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1960 - Days to Remember
MARIE REMEMBERED: Seven Men Lost at Sea Expanding the Frontiers of Infrared
(Short documentary, 19min)
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
Seven men set out at sunrise, 7 am, Tuesday, June 7, 1960 on the converted landing craft Marie from Santa Barbara Harbor. Their destination? The waters off Santa Cruz Island, most likely around Smugglers Cove. Their mission? Testing underwater classified infrared communication equipment as part of a U.S. defense industry Raytheon-related contract. The Marie and those seven men (scientist, engineers, scuba divers, and a guest) were never seen alive again.
An extensive air and sea search (2075 square miles) resulted in the recovery of four bodies, nine life preservers, two hatch covers, a white bucket, and a sweatshirt. To date no other equipment or debris from the MARIE has been found. The three other victims aboard the Marie perished - their bodies or effects have never been recovered. "It is opined that a structural failure could have occurred... This of course does not preclude the possibility of collision with a submerged object or an unidentified vessel." LIONEL H. de SANTY, Coast Guard Senior Investigating Officer.
While the "Marie" and men's disappearance is certainly of interest, it's the infrared science and technology being conducted on behalf of underwater covert communication, detection, tracking, and trailing of items like submarines and missiles along with the loss of Dr. Niel F. Beardsley that places the shipwreck tragedy on the Cold War timeline. The technology Dr. Beardsley influenced is found in other reconnaissance efforts like the U2 spy planes and Corona spy satellite.
TIMELINE of EVENTS
Tue, June 7, 7:00am: Seven men (A scientist, three engineers, and three crew) set out from Santa Barbara harbor on the vessel MARIE with a destination of the clear waters off Santa Cruz Island - the white sand ocean floor off Smugglers Cove was considered perfect for their covert infrared communications equipment tests.
Wed, June 8: This day marked the building awareness that the MARIE was overdue from its journey. The lack of ship to shore communications made it difficult to determine if the MARIE had issued a distress call or made a change of plans. Due to the experience of the men aboard the MARIE, a search and rescue effort was delayed.
Thu, June 9: US Coast Guard Search - At or about 9:00 AM on 9 June 1960, the MARIE was reported to be overdue from its voyage to Santa Cruz Island, said Chief Warrant Officer John Westbury, in command of the Santa Barbara Coast Guard units, to the Santa Barbara News press 10Jun60. He delayed sending the missing boat report to Coast Guard District 11 headquarters until he had checked the neighboring harbors to ensure the MARIE hadnt been forced into one of them and safely moored. Once reported to the CGD11, the Search and Rescue snowballed and by that afternoon the Santa Barbara Channel was being searched by sea and air. The search continued far into the late night hours aided by the light of flares dropped from search aircraft. Coast Guardsmen at the scene continued to search for signs of the boat and for any bodies reported seen by aircraft. The first victim recovered, Paul Lovette was found wearing a shirt, trousers, tennis shoes and wearing a life preserver. The Santa Barbara County Coroner determined Lovette's death was due to massive hemorrhaging caused by loss of flesh on upper and lower limbs when attacked by large fish. The Coast Guard search effort afloat was led by the CG95334, Cape Sable, commanded by QM1 Jimmie O. Spear.
Fri, June 10: The CG95334 Cape Sable continued its search effort throughout the night. Early in the day two US Coast Guard aircraft and a US Air Force helicopter joined the search effort. By late afternoon, a second victim was recovered. Harold Mackie was found fully clothed and wearing two life preservers. It has been speculated by some that his wearing of two life preservers suggests that there was time to respond prior to the MARIE's sinking.
Sat, June 11: The official Coast Guard Search and Rescue was suspended on Saturday, June 11 and both the Coast Guards 95ft. and 83ft. cutters returned to port in the SB Harbor. After 39 hours of searching the Coast Guards 83ft. cutter was ordered to sea again at the request of families of the missing men who still held out hope that some of the five men may have made it to one of the islands in the still missing 12ft skiff (row boat) the MARIE carried - they searched again the north shores of Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands.
Tue, June 14: A group of twelve men on the Sea Song, a yacht owned by Charles Beguhl, continue the search around Santa Cruz Island (This search is pictured with the in the foreground of the MARIE Commemoration Artwork.). With Beguhl on the boat were Frank Dobysns, Peter Volden, Julian Brown, Paul Smith, Glenn Grazee, Joe Fernandez, Albert Terres, Diego Terres Sr., Gene McGeorge, Jim Bryson, and Ed Deering.
Wed, June 15: At about 6:00PM a third victim, L. Dale Howell, was found by a Navy boat 11 miles southeast of Port Hueneme. He was fully clothed and wearing a life preserver. The Ventura Country Coroner determined cause of death to be shock due to exposure.
Sat, June 18: Nine men aboard the yacht, Sea Song, , owned by Charles Beguhl, set out on their second private search for the four men still missing. The search was along the coast in the general area where three bodies were found. With Beguhl on the boat were Frank Dobysns, Peter Volden, Julian Brown, Paul Smith, Glenn Grazee, Joe Fernandez, Albert Terres, Diego Terres Sr.
Tue, June 21: A fourth victim, James C. Russell was found washed ashore about 1.5 miles South of Point Mugu. There was no mention of him wearing a life preserver. The resulting autopsy indicated he died of exposure, shock, and possible drowning.
ALL BUT ONE: Services for all but one of those aboard the MARIE were held before the end of June. Memorial services for Hugh James (Jim) McCaffrey were conducted at the Old Mission. Memorial services for Dr. Niel F. Beardsley, James C. Russell and Dale Howell were conducted in the chapel at Welch-Ryce Asso. Private services were conducted for Harold H. Mackie Jr. The body of Paul Timothy Lovette was returned to Canton, N.C., for services and burial.
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July 27: Cmdr Lionel H. deSanty, the senior investigating officer, 11th Coast Guard District, filed his conclusions, "it is opined that a structural failure could have occurred since the vessel's underwater body had not been inspected since 1958. The large concentration of weight on a small area of the cockpit and after deck would tend to raise stresses for which the vessel was not designed. This of course does not preclude the possibility of collision with a submerged object or an unidentified vessel."
US Coast Guard: Report 27 July 1960 preserved in the Howell family archives.
Military and National Archives of Ship Logs, Command Histories, etc.
News reported coast-to-coast most preserved in Grandmother Terres' scrapbook.
Rejoice because we can.
Last Updated: 2-June--2015 Copyright © 2001-2015 Teresa Newton-Terres All Rights Reserved.