Bass SSK-2 - History

Bass SSK-2 - History

Bass SSK-2

Bass II

(SSK-2: dp. 765; 1. 196'; b. 24'7"; dr. 14'5"; s. 13 k.;
cpl. 37; cl. Barracuda)

The second Bass (SSK-2) was launched 2 May 1951 as SSK-2 by Mare Island Naval Shipyard; sponsored by Mrs. John J. Crane, widow of Commander Crane; and commissioned 16 November 1952, Lieutenant Commander D. E. Bunting In command.

SSK-2 arrived at Pearl Harbor 23 May 1952 to join Submarine Division 72. Since she belonged to a new type of submarine, she engaged in evaluation operations to determine her capabilities and limitations. In January 1953 she underwent restricted availability at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for the installation of additional equipment. In June 1953 she resumed operations and for the next 13 months engaged In developing tactics and coordinated operations with other fleet units.

In January 1954, SSK-2 returned to - Mare Island for overhaul and made a cruise to Mazatlan, Mexico, before returning to Pearl Harbor. She was renamed Bass 15 December 1955. Bass operated out of Pearl Harbor until June 1957. On 26 June 1957 she returned to the United States and operated along the west coast until going out of commission in reserve 1 October 1957.

USS Barracuda (SSK-1)

USS Barracuda (SSK-1/SST-3/SS-550) (originally USS K-1 (SSK-1)), the lead ship of her class, was a submarine that was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the barracuda, a voracious, pike-like fish. Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1949 by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 March 1951 as K-1, sponsored by Mrs. Willis Manning Thomas (her late husband died as commanding officer of USS Pompano (SS-181) ), and commissioned on 10 November 1951 with Lieutenant Commander F. A. Andrews in command. Notably, future President of the United States Jimmy Carter served as an officer on K-1 as part of its pre-commissioning crew and during its first year of active service until he was reassigned on 16 October 1952. [4]

  • 765 tons (777 t) surfaced
  • 1,160 tons (1179 t) submerged
  • 3 × General Motors 8-268A diesel engines, total 1,050 shp (780 kW)
  • 2 × General Electricelectric motors
  • 1 × 126-cellbattery
  • 2 shafts [2]
  • 13 knots (24 km/h) surfaced
  • 8.5 knots (16 km/h) submerged [1]

The three SSK boats, Barracuda (SSK-1), Bass (SSK-2), and Bonita (SSK-3), were equipped with the large BQR-4 bow-mounted sonar array as part of Project Kayo, which experimented with the use of passive acoustics via low-frequency bow-mounted sonar arrays. When the boat was rigged for silent running, these arrays gave greatly improved convergence zone detection ranges against snorkeling submarines. The SSKs themselves were limited in their anti-submarine warfare capabilities by their low speed and their need to snorkel periodically, but the advances in sonar technology they pioneered were invaluable to later nuclear-powered submarines. The class was developed as mobilization prototypes should large numbers of Soviet submarines based on the Type XXI U-boat appear.

Barracuda joined Submarine Development Group 2, which was stationed at her home port of New London, Connecticut. She cruised along the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada, in the Caribbean Sea, and made a voyage to Greenock and Rothesay, Scotland, in June 1955. On 15 December 1955 her name was changed from K-1 to Barracuda (SSK-1). During intervals between and after these cruises, Barracuda operated along the eastern seaboard carrying out training and experimental exercises.

In 1958, the Soviet threat changed from conventional to nuclear-powered submarines, and the SSK force was withdrawn from the SSK role and redesignated. Barracuda was redesignated SST-3 on 15 July 1959 and operated for the next several years out of Charleston, South Carolina and Key West, Florida. Barracuda was overhauled from 1963 to 1964 at Norfolk, Virginia. Her distinctive forward sonar array was removed and replaced with a streamlined bow at the submarine base in Key West Florida alongside USS Bushnell - similar to submarines converted to GUPPY configurations. In 1965 she conducted training operations out of Key West, Florida.

In 1968 she was transferred to Charleston, South Carolina and served as a training platform for junior officers and enlisted personnel. On 1 August 1972 she was redesignated as SS-T3. [1] [5] Although, based on redesignation of her sisters as SS-551 and SS-552, the hull number SS-550 was probably reserved for her, she never officially held this designation.

Barracuda was decommissioned on 1 October 1973 at Charleston and was stricken on the same day. She was scrapped between 8 April and 8 July 1974 near Charleston, South Carolina.

Sea bass

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Sea bass, (family Serranidae), any of the numerous fishes of the family Serranidae (order Perciformes), most of which are marine, found in the shallower regions of warm and tropical seas. The family includes about 475 species, many of them well-known food and sport fishes. Although the term sea bass may be used for the family as a whole, the fishes themselves bear a variety of names, such as hamlet, hind, cony, graysby, grouper, and jewfish, as well as sea bass and bass.

Sea bass are rather perchlike fish. The more or less elongated body has small scales, the mouth is large, and the tail is generally straight-edged or rounded. The dorsal fin, a diagnostic feature, consists of a forward, spiny section and a hinder, soft-rayed section the two portions are usually joined but may be separated by a notch.

Sea bass are carnivorous, feeding on fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Some are active swimmers others, such as the groupers, are more sedentary. Certain species, such as the belted sandfish (Serranellus subligarius) of Florida, are hermaphroditic (male and female reproductive organs in one animal). Others, such as the groupers, may mature as one sex and later change to the other.

Sea basses vary widely in size, from a few centimetres to a maximum of 2 metres (6 feet) and 225 kg (500 pounds) in such species as the goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) and 2.7 metres (9 feet) and 400 kg (900 pounds) in the giant grouper (E. lanceolatus). Colour also varies, both among and within species. Some sea basses, for example, are able to change to any of several colour patterns. In other species the young may be patterned differently from the adults, and in still others individuals inhabiting deeper waters may be considerably redder than those of the same species living near shore.

The family Moronidae, sometimes considered a subfamily of the Serranidae, includes about six species of sea basses found in more northern regions. These fishes, distinguished by two separate dorsal fins that are joined at the base, live in the temperate waters of North America and Europe. A few of these fishes, such as the striped bass (Morone, or Roccus, saxatilis), enter rivers to spawn. The white perch (M. americana, or R. americanus), which also enters fresh water to breed, is in some areas permanently landlocked in certain streams and ponds.

The better-known moronids include the European bass (Morone, or Dicentrarchus, labrax), found from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, often in river mouths the striped bass, or striper, a renowned American food and sport fish striped with black and growing to about 14 kg (30 pounds) the white bass (M. chrysops), a dark-striped river fish of the eastern United States and the white perch, a North American Atlantic species reaching a maximum of about 38 cm (15 inches) and 1.4 kg (3 pounds).

Among the many serranid sea basses valued for food and sport are grouper the black sea bass (Centropristis striata), a gray, brownish, or blackish species of the western Atlantic and the graysby (Petrometopon cruentatus), of tropical western Atlantic waters.

Bass SSK-2 - History

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Welcome to the web site. This site is designed to help you figure out what type of drums you have and the history behind them.

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Was the Real Lone Ranger a Black Man?

On a riverbank in Texas, a master of disguise waited patiently with his accomplice, hoping that his target, an infamous horse thief, would show himself on the trail. After four days, the hunch paid off, when the bandit unwittingly walked towards the man who haunted the outlaws of the Old West. Springing from the bushes, the cowboy confronted his frightened mark with a warrant. As the desperado reached for his weapon as a last ditch effort, the lawman shot him down before his gun could leave his side.

Though the quick-draw tale may sound like an adventure of the Lone Ranger, this was no fictional event. In fact, it was one of many feats of Bass Reeves, a legendary lawman of the Wild West𠅊 man whose true adventures rivaled those of the outlaw-wrangling masked character. Reeves was a real-life African-American cowboy who one historian has proposed may have inspired the Lone Ranger.

In 1838—nearly a century before the Lone Ranger was introduced to the public�ss Reeves was born a slave in the Arkansas household of William S. Reeves, who relocated to Paris, Texas, in 1846. It was in Texas, during the Civil War, that William made Bass accompany his son, George Reeves, to fight for the Confederacy.

While serving George, Bass escaped to Indian Territory under the cover of the night. The Indian Territory, known today as Oklahoma, was a region ruled by five Native American tribes𠅌herokee, Seminole, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw—who were forced from their homelands due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830. While the community was governed through a system of tribal courts, the courts’ jurisdiction only extended to members of the five major tribes. That meant anyone who wasn’t part of those tribes𠅏rom escaped slaves to petty criminals𠅌ould only be pursued on a federal level within its boundaries. It was against the backdrop of the lawless Old West that Bass would earn his formidable reputation.

Upon arriving in the Indian Territory, Bass learned the landscape and the customs of the Seminole and Creek tribes, even learning to speak their languages. After the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865, abolishing slavery, Bass, now formally a free man, returned to Arkansas, where he married and went on to have 11 children.

Bass Reeves. (Credit: Public Domain)

After a decade of freedom, Bass returned to the Indian Territory when U.S. Marshal James Fagan recruited him to help rein in the criminals that plagued the land. Fagan, under the direction of federal judge Isaac C. Parker, brought in 200 deputy marshals to calm the growing chaos throughout the West. The deputy marshals were tasked with bringing in the countless thieves, murderers and fugitives who had overrun the expansive 75,000-square-mile territory. Able local shooters and trackers were sought out for the position, and Bass was one of the few African-Americans recruited.

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, with proficient shooting skills from his time in the Civil War and his knowledge of the terrain and language, Bass was the perfect man for the challenge. Upon taking the job, he became the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi.

As deputy marshal, Bass is said to have arrested more than 3,000 people and killed 14 outlaws, all without sustaining a single gun wound, writes biographer Art T. Burton, who first asserted the theory that Bass had inspired the Lone Ranger in his 2006 book, Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves.

At the heart of Burton’s argument is that fact that over 32 years as a deputy marshal, Bass found himself in numerous stranger-than-fiction encounters. Also, many of the fugitives Bass arrested were sent to the Detroit House of Corrections, in the same city where the Lone Ranger would be introduced to the world on the radio station WXYZ on January 30, 1933.

A statue of U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Credit: Jeannie Nuss/AP Photo)

In addition to his wide-ranging repertoire of skills, Bass took a creative approach to his investigations, sometimes disguising himself or creating new backstories in order to get the jump on his targets. One such plot required Bass to walk nearly 30 miles dressed as a beggar on the run from authority. When he arrived at the home of his targets, two brothers, their mother invited Bass in and suggested that he stay the night. Bass accepted her offer, and the sons were in handcuffs before sunrise. After restraining the siblings in their sleep, Bass walked them the entire way back to his camp.

Much like his silver screen equivalent, Bass was fiercely dedicated to his position. Widely considered impossible to pay off or shake up, Bass demonstrated a moral compass that could put even Superman to shame. He even went so far as to arrest his own son, Bennie, for murdering his wife. In Bass’ obituary in the January 18, 1910, edition of The Daily Ardmoreite, it was reported that Bass had overheard a marshal suggesting that another deputy take on the case. Bass stepped in, quietly saying, “Give me the writ.” He arrested his son, who was sentenced to life in prison.

The legendary lawman was eventually removed from his position in 1907, when Oklahoma gained statehood. As an African-American, Bass was unable to continue in his position as deputy marshal under the new state laws. He died three years later, after being diagnosed with Bright’s disease, but the legend of his work in the Old West would live on.

Although there is no concrete evidence that the real legend inspired the creation of one of fiction’s most well-known cowboys, �ss Reeves is the closest real person to resemble the fictional Lone Ranger on the American western frontier of the nineteenth century,” Burton writes in Black Gun, Silver Star.

However, Bass accomplished things that dwarf the triumphs of his fictional counterpart, in his journey from slave to one of the staunchest defenders of the very government that had failed to protect his freedom in the first place. And while the truth about the Lone Ranger may remain a mystery, the story of Bass Reeves remains an inspiration for real-life heroes to this day.

What is Here?

When you arrive at the lighthouse, you will see a path in plain sight on the right side. This will take you next to the tower and lighthouse viewing area where you have a great vantage point to see a panoramic view of the harbor and the islands in the distance. There are some plaques with detailed information about the grounds, the lighthouse, and its history. This also provides a great close-up view of the lighthouse tower itself from the outside only as the building is being used as a private residence.

On the left side of the buildings is a path that appears to go into the tree canopy. Take this path then, bear right. This will take you to a stairway that follows down the front face of the cliff, eventually arriving at a prime spot for capturing a picture of the lighthouse and cliffs like you may have seen here on or elsewhere. Use utmost caution if you venture down to the rocks below. There are no guardrails or boardwalks for safety once you get to the bottom. This is the rugged and unpredictable Maine coast with its roughness, loose stones, and slippery spots. Also, keep in mind that, if you are not in the best of shape, the climb back up will require more effort since it is steep. There are platforms every so often to allow a short rest (while standing).

You may be surprised to hear that the Bass Harbor Head Light is in Tremont rather than Bass Harbor. The fact is, Bass Harbor is actually a village in the municipality of Tremont along with Bernard, Gotts Island, Seal Cove, and West Tremont.

General Information

  • First Built in 1858 - National Register of Historic Places
  • Original Lighthouse Lens: Fifth Order Fresnel
  • Current Lighthouse Lens: Fourth Order Fresnel
  • Fog Signal: None
  • Lighthouse became automated in 1974.
  • Tremont Historical Society:
    P.O. Box 215
    Bass Harbor, ME 04653
    Mon. & Wed. 1:00 - 4:00 PM, EST (207) 244-9753
  • Only lighthouse on Mount Desert Island
  • Parking Area GPS: Latitude 44.222568 Longitude -68.337273
  • The National Park Service may be reached at: 207.288.3338
  • Hulls Cove Visitor Center GPS: Latitude 44.409286 Longitude -68.247501 Shuttle Bus Service for Mount Desert Island including Acadia
  • Tremont Municipal Office:
    Route 102, Bass Harbor or P.O. Box 65, Bernard, ME 04612

US Navy Hunter-Killer Submarines

A multitude of problems were identified by Project Kayo and by other ASW exercises. Submarine communications were found to be completely unsatisfactory, preventing coordinated efforts with aircraft and surface ships. Also, in the SSK role sub- marines only could detect diesel submarines that were moving at high speeds (over eight knots). Although Project Kayo was soon reduced to only SubDevGru 2, the Korean War, which erupted in June 1950, increased interest in submarine ASW. The three submarines of the K1 class were completed in 1951–1952. Their anti-submarine performance was most impressive for the time: In exercises off Bermuda in 1952, the prototype K1 detected a snorkeling submarine at 30 n. miles (55.5 m) and was able to track the target for five hours. However, the small K-boats were cramped and uncomfortable, and their slow transit speed limited their being sent into forward areas during a crisis or when there were intelligence indications of a possible conflict. Criticism of their range and endurance was met by proposals to base the K- boats at friendly European and Asian ports within 1,000 n. miles (1,853 km) of their patrol areas, and to employ submarine tankers (SSO) to refuel them—while submerged—on station.

But their ability to detect a snorkeling submarine at long range was not enough. If Soviet submarines could transit through critical areas submerged on battery/electric power or had a closed-cycle propulsion system, they would likely evade K-boat detection. And the SSKs would be severely limited by weaknesses in SSK-to-SSK communications and the short range of their torpedoes. An epitaph to the K-boats was written by Captain Ned Kellogg, who had served aboard the K3 as a young officer:

Some of the good features of the class were its simplicity . . . . It had a dry induction mast, no main induction valve . . . no conning tower and therefore no safety tank, no low pressure blower for the ballast tanks, instead a diesel exhaust blow system similar to what the German submarine force used during World War II, a simple remotely operated electrical control panel which kept the battery always available for propulsion, the newest fire control system . . . all AC power rather than split between AC and DC.

But the submarine suffered from having diesel engines that were difficult to maintain, an unreliable and insufficient fresh water plant, undependable electrical generators, and slow speed. Kellogg’s conclusion: “You just can’t build an inexpensive submarine that is worth much at all, unless you man her with a crew of courage and heart.”

“hunter-killer” submarines (SSK)

As early as 1946 the U. S. Navy’s Operational Evaluation Group had proposed the use of submarines in ASW, and that September the chairman of the planning group for the Submarine Officers Conference noted that “with the further development and construction in effective numbers of new submarines by any foreign power the employment of our sub- marines in anti-submarine work may well become imperative.” Also in 1946 the Navy’s ASW Conference proposed equal priority for a specialized, small ASW submarine as well as the new attack submarine (i. e., Tang).

The specialized “hunter-killer” submarines (SSK) would lay in wait to ambush enemy submarines off Soviet ports and in channels and straits where Soviet submarines would transit—on the surface or snorkeling—en route to and from the Atlantic shipping routes. The concept of specialized ASW submarines date to the British “R” class of World War I, when ten hunter-killer submarines were built, all launched in 1918 with only one being completed in time to see active service. In the U. S. Navy the use of an ASW submarine was proposed in a 1946 report of the Navy’s Operational Evaluation Group. The proposal resulted from the erroneous belief that the Japanese had sunk several U. S. submarines in World War II by employing such craft.

A series of Navy ASW conferences and exercises that began in 1947 in both the U. S. Atlantic and Pacific Fleets led to proposals for a hunter-killer submarine (SSK) force to counter the Soviet under- sea fleet. The central component of the American SSK design was long-range, passive sonar, which would be coupled with effective torpedoes that “would destroy any submarine which passed with- in detection range” with a very high degree of probability. The SSK was envisioned as a relatively small, simply constructed submarine capable of mass production by shipyards not previously engaged in building submarines. Several SSK preliminary designs were developed the smallest would have had a surface dis- placement of only 250 tons, with a large sonar, minimal torpedo armament, and a crew of two officers and 12 enlisted men. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) initially accepted a proposal for a sub- marine of 450 tons with a pressure hull 14 feet (4.27m) in diameter, but further study by the Submarine Officers Conference revealed that the submerged endurance of this submarine would be wholly inadequate. To provide sufficient endurance the SSK characteristics ultimately approved by the CNO, on 27 May 1948, provided for a surface displacement of 740 tons—close to the German Type VII—with a pressure hull diameter of 15 1 / 2 feet (4.65 m).

The principal SSK sonar was the large BQR-4, the first array sonar developed by the U. S. Navy. Produced by the Edo Corporation, this was an enlarged version of the GHG/BQR-2 sonar. The BQR-4 had 58 hydrophones, each ten feet (3.0 m) high, mounted in a circular arrangement, similar to the BQR-2. These both had significant advantages over earlier, simple, horizontal-line hydrophones. It was more sensitive to the direction of a target, and, the electronic steering (by directing the sonar beams) rather than being mechanically trained was a quieter process.

Early SSK design sketches showed an array of the BQR-4 hydrophones ten-feet (3-m) long wrapped around the submarine’s sail structure. The final SSK configuration placed the sonar in a dome at the extreme bow of the submarine, as far as possible from the noise-generating machinery and propellers of the submarine. The estimated passive (listening) range of the BQR-4 was up to 20 n. miles (37 km) against a surfaced or snorkeling submarine (i. e., using diesel engines). Under perfect conditions, ranges out to 35 n. miles (65 km) were expected. The BQR-4 could track targets to within five degrees of accuracy. Of course, effective U. S. torpedo ranges at the time were a few thousand yards, far short of expected target detection ranges. And, the SSK’s slow submerged speed—8.5 knots—would make it difficult to close with targets detected at greater ranges.

The massive BQR-4 in the SSKs would be supplemented by the high-frequency BQR-2—a copy of the German GHG—mounted in a keel dome, as in the Type XXI[1]. The BQR-2 had 48 hydrophones forming a circle eight feet (2.44 m) in diameter. It was credited with ranges up to ten n. miles (18.5 km) with a bearing accuracy of 1 / 10 th of a degree, making it useful for fire control in torpedo attacks. Also fitted in the SSK would be the small BQR-3, an improved version of the U. S. Navy’s wartime JT passive sonar, intended as a backup for the newer sets. The small, active BQS-3 sonar would be fitted to transmit an acoustic “ping” toward a target submarine to obtain a precise measurement of range. Also, a hydrophone suspended by cable from the submarine to provide long-range, non-directional listening was planned, but not installed. With some 1,000 feet (305 m) of cable, the hydrophone could be lowered away from submarine-generated noises. A key factor in SSK effectiveness was to be self- quieting, with very quiet refrigeration and air- conditioning equipment being specially developed.

A Navy analysis indicated that a “minimum” of 25 to 70 surface ships would be required on station per 100 n. miles (185 km) of barrier to pose more than a negligible threat to snorkeling submarines. In comparison, three to five SSKs per 100 miles could be expected to detect practically all of the transiting submarines. The Navy’s SSK proposal of 1948 to meet the perceived threat of 2,000 modern Soviet submarines in the 1960s called for 964 hunter-killer boats! This number included SSKs in transit to and from patrol areas, undergoing overhaul, and being rearmed SSK armament would consist of four bow torpedo tubes with eight torpedoes being carried. The submarine would carry straight-running Mk 16 torpedoes and the new, acoustic-homing Mk 35. The latter, which entered service in 1949, was primarily an anti-surface ship weapon. The Mk 16 had a speed of 46 knots and a range of 11,000 yards (10,060 m) the smaller Mk 35 had a speed of only 27 knots for 15,000 yards (13,700 m).

The tactics envisioned the killer submarines operating in forward areas, virtually motionless and hence noiseless when on their patrol station, seeking to detect Soviet submarines transiting to ocean areas. One method considered for hovering on station was to employ an anchor for buoyancy control. With an operating depth of 400 feet (120 m), the K-boats would be able to anchor in water as deep as 3,400 feet (1,040 m). The SSKs also were intended for operation in Arctic waters in the marginal-ice area, with fathometers being fitted in the keel and atop the sail.

The SSK concept provided for a retractable buoy for radio communications with other SSKs. Two submarines in contact would be able to solve torpedo fire control solutions using only bearings (i. e., passive sonar). Congress authorized construction of the first SSK—to be “named” K1—in fiscal year 1948 (which began on 30 June 1947) and two more were authorized the following year. These three K- boats were authorized in place of one additional Tang-class submarine. To mature the K-boat design before it was turned over to non-submarine shipyards, the K1 was ordered from the privately owned Electric Boat yard (Groton, Connecticut), while the K2 and K3 were ordered from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard (near San Francisco). Proposals to build some of this trio at the New York Shipbuild- ing yard in Camden, New Jersey, did not work out. In 1948 the Navy planned a most ambitious construction program for both the K1 and Tang classes these submarines would be in addition to several special-purpose undersea craft and a large fleet boat conversion program. Construction rates of the Tang-class would increase in 1960 to begin replacing GUPPYs that would be retired.

[1] The Type XXI’s torpedoes consisted of the Lüt, a pattern-running torpedo, and the T11, a passive acoustic homing weapon. The latter was believed to be immune to the “Foxer” and other acoustic decoys used by the Allies. Under development for future U-boat use were active acoustic homing and wire-guided torpedoes. To help the Type XXI detect hostile ships, the submarine was fitted with radar and the so-called GHG sonar, the most advanced acoustic detection system in service with any navy. The sonar was mounted in an under-keel “balcony,” and hence was referred to as Balkon.

The GHG was key to an advanced fire control system fitted in the Type XXI. The submarine’s echo- ranging gear and plotting table, specifically designed for such attacks, were linked to a special device for so-called “programmed firing” in attacking convoys. As soon as a U-boat had succeeded in getting beneath a convoy, data collected by sonar was converted and automatically set in the Lüt torpedoes, which were then fired in spreads of six. After launching, the torpedoes fanned out until their spread covered the extent of the convoy, when they began running loops across its mean course. In this manner the torpedoes covered the entire convoy. In theory these torpedoes were certain of hitting six ships of from 197 to 328 feet (60 to 100 m) in length with the theoretical success rate of 95 to 99 percent. In firing trials such high scores were in fact achieved.

Lack of Transparency Plagued the Project

While scientists questioning the validity of Biosphere 2’s experiments cast stones at the glass house, the project’s public image also suffered from a lack of transparency. Two weeks after entering Biosphere 2, Poynter departed for surgery after severing a fingertip in a rice-threshing machine. 

Months later, it was revealed that she brought along a duffel bag full of equipment upon her return. Then came revelations that a three-month supply of food had been stockpiled inside Biosphere 2 before the experiment began, that air was being pumped inside and that its doors had been regularly opened to bring in supplies such as seeds, vitamins and mouse traps.

With an endeavor so big, the Biospherians fully expected failures. “That’s why you do experiments—to learn what you don’t know,” Nelson says. However, the media tended to cover the enterprise like a survivalist reality show. “The theatricality drew a lot of eyeballs, but the nuance of what this group was trying to do with long-term visions was lost in the expectation that it was this human experiment in which eight people are locked in and nothing can go in and out,” Wolf says.

In spite of the challenges they faced, the eight Biospherians made it through their two years apart from the world. The next crew, however, would not.

WATCH: The Untold Story of the 90s on HISTORY Vault

Bass Reeves: Baddest Marshal in the Old West, Original 'Lone Ranger'

He stood 6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 meters), weighed 180 pounds (82 kilograms) and could reportedly whoop two men at a time with his bare hands. He was as quick on the draw as he was deadly accurate with his Winchester rifle, capable of taking down a running target at a quarter-mile (402 meters). He wore a thick handlebar mustache and spit-shined boots unless he was in one of his clever disguises. In the storied American West of the late 19th-century, where duty-bound lawmen pursued murderous outlaws for high-priced bounties, none deserved their fame as much as Bass Reeves.

Born into slavery in 1838, Bass escaped to Indian Territory during the Civil War and emerged as a skilled marksman and tracker who could speak multiple Native American languages. Reeves was hired as a deputy U.S. marshal, one of several Black and Native American lawmen to patrol the hardscrabble territory on behalf of the Federal government. It was a notoriously hazardous profession — at least 114 deputy U.S. marshals were killed on duty in Indian Territory before it became the state of Oklahoma in 1907.

But Bass Reeves was no ordinary officer of the law. Over his three-decade career, Reeves arrested more than 3,000 individuals, survived countless skirmishes with armed outlaws, and killed at least 14 men while defending his life and others'. He was, in a word, a hero.

"Bass Reeves was the greatest frontier hero in American history," says Art T. Burton, former history professor and author of "Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves." "He walked into the valley of death every day for 32 years. He helped people regardless of their race, their religion or their background his entire life."

From Fugitive Slave to Lawman

Not much is known about Bass's early life other than that he was born in Arkansas into an enslaved family owned by Arkansas state legislator William Reeves and then his son George Reeves. The family was moved to Texas where George Reeves organized and led a cavalry regiment for the Confederacy. Bass served alongside Colonel Reeves in the Civil War as his body servant and the two men formed a close bond. But that bond was broken when they got to arguing over a card game and Bass punched the colonel out cold.

"For a slave to hit his master in Texas was punishable by death," says Burton, "So Bass didn't wait around to see what the consequences might be."

He spent the next few years living among the Creek, Cherokee and Seminole tribes, learning their languages, studying their hunting and tracking techniques, and according to some accounts, fighting for the Union in guerilla regiments.

After the war, Reeves returned to Arkansas a free man, married his wife Jennie, and started working as a scout for federal lawmen patrolling the neighboring Indian Territory. In 1875, a new judge took over the Fort Smith federal courthouse in Arkansas and called for the hiring of 200 more deputy U.S. marshals to chase down lawbreakers who escaped into the territories. Bass Reeves was one of them. While Bass wasn't the first Black deputy U.S. marshal, he was easily the most famous.

The Life of a Deputy U.S. Marshal

As a Black man with a badge in the Reconstruction-era South, Bass had arresting authority over whites, American Indians and fellow freedmen. He even arrested some white men for lynchings. If a member of an Indian tribe committed a crime against another Native American, those were handled by tribal police and tribal courts, but Reeves and his fellow deputy U.S. marshals handled all other crimes committed in Indian Territory.

"Things like murder, attempted murder, rape, and theft of horses and cattle," says Burton. "The illegal trade of whiskey was a very big problem for the deputy U.S. marshals."

Like other formerly enslaved people, Reeves was never taught to read or write, but he developed the uncanny ability to memorize a pile of arrest warrants and associate each crime with the "shape" of an individual name. The system worked. While other deputies would return to Fort Smith with three or four captured fugitives, he routinely delivered a dozen or more wanted men.

An 1882 notice in The Fort Smith Elevator reported that "Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves came in on Monday with sixteen prisoners," including men wanted for attempted murder and arson.

The Best Bass Stories

The tales of Bass Reeves' bravery and cunning are legendary and legion, and Burton chronicled some of his favorites in "Black Gun, Silver Star."

There was the time when Reeves was in pursuit of a band of outlaw brothers laying low at their mother's house in Chickasaw territory. Reeves had a whole posse with him, but he knew they'd be spotted miles away. So, Reeves disguised himself as a tramp with holes in his shoes, a big floppy hat and a cane. He walked 28 miles (45 kilometers) across the parched plains and arrived on the mother's porch begging for some food and water.

When her sons came home, the mother introduced Reeves like an old friend and the group started scheming up a crime they could all pull together. The outlaw brothers awoke the next day handcuffed to their beds and Reeves marched them all the way back to his camp on foot.

"Momma was hot," laughs Burton. "I think she followed Bass for about 10 miles [16 kilometers] cursing at him."

Then there was the time that Bass was ambushed by the three Brunter brothers, each wanted for multiple counts of horse theft, robbery and unsolved murders. The brothers told Reeves to drop his weapons, but he played it cool and calmly asked the men for the day's date. When asked why, Reeves said so he could mark it down on their arrest warrants when he brought them to court.

The Brunter brothers almost fell over laughing, thinking the outgunned lawman was out of his mind. But Reeves seized the opportunity to whip out his Colt revolver, shoot two of the men dead and grab the muzzle of the third brother's revolver before beating him over the head with it.

One of Burton's favorite Bass Reeves stories was the time that Reeves was called in by his fellow deputy U.S. marshals to help smoke out a stubborn fugitive. After an hourslong shootout, the outlaw made a run for it.

"The rest of the posse started shooting at him as he's running across the field but they were missing," says Burton. "Then Deputy U.S. Marshal Bud Ledbetter hollered, 'Get him, Bass!' And Bass said coolly and calmly, 'I will break his neck.' Bass took his Winchester rifle at a quarter of a mile and broke this man's neck."

The Inspiration for the Lone Ranger?

In his book, Burton makes the bold yet believable claim that Bass Reeves was the real-life inspiration for the Lone Ranger, a masked hero first created for radio in the 1930s before becoming a movie and TV star.

"Bass is the closest thing to the Lone Ranger to exist in reality," says Burton. "The Lone Ranger handed out silver bullets. Bass handed out silver dollars. Bass worked with an Indian sidekick and rode a white horse. Bass worked in disguise throughout his career. The Lone Ranger's last name is Reid, which is very close to Reeves."

Also like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was known for his strong moral compass and dedication to justice. When Reeves' own son was wanted for the murder of his wife, he solemnly requested the warrant and brought his boy in for trial. Reeves also arrested the preacher who baptized him. In need of money, the congregation had convinced the preacher to run bootleg whiskey, but Reeves wouldn't have it.

Burton believes that Detroit might provide the connection between Bass and the Lone Ranger. The original radio program was created at a Detroit radio station in 1933 and most of the outlaws that Bass arrested in the 1880s and 1890s were sent to the Detroit House of Corrections to serve out their sentences. Did the writers of the white Lone Ranger take inspiration from local legends of a morally upright Black lawman who patrolled the Wild West? Burton thinks so, although he admits there is no conclusive proof.

The End of a Legendary Life

By the time Bass Reeves retired from his long career as a Federal lawman, he was famous throughout Indian Territory. There were folk songs written about his heroics and he could nab a fugitive by the power of his reputation alone. The story goes that Belle Starr, an outlaw known as "the female Jesse James," turned herself in at Fort Smith when she heard that Bass had her warrant.

Despite being hunted by aggrieved outlaws for most of his life, Reeves died of natural causes at age of 72. One obituary published in The Daily Ardmoreite wrote: "No history of frontier days in Indian Territory would be complete with no mention of Bass Reeves and no tale of the old days of 'Hell on the Border' could be told without the old deputy marshal as a prominent character."

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More than a century after his death, Bass Reeves is finally getting his due. The Black lawman was featured in the first episode of HBO's "Watchmen" and is the subject of a TV series being developed by Morgan Freeman based on Burton's books.

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