by CATHERINE CALDWELL, SARAH HONDA, TASHA MERO, LIANNE BIDAL THOMPSON
Explore the unique careers of five men who discover the truths and uncover the answers by digging further and farther into the unknown-and sometimes, even outside of reality (using special effects, of course).
DIVE IN TO IT
“My feelings right before a dive are excitement, nervousness and anxiousness,” says Tyler Borge, senior diver and dive supervisor for Sea Engineering, Inc. “My main thought is to be as quick and efficient as possible, because the deeper the job, the less bottom time you have.” Borge, 28 years old, is a commercial diver who does marine construction and salvage.
“One of my most memorable jobs was just a few months ago when I was salvaging an airplane off Kalaupapa, Moloka’i,” Borge says. “Not necessarily the job, but the environment. Being able to work in a place like that where the land is so natural, and the water is so pristine. Knowing that you only have a few chances in a lifetime to work in a place like that makes all the hard work worth it.”
Borge describes that never knowing what to expect is one of the things he likes about diving. Current, wind, swells and visibility are never the same and constantly changing. “Every job is a new experience,” Borge adds.
“Usually the night before [a dive] I check all my equipment to make sure everything is in working order and get a good night’s rest,” Borge says. “The day of the dive I make sure I drink lots of fluids, because you really don’t know how long you’ll be down; it could be one hour or 10 hours. Our dive teams go over the job, objectives and hazards for the day repeatedly. You have to have a clear idea of what’s going on because once you leave the surface, you’re all alone down there. The diver is the only one with visuals on the situation. The diver is always the first to know what’s going on below the surface.”
Dr. M. Lee Goff’s neighbors were having a tough time. The entomologist had consulted on a murder case, and to prove the timeline he’d posited, he wrapped a dead pig in a tarp and let it decompose-in his backyard.
The decomposition time proved Goff’s timeline to be correct, and everyone moved on. Goff wrote a book, A Fly for the Prosecution, which detailed his forensic entomology work. Then, Discovery Channel called. They’d found out about his consulting work as a forensic entomologist, and asked him to re-create his experiment. “Just when my neighbors has started speaking to me again,” Goff laughs.
He went on to repeat the process two more times, for various media outlets, and just about the time when his neighbors seemed to be at their wits’ end with his bugs and carcasses, the producer of a new show, CSI, called. He had come across Goff’s book, and wanted to build a series around his cases.
“So, they took cases from my book, moved it from the tropics of Hawai’i to the desert of Nevada,” Goff explains. “My cases are used throughout the first two seasons.” He still consults with the show, and, thanks to his “Hollywood cred,” his neighbors are now happy to live next door to a guy who occasionally lets animals rot in the back yard.
While the forensic consulting is what gets his name in the public most often, Goff points out that is just a part of his job. He was a professor of entomology at UH Manoa and then became the Director of the Forensic Sciences Program at Chaminade University. After retiring last year, Goff, thanks to his emeritus status at the universities, is able to concentrate on what he loves most about working in his field: research (“When done properly … you’re contributing something,” he explains) and consulting-that takes him around the world. The one thing he doesn’t like? “Testifying [at trials],” he says.
From boot camp to traveling aboard the USS Mahan, Honolulu-born, 27-year-old William Tiu Cayetano, Sonar Technician Third Class Surface Warfare Specialist, will spend five years surveying the high seas as a Navy Petty Officer.
Cayetano’s role is multifaceted; he is the damage control supervisor for his division, an oceanographer, and occasionally, an acoustic analyst. His days consist of monitoring contacts of interest, providing surveillance reports and ensuring sonar equipment is at pique performance.
Good hearing is a commonly misperceived position requirement; mathematics, geometry and oceanography skills, however, are prerequisite.
“While underway, I conduct a five-hour watch-surveying the ocean for any changes in water temperature and reporting contacts,” Cayetano explains. “I ensure that all of our damage control equipment … and even air conditioners/ heating units are in working order.”
Amidst scouting and tracking submarines, Cayetano remains equipped for emergency situations. “It’s funny, but I feel the greatest risk is simply being on a military vessel. Heavy steel, plus strong waves, equals disaster,” he says.
Risk aside, Cayetano cites “camaraderie” as the ship’s best aspect, calling crewmates “his extended family.” Military regimes’-while rewarding-regimens annul the feint.
A brisk 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. port schedule, it is not unusual for Cayetano’s workdays to range 12-19 hours. In intense scenarios, “There are times we don’t get any sleep at all for a day and a half, or even two days,” he reveals.
“Seeing the Navy recruiting commercials made me think twice before enlisting … because of how demanding the tasks may be,” Cayetano confesses. “However, with my family’s support, I pursued my goal to serve my country with pride and dedication.”
An Assets School 2005 graduate, Cayetano enlisted in 2010 to find his niche. He received IT and sonar technician training and, since aboard the USS Mahan, earned a NATO ribbon for Operations Active Endeavor while deployed in the Mediterranean.
“Blowing things up,” replies John Hartigan, special effects supervisor for “Hawaii Five-0,” smiling, when asked the best part of his job. A packed production schedule of 6 a.m. call times, crew meetings, 7 p.m. wraps and monthly Saturday shoots, Hartigan’s five-day workweeks are brimming with adrenaline-charged activity for 12 straight weeks.
“On set, we shoot quick and move fast; you always have to be ready-prepping gags, scouting the site, supervising the effects, verifying safety precautions-a lot more mechanics are involved than people think,” Hartigan exudes.
Hartigan, with “5-0” since 2010, launched his Hollywood career in his young 20s cutting holes in the seat of a Rolls-Royce on set of Jim Henson’s “The Muppets.” Climbing the cinema echelon from carpenter, to prop shop, to special effects, Hartigan is now an established movie effects master.
“Effects aren’t just bullet hits and explosions. Especially in the TV world, people don’t realize how much mechanics, electronics and plumbing are involved,” Hartigan explains. “Running water, elevator doors, fans, wind and rain are all special effects.”
The life of blockbuster set roulette may sound glamorous, but pyrotechnics and non-fire feats involve risk. Stunts back-firing cause panic, so medics are on set equipped for disaster, Hartigan assures.
When not shooting “5-0,” Hartigan fills his remaining three months of the year residing at his Hideaway Film Ranch in California or traveling around the globe- adding to his impressive rÃ©sumÃ© reel of silver screen hits, including “Catch Me If You Can,” “Rocky Balboa” and “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” and developing his effects company, Ultimate Effects, at www.ultimateeffects.com.
Reid Yoshida lives a life of dedication and service. Yoshida has had a long career with the Honolulu Fire Department, spanning 14 years. However for the past six years, Yoshida has been determining the causes of fires under the Fire Investigation section of the H.F.D.
Before Yoshida became involved within the Fire Investigation section, Yoshida was a fire respondent. Curious about how investigators were able to determine the causes of fires is what sparked Yoshida’s interest in this particular field. “I saw fire investigators working after I was done putting out the fire and I wondered, ‘How could they make a determination of how the house burned down?'” Yoshida recalls. “The systematic method of narrowing [and] looking at all things, potential ignition sources, [and] trying to come up with one probable cause was interesting to me.”
In January 2014 Yoshida was promoted to captain of the Fire Investigation section. Using the scientific method, Yoshida is able to determine the origin of fires. “We base it off of evidence [and] fire patterns that we find at the scene,” Yoshida explains. “We take all the circumstances and knowledge of our experience that we’ve gathered and we apply it to this method.”
There is no doubt that Yoshida really loves what he does. “I feel like what [fire investigators] do makes a difference for the community,” he explains. Being able to help others is one of the most satisfying aspects of Yoshida’s job. “I love the fire department and I love helping people,” Yoshida says. “[In] this line of work, you need to have passion to want to help people. That’s important-to have that passion and to have compassion for people and life.”