Sunday, February 18, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, February 18, 2001

Civilians' names break the surface

Civilians from the Greeneville rode another Navy vessel back to Pearl Harbor after the accident last week.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

A prolific sportswriter from Massachusetts who once called Navy football players "gridiron legends and fighting heroes." A couple from Hawaii Kai who wanted to learn more about Navy submarines and the men "who protect and serve our country." Eight Texans. And three investment managers — one from Golden, Colo., one from Kansas and one from Texas — who formed a company specializing in oil and gas.

They all stepped aboard the USS Greeneville on Feb. 9 carrying their relative anonymity. Yesterday, the Navy released their names as the civilian guests aboard the Greeneville when it burst out of the water and crashed into the Ehime Maru fishing vessel, leaving nine students, instructors and crew members missing as the Japanese ship sank.

The Navy originally cited privacy as the reason for keeping the civilians’ names secret. Then investigators revealed that two of them were sitting at control panels during the crash, under the supervision of Navy personnel.

Suddenly, the hidden identities of the civilians became the focus of outrage from Japan, Freedom of Information Act requests from the news media and a plea from U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, that they be released immediately.

When Adm. Thomas B. Fargo decided to convene a court of inquiry, he decided to make the names public:

The civilians on the sub

Civilians on board the USS Greeneville when it collided with the Ehime Maru:

Jay Brehmer, Overland Park, Kan.

Carol Brehmer, Overland Park, Kan.

Jack Clary, Stow, Mass.

Pat Clary, Stow, Mass.

Helen Cullen, Houston

John M. Hall, Sealy, Texas

Leigh Anne Schnell Hall, Sealy, Texas

Mike Mitchell, Irving, Texas

Mickey Nolan, Honolulu

Susan Nolan, Honolulu

Anthony Schnur, The Woodlands, Texas

Susan Schnur, The Woodlands, Texas

Todd Thoman, Houston

Deanda Thoman, Houston

Ken Wyatt, Golden, Colo.

Catherine Graham Wyatt, Golden, Colo.

The Nolans already had been identified. Thoman and Hall appeared on NBC’s "Today" show last week.

Many of the others did not welcome the sudden attention that came yesterday.

"Right now is probably not a good time to talk," Ken Wyatt said. "We’re studying what our alternatives are. It’s under investigation right now, and we’re waiting to talk (to National Transportation Safety Board investigators)."

Wyatt, Brehmer and Schnur helped form a company two years ago — Aquila Energy Capital Corp., with offices in Houston and in Colorado, which specializes in financing investments in the development of oil and gas reserves.

Jack Clary graduated from Fordham in 1954 with a journalism degree and was an Associated Press sports writer in New York City. He formed his own business, Sports Media Enterprises, in 1972 and has written 60 sports books, including biographies of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. He has also been president of the Pro Football Researchers Association.

The Nolans’ trip on the Greeneville was arranged with the help of retired Adm. Richard Macke, who had been forced out as U.S. commander in chief of Pacific forces after making insensitive remarks about the rape of an Okinawan girl by U.S. Marines.

The Nolans were working with Macke to set up a celebrity golf tournament to benefit the USS Missouri Restoration Fund. Yesterday, Susan Nolan said all of those on board had some involvement with the tournament.

Hall and Thoman had worked for Dallas-based Fossil Bay Resources Ltd., a company that had paid $7,500 to enter the same charity golf tournament.

Yesterday, the Nolans said in a statement that they were still waiting to speak with NTSB investigators.

"However, we feel compassion for the families in Japan that have no information about what happened and we did want at the very least, to assure those families that the officers and crew did everything in their power to urgently respond to the emergency," the Nolans wrote.

"...We accepted the invitation because we felt it would be a great opportunity to learn more about a U.S. Navy submarine and the men who protect and serve our country in the submarine service."

Susan Nolan said the 16 civilians were told Friday night that their names were being made public and were reminded again yesterday.

Advertiser staff writers Mike Gordon, Sally Apgar and Lynda Arakawa contributed to this report.

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