Deep Sea Archaeology
Deep Sea Archaeology
WWII Pacific Theater
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
1 May 1998
United States Minor Outlying Islands
- near Midway Islands
- 28.2 -177.35
Mono=2: 1=L, 2=R; Mono
DAT # 1
Bob Ballard interview at 120
Q-piece of cake, right?
You'd think so, but look at the discrepancy between the pieces -the official sinking position is out of sorts with the reported posiotions of other ships -by how much? 10 miles? so that makes it 200 sq mile, bigger area to search than the titanic.
200 q depth a challenge?
17000 is the deepest we've ever worked and we're going to use a sonar I've never used before.
Q so what do you expect?
either easy or next to impossible -we'll know in 24 hours -easy would mean? in a day next to impossible? we don't find it
235 Q most interesting aspect?
This is an incredible opportunity to tell a great story, people know the story but going out and adding a new chapter by finding the ships and filming the ships, it allows us to re-open the story. I want people to hear the story because it was a great turning point in history 308 if you don't study history you're doomed to repeat it., so opportunity to tell a great story in American history.
q science, technical developments?
325 we're pioneering the exploration of the deep sea for human history -we don't know much about the deep sea, and does it preserve history, we're going to learn alot, how it looks after more than 1/2 a century. we'll help create underwater battlefield memorials for the future, you're going to see more areas set aside on the ocean, just as they are on land, for parks and battlefields, so we're mapping an underwater battlefield. vets -emotional. partnership.
530 q your place in history secure, titantic, bismarck, guadalcanal, why tackle the risk?
558-everyone expects me to succeed and there is certainly the possibility that I'll fail, but I'm not going to stop -If I was afraid of failure I never would have started any of these projects, so not afraid to fail. I think you have to go through failure to success, so I'm prepared for whatever dealt me. 625
look at chart-two diff environments. north and south. morrison po on volvano? good news and bad
q Destroyer-hard to see japanese site?
200 miles west, much better position on Y, use that to calibrate sonars so as to help find J carriers.
Q botton there? no idea,
Dr. Bruce Applegate, Assistant researcher at the University of hawaii. MR1 is a regional reconnaissance survey, covers a lot of area pretty quickly, broad sweep segments, big picture. We usually do geophysical surveys, never used like this before -needle in a haystack. 1315 Usually we're looking for the haystack, in this case, we're looking for the needle.
Q who's idea?
ballard idea. Deep towed systems are slow at this depth, MR 1 a shallow low so we can go faster. 1415 I think we'll find it. We've done the math and looked at the resolution of our system, you can calibrate how many pixels -how many picture elements the Yorktown will occupy on the sea floor image, 4 or 5 to 35 or 40 or so -to get perspective, we produce hundreds of thousands of pixels each hour.
a problem, but don't think so. The big worry is if it's broken up if coherent and on the surface, it'll be a good target for our sonar.
1551 q approp use of tech?
Sure it is, very approp. The trick is to get the right tool for the job. There is a reasonably good fix on the Yorktown, but crude methods so there is a big radius of uncertainty, so you need a system that will cover a lot of ground, so very appropriate use of technology.
q other searches?
If successful, I hope so.
q Side scan sonar?
we transmit -1708 -the way this guy works, MR1, we transmit an acoustic pulse, a ping -
q submarine movies?
yeah, you'll hear the ping, ping ping, that's the sonar pulse. we pink at 11K and 12 K, so we do that 8 or nine secs at 4 kts, 2 feet per second, build up an image. Two measurements -side scan, a function of amplitude and time -that builds a picture of the sea floor that looks like a black and white aerial photo on land. Also we collect bathymetry, able to calculate the depth of the water as well as acoustic reflectivity. Tight cone, broadband, yes to some degree.1849 Built in 1991 at U of H, second gen, 3rd gen now building. Information goes to our computers Nono and lono that are our primary acquisition screens.
Q interpreting data and art?
2327 It's an acquired skill -a black art, some say. It takes a lot of training. Folks we're sailing with are tops, we've done this before for years and Ballard's crew is good, we hear. 23 56
2408 WET LAB AMBI 26 11
lottery: 3030: Step right up and lay your money down! (ends 3815)
Harry Ferrier 4517
4902 we took off at 6AM -the pilot climbed up and told us to get started and that the enemy had been sighted. bearing 320 degrees 150 miles from Midway, so we taxied out and took off
4,000 feet, up for awhile then turret gunner reported seeing a j aircraft that made an ID pass at us as it headed toward midway. About an hour after takeoff we saw ships, simultaneously, the turret gunner called out that we were under attack by enemy fighters. heard 50 cal. I couldn't see much. As soon as the pilot reported seeing ships, he opened the bomb bay doors and all 6 planes headed towards the water, we needed to be at 200 feet to launch. we were supposed to have escorts, but they never showed.
5125 We were the first to make an attack on the Japanese, we got there at 7AM, carrier planes not til 9AM ...
Q-now, in attack..
All I knew was that the turret gunner was firing, general firing, then 5150 i didn't hear any firing at all. I looked over and saw the gunner slumped over, hit -looked dead, blood.
Q press home the attack?
I didn't know it til later, lost elevator control, planned trimmed to go down by the nose, we went down, aimed at the nearest ship and dropped the torpedo. Then he said he realized we would probably crash into the water, knew he had a heavy plane, trim tabs up, flyable plane
After the turret gunner was killed I got hit, first on the wrist, then the next thing I knew, I was coming to, my head was down and blood was pouring down. I put my hand up and thought I could feel a hole in my scalp so I left my hand there til it felt like the bleeding stopped, but no concept of time. 5425 I could tell there were hits on the airplane, gun position is underneath. Pilot later said 2 zeros stayed with us for a long time and left, but never knew why. He decided he didn't want to fly through the j formation, so he circled around, but the compass was shot out so he turned east into the sun, flew east for an hour and dropped down and saw kure island, so he knew where he was, then saw a column of smoke rising over Midway. I had crawled up toward the cockpit, no flaps but dropped the landing gear down, then made an approach, waved off 2nd time, the third time, I'm landing. Lost airspeed, ground looped off the runway, and that was the end of the flight.
q-so how long on Midway island?
Q probably the most vivid week of your life?
It probably was. 5700 it was a very sobering week. I was just a young kid and had never thought about how bad war can be, that people really do get killed. We were all excited about the opportunity to hit the Js and new planes and when you came to the realization that your plane is the only one that got back, other five were shot down pretty sobering
5745 Q lost friends?
shipmates, a couple.
Q what like to return to eastern Island?
Walked around saw damage 5919 I came back once in 95 to dedicate memorial, this time, there for several days. and when we went over the eastern Island yesterday, that was, I didn't think it would be, but it was very touching to me.
Q well up a little?
yes and that's where it comes back and you remember all the people who didn't get back -just a different feeling -as I've gotten older I've become more sentimental. when I speak at dedications, I lose it at the end 10030 10125 My pilot Burt Ernest, said he spoke to a symposium years ago and a J officer said that Am aircraft kept coming and coming, couldn't believe that all these planes come in and be sacrificed to no good end...51 US torpedo planes attacked that day, none got a hit and only six returned of 51, a pretty bad day for torpedo planes.
Q make a diff?
yeah, pulkled down the J fighters. served out rest of the way, on Guadalcanal -pilot Burt Ernest was awarded the Navy Cross for pressing home his attack at Midway, and another for bringing the plane home. .
11113-amb with guitar mzk 11359
William F. Surgi