Photo of the Week
May 15, 2005 


       
       This week's photo is a real treat!  The photo was taken on May 20, 1942 during the official opening of the Miraflores Bridge.  The ribbon has just been cut and has fallen to the ground. 
       A caption on the back of the photo reads: Lt. General Frank M. Andrews, Commander of the Caribbean Area, cutting the ribbon which officially placed the Miraflores Bridge in operation.  Principals in the foreground, reading from left to right, are:  Mr. D. M. Sharp, representative of the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company; Mr. C.A. Fisk, Special Engineering Division; Mr. J. W. Sibert, Pacific Area Engineer; Mr. E. E. Abbott, Designing Engineer; General Andrews; Major General W. E. Shedd, Deputy Commander of the Panama Canal; Colonel D. L. Weart, Assistant Engineer of Maintenence; and Lt. Colonel Barth, Assistant Supervising Engineer.
       This photo is one of a group from the John W. Sibert, Jr. collection.  As shown in the narration above, John W. Sibert was the Pacific Area Engineer of the Special Engineering Division on the Pacific side.  Mr. Sibert was instrumental in the  the construction of the Pacific Third Locks project and  the Miraflores Bridge.  The Sibert collection has many great photos showing the Miraflores Third Locks excavation, Miraflores Bridge construction and historical documentation concerning both.  I recently finished scanning the collection and hope to add all of it to the Third Locks Project section of the Canal Zone Images website.  I will be posting a few more photos as photo of the week and will make an announcement when I have added this information to the Third Locks Project section.

Another historical moment in our Canal Zone history captured!

CZ Images contributor note:

Dear Bill,
 
I followed the link to the picture of the dedication of the Miraflores swing bridge and noticed the picture of Gen Andrews.  Less than a year after that picture was taken on the bridge in Panama, Gen, Andrews died in an air plane crash in Iceland.  But as I have copied below the last year of his life was very eventful.  You probably know that Andrews AFB outside of Washington, DC was named in his honor.
 
In 1942 he went to North Africa, where as commander of all United States' forces in the Middle East, he helped to defeat Rommel's Afrika Korps.

In February 1943 Lt. Gen. Andrews became the commander of all United States forces in the European Theater of Operations. In his memoirs, Gen H.H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces in WWII, expressed the belief that General Andrews would have been given the command of the Allied invasion of Europe the position that eventually went to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unfortunately, on May 3, 1943, the B-24 carrying General Andrews on an inspection tour crashed while attempting to land at the Royal Air Force Base at Kaldadarnes, Iceland. General Andrews and 13 others died in the crash. Only the tail gunner survived. Click here to read a summary of circumstances for the crash.
 
Warmest Regards,
 
Tom Russell

 


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