Tom retired from the U.S. Geological Survey after... oh, a zillion years or so of geologic time doing geophysics there. We had a hecka good Toast ’n Roast at his expense on March 17, 2006. Rick drew this cartoon to summarize a career in a frame as only he can do.
The Great Turkey Disaster
This cartoon attempts to capture Tom’s devotion to airborne geophysics, but the setting of the cartoon may require a bit of explanation. The cartoon was inspired by an infamous incident that occurred back in the 1980s, when Tom was Section Chief and Frank Frischknecht was Branch Chief of the now defunct Branch of Geophysics. The Branch had (and the USGS still owns) an airplane for doing low-altitude geophysical surveys, and Tom was in charge of its operations. The airplane was conducting a low-altitude survey over Minnesota farmland one afternoon. Unbeknownst to the pilot and navigator, a turkey farm was located directly beneath one of the flight lines. Thousands of turkeys apparently mistook the airplane for a buzzard, panicked, and ran in mass hysteria to the fenced corner of the property. The pilot saw the unfortunate situation and veered away, but it was too late. Hundreds of turkeys suffocated and formed a huge pile stacked against the fence. The pile was so high that other turkeys scaled the pile and escaped over the fence. But the disaster was not over. Adjacent flight lines were supposed to be 0.25 miles away, but remember that this survey was conducted long before the advent of GPS navigation. When the plane returned to fly the adjacent flight line, it came in directly over the farm again! When the dust settled, it was discovered that hundreds of turkeys had died, and Tom had a very irate farmer on his hands. He promised to pay for all of the dead turkeys (and the escapees), a bill of over $6000 (in 1980 dollars), but of course he had no paperwork. The real disaster began when Tom had to explain all of this to an irate and incredulous Administrative Officer.      --Rick
(page and pictures by Mike Diggles -
Tom Hildenbrand’s Retirement
060317-5194 Tom’s ready for this
060317-5090 Placemats
060317-5093 Tom tin-cupping for funds; poster
060317-5094 Posters
Denver card
Carol Finn’s card
An earlier cartoon by Rick
060317-5096 Beer poster
060317-5098 Maureen, Lin
060317-5091 David and Steve
060317-5092 Susan and Peggy
060317-5099 Bob and Barbara
060317-5100 Ed and Ted
060317-5101 More wine
060317-5102 Bob and Susan
060317-5104 Gary, Sally, and Ray
060317-5105 Peggy and Joyce
060317-5107 Steve
060317-5108 Dave
060317-5109 Esther, Megan, and Tom
060317-5110 Geoff
060317-5111 Ed
060317-5112 Vicki
060317-5113 Jack
060317-5114 Warren and Peggy
060317-5116 Warren
060317-5117 Peggy
060317-5118 Food spread
060317-5119 Dave and Darcy
060317-5120 Crowd scene
060317-5121 Crowd scene
060317-5122 Jon, Kevin, and Vicki
060317-5123 Todd and Geoff
060317-5124 Mark, Bruce, and Jeff
060317-5125 Mary Lou
060317-5127 Megan and Tom
060317-5128 Esther
060317-5129 Jonathan and Janet
060317-5130 Esther
060317-5131 Megan
060317-5132 Tom and Lin
060317-5133 Keith and Tom
060317-5134 Crowd scene
060317-5135 Bob
060317-5136 Pour more of that stuff, please
060317-5137 Brian and Carl
060317-5138 Jon
060317-5139 Susan
060317-5140 Chris
060317-5141 Bob
060317-5142 Jack and Mary Lou
060317-5143 Desserts
060317-5144 Patrick
060317-5145 David
060317-5147 Teddy and Peggy
060317-5148 Rick presentation
060317-5149 Rick
060317-5151 Crowd scene
060317-5152 Vicki
060317-5155 Vicki presentation
060317-5156 Bonnie
060317-5157 Crowd scene
060317-5158 Crowd scene
060317-5159 Crowd scene
060317-5160 Bonnie presentation
060317-5162 Rick gift
060317-5163 Tom unwraps
060317-5164 Patrick steps in
060317-5165 Tom and cartoon
060317-5166 Rick explains cartoon
060317-5167 Ted presentation
060317-5169 Bob
060317-5171 Keith
060317-5172 Walter
060317-5173 Ted
060317-5176 Bob presents
060317-5177 Bob presents
060317-5178 Hildenbrands
060317-5179 Son-in-law
060317-5180 Poster in the background
060317-5181 Mary Jo and Tom
060317-5182 Tom cartoon
060317-5183 Crowd scene
060317-5187 Janet
060317-5188 Dave
060317-5189 Jonathan
060317-5191 Tom
060317-5186 Tom Hildenbrand
060317-5192 Maureen
Rick’s cartoon
060317-5195 Tom Hildenbrand