Friday, December 14, 2012

Eureka!


The mystery behind the L-8 is what was going on aboard the ship that lead to the crash and the mysterious disappearance of the two men inside the gondola of the L-8 suspended high above the Pacific.

I was able to make a breakthrough when I looked outside of the box.

The first breakthrough I made was when I started trying to understand the blimp program. Why travel from San Francisco Bay to the Farralones and up to Reyes Point and back again.
Protecting the Bay and the shipping would seem critical so that made sense but I went to the National Archives to figure out if the program records were there. I was still looking for the L-8 inquest records which were not where they should be. Unfortunately this scenario is all too common. Unable to locate those records  I looked for clues to start with that might help figure out why Cody and Adams disappeared.

I spent months going through indexes looking for anything related to lighter than air aircraft, Navy programs, names involved in the story, and any of the locations.I kept lists of names handy just for the purpose of searches.

Lots of searches and little to no progress.
That is until I started looking at the account payable records for the Navy.
 I was working for the finance department of a large insurance company at the time, running their computer technology group. I'm a computer geek by profession and the finance work was new and interesting to me so it just more or less popped into my head that finance records could offer up a clue.  As Deep Throat of Woodward and Bernstein fame said, "Follow the money."

 Then one day I came across the AP records for the Navy for equipment that was shipped to the Farralones. That seemed reasonable but with so few leads I stored it away in my notes. Then I came across records for shipments to Reyes Point.

I have a brother who lived in the area around San Francisco and I was remotely familiar with Reyes Point but only as a scenic area. What was Reyes Point that made it worth protecting via blimp patrol and who/what/where in Reyes Point would be getting a shipment of electronic goods?

The answer? Bell Labs!

I'd worked for Bell Labs as a consultant for many years here in New Jersey so I understood the scope of the work they did was broader than just phones. In fact I worked at AT&T Bel Labs Federal Systems on a Navy contract developing new sonar systems for submarines in the early 90's. Bell Labs was the best place to work and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't mourn its passing.

What could they be doing at Bell Labs and the Farralone Islands?
Curiouser and curiouser...


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