Estelle [sic] Rorick, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Rorick, is at home again for the first time since he enlisted in the aviation service in April of 1917. He spent two years as an aviator, six months of which was at Fort Worth, Tex., as aerial gun instructor, then he with six others was transferred to New York to incorporate at Long Island in aerial gunnery.
He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the service at Washington, D.C., while in charge of cross-country work. Mr. Rorick piloted the machine while an observer mapped the route from Long Island to Camp Devens, near Boston, which proved to be a much safer route than any previously followed. His record flying trip was from Washington to Schenectady, N.Y., a distance of 440 miles, in 180 minutes.
“Aerial transportation is not developed in the United States at all as compared with other countries,” Mr. Rorick said Monday. “It never will be until the cities provide landing fields and hangars for the machines. The automobile did not come into its own until paved roads were made; neither can the flying machine until provision is made for it throughout the country.”
Rorick has spent the last two years as an employee of the United States shipping board. He was one of 500 selected from 30,000 applicants for these positions, their duty being to check cargoes. In this capacity he made seven trips to Europe, touching all the countries between Gibraltar and Denmark. He visited the principal coast cities of all these countries. While the European cities were interesting, he says that he found the Azores, and Colombia in Central America, most fascinating.
“St. Michael’s Island, one of the Azores,” he says, “is a real garden of Eden. The vegetation is of the semi-tropical varieties and there are no poisonous insects or reptiles on the island. The principal city is Ponta del Gato. The peon class is very primitive. They go about barefooted and drive heavy wooden carts drawn by oxen. The buildings are of white stone and are beautiful as they appear from the harbor.
“Our boat sprang a leak off the coast of Colombia,” he continued, “and listed about 40 degrees. Eighty nine steel plates had to be used to repair it. The people of Colombia have a natural antagonism to people from the United States.”
Other sea adventures included a fire at sea and being grounded in the Seine river, France.
“We left Norfolk, Va., on Friday the 13th,” said Mr. Rorick. “The next day we had a fire. All of the forward cargo was in flames. The fire was put out with steam pumps. Thirteen days afterward, one of the steam tubes began leaking. We were in the trough of the sea, helpless for five days. Wireless messages were sent out and ships from all directions came to help. A terrific gale was blowing and after it went down we limped into the Azores.”
“A heavy fog and a high tide caused the trouble in the Seine. We had a 134 knot ship of 7500 tons and it was grounded for four or five days. Tugs pulled it back into the deep water.”
“It seems good to be back in The Dalles,” says Mr. Rorick. “I have seen few towns in the United States, the size of The Dalles, which have buildings that will compare with our high school, court house and federal building, but we are behind when it comes to parks and tourist camp grounds.”
Source: The Dalles Chronicle, June 28, 1921.