Go Remote Adventures' News and Views

 

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013305150147&nclick_check=1

Lt. Lew Lockhart, fighter pilot in New Guinea with 171 combat missions

Honoring a Lost Fighter Pilot – Lt Robert Thorpe

The research of making a film documentary on the lost bomber crew leads to contact with many “side stories” of Greatest Generation veterans and some of them do not have happy Hollywood endings. One such story is that from the fighter pilot and wingman to the featured pilot in  Josh Baxter’s  prior award winning film,  “Injury Slight, Please Advise.”    Despite Capt. Charles O’Sullivan’s account that featured the Ace pilot’s reenactment of survival and escape from the headhunters in New Guinea, there are other accounts that are equally incredible.  The experiences of his fighter pilot wingman, call sign Blue Two of the now famous 39th Fighter Squadron, present some amazing accounts of his own.

Call sign Blue Two is, Capt. (then Lt.) Lew Lockhart, now a spry 93 years young.  He has the “how did he live thought it” number of 171 combat missions in New Guinea.  In addition to his experiences as wingman of Ace “Sully,” Mr. Lew has accounts of his own.

 I’ve been privileged to have Mr. Lew Lockhart’s support these past few years in the search for the missing B-25 crew, known to have survived their crash landing.  Blue Two was up that day in the spring of 1944, escorting bombers to and from their Japanese targets on the north side of New Guinea when “our” five man bomber crew went down. It is in his ops log despite the security precautions taken in radio traffic. Mr. Lew has been a critical asset in the research for the missing bomber crew documentary still in the making.  

Mr. Lew’s accounts seem to only come to light when recounting an event about another pilot, place or mission – some brief examples include when he flew cover for the rescue by a Catalina/ PBY  recovering a fellow pilot who had ditched, losing a combat loaded fighter on the ground after blowing a tire and catching fire on takeoff, landing in near darkness on an emergency, abandon grass strip – because he was out of fuel after searching for his “lead” for too long., having a great steak from an Australian rancher after bailing out of a “non combat worthy” fighter during “training.”  You get the idea…but Mr. Lew’s accounts Always seem to go back to his fellow squadron pilots who did not return.  The loss of his friend Lt. Bob Thorpe is no exception.  

One of the many fighter pilots – failing to return – was Lt Robert “Bob” E. Thorpe of Cranston, Rhode Island. 

Australian war crimes commissions convicted a Japanese Naval officer and others following the guilty plea of beheading P.O.W. Lt. Thorpe on Kairiru Island, near Wewak on the north side of New Guinea on May 27, 1944.  Initial reports during the war were only that Lt Thorpe was missing following a staffing mission. The post war network of 39th Fighter Squadron pilots and his next of kin learned of his fate in the years following the war and following the trial in June of 1948.

Unfortunately, despite sketch maps drawn in the trial of Lt Thorpe’s execution and grave site on a small island, Department of Defense (Joint POW/MAI Command) has not recovered and returned Lt Thorpe’s remains.

Thanks to the continued life long efforts of Lt. Thorpe’s high school friend – Ken Dooley --and to the efforts of Thorpe’s brother in Rhode Island – at least the Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln D. Chafee, and the state legislature will recognize Lt Robert E. Thorpe in a ceremony this May, 2013.  Bob Thorpe, another of this nation’s likable high school kids who graduated and jointed the war effort…never to return home. 

Sixty-nine years later his friend, Blue Two, Lew Lockhart, will fly from Tennessee to the ceremony by the governor of the state of Rhode Island to recognize Lt. Robert E. Thorpe, P 47 pilot,  hero who gave all  – who has not been returned home for burial.

Some war stories don’t have Hollywood endings.

 

 

We had a Great Response
at a really Great Museum
The PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM
Palm Springs, California
SHOWING  &  RECEPTION of
INJURY SLIGHT, PLEASE ADVISE


 

Award winning producer Josh Baxter & adventurer Steve Cushman supported the Palm Springs Air Museum – among the largest U.S. war bird museums – with the film showing. They discussed previously undisclosed aspects of the filming in the jungles of New Guinea at the reception immediately following and reviewed intriguing research on their current documentary about an actual search for a missing WWII bomber crew in the wilds of Papua New Guinea.

The P-38 fighter "23 Skidoo" was flown in for the event and served as a fabulous backdrop to the reception including wine and light hors d'oeuvres.

"23 Skidoo" is among fewer than 10 of ~ 12,000 P-38's produced still flying today. The fighter also played an escort role in our current documentary effort to locate the B-25 crew lost in New Guinea.

http://palmspringsairmuseum.org

For the Injury Slight trailer: http://www.injuryslight.com/trailer3.htm

 

Here's a news story on Papua New Guinea - The Last Wild Place...
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/07/16891343-accused-witch-tortured-burned-alive-in-papua-new-guinea?lite

 

 

 

 

Strong Interest in the Documentary Topic: Forgotten, M.I.A. in New Guinea

April, 2012. The briefings by Go Remote of film and TV executives at the film industry review in Nashville was met by strong interest, especially since only two of the many film types of all those selected were military topics.  The workshops also provided both education and insight for startup film and documentary makers, like the Go Remote missing bomber crew documentary effort, with a focus on “sales” and that age old issue “funding” for the various diverse topics and film efforts reviewed by executives.  The evening exhibit in the Titans Stadium convention hall also had industry and fans stopping by to view the TV screen slides, posters and ask questions about the effort. It was a great forum and encouraging to learn that even the industry has an interest in this compelling military mystery – documenting the WWII history of this lost crew and even the potential for the Department of Defense investigation, recovery and return of remains. As the old American cowboy humorist, Will Rogers, one said   Ain’t no one as dumb as an educated man – once you get him off the topic he was educated on. Not an exact quote – but I was able to get his meaning at Film Com in Nashville this past April.   ( See the “other Stuff”  page for a few photos)

 


Documentary, “Forgotten: MIA in New Guinea,” Selected for Nashville Film-Com Executive Review

Go Remote, Inc. has been selected to present the progress and concept of the MIA bomber crew search documentary still in development to industry executives at the Nashville, TN Film-Com event in April.  The working title of the documentary is: “ Forgotten: MIA in New Guinea” and has been released for the first time despite years of prior research.  The production team includes award winning producer Josh Baxter (“Injury Slight, Please Advise”) whom Cushman previously supported in the wilds of New Guinea.  Aspects of this research remain undisclosed to preclude contamination of the continuing research and to respect the privacy of next of kin.   The title of  “Forgotten: MIA in New Guinea” was selected by the surviving veteran pilot of the missing crew who was grounded after reaching his maximum number of missions on the mission prior to the crew’s loss.  The crew was known to have survived the crash landing in remote, Japanese held New Guinea. The veteran pilot continues to assist and encourage Go Remote with various elements of documentation and research. “Forgotten: MIA in New Guinea” will pay tribute to this crew and many other crews in the Pacific of similar MIA fates. Many crews were known to have survived their forced landing or crash – but were never rescued or located. Post war investigations were very limited.  However, what is now Papua New Guinea, in the Pacific above Australia, has begun to reveal some of those secrets when aircraft are located.  New Guinea continues to be known as “The Last Wild Place” due to isolated primitive tribes and tropical jungle terrain. The veteran pilots and witnesses that have been interviewed about this loss have complimented the effort as the first comprehensive search effort to determine the fate of their fellow airmen.   “Forgotten: MIA in New Guinea,” will provide later press releases, photos and art work promoting the documentary on dates determined by documentary sponsors. 

 

An interview with a veteran New Guinea combat pilot was recorded in HD video. His experience as a P-38 fighter escort to B-25's adds to the understanding of the air combat procedures used in the raids. New documents and diary information has also been identified with assistance from veterans' groups and other researchers

"Capt. Lockhart in a P-47
in New Guinea.
WTKI radio hosted Go Remote, Steve Cushman, for a one hour interview by talk show veteran Fred Holland on Talk Radio for Real Life. Fred was sure his listeners were interested in learning more about the production of award winning "Injury Slight, Please Advise" and the current project for a documentary being produced about a missing WWII bomber crew in New Guinea known to have survived their crash landing.

Listeners enjoyed the morning drive time broadcast "on-line" on Jan. 24 via the url, http://www.wtkiradio.com/listenlive.html and on FM 92.

The interview sparked a number of local and out of state comments and inquiries to Go Remote. Fred plans a follow-on interview with details of the bomber crew search documentary.

Go Remote, Inc. Adventures...Not Vacations
Announces restrictions on Victoria Secret model Adventure applicants. *

Click for more details


The Smithsonian Magazine story on an attempted recovery of the B17, Swamp Ghost, in Papua New Guinea tactfully identifies why wrecks - often worth millions of dollars - are not being recovered.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/swamp.html


Photo by Frederique Oliver

 

THE EMMY® AWARD GALA

About five hundred professional film and media folks were seated at tables at the Grand Renaissance in St. Louis for the Mid America EMMY® awards.

I was honored to be on producer Josh Baxter’s team, to have had a part in the already award winning production AND for us to be nominated in the category (historic documentary film) among the keen competition of those who applied -- because “Injury Slight, Please Advise” was accurate in every detail. The nomination really was an honor and we’re very happy to have been there and to be recognized. There were lots of “big guys” at the adjacent tables – including TV networks with series specials and others… $$$ … like the media guys from the Kansas City Chiefs (you may have heard of them), at the next table.
The pre-dinner reception under the big EMMY
® statue was fun – there were lots of pretty ladies making their dresses look really good and the guys all had their … tuxedos. There were loads of type “A” personalities with whom to trade stories and business cards. It was a great event.

We’re working on the next effort on the MIA bomber crew documentary– the story alone and the added discoveries -- will blow their doors off.

And the second time around we’ll get another Telly Award AND the EMMY
®.

 

EMMY® Nominated !
“Injury Slight, Please Advise” producer Josh Baxter notified Go Remote Adventures of the film’s recent nomination to the Mid America EMMY® Awards putting the accurate escape and survival reenactment of the WWII fighter ACE, Capt. Charles O’Sullivan, in the running for still another film award. ( Producer Josh Baxter and the film have already been recognized with various awards including the prestigious Telly Award for excellence and originality in films among national and international nominees.) “Injury Slight, Please Advise”, is the incredible account of O’Sullivan’s shoot down and survival among headhunters in Japanese held New Guinea and the film includes the actual wreck site of the largely intact P-38 fighter plane deep in the wilds of New Guinea. Go Remote led the New Guinea jungle trek into extremely remote site among tribal areas that are not always friendly to outsiders or even other native tribes and into territory of the tribe O’Sullivan escaped from by shooting his way out. Anthropologists for the area warned Cushman, Baxter and the Go Remote crew not to associate themselves with the WWII escape for fear of potential native retaliation. Some locals discouraged their documentary effort. Cushman appears in the film and hopes for the film’s added award and media exposure to assist in awareness of the second and current New Guinea adventure effort – the documented account of a missing B-25 crew known to have survived their crash also in the wilds of New Guinea.

The Mid America EMMY® gala and committee selection announcement will be held on Oct. 22.

To view the original one minute "Stone Age" trailer -- Click here:
http://www.injuryslight.com/trailer2.htm

To view the "new 30 second "Fly By" trailer" -- Click here:
http://www.injuryslight.com/trailer3.htm

To Purchase your full length feature DVD in HD of "Injury Slight, Please Advise" today, Click here:
http://www.injuryslight.com/trailer.html then "buy now"
It is also available on Amazon.


 

 

 

 

RETURNING FROM AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH on this missing crew.

The crew of the Qantas A380, Airbus – acted promptly on the fight deck with various emergency procedures after an engine blew.  Although it hasn’t been given much news coverage here in the States, the Sydney Herald Sun newspaper disclosed some details in advance of the official investigation.  Listed below are a few of the 18 things listed as going wrong…..

The crew could not shutdown the No. 1 engine using the fire switch.

As a result the engine's fire extinguishers could not be deployed.

Captain Richard de Crespigny, first officer Matt Hicks and Mark Johnson, the second officer, could not jettison the volume of fuel required for a safe emergency landing.

With more than 80 tonnes of highly volatile jet kerosene still in the 11 tanks -- two of which were leaking - they made an overweight and high speed approach to Changi Airport.

Without full hydraulics the spoilers - the hinged flaps on the front of the wings - could not be fully deployed to slow the jet.

The crew also had to rely on gravity for the undercarriage to drop and lock into place. 

On landing they had no anti-skid brakes and could rely on only one engine for reverse thrust - needing all of the 4km runway at Changi to bring the jet to a stop.

Since our flight was one of six Qantas A380’s, and we were already in the air to LAX, I missed being the guest on Qantas for added days in Australia when they grounded their fleet. After our uneventful landing our LAX Airbus was going to be held for a quick inspection – but … two weeks later they are still grounded with the engine problems that were identified. 

Sometimes long, boring flights are a good thing. 

After all, how exciting can records research be in 3 differing Australian locations?  Ans.  Pretty exciting if you locate important files….. and when your A380 holds together on your return flight-- you don’t mind missing added excitement.

 

 

 

 

Go Remote, Inc. Adventures Shares Film Award

Arion Pictures, LLC of Hot Springs, AR and Go Remote, Inc. Adventures …Not Vacations, of Madison, AL were recently notified they have been recognized with a national film award for their production of Injury Slight, Please Advise. The film is the accurate account and reenactment of a WWII fighter pilot’s survival in the wilds of New Guinea. The plane wreck is largely in tact in a very remote swamp and has been seen by fewer than 10 non natives since WWII. Steve Cushman, of Go Remote Adventures, was featured in the film and served as guide and the logistics coordinator for the filming that included hiking miles into the jungles of New Guinea to film the rediscovered P-38 fighter.

The feature length film, produced and directed by Josh Baxter, was among those recently recognized with a Telly Award. The Telly Award recognizes creative excellence in film and video production, television programming and commercials, and material produced for the internet. It is the largest and most prestigious award of its kind, receiving entries from all 50 states and 30 countries around the world.


Injury Slight, Please Advise was among the top films selected from more than 13,000 world wide production reviews and was judged by top advertising and video professionals. Injury Slight, Please Advise was recently shown at the Carnegie Institute in Washington D.C. for the GI Film Festival honoring American service members and was sponsored by Stars and Strips newspaper. A private showing was previously donated in Huntsville, AL with assistance from the Boeing Company and Monaco Theater in support of Tennessee Valley Honor Flight. (The Honor Fight program provides free charter flights to WWII vets to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.)

 

Lost New Guinea Battlefield Found (story and photos)

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/07/lost-wwii-battlefield-found-war-dead-included/

 

 

Australian archives hold the records for post war searches in New Guinea


Almost ...


Roo on the Barbie

   

Why Australian Research? The New Guinea research for the missing American WWII bomber crew, known to have survived their forced landing, is explained in more detail on the “Papua New Guinea” tab (above) of this page and on “News/Views” ( also above). “Why research a lost American crew in Australia?” is a logical question. The answer is that Australia was assigned the post war Allied task of investigating war crimes and searching for all aircrews lost in New Guinea. They retain the records on same, at times attempting to identify if a located crash site was an American or an Australian plane/crew. The U.S. post war forces searched other battle areas of the vast Pacific Theater. Australian records include the sworn witness testimony of various investigations and trials related to war crimes and the fate of Allied POW’s and missing air crews.

 

"Surviving Hell, A POW's Journey"


 

  • How the failed attempt by Americans to rescue POWs by raiding a POW compound that turned out to be unoccupied was viewed as a great success by POW’s.

  • A critical secret known by Col. Thorsness and other POW’s via the tap code – was never learned by the North Vietnamese.

  • How Col Thorsness’ faith and resolve sustained his endurance and his planned walk home.

  • How POW’s embarrassed the North Vietnamese on the world stage by providing fake names.

  • What Col. Thorsness first told his wife, Gaylee, by phone after 6 years about being gone for so long.


Since I’m acquainted with the author of this book, “Surviving Hell, A POW’s Journey”, I don’t claim my comments are unbiased.  My viewpoint is a bit different, as retired Army.  Col. (Ret.) Leo Thorsness spent his time in the USAF, and in the “Hanoi Hilton” and, by the way, he holds this nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

My basis of comparison for “normal” as a fighter pilot is that one of my life’s very best friends was also a fighter pilot, the late Larry Counts, so I know it’s really hard to tell if any of them are what the military, retired military or even civilians call “normal” people.  Col Leo seems “normal” enough… friendly, soft spoken, cheerful and he has a charming wife, but he isn’t normal.  I suspected he wasn’t normal when I learned some of his background.  After a bit of time around him – I started to think he was … “normal,” aside from some of his physical scars visible in summer Alabama attire.  He makes light hearted reference to fun things like “going fast” and of taking care not to say the word “cockroach” aloud during a party at the bar (It’s a bar game all true fighter pilots “perform” – don’t say it aloud in a group of them with spirits) and he makes reference to good days when you can see door knobs on the inside.  He asks you questions.

But I learned he isn’t normal, after I heard him speak more formally.  He spoke mostly about fellow POW’s and about life. Nothing about winning America’s highest military award but…he can bring tears to your eyes…talking about life, making his point about the service of others … and, indirectly, about his own incredible service to this nation. Col Leo Thorsness proves there are heroes among us.

If you aren’t a liberal wimp who thinks: A. there is no evil in the world.  B. you can just “talk to’em”  and C. you don’t realize there are those who endure to serve this nation  - BUY his book.  On second thought, maybe the liberal wimps need to read it most of all.

Checkout Col T's new page - done by his friends - and order his Great book. www.leothorsness.com

 


 

New Guinea Native Storyboard

The native storyboard above was done by a native tribesman on the north coast of New Guinea.  New Guinea is known to have over 700 different tribal languages and few of them are written.  A common factor among the remote native tribes is the strong tradition of verbal history or story telling to “record” significant events, tribal battles or other incidents that have taken place in the family or tribe.  These carved storyboards are a means of recording events.  The carvings are sometimes on other items and I once admired very old, hardwood carvings on the sides of log drums in a native tribal longhouse that a museum would love to display. One other thing about the storyboards is that they work best as an outline reminder of story elements … when you already Know the story. 

Our great and accommodating dive operator hosts, Lesley and Tim, had this native storyboard made for us when we were in Papua New Guinea filming the WWII wrecked P-38 for “Injury Slight, please advise ”.  You may already be aware that producer Josh Baxter’s film title originated from the brief message sent weeks later by the WWII pilot following his crash and escape from natives after shooting a tribal leader with his .45 to avoid becoming dinner.  It is an incredible survival account. 

During our remote jungle trek in to the P-38 wreck site we shot an additional Hi Def video interview with a native who had been a boy in the village near the WWII crash site.  The amazing accuracy of the verbal tribal history tradition became apparent when the elderly native told the story with details that matched EXACTLY with what the surviving pilot had recounted.

(Both Josh and I had made it a point to follow the guidance of an anthropologist on the area and pretended not to know the pilot or the story. We did not want to contaminate the story, and we did not forget the pilot had almost been…. dinner. )  I would argue that parts of New Guinea continue to be the wildest places in the world.  Tribal wars, at times with bows and arrows, continue to be fought over important things, like stolen pigs, gardens or even …women.  Almost 2 out of 3 we would not, or not often, do in the “civilized” world. 

Even our translator was surprised when the native’s story included his comments, … and they found his boots, “like his” – he said, pointing to my hiking boots as we shot the interview in the rocks and sand of a river’s edge.  We knew the pilot has removed his boots in hope of making less noise as he was chased during his escape from the natives.  It was but one aspect of the verbal history that confirmed the details of the pilot’s escape and the location.  (To learn the added details, view full length documentary, “Injury Slight…Please Advise”.) 

The storyboard shows, at upper left, not just an airplane, but a twin engine, twinboom square tailed P-38 fighter, our request of that detail was followed by the native carver.  It was shown flying above native huts, then crashing near the river into trees and grass.  Note the second image of the P-38 fighter, to the right of the first image, is into the trees and has a broken right propeller, thus a crashed plane.  The American “soldier” with the helmet goes near the river, with fish, and makes initial contact with the native tribe.  He later contacts the Australians that are depicted with helmets that have cap bills – an effort lost in the translation that Australians wore cowboy style bush hats with turned up brims… Oh well – close enough that we “got it”.  Later still, out of view in the photo, he goes to a western style “box” house  as symbol of his return “home”.  Conveniently, not included in the storyboard, is the part where the pilot was jumped by the natives and forced to shoot his way out at close range with his .45.  Initially chased/tracked  into the jungle and surviving for weeks.  Although there is substantially more to the story … we got it from the tribal view and despite the native carver’s distance from the crash site and chase region… it is politically correct and the natives do not lose face...or tribesmen.

More information on Baxter’s production made in close collaboration with the ace pilot who is the featured character of the WWII documentary is on the “Injury Slight” page at www.injuryslight.com

Go Remote runs adventures… This storyboard account is just one aspect of the unique experiences and memories that Go Remote adventures offer.  Don’t take another “everyone’s been there” vacation.  Go Remote for a real adventure. (Some adventure applications require outdoor skills, but most require only good health and an adventurous spirit.)     
 

 

 


A Golden Knight with the U.S. Army lands near the Blue Angels at the Huntsville, AL air show.

 

Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights -
point landings in gusty winds

 

B-25, WWII warbird


 

AH-64D, (Apache) with M230, (machine gun) Hellfire and Hyra 70 (missiles/rockets); Three target acquisition systems - approx $18 mil ... without munitions.

 

The newest CH47 "F" Model

 

U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Flight Team
Who's upside down

 


This is my friend, Ken Freund, at Sears Point Raceway on a Go Remote Green
2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R, MSRP $9,099 - capable of a top speed of about 160 MPH (not on this track).


Ken Freund on the August, 2013 cover of "Road Runner" (motorcycle) magazine.

 

 


Don't take another "Everybody's been there" vacation


Steve Cushman, President and Adventurer

adventure@goremote.net

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