Today I bring you one of the photos I recently unearthed that is certainly a blast front the past.
Pictured is a Grumman SA-16 Albatross used by the US Department of the Interior on the parking ramp of what is today’s Weno International Airport. For those of you who don’t know, Weno and its airport serves the interior of Chuuk Lagoon (aka Truk Lagoon) on the island of Moen and is the gateway for todays visiting scuba divers and World War II enthusiast to the region.
This particular photo was taken by amateur Amelia Earhart hunter Major Joseph Gervais in November of 1964 while he was looking for her lost aircraft in Truk. He ended up not finding the missing Lockheed Electra but rather, a downed Japanese Betty Bomber nearly succumbed to a mangrove swamp. The Grumman Albatross in this photo is how Joe made it to and from the island when it was still an off-limits area closed to only the military, various government entities and the local population. There were 466 aircraft built and this one was number 11. She served with Transocean Airlines (ex. USAF) from May, 1954 to 1960 and then transferred to Pan Am World Airways on Guam from 1960 to 1968. It was later sold to Air Micronesia (Air Mike) and flew from 1968 to February of 1970 and returned to the Air Force and held off line until 1996 when it was then struck off the USCR.