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August 8, 2020

7/22/2020 12:55:00 PM
Mystery of 'Order of Magellan' is hopefully on way to being solved
Ron Traylor brought the framed Order of Magellan to the Plain Dealer & Sun on July 14. The document is still clearly legible and depicts bright and colorful nautical imagery and vernacular.—Staff Photo by Kylan Higgs.
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Ron Traylor brought the framed Order of Magellan to the Plain Dealer & Sun on July 14. The document is still clearly legible and depicts bright and colorful nautical imagery and vernacular.—Staff Photo by Kylan Higgs.

Update on the Mystery Owner of the framed Order of Magellan.

To recap: North Vernon's Ron Traylor came into the Plain Dealer & Sun with a framed document and the purpose to find the original owner's family and return it to them. The document reads that it is an Order of Magellan given to Petty Officer First Class Boatswain's Mate (BM1) Earl E. Foist after he sailed around the world on the U.S.S. Stormes from June 1, 1966 to December 19, 1966. Due to the font used on the certificate, "BM1" was originally interpreted as "BMI."

What we have uncovered thus far is this: The Order of Magellan is the highest award of the Circumnavigators Club, "the only international organization devoted to bringing together those men and women who have gone around the world."

Ferdinand Magellan was an explorer and led an expedition that resulted in the first sailing around the world in the 1500s. The Order that is his namesake is presented to outstanding individuals who are dedicated to advancing peace and understanding in all parts of the world.

Knowing that information, one wonders how such a prestige honor wound up in a Goodwill, which is where Ron Traylor bought the document.

Turns out, after contacting Jeneane Blom, the president of the Chicago chapter of the Club and Joe Osentoski, the First Vice-President of the Detroit chapter, this wasn't an official Order of Magellan, not the kind associated with the Circumnavigators' Club, anyway. Mr. Foist is not a member of the Club and is not listed among its recipients.

However, the U.S. Navy seal stamped on the document prompts further research. It seems contact with this branch of the United States military will be the next step in solving this mystery!

Mr. Osentoski did add that the fact that Mr. Foist circumnavigated "on a U.S. Navy destroyer is impressive, or it is impressive that the Navy sent a 'tin can' on such a long deployment that resulted in a circumnavigation; it would generally take many months to complete such a voyage."

That statement is an interesting antidote if, in fact, Mr. Foist's time in the Navy has relevance in solving the
mystery to find his family and return the document to them.
If you discover answers of your own that pertain to solving this case, please contact the Plain Dealer & Sun.






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