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October 2012

The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®

October 4, 2012 -

General Business Meeting followed by: Andrea Donnellan -
Working on the West Antarctic Ice Streams 1983-1986

Andrea Donnellan Working on the West Antarctic Ice Streams

Andrea Donnellan
Working on the West Antarctic Ice Streams
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In 1983 at the age of 19 Andrea Donnellan participated in the first field expedition to the West Antarctic Ice Streams with Professor Ian Whillans from Ohio State University. The goal of the project was to study and understand the mass balance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its response to climate change. Ice streams are rivers of ice within the ice sheet that move extremely rapidly, sometimes over 1 meter/day. The margins of the ice streams are heavily crevassed as are portions of the streams themselves. The field expedition traveled to McMurdo station by way of Christchurch, New Zealand. Team members attended snow and ice survival school and then deployed by ski-equiped LC-130s to Ice Streams B and C and the ridges surrounding them. They drilled for ice cores and surveyed the ice streams by snow mobile.

Donnellan has been to Antarctica 7 times between 1983 and 2001 studying the ice streams in the 1980s and more recently postglacial rebound and tectonic spreading between East and West Antarctica in the Dry Valleys and Marie Byrd Land. In 2006 the the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named a glacier on the Vinson plateau after her for her work in Antarctica. Donnellan has a BS in geology from Ohio State University, and MS and PhD in geophysics from Caltech, and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. She held a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and then moved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1993 where she has held several management positions and continues to work as a principal research scientist. Donnellan has received several awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement, and most recently NASA's Software of the Year Award for her QuakeSim project. She has conducted field work around the world, scuba dives, and is an instrument rated commercial land and sea pilot.

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948

The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®

October 11, 2012 -

Ladies Night - Erick Simmel - OSS 70th Anniversary Celebration of OSS Water Team Combat Swimmers

Erick Simmel presents the

70th Anniversary O.S.S (Office of Strategic Services) MU (Maritime Unit) & OSG (Operational Swimmer’s Group) Southern California Heritage, Gathering of secret Agents and watermen “Swimmdos” (**), who started it all

As 2012 marks the 70th Anniversary of the founding of O.S.S., the United States first covert espionage organization for secret, unorthodox overseas wartime operations, many have no idea that Southern California is highly responsible for all this to have taken place. (The modern O.S.S. direct successor is today’s CIA…) This 70th Anniversary includes the Amphibious classified O.S.S. Maritime Unit-Special Operations Diving Unit and its Operational Swimmers Groups, who were the forerunners of Navy SEALs, who they themselves this year celebrate their 50th Anniversary.

This event is to celebrate, recognize and honor how the O.S.S. “Swimmandos” (swimmer/commando, combat swimmer/frogmen…) came to be, via a very storied legend and lore that is steeped in Southern California’s geographic, societal, Hollywood and waterman-ship history. The event will bring together the remaining O.S.S MU and MU Operational Swimmer veteran personnel and their families, to honor them at the places where the key men of the Swimmers developed their diving and waterman techniques to make this type of special maritime warfare possible.

Tonight’s event will be conducted by O.S.S. Swimmer expert Erick Simmel who will Q & A the honored guests on this historic topic. This event at the Adventurers Club is the first evening leading three other days of insights to secret and pioneering sites on the Santa Monica and Los Angeles coastline, Catalina Island, Newport Beach and Camp Pendleton.

Tonight’s Guest of Honors are:

Mr. Walter Mess
Some Operatives never live a life like 007. Occasionally one comes around.

At 99 years old and 8 months( He turns 100 on December 20th 2012…) …The legendary Walter Mess was one of General Donovan’s “Best and Brightest” of O.S.S. and particularly O.S.S. Maritime Unit.

A true American treasure and enigma, by 1937 when Mr. Mess played professional football, already spoke several languages and held law and business degrees and a Coast Guard Ships’ “Master” rating which would soon help him on several of his future secret operations. In 1937 -- 4 years prior to the U.S.A. involvement in WW II -- Mess was recruited by Donovan, who at the time was in private law practice, into Donovan’s private OI (Office of Intelligence – the “Blackwater” of its Day) while completing his PhD in Law, at Catholic University at night. There he became one of the United States most private secret agents.

By 1938 – Mess was trained by the British and then dropped into Czechoslovakia where he walked out to the Adriatic with four 13-15 yr olds for training in the USA & reinsertion as USA agents. Mess also set up interaction with the British Station Chief & Tito. (One of those boys became USA Ambassador to Slovakia in recent years.)

In 1939 - Again flown by RAF into Poland on similar mission - Brought out three more young men.

In Nov `41 into US Army for COI (pre O.S.S. training) Pulled from OCS to repeat `37-`38 missions.

In 1942 things really started to heat up. Working at COI, Mess ventured to the Philippines on a mission by submarine. Later that year, he was in Morocco with the then new (O.S.S.) team to resupply a team to bring more gold to buy off the Vichy French to insure the French would not shoot at U.S. troops upon landing in operation Torch!

Late 1942 / early 1943 - Mess attended Boat training in the Gulf Mexico the Florida Keys and Cuba on his Army Air crash Sea rescue boat P-564 which would later become the O.S.S. Maritime units’ Flotilla operating in the China Burma India Theater. Mess repaired the cracked hull of a “Liberty ship” in Anchorage Alaska. O.S.S. boats P-564 & 563 loaded in San Diego liberty ship. Mess was the ship's Captain across the South Pacific to Ceylon via Sydney & Calcutta.

In late 1943 he commenced ultra classified OSS MU ops in the Bay of Bengal against Jap forces. Mess became an official O.S.S. operative and MU’s senior “flotilla officer commander” of O.S.S. Maritime Unit Operations in Burma, India and Thailand. As senior flotilla officer for O.S.S. SEAC MU operations, Mess’s O.S.S. air crash sea rescue (PT) Boat P-564 numbered over 36 missions with P 564 across the Bay of Bengal for official O.S.S. MU operations ferrying OG and Operational Swimmer teams; Also returned over 220 downed pilots & crewmen from 3 E&E pickup points on Burma coast.

In Apr 1944 he became primary boat for Dr Lambertsen & swimmers for combat evaluation of system & then swimmers became integral part of O.S.S. OG (operational groups) and SI (secret intelligence missions. These missions included many of the firs underwater.

This did not include the Occasional interruptions for special individual missions for the Viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten head of the British SOE and is O.S.S. Swimmer counterpart, the SRU.

In 1945 when the Japanese were eliminated from the Burma Coast, P-564 ["Jeanie"] no longer needed. Walter transferred to O.S.S. Det. 404 and assisted with air support missions to O.S.S. teams in the interior of Burma and Thailand. He made 10-15 + parachute jumps, including leading 30-50 Kachins (Burmese Highlanders) on 7 jumps to clear 7 landing strips for Air Ops.

Mr. Mess had over 100 secret operations under his leadership—many unbelievable—all very classified missions. Mr. Mess is a tireless, vigorous and stalwart example of the MU leadership General Donovan envisioned and is a lasting pioneer for all modern day U.S. Navy, Coastguard, Marine Corps and law enforcement, maritime , Special Boat unit operations and Air Force Special Tactics Squadron missions which American Treasure O.S.S. pioneer Walter Mess squarely left his foot print on.

Other Scheduled O.S.S Swimmer guests are Weldon, Abbott Soltau and Backus

Mr. Henry “Hank” Weldon
Mr. Weldon was a Navy Specialist recruited into OSS OSG Group A training. His group were the first O.S.S combat swimmers to train at Catalina Island’s secret O.S.S. base known as “Area WA, Toyon Cove” During this phase of the training Hank was part of a “training mission” which was the first operation to pit combat swimmers against America’s maritime harbor defenses and successfully prove that a combat swimmer unit could defeat a standing port security element.

Mr. Gordon “Gordie” Soltau
Mr. Soltau, who would later gain fame as a San Francisco 49er football player in the post WW II era, was during the war, a very young and highly athletic USN O.S.S. Operational Swimmer who landed agents and saw action in England with the L- Unit, and in Burma and Malaysia.

Mr. Norman Abbott
OSS OSG Group II in Burma. Trained at Camp Pendleton, Catalina Island and the Bahamas Islands, before engaging in Operations in Burma Thailand and Malaysia. Norman was the nephew of comedian Lou Abbot of Abbott and Costello comedy fame. He had a long time post war dramatic motion picture and television industry career as a director.

Mr. Sam Backus
As a Operational Swimmer with OSG II in Burma, Backus would later be part of the first official Navy sponsored simulated attack on a U.S. Navy facility by combat swimmers, attacking and sinking several U.S. Ships in Guantanamo Bay Cuba… and the first unofficial Lobster Dive using a SCUBA rebreather on the California Coast … off Laguna Beach. Backus would later deploy to Burma for operations along the Burmese Arakan Coast.

Commander Tom Hawkins USN (Ret.)
invited) SEAL and authority on O.S.S. Navy Officer Jack Taylor considered by many to be the first and O.S.S. Missions and their post war legacy into the U.S. Navy SEALs.

Master Chief Harold Dunnigan USN (Ret.)
Former Santa Monica Lifeguard who as a pre Korean War era young Santa Monica Lifeguard knew and trained with many of the prewar SM and LA County Lifeguards who became OSS Operational swimmers. Chief Dunnigan would later become highly entrenched within the Navy UDT and SEAL programs as well as becoming one of the longest serving Los Angeles County Lifeguards He was all so the basis for a influential character on the successful dramatic TV Series Baywatch.

Martin Sugarman PhD
invited) Sugarman's life reads like a Graham Greene spy novel, the title of which could be 'Surfer Dude, Man of Mystery.' In between Sugarman’s sojourns as an artist and combat photographer in both Kashmir and Bosnia in the 1990’s. His great contribution to the preservation to the O.S.S. swimmers knew many of them without knowing who they really were. His Chronology of their stories intertwined with his expertise on the rich history of Santa Monica Canyon, where many of the pioneering O.S.S. waterman and lifeguards, Bob Butts , Pete Petersen , Fred Wadley, Gard Chapin, Art Garrett, Frank Donahue and Fred Zendar, lived and worked Sugarman knew them in their later lives and learned their stories as part of his great scholarship of ‘California Cool and Watermanship, H2O Magazine. H2O set the standard for highlighting the (Will Rogers) state's beach culture and spotlighting the surfer waterman lifestyle.

Craig Lockwood
Laguna beach based Lifeguard Author historian and expert on watermanship will discuss the Southern California Waterman ship era before 1941 and after 1945 until the middle 1950’s

Arthur C. Verge, PhD
LA County Lifeguard, author & historian of the Los Angeles area watermen.

The exciting Event will continue for the Friday Saturday and Sunday with the O.S.S. MU Swimmer (veterans) to Pre war historic locales on the LA and Santa Monica coast line, a voyage on only operational O.S.S. era Crash boat the P-520, to where the men who would become O.S S. Wartime secret training areas on Catalina Island and Camp Pendleton. This will be followed by a BarBQ at residence of late O.S.S. Swimmer Operative Jim Eubank and his wife Vera (tentative). Club members and guests will be invited to additional events, subject to space availability.

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948

The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®

October 18, 2012 -

David Finnern and Steve Lawson - The Gold Rush Underwater: Diving The Sunken Cities and Shipwrecks of the Motherlode

David Finnern and Steve Lawson have a combined diving/underwater experience of over 70 years. Steve and Dave have explored everything from World War II submarines, riverboats and sunken trains to antiquated warplanes, ghost ports and Civil War blockade runners. They have individually and collectively discovered an impressive list of shipwrecks, sunken aircraft and submerged ruins, including the long-lost river landing of Port Isabel in Mexico. Their exploits have been published extensively.

During their recent endeavor, Dave and Steve ventured to Northern California, seeking the sunken cities of Camanche, Lancha Plana and Poverty Bar, now beneath the dark waters of Lake Camanche, in an expedition to rediscover the roots of the Gold Rush itself.

Join the underwater explorers as they recount tales of Gold Rush shipwrecks laden with treasure, river steamers sunk beneath the black waters of the Sacramento River, and of course the sunken cities of Lake Camanche.

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948
photo of Steve Lawson diving in the river next to the remnants of an old landing

Steve diving in the river next to the remnants of an old landing

Items recovered from the Sacramento River--the large anchor is on display in Chase Hall

Items recovered from the Sacramento River
The large anchor is on display in Chase Hall

photo of A wrecked barge on the banks of the Sacramento River

A wrecked barge on the banks of the Sacramento River

The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®

October 20, 2012 -

NOHA - Night of High Adventure

"Night of High Adventure is a showcase for excellence."

ACLA Member, General James H. Doolittle #800.

This year we're featuring:

1) Pasquale Scaturro talking about his historic 114-day river trip to complete the first-ever full descent of the Blue Nile from source to sea, a 3,260-mile journey through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

2) Danee Hazama telling of his Pacific Ocean crossing using traditional means of sailing and navigation.

3) Bill Burke and Alan R. Smith's Film "Seven Summits." Bill will talk about climbing the highest mountains on each continent and his attempt, this year, to climb Everest.

There will be plenty of us crazy adventurers and a silent auction of exotic items.

Dress is Black Tie, Dark Suit, Military Uniform or Ethnic Dress

Tickets are $85 and include dinner and admission. Buy early for the best seating.

Women and non-members are welcome!

At the Odyssey Restaurant
15600 Odyssey Drive, Granada Hills, CA 91344

linkNOHA - Night of High Adventure - Click Here for More Information

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948

The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles®

October 25, 2012 -

Aaron Price - Paragliding & The Wings of Kilimanjaro Project

Laura Rice & Aaron Price - Vancouver Island West Coast

Laura Rice & Aaron Price
Vancouver Island West Coast

Aaron Price is a paragliding instructor, tandem pilot and aspiring world level cross country competitor. Earlier this year he and his girlfriend, Laura Rice, were accepted to a once in a lifetime project, Wings of Kilimanjaro (WoK). In February of 2013, 200 paraglider pilots from around the world will attempt to summit the mountain and fly from the roof of Africa. All participants are working together to raise a total of $1 million dollars for charities that will work with the surrounding communities in Tanzania to improve the quality of life. Sponsored charities include The One Foundation, Plant with Purpose and WorldServe International.

It is not unusual for a mountain of Kilimanjaro's significance to be highly regulated to preserve the natural environment and safety of travelers to the area. This means that activities like paragliding are strictly forbidden in the area. While there have been some illegal flights in the past, this is the first time (and perhaps only time) that all governing bodies have signed off on flights from the mountain. This one time exemption is solely thanks to the monumental efforts by Wings of Kilimanjaro founder, Adrian McRae and the rest of his team.

Aaron will be discussing some of the unstoppable optimism of Adrian McRae that was required to see this project through to this point along with other details of planning and implementing WoK. Aaron will also share his personal story and experiences that have allowed him to be apart of WoK. Some of these topics include:

  • A brief introduction to what paragliding is for those unfamiliar with the sport;
  • Running his own paragliding school, Stellar Paragliding;
  • Becoming a cross country pilot and running the SoCal Cross Country League; and
  • Many of his adventure flights throughout the mountains of Canada and the US including a recent California record breaking flight of 252km (156 miles) from Ridgecrest to Nevada.

The WoK project is still preparing for the climb in February and there are a lot of ways to get involved. Come and find out about the awesome and fast growing sport of paragliding and the Wings Of Kilimanjaro project.

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948
Picture of Mt Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro

Photo of Aaron Price flying a tandem passenger out in San Bernardino

Aaron Price flying a tandem passenger out in San Bernardino

photo of self-portrait of Aaron Price at the end of an 120km cross country race in Southern Utah

Self-portrait of Aaron Price at the end of an 120km cross country race in Southern Utah

Click here to Return to the Calendar of Events Page

© 1921 - All Rights Reserved
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles ®
2433 North Broadway, P.O. Box 31226, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226
(323) 223-3948