The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

January 26, 2001, Explorers Club Meeting:

Gary Richter, MN-98, "Disarmament in the former USSR"

Sinbad's, restaurant, San Francisco, Calif.

Dr. Richter has worked extensively within the Russian Federation as an arms control monitor and to enhance the security of nuclear weapons materials. In his talk, Gary will discuss the advantages of the arms control regime for which he is responsible, the challenges which face monitors living in rural regions of Russia, his life within Russia, the Russian people, and how life in Russia has been changing since the collapse of the USSR.

Dr. Gary W. Richter, MN-98, is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff of Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California. His BS degree in Astrophysics, MS in Nuclear Physics, and Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics prepared him thoroughly for work at Sandia.

He has many years of experience related to the design of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons employment issues, nuclear weapons storage and transport, nuclear weapons security, counter-terrorism, intelligence analysis, and other national security related topics. In addition, Gary has experience as an arms control monitor, and has worked extensively within the Russian Federation in order to monitor their compliance with the bilateral HEU Transparency Agreement that was signed by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in February 1993.

Date: Friday, 26 Jan 2001
Place: Sinbad's Restaurant at Pier 2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco
Time: 6:30 PM cocktails, 7:30 PM dinner, 8:30 PM lecture
Cost: $45 ($50 if postmarked after Jan 15)
Call Steve at 925-934-1051 if you mail your check after January 15

click here for a map

Scenes from the life of an arms control monitor

The cathedral in Yekaterinburg

Remembering the Great Patriotic War

Remnants of the cold war

An anti-American demonstration by the communist workers party

The beauty of winter in Russia

February 3, 2001, Explorers Club Meeting:

Gene Savoy, "Recovering Historical and Archaeological Sites from the Peruvian Rainforest"

John Ascuaga's Nugget, Reno, Nevada

Gene Savoy says he cannot remember a time when he did not want to be an explorer. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he became familiar with the north woods as a boy and developed a keen interest in the history, legends, and folklore of the North American Indians. His 1/64th Cherokee ancestry fueled his interest.

The similarities Savoy found in the picture writing and designs of various ancient North American and South American peoples suggested to him that there may have been contact among the cultures of the two American continents. In 1957, his theory of trans-continental contact led him to Peru, where he continued his career as an explorer and writer.

In the 1960's he achieved international fame with a series of daring expeditions into the dense Peruvian jungles of the eastern Andes and Amazon region that led to the discovery of numerous ancient and mysterious stone cities and settlements where none were thought to exist. He came to these discoveries as a result of his original and unique theory that pre-Inca and Inca civilizations originally occupied the tropical rain forests. His theory was confirmed in 1964-65 with his discovery and exploration of one of the most dramatic and important archaeological finds of this century: the fabled city of Vilcabamba, the Inca's last city of refuge from the Spanish.

In 1965, he explored and documented another site, which he named Gran Pajaten, an ancient city located in the northeastern jungles of Peru off the Rio Abiseo drainage. This sensational find of beautiful round, decorative temples and buildings opened up new horizons to historians, archaeologists and other scientists from around the globe. He went on to discover and report over 40 additional ruins from the area.

In 1969 Savoy built and captained the Kuviqu, or Feathered Serpent I, a totora-reed raft of ancient design, along 2,000 miles of ocean coastline from Peru to Mesoamerica, following the natural currents. This daring sea expedition proved that Peruvians and Mexicans could have maintained contact in ancient times and that the legendary cultural heroes of Peru and Mexico - Viracocha and Quetzalcoatl - were one and the same.

From 1977 to 1982 Savoy captained the research ship Feathered Serpent II, sailing from the United States to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and finally to Hawaii. The 60-foot schooner was used to research wind and sea currents and possible sea routes used by ancient civilizations to sail between the Orient and the Americas.

In 1984, Savoy returned to Peru, and in 1985, he made a startling announcement to the world: the discovery in Amazonas of a vast ancient metropolis that may prove to be not only the largest pre-Columbian city in South America, but also one of the largest and most unique ancient cities yet discovered. This intricate network of well over 24,000 round, ovaline and walled cut-stone structures covers an estimated 100 square miles in the Department of Amazonas west of the Utcabamba River and east of the Maranon. Savoy named the city, centered on and around the Vilaya River drainage, Gran Vilaya, and from 1985 through 1994 led six expeditions into the region. He has produced documentary films and photographed ruins, relics and glyphic materials; and he has published the only complete and accurate map of the region.

Near the end of the 1989 Gran Vilaya expedition, Savoy and his team of intrepid explorers came upon a set of inscribed tablets on the outskirts of the city, hidden away high in a cliffside cave. Among the many inscriptions contained on these large dolmen-type tablets was a symbol similar to the one used by King Solomon to mark the ships he sent to the land of Ophir to recover gold and precious stones for his temple in Jerusalem. Other symbols in the inscriptions appeared to be of proto-Sinaitic origin as well. So it is that Savoy is now engaged in a seven-year voyage to document links between the high civilizations of ancient times on the seven continents and to determine the true location of the biblical land of Ophir.

Gene Savoy's primary interest has always been, and continues to be, religion. As one field of study led to another, he realized that all roads to the study of mankind were rooted in one form of religion or another, and that every level of human society, since the earliest of times, has been, and continues to be, profoundly affected by religion.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the official website of the Andean Explorers Foundation & Ocean Sailing Club at, or call 877-4AEFOSC.

Date: Saturday, 3 Feb 2001
Place: John Ascuaga's Nugget, Reno, Nevada
Time: 6:30 PM cocktails, 7:30 PM dinner, 8:30 PM lecture
Cost: $37.50 ($40 if postmarked after Jan 23)
Call Steve at 925-934-1051 if you mail your check after January 23

Click for Calendar of future events

Dan Cheatham Honored by Cal Alumni

This past October, Dan Cheatham, LN-89, received the California Alumni Association 2000 Award for Excellence in Service. This honor recognizes alumni and friends of Cal who have rendered outstanding voluntary service to the Association, the University, and/or community organizations.

Cheatham began his service to the University at age ten when he was hornswoggled into being a water boy for the Cal Band by his summer camp counselor, trombonist Bill Fay, '48, founder of the Cal Straw Hat Band.

He became a marching member in 1954, his freshman year. That was the year the Band switched from the traditional and routine marching style of a bygone era to its current Big-10 style of marching. This move was occasioned by three successive resoundingly embarrassing appearances against Big-10 bands in the Pappy Waldorf Rose Bowls. Cheatham's participation in the enhancement and development of Cal's unique marching style culminated in his performance as Drum Major for the 1957 football season.

One highlight of Cheatham's marching career was the Band's appearance at the Brussels World Fair in June 1958. Europe had never seen an American college marching band before and "We took the place by storm. Our size, powerful sound, and fast pace, not to mention formations and dance steps during performances, made us a strong contender against USSR's display-model of Sputnik for the hit of the fair. Letters and accolades poured into Chancellor Kerr's office from European and American officials, from Congress, and the White House."

The other highlight was marching in Cal's last Rose Bowl game, in January 1959. Although Cheatham admits that the Band has performed other spectacular football shows, he contends that this Rose Bowl performance was the acme of the Band's expertise in technical show design, and it hasn't been matched since.

"This was our first appearance against a Big-10 band since our make-over to the new marching style. We held our ground, looked the Iowa State Band in the eye, marched toe-to-toe, so to speak, against them, and reclaimed our pride. We did the famous stunt where the card section provided a flower to our rose stem growing out of a flower pot, did an American flag waving its way down the field, a 'Times Square' sign spelling out the halftime score of the game, some dance steps ('Rock around the Clock' and 'Steam Heat'), and honored incoming UC president Clark Kerr with a fountain pen spelling out his name on the field. Not knowing in advance what the halftime score would be, we had to improvise it during the performance. Show me another band that can do that!"

Cheatham has continued his service to the Band in various capacities ever since, including field photographer and, now, oral historian. He is interviewing participants in the Band's colorful history and capturing little known details of its service to the University. The series starts with a member of the class of 1928, and includes almost a hundred interviews. His favorite is the true story of Oski as told by the usually taciturn mascot himself. The tales are slowly making their way to the University archives in the Bancroft Library.

In Cheatham's professional career, he worked as forester on Maui, then went further afield as Forestry-Conservation Officer for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Micronesia). He worked with the US Forest Service's California Forest & Range Experiment Station; and was Field Representative for the University of California Natural Reserves System.

In 1998 the Cal Band Alumni presented him with an award " recognition of significant contributions to the image and excellence of the Cal Band..."

Dan's biggest regret is that he has had a full career and has retired without the Cal Band having a repeat performance at a January Rose Bowl. ("Sigh.")

Project P-MAN II, October 2000

By Patrick Scannon (FN'96)

Explorers Club Flag No.: 103, Chip Lambert, Pam Lambert, Patrick Scannon (FN '96), Reid Joyce, Joe(?), and Greg Kovacs

The primary purpose of this expedition was to continue searching for and documenting crash sites and associated crewmember remains from US aircraft lost and reported as missing over Palau during WWII (March 1944 - August 1945).

The trip was a success in that the P-MAN team found, both on land and in the ocean, three previously undocumented aircraft crash sites. We located one of the US crash sites deep in the jungles of Babeldaob, as a result of ongoing interviews with local hunters. Given the extent of airplane damage at all three sites, identification of these aircraft is as yet incomplete; this process is ongoing. We do know that two are US aircraft and believe the third to be Japanese. A fourth crash site was photographed in greater detail on this trip, which may further aid in its identification. All newly discovered sites found were photo- and video-documented, and where possible, located for future reference by GPS (GPS positions for two of the crash sites were not obtainable due to dense overlying jungle canopy).

Matching WWII aerial photos with island topographical features and scuba diving searches, we found three previously unidentified Japanese ship debris fields, the result of US aerial bombing missions from WWII. At least one of these appears to have been a Japanese minelayer which may have been sunk by Corsairs from Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-114. All newly discovered sites found were photo- and video-documented, and located for future reference by GPS.

On this trip, we evaluated a state-of-the-art underwater magnetometer as a method for more sensitive/efficient identification of sunken aircraft. This endeavor proved unsuccessful because the magnetometer did not lead us to aircraft thought to have crashed in several known locations. The reasons included: 1) software problems, 2) detection of true positives that were not aircraft (eg, fuel bunkers and marine engines) and 3) detection of false positives.

In an ongoing effort to track down WWII airmen lost over Palau but never recovered, during this trip we met and collaborated with Professor Don Shuster from the University of Guam and members of the U. S. Army Central Identification Laboratory from Hawaii (CILHI). Based on research initiated by Professor Shuster and supplemented by team member Pat Scannon, a CILHI recovery team went to Palau to search for a burial site on the island of Babeldaob. This site may contain up to 3 US airmen and 10 missionaries and priests executed by Japanese military in September 1944, just prior to the American invasion of southern Palau.

Although the CILHI ground team did not locate the actual burial site, much progress was made in narrowing down the location, as a result of extensive fieldwork and interviews of the local chiefs and elders. Information gathered on this trip set the stage for a probable return trip by CILHI in early 2001. In recognition for their efforts, Don Shuster and Pat Scannon received Certificates of Appreciation from the CILHI team while in Palau.

As a continuation of our efforts in finding remains of lost U. S. airmen, and based on stories members of our team heard while in Palau, three members of P-MAN II met with tribal chiefs from the Ngatpang state on Babeldaob to discuss possible Japanese jungle military positions where US airmen may have been held as prisoners and possibly executed. Through aid from these chiefs, a local hunter guided our team to what we believe is the previously undiscovered jungle combined headquarters ("Shudon Shireiken") of Lt. General Sadae Inoue, commander of all Japanese Imperial forces in Palau. Amid an extensive network of caves and other structures, team member Pam Lambert found an area characteristic of a large gravesite. This information has been photo- and video-documented and is in the progress of being assembled for forwarding to CILHI for further evaluation.

On our way back to the United States, the three remaining members of P-MAN II team stayed over in Guam where Pat Scannon made a presentation of our efforts in Palau to members of the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam.

Finally, multiple interviews conducted during Project P-MAN II, along with recently received new archival information, have resulted in our team now being aware of at least eight new aircraft crash sites to explore on our next expedition. As part of this, we have recently made connections, for the first time, with Japanese living in Japan who were either participants or observers during WWII in Palau. These individuals may be willing to assist in locating sites of fallen aircraft or missing American airmen.

The next expedition, Project P-MAN III, is already in planning.

Teaching Natural History to Children Naturally: Outdoors

By Michael Diggles, FN-92

Mike and his "kids"

My friend Margie invited me to teach geology at her school when she was in third grade. The students all wrote me little letters that I have pinned up on the wall outside my USGS lab. One little boy said he'd never forget my lesson about "all you need to do geology is the 'three H's': Hammer, Hand-lens, and Helicopter." And then he drew pictures of all three. Margie's in seventh grade now and I still come in and do week-long Yosemite field trips with sixth-graders. I have been teaching geology as a "guest lecturer" for three of the last five years and these kids have me wrapped around their little fingers. See ( for some special moments with some wonderful people, young and only slightly less-young.

We had about forty girls and twenty boys. I had five boys in my two cabin rooms and took them out for a night hike after we got our room keys rather than organizing our junk. Junk never stays organized anyhow. That trip and those children were, surprise... joyful for my soul. I got to work with my friend, Ranger Dave Dahler again; I know him from a few years ago at Yosemite Association when I made a Sierra ecosystem presentation; he was my Naturalist for the first part of this trip. I was hiking up to Mirror Lake on Monday before the Election when, nearly at the top of the path, one student fell and crashed her knee. It hurt a whole lot; little Jaci didn't manage a single step without more tears until much later. The thought of missing Mirror Lake ("Mirror Meadow") brought even more tears. So I carried her up to the lake for the view and lent her my carved wooden Mountain Yellow Legged Frog and Jaci's eyes turned joyful once again. I did, however, have to lug her out on my back two miles to Camp Curry so now we're friends. Dave spelled me from Lamon's Apple Orchard to the Stables which was quite helpful; he had a class to teach at the same time so he's quite the hero. When I got her back to camp, I rolled her pant leg up to take another look at the sore spot and there was this giant bruise. "Oh, that's from soccer," she said; the new one showed up later. She was hobbling by dinner, went though Spider Cave (named for its shape on a map) on Tuesday, and hiked down the Four-Mile Trail with me on Wednesday. Jaci kept the frog all week and her friend Kelli borrowed my Red Legged Frog. By the end of the week, Jaci was explaining to everybody about how to carve frogs. Both students also learned about non-native trout and the demise of the frogs along with information about the worldwide decline of amphibians and how many unanswered questions there are about that. If Jaci had a single mom, I'd woo her just because she raised such a wonderful daughter. This student has a great way of being quite focused on what she's learning and she soaks up natural-history stories like a little sponge. She tends to try to get every detail just right so I had a very good time telling her about geology as a study where we struggle with perfection but will never get there. I think it helped broaden her view of what being a natural-history student is like.

I was in Yosemite Monday, ran the election at the firehouse across the street from USGS in Menlo Park Tuesday, and went back to Yosemite Tuesday night. Pretty odd. I drove back to Yosemite after the election thinking I would wake up in the campground, go have breakfast Wednesday morning, and find out who won. NOT!

We squeezed in a trip to Glacier Point between snowstorms. All sixty of our students got to hike down the Four-Mile Trail from the rim of Yosemite Valley to the floor of this, one of the most magnificent canyons in on Earth.

Four Mile Trail

I shot seven rolls of film this week (one whole roll on the snowball fight; if you attack somebody with a snowball, you get a great photo a few seconds later. I attacked dads, students, teachers, naturalists...). That evening, I was moved to another Hiking Group so the kids would have somebody give them more experiences. A week later, the main memory of that "fill-in" was the boys and girls with wide eyes looking at the scenes and making explanations for me. Even after hiking down into the Valley all day, I found them gleeful for a night hike. I took them a mile and a half from Lost Arrow past the moonlit Royal Arches and related the geologic stories told by Blake, Whitney, Muir, and the glaciers.

Thursday, we moved the class to Wawona and learned about forests. I gave a lesson on plant succession and fire ecology not two miles from where I talked with David Brower two months earlier. I'm sad because the world lost him to cancer the day we began our Yosemite trip. I held a prayer circle for Dave with the children and gave them a little history of the development of the environmental movement and the pivotal role he played in all that.

Welcome to New Officers;
Thanks to the Outgoing!

We give a hearty thank you to Chair Bill Isherwood, FN-70, as he steps down from the office of Chair of the Chapter. He is looking forward to joining his wife, Dana, on travels around the world.

Our former Vice Chair, Lesley Ewing, FN-93, was elected to take his place. Lesley has been a major force in all activities of the chapter for several years. She is the first woman to serve as our Chair, and we wish her well in her new role.

Our new Vice Chair is Stephen E. Smith, Ph.D., FN-96, of Walnut Creek. Steve would rather be underwater than almost anywhere else. Among his watery activities, he is the U.S. project coordinator for the Kosrae Mooring Buoy and Reef Protection Project in Micronesia. He is a qualified PADI master scuba instructor; DAN and Red Cross instructor; member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences; and dive safety officer for St. Mary's College.

Dr. Stephen E. Smith, FN-96 (left) with Dr. Robert Schmieder (Cordell Expeditions and past Chair, Northern Calif. Chapter of The Explorers Club) Easter Island Expediton

We thank our Newsletter editor, Sue J. Estey, Ph.D., FN-92, who will be turning over her responsibilities to our new volunteer: Lee Langan, FN-99. Lee's business is the design and production of portable miniature sensors that measure carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc.

Fortunately, our Database keeper, Jerry Hughes, EAN-98; Treasurer Tom Hall, M.D., Ph.D., FN-97; and Webmaster, Mike Diggles, FN-92, will continue in their roles. Thanks to all of you.

Remember this: help is ALWAYS welcome; to volunteer, simply mention your willingness to any officer or any friend of an officer!

Reservations for the January 26, 2001, meeting

Sinbad's restaurant, San Francisco, Calif. Sinbad's is just south of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero near the foot of Mission Street. They have free validated parking, but the valets appreciate a gratuity.

Reservation form

Please reserve ____ spaces for January 26, 2001 at Sinbad's


Address (if changed): _________________________________________________________


Guests: ______________________________________________________________________

Please make your checks out to The Explorers Club and mail with this form to:

Stephen E. Smith
The Explorers Club
Northern California Chapter
402 Via Royal
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

$45 per person if postmarked by January 15, 2001.
$50 per person if postmarked later

If reserving after January 15, please call Steve Smith at 925-934-1051.

Reservations for the February 3, 2001, meeting

John Ascuaga's Nugget in Reno, Nevada.

Reservation form

Please reserve ____ spaces for February 3, 2001, at John Ascuaga's Nugget


Address (if changed): _________________________________________________________


Guests: ______________________________________________________________________

Please make your checks out to The Explorers Club and mail with this form to:

Stephen E. Smith
The Explorers Club
Northern California Chapter
402 Via Royal
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

$37.50 per person if postmarked by January 23, 2001.
$40 per person if postmarked after January 23

If reserving after January 23, please call Steve Smith at 925-934-1051.

"You're an explorer. You can't expect to change your clothes every three weeks."
- Col. Norman D. Vaughan, 93, last survivor of Admiral Byrd's 1928 Antarctic expedition.

Date created: 12/07/2000
Last modified: 01/20/2002

Content from Sue Estey, Lesley Ewing, and Mike Diggles, Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club
email newsletter comments to Lee Langan (
Web page by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster. email to Mike (
c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404

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