Liz Writes Life

For Siskiyou Daily News

Talk about a busy week and luckily there wasn’t any produce to can or dry. The tomatoes that were in a box on the kitchen floor in front of the sliding glass window; they ripened too fast and several spoiled before I realized it. So I gave most away and put five on the kitchen counter to be used soon.

Boy, it was sure nice to get a good rain. Nope, not used to it raining for 24 hours. I was surprised to see the snow-line down to about 4,000 feet here at Callahan on this Oct. 25, 2010 morning.

I have some history to share with you. My sister, Lorena Dillman Norris, sent me an email that her 1960 Etna High School grad friend, Marvin Halliday, sent to her on Saturday. The “Redding Record Searchlight” runs short history pieces from that day in history and they ran one with our dad’s name in it.

On Oct. 23, 1960 the wreckage of what was thought to be a World War II Navy torpedo bomber was found on Scott Mt. Rancher Hearst Dillman, my dad, led the search party, I would assume on horseback. The official in the search was Siskiyou County Deputy Richard Newton. Dad told the search party that he recalled two Navy planes crashing in the area back in 1943 or 1943. That’s it. End of snippet, but boy do I have questions and dad died 15 years ago. So, I am asking readers, especially the not-so-young ones for some of the memories they have regarding military planes and activities here during World War II years. Email me at liz@lizbowen.com or call at 530-467-3515.

So I emailed the link to a few family and friends and Jim Waddell, of Happy Camp origin, emailed me back. We had spoken several times by phone during the past decade, when I reported for the “Pioneer Press,” but he didn’t realize that my maiden name was Dillman. So, Jim had to tell me about this Steve Dillman, whom he figured must be related. Yep, my brother. The following is what Jim wrote.

From Jim Waddell:

If  Hearst Dillman was your father, then Steve Dillman must be a member of your family.  Yeh, I saw that article of the military plane wreckage and I think I made a copy of it when I found it researching history at the Redding News paper.

I am Jim Waddell and I used to be a timber man for Sierra Pacific in Happy Camp 1972-1975, then it changed to Southwest Forest 1975 to 1978 when I resigned to get away from illegal activities and after January 1979 I worked for Croman Corp of helicopter logging and a timber purchasing company of Medford and Ashland.

In 1989, we got my old desk back at the sawmill office in Happy Camp when I went to work as timber appraiser and later Timber Manager for Stone Forest Ind before it was torn down.  I was a guest writer for American Timberman and Trucker newspaper, Chehalis, WA.

In those jobs, I had an interesting acquaintance added to my life in a man named Steve Dillman, c. 1975; a helicopter pilot who lived just north of Pinky Mathews Ranch… a Kellems Lane or such.  I liked and enjoyed Steve Dillman.

I seem to remember visiting by phone with you back in about 2004 when I lived in Antelope, CA.  I enjoy your photos.  I have thousands of photos… mostly outdoor photos of landscapes, Klamath River, sunrises and sunsets of pink, orange to a deep red of the Siskiyou Mountains north of the summit in Indian Creek’s Grayback Road.

I first met Steve Dillman when he was a helicopter pilot for Chic Lucas in Lucas’ new building on Greenhorn Road of Yreka.  I had a ride in Steve’s Hughes 500 to fly to the hillside Timber Sale west of Scott Bar Mountains for an over-flight and then to the Salmon River.  When I went to work for Croman in 1979, there were the pilots who flew me here and there such as Steve Dillman, Harold Hjertager (Etna man), Eddy McCoy (I was in Korea at the same times and same places as Eddy 1968-1969), Mac Miller and logging pilots of Jack Tillman and Mark Lindermood.  In times of timber work between 1989 and 2003, I often flew with Apollo Helicopters of Wayne Mulgrew of Montague in his Lycoming powered Robinson R-22.  Wayne was shot down in South America.

I remember other times when Steve flew me here and everywhere.  One time, Steve flew me, Dwain Cross and Bud Kaufman to the Specimen Sale of the Little North Fork of the Salmon.  While Dwain and Bud were walking the hillside down from the top I flew with Steve back to the Scott River and back to the Salmon River.  Steve held the helicopter in a hover with the right runner bumped into a tall stump because of the tall brush there that kept him from landing.  While the Heli hovered, I stepped out onto the runner and inched my way back to the back seat but could not find the axe Steve told me about.  I then stepped down onto the stump and down to the ground near the rock piles of old mining.  I waved Steve out of there.  He flew to a hill top and retrieved the axe, tied it to a 100’ long line and returned to dangle that axe right into my outstretched hand.  I always carried a large folding Buck knife so I had already cut down the tall brush.  Steve was able to land the heli.  Cross and Kaufman were watching and listening to all of this Monkey-Motion of the heli that was supposed to pick them up some five mile up the Little North Fork.  So, when Bud and Dwain finally came out of the woods, their first words were “Boy are we glad to see you finally get that ‘copter on the ground.”

I remember another time when Steve flew Dwain Cross and me to Naches, WA on the Naches River just below the confluence of the Tieton River, which drains east from Rimrock Lake east of White Pass.  We landed at the FS office, got the timber sale maps and took a forester with us to the timber sale north and south of Rimrock Lake.  I think that Steve refueled the Jet Ranger 206 at The Dalls on the way up from Medford and refueled again at Vancouver, WA on the way back.  We went up and walked some units of the sale, returned the FS forester and flew back to Medford in less that a total of 8 hours.  I made out my appraisal of timber operations in flight on top of my briefcase.

I have many stories of both timber men and helicopters, but I will limit myself to only one more.  Steve flew Dwain Cross, Bud Kaufman, Tom Waddell and me from Medford to Stams Mountain west of Silver Lake, OR, the to the northwest side of Gearhart Mountain Wilderness north of Bly, OR.  Tom Waddell and I are both near 6’ tall and I am over 200 lbs and Cross and Kaufman are not lightweights, we had that Jet Ranger overloaded.  By the time we flew the units of the Stams Mtn then to the headwaters of Sprague River and headed toward Klamath Falls, we were running low on fuel.  Steve said, let’s lower the nose and get all the air speed we can.  But, right over Olene, OR Steve got a chip light for one of the back fuel pumps.  Steve banked the 206 to the right and climbed higher to burn off air speed and landed in a farmer’s field one mile west of Olene.  Steve said dishonor of running out of fuel is better than attempted honor of trying to push your luck and crashing!  Called K-Falls Airport FOB to bring more fuel.

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