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William Todd
1952-1955 Ararat Account

At age 27, William Todd, was a Photographer's Mate Chief who joined the U.S. Navy on June 24th 1944 and retired after 21 years in 1965. The Navy Hydrographic Office from Washington, D.C. and Army Map Service combined with the Turkish Air Force in Diyarbakir to give the first accurate mapping of Turkey working. Todd's account is another aerial sighting with some amazing claims about photographing the ark but without any photographs. Note that 1952 was close to the same summer that George Greene claimed to see the ark.

My U.S. Navy unit V.J. 61 was attached to the Turkish Air Force in both Ismir and Diyarbakir, Turkey. In Diyarbakir the dust and flies tested the spirit as the summer temperatures reached 120 degrees. We were flying U.S. Naval AJ2P photographic-configured Savage aircraft. Our coverage was three 6-inch focal length aerial cameras, mounted in a trimetrogon mounting to ensure vertical 30-degree oblique. This is a standard configuration for horizon to horizon coverage. We had a 6-inch focal length in the prime vertical gyro stabilized mount. Our other prime vertical was a 12-inch focal length in a static mount. The aircraft was the steadiest platform that the Armed Forces had at that time. Along with the navigation I was also one of two camera repairmen on the detachment. Our mapping altitude was 30,000 feet (true altitude) and remained the same for four years to get a 1:30,000 ratio. I won't go in detail about confirming "true altitude" over "indicated altitude" at this time, but I will add that daily flights must use true altitude or the flight lines will not match when laid as a mosaic. In order to re-set their altimeters perfectly, we would fly our AJ2P aircraft over the Black Sea otherwise our true altitude was typically off some.

Between 1951 and 1955, the Navy was in charge of mapping the entire nation of Turkey because most of Turkey's maps were outdated and incorrect. We mapped over the borders up to 250 miles. Since there were no markings on our aircraft because we didn't want the U.S.S.R. or Iran to know that we were U.S. airplanes, it was dangerous to fly into other countries' airspace but we did it anyway.

That afternoon we spotted the anomaly while we were descending to Diyarbakir. It was interesting and we had plenty of fuel, so we descended and took a long look-see. When we flew over the summit, we noticed an object above the gorge (their maps did not have the name Ahora on it at that time) sticking out of the ice at a true altitude of 14,500 to 16,000 feet. The very thought of the ark would have been ridiculous, as there was no reason to believe that it existed to modern times. But there appeared this structure lying on a little shelf protruding from ice and snow. At the base were snow patches and large to small rocks. The upper part had me additions that looked like a railing or a roof that was in extreme disrepair. The color was about the same as the ground.

We witnessed the structure from about 2,000 feet above the object. However, once it was spotted, we flew around the mountain numerous times along the side of the object. It was a rectangular, slate-colored boat that we all claimed was Noah's Ark. The object appeared to be of huge size and was filled with ice and snow. In this anomaly it looked like a craft of some sort. The ground around the structure was broken up and ice was all around the area. As a Naval Chief Petty Officer, it did not look like a typical boat and was completely out of place. It appeared more like a barge.

I shot one roll of aerial film 400 feet long by 9 inches wide. Since we want ed to use all the film, we had to make a number of passes. We proceeded to Diyarbakir where I personally processed the film and made prints. In the Navy it's said if you need to do something of extreme importance, "Process it yourself." Otherwise, some else invariably causes a mishap and ruins the film.

Windows on top of the structure ran all the way from the ice to the bow. About 35 feet of the structure was sticking out of the ice. Since we were professional photographers, we measured the photos to determine the width and length of the object using the formula Scale = Focal Length / (12 * Altitude). It turned out to be exactly 75 feet wide by 45 feet high using an 18-inch cubit. When we found that it precisely matched Genesis, we were running around with chills down their back.

I noted that the Tigris River was running high that year because of the extreme heat melting snow in the mountains. After a few months, I gave my photos to my Baptist minister (perhaps named Grant?) in Sanford, Florida who kept them and then died. Later attempts to get them back were never successful. The Naval Photographic Science Center Archives in Washington D.C. should have the negatives but claim that they could not find them. We gave four or five copies of the pictures to all of our crew. The whole squadron of six mapping planes was abuzz about Noah's Ark and everyday some plane "accidentally" went by Ararat to see it. You practically needed a control tower around Ararat that summer.  After seeing the photos, we were convinced that the structure was Noah's Ark.

Others in my group who were eyewitnesses included an Uncle Joe Gorsky (a retired U.S. Naval pilot and commander of Russian decent who spent time in Guam), Ensign Glacow (navigator who later flew for United Airlines and supposedly found several million dollars of gold in the Amazon River mud), Mr. Trent and Mr. Finkbiner who were stationed for a time in Sanford, Florida. I have lost track of them all. I am confident that the set of photos still exist if we could just track them down. I highly regret my having given them to my minister.

Although I have read Bill Shea's articles and have conversed with James Irwin, Barry Setterfield, and John McIntosh, I have attempted to write this without being influenced by their views.

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