HXE-6 Icepirate Vet

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    Hi to all.

    Just found this site and thought I would post and see if I can come across anyone I know from my time there. Info on me. My name is John and I was with VXE-6 for 5 deployments to the greatest place on earth. My first tour with the squadron started in 1989 and ran through 1992. I was flying as a Polar Crewchief and Rescue Crewman with the awsome HH-1N Helicopter. I gotta tell you we Helo guys had a great time and made lot’s of friends. The Helo parties were always the highlight at the end of the summer. I also had the honor of working with some of the finest scientist in the world. My last tour with VXE-6 was in 1994-1995. I deployed that summer as the chief in charge of the Helo’s and senior crewchief. That was the season we found out we were leaving the ice for tha last time. The lowering of the Pirate flag from the Hanger was a sad occassion. The cerimonial last flight was conducted with pomp and cerimony but then like most things on the ice it was quickly forgotten when we had to launch on an actual medivac. Fortunately it turned out to be minor. I had the honor to accompany the last Navy helo off the ice inside the C-130 for long transpac home. I will always remember those seasons as the finest Flying in my entire Navy career. This was the most beautiful place to fly and the people were always great company. Military or civillian alike.
    I would enjoy chatting with anyone who was there or anyone interested in what it was like. So feel free to drop me a note.

    John Schatz
    HXE-6 Icepirates


    Hello John,

    I did a doubletake on your call letters (HXE-6) — I’m used to seeing VXE-6 but my first year at McMurdo was 1996-97, just after HXE-6 left for good. Apparently I just missed you then. But I got to work with the last crew of Operation Deep Freeze: the final winter-over Navy crew. They made the winter very fun!

    (Now I’m wondering, who has the Tiki Hut? That was an elaborate room-decoration tradition that the ODF guys carried on for years. If you never saw it, imagine a room completely decorated in bamboo…)

    Ever consider coming back?


    Hey There,

    I remember the Tiki Room but have no idea what or who has control now a days. Would I consider coming back? Hell yes!! I enjoyed every minute there. I would summer again, but hopefully it would be flying. I flew all 22 years while on active duty so it’s in my blood.

    The HXE-6 thing is what we Helo guys adopted in 89-90. That was probably the most experienced and rowdy bunch of fliers I’ve ever been with. We came up with the name Icepirates and designed a patch to match. We pretty much acted like a bumch of Pirates while there. We flew the Pirate skull and bones flag over the helo hanger each summer. we always had a massive party at the end of the season and everyone was invited. Used to get pretty wild. The C-130 side of the house was always the Puckered Penguins but sometime between 93 and 94 the squadron decided to change the official nickname from Puckered Penguins to Icepirates. When I returned for the last season in 94-95 things had changed some. The Helo guys used to have big rivalry going with the C-130 folks. There was a chief on the C-130 side named Joe Holleren. He was a major contributer to the rivalry before things changed. Well when I returned to run the Helo side of things in July of 94 everyone was talking about this new Master Chief who was coming in to run maintenance for the C-130 side. Before I new it this guy comes crashing into the helo office yelling and screaming about the entire squadron being called Icepirates. He was mad as hell. Which of course I was not happy about either. He takes one look at me and starts laughing. You could just tell things were about to change. He looked at me and said straight faced, It’s On”. Turned and walked out of my office. All my guys just stood there with stunned looks on their faces. All I could do was laugh. When we deployed that season the only people wearing the Icepirate Patch were Helo guys and their support people. Joe and I restarted the rivalry that season. I gotta tell you we had a blast until word came down that the Helo side was disbanding when we returned home at the end of the season. The rivalry between the dirt and ice folks waws fun and are some of my fondest memories. Along with sitting in line drinking wine on Turkey day, Swimming at Lake Vanda, and Drinking at Scott Base with the Kiwi Fliers.

    So I guess I would have to say I would like to return again to see how things have changed. Of course I did make a lot of friends from all different backgrounds and countries. Especially with the Pilots and Crew of the New Zealand Air Force. Christchurch to my mind is still the cleanest, fun town I have visited.

    Got tons of stories so if your interested just ask.



    I believe that Nancy kept the Tiki Hut up and running until her last winter in 2000. I’m not sure what happened to it after that.

    Now we have what we call the “Corner Bar”. It is a nice place for people to hang out after the bars close.

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