Last week I posted a couple of stories about some strange rumblings coming out of the Explorers Club and an internal dispute that resulted in ten members of the prestigious Flag and Honors Committee either resigning or being dismissed, depending on which side of the story you believe. You can read both of my posts here and here.
So who were these rebel committee members that resulted in the first mass resignation in the history of the century-old organization? Are they some wild band of misfits? On the contrary, the group consists of numerous Explorers Club award winners, past presidents, and board members. Between them, they have over 200 years of membership in the club, in some cases dating back decades. The list includes:
John Bruno (President Emeritus)
Leroy Chiao (Astronaut)
David Concannon (Expedition Diver)
Constance Difede (Vice President of the Committee)
Lindy Elkins-Tanton (Research Scientist)
Max Gallimore (Explorer/World Traveler)
Ken Kamler (Expedition Doctor)
Mike Manyak (Expedition Doctor)
Lee Talbot (Environmental Specialist/Geologist)
Don Walsh (Oceanographer)
While some of those may not all be household names, these are men and women who are highly esteemed in their fields. Additionally, the serving on the Flag and Honors Committee is an honor within the EC as well.
At issue here isn’t the fact that these committee members were let go, but that it happened as part of a larger dispute in which these ten people were asking for the Board of Directors to review the processes for which Explorers Club awards and medals are given out. The implication is that those awards are being used for political gain within the organization, and were not necessarily being awarded to people who had earned them by doing scientific research or ground breaking exploration. For an organization as highly regarded as the EC, this is a very serious issue to say the least.
Of the 12 members who sit on the Flag and Honors Committee, only the Explorers Club President and her husband, declined to offer their resignation over this still developing situation.
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