The Hunt for the Lost Clipper

Welcome to the Lost Clipper blog post

Over the past fourteen years, 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.


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.

BIG news coming soon!

Patricia Kennedy christens the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper flying boat with coconut water in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - May, 1936

Patricia Kennedy christens the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper flying boat with coconut water in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – May, 1936

Greetings everyone!  As we enter the month of May, it made me think back to another May in 1936 when the Hawaii Clipper was christened in the still waters of Pearl Harbor between Ford Island and Pearl City.  My fellow traveler and filmmker colleague Jeff Riegel and I visited that very spot last year and it still holds a “spookiness” about it.  That however is not the BIG news..   What is it you ask?   Stay tuned!

As for the photo, nine year old Pat is photographed saying ““I christen thee Hawaii Clipper for the American Territory of Hawaii.”



Super Typhoon Maysak strikes Truk Lagoon

On March 31 at 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT), Super typhoon Maysak’s maximum sustained winds were near 140 knots (161.1 mph/ 259.3 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended 40 nautical miles (46 mile/74 km) from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended 100 nautical miles (115 miles/185 km) from the center.   Power has been intermittent in the lagoon and a lot of people have reported great damage to their fragile homes.  We at The Lost Clipper Foundation are expressing our concern and prayers for the quick response of local authorities in the restoration of services and assistance to everyone effected.

As of this morning, MaysakMaysak is moving west-northwest through Yap State in Micronesia, and is continuing to strengthen. The JTWC forecast calls for Maysak to peak at 155 knots (178.4 mph/ 287.1 kph) in one or two days’ time, before a weakening trend commences. Maysak is currently forecast to make landfall in Luzon sometime on April 5 as a typhoon.

Read more at:

Life in an Archive: A Visit to the Pan Am Collection

Reprinted article by Steve Hersh and Jason Sylvestre with permission from the University of Miami:

Life in an Archive_ A Visit to the Pan Am Collection _ University of Miami Libra

Life in an Archive: A Visit to the Pan Am Collection | University of Miami Libraries

Life in an Archive: A Visit to the Pan Am Collection | University of Miami Libraries


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