The Hunt for the Lost Clipper

Welcome to The Lost Clipper blog

Since 1999, I have sought to answer the nearly forgotten question of "What happened to the Hawaii Clipper?" Together with you, the readers of this blog, I intend to complete work on a book and documentary on the who, what, where, when and specifically why the Pan Am flying boat and its passengers & crew vanished. Thanks for your visit and I hope you will join and return to this blog often.
  • Just a Common Soldier
  • Inside the OSMO Case
  • Guy in Truk Lagoon on the Hunt for the allusive proof Hawaii Clipper
  • Maysak
  • Life in an Archive: A Visit to the Pan Am Collection | Universit


Remeber those who have served this Veterans Day

Today, we all should recognize Veterans Day.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice – truce – was signed by the Allies and Germany, thus halting the carnage of World War I. The official end of the war was declared by the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. World War I pulverized parts of Europe and left nearly 30 million soldiers wounded or dead. Some predicted it would be the war to end all wars but sadly was not.

Armistice Day became an official holiday in 1938 and following WWII and the Korean War, many veterans pushed to expand the significance of Armistice Day to include all those who served their country. President Dwight Eisenhower and Congress authorized changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of all conflicts America has entered. Consequently, Veterans Day is more encompassing than Memorial Day, which primarily honors our fallen warriors.

Veterans Day is designated to commemorate all living and deceased veterans who heeded the call of duty. That would include those missing in action, our wounded warriors, former prisoners of war and millions of veterans who have served both in war and peace and today our veterans are stationed around the globe providing disaster relief, fighting ISIS and helping to keep us safe.  On this day, and every day, let us be thankful for their service and pray for their safety and eventual return home.

God Bless America and our veterans and think of them as you watch this tribute video:

Just a Common Soldier

Just a Common Soldier

“Say Hello To My Little Friend”


Ok, Ok, I am NO Tony Montana from Scarface but I DO have a really sweet new tool to use in the search for the Hawaii Clipper. Meet the newest addition to the Lost Clipper Team: The DJI Osmo! This compact yet very flexible camera is a tool that will give us the much needed filming stability in a robust form factor for shooting in compact places that would prohibit the use of a tripod. As a bonus; it shoots in 4K and can be used to film stable time lapses and other creative filmmaking techniques that will help us not only tell the story of the search for the missing flying boat but also the story of the people working hard to solve the mystery.



The DJI Osmo is a new camera tool in the arsenal of a well known UAV (drone) company that decided to create their own camera platform instead of relying on the ubiquitous GoPro Hero series. Our GoPro Hero 3 and 4 have been solid work horses over three past visits to Truk Lagoon, and now with the addition of the Osmo, we can finally have the stability of a 4k drone camera in our hands. On our most recent trip, we used another stabilized camera gimbal (two in fact) and both failed. Can you say total Rip Off?? These were both $400 each so it was a hard lesson is learning that you get what you pay for. Fortunately, they both lasted just long enough to help get the imagery needed to tell the story from interesting locations. DJI is a Chinese company known thought out the UAV Camera World as makers of the Phantom 2, Phantom 3, the Inspire 1 (also in our inventory for the next mission) and the video production workhorse Ronin. If you would like to see their very cool and highly interesting gadgets, click here: DJI

Inside the OSMO Case

Inside the OSMO Case

The main reason I am using my blog to share this new investment in specialized equipment is to make you aware of how serious the mission to locate, secure and repatriate the missing Americans is to me and my fellow researchers. This stuff is paid for 100% out of my pocket and no one else. If I am willing to put my own $$$ into the effort, then it is mine to use and loose (hopefully not). And it happens… but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make in order to make the best ever attempt at solving this seventy seven year old mystery.

A closer look at how the Osmo is held secure within its DJI case

A closer look at how the Osmo is held secure within its DJI case

Again, thanks for checking in, thanks for spreading the word, and thanks for all your messages and information about Pan am Airways and the clipper saga. Without you and your assistance, we would not be nearly as far as we are.

Until the next sunrise on Truk Lagoon, thank you.

Let’s Do It!


The Lost Clipper Promo

Thanks for checking out the latest promo for the Lost Clipper project…


And Yet Another Anniversary Approaches

With July 29th quickly approaching, I reflect on all the July 29 anniversaries that have come and gone to mark the day that the Hawaii Clipper disappeared over the Pacific ocean,  While the ultimate question of how or why is still being asked, I wonder about the numbers of people doing the asking and how those numbers are steadaly shrinking.  Often I am asked why do I care or why do you persist in this endeavor? Good question.  I don’t have a simple answer.

Aside from personally meeting some of the children still effected by the loss of their father or relative and the effort / cost of visiting Chuuk Lagoon three separate times within six years, it has been one of those mysteries that I just can’t let go of.  You’ve been there, watching a great movie with a cliff hanger or that book late at night that won’t allow you to go to sleep, well that is (partially) what the Hawaii Clipper legend is to me.  Sure, I have wondered what will be written on that last page of the last chapter that tightely sums up my years of research and adventuring, but at this apparent late stage in the process, it has not been revealed to anyone what those words will be.  I hope they will be definitive and factual. I hope they will answer questions and finally put to rest all the theories, conjectures and arguments as to who did what and why.  Will they?  Again, I hope so.   However hope won’t solve the mystery, people will.  I, along with the most amazing group of selfless individuals such as Jeff Riegel, Bill Stinnett, Corky Stinnett (the whole family really),Tony Johnson, Myron Hashiguchi, Dan Bailey, Larry Mclean, Fran Hezel, Mason Fritz, Ron Jackson, Charlie Hill, Joe Gervais, Dr. James Lee, Esther Sauceda, Jon Krupnick, Peter Leslie, and many many more, have not only made this dream possible but also worthwhile and honorable.  As the time comes again to ponder what has been accomplished so far and what still remains to be done, I can only thank and honorably mention those and the unsung helpers.  From distant archives, research floors, military bases and elsewhere that have literally labored to help keep the fire burning to my family and friends, all share a genuine stake in solving the Mystery of the Lost Clipper.

Guy in Truk Lagoon on the Hunt for the allusive proof Hawaii Clipper

Guy in Truk Lagoon on the Hunt for the allusive proof Hawaii Clipper – Photo by Jeff Riegel

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from those who are still waiting to learn the ultimate fate of their still missing loved ones abourd trip #229 on July 29, 1938.

Rest in Peace.

A Day of Independence

July 4, 2015

From Guy, Jeff and everyone across the USA to Micronesia helping to put this special project together… to all our readers in the states and anywhere else in this free world, we wish you and your families a happy and safe Forth of July!

Freedom in America
Isn’t really free;
We often pay a price
To keep our liberty.

Remember those we loved,
Who fought for us, and died;
And those we never knew
For whom others mourned and cried.

Memorial Day: ‘Just a Common Soldier’

Memorial Day May 25, 2015

Profile picture for Freedom Alliance

Here in the United States, today is Memorial Day.  We wanted to share with you a brief video that has great impact, especially today, but no matter where you are in this world.  Guy produced, edited and put this together for The Freedom Alliance. Freedom Alliance supports our troops and their families through educational scholarships, recreational therapy, and activities that help injured heroes heal.

‘Just A Common Soldier’, also known as ‘A Soldier Died Today’, is one of the most popular poems on the Internet. Written and published in 1987 by Canadian veteran and columnist A. Lawrence Vaincourt, it now appears in numerous anthologies, on thousands of websites and on July 4, 2008 it was carved into a marble monument at West Point, US. Set to music by the author’s son, composer Randy Vancourt, it has been released several times as a record, most recently on November 1st, 2013 by American singer Connie Francis.

After syndicated U.S. advice columnist Ann Landers reprinted parts of Vaincourt’s poem in 1991, it went the pre-digital equivalent of viral throughout the English-speaking world. In 2005, the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y, incorporated words from the poem into a marble monument. In 2009, the Royal British Legion sought and gained permission to use Just a Common Soldier as part of its annual poppy campaign. This year marks the poem’s 25th anniversary.

“Larry” Vaincourt grew up in the Châteauguay Valley and was living in Deux-Montagnes when he wrote Just A Common Soldier. His wife, Doreen, still lives in the home where the couple raised five sons, including Randy, who lives in Toronto today and handles reprinting requests for the poem.

Vaincourt only started working as a columnist for the Watchman in 1983, which was the year he turned 60 and sold the last of the photo studios he had long operated in Pointe-Claire and Deux-Montagnes. In 2004, he won the Quebec Community Newspaper Association award for best column, for his humorous account of the long underwear he had worn during the Second World War, when he had served in England as an airplane mechanic with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Vaincourt also wrote a novel, which he finished a month before he died in 2009, and has yet to be published.

His son Randy says he wrote Just a Common Soldier at a time when some of his friends at the local Legion in Deux-Montagnes had started to die: “His circle of friends had started to get smaller and smaller, and these were just ordinary soldiers like him, and he thought about how little the public knew about all these ordinary men and women who had served.”

Shortly after he had written the poem, he sent an item on a whim to Ann Landers titled the Tissue Issue, about the proper way to place a roll of toilet paper — with the paper rolling out over the top of the roll, or out from under the bottom? Landers never published the item, but it sparked an ongoing personal correspondence and friendship. In 1991, Vaincourt was about to publish Rhymes and Reflections, the first of three books of his columns and poems, when he asked Landers for an endorsement for the book jacket — and she said yes. Vaincourt sent her a copy of the book, and it was while reading it that she came across Just a Common Soldier.

No matter where you today, remember those fallen heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that you could live a better life. Please share this video with your friends and family, especially on a day like today.

VE Day, Then and Now

May 8, 2015

Today marks the 70th anniversary to the end of World War II.

What was VE Day?

London revellers dancing in the streets on VE Day

London revelers dancing in the streets on VE Day

  • VE Day held on 8 May, 1945, celebrated the end of war in Europe
  • The British government had been planning the celebration from late 1944. The code word ‘MOUSETRAP’ alerted ministers when VE Day was imminent
  • Bunting was taken off rations, pubs stayed open late and searchlights were used to light public monuments
  • Churchill broadcast to the nation at 3pm from Whitehall. Listeners later heard their first weather forecast since war had begun
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) waving to crowds gathered in Whitehall on VE Day, 8th May 1945.

Then prime minister Winston Churchill addressed thousands of people from the Treasury balcony 70 years ago

On 8 May 1945 people across the country lit hundreds of bonfires and beacons to celebrate the end of the war.  70 years later, the Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh in lighting the first of hundreds of beacons in memorandum.

The Queen lighting beacon

Then and now, the country lit hundreds of bonfires and beacons to celebrate the end of the war.

Events held across Europe marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on the continent.

Vintage World War II planes flew down the National Mall on Friday afternoon as part of the 70th anniversary Victory in Europe celebration in Washington.

More than 50 military planes in 15 formations made their way down the Potomac River to the Lincoln Memorial and down Independence Avenue to the House office buildings before returning to airports in Culpeper and Manassas, Va.

They flew in sequenced formations recounting the biggest battles of World War II, from Pearl Harbor to the final assault on Japan.


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