One of the biggest difficulties in trying to gather research on an event that happened sixty years ago is the gathering of credible information. My initial search for this information was on the Internet; however, the amount of good and reliable information was not very good. There were many different web sites with the story of the missing Mariner and so many differing accounts of this ill-fated flight that contradicted each other. I needed to enlist a new team of Mariner experts that would be able to assist us in getting the most reliable and detailed information about this aircraft and its disappearance. Fortunately, I was able to assemble the best research team in the world for advice and guidance.
For getting the most accurate and thoroughly documented reports into the disappearance of the Mariner, I contacted Jack Green, a public relations specialist with the Naval Historical Center, based out of the United States Navy's Washington Shipyard. Through Jack and several correspondences with experts at the Naval Historical Center, I was invited to visit their archives for a first-hand look at all the Navy's documents pertaining to the Mariner. Many of these documents had not seen the light outside their boxes for fifty-nine years. I want to thank the head of the Naval Aviation History branch, Curtis Utz, for spending time with me and gathering all the official documentation that I needed for my search. Additionally, I want to thank Wendy Coble of the Nautical Archaeology branch for her guidance and assistance, even while we were down in Florida commencing with our search.
In order to get the most information about the flight and operation of the Mariner, I had a wonderful ally in Bruce Barth. Mr. Barth is the historian for the Mariner Marlin Association of actual officers, crew and tenders for other Mariner aircraft. Several of the people that I had a chance to interview were crew-mates and were at the Banana River Naval Air Station during the time our Mariner was lost. They were able to corroborate almost all the information that I had retrieved from the Naval Historical Center. Before, during and after the Mariner discovery/exploration expedition, Mr. Barth was an extremely valuable asset who provided us much information about the aircraft through pictures, stories and personal experience.
Finally, we are indebted to Stan Piet and all the wonderful people at the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum. Through this wonderful resource, we had every single detailed specification of our Mariner from the smallest of Mariner pieces to actual delivery pictures of our Mariner to the Navy in early-1945. On further research, we were able to secure an original pilot's manual for this Mariner; as well as the Mariner's Operations manual. As a consequence, Nautical Research Group had the most extensive collection of information about the missing Mariner aircraft in the world going into the discovery/exploration expedition.