Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Blast From My (Almost) Past

So... this photo appeared in today's edition of the Air Force Association's Daily Report:

Air Frame: A forklift off-loads supply pallets from the back of a C-130 Hercules at Cape Newenham in northern Alaska, Dec. 4, 2012. Cape Newenham is a remote radar site that is part of the North Warning System, a string of aircraft-detection sensors stretching from northern Alaska across upper Canada to the Canadian Atlantic coast. Sites like Cape Newham are dependent upon air-delivered resupply. (Air Force photo by TSgt. Brian Ferguson)
The photo brought chills to my spine and grins to my face, alternately.  Why?  Because back in 1977 I had orders in hand for Cape Newenham AFS with a report NLT date of June, 1977.  Cape Newenham was a remote tour and I was looking at spending one year... alone, except for about 80 of my soon-to-be closest MALE friends... in that dreary place.  Fate intervened, however, due to this happy event (from the linked Wiki article):
On 1 October 1977, AAC, after a trial period, implemented a site support contract with RCA Services as part of an Air Force-wide effort to reduce remote tours. Eighty military positions were deleted.
One of those positions was MINE.  I was informed at the very last minute my orders to Cape Newenham had been cancelled and I was diverted here:

That would be Fortuna AFS, North Dakota.  I was prolly the ONLY guy ever assigned to Fortuna who arrived with a smile on his face.


  1. Yeah, I can see why you'd have a smile on your face. I can see that indeed.

    1. Cape Newenham was one of the worst of the Alaskan radar sites in terms of isolation, and that's sayin' something.

  2. There's ALWAYS somewhere worse, right, Buck? Short story. When in plt tng we used to hike it up the 4+ hr trip from Laughlin and sunny Del Rio to the BIG CITY of San Antonio on Friday after the last flight to spend the weekend if not on sched for Sat. First thing we'd do when in town is hit the O-Club at Randolph to "tank-up" on cheap booze before we went out on the town. One time the six of us were sitting across the horse-shoe bar and couldn't help hearing the guys directly across from us discussing amongst themselves what an ABSOLUTE, end-of-the-world HELL-HOLE S.A was. They were all from NYC/NJ/Philly and definately had that "Anything-west-of-the-Hudson R-is Indian Terr" attitude. Further, they were all OCS types who had just finished their course in summer-long 130+ heat (on the tarmac, it was late OCT)and were therefore distinctly NOT enamored of the finer glories of the Great SouthWest. Boy did we get an inadverdant earfull! Finally one of our group piped up and said: "You guys think you've got it rough? You outta come down on the border to Del Rio where we are--we just drove 41/2 hours just to GET HERE!"

    (PS--just realized I may have told THIS story before as well--but it's STILL a "Golden Oldie"...IMHO, YMMV, lol)

    1. just realized I may have told THIS story before as well

      Nope... first time for this one! But you told one similar about Lubbock. ;-)

      I have several stories in this vein about Minot, but we were about three hours northwest, not 4.5 hours to the south.

  3. Yikes, that looks colder than a well digger's ass or an Okie's butt when she fixes a pipe leak.


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