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Old 11-21-2008, 08:53 AM   #1
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Searching for History of our '64 Safari

I recently acquired a 1964 Airstream Safari that I intend to restore/refurb. In looking over the paperwork that came with the unit, I found a letter from SaniWare dated February 6th, 1967 to “Mr. Frederick K. Hearn” of San Pedro, CA. I started a thread and was then contacted by a member of the WBCCI who had a 1968 member directory. It listed members “Colonel Frederick K. Hearn and Mary Hearn” as members, with the exact same address as what I found on the letter. We have a match! I would guess that Colonel and Mary as the original owners of our 1964 Airstream.

When I “Googled” Colonel Frederick K. Hearn, I found a Lieutenant Colonel Fredrick K. Hearn of the United States 11th Armored Division, 55th Battalion during World War II. I do not yet know whether this is the same Frederick K. Hearn that I am seeking that owned our Safari in 1968.

My goals are to:

1) Confirm whether or not the Colonel Frederick K. Hearn living in San Pedro CA in February 1967 is the same as Lt. Colonel Frederick K. Hearn of the 11th Armored Div., 55th Battalion during World War II.
2) To attempt to find relatives or decedents of him and/or his wife. Even friends or other WBCCI members who knew them would be great. Pictures and history of this Airstream in its early years would be pure nirvana.

Two more clues; there is a 1975 Turista sticker on the window from a trip I assume this Safari made to Mexico. Might there be a caravan trip from that year that might have the Colonel and his wife listed?

The second clue, their WBCCI member number was #11736 in the 1968 directory. This number does not appear in the current directory. I would be interested in knowing what other years and for how long they appear as members.

Any help by Airforums members is very much appreciated!

-Tim
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:39 AM   #2
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Fellow 64 Safari owner

Hi, I also recently acquired a 64 Safari and have been considering researching it as well. I'll be following your thread here and look forward to seeing what you can come up with.
Good luck, and I'd love to see photos, lots of photos please!
Thanks, Rich
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:48 AM   #3
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Tim,

I will also be following this thread with interest.
A little more info to add.The Hearn's are also listed in the 1970 Directory but are not listed in the 1982 Directory.
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:12 AM   #4
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It does not look like the WBCCI had any caravans to Mexico in 1975. The Airstream Company had 3.

#102 Mexico-Guatemala Winter 1975
#103 Eastern Mexico Winter 1975
#104 Mexico Fall 1975

It's doubtful that Airstream has any records from these trips, but you could check.
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Old 11-21-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
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The letter that got us here.

Here is a photo of the letter. There is no evidence remaining of the WBCCI numbers. The former PO stripped and polished, and kept no records. Without this letter, I would have had zero information to begin the research.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:22 PM   #6
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What about a title search???

Probably a VAC sight would help also
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:23 PM   #7
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Mustang:
How do you do a title search?
What do you mean by "a VAC site would help also"?
Thanks,
-Tim
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Old 11-21-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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Contact your local title agency and have your title number and V.I.N. number. I know in Ohio they give you the last known owner, and on there title it gives the last known owner and so on. My A/S was MFG in Cerritos Cali then sold to a man in Baoumont Tx then to a guy In eastern Pa and now me. Thats how I did it. Airstream might have a registry of who the original owner they sold it to because the old ones came with a lifetime warranty to the original owner.

VAC = Vintage Airtstream Club a wealth of info. Many people are doing or Have done just what you are doing.

Just like Geneology and the fanily tree.

Good luck my friend Mike
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:00 AM   #9
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Calling all WBCCI current and former members

I thought I would see if any WBCCI members might be able to add to what Streamer23 has provided. We know the Hearns were members in '68 and '70. I still think the '75 Mexican Tourist sticker could be a clue. I am still hopeful to track down more information on this Safari.

Cheers,
-Tim
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:27 AM   #10
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I, too, am trying to research my 58 Flying Cloud. The VAC has information on the trailers, but not the owners. The WBCCI historian in Jackson Center is not a very good resource. Sadly, there has been no effort put to cataloging the photos from the caravans. You would think that there would be a wealth of photos and scrapbook items, but no. I was told, "Sometimes, the caravan leader would put an album together for their own personal use. Sometimes, those got donated back to the club." If so, they are in a big pile in Jackson Center, without any time spent on cataloging.

I can not fathom why the WBCCI seems so cavalier about their history. After all, the historical nature of Airstream trailers is their greatest selling point.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:17 PM   #11
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I received an update today via e-mail from a contact at the 11th Armored Division Association:

Thank you for your contact. I believe your Airstream travel trailer most likely did belong to Col. Frederick K. Hearn who as a Lt. Col. served in the 11th Armored Division. Lt. Col. Hearn was commanding officer of the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion. According to our records, he passed away on October 15, 1988. Unfortunately, we do not have a post war home address for him.

This still does not confirm for sure that I have a match to our original owner. I am reaching out to WBCCI members and leaders in California, and seeing what they might be able to add. The search continues!
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:14 PM   #12
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It does not look like the WBCCI had any caravans to Mexico in 1975. The Airstream Company had 3.
I was under the impression that the "Aistream Company" did not directly run any caravans and all caravans were organized by WBCCI in which Wally B and Helen S had the major roles.

On the 63-64 Round the World Caravan as far as I know all participants were WBCCI members which I assume was a prerequisite. McGreggor Smith who chronicled the caravan in "Thank you Marco Polo" was an Airstream Company employee. Andy Charles was the trip leader. I am not as sure if he also worked for Airstream.
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:21 PM   #13
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The Airstream Company caravans started in 1951, several years before the WBCC was created.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:12 PM   #14
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Picture of the original owner?

Strong circumstantial evidence suggests Colonel Frederick K. Hearn was the owner, and is the Lt. Colonel Hearn in this picture. Complete confirmation still required. He is sitting center.
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Old 11-30-2008, 10:47 AM   #15
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Today I wrote several California based WBCC contacts. Hopefully this will get some information flowing again. I have heard from the 11th Armored Division Association. They confirm that Lt. Col Frederick Hearn did get promoted to Colonel. I still need to confirm that this is the one and the same who appears to have owned our Safari. Depending on the responses from California, it looks like a title search will make a lot of sense as well.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:28 AM   #16
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It has been some time since I posted on this thread, but I have been trying to make progress on my history search. I have been in contact with the Long Beach Unit of the WBCCI. They are a consolidation of several former WBCCI units in the area. They have forwarded a letter that I sent to all of their current members. I am hopeful, but so far no one seems to have known the Hearn's. I believe time is my enemy here. If I were starting this search 5, 10, 15...years before, I would be more likely to find a member who knew them. Also, I understand the documents and pictures of the WBCCI units that now make up the Long Beach unit have been spread out among former members. This makes finding a picture or document or anything of #11736 very difficult to track down. I have not given up the search, although certainly it has not gotten any easier! I am still open and thankful for any and all ideas.

-Tim
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:26 AM   #17
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Thanks to Dwightdi I now know that the Hearn's were members as early as '65. So it has now been confirmed that they appear in the '65, '68 and '70 directories, but not '82. Based on their number of #11736, it looks like '65 was the first year they were members. The search continues.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:26 PM   #18
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Hi Tim,
I googled "fred hearn" and found a different, or earlier version of the same Col Hearn you mention. Even the same middle initial. This guy was ground crew chief for an aircraft. check this out. On the link there's a menu on the left with a link for personnel, with a little more info about Sgt. Hearn.
Interested what you think this is? Rich
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:27 AM   #19
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Hi Tim,
I googled "fred hearn" and found a different, or earlier version of the same Col Hearn you mention. Even the same middle initial. This guy was ground crew chief for an aircraft. check this out. On the link there's a menu on the left with a link for personnel, with a little more info about Sgt. Hearn.
Interested what you think this is? Rich
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I guess it is remotely possible that they are the same person (Fred K Hearn), but it looks like they are two different people. All I have linking any Fred K Hearn to this Airstream is the letter that I found, but it does not definitively link him as the owner of our Safari. This morning I found the California DMV form that I need to confirm who the owner of our Safari was. I picked the "as of" date 1/1/1966. The reason that I picked this date is the WBCCI directories show the Hearn's are attached to #11736 in years 1965, 1967, 1970, 1971 but not 1973. If the CA DMV confirms the owners as the Hearn's in San Pedro, CA on 1/1/1966, then I know we have in fact confirmed the original owner's of our Safari was in fact them. Then I still need to confirm exactly which Fred K. Hearn owned our unit. I only know that it is a Colonel as that is how the WBCCI has him listed. For now, I wait a few weeks for the California DMV to get back to me via snail mail.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:30 PM   #20
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Smile I'm Fred and Mary Hearn's Niece

Yes, the Fred Hearn you are looking for is in the picture as Colonel Frederick K. Hearn. He had that Airstream! He drove it cross country from San Pedro every summer with Aunt Mary to visit us in NJ when I was a little girl.

When I grew up and got married, my husband and I used our wedding present money to by a Bambi airstream for our honeymoon.

I can put you in touch with his daughter who still lives in San Pedro.

PM me.

Congratulations on your detective work. Uncle Fred was in Army Intelligence and he would love that you sleuthed this information.
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