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Field Camp Alumni 1963 Gardner
Gypsum beds in Oklahoma.  To the right: Herm Witte and The Bug. Photo courtesy of David Reidenour

Bob Gardner recalls Herm and the Bug at the 1963 camp

     I read Jerry Bartholomew's recollections of the 1963 field camp. He refers to a tall skinny grad student with thick glasses who ate wheat germ. This was Herman Witte. He was from Trenton NJ and did a MS in Geology at Penn State. I believe that he then went to the University of Alabama to study psychiatry but have since lost track of him. Just before we started out on the cross-country geology tour, Herm's mother bought him a brand new Volkswagon Bug. A day or so later the carravan was camping somewhere in southern Ohio. The next morning Herm announced that he had to take his Bug in to have its 500 mile checkup. Larry Lattman, who was leading that leg of the tour, said "God damn it Herm, we can't wait for you to take your car in for service!" So off we went minus Herm. Several days later we were riding the dirt back roads of southwestern Missouri to meet a mining geologist who was going to show us the lead-zinc deposits of that area. Suddenly up ahead we saw a yellow Bug making circles in the road. It was Herm!  " How the hell did you ever find us out here?" Well it turned out that Herm had stopped at a restaurant on US 66 in Joplin the night before and by pure chance had met the geologist who we were going to meet the next day.
     Herm pulled off another similar stroke of good luck several days later in Carlsbad NM. We were staying in a KOA campground and on Sunday morning had gone out to see the Caverns. We came back around noon to have lunch and a short siesta. At about 2PM the caravan set off to tour a potash mine just west of Carlsbad. At the mine we boarded an elevator and went down about a thousand feet to the potash workings.  From there we walked about a mile along one of the drifts and then noticed that Herm and Dave Reidenour were not with us. Later, as our host was discussing the geochemical origin of the deposits and the mining methods used to extract them, we heard voices coming down the drift. And then into our midst came Herm and Dave, unescorted. They had overslept and missed the caravan. So they set out into the dessert in the Bug looking for us in one of a dozen or so mines in the area. As luck would have it they stumbled upon the right mine, and the elevator operator sent them down with instructions as to which drift to follow.
     Unfortunately Herm's luck ran out later in Montana. One morning, while driving to his map area, he hit a boulder that had rolled onto the road and had to be towed into Lima for repairs.