Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Few Facts about the Alleged Area 51.

image linked from wikipedia
What use is the internet if you don't browse? Shopping? I don't buy much. I read a lot. And when I want to read about the quirkiness of modern life, I often go to The Chive. It's a fun site. Today I read this, "A Few Facts about the Alleged Area 51.
Employees used to enjoy a once-a-week steak night, with oysters and lobsters. They apparently tested military jets by asking them to fly cross-country and stopping in Maine to pick up the foods.

image linked from wikipedia
It reminded me of long ago when my father was assigned to an anti-aircraft battery guarding Fairchild Air Force Base outside of Spokane, Washington. To suggest how long ago it was, the bombers stationed there were B-36s called the Peacemaker and the weapons my father's battalion used to guard the air force base were M51 75mm radar-controlled automatic cannons called the Skysweeper.

On Fairchild AFB, we happened to live next door to an aircraft commander. In that era, as I recollect, the squadrons would often be sent out on "forward deployment," that is, spend a few weeks at air bases closer to those nasty communists. That had the effect of not only dispersing the aircraft but also putting a few of them closer to possible targets.

What I remember about that was the fellow next door bringing home goodies after a deployment. By goodies, I don't mean a nice piece of jewelry for his wife but rather crates of stuff for his family—furniture, bicycles, a motor scooter, etc. Apparently, while on TDY ("temporary duty) on Guam for example, the crew would load up with stuff to haul home to Spokane in the B-36's cavernous bomb bay, although probably not all 86,000 pounds of stuff. But after all, the B-36 had a crew of 15 men.

It was probably against ten regulations, and violated more than one customs code, but ... no one cared, and I cannot see that it did much harm. Eisenhower was president, and no one thought about drug smuggling or terrorists. The crews worked hard and were away from home and family for extended periods. It was, I suppose, "The CO turns a blind eye ..." situation.

And a good memory.

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