Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All Roads Lead Home


The next break in figuring out what happened came after I had found the L8 Judge Advocate Generals inquest documents at the National Archives in Washington DC. The boxes were cataloged as part of the collection on Pennsylvania Ave but they couldn’t locate them and insisted for the longest time that, by the nature of the contents, the boxes should have moved to the NARA 2 location in College Park, Maryland. College Park did not have them either but kept pointing back to the DC NARA location.

I spent many days and weekends searching catalogs and talking to the research assistants looking for some way of finding the boxes. I became a regular and was probably engaging enough, or maybe “enraging” is the right word, that the staff huddled to hear about the L8 mystery.

Finally an older gentleman remembered a couple of boxes no one knew anything about sitting in a remote corner. The clouds parted and I had the L-8 inquest records!

From that I had the blueprints for the Enterprise ( sorry Star Trek fans that's the L-5 ), used during the inquest as well as photos and transcripts of the testimony of events. weather maps, radio log transcripts, evidence of what happened.

Not hearsay. Not vague assumptions. Sequence of events and times.


Names became the crib for the next breakthrough.
I’d gotten the public records for Cody and Adams from the Department of Defense. Another challenge involved getting the people handling the request to find records for the two men. Each time I sent a request with the birth place and date of death and explained the story of how these two men disappeared and were declared dead, I received a polite note saying these two men did not exist.

It was only after I tipped the scales and my persistence was more annoying than looking that I got word that they had found the records for Dewitt Cody. Cody's record came in the form of a two sheet letter listing his date of birth and a synopsis of his military record. Adam’s records were still MIA but after I gave them the service record number for Cody they were able to find Adams since the formers folder mentioned the latter’s. His record came after a long time in a thick envelope.

It contained paper treasure!

Armed with his information I re-requested Cody's record and this time was pleasantly surprised to get the whole set of contents of his public records.
Interesting tidbits came flowing out. Where they were born. Where they served.
Many interesting things about the two men. There careers and and an insight into who they were.
Adams was present at a number of air disasters. He was part of the ground crew present at the crash of the Hindenburg. He was at Pearl harbor on Dec 7th 1941. He was born in Pennsylvania, but married a woman from Boonton, NJ. I’d lived in Boonton for years and now live nearby. So the road for the story brings me close to home and includes a turning point in the story.

I tried to absorb as much of their lives as possible since I couldn’t tell what was important or not.
I ran off looking for more clues, a whirlwind of research, hunting for clues and evidence of what really happened to the crew of the L-8.

One important thing I did was start ordering the DOD records for all of the key people in the testimony.
Imagine my surprise when I find that one by one, everyone involved has come from New Jersey. Some months before but most within a few weeks or days.

It is at this point I realize that there’s more to the story than “they fell out” and it takes me home - quite literally, but more on that later - to New Jersey and Lakehurst..and another accident!

The incident of the L8 is the third and final act in a three act play. It lead me to understand a part of WW2 I never really knew existed.

The story behind the story is about brilliant people and heroes. It's about the tools used to win the war and how those tools were developed and changed the world. It's about the people from all over the planet who made that happen. And accidents happened - the L8 wasn’t the first and it wouldn’t be the last - and still the people who developed the technology to help win the war kept their hearts and minds on what mattered, in silence, thinking of the greater good.

The story isn’t really about an accident it’s about those noble and brilliant people all over the planet who saw or suffered the evil in the world and did something about without regard for gain, accolades, or stopping when death was staring them in the face. It showed me the good and noble in a world gone mad.Somewhere in there, there's a story that is relevant in these troubling times and what's really important.

I believe that you can judge a persons real character when it's dark, cold, wet, alone, under tension. Peoples true spirit  will come out under those conditions and real character will show. 

The story also involves "smoke and mirrors" that comes from the need to keep things secret. There are  the things you can see and the things that are really going on. Everything has a public and secret side. Things are not necessarily what they seem taken at face value.

I’ll leave you with a something to look into before the next post. OSRD - Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Stay tuned and if you came to this blog through a web search engine, be sure to check out for documents and photos related to the L-8!


ps: I’d like to wish everyone a...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku
Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr
Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année
메리 크리스마스와 새해 복 많이
Веселого Рождества и Счастливого Нового Года
Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Feliz Nadal e un Feliz ano
Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo
לעבעדיק ניטל און אַ מזל ניו יאָר
Feliz Navidad y un Feliz Año Nuevo
Срећан Божић и Срећна Нова Година
  عيد ميلاد سعيد وسنة جديدة سعيدة


  1. I just posted this comment on Dr.Goska's facebook, and thought i would add it here.

    Yes, this is a mystery, and when it comes to war, when the lies and the secrecy intensifies, you never know what you might turn up. And the thought that a brain-damaged Lt.Cody might have survived... if so, what happened to him? Did he become a homeless person, who died out there on the streets? I do wish his mum-in-law had gone up to him and talked to him, though I can see her dilemma. Especially given that her daughter had a child from the new marriage. I wonder what else you might discover Otto.
    A few seconds ago · Like

    1. Thanks Sue. I've been trying to figure out what records might exist that might help figure out if he did survive and is buried somewhere. Police arrest reports, dead certificates for unknown deceased...
      The American Southwest would have been sparse and so it would be easy to come and go unnoticed and leave no evidence at the time.


Comments should be topical and civil. Questions are welcome but I may not be able to always supply answers. - Otto