In Memorium

Ward W. Heim Jr.

Salem OR, 15 JUL 2002

Ward was not a member of the AFPMA but he is listed on The Wall to honor him as a Photomapper and make it easier for others who may be looking for him. He was born on 24 Nov 1935 and flew as a navigator with the 1375th Mapping and Charting Squadron while in Photomapping.

Gordon Barnes

6 Mar. 2002

Thaddeus Vincenty

Thaddeus Vincenty, the architect of much of the theoretical underpinnings for the 1983 readjustment of the North American Horizontal Datum, died on March 6, 2002 at the age of 81. Because of the tumultuous circumstances of his early life his geodetic career did not begin until almost his fiftieth decade. But from the 1960's through the 1980's his flow of publications, noted for both originality and usefulness, stamped him as one of the most outstanding geodesists of that period.

Born in rural southern Poland in 1920, Vincenty's early schooling was marked by his propensity for foreign languages. He became fluent in German and he learned English through self-teaching manuals. His formal education was interrupted by World War II and was never renewed. He underwent many hardships during the war, eventually ending in a displaced persons camp in Germany where his language versatility proved useful. Through the help of American relatives he emigrated to the U. S. in 1947, and a few months afterwards enlisted in the U. S. Air Force. His first ten years there involved mainly administrative assignments.

In 1957 he met a fellow airman who performed land surveys for the Air Force. Vincenty became fascinated and applied for assignment to this specialty. He took numerous mail correspondence courses in astronomy, surveying and mathematics, and learned how to program computers. Within 5 years he had become sufficiently adept to publish his first paper. His uniformed service in the Air Force ended in 1967. But his geodetic work continued unbroken as he retained essentially the same duties as a civilian.

During his span at the Air Force his favorite setting for publication was Survey Review (SR) which featured over a dozen articles by him. Vincenty's first paper, mentioned above, appeared in SR 129, July 1963. It compared the angle and direction methods for performing triangulation adjustments and unequivocally advocated the former. The careful and thorough numerical evidence by which he reached this conclusion was an earmark of his subsequent work which was always noted by its emphasis on precise reasoning, unambiguity, and specific computational recipes for obtaining the desired result. A uniform thread through all his research was the emphasis on efficiency, in the sense of achieving the optimal balance between precision and economy.

His special interests were geometric geodesy and adjustment procedures, and his investigations in these fields illustrated his goal of efficiency.? For example, he would weigh (in the context of the 1960's and 70's) the respective advantages of desk calculators vs electronic computers, the latter being more cumbersome to program and access with perhaps no decisive edge in accuracy. Examples: (1) resection of azimuths from flare observations (SR 132, 1964); (2) transformation between geographic coordinates on different datums (SR 137, 1965); (3) computing meridional arcs (SR 161, 1971); (4) three-point resection from plane and geographic coordinates (SR 168, 1973). In a similar vein he would compare iterative and closed methods, with the aim of discerning the most efficient technique. In the case of solving the direct and inverse problems on the ellipsoid he favored the iterative approach (SR 176, 1975) and maintained his position in a critique of a closed solution many years later (Surveying and Mapping, Sept. 1985). But he was not a proponent per se of either desk calculators or iterative methods; he chose whatever means proved most efficient. The formulas he developed for the transformation of geodetic data between ellipsoids demonstrated a non-iterative technique for electronic computing (J. Geophys. Res., May 15, 1966), and in SR 189 (1978, pp.291-3) he published an elegant set of closed equations for the intersection problem on the ellipsoid. He himself became an expert programmer.

During the 1970's Vincenty undertook an exhaustive study of trilateration adjustment culminating in his article in SR 193 (1979) yielding comparative accuracy for a variety of choices for handling the data. It is probably the final word on the utilization of electronic distance measurements. A useful byproduct was an unprecedented accuracy of 1 part in 5 million gained in a trilateration adjustment at the McDonald Observatory in Texas, needed for its lunar ranging observations (SR 189, 1978, pp.295-302).

In early 1976 the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) recruited Vincenty by offering him a key role in its planned readjustment of the 1927 North American Horizontal Datum (NAD 27). After almost 30 years of uniformed and civilian service with the U. S. Air Force, Vincenty uprooted his family from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and moved to Washington Grove, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, D. C., where he remained for the rest of his life.

NAD 27, the official basis for horizontal positioning in North America for the past fifty years, needed replacement. NGS recognized that a critical component of the new adjustment would be the formulation of a mathematical model to meet current requirements for accuracy and adaptability.? In NOAA Professional Paper NOS 2 "North American Datum of 1983", the official report of the project, it is stated " The mathematical model for the NAD readjustment was the height-controlled three-dimensional system. This formulation ... is conceptually simpler than the classical model for observation equations on the ellipsoid and is therefore easier to program for computers. Most important, it facilitates the combination of terrestrial data with space systems data (such as Doppler positions and VLBI position differences) in a straightforward way." Vincenty developed, implemented, and conceived essential features of that model.

The height-controlled three-dimensional system provided more computational flexibility than the conventional two-dimensional ellipsoidal configuration. Since this was to be an adjustment of a horizontal network, the height component was not adjusted. However, Vincenty realized that all components of space observables, like VLBI, would affect the desired solution. His most original concept was that of a "dual height" system in which the original height of a network station remained fixed, but, if three-dimensional observations were available at that point, all components of the latter (including the height component) would be utilized in adjusting the terrestrial coordinates. He later claimed (Surveying and Mapping, 1989) that "there are few problems...easier to grasp than this one". Nevertheless, the implementation involved many non-trivial details which were spelled out in a series of NGS Technical Memoranda and journal articles (e. g., Bulletin Geodesique, 1980, pp. 37-43).

Vincenty's contribution to the final result, known as NAD 83, was crucial. He was recognized by being presented the NOAA Meritorious Service Award in 1982. The official report of the project dedicated NAD 83 to William Bowie, who was responsible for NAD 27. Of course, Bowie, who had been long deceased and profusely honored otherwise, had nothing to do with NAD 83. My personal opinion is that it might have been more appropriate to dedicate it to Vincenty who had already retired by the time the report was issued in 1990.

After a ten year stint with NGS Vincenty retired in 1986. He continued his geodetic interests, publishing a number of articles in Surveying and Mapping on a variety of topics, still emphasizing his interests in geometric geodesy and adjustment theory. His last geodetic article, an exposition of the dual height system, appeared in 1989.

Vincenty was highly respected by all his associates in the Air Force and NGS. But, although he maintained many outside contacts, principally with B. R. Bowring with whom he collaborated on several papers, he was not as well-known in the general geodetic community as he should have been. Partly this was because he had little interest in the political aspects of geodetic associations and partly because a circulatory ailment hampered his mobility, thus restricting travel to meetings. He was invariably the first one to arrive at NGS in the morning, enabling him to obtain a head start on his tasks, but also securing the closest possible parking space for his car, thereby? minimizing the distance to traverse to his desk. His co-workers remember him especially for his penchant for acronyms, for example, the computer program HOACOS (Horizontal Adjustment in Controlled Space, pronounced "hocus", as in "hocus-pocus"). But undoubtedly the best recognized is the one applied to himself-TV-by which he was affectionately known, addressed, and referred to.

Geodesy was not TV's monolithic preoccupation. After retirement he renewed his interest in his native language and wrote general articles and poetry in Polish. He loved music and taught himself to play the piano, violin and mandolin. He enjoyed a happy family life with his wife, Barbara, his three children, and, subsequently, three grandchildren. At his funeral service, his son Michael gave a touching eulogy and recounted a recent conversation with his father. Recalling the tragic events of his youth and the physical handicaps of his later years, Michael said that he must have had a difficult life. "No", TV replied "I had a colorful life". It was also a very productive life for the science of geodesy.

Henry C. Johnson

Henry C. Johnson, CMS USAF (Retired) completed his TDY on Earth December 29 2002. Chief Johnson, better known to his many friends simply as 'HC', leaves to mourn his passing; his devoted and caring wife Dolores, his daughter Elizabeth, his son Floyd, and his daughter Pamela.

'HC' was an Aerial Photographer, serving in the 338th SRS and the 1371st MCS. 'HC' is sadly missed by his former Aircraft Commander, 'Sully' Sullivan and his Second Photographer, 'Beady-Eye' King. God Speed old friend, we'll meet again in a place where every line flown has perfect overlap and sidelap. And where every In-Flight lunch comes with fried bologna sandwiches.

Barry King

Kay Bienecki

Kay passed away on 4 JUL 2002 after a recurring bout with cancer. She is survived by her husband, Henry S. Bienecki.

Jim Carlisle

Click HEREfor photo.

James (Jim) Robert Carlisle, 61, of Benton, AR, passed away Sept. 17, 2002 at his home after a hard fought battle with stomach cancer.

He was born in Woodward, OK. He had been self-employed in the heating and air industry for over twenty-five years. His hobbies included swing dancing, woodworking, collecting antique German clocks, and playing slot machines.

He served in the USAF from Jan. 1958 - May 1962.He came to the 1376th CAMRON, Turner AFB, GA, from Yokota AFB, Japan, in September,1960.He worked as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic till he was discharged in May 1962.

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Robertson Carlisle; one daughter, Renee Williams; his mother, Ernestine Garrison Carlisle; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, a daughter, and a brother.

Anyone who ever met Jim knows how kind hearted and giving he was so you can just imagine how much he is missed by all of his family and friends..

Submitted by his wife, Becky, via Lou Chapman

Leonard Willsey

Sad news from Bob Oberst-15 December 2002

It is with heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of former RB-50 ground crewmember, Leonard A. Willsey, age 71. He passed away 14 October 2002 at his home in Crestview, Fl. He was buried at Live Oak Park Memorial Cemetary, in Crestview. He is survived by his wife Phyllis. Leonard fought a long and courageous battle against cancer and will be sorely missed by friends, family and all who knew him through the years...God-Speed Leonard.

Robert M. Duffy

Robert passed away on 17DEC2002. He served in Photomapping as a flight engineer on RB-50's with the 1371st M and C Sq. He is survived by his wife, Blanche

Marty Mielkey

Martha Jane Mielkey (Marty) went to her eternal rest after an extended illness, Tuesday December 17th, 2002 at Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Marty was the devoted wife of William (Bill) Mielkey, a former Hiran Ground Station Chief of the 1370th Photo Mapping Wing. Marty was born July 20, 1921 in Painted Post, New York, and was laid to rest December 18, 2002 at the El Cado Cemetery in Peru, Kansas. Marty leaves to mourn her passing her husband Bill and her many devoted friends.
Submitted By Barry King 23DEC2002

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