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June 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #1008
he was a pilot in the early 70ʹs, flew c130ʹs. the c130 burried at pole was his (he didnʹt crash it though.) heʹs the father of a very good friend of mine and iʹve talked to him a few times about antarctica and i was just wondering if anyone knew himʔ thanks.-nateJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9037
ok well i sent tom the picture bill sent me:<ǃ-- m -->http://www.southpolestation.com/oaes/50thvandf74.jpg<ǃ-- m -->this is what i got back….nate, thanks for the picture. i have not seen this one in a very long time. it, and my telephone conversation with you, have brought back a lot of fond memories. yes, i know/knew most of the people in the picture. this was the occasion when we were flying the last of the ʹʹboxesʹʹ that would make up the ʹʹnewʹʹ south pole station. as you are aware, the structure was a geo-dome filled with pre-finished spaces. those spaces were the boxes we were flying out there. the boxes were sized to ʹʹjustʹʹ fit into a c-130. everyone who was slated to winter over in 74 was real excited because if we did our job of flying these out to pole in the proper schedule and sequence they were going to have a grand new place to live for the winter. if not, well they would be back in what is now ʹʹvery very old south pole stationʹʹ. it seems odd to think that what were were building at the time is now considered old and outdated. life does go on doesnʹt itʔthe people in the picture. there are two aircrews, mine and another, who handled the last two boxes, # 50 being the last. in front of the sign on the left is cdr. vern peters, the co of vxe-6, the puckered penguins (my squadron) which did all the flying support in antarctica for the ussf, usarp, and other governments (nz, australia, great briton, france, japan, canada, germany, denmark, and on and on and on. the man kneeling next to vern is capt. al fowler, who was head of the navyʹs antarctic support services, including our squadron, the seabees building south pole station, maintenance of all antarctic stations (most notable was mcmurdo), and operational management of all other activities supporting the polar research.i am the guy in the middle leaning on the sign with the beard and the ball cap with the wings on it. picture left of me is bill fox, my co-pilot. to his left is walt hazard, our flight engineer. to his left is our loadmaster (the guy responsible for getting the box to slide into the plane). behind bill is mike draper, our navigator (he was a real young guy who did a great job. one flight required us to fly our to siple on the palmer peninsula where stanford had a research station. they we running our of fuel and if we did not get to them, well it was going to be ice cubes of them. the weather was lousy. we went into the clouds and fog at 13,000 feet with only mike on radar to guide me. but he lined me up properly so that we stopped 100 feet from their front door. sensational job (of course the flyer was not too bad eitherǃ) we unloaded the fuel and then took off to go back to mcmurdo without ever seeing the ground or the camp at siple because it was so foggy, white, snowy, etc. i know we got there because the guys on the ground (4 were assigned there) brought soup on board to say thanks for the fuel). back to the picture, to mikeʹs right is another mike, mike griffin, the co-pilot on he other crew. he was a real nice guy, maybe too nice. he was killed in a plane crash in the late 70s after he got out of the navy. to my right, the short guy with the bill of his cap turned up is bill shively. he was the aircraft commander on the other crew. he was the guy the marines assigned to our squadron. he stayed in the marines as a lifer, and went on to achieve some fame in the marine c-130 arena. the rest of the guys on his side are his crew members, including the guy on the end, his navigator brian paul. brian and i were good buddies and i gave the toast at his wedding in the spring of 1973.at the time that we took this picture we were doing a ʹʹdoubleʹʹ which meant two round trips to sp (about 15 hours flying time and another 3 of pre and post flight prep). in order to finish the project on time, extra work was the order of the day, but then there is not a lot of other things to do down there. so we are hustling to finish loading and get back into the air when the bosses come down to the air strip from the hill at mcmurdo for this photo op. they did bring a cake (only a little frozen) so it made the wait tolerable. we took the picture, ate the cake, and then went back to work.again nate, thanks for the memories. have a great season. you really are embarking on a journey of a lifetime. someday, way off across the horizon, which as you will see when you are at the pole, goes on forever, you too will have an opportunity to send a message to your son and his friends about what you did ʹʹway back thenʹʹ. form one oae to a future one, god speed, tom gambleJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9038
most coolǃ thanks for sharing that.gJune 14, 2009 at 6:58 am #9039
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