Transocean Air Lines        1946 - 1960
      On March 11, 1946, Orvis Nelson terminated his employment with United Air Lines and
attended a conference sponsored by the ATC staff for United Air Lines and other subcontractors
on the transpacific project.
      General Bob Nowland presided over the discussion. Nowland, who was then the
commanding general of the Pacific Wing of the ATC, had been a first lieutenant in Nelson's
Army Air Corps outfit in the Philippines in 1928 and 1929. Colonel Ray T. Elsmore, another
prominent officer at the conference, had once been employed by Western Air Lines, had
practiced law, and had been a pilot for the U.S. Postal Service.
      Elsmore had served as Director of Air Transport, Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific,
under General George C. Kenney during World War II. On active duty since 1940, Elsmore had
been in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded the islands but had managed to escape to
Australia on the last airplane out. He subsequently directed troop-carrier ATC operations in the
Transocean Air Lines Officials

Ray T. Elsmore, Executive Vice President
      Elsmore directed a daring rescue using gliders to fly out the survivors from that isolated
valley. A transport airplane dropped medical corpsmen and engineers by parachute to the
valley floor to bring relief to the injured and to construct a landing strip on which a glider could
be safely landed and be picked up again by a low-flying transport plane. Other airplanes
dropped food, medical supplies, and other necessities by parachute. Nearly seven weeks
passed from the time of the crash until operations had progressed enough to permit a glider
pickup of the trio and their rescuers.
      Nelson was impressed with Elsmore's demeanor and military and commercial flying
record and hired him on the spot as his chief assistant. Elsmore soon would carry the title of
executive vice president of ONAT (Ovis Nelson Air Transport).
      When General Douglas MacArthur
began his military campaign up the New
Guinea Coast, the only air route for flying
supplies available to him was over the
Owen Stanley Range in the southeastern
end of the island. When a shorter route
became imperative to keep Air Transport
abreast of MacArthur's advances, Elsmore
flew a tour of inspection to chart an alternate
     One of these flights took him over the
Grand Valley, known also as Hidden Valley
or Shangri-la. In May of 1945, a military
transport airplane crashed on the high
palisades over the Hidden Valley. The
airplane had been carrying twenty-four
military personnel, three of whom were
members of the Women's Army Corps
(WAC). Five of the passengers survived the
crash, including the three WACs. Within
twenty-four hours, two of the WACs died of
injuries sustained in the accident, but the
other WAC and two servicemen
miraculously lived.