Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West
Gertrude Tompkins Search Updates
Articles, Videos and Audio
G. Pat Macha Updates
August 26, 2010
Elizabeth Tompkins Whittall, sister of Gertrude Tompkins Silver, died August 21, 2010 age 101. She is survived by a son, daughter, five grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren. Elizabeth lived to see her beloved sister and all WASP pilots honored by the Congressional Gold Medal issued on March 10, 2010. Elizabeth is the grandmother of Laura Whittall-Scherfee, who is most responsible for the on-going search for Gertrude’s missing P-51D crash site.
We offer our sincere condolences to Elizabeth Whittall’s entire family, and we salute the memory of this remarkable woman.
G. Pat & Mary Jane Macha
August 8, 2010
Announcements will be made as developments warrant.
Nov. 19, 2009
With the Thanksgiving Holiday fast approaching the search for Gertrude Tompkins Silver has taken a brief but much needed break. Planning continues for the next search phase that will renew in 2010 thanks to the continued efforts of devoted volunteers, and some much needed help from government agencies. We are very grateful for the many individuals who gave of their time, resources, and energy during the extensive search in first week of October, 2009.
Kudos to Gary Fabian for identifying and sharing more than seventy targets in Santa Monica Bay, and to the UB88.Org team of divers and boat captains who participated in the search effort since April of 2009. Kudos to Chris Killian for helping to organize and fund the October ’09 search that included members of the Missing Aircraft Search Team, The Explorers Club, and to the divers who traveled from across the nation to make this an effective and productive team effort. Thanks also to the tireless efforts of Gene and Sandy Ralston whose side scan expertise was pivotal to this mission
Thanks to the King Harbor Yacht Club and the Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, whose members provided boats, skippers, and safe harbors for all team members at day’s end. Our appreciation also goes to the Tuna Club of Long Beach, the USCG, the Los Angeles County Lifeguards, and the Western Museum of Flight. We were honored to have Ken, Laura, and Guy Whittall-Scherfee participate in the search representing the Gertrude Tompkins family along with members of the news media, and film makers Dan Crowell, Jarel and Betty Wheaton, media boat skipper Bob Wyler and a host of others who welcomed, encouraged, and supported the 2009 search team efforts.
Sept. 6, 2009
On Sunday, October 4, 2009 from 1:00PM to 3:00PM members of the dive team and representatives of the news media will visit the Western Museum of Flight located on historic Zamperini Field/Torrance Airport to examine first hand an operational North American Aviation P-51D Mustang fighter plane. Noted P-51D pilot Mr. Bruce Guberman will be available to answer questions regarding the P-51’s history, flight characteristics, power plant and structure.
Click on link for map and
directions to Western Museum of Flight
Sept. 1, 2009
For immediate release: SEARCH FOR WASP PILOT RESUMES
Bay Search: Monday Oct. 5th through Saturday Oct. 10th
Locating the only missing WWII Women’s Air Force Service Pilot Gertrude V. “Tommy” Tompkins Silver and her North American Aviation P-51D “Mustang” fighter plane will be the focal point of this greatly expanded all volunteer search effort.
WASP Tompkins Silver disappeared October 26, 1944 without a trace, after taking off to deliver the factory fresh P-51D destined for Newark New Jersey, from what is now LAX.
In May of 2009 the UB88.org team, under the direction of Gary Fabian, resumed the Santa Monica Bay search effort.
This search will be augmented by an expedition of highly qualified divers, boat captains and their crews, aircraft and marine archaeologists, multibeam and side scan technicians, members of The Explorers Club, and the Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST).
G. Pat Macha: Media Relations / Project Facilitator
Cell (714) 345-9210
MEET THE SEARCH TEAM
Press Conference: Sunday Oct.
On display: P-51D Mustang “Man O’ War”
June 9, 2009
In late May 2009, thanks to Gary Fabian, Captain Ray Arntz
his Sundiver Crew, including master divers John Walker and Kendall Raine the
search effort for Gertrude’s P-51D has renewed on Santa Monica Bay. Updates
will be posted as developments warrant.
November 12, 2008
Related news video and articles
March 13, 2008
On Tuesday November 11, 2008 a luncheon will be held at the Proud Bird Restaurant near LAX to honor Gertrude “Tommy” Tompkins Silver, and to dedicate a memorial bronze plaque in her memory. The ultimate sacrifice of all thirty-eight WASP pilots who lost their lives during WWII will be recalled, and a tribute will be made for all our service men and women who remain missing and unaccounted for at home and aboard.
details will be posted soon regarding this important gathering.
November 23, 2007
again to the expert data analysis, target identification, and mapping done
by Gary Fabian our search for the North American Aviation P-51D Mustang
flown by Gertrude Tompkins Silver continues on Santa Monica Bay. Gary’s
efforts are aided by a very dedicated diver who has spent countless undersea
hours checking each and every anomaly that has been identified so far.
September 22, 2007
Thanks to the continued research efforts of Gary Fabian and the marvels of new technology we will have some new targets to examine in our prime search area.
again to Gary Fabian for his outstanding efforts. Update will be posted as
August 21, 2007
There have been no additional search missions on Santa Monica Bay since the early winter months of 2007. I do not know when we will be able to resume our efforts as our all volunteer team has been booked solid with scheduled paying work. We are not finished that’s for sure, but we are delayed. GPM 8/21/07
February 14, 2007
Search efforts will resume on Santa Monica Bay in March 2007 thanks to the continued efforts of our all volunteer crew.
Man of the sea extraordinaire at Dockweller Beach prior to the start of sub-bottom profiling (search for Gertrude Tompkins Silver) in October of 2002. (far left)
Photo taken by Frank Jacobs in October '06 of Santa Monica Bay looking NW from the Palos Verdes Peninsula reminds us how substantial our search area is.
Search efforts on the bay have slowed as the winter season approaches. Updates will continue as developments warrant.
September 6, 2006
We are saddened to learn of the death of a good friend. Jon B. Jolly will be well remembered for his efforts to help in searching for Gertrude Tompkins Silver. He made two trips from his home in Seattle to work with us. He was a man of the sea, adventurer, innovator, and unforgettable character. He will be missed by all who knew him.
July 22, 2006
Sonar scanning continues in Santa Monica Bay through July and August. The expanded search area is being scrutinized very carefully thanks to the continued efforts of Gary Fabian and Ray Arntz. Eric Rosado's dive team remains available on an as needed basis.
June 12, 2006
up by Pat Macha:
May 2 - 9, 2006
Gary Fabian and Ray Arntz returned to Santa Monica Bay in the first two weeks of May. Several targets of interest were identified. Ray Arntz made the necessary dives to check them out. These targets turned out to be sections of pipe and a small sailboat wreck. Additional scans will be made in the expanded search area soon.
Ray Arntz Side scan sonar image
April 20, 2006
Side scan sonar search efforts resumed on 4/20/06. A 3,200' x 220' section was covered without result. More updates to follow.
January 25, 2006
On January 25, 2006 Gary Fabian and Ray Arntz began a side scan sonar search on Santa Monica Bay in the area indicated by eyewitness Frank Jacobs. This revised target area is farther off shore than the targets detected by Jon Jolly. Closer examination of the inshore targets will hopefully be accomplished this Spring. Gary Fabian has earned considerable acclaim for his discovery of the WWI German submarine the UB-88. We are very grateful for the assistance that Gary and Ray are bringing to this search effort.
This is the image of the wreck of the Palawan that Gary and Ray imaged using side scan sonar in Santa Monica Bay on 1/25/06. This image provides everyone with a good idea of what side scan sonar technology can do.
their web site at:
October 18, 2005
The JPAC Central Identification Laboratory at Hickham AFB in Hawaii has been asked to review the Gertrude Tompkins Silver disappearance. We are hopeful that JPAC may be able to bring resources and expertise to this search effort that will resolve this case.
The crew of the workboat Ranger still hopes to check two other targets of interest. Use of advanced magnetic detection is considered key to all future search efforts.
September 1, 2005
One dive in 110 feet of water was completed on 9/10/05 by Tyler Fenton, skipper of the workboat Ranger. He was unable to locate a previously mapped anomaly. Visibility was good at about 40 feet.
Operations scheduled for Sunday September 11, were cancelled late Saturday afternoon due to operational problems.
Renewed search efforts will resume in the near future.
October 26, 2004 marks the 60th anniversary of the disappearance of Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins Silver.
Thanks to offers of assistance from commercial deep sea diver Eric Rosado and his businessman brother Lewray we are studying the possibility of renewing search efforts in Santa Monica Bay for the P-51D flown by Gertrude Tompkins Silver.
On Monday February 7, 2005 the Western Museum of Flight will host the crew of workboat, Ranger, and members of the news media as they prepare for renewed search efforts on Santa Monica Bay.
Click on thumbnail to see large view!