June. 
 

YEAR

EVENTS COMPLETED

Age

2005

VII South Pacific Mini Games,  Palau

12

2006

6th Micronesian Games Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

13

2007

XII FINA World Championships Melbourne, Australia

14

2010

8th Oceania Swimming Championships, Apia, Samoa

17

2010

Micronesian Games, Koror, Palau

17

2010

Youth Olympics Games, Singapore

17

2010

10th FINA World Championships, Dubai, UAE (SC)

17

2011

14th FINA World Championships, Shanghai, China

18

2011

Pacific Games, Nouméa, New Caledonia

18

2012

9th Oceania Swim Championships, Nouméa, New Caledonia

19

2012

6th French Open EDF,  Paris France

19

 


2011 Guam International Invitation
Silver & Bronze Medal


2010 Micronesian Games, Koror Palau
Team Relay, Silver Medal




Posted on Facebook -- Wed, July 25, 2012
 


Ryan Lochte, 3-time Olympic Gold medalist and
world record holder with
Giordan, London, England
Posted on Facebook -- Wed, July 26, 2012


Jimmy and Doreen Matsunaga depart Kwajalein
U.S. KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Marshall Islands - It's the end of an era. After four and a half decades on Kwajalein, long-time resident Jimmy Matsunaga and his wife Doreen departed Tuesday. Matsunaga arrived at Kwajalein in 1966 at age 23. He has only lived in Hawaii and Kwajalein his whole life, besides 4 years in the Air Force. The Matsunagas will retire in Honolulu where they will be surrounded by family and friends. The decision to leave wasn't an easy one. Doreen especially loves living on Kwajalein. "My wife loves it out here," Matsunaga said. "Kwajalein is a beautiful place." Staying or leaving became kind of a standoff between him and his wife. "If I don't say it, she won't say it. So I said, 'We're leaving.'" They've talked about leaving for the past several years, "and I feel this is just the right time. It's time for us to go home and enjoy life." They look forward to traveling and visiting friends while they can still enjoy it. "Now we'll have time to travel more, and we don't have to worry about time. We have all the time in the world now." They've made many friends over the years who have come and gone -- they plan to travel around the U.S. to visit them. Matsunaga is also looking forward to "knowing every day is Saturday, (I can) get up when I want to get up, and I hope my wife will let me go where I want to go." Matsunaga said he will remember his adventure on Kwajalein fondly. He reminisced about the 'good old days' when sports were competitive and met with over 200 screaming fans. "Sports used to be a highlight," he said. "They had some star athletes from Hawaii out here." In his bachelor days, Matsunaga played every sport offered -- volleyball, basketball, handball, slow pitch and mountain ball. His bachelor days didn't last too long. Matsunaga married in 1970 in Honolulu. He and Doreen had their daughter Serena shortly thereafter. His family was able to accompany him on Kwajalein in 1977. While sports, the "aloha spirit" on Kwajalein and "making the big bucks" was his initial drive for staying on Kwajalein, his family was soon the new reason to stay. "Of course when

your family's here it's another chapter," he explained. "That kept me here. My daughter went from pre-school to graduation (on Kwajalein)." Saving money during that time made it easier to put her through college, Matsunaga said. After she left for school, the years just seemed to fly by. "Two years became three, three became four, four became five and you know how it goes. After a certain amount of years you don't even think about the years, time just went by so fast," he said. Here for 45.5 years, Matsunaga has witnessed all the development and disassembly of infrastructure on island. What sticks out in his mind is when they closed the Crossroads Restaurant, a dining facility that once stood north of the Ocean View Club. "That was the best," he recalled. "In the back there was a candlelight dinner area with glass windows looking out over the ocean. In the middle there was a long bar, and in the front was where the guys came straight from work and played shuffleboard and drank beer." Even with the closing of the Crossroads, he still had the Yokwe Yuk Club -- for a while at least. It was closed in 2007. "They never replaced it so there's no really good dining facility (now). We would always look forward to the weekend to take our wives out with other couples and go out to the club for a nice sit-down dinner." The annual carnival that used to come to Kwajalein was remembered as a fun time in Matsunaga's past. It was held at Daily Field. "We all looked forward to it," he said. "Even the adults." They had games of chance, professional entertainment from Hawaii, food booths, a beer tent and lots of rides -- a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and even a train. The band from Fr. Hacker High School would wander around the carnival playing music. "That was one of the big things in the old days." Other big events back then were block parties and luaus -- complete with Hawaiian bands. Matsunaga could easily be described as one of the most well-known Kwajalein residents. He has even been branded by a few nicknames -- like the Godfather of the Hawaiians. When asked how this nickname came about he just laughed. "I don't know. Maybe I have some friends in Hawaii," he joked. "In the old days this place was loaded with Hawaiian people … with many well-known names. I guess I got the name Godfather because maybe I've been here longest. They called me "The Mayor." Leaving after 45.5 years is no easy feat, emotionally or logistically. Most accompanied families are allotted 2,000 pounds when they pack out. After living here so long the Matsunagas had acquired quite a bit more than that. Matsunaga ended up packing out 45.5 years of his life into five crates and four triwalls -- a total of 4,976 pounds. Of course after living in the same house since the late 1980s, they came across items they hadn't seen in years tucked behind dressers
and stowed away in closets. Matsunaga spoke very highly of the packers in charge of his pack out. "I was curious to see how they were going to package my rosewood furniture -- it's heavy, tall and big. Even my daughter couldn't believe the guys were that good. They were just amazing. … I rate them among the top in the world." Matsunaga knows shipping and receiving will survive without him. "Life goes on. In any job there's nobody that's irreplaceable. My guys are trained; they run on automatic."  While Matsunaga may miss a lot of what Kwajalein has to offer, one in particular stands out in his mind -- his Marshallese friends. "They're good people. They are the friendliest people on Earth. My guys, they work, they sweat every day, they do their job, they get the job done and they don't complain. That's what I'll look back on -- my Marshallese friends." Leaving his home for the past four and a half decades does not make Matsunaga sad. "I don't want to look back here. My heart in all these years, believe it or not, was in Hono. I spent four years in the Air Force. When I got out, I missed Hawaii. I said I'll never leave Hawaii again. Two months after I got out, I was out here for 45.5 years. I enjoyed it out here, it was a nice ride. It was a long, fun ride -- what a journey. But, I won't look back. I'll just look forward and enjoy life." Editor's note: Excerpts were taken from an Aug. 5, 2006, Hourglass article

RTS Operations Center (ROC)
Huntsville, AL

Operating the space track here 24/7. About 70 technical folks run nearly all of the missions from here.  Early 2012, the ROC will be fully operational and can support any Kwaj mission.


Castaways Found On Pacific Atoll After 33 Days At Sea - 11/28/11:  Two men from the Pacific island of Kiribati who were adrift for 33 days at sea have turned up on the Namdrik Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, some 300 miles away.  The two men, aged 53 and 26, were picked up by members of Royal Australian Air Force, the Telegraph reports.  The two men were sick and weak but in "reasonable" condition, the paper added.  Locals tell the paper that these kinds of incidents happen more often than you'd think.  Giff Johnson, the editor of the Marshall Islands Journal, told the Telegraph: "As odd as it may seem, the Marshall Islands hosts Kiribas drifters quite frequently.  It's not that it happens all the time.  Let's just say people from Kiribas are very hardy individuals.  They get lost on a little boat and manage to persevere.  It is an amazing thing."  The two men were reported missing on October 22nd, ABC Australia reports.  Proper medical assistance lies in capital of the Marshall Islands.  The one glitch? The airplane that flies from Namdrik to the capital once of week has been grounded for maintenance, Radio Australia reports.

Message to Shermie from wife of Bruce Forbes:  Dear Shermie,  I am Bruce Forbes wife.  I am writing to you as he is unable to at this point.  He was on Kwaj in the late 60's and early 70's on and off with his mother and father, Charles Forbes.  He also ran the radio station as a teenager for awhile.  For all those who may remember Bruce, I just wanted to let everyone know that at the end of August 2011, we found out quite by surprise that he had end stage throat/larynx cancer, inoperable.  He is taking daily radiation therapy and weekly chemo therapy.  So far, he is doing well.  He is tired, of course, but still here with me.  We have been together for almost 20 yrs and I have heard many, many stories and very fond memories of Kwaj and numerous people.  I cannot remember all the names, but he knew quite a few while he was there. Just wanted anyone who remembered him to know and please feel free to email and we will respond.  Thank you for having a website of Kwaj and keeping it alive.  Sincerely and God Bless.  Carol Forbes, email - boac123@peoplepc.com

A great day in the sun in Kansas City:  Jim Oakley and Shermie Wiehe, both ex-Kwajers of 20+ years, enjoy a few days in sun in Kansas City.  Shermie, who works for Union Pacific at Bailey Yard in North Platte, NE, took the opportunity to take some vacation time to entertain at three performances in Omaha, NE for MerryMakers and then onto Kansas City where Shermie performed for 6 hours at the Historic Kansas City Market, where thousands attended and enjoy the sounds of Shermie at the Piano.  Jim,  enjoying retirement, taking care of the yard, raising roses, tomatoes and not the beer glasses at the Kwaj VFW he managed for years.  Life is good, as you can see, the shirt says it all.  Jim worked at the Kwaj pharmacy for many years, followed by working at QA, then finishing his tour with aviation supply.  Shermie's sister and mother visited Kwaj and during their visit to the VFW, Jim's life changed.  Within a year, Jim became a member of the Shermie's family.  Jim stays connected with Kwaj friends and enjoys Skype video conversations weekly with Shermie.  For you Kwajers that need golf advice, Tiger Oakley can be contacted by clicking > email.


Space Fence Fielding Slips to 2017: The Air Force has modified the fielding schedule for the Space Fence space-surveillance system, slipping the projected date for initial operations by two years to 2017, according to a draft statement of work issued last week. The Space Fence's full operational capability milestone also has changed from 2020 to a to-be-determined date, states the document, released by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass. Air Force officials envision the Space Fence as a dual-site radar system operating in the S-band frequency range to detect orbiting space objects. It will offer significantly improved performance over the 1960s-era Air Force Space Surveillance System VHF Fence that it will replace. Current plans call for two Space Fence sites: Australia and Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon currently are under contract to mature their respective fence concepts.


Minuteman Flies from Vandenberg: Airmen with the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Wednesday June 22,  successfully launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM out over the Pacific Ocean during an operational test of the weapon system. The missile's single reentry test vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to a pre-determined touchdown point near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Defense Department and Energy Department analysts will now go over the flight data. "The data gained from these launches allows us to maintain a high readiness capability and ensures operational effectiveness of the most powerful weapons in the nation's arsenal," said Col. David Bliesner, commander of Vandy's 576th Flight Test Squadron. Airmen from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., and 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., supported the test, which occurred within the established time window despite some issues that arose like inclement weather downrange. (Vandenberg release)

Johnny Johnson, resident of Kwaj (1986-88), Provost Marshall's Office, US Army (USAKA).  Johnny is happily retired and travels the country in his RV.  Between his travels, he often relaxes with his dog (Jack) and wife (Linda), enjoying the good life.  Johnny is pictured at right, with his dog, Jack, both retired..

If remember Johnny, drop him a line, he'd love to hear from the gang from Kwaj.

Email:  j1l2j3@comcast.net


Aaron Chapman, our son, is now a soldier with the Australian Army in Afghanistan, and he was passing through the Base Exchange in Kandahar last week (2nd week of May 2011) when he saw the attached sign. He took a picture of the sign and sent it to us. I have also attached a picture of Aaron with his "brick"--half a section. Aaron is second from right in the photo.

Aaron's email is aaron_149@hotmail.com and he doesn't check it often. - this note was received from Steve Chapman, his father.


Link to:  ROC Keeps Watch Day and Night

Site Investigations Announced for Kwajalein Missile Base Clean-up  (Posted 10/20/10)

The Alaska native-owned company, Sivuniq, announced last month that it has been tasked by the the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command to help with environmental site investigations at nine locations on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

"The Army is putting forth a good faith effort to clean up spills, restore the sites and make them productive," said project manager Norm Straub.

Six decades of military operations have left contamination on the islands at the atoll, said the company newsletter.

Kwajalein is home to USAKA (United States Army Kwajalein Atoll) and the premier missile facility, the Ronald Reagan Test Site (RTS).

Straub said that the initial visit was made in October 2009. Field work was to begin September 2010 and continue through January 2011, with project completion set for April.

There is a heavy emphasis on archeological resource protection since there are numerous artifacts still buried on the island.

"Sivuniq has been working with Colorado State University’s Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands to ensure the work is managed in accordance with Marshallese and installation historic preservation regulations governing cultural resource management," the E-News Bulletin.

According to Straub, "the Army wants clean closure on this facility."

"The Marshallese are not unlike Alaska Natives in that many of them still lead a subsistence lifestyle."

Sivuniq, part of the NANA family of companies, provides variety of services for other U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense projects including a contract for ongoing construction management, compliance and environmental restoration at over 50 individual sites at Fort Greely.

From Balmy Shores of Kwajalein to Mountains of Afghanistan

Patrick Caskey, L.(1968-1984,KHS 84) and Daniel Carteaux
(early-mid 90's), R., contractors working at FOB Salerno, Afghanistan
met and to their surprise determined they had both lived on Kwajalein.
They had many mutual acquaintances from their Kwaj days.

Kwaj Reunion August 2010 - Honolulu, Hawaii - Pictures can be viewed in Bill Kievenaar's Facebook - Enjoy!
 
Kwaj Reunion August 2010 - Honolulu, Hawaii - Pictures can be viewed in Tom Daly's Facebook - Enjoy!

 


Yokwe Yuk Club 2010

Update News / Photo from Roger Priest: We went to a wedding last week. One of my wife's nephews tied the knot.  Some of you Kwaj folks may remember Mela & Najio Loeak who are setting with us.  He worked for Am-Pro and she was in HRO.  The wedding took place on June 5th with the reception following at the same location, in Kissimmee, Fla. which is just south of Orlando. There were approx 100 guests including 10-12 Marshallese.  The couple went to The Poconos up in Pennsylvania for the honeymoon.  The Groom was Jason Blanchett and the Bride was Jacklyne Apy.  Jason was born on Ebeye and is the son of Kwaj Fireman Al Blanchett.


A Bill Kievenaar Video Production - Link to Bill's > Facebook to view some of Bill's Excellent Videos

Roi-Namur Dophins SCUBA Club

This is a preview of a one hour movie that only took me 34 years to make. In the days before DVD, VHS, and Betamax tapes Super 8mm movies were the high tech standard. Sit back, relax and turn up the volume as we travel back to a bygone era and go diving again with the Roi-Namur Dolphins SCUBA Club.

Little history of Roi-Namur then came the Roi Rats
A little history: Roi-Namur is an island about 1 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide in the northeast corner of the Kwajalein Lagoon in the Marshall Islands. The 4th Marine Division took it from the Japanese in Feb 1944. It was my home from 1972 to 1976. We were called Roi Rats. It was a special time at a special place.

Roi-Namur Wreck Diving
Please understand these are home movies taken in the mid 1970's to show how Roi Rats loved diving in the lagoon. We appreciate the advances you all have made recently to advance the technology of superb underwater photography. We just want to show you how it all evolved. "Roi Rats Forever !"




I'm happy to share this photo I received from Bruce & Sherry who visited Jill and I at our home here in North Platte, NE.
They'd love to hear from their old Kwaj friends, click to email:  Bruce and Sherry.  Great family photo!  Shermie


Kwaj group celebrating Shigeko’s birthday. Sept. 19, 2009, Kona, Hawaii

Back Row: Ron Kuratsu, Elise Catron, Larry Catron, Bobby Kimura, Dr. Eric Lindborg, Henry Schneider, Nate Jackson
Middle Row: John Sowden, Terry Brown, Eleanor Kuratsu, Mary Bibby, Jan Schneider
Front Row: Marian Naretto, Ann Brown, Shigeko Jackson, Cris Lindborg, Shigeko’s friend, Shigeko’s friend

Marshall Islands - Rocket Island - www.abc.net.au/foreign - click on Rocket Island to view.  It's an idyllic tropical atoll, but amid the coconut groves are billions of dollars of high-tech surveillance equipment. Mark Corcoran reveals a hitherto top-secret, Club Med style nuclear missile test range which "sees" everything that moves across a third of the globe and in deep space.

Lateef Daly goes Sky Diving

Lateef Daly - ldaly1@bechtel.com



Posted in the Marshall Islands Journal, Friday, February 13, 2009

 




The Big Catch

Blake, son of Ed & Kerry Hamblin (Kwajers of 1990s, Environmental Engineers). 

Ed wrote:

Blake caught this 3 pound 4 ounce largemouth bass on May 2, 2009, from one of our ponds. He is hooked!

Provided by Ed Hamblin


New Snack Bar at Kwaj - January 2009


New Macys at Kwaj - January 2009

 

Facebook - Kwaj  There are a bunch of people from Kwaj - mostly Class of '75 - '79 making friends on Facebook, can we get some more Kwaj people on it?  Thanks!  Cherie Rodecker Groll, laterdude@comcast.net

The Big Wave at Roi-Namur - December 9, 2008

Sylvia Sangiolo - Passes Away

----- Original Message -----
From: Sangiolo, Thomas
To: 'Shermie Wiehe'
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:24 AM

Hi Shermie

My wife Sylvia died yesterday peacefully at Beth Israel hospital in Boston. She was recovering from a mild stroke when it happened quie unexpectedly. I haven't made all of the time arrangements but her wake will be this Friday and Funeral on Saturday at the Healy funeral home and St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Westford, Mass. I'll know the times later today when I have my next meeting. To all those the Kwajers that knew my wife she considered all of you her family.

Thomas L. Sangiolo
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
LSSC Radar Systems Manager
781-981-0508
781-635-5869
978-448-3775 home
sangiolo@ll.mit.edu office e-mail
tsangiolo3775@charter.net home e-mail

Hi to All from the Lee & Betty Sawyer Family:

I believe everyone that I have included in this email is aware that our daughter Alisa Lynn has pancreatic cancer and is currently undergoing weekly treatments at the University of Vanderbilt cancer center. She was diagnosed for this dread cancer this past summer and is holding her own in the battle, but was recently upgraded from stage 3 to stage 4. We ask for your continued prayers and spiritual support in this battle. Alisa and her two children, Dillon 15 and Amber 17 are being cared for by Betty and I and Friends.

You can get a better description of her status by logging on to her newly developed web site which was completely built by herself to announce her new online cancer awareness business. You can read and see the details by going to the following link:  http://colorshope.com

Again, god bless to all of Our friends and encourage Alisa by responding to her Web site. She has worked very hard on this project and it would boost her spirits to hear from each of you. Her email address is contained within her web site

Betty Lee and Alisa, 217 Dove Hollow Dr., Meridianville, AL 35759, (256) 829-0124

Glenn Matsumura died Saturday, September 6th

From: Joanna Ramos <joannaramos10@gmail.com>
Subject: Glen Matsumura
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 14:16:56 -0500
To: <shermiewiehe@gmail.com>
Attachments: 0 Printer Friendly Version

I just wanted to let you know that my dad died Saturday, September 6th. Thank you for all your support and putting it on your website.  Right now my mom is going through a really rough time but I know that she appreciates all the support you've given her.

Thank you, Joanna

News about Glenn Matsumura - July 13, 2008

Glenn is in a nursing home for now. The day they moved him there, they had to turn around and take him back to the ER - there was blood shooting out from around his neck. What fun. They managed to stop the bleeding and sent him back to the nursing home.

He is still in an awful lot of pain and on those pain meds that mess up his head. [If I had more patience, it would be funny: I go out for a cigarette and when I get back, he writes "where have you been for the last few days."]

The staph infection he had is clearing up and sometimes he comes outside with me when I smoke. He cannot stay in the sunlight for more than a few minutes at a time. He will have to use a lot of sunscreen for the rest of his life ... either that or turn into a vampire and sleep all day and stay up all night.

I taught him how to play Omaha a few months ago and soon we'll start playing cards again. Right now, he gets too tired [and he can't cheat as easily as he used to].

Gotta go now but will try to keep you guys updated.  Mary - matsumuramj@excite.com


News about Glenn Matsumura - July 1, 2008

Shermie, sorry it takes so long for me to answer.

Glenn went through a 9-hour surgery on 17 June. When he "checked in" they said they would just take out the tumor and see what's there but the doctors were talking right outside his room and they already made up their mind they would do the laryngectomy. They removed his larynx, rebuilt his esophagus, and did skin grafts on his neck. No, the nipple is still there on his neck - they didn't even try to make that better.

He has a staph infection now and is in so much pain they have him on morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl patch, and I don't know what. They pushed the muscle from the right side of his chest into his neck so he has a big bulge there - just like the bulge he had when they pushed the muscle from the left side in October.

Poor Glenn ... I wish they could put him in a coma for a month or so - until the pain is mostly gone. But he's a fighter or just so stubborn it's unbelievable.

I couldn't go near him for a few days because I have bronchitis and any kind of cold or whatever could be really serious. He's suffered more than enough - I don't want to add to it. Funny, I really miss having that grouch around all the time. I guess I'm just a masochist.

I'll let him know you guys send your best - he really misses everybody.  Mary  (Glenn's Wife)


News from Shermie about Glenn Matsumura - May 12, 2008 
I spoke with Mary Matsumura today and she informed that Glenn is very strong and but not doing well.  He wants to talk to people but he can't and starts crying.  Although, he has spoken to his daughter very slowly on the phone, and she understands him.  Mary say that Glen misses everyone.  He tries to speak and is almost understandable without his tongue.  The doctor was really impressed with his determination to speak, but now he's really depressed but still fighting.  Mary says, "He's still stubborn as he always has been.  He smoked over 40 years and his lungs are still clean, believe it or not, an this puzzled the doctors."  Their daughter Joanna is back in Austin, Texas and their son Michael is in Prescott, AZ. 

The Matsumura's left Kwajalein in 1999 for a job in Japan for 5 years, 1.5 years in the Middle East, Arizona and then to Pueblo, CO.

Mary does not know the release date for him to go home and she plans to show him how to use the laptop verses a desk top for him to read his emails.  Glen's email address is as follows: matsumura13@excite.com.  Mary's email is as follows: matsumuramj@excite.com.  Mary will be reading her emails several times a week.  She also checks his emails.  She would love to hear from his friends to pass to Glenn.


Glenn Matsumura would love to hear from you
  "Word has been received from Glenn & Mary's daughter. Joanna. that Glenn is not doing well. Glenn was diagnosed with Oral Cancer. His tongue is gone. The cancer has moved into the throat. At this time Glenn would love to hear from you. He can not talk, but Mary can and is willing to take calls for Glenn. Glenn and Mary live in Pueblo, CO. Their phone number is 719-251-0969. We do not have a home address as they recently move. We will be in touch with Mary in the near future to get their address. Many of us knew Glenn either socially or through work. If you knew him through work, you knew him socially. That's just the way he was.''

An Update from Tom & Marie Overman - July 3rd, 2008

Marie and I hooked our travel trailer to our Dodge Ram 3500 diesel pickup truck and left Naples, FL on Thursday, June 12th and headed towards a stop-over in Bismarck, ND to see the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center there before continuing west to Montana. No problems with the weather until we turned north in Texas and reached Kansas. It was "interesting" to pull a trailer through what the weatherman called "severe thunderstorms!" That experience continued through Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota but we were indeed fortunate to miss the worst of the storms on the way north. However, the first night in Bismarck, ND, tornado sirens went off at about 2000 hours. We turned on the TV and found that a tornado had hit a small town about 20 miles south of us! Lucked out again!

Finally, 10 days after leaving Naples, FL Marie and I arrived at a campground in St. Mary, Montana where we were to stay for a week of hiking in Glacier National Park. The "town" of St. Mary is about two miles from the eastern entry to the park so it was quite convenient. I'm not sure if the word "town" is accurate since there are only two gas stations, a couple of motels and restaurants and no traffic lights! It was GREAT! The weather all that week was superb with daytime temps in the 70's and nights down into the low 40's.
 

Upon entering the park's visitor's center, we were disappointed to learn that due to heavy snowfall duringthe first week of June, the road across the park called "The Road to the Sun" was closed due to avalanches and would be closed until after the 4th of July! That's the second time that it's happened to us so take my advise and not arrive there too early during the summer if you wish to take the 50-mile drive from the east side of the park to the west side.

Our first hike was an easy 3-mile round trip to St. Mary Falls and the higher Virginia Falls. Glacier National Park takes great pains to advise hikers that there are plenty of grizzly bears in the park but on that day, we didn't see any (that experience came the following day!)

The next day we made the decision to try a 7-mile roundtrip hike to Grennell Lake to see the 1000-foot ribbon falls at the southern end of the lake. So we drove about 18 miles north to the Many Glacier Hotel to gain access to the trailhead. The park rangers tell you that the bells that people carry to warn bears (grizzly and black) of your approach don't really do much good. It is much better to shout or clap your hands every few minutes so as not to startle the bears. Well, Marie is not much of a talker that early in the morning so it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise when within a short distance from the Hotel, a young grizzly dashed up the hill behind us! He'd been down at the lake taking a drink I suppose and wanted to get back up to greener pastures! From that point on, there ensued a running LOUD conversation between Marie and I!

Maybe it worked or maybe the bears were just bored with what we were saying because by the time we reached Grennell Lake, we hadn't seen another bear. There was still a lot of snow on the trail to the lake but it was worth trudging through it and we were happy that we'd brought our hiking sticks with us even though the trail didn't have a large elevation gain.

We took a different route back (along the north shore of Lake Josephine) and for a while, tagged along with a man and his four children. We'd heard someone calling out something every few minutes earlier and found out that it was this gentlemen yelling "Yo Bear!" to let any bears know that his family was approaching. He said that they had not seen one bear at that point. Good! So when he split off onto another trail, Marie and I took over the task of calling out "Yo Bear!" and "Yogi Bear!"

Maybe Yogi Bear was a Hollywood idol for the bears because it wasn't too long before we encountered two more grizzly bears. Fortunately, they were several hundred yards away and seemed to intent on lying there at the lake's edge getting a suntan to even look at us.

One has to cross over a wooden suspension bridge along the way and it did sway quite a bit (much to Marie's discomfort).

It is only about a 50-mile drive from St. Mary, MT to Waterton Park, Alberta, Canada so we headed north to treat ourselves to a day of rest by taking a cruise boat from Waterton to Goat Haunt, Montana and back. One crosses over the 49th parallel and the captain stops for a moment to let the passengers see the 30-yard wide cut area that separates the two countries. He said that this type of cutting is common over the entire border (wherever there are trees to cut). Tough job for some guys with a lot more energy than me!

After a few more days of hiking, we headed west on US Hwy 2 to Kalispell, MT for a week's stay on the west side of the park. Unfortunately, a front moved in from the south two days after arriving at our campground and dumped huge amounts of rain that prevented us from taking any hikes yet. If it was cold enough up at Logan Pass (the highest point in the park), the poor crews with the heavy equipment will probably have to redo all their work again! Oh well, even without being able to hike here yet, it is better than enduring the heat and humidity of a Florida summer!


                                 Looks like the water's not warm enough for swimming yet!


Virginia Falls
Many Glacier, MT


Guess who is looking
for grizzly bears!


I hate these suspension bridges!

T
O
M
 
&
 
M
A
R
I
E
 
O
V
E
R
M
A
N
 
TRAVELS

Looking forward greatly to seeing old friends at the 2008 Kwaj Reunion in Colorado Springs. Thanks Shermie and all the great folks who have worked so hard to bring this event off!

Yokwe Yuk, (In Memory of Tom) & Marie Overman, tomoverman@hotmail.com


Shermie,

I knew Joe from the '70's at Meck. I know he was there longer than that. I think he also worked Roi and Kwaj. He did a lot of diving in his off hours.
Last week he sent me the URL of the Kwaj Reunion site and was so excited to share it with me. Unfortunately he stripped the names off before forwarding, so I don't know who sent it to him.

Karen

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Richards, Karen L." <karen.l.richards@nasa.gov>

Joe sent me this webpage (Kwaj Reunion Webpage - http://www.shermiewiehe.com/reunions.html) because I was on Kwaj 61-66 and 72-77. It is with great sadness I have to report Joe has died.
 
NASA Dryden employee Joe Ciganek dies

Long-time NASA Dryden employee Joseph P. Ciganek and three family members were found dead shortly after 5 p.m. Monday afternoon by firefighters called to fight a fire in his Quartz Hill home. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating the deaths of Ciganek and the two other persons believed to be his wife's sister and her two minor children as a likely homicide.

Ciganek, 60, had been employed by NASA at Dryden since January 1990 in a variety of technical positions, including operation and maintenance of the unique SR-71 simulator while it was installed here. He most recently served as a management analyst within the Systems Operations Branch, Test Systems Directorate.

Dryden employees are encouraged to keep his wife, Jocelyn, in their thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

Karen Zost Richards, 661.209.6569 cell

Ex-husband, alleged accomplice charged in Quartz Hill killings of 4

Murder charges are filed against pair detained in Mexico after the bloody slayings of a NASA engineer, a suspect's former wife and her two children.

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 2, 2008

Prosecutors have filed four capital murder charges against a man and his alleged accomplice who are accused of using a samurai sword and a baseball bat to chop and beat to death the man's ex-wife, her two children and a relative.

Jae Hwan Shim, 39, the former husband of the dead woman, and Steve Kwon, 27, are accused of killing the victims June 23 and then setting fire to a house in the 43200 block of North 45th Street in Quartz Hill to cover up the bloody scene.

The pair were taken into custody over the weekend after Mexican police found them near the border and took them to Douglas, Ariz., 90 miles southeast of Tucson.

Shim and Kwon are accused of killing Joseph Paul Ciganek, a 60-year-old NASA engineer and owner of the house; Jenny Young Park, and her children Jamie, 13, and Justin, 9.

Park and her children went to live with Ciganek and his wife, Jocelyn, after the breakup of her marriage. Jocelyn Ciganek was Park's cousin.

Prosecutors said Shim is the second ex-husband of Park and has a history of domestic violence. Shim was not the father of the two children killed last week, but did have a 3-year-old child with Park. Shim left the child in another person's care when he disappeared after the slayings, officials said.

Jane Robison, a Los Angeles County district attorney's office spokeswoman, said Shim was angry that his ex-wife had moved out and was dating the children's martial arts teacher. Robison said Shim's anger escalated when Park refused to sign passport documents for their 3-year-old child.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether Si Young Yoon, 34, Park's boyfriend, may have met with foul play. Robison said Yoon's Acura sport utility vehicle was found near the Quartz Hill home. Yoon was last seen leaving his home on the day of the killings.

Shim and Kwon were charged with four counts of murder, burglary and special circumstances of multiple murder and murder in the commission of a burglary. Those special circumstances mean that they could face the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have not determined whether to seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Within hours of the fire last week, sheriff's homicide investigators found that the blaze was set to cover up the killings. Investigators recovered from the house a samurai sword and baseball bat they believe to be the murder weapons.

Ciganek's body was found in one bedroom; the other bodies were found in another. He had been beaten and slashed numerous times, said Ed Winter, a county coroner's spokesman. He said Ciganek and the boy died from blunt-force and sharp-force trauma.

The woman and girl suffered multiple stab wounds, Winter said. The bodies of the woman and two children were so badly burned that dental records were needed to confirm their identities.


A little news from John & Mary Willcox  We are now great grandparents of Robert Allen Green, born May 13 2008 to Robert and MaryClare Green. Robert is Grandson of John and Mary Willcox, JJwillcox@aol.com, (daughter was Jill Willcox Green). Jill Willcox Green is the grandmother.

U.S. Announces $21M Cutback At Kwajalein Missile Range - Pacific Magazine, March 7, 2008

Marshall Islands Government dismayed by abrupt USAKA Reduction in Force

RMI News:  http://www.yokwe.net/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2094

Marshall Islands Government dismayed by abrupt USAKA Reduction in Force Barely 50 days have passed since the new government settled into its first term of office when it was given notice by the United States of a USAKA (United States Army at Kwajalein Atoll) Transformation scheme which will have direct and immediate adverse impact on Marshallese employees in Kwajalein Atoll. In his briefing of the President and Cabinet last Thursday, the USAKA/RTS Commander, Col. Stevenson Reed, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Clyde Bishop, laid out the details of the scheme and the impact of what he called 'transformation activities" of USAKA.

The current RMI workforce of 1001 will be reduced to 912 by the end of this financial year when 89 workers will be laid off, and 650 will work on a reduced hour basis to match actual work requirement.

Those who will be affected the most are employees working in areas such as public works, custodial, shipping and receiving. The end of FY08 will similarly affect the US Workforce on island when 64 positions of the present 946 will be eliminated, and 350 with reduced hours. The cumulative net loss to the RMI Govt in tax revenue resulting from the planned lay off in FY 08 is estimated to be $ 400,000. The reduction in workforce is expected to continue over four years, beginning from FY 08 through FY2011.

Col. Stevenson Reed stated in his briefing that the transformation scheme which will result in workforce reduction was approved at the highest level and that there was 'little room to wiggle.' He said it is part of a Department of Defense strategy to ensure USAKA's relevancy and viability, and to increase its efficiency and capability through technological improvements; a clear reference to the use of fiber optic cable technology which will make it possible to distribute certain operations from Kwajalein to Huntsville, Alabama.

The Minister in Assistance to the President, Christopher Loeak, said the subject was first intimated to him by US Ambassador Bishop a few days before the briefing. He said that while the RMI government appreciated the briefing from Col. Reed, the whole thing was a surprise. Mr. Loeak said the Government has just come to learn that the transformation scheme process has been under discussion by the various agencies of the US Government since 2004.

The government, Minister Loeak said has no idea either whether the last government was aware of the scheme and its implications. Or, if it was aware, why it did not bring the matter to the attention of the Nitijela and the public. He said it is a remarkable coincidence that the length of the period at which the lay-offs begins and estimated to end is exactly the length of the period of the first term of office of this government, that is from FY2008 to FY2011. He said the elements of our special and strategic relationship embodied in the Compact agreement should have been enough to trigger an earlier consultation between the US and the RMI government.

However, Minister Christopher Loeak, said he appreciated the frank statement from the USAKA Commander and particularly the actions that are being considered by USAKA to mitigate the impact of the reduction in Marshallese workforce. These include providing incentives to the contractors to keep RMI workforce, initiating formalized training programs to improve skill levels, and seeking other opportunities for future mitigation.

He said the government wanted to assure those whose livelihood would be affected that it will do everything possible to help cushion the effect of the lay-offs. Government officials met shortly after the briefing by the USAKA Commander to assess the impact of the anticipated transformation activities, and to explore the various options to offset the adverse consequences.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tony deBrum, said there is no doubt that the reduction in the RMI workforce at USAKA over the next four years will have immediate impact on families of the employees who will be laid off. He said the problem is a national issue and not a matter strictly for the Kwajalein population. Many of the workers are originally from other islands of the country, and what is going to happen to them will obviously affect the support they have been giving their families members living outside of Kwajalein.

Minister de Brum said he was particularly dismayed by the fact that when he inquired from the US military representative last year at the JCM meeting in Ebeye to confirm whether or not there was going to be any reduction in the RMI workforce, the answer was in the negative. He said the government is looking closely at a range of options to determine the extent of their effective contribution towards providing viable solutions to the problem.

- RMI President's Office, Majuro, Marshall Islands, March 3, 2008

Surprise 50th Birthday Present  The quilt in the attached photo was made in secret and presented to me as a surprise 50th birthday present at the November 2007 Kwajalein Running Club monthly "Fun Run". I will cherish the quilt and thought some of you KRC veterans might appreciate the photo.

Wendy Gray made the quilt at Kwajalein. Wendy is a good friend of my wife Jane and volunteered to do the sewing. Wendy is the woman at one side of the photo. The chubby balding guy on the other side is me. Debbie Kirby did some of the center panel stitching with a special machine she has. Many of you on the addressee list have at least one T-Shirt design in the quilt.  The oldest shirt is the 1980 RustMan One shirt, which is the very orange one in the top row.  The newest shirt is the 2007 RustMan 28 shirt right by Wendy's face.  The other 30 shirts are of ages scattered in between.  Cris Lindborg and Leigh Vander Veen account for ten of the shirt panels and did even more designs than those included in the quilt. Leigh is currently working on the 2008 RustMan 29 shirt design. She lives in CA near Vandenberg AFB now, but will send the art over the internet. All the shirts in the quilt are from either RustMan Triathlons, Columbus Day Runs or the New Year's Eve Midnight runs. This is not all of the custom KRC event shirts from the last 28 years. I think that would be more like ~75 shirts. Thanks Jane & Wendy!  Bob Sholar, Kwajalein Island


The news is out, the Yokwe Yuk Club is history.  Yokwe Yuk Club The Yokwe Yuk Club was built in 1952 as an "Officers Mess & Club". It will close permanently at end of October 2007 and await demolition funds. As far back as the early 1970s, the building showed signs of damage from long term water intrusion into the reinforced concrete. This was largely due to a design that allowed rain water ponding on the roof. The water rusts the steel rebar and the rebar expands, cracking the concrete: "spalling". There have been several major repair projects over the decades. The kitchen area was shut down several years ago after a large piece of concrete fell in a store room while the kitchen was in use. It was realized that someone could have been killed. The bar area was declared safer and the Yokwe Yuk Club was reduced to just a Bar. Recently, the spalling of the ceiling in the Main Entrance area has worsened. The Command has just recently come to more clearly understand that there are several large 50+ year old buildings on Kwajalein that place larger than expected loads on the Power System. Much of this is due to the retrofit Air Conditioning and poor wall insulation. The Yuk and Surfway are prime examples. With the tickler of shutting down the power to one of those old hogs, plus the safety concerns, the Commander gave the order yesterday to shut the Yuk and power it down.

Hourglass from September 1945  A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go through some of my father's belongings at my mother's house. As a child I knew that he had been a radio operator on Kwaj at the end of the war. Also as a child, I had seen a few photographs of him, which have since disappeared. While I was visiting at home, I took a scanner and notebook computer and scanned whatever I could get my hands on... In the papers was a copy of the Hourglass from September 1945. I found it interesting as an artifact and priceless as a piece of my father's history and experience. Since that time, I've done a fair amount of web surfing, and have found the page and various references to the Hourglass posted on this page. I thought perhaps someone else would enjoy the opportunity to share it, particularly in light of the content and date.

If it just so happens that anyone would have any information at all pertaining to my father's service time on Kwajalein, I would be most appreciative.. beyond that, I would just like to express my heart-felt appreciation for the sacrifices of those who have struggled there, died there and continue to serve. God Bless...

My father was: Frank (nmn) Kremm, Radioman (PO3 I believe at that time), USN.  He continued in the service of his country, retiring from the Navy in 1970. He passed away from cancer in 1970.

Sincerely, Frank J. Kremm

Wherever there's a female mountain goat, there's bound to be an old Billy goat too! 

View their latest pictures of Tom & Marie Overman's hiking adventures   >  

Aloha all!

Big news!

Elika KaiwI (Kwaj 1979-95) turned 50!

His wife Barbara, friends and family enjoyed celebrating the boy's birthday by having a party, eating and enjoying spirits.  It was a true Hawaiian fare in Rockledge, Florida.  The
Rain Gods were not invited.  Swimming, volleyball and horseshoes were all part of the fun, including knives and footwork of those dancers performing at his party.  Elika sang and serenaded his 50th party and It was a night the birthday boy shined.


Saturday, August 11, 2007
Happy Birthday Elika!
The Old Man's Email: ekaiwi@cfl.rr.com


Roi-Namur Coconut Crab

Photo provided by Jim Bodmer, Roi-Rat

This one appears to be hungry.


New Book in Print, written by my friend, Steven C. Buren:  Physics and Geology of Earth.  Twenty-Nine primary Discoveries, Theories, and Observations that will make some major differences in the examination of Earth. These discoveries identify the causes of many mysteries in Geology as well as some plausible future events. The assembly of all Continents form a perfect sphere 56% the size of the Earth. This evidence indicates that the Earth expanded to current size in one move. The Mantle material drew into the sphere after the expansion, through the Deep Ocean Trenches. This unique view of the Physics of Geology and Meteorology may reveal our true history and future changes of Earth.  Email comments or questions to Steven Buren at: scburen@gmail.com

Shermie Then & Now  PDF & Word, or html - from Kwajaletter, Spring 2007 Edition, Shermie

Passing of Zach Huckabay, a former employee of Global Associates (Resident Manager in Hawaii 1968 - 1980) and part of the resident management team for Global on the island during the early seventies passed away on April 19, 2007.  Notice provided by:.Warren Huckabay, 21422 SE 37th Street, Sammamish, WA 98075, (425) 392-8905 (h), (425) 830-5282 (c), email huckwarren@comcast.net - Obituary information - Obits & Notices

KEARBY – ATKINSON’S FROST PUNCH RECIPE - the famous Kentron Punch served at Christmas and other special occasions.  This was provided by John Willcox after he came across the recipe in his old files.  Caution drink only one cup or you cannot drive.  "Thanks John, for sharing this popular punch recipe of the early 70s when I was there working for Kentron, Hawaii, LTD, Shermie."  John's email: JJwillcox@aol.com
 
24 oz. (1/12 PT.) Strong Tea 8 oz. (1/2 Lb.) Sugar 12.8oz. (1/2 fifth) Light Rum 64 oz. (2 qts..) Soda
24 oz. Frozen Lemonade 8 oz. Curacao, Contreau or Triple Sec 12.oz. (1/2 fifth) Light Rum 96 oz. (3 qts.) Champagne
12 oz. Frozen Orange Juice 12.8 oz. (1/2 fifth) Brandy 15.6 oz. (1 fifth) Vodka 72 oz. (6 cans) 7-Up

MAKES APPROXIMATELY 3 GALLONS


Looking for information, record marlin catches at Kwaj  Rob Gray (Kwajkid 1965-72, 2002-present) here.  We are having a discussion regarding record marlin catches here on Kwaj. As a kid, I remember a large marline catch that I have a picture (somewhere I storage) of me standing on. I recall an 800# + Black Marlin in the 69-71 time frame.  Does anyone know or have any info on this?  Rob  Robert.Gray@smdck.smdc.army.mil

Marriage Announcement - Shannon Stafford & Jeff Klevorn

Shannon Stafford (Kwaj from 1986-1990) shannonds@yahoo.com and Jeff Klevorn (Kwaj 1986-1988) became engaged on New Years Eve and will be getting married on Saturday, September 15th. They will be married in Hazel Green, AL and living in Toney, AL. (approximately 15 minutes outside of Huntsville, AL).

Kentron, Hawaii LTD Retirement Benefits

For those who have worked for Kentron, Hawaii, LTD at Kwajalein, the Retirement Pension contact is as follows:
 

Pacific Life - Retirement Annuities

Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. CST - 4:00 p.m. CST

Toll-Free Number - (800) 800-9534

Fax Number - (402) 479-0102

Mailing Address:  Pacific Life, PO Box 84307, Lincoln, NE  68501-4307

Delivery Address:  Pacific Life, 421 South 9th Street, Suite 222, Lincoln, NE  68508

Info - Email: info@pacificlife.com

Web Site: www.pacificlife.com



Kentron, Hawaii PRC

For those who have worked for PRC Kentron at Kwajalein (This division of PRC merged with Northrop Grumman), the Retirement Pension contact is as follows:

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
TS14
Springfield, MA 01111-0001
(800) 775-4331


KWAJALEIN TO INSTALL FIBER-OPTIC DATA LINK, Jane's Missiles and Rockets, October 27, 2005. By the end of 2006, cable laying will have begun in a project to link the US Pacific Missile Range at Kwajalein Atoll to the continental US... The new fiber-optic cable will allow launches at the range to be controlled from the US facilities. A route for the new cable is currently being surveyed between Kwajalein and Guam, which is already linked to the US mainland via fibre-optic cable. Once the new link has been laid and connected to the existing Guam-US cable, a low data-latency connection will be possible between US facilities and those at the range. This will be available for use probably by late 2007... Once a fibre-optic data link has been created between Kwajalein and a US facility - probably at Huntsville, Alabama - it will be possible to conduct launches at the Pacific Missile Range from a control room at Huntsville. At first, this may be done for space launches; work is already under way on a first space launch from the Pacific Missile Range... At a later stage, the data link will be used for ballistic-missile defense trials. By separating the control facilities from the launchers, the number of personnel who need to be sent to the Pacific would be minimized. Most engineering staff could remain in the US, with only the engineers and technicians involved in preparing the missile and installing it on the launcher being at Kwajalein. It would also be more practical for politicians and high-ranking officials to watch Ballistic Missile Defense trials, a factor that might help maintain support for US missile-defense programs.

Granny held for $2.5m cocaine 19/10/2005 12:51

Majuro - A 57-year-old grandmother on a remote central Pacific island has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell cocaine with a United States street value of about $2.5m. A judge in the tiny state of the Marshall Islands on Wednesday refused bail for Meriba Bulele, saying she was a danger to the public after police presented evidence that she was selling 20kg of the drug to local dealers.

The cocaine was being sold at about 10% of the US street value and some of it was going to workers on a nearby top-secret US missile testing range on Kwajalein Atoll. Police said the cocaine was part of a much larger consignment which Bubele and her husband - who committed suicide last month - found on a boat which drifted onto a small island near their home on the island of Carlos in March 2004. Packages of cocaine have washed ashore on the beaches of remote islands in the Marshalls at least five times since the early 1990s.

Police got a tip-off

A tip-off pointed police to the cache of cocaine the Bulele's had buried on Carlos, which has a population of about 150 and is a 15-minute boat ride from the missile-testing range and Ebeye, an island where many of the missile range workers live. Since mid-2004, police have arrested more than 15 people on both Ebeye and the Marshalls capital of Majuro for cocaine possession and distribution but the latest haul is the largest.

Charged at the same time as Bulele were an Ebeye resident Mark Kaia and two Americans, Richard Kopache and Bruce Lundmark, who are contract workers on the missile range. Kaia told police he sold about 34g of cocaine to Lundmark for $400 in early October. This worked out at about $10 a gram, or less than 10% of the street sale price in the US. Police said Lundmark had admitted that with Kopache between June and September this year, he bought about 50 small amounts of cocaine for about $20 000 on Ebeye.

Preliminary court hearings for the four are set for November 11.

U.S. computer operator charged  A missile site worker loses his job and his security clearance over hacking allegations By Debra Barayuga, dbarayuga@starbulletin.com.  A former civilian computer operator at a federal defense test site on Kwajalein Atoll has been charged with hacking into a U.S. government computer to disable the antivirus software so he could play computer games and watch pirated videos.  A criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court charged Stephen C. Johnson, 27, of Alabama, with unauthorized access to a government computer, a misdemeanor punishable by a year in prison.  Johnson made his first appearance in U.S. District Court in Honolulu Friday and was released on his own recognizance.  Federal Public Defender Peter Wolff told the court that the case is expected to be transferred to Alabama, where Johnson lives, and that he will enter a guilty plea to the charge.  According to court documents, Johnson worked at a communications center at the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Test Site, where he had access to nonclassified and classified government documents and computer systems.  He had been working there for about 10 months.  During an interview with the FBI on Oct. 5, Johnson admitted to using keystroke logging and password cracking software to obtain and change his supervisor's password, and disabled the antivirus software so that he could play computer games such as "Heroes of Might and Magic" and "Red Alert: Command and Conquer."  He also said that everyday for the past five months, he connected a USB hard drive to the government computer so that he could watch pirated movies that he downloaded from the Internet.  Johnson has had his security clearance revoked and has since been fired from his job. Article URL: http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/09/news/story10.html © 1996-2005 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin | www.starbulletin.com

Ex Kwajer Helps the Needy  Kwaj 1977-79, 83-85, & 91-96, Marilyn (Olson) Fratangelo founder of home for abused, neglected, or abandoned children in Alabama. Check out the website at http://moriahchildrenshome.org

Fire on Ebeye, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands  Pictures of a fire that occurred on Ebeye, Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll, approximately March 31, 2005.  I was informed it was started from kerosene stove but luckily no one was hurt.  These photographs show the intense heat and damaged caused by the fire.  I have received many request for an address in sending donations to assist in helping victims of the fire.  I'm not aware of one as yet.  If I do find one, I'll post it here.  Shermie



Kathleen Russell and David Sawyer

Kathleen Russell, Kwaj kid class of 79
married
David Sawyer, Class of 78
on Nov. 16, 2002.

Dave is back on Kwaj working for Lockheed Martin.  Kathy and her two boys plan on joining Dave on Kwaj early 2004.

Chris Russell
kwajkid76@msn.com

LOCAL BOY DOES GOOD!

Elika Kaiwi, far right, and his band KELEIALOHA, will be singing two songs on TV in the Miami area October 13, 2003 at 8 P.M. and October 18 at 7 P.M.  This picture was taken after the show was taped at WLRN TV studio!

Elika worked on Kwajalein from 1979-95.

Note to Shermie  Hi Shermie, I'm sitting here listening to you play "Ain't Misbehavin".  It's great. You played piano with a one time group Sid Gaddy put together. There was Sid, Dick Shields, Jeff Childers, me (Dave Sublette) and I don't know who else. We played about two hours on the stage at the Richardson in the mid-80's one Sunday afternoon. I have a video of it!! I was a pretty poor trumpet player at the time. Since then I've taken lessons for ten years and now play lead trumpet in a 15 piece 'Big Band". One of the arrangements we play is "Ain't Misbehavin". I've been retired ten years now and play my horn in several groups, sometimes playing up to 20 hours a week. Enjoyed your website. Loved your piano. Thanks, Dave Sublette
GREETINGS TO KWAJ  I WAS STATIONED AT KWAJ IN 1957-1958 WITH THE UNITED STATES MARINE DETACHMENT. IT WAS A NAVY BASE AT THE TIME. WE WOULD DRIVE AROUND THE ISLAND AFTER A TYPHOON AND PICK UP JAPANESE WW11 HAND GRENADES AND OTHER WEAPONS THAT WASHED UP.  THERE WERE SOME OLD JAPANESE BUNKERS JUST EAST OF THE AIRSTRIP WHERE WE STORED THEM. WE WENT SNORKELING AND SWIMMING ON OUR DAYS OFF.  THE ISLANDERS THAT WORKED ON KWAJ WERE TAKEN OFF OF AND SHIPPED BACK TO EBEYE ISLAND AT NIGHT SINCE ONLY MILITARY WAS ALLOWED TO STAY OVERNIGHT AT KWAJ. THESE PEOPLE WERE VERY POOR AND LIVED IN SHANTYS.  MANY OF THEM SUFFERED FROM RADIATION SICKNESS. KWAJ WAS A VERY QUITE AND BEAUTIFUL PLACE AT THAT TIME AND WE ALL ENJOYED THE WONDERFUL TROPICAL WEATHER AND BEAUTIFUL THE BLUE SKY AND CLOUDS THAT BROUGHT MANY INCHES OF RAIN. GOD BLESS YOU LUCKY PEOPLE.   ALBERT NEWTON SSGT/USMC RET, aluliu@juno.com
Note from Herbert H. Hice  I was on Roi-Namur for ll Months, from the 5th of Feb. 1944 to the last week of Dec. 1944. I was in Headquarters Squadron of Marine Aircraft Group 31, Thats M A G 31. I went ashore on the 5th of Feb. 1944. A young man who worked on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur for 25 years has a website with lots of data. His name is Shermie Wiehe and the title is Veterans of Roi-Namur, Kwajalein and the Pacific   www.shermiewiehe.com/vets/vets.html. Shermie was gracious enough to put my history in the Marines on his website and my time spent on Roi-Namur. Yes, I was on Roi-Namur when Charles Lindbergh came for a visit.  I and other Marines watched as Charles Lindbergh demonstrated to the Marine pilots how to take off in the F4U Fighter with a 2000 lb. Bomb load.  I was not a pilot, but I knew a few of the Marine pilots and they said he used the landing Flaps to get more lift on take off. That was in Sept. 1944 and that's a lot of years gone by to remember everything (58 yrs.). I do not recall if Charles Lindbergh went on bombing missions over Wotje with MAG 31 pilots, but I will always remember his visit to Roi-Namur. I did not get close to Lindbergh because I was only a Staff Sergeant and he was always surrounded by BIG BRASS, but it was a thrill to see him.
Missing, Help Needed  My uncle PFC Willie Cleo Thompson age 19 at the time was a member of a crew that went down in the Marshall Islands on February 14, 1944. He belonged to the Marine Torpedo Bombing Group233, Marine Aircraft Group11, Marine Aircraft South Pacific. The crew also had a PVT Arthur Patrickus and was piloted by 1st Lieutenant James W Boyden. Their plane had failed to return after a successful mission of mine laying in enemy harbors in the Marshall Islands. When we find my uncle it will give the family much peace. Thank you, Winston D. Wilson 140 Springhill Drive Bardstown Kentucky 40004, 502 350-3842, winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net.  Here is the latest on my uncle's plane.  Thank You, Winston

This is correspondence between Winston Wilson and Rod Pearce.
My uncle's plane went down when he was age 19 (Willie Cleo Thompson) when on Feb 14, 1944 as a member of the first marine aircraft wing fmaw #140 of the torpedo bomber group 233 VMTB233 MAG-11 was missing in action after his plane disappear at Rebaul with two others the plane had the markings on it 111 on its side. The plane was a TBF-1 Torpedo bomber 1944 Gruman Wright 3-crew avenger mid wing monoplane single engine. It lies somewhere in Simpson Harbor, 6 planes went down that day while dropping mines at 800 ft at a very slow speed in Simpson harbor there should be evidence of their evidence and surely someone saw them while diving in the waters, Have you seen this plane or do you know of anybody reporting the existence of the plane in the harbor.  Thank You,  Winston Wilson 140 SpringHill Drive Bardstown, Kentucky 40004 502 350 3842 winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net

From Rod to Winston
Dear Winston,
Thanks  for the info and will get back to you when my mate replies.  Your e-mail was to long for my on board system and only part of it came through. The last paragraph that came through was "Well, maybe I will contact you further and ask you."  Any thing after that did not come through. Could you resend after that sentence please?  I often wondered about that raid on Rabaul by those planes.  I will do a dive on that plane again in October / November if you like and try and get a I.D. for you.  If my memory serves me correctly, and I I.D. it as an American TBM Avenger.  It is some 15 to 18 years but American I am positive about, and a single engine and 2-3 seats.  I will do everything I can for you on this and even give it to a mate in Rabaul to get his teeth into and  to follow it through, also I shall inform SIL-HI for you. Give me about a week or until my mate e-mail's me back. Thanks so much for the info. How did you get my name and how did you know I was interested in this sought of thing. Please do me one favor and send a copy of our correspondance to Richard Leahy at smleahy869@yahoo.com esp. all about the plane. I work in very closely with Richard on these matters. I am unable to do alot of things on this system as I am on a vessel in the middle of the waters around PNG. Hence have to ask you to forward  for me . Thanks,  Regards, Rod.
-------------------------------------------------
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Two days previously
Rod, I really appreciate the help and again wanted to thank you, Winston

----- Original Message -----
From: <P2V4260@sailmail.com>
To: <winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 2:06 AM
Subject: Uncles Plane.

Dear Winston,
Thanks so much for your e-mail. I often wondered how long it would be before someone asked me about that flight. The answer is yes, I have found a plane of that description in about 30 feet of water if my memory serves me correctly some 15-18 years ago. I remember taking the torpedo sight from the plane and still have it. I will find out more and let you know shortly. As it so happens this is your lucky day. I have today along with your e-mail received one from a mate who was with me on the day we found that plane and I will ask him to fill me in on details, as after 15 years the memory goes dimmer.  Another thing, I will be participating in a sonar search of Rabaul harbor in October so will cert. keep my eyes open.  If you have the official report of the raid I would love a copy for my files and it may shed some light on the flight and where to look. 

Regards, Rod Pearce (Niugini Diving) This e-mail is direct to my vessel and the other is the office.
-------------------------------------------------
Do not push the "reply" button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response.  Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link.

The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message to: P2V4260@sailmail.com.  If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply.

This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

From Rod to Winston
Here is the last picture of PFC Willie Cleo Thompson who died February 14, 1944 at Simpson Harbor Rabaul, New Britain. I appreciate your helps so much, Thank you again, Winston Wilson

Thank you so much, I have been searching for years and asking various divers without much success. I am eternally grateful to you and any information I have I will send gladly. The archives and personnel records in St. Louis have not been very helpful as they seem to lose records or are unable to found them. I have researched and talked with many people to try and find Cleo. I have enclosed the last picture of him in this file. I am still trying to get the report, which seems not to exist but has been written in a book.

Sent by email by Michael Moskow Original Message -----
From: Michael Moskow
To: Wilson, Winston VMTB-233
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2002 8:57 PM
Subject: Your Uncle

Hello Mr. Wilson,

Well, I had a chance to look at my material pertaining to VMTB-233 in general, and the mission on which your uncle was shot down, in particular.  In answer to the most important question of all.  "Was your Uncle taken captive, and executed/murdered with the other POWs at "Tunnel Hill"?  I can state with a very, very high degree of confidence. No, he was not. I am certain that he lost his life when his TBF was shot down. If there is any small solace in it, know that he did not suffer as a POW of the Japanese. You mentioned that his pilot and fellow crewman were 1 Lt. James W. Boyden and PFC Arthur J. Patrickus, respectively. Those men were definitely on the mission of 2/14/44, but according to my records, your uncle was not in their TBF, because I show their third crewman as PFC Bernard C, Pardun. Rather, my records indicate that your uncle flew in a TBF piloted by 1 Lt. Alonzo N. Hathway, with Cpl. John J. Edwards as gunner and his Avenger had the squadron number of "111" on its side.  However, I don't know the plane's serial number. I have no information about what specifically happened to his Avenger, but I feel certain that it was shot down by AA fire, like the others, and crashed into Simpson Harbor.

Here is information about the mission from Foster's book, "Hell in the Heavens":

Somebody back in Washington, D.C., had a bright idea to sow some mines in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul with the purpose of impeding Jap shipping by their nuisance value. Consequently, orders were received at Bouganville. One torpedo bomber squadron was assigned the mission, but when the time came another was given the hop, because they had had previous experience in laying mines.

At the briefing they were told, "Make it good, because Washington has its eye on us tonight."

In the dark hours of February 14, 1944, the torpedo bombers of VMTB 233 and Major Roland F. Smith's VMTB 232 took off on the operation that was to result in tragedy for 233.

The Commanding Officer of VMTB 233, Major Coln, found the Japs unusually interested in what was happening that night. For several previous nights the bombers had followed the prescribed route and altitude to drop their bombs, and the Japs were able to predict easily enough where the Americans would fly.

The TBMs were to fly up in three groups of eight each. The first group lost one plane. As they headed back home the C.O. tried to radio the other TBFs to warn them to turn back but he couldn't make radio contact. The second group lost two planes. Before the third group arrived at its assigned interval of nearly an hour, the B-24 which had been harassing Rabaul to distract the attention of the Japs was shot down.

The third group of planes found every searchlight and AA gun in the area pointed their way when they flew at 800 feet over the water at the slow speed of 160 knots to drop their parachute-mines, weighing 1,600 pounds a piece. Plane after plane  disintegrated in mid-air and fell in flames. Only three of them got away. One pilot failed to be in the correct location on his first pass and had the nerve to turn around and go back to do it. He had the luck to escape.

And the next night the Army wanted them to go up again! One of the majors was ready to give up his wings and his commission rather than have his boys try it again. There was such a stink that the high command thought it wise to drop the affair.

My good friend and former classmate of cadet days, Cornelius, never came back from that mission. A total of six planes and eighteen men were senselessly lost that night.

The military "chain of command" comes in handy in such untidy affairs. The bright idea originates from on high and is transmitted through the generals and the colonels to the majors who give the orders to the men who do the dying. It is all very impersonal, so that if a mistake has been made, few are the people who know where to place the heavy finger of responsibility - and the finger is rarely pointed.

To the best of my knowledge, a total of four men survived the loss of the six TBF's that evening.  (4 men of 18)  Of the four, none survived captivity. One seems to have been murdered at Tunnel Hill, two died of starvation / disease / medical neglect, and I think that a fourth was murdered by the Japanese Navy some time in April.  But again, your uncle's name never, ever came up in any of the documents I've seen about the Rabaul POWs, so I am certain he was spared those fates.

Well, maybe I will contact you further, and ask you some questions about your uncle.!

By the way, where did you find my name?  Thank you again and I will look forward to anything you find.  Winston D. Wilson 140 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill Estates, Bardstown, Kentucky 40004, 502 350-3842, winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net.  Thank you so much, I have been searching for years and asking various divers without much success. I am eternally grateful to you and any information I have I will send gladly. The archives and personnel records in St. Louis have not been very helpful as they seem to lose records or are unable to found them. I have researched and talked with many people to try and find Cleo. I have enclosed the last picture of him in this file. I am still trying to get the report, which seems not to exist but has been written in a book.

Sent by email by Michael Moskow Original Message
From: Michael Moskow
To: Wilson, Winston VMTB-233
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2002 8:57 PM
Subject: Your Uncle

Hello Mr. Wilson,

Well, I had a chance to look at my material pertaining to VMTB-233 in general, and the mission on which your uncle was shot down, in particular.  In answer to the most important question of all. "Was your uncle taken captive, and executed/murdered with the other POWs at "Tunnel Hill"? I can state with a very, very high degree of confidence. No, he was not. I am certain that he lost his life when his TBF was shot down. If there is any small solace in it, know that he did not suffer as a POW of the Japanese.

You mentioned that his pilot and fellow crewman were 1 Lt. James W. Boyden and PFC Arthur J. Patrickus, respectively. Those men were definitely on the mission of 2/14/44, but according to my records, your uncle was not in their TBF, because I show their third crewman as PFC Bernard C, Pardun. Rather, my records indicate that your uncle flew in a TBF piloted by 1 Lt. Alonzo N. Hathway, with Cpl. John J. Edwards as gunner and his Avenger had the squadron number of "111" on its side.  However, I don't know the plane's serial number. I have no information about what specifically happened to his Avenger, but I feel certain that it was shot down by AA fire, like the others, and crashed into Simpson Harbor.

Here is information about the mission from Foster's book, "Hell in the Heavens":

Somebody back in Washington, D.C., had a bright idea to sow some mines in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul with the purpose of impeding Jap shipping by their nuisance value. Consequently, orders were received at Bouganville. One torpedo bomber squadron was assigned the mission, but when the time came another was given the hop, because they had had previous experience in laying mines.

At the briefing they were told, "Make it good, because Washington has its eye on us tonight."

In the dark hours of February 14, 1944, the torpedo bombers of VMTB 233 and Major Roland F. Smith's VMTB 232 took off on the operation that was to result in tragedy for 233.

The Commanding Officer of VMTB 233, Major Coln, found the Japs unusually interested in what was happening that night. For several previous nights the bombers had followed the prescribed route and altitude to drop their bombs, and the Japs were able to predict easily enough where the Americans would fly.

The TBMs were to fly up in three groups of eight each. The first group lost one plane. As they headed back home the C.O. tried to radio the other TBFs to warn them to turn back but he couldn't make radio contact. The second group lost two planes. Before the third group arrived at its assigned interval of nearly an hour, the B-24 which had been harassing Rabaul to distract the attention of the Japs was shot down.

The third group of planes found every searchlight and AA gun in the area pointed their way when they flew at 800 feet over the water at the slow speed of 160 knots to drop their parachute-mines, weighing 1,600 pounds apiece. Plane after plane disintegrated in mid-air and fell in flames. Only three of them got away. One pilot failed to be in the correct location on his first pass and had the nerve to turn around and go back to do it. He had the luck to escape.

And the next night the Army wanted them to go up again! One of the majors was ready to give up his wings and his commission rather than have his boys try it again. There was such a stink that the high command thought it wise to drop the affair.

My good friend and former classmate of cadet days, Cornelius, never came back from that mission. A total of six planes and eighteen men were senselessly lost that night.

The military "chain of command" comes in handy in such untidy affairs. The bright idea originates from on high and is transmitted through the generals and the colonels to the majors who give the orders to the men who do the dying. It is all very impersonal, so that if a mistake has been made, few are the people who know where to place the heavy finger of responsibility -
and the finger is rarely pointed.

To the best of my knowledge, a total of four men survived the loss of the six TBF's that evening.  (4 men of 18)  Of the four, none survived captivity. One seems to have been murdered at Tunnel Hill, two died of starvation / disease / medical neglect, and I think that a fourth was murdered by the Japanese Navy some time in April.  But again, your uncle's name never, ever came up in any of the documents I've seen about the Rabaul POWs, so I am certain he was spared those fates.

Well, maybe I will contact you further, and ask you some questions about your uncle.! 

By the way, where did you find my name?

Thank you again and I will look forward to anything you find.  Winston D. Wilson 140 SpringHill Drive, SpringHill Estates,
Bardstown, Kentucky 40004, 502 350-3842 winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net

----- Original Message -----
From: <P2V4260@sailmail.com>
To: <winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 2:06 AM
Subject: Uncles Plane.

Dear Winston,
Thanks so much for your e-mail. I often wondered how long it would be before someone asked me about that flight. The answer is yes, I have found a plane of that description in about 30 feet of water if my memory serves me correctly some 15-18 years ago. I remember taking the torpedo sight from the plane and still have it. I will find out more and let you know shortly. As it so happens this is your lucky day. I have today along with your e-mail received one from a mate who was with me on the day we found that plane and I will ask him to fill me in on details, as after 15 years the memory grows dimmer.  Another thing, I will be participating in a sonar search of Rabaul harbor in October so will cert. keep my eyes open.  If you have the official report of the raid I would love a copy for my files and it may shed some light on the flight. and where to look. Regards Rod Pearce  (Niugini Diving) This e-mail is direct to my vessel and the other is the office.

----- Original Message -----
From: <P2V4260@sailmail.com>
To: <winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 2:06 AM
Subject: Uncles Plane.

Dear Winston,
Thanks so much for your e-mail. I often wondered how long it would be before someone ask ed me about that flt. The answer is yes, I have found a plane of that description in about 30 feet of water if my memory serves me correctly some 15-18 years ago. I remember taking the torpedo sight from the plane and still have it. I will find out more and let you know shortly. As it so happens this is your lucky day. I have today along with your e-mail received one from a mate who was with me on the day we found that plane and I will ask him to fill me in on details, as after 15 years the memory grows dimmer.

Another thing, I will be participating in a sonar search of Rabaul harbor in October so will cert. keep my eyes open.  If you have the official report of the raid I would love a copy for my files and it may shead some light on the flt. and where to look.
Regards Rod Pearce  (Niugini Diving)

This e-mail is direct to my vessel. the other is the office.
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----- Original Message -----
From: Shermie Wiehe
To: WINSTON WILSON
Cc: Hice, Herbert H.
Sent: Sunday, July 28, 2002 6:16 AM
Subject: Re: Message from Kwaj Community Web Site

Dear Winston,

Thanks for your information and I posted it on two links of the Kwaj Community Web Site.  I worked at Kwaj from 72-97 and many look at my site each week. 
 
I posted your letter below on the site and I'm sure you'll hear from someone in interest of your needs.  I added the links, KwajNews & Vet Album, http://www.shermiewiehe.com//kwajnews.html, http://www.shermiewiehe.com/vetalbum.html
 
Hope this is helpful in your research.  I receive about a 1000 hits a month from Kwaj information seekers on my site. 

Have a nice day, Shermie Wiehe, http://www.shermiewiehe.com (Shermie's Place)
 
----- Original Message -----
From: WINSTON WILSON
To: Kwajalein@att.net
Sent: Sunday, July 28, 2002 8:26 AM
Subject: Message from Kwaj Community Web Site

My uncle PFC Willie Cleo Thompson age 19 at the time was a member of a crew that went down in the Marshall Islands on February 14, 1944. He belonged to the Marine Torpedo Bombing Group233, Marine Aircraft Group11, Marine Aircraft South Pacific. The crew also had a PVT Arthur Patrickus and was piloted by 1st Lieutenant James W Boyden. their plane had failed to return after a succesful mission of mine laying in enemy harbors in the Marshall Islands. When we find my uncle it will give the family much peace.  Thank you, Winston D. Wilson 140 Springhill Drive Bardstown Kentucky 40004, 502 350-3842, winston.d.wilson@worldnet.att.net
VET News / Correspondence Letter

From: Jeanne Box/Gerald Wuetcher
To: herbiger@gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 12:24 AM
Subject: Kwajalein

Dear Mr. Hice,

I got your e-address from a Kwajalein Web Site. My dad, Lark Box, was with VMF 111 - MAG 31, and, like you, was on Roi on Feb. 12, 1944.  Dad died 3 years ago and, unfortunately, we were never quite able to find the right questions or time to get him to talk seriously about his time overseas.

I recently received a copy of his records from the National Records Center -- but they are pretty sparse. I have been trying to piece together my dad's movements with MAG 31 and I'd appreciate any help you could give. He joined VMF 111 in Dec. 1943, and received a battle star for the Gilberts operations -- but I'm not sure where he was in Dec. of 43. He was on Roi on Feb. 12, but I'm not sure when he got there. He also received Battle Stars for the Marshalls and Marianas operations.

Dad told us lots of stories about his time in the Marines --but they were always G-rated and always had a funny ending. His best buddy -- Bonnie Daily - was also a Marine and they were together through most of their time overseas. They could get together and spin some tales -- but they were usually a little short on details. I'd like to be able to piece together an idea of when and where VMF-111 went (to pass along to Dad's namesake grandson) and I'd appreciate any help you could give.

Thanks, Jeanne Box
107 Old Hickory Lane
Versailles, Kentucky 40383

Dear Jeanne Box, Thank you for your inquire about VMF 111 Mag 31. I am in contact on a regular basis with LeRoy Rice and he was in VMF111 MAG31 on Roi-Namur, Feb. 1944. He may well know Lark Box and I will give him your E-Mail address. I will also contact LeRoy Rice and ask him to get in touch with you. His E-Mail address is jazzyrice@aol.com I will also send a copy of this message on to the young Man who owns the Kwajalein Web Site, His name is Shermie Wiehe, And he may also be of help to you. His web site address is http://www.shermiewiehe.com/vetalbum.html.  I urge you to click on to this Web Site because VMF111 Devil Dogs are on there. Shermie also has another web site link and that one is http://www.shermiewiehe.com/kwajvet.html  Click on to this one also. Keep in touch and lets see if we can help you?

Semper Fi Herb Hice
To Shermie  From  Anthony Molica Jr., PO Box 360 Hudson, NH 03051, (603) 598-1960, ajmolica@yahoo.com, Kwaj 69-71 and 74-76.

I have fond memories of Kwaj mostly as a 10 yr old (74-76).  I enjoyed playing baseball, having birthday parties at Emon beach, going to Ponape (now Pohnpei), walking to Ebeye when the tide was low (the boy scouts), watching movies free at Ivy Theatre, eating Coconuts, breadfruit and fried bananas. I enjoyed wearing shorts and sandals to school (I walked there).  I also played the piano and took lessons for a while on Kwaj.  My Dad managed to buy and ship a Red Wurlitzer electric piano.

As a young boy, I was inspired by my Dad telling me about Shermie and his band on Kwaj, and remember meeting Shermie in 1975.  I ended up majoring in Music at University Mass in 1983 and eventually played in night-club and wedding bands in my 20s (85-95).  Now I own a recording facility in Southern NH and put on local concerts occasionally with local musician friends, mostly gospel Christian contemporary music.  I work for an organization called Thrivent Financial for Lutherans as an Investment and Insurance Representative for the greater Boston area and have a wife and 3 sons.

Well, when our family visited Ponape in 75, I was selected by the locals among many the young visitors to be part of the local ceremonies by the natives. As a result I was invited to try a brewed root drink which apparently made me feel quite good, my parents said I must've gotten a good buzz off the stuff and slept like a baby that night.
To Shermie   I ran across your website this morning and enjoyed it very much. I was quite surprised to find a picture of me in Photo Album 2.  In the picture titled "MSR Support team, Meck Island, December 1975".  I am the second person from the left in the bottom row.  I recognize most all the people in the photo, but do not remember all their names. I was the Lead Engineer of the Digital Group for Raytheon.  I left in December of 1975 when the contract was over.  I started to work at Meck Island for Raytheon in July 1969. I left in January 1973 to help setup the first MSR in North Dakota.  I came back to Kwajalein in December 1974 and stayed until December 1975.  I now live in Melbourne Florida where I retired from the Kennedy Space Center three years ago. There is a picture of me in  in the picture titled "MSR Support team, Meck Island, December 1975".  I am the second person from the left in the bottom row.  I recognize most all the people in the photo, but do not remember all their names.  I was the Lead Engineer of the Digital Group for Raytheon. I left in December of 1975 when the contract was over.  I started to work at Meck Island for Raytheon in July 1969.  I left in January 1973 to help setup the first MSR in North Dakota.  I came back to Kwajalein in December 1974 and stayed until December 1975.  I now live in Melbourne Florida where I retired from the Kennedy Space Center three years ago.  Clyde W. Rowe  clyde.rowe@earthlink.net
To Shermie  I was just lurking around found a Kwaj site (Planet-Ed) and found your note. What a surprise.  Let me now if your have heard from anyone on Semi-Tough (Team), Frank Wallace, Mike Ainey, or Jeremy Toby.  Love to hear something about Tammy Bartholomew.  Take Care, Roger Emerson, emersonr@charter.net, Kwajalein (73-76)
To Shermie from Marie Harrell.  Your web page came in handy. The Edingers were in town and Pat and Nancy used it to find my email and they, daughter Kirstin, Vicki Acuff and I had a wonderful dinner together. It was great to reminisce about all the Kwaj folks. They are doing very well. He works in the computer department of a bank and Nancy is teaching music. Kirstin starts college in Florida this year.  Thanks for helping us all keep in touch.
To Shermie from Dennis DeSloover.  I found your site during a www.google.com search of Roi-Rat  I'm living in Bucyrus, KS.  During my tour at Kwajalein, I lived in Reef BQ, R101 from 1973-1978. You were my neighbor for awhile. I knew all of the members of your band.  Email: ddesloover@earthlink.net