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Heat Lightning, Venus, but No Planes, Seen In ROTC Search

Chase, Hutchins Get More Than They Bargained For By Taking "Colorado"

By Cleveland Amory

Two Naval Science students here, Irving H. Chase '39 and Richard B. Hutchins '41 were due for their summer cruise. Upon comparing the itinerary of the ship which was to take the Harvard and Yale ROTC boys with the itinerary of the "Colorado," which was to carry ROTC boys from the universities of Washington and California, Chase and Hutchins found the latter much more to their linking.

Two-for-One Swap

Fortunately for Chase and Hutchins two students from the sunkist land wished to be allowed to transfer to the eastern boat and so get a chance to acquire Harvard accent and Yale sneers. Accordingly, a swap was arranged which was not so successful as a swap, since one of the California never appeared in eastern climes. He was a gridster of no mean ability and it is believed that he was picked up by a man named Crisler, who was looking for tie-layers at a small junction in New Jersey.

But, to return to Chase and Hutchins, Arriving in San Francisco, they boarded the "Colorado" and were soon headed in the direction of the Hawaiian Islands. On one of their off afternoons at the islands, the boys were basking on the sands of Waikiki beach. A newsboy appeared, shouting the fact that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were lost. Chase and Hutchins were sorry, but they went right on basking, little realizing what was to happen.

Search Begun

That night, in the middle of a delightful country club dance, the order came for all members of the "Colorado" to board ship and look for the lost aviators. Chase and Hutchins were very sorry this time but were unable to go on dancing.

The "Colorado" spent most of its time refueling four destroyers, two airplanes, the coast guard cutter "Itasca," and the Navy mine sweeper which was supposed to have refueled the aviators at Howland Island. Captain William Fridell soon tired of this menial task, however, and put for the phoenix Islands, nearly 300 miles south of the equator. The captain figured that winds and current would have driven the lost pair south.

Venus Appears

Wherever the winds and current drove the aviators, it soon became apparent that they were not in the vicinity of the Phoenix Islands. But the searchers had a couple of exciting moments. Once, said Chase, we thought we saw a light on the horizon, but it turned out to be heat lightning. Again, we really did see a light on the horizon, but it was no plane, merely, Venus putting in a 2 A.M. appearance.

The boys saw other sights on Phoenix Island. They even saw the remains of the recent Harvard eclipse expedition down there, and they went close enough to be sure that nobody had been left behind in that lonely spot.

After 23 days at sea, during which time they had been ashore only at the Hawaiian islands, the search was abandoned. It was abandoned partly because the order came to that effect and partly because, according to Chase, "the sailors wanted very much to go ashore."

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