Monday, December 22, 2008
Another example was the guy that helped me learn what I needed to pass the SKT test for the next skill level in my job. He was what they called a squared away troop. He would spend half the night working on a plane that needed to be fixed immediately and go home for a few hours sleep and put on fresh fatigues and shine his boots and be back first thing in the morning. He really knew his stuff when it came to doing sheelmetal work on aircraft. That's why the Coonass sent us over to the SAC (SAC Sucks) sheetmetal shop for him to teach us more about aircraft sheetmetal than the basics we had learned in Tech School. It's about the only smart thing my supervisor did. One day out of the blue, he got orders saying he would be cross-trained into missiles. He was smart enough that he would have done a very good job at whatever he did, but the guy loved the job he was doing and no way did he want to change jobs. He decided to get out even tho he only needed a hitch or two to get his 20 in. These are a couple of examples of the infinite wisdom of the military.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I learned that a 'Coonass' was a Cajun from Louisiana. My supervisor was a Coonass and so I didn't have a very good opinion of Coonasses because of that. Let's just say I didn't think he was the brightest bulb in the chandelier. They sent us another Coonass straight out of basic to become a welder and he was an even dimmer bulb.
Learned about Down East, which is a direction. According to Wikipedia it refers to the Maine coast from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian Border. Another is when sailing from Boston to Maine, you would go downwind to go East and on the return you would go up to Boston.
When I was there the people were Mainiacs, now they prefer to be called Mainers. I still like Mainiacs and the Air National Guard unit at Bangah (Bangor) still called themselves Mainiacs when I was back there in the mid-80's. While I was stationed there the Guard had F-89's that were pretty much useless. I heard that when our F-101's were flying target for their F-89's, they would sometimes get on the radio and say slow down so we can catch you. When I was back in the 80's they were a tanker unit. I got one of their decals and put it on my toolbox.
I learned how to talk like a Mainiac, and could do a passable Down East accent. A friend (a Mainiac) turned me on to the records Bert and I. If you click on the link you can listen to several of the bits on the Bert and I records. These records helped me get my Mainiac accent right. When I was about to go back there in the 80's, I used the accent to talk to the guys I was working with who were going up to Bangah. They said I was bullshitting them, that nobody talks like that. After we had been there awhile and the leadman had meet the family of waitress he hooked up with, he said, not only did they talk like I had, their accent was so thick he couldn't understand it!!
Aiyah, ain't no sonuva whorah in Bangah can beat my caw!! Aiyah!!
Monday, December 15, 2008
I heard skycops would get so bored walking around guarding the airplanes that they would count the rivets on a panel on the plane. I can think of better ways to spend the day or night than walking around an airplane with a rifle in all kinds of weather.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
What was ironic was that at the Lockheed Employee Store you could buy jackets, t-shirts, caps and other stuff with the Skunk Works Logo or ADP (Advanced Development Projects) on them, but those of us that actually worked there were told not to buy or wear anything with those on them. That way no one would ask questions that we could not answer.
This was another cool aircraft that I worked on. While working on it I could not tell my family about it. The Old Lady swears that while we were in La-La Land that our phone was tapped. Sometimes while talking to a friend, the connection would not be clear and her friend would ask what is wrong with the phone. The Old Lady would say, "Lockheed has a tap on the line, so we can't talk about state secrets, but we can talk about the drug deal that's going down". There would be a click and the phone would clear up!!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is a picture of a T-33A. Again this is not one that I worked on. We had F-101B&F and T-33A aircraft in the unit. It was on these types of aircraft that I learned the ins and outs of aircraft repair. We did less work on the T-33's than on the F-101's but the F-101's were flown a lot more than the T-33's. What was interesting about the T-33 was that when the jet engine needed to be removed for maintenance, the whole tail was removed, and then the engine was removed.
Behind the engines under the tail of the F-101 were titanium shingles because of the heat from the exhaust. This was my first encounter with titanium, but not the last by any means. About the only thing I had to do with these titanium panels was to punch holes in new ones when one needed to be replaced.
At the time I thought these planes were old as the F-101's were around 10 years old and the T-birds were older yet. Today some of the planes the services are using are 20 years old or more.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
H/T to Chris Hanisko for putting the picture on the intratubes where I could find it. I googled "Lear Fan" and this was one of the hits that came up.
As long as I had that license, sometimes when I would get carded, I would get told that it wasn't any good. I'd ask why not and they would say it says valid without photo. I would ask them what the hell did they think valid meant??
So for a few years I had licenses from two states at the same time.
Monday, December 8, 2008
This photo shows what winter was normally like while I was there. Everywhere I was stationed I heard stories about cars being buried in snowdrifts. I believed the stories at K.I.Sawyer because my car was buried a time or two while stationed there. What helped me find it was the orange Styrofoam ball atop the antenna. I also heard stories like that on Cape Cod at Otis, but the most snow I saw there at one time was about six inches.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
One of my memories is that when we had a squadron party they would fill the back of a pickup with ice and cans of beer. Too bad the beer wasn't of a quality to make it drinkable. Black Label beer was one that I could not choke down when sober. Once I was drunk I could drink Black Label. Narraganset beer would slide down my throat just barely. It seemed like those were the only choices, maybe the officers got better stuff, but I don't know. Anywho, we got the cheapest beers.
I learned many things while there. I learned how to work on aircraft (F-101B & F-101F and T-33's). I learned that prejudice is a two-way street. The most prejudiced guy I ever met was a black guy that I worked with. He hated whites with a passion. Also working in the shop was another black guy who would do whatever he could to help you out and it didn't matter whether you were white or black. One day the two of them were razzing me and saying that where I was from they still thought blacks were nightfighters. I slowly looked over both of them and then said, "Say, you guys would be good in the dark."
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
At the end of tech school I got my orders for Dow Airplane Patch in Bangor, ME. During basic we got to pick what state we wanted to go to and I put down California for the state and Germany for overseas. When I told my instructors where I had put in for and where I was going, one of them explained that they use a large map of the country and throw darts at it to determine where you go. I said it looks like it landed a long ways from where I picked. He said no you probably landed right on CA and then they sent you as far away from where the dart landed as possible.
Anywho, I was assigned to the 75th FIS at Dow AFB, ME. Because of the tiger shark on the patch, some of us called it Charlie Tuna's Outfit, also that FIS stood for Frigging Idiot Squadron. As soon as I got there I was told that I would only be there for about 20 months because they were shutting down the base.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This was the first time I flew in a airplane. The first part was in a 707 and when they served the meal(back then almost every flight had meals), when I was asked if I wanted more coffee, I put my cup on a small tray and watched as she spilled some on the tray. I think the second leg was in a DC-3 and the meal was placed on the pillow on my lap. When asked if I wanted more coffee, I was told to hold out my cup. I had a window seat so when I held out my cup it was over the lap of the guy next to me. She didn't spill a drop and I had several refills just to see if she would spill some coffee.
After getting to basic, we got to pick what job we wanted to do during the enlistment. Because of the color thing my choices where somewhat limited. I did get one that was on my list but not the first choice. When basic training was about to end, most of us got orders for where we were going next. Mine were that I got to lug all my stuff (duffle bag, suitcase etc..) several blocks down the street to a barracks that a couple of months before they had pulled the condemned signs off. Then I spent several months going to school to be an Airframe Repairman.
They say that most people lose weight in basic training, well, I gained 10 pounds because I was eating 3 meals a day!! I was down to 175 pounds (the lightest I have been in my adult life if adulthood starts at age 18) when I went to basic and I weighted 185 at the end of basic.
There were a number of things people would say about Amarillo. Like, it's the only place you can stand knee-deep in mud and have dust blow in your face. Stand knee-deep in snow and have dust blow in your face. The trees are beautiful, both of them. My sister-in-law told me about 20 years later that one of them died.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
While waiting to go into the Air Force I got a job on the pipeline. It was with a sub-contractor that was clearing the right-of-way. My job was burning brush. It was easy as about all I had to do was to get the pile burning and then walk around and pick up pieces that the dozer missed and throw them on the fire. This was the first job I was fired from. I wanted to fix my car so I could out drinking Friday night and I lied about why I needed to take the afternoon off. When I went back to work on Monday I was told I was fired. That was the first time a so-called co-worker ratted me out to the boss. It didn't bother me because I was to go into the Air Force in a couple of weeks. When I went to get my paycheck, we were told that they would give us the checks next week. The checks didn't arrive before I left and I made arrangements for someone to pick it up and cash it at Old Charley's store and pay off my bill at the store. For some reason the check bounced and had to be redeposited or something. After hearing about the problems with the paycheck, I was glad I didn't work there very long. Because I didn't get my check before I left, I had to borrow $20 from my uncle so I would have money for food and cigarettes until I got paid in the service.
If working for someone else was being a wage-slave, being in the service at that time was more like being a slave. You got room and board and a small amount of money for incidentals and you could not quit.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
After several weeks of almost summer, like a fool I decided to head back up to the tundra. I called my cousin to let him know when I was arriving so he could pick me up from the bus at 5am. Well, my cousin and a couple of other guys got drunk the night before and passed out. When the bus arrived, I stepped out and into about 6 inches of snow and slush. Ah Spring, don't you love it?? This was typical spring weather and I knew I was home. Luckily the Laundromat was open 24/7 or I would have had a cold miserable wait. About an hour later my ride finally arrived with a couple of hungover people to take me home.
Seems like most of the time when I went home something strange happened. This was just one of many times when a homecoming didn't go as expected.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Before I left Detroit I had the oil changed on my car. It was a nice day in February, temp in the 50's so I had them put in straight 30 weight oil. This was an old car and had only had non-detergent straight weight oil. My dad years before had switched from straight weight oil to detergent and that car used so much oil after that that he had to get rid of it. Anywho, I went back up to the tundra in late Feb. with the heavy oil in my car. The first week in March the temp went down to 52 below zero one night and was at least 40 below for a week. My car was parked outside and would not start for three days. On the third day I put some kerosene in a large can with a rag to act as a wick. I lit it and put it under the oilpan of the car. After awhile the snow was melting off the hood and then I tried to start the car. It fired up like it was Summer. That night I drove it into a snowbank and covered the front half of the car with snow. It went down to 45 below zero that night and the next morning the car started with no trouble and without having to do anything other than shoveling the snow away from the door to get in.
Friday, May 2, 2008
While I was living in Detroit, I happened to do something that gives me a small claim to fame. I worked for the man that put the first ice machines in Hell. One Saturday I was asked if I would help a friend of the people I was staying with, the guy had an ice plant that he wanted to empty so he could do some work on it. I spent the day driving around Detroit with him filling ice machines until the ice plant was empty. I found out later that he had put the first ice machines in Hell, MI. So when someone tries to end an argument with "And the people in Hell want ice water too." Now you can say "They have ice machines in Hell, so it is possible for them to have ice water."
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
The ore dock shut down in the 70's when the last mine supplying ore to it shut down ( the Tracy ). Several years ago the approach to it was removed. There has been talk of converting it to condos. Question; what would they do to get rid of the iron ore dust, encapsulate it?