NOAA mapping vessel visits the capital

NOAA mapping vessel visits the capital

The Whiting, sister ship of the Rude, which participated in the recovery of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s downed plane, recently spent some time in dock at the Washington Naval Yard. Both National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ships use side-scan sonar to map the ocean floor [GCN, July 26, Page 1].

Peter Lewil, left insert, a senior survey technician on the Whiting, processes images from a sonar that is known as the towfish, bottom right. He uses an Isis sonar data processing computer from Triton-Elics International Inc. of Watsonville, Calif.

Isis collects the data and archives it in a RAID storage system. Final processing of the sonar images takes place on SGI Indy workstations running Irix. NOAA received a Coast Guard Unit Commendation for its search for Kennedy's Piper Saratoga II TC, which crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on July 16. Kennedy, his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, died in the crash.

The 163-foot Whiting sailed into Washington last month for a ceremony for Rear Adm. Evelyn J. Fields, who assumed command of the Office of NOAA Corps Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Corps. She is the first woman and first black to hold the position.

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