Dedicated to Alaskan Aviation Pioneers
Charlie Muhs - Editor

Vol 4 July 1997       
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Dottye said if I would stay home more often I wouldn't always be so far behind the power curve!
Well, one thing is for certain, I/we have been very busy since the last issue of OUR TIME. As some of you may recall, we bought a Motorhome last fall and shipped it to Seattle. From there we drove it to Arizona. In March, we attended our first "rally" at Boomtown Rv Park in Las Vegas, NV. We really enjoyed that. On May 1st I began the long drive from Arizona to Alaska with stops in Las Vegas, Oregon and Seattle to visit with friends and kids. To my surprise, the Alaska Highway was in much better condition than I remembered from my 1993/94 trip. I would guess there is about 400 miles of poor road, with about half of it under construction. The worst part of the road is the stretch from Tok to Glennallan. The frost heaves, pot holes and narrow road make driving over 30 MPH in a Motorhome difficult. Another section of highway that is very dangerous is at Steamboat - about 50 miles north of Fort Nelson, BC. This 10 mile section of the highway is under construction and when completed it will be a joy to drive. For now, the mud, steepness, and one-way traffic make it very hazardous. The section from the border south has really improved. There is only about 40 miles of gravel and it isn't too bad. The road from the border to Tok has also been worked on and is in pretty good condition.

Well, so much for that. Dottye will retire August 29, 1997. We have sold our Anchorage home and plan to do some RVING for the next year or two. This will impact the degree and frequency of publication for OUR TIME. IT IS MY INTENTION TO CONTINUE WITH OUR TIME. However, we may not always get it out on time or as often as three times a year. We both realize how important this Newsletter is to everyone and I want to keep it going. So bear with us if we are not as punctual as times gone by.

The mailing address for OUR TIME does not change. The Muhs family address is new and we can receive mail @ 3705 Arctic Blvd., Suite 1153, Anchorage, AK 99503.


WHOOPS! Boy did your Editor really goof! In the last issue, we reported that the infamous Carl Simianer passed away. Well we are pleased to report that was in error. In fact, I got a call from Carl while I was in Arizona letting me know in no uncertain terms that he was very much alive and well. My sincerest apologies to Carl, his family and friends for any hardship I may have caused. It was an honest mistake...Charlie


Dear Editor:

Paul Wilson's story about life in Nome in the late 1930's and his 1940 Census trip in January from Kotzebue to Point Barrow along the Arctic Ocean coast was fantastic. What an incredible journey that must have been! The only problem I had with his story was that it was too short. I would like to see a follow-up story about the early days of the CAA at Annette Island (ANN). ANN eventually grew to over thirty-two aircraft communicators - I believe. The history of ANN CAA/FAA would be very interesting.

I am sending along my story of my 14 months on Woody Island in 1949/50. Kodiak is the 2nd story of my 5 part history of my life in Alaska and the CAA/FAA.....Norman Harrington, Mitchell, Nebraska


Moon Mullins and I arrived on Woody Island around July 15, 1949. A 2 1/2 ton military truck met the boat on the dock, and we got in back with a half dozen other people and we were off. The truck climbed a little hill and stopped in a housing area. There were two apartment houses there, a large house and a recreation hall. Each apartment building contained four apartments and the four bedroom houses contained eight bachelors.

The truck continued on south over the good gravel road and we soon dropped down into a little valley which contained the low frequency navigational range and diesel engine generators for the entire island. We had two D6 Cat diesel engines. Only one ran at a time, the other was a backup and this single engine provided all the electrical power for all the housing for about 100 people. All the housing units had electric stoves and electric hot water heaters, but the space heating was provided by fuel oil.

The radio station and the rest of the CAA housing was perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. There were two apartment buildings, four or five houses, a mess hall, a building that was probably storage and a large "T" shaped building that used to house all the bachelor men and women stationed there during the war. Now it too was excess or soon would be.

Moon and I got out of the truck when it stopped at the radio station. We entered the building and declared ourselves. We were taken into the chief's office, where we met Darrell Chaffin, facility chief and Richard Haggin the assistant chief. They took us to the opposite end of the building to introduce us to Mr. Valentencic, the Station Manager for Woody Island.

Darrell was much older than most of us, possibly in his early 50's, a ruddy, hearty Irishman with sandy hair. He had a younger wife, Yule and they had a small child. Yule was the best cook on the Island and all the visiting CAA men hoped for an invitation to her table which they usually got. Haggin was a slim man of medium height and I suppose he was also of Irish decent. He too was married to a former CAA radio operator.

"Hey," Darrell says, "it's chow time, let's go over to the mess hall." He took us over to the white building in the center of the compound. A construction crew was building the tow apartment buildings which were not yet completed, and they had their own cooks. We went inside and Darrell introduced us to Ingrid, the Swedish waitress, who was about fifty years old and very nice. She took Moon and I to heart and saw that we were well taken care of during the month or two that the mess hall was still in operation. The food was excellent!

Darrell then took us over to the "T" shaped building that was the barracks for the island's bachelors and the construction workers. During World War II, the men had lived in one wing of the building and the women in the other wing. Showers, clothes washers and the recreation room were in the center of the "shaft" of the "T" building. There were no women left now so we could room on either side. When the war ended, most of the women CAA aircraft operators had resigned their jobs. Yule Chaffin was the only woman who still worked at the CAA station.

Darrell took us back over to the CAA station showed us all the different positions of operation, or jobs that existed. There were seven specialists to a shift. There was a specialist who copied Morse Code weather reports from the Navy and Air Force units on the Aleutian Chain. Another communicated with civilian airliners. There was a broadcast position which talked by radio to the civilian small aircraft and had a Morse Code circuit to Naknek, an interphone to the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center and the Navy tower at the Kodiak Air Base. This position also made a weather broadcast twice each hour. Another specialist was assigned to the Service B teletypewriter position; where flight plans, position reports and administrative messages were transmitted. Service A was another teletypewriter position. The specialist assigned to this position transmitted weather reports. Another specialist was assigned to the Morse Code Boehme tape circuit. Boehme is a tape which was run through a keying head and it produced Morse Code signals at 100 wpm, far faster than a human can send or receive. The signal is picked up on a moving tape and a man can transcribe this tape at his own speed. I believe Iliamna, Homer, Kenai and Anchorage were on this circuit with Kodiak.

The last and seventh position was the supervisor's desk. Chuck Winters was at the desk this day. He was a handsome, broad-shouldered bachelor. The supervisor was a grade GS-8. The journeyman were GS-7s and Moon and I as trainees were GS-5s.

Haggin gave us the address for our mail. He also briefed us on the "very poor" telephone system installed by the CAA. We could talk to each other on the Island and could dial into the town of Kodiak, but reception was usually quite poor. I rarely used the telephone. It was about 2:00 p.m. by now and Darrell told us to go back to the barracks, take the rest of the day off, rest, explore the island or do whatever we wanted. Breakfast at the messhall was from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Lunch was from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and supper was from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Moon and I went back to the barracks for awhile and talked about what we had seen. We were very impressed. I originally planned only to stick around for my two year contract, but from what I had seen, I decided to make this my career. Moon felt this way too.

After stowing our belongings we went for a walk on the beach. It was black sand deposited years ago when Mt. Katmai erupted. We came back up the bluffs and walked down the road to the generators and investigated those. We then returned to the barracks. It was about 4:00 p.m. and shift change at the station. A truck met the shift change bringing mail from the Kodiak Post Office. Mail call was just like in the military; one man with a large handful of mail calling out names. Of course Moon and I did not get any mail that day.

After about a week of training and familiarization, Moon and I were put on a mid-watch. Ingrid insisted that we drop into the messhall about 10:00 p.m. which was closing time. Until then she kept ready coffee and snacks for anybody that wanted them. Ingrid gave us a lunch to take to work. A few sandwiches and cake or cookies. She was a lovely woman who was both kind and caring. Ingrid was a good looking and buxom women but apparently with a husband. We never asked her social status and she never offered any information.

Moon was a better Morse Code specialist than I and he quickly became proficient on the Kleinschmidt/Boehme tape circuit. I only worked it a few times before it was decommissioned in favor of teletypewriter circuits, about a month after our arrival.


The teletypewriter circuit that replaced the Boehme was a Very High Frequency (VHF) relay station. VHF was line of sight so you had to have relay stations about every fifty to one hundred miles apart, depending on how high the transmitter/receiver site was. We had a relay station on Afognak Island, about half-way between Kodiak and Homer. Afognak contained Alaska's only herd of elk. The CAA had a maintenance man, along with his wife, stationed on Afognak. It was serviced - visited - once every two weeks by the CAA tugboat from Kodiak - our usual transportation from Woody Island to Kodiak.

Anchorage, Kenai, Homer, Iliamna and Kodiak were on this teletypewriter circuit. At first it didn't work very well. One of the very good CAA communications engineers from Anchorage came in to iron out the bugs. It took him about a week, but he finally got it operative. He was famous all over Alaska for his competence. (For the life of me, I can not recall his name.)

When the VHF teletypes became operative we only needed six specialists to a watch. We had thirty-two Aircraft Communicators at Woody Island. Also there was a Radio Engineer, six Electronic Maintenance Technicians and four or five Mechanical Maintenance men. In all, there were probably fifty CAA employees on the Island and about fifty dependents. We were a small, tightly knit community where everyone knew everybody's business. When a scandal erupted, everybody knew about it within minutes!

After about two months, the construction crew finished the two apartment buildings and left. The messhall was closed and Ingrid also left. The old barracks, our home for two months, was closed forever. Moon and I were moved over to the other side of the Island and we lived in a four bedroom house where we were roommates. We were assigned to different watches so we had our room to ourselves when we wanted to sleep.

The eight of us in that house got along extremely well. We had one refrigerator and we all cooked our own meals. You bought anything you wanted and stored it in the kitchen. You could buy nothing at all if you wanted and eat the food the other men bought. If you bought anything, you would put the receipt in a glass jar. At the end of each month, the food costs were totaled up. If you had bought more food than the average cost you got a refund. If you bought nothing, you paid the average cost. The average cost was about $60 a month. Our rent was $7 a month. Our monthly take home pay was $400 after we were promoted to GS-7 - which occurred after six months of service. As you can see, we had a very large amount of discretionary income!

There was no wildlife on the island that I was aware of. I never saw a deer, or a grouse or a squirrel. There might have been wildlife, but you couldn't prove it by me. Except for small birds and sea birds. There were thousands of puffins along the beaches. It was a dangerous walk along the beaches at Woody Island because of the very high tides - about twelve foot as I recall. The cliffs were sheer and impossible to climb. The incoming tide could catch you before you could run back to where the cliffs ended. I rarely ventured far from the safety of an escape route.

We had only one day off a week, usually a weekday. The weekends were reserved for supervisory personnel. On our day off Moon and I would take the morning boat to town arriving around 8:40 a.m. We would have breakfast in a local cafe and begin drinking in the bars while playing the jukebox. Sometimes I would go to the town library first and read some of their sparse periodicals. We would have a salmon steak for lunch and resume drinking afterwards. The evening boat left town about 3:15 p.m. and we would always be on it. Otherwise, we would be stuck in town for the night and have to pay for a hotel room. We were too cheap for that! Our day in town usually cost us about $20.

My other expenses consisted of money for stamps, writing paper, envelopes, camera film, a few clothes now and then, toothpaste, soap and that was about the sum of it. The CAA furnished nearly everything else in the house, i.e. towels, bed linens, paper products, dishes, light bulbs, etc. It was said all one needed to bring to live in CAA housing was a radio and a toothbrush and that was darn near true! We had a good deal and I knew it! I never had much money in my life. But now, after expenses I banked $200 a month. If I hadn't been so stupid as to spend $80 a month in the bars I could have saved another $80. Quite a tidy sum in 1949!

We got a new watch supervisor, a bachelor who came from Talkeetna. He bought a fine sixteen foot boat and motor and I used to go halibut fishing with him quite often. We caught mostly two to five pound halibut but one day we hooked into a sixty-five pounder. We always ate what we caught and we had halibut for months!

Once Bobby Joe Rice and Dolman took me salmon fishing on a Kodiak stream about ten miles away. We reached the stream quickly in Bobby Joe's speedboat. Unfortunately, we got there too late. The salmon run was over and only a few dead and dying salmon were left. The stream was full of Dolly Varden Trout - a hundred in every pool. We snagged several of the trout, all about a foot in length.

There was always several hundred sea run Dollies hanging around the CAA dock. They were easily seen in the clear water. Also we often saw blackfish and small whales as we traveled back and forth between Woody Island and Kodiak.

Woody Island and Kodiak were beautiful places and I loved it there. The climate was mild, very similar to Seattle. Summer temperatures were in the 60's and 70's and winters usually were around 20 to 30 degrees. We got snow occasionally but usually less than six inches and it quickly melted away. Sometimes we would get a real severe storm up from the Aleutian Islands. This only happened a couple times a year. Once a 100 mph wind hit Kodiak and Woody Island. The Kodiak salmon cannery roof was blown off and it was floating in the harbor when I went to town the next morning on the CAA boat.

Another time during the winter when the ground was covered with ice, the wind blew 60 to 70 knots. I had to go to work and found I couldn't walk on the ice against the wind. It simply blew me backwards. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get to work that afternoon. Ninety percent of the time, weather conditions were pretty nice on Woody Island.

The Kodiak Naval Air Station had two runways at right angles. Both ended at the sea with about a twenty foot drop off onto the beach. One time a Special Air Mission (SAM) aircraft ran off the end of one of the runways, falling onto the beach with quite a bit of damage. A few days later the authorities sent an investigating team of big shots to determine the cause of the accident. Upon landing, their aircraft ran off the end of the other runway and fell into the ocean. Needless to say, they determined the fault lay with the runway design and not with pilot error!

Another time I was on watch working the Broadcast position which includes military frequencies. I noticed I had a SAM aircraft coming up from Washington DC non-stop. It was about a 12 hour flight and the aircraft had been in flight for some hours already. I "cranked" up the volume on the Morse Code frequency and shortly I heard this airplane making a position report over the Great Lakes. I couldn't believe it! He was almost 4,000 miles away. I called him and he answered. Unbelievable. I copied his position reports all across Canada while on duty and relayed them to the Navy at once. They couldn't believe they were getting position reports one minute after the aircraft reported over some place in central Canada. That is why I loved being an Aircraft Communicator and radio operator. I could communicate with people and aircraft thousands of miles away. I could listen to music from Hawaii and from Del Rio, Texas on the mid-watch. I could talk to a plane that was telling me he saw a flying saucer out the window. It sure beat working in a sawmill or a factory or a pea cannery - jobs I had worked at before. I would have done this work for nothing just to be here - in Alaska at Kodiak - but they were paying me to do this - the dummies.

The Air Force flew weather flights from Seattle to Fairbanks on converted B50 bombers. They usually filed for 24 hours of flight with 24 hours of fuel on board. Their sign was Ptarmigan - "Kodiak Radio, this is Ptarmigan two-one, position report." We would take their position reports and relay it to Anchorage Center (ARTCC).

After leaving Seattle, they flew north along the coast to Sitka then west so as to pass a couple hundred miles south of Kodiak. From there they flew just north of the Aleutian Islands to the edge of Russian airspace, then southward passing east of Japan by hundreds of miles. At some point, they would turn east so as to arrive back in Seattle on schedule. Their mission was to take weather observations every hour and sample winds and pressure continually. We would work them about three times as they passed Kodiak.

Then there were the Loon flights out of Fairbanks. They headed west across Alaska to Saint Lawrence Island, then south of Nome and north to the North Pole, staying about forty miles east of Russian airspace. From the North Pole, they flew south to Point Barrow and then south (the only direction one can head from the North Pole) back to Fairbanks.

These flights were made with Air Force crews and a civilian Weather Bureau meteorologist to take the observations. While I was stationed at Dillon, Montana with the FAA I learned that the NWS inspector from Salt Lake City had spent several years flying Ptarmigan flights out of Seattle.

Some of the people I remember from my Woody Island days were : Dennis Belfy, Nick Lamas, Curtis Tyree, Zaven Zerigan, John Bassler and Pappy Lee.

I began bidding on other locations in the spring of 1950 and was selected for Nome. I left Kodiak for Nome about September 1950. I felt I was a seasoned old veteran by now and could handle anything the CAA could throw at me. Woody Island was a beautiful place and the people were kind and understanding, but I wanted to move on - to meet new challenges and add to my aeronautical experiences. I could not know at the time what a unique experience Nome would be.....

Norman Harrington


Where Are They Now?

Thanks to a couple of OUR TIME readers we have received word that Ray Caudle is still in Stockton, CA (7841 Shoreline Drive). We also have been told Ed Dhabolt passed away last year. He was living in Grand Junction, CO at the time of his death. (See letter that follows.) His brother Les is still living in Modesto, CA.


"I am sorry to say Ed (Dhabolt) passed away sometime last year from some form of leukemia.
He and his wife lived in Grand Junction, CO. I transferred to Grand Junction in 1973. Ed was radar chief there and retired in about 1978. I would have thought that he would live to be a hundred, for he was a stickler for exercising and eating health foods. He would run miles a day plus ride his bike. He didn't smoke or drink, yet the cancer got to him."

Roger Mikkelson


Three men were driving on I-5 in Seattle when their car just stopped running. The first man, an engineer at Boeing, exclaimed, "It has to be an electrical problem!" The second occupant of the vehicle, an NASA employee quickly replied, "Oh no, it has to be a valve problem!" Finally, the third passenger in the car, a Microsoft Technician, countered comely, "Let's just get out of the car and then get back in!"


Moore Travel

From the Journal of Ken and Diane Moore

Diane and I recently returned from a fun trip to Czech and Germany I thought would be of interest to you (and OUR TIME) We hadn't been anywhere since our cruise to SE Asia and Australia in November so we were suffering from jet exhaust withdrawal symptoms and Anchorage winter blues. We went with a group of twenty music dealers and publishers on a ten day pre-planned trip.

We met the group in New York and flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt then on to Prague. We were met by our bus and driver which we hired for the whole trip. The bus had big windows and comfortable seats so everyone had a good view.

Our hotel in Prague was the Savoy and is quite luxurious. We toured and walked around Prague and had a good time. Walked across the St. Charles bridge which is over 1000 years old. A nice, very old city and the people were nice. Quite a few spoke English and most everyone accepted American dollars and credit cards. I felt safe walking around day or night. The scenery and food were great and the breakfasts were outstanding and I'm not a big breakfast eater. While we were at the Savoy I wanted to hear "Stomping at the Savoy" and one of our group played it on the piano. Probably my one and only chance while staying at the Savoy.

After a couple days sight seeing and shopping in Prague we boarded our bus and started toward Dresden, Germany. On the way we passed by a former concentration camp that I had never heard of and there are probably many that I don't know about. It was pretty sobering.

We had to go over a mountain pass and one of the Czech border towns was interesting. There were lots of young ladies beckoning us with all sorts of suggestive gestures. This went on through the main street of the town for two or three miles. Our host explained that their services were less expensive in Czech than in Germany. Our bus didn't stop.

Our hotel in Dresden was the Kempinsky Hotel - "Taschenbergpalis" - and what a place. It is a restored palace and very nice. They give you a little booklet just so you can find your way around inside the place. I never thought that I would ever stay in a palace. It was fun.

There was a nice swimming pool that I took advantage of and I decided to take a sauna but when I opened the door two ladies, naked ladies, were showering so I beat a hasty retreat before they saw me. I learned later that this was proper and got educated on taking a sauna.

We did sightseeing and shopping in Dresden for two days and it is very interesting. Neither Diane nor I realized that we would be in East Germany and there was quite a noticeable difference between East and West Germany. East Germany is still recovering and reconstructing from WWII. The communists have done little reconstruction but it is in full steam ahead now.

We were there on February 13th which is the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden in 1945. They have a musical performance, either opera or concert, each year to commemorate the event which is sold out more than a year in advance. Dresden is and was a beautiful city and this must be one of the great tragedies of WWII. One of the buildings that they are restoring was a big church. It really must have been something. They are raising money for the restoration by selling watches with an original stone from the church on the face and two silhouettes showing the church now and what it will look like when it is restored. We bought two watches. May go back in ten years to see what it looks like.

There were many other interesting buildings, castles and a tour through the Richard Wagner Museum. The highlight for me was the art gallery where I saw originals of Raphael, Giorgione, Titan, Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, and many others.

On our route to Leipzig we toured the Meissen china manufacturing facility. Very nice stuff and also very expensive.

At Leipzig we stayed at another Kempinsky Hotel called - "Furstenhof". And, again it was a very nice place. Kempinsky is getting to be my favorite chain of hotels.

Dinner that night was at "Auerbachs Keller" famous from Goethe's Faust. One big room was decorated with carvings of the characters. We walked around Leipzig and there is lots of reconstruction from WWII going on now.

On our drive to Weisbaden we saw many old castle ruins. Our host pointed out one where Martin Luther translated the Bible to German and where he thought he saw the devil and threw a bottle of ink at him. The ink stain is reported still on the wall.

We also visited a music store and a music publisher "Schott" in Mainz. They showed us around their business and treated us to champagne. The room where they hosted us is quite old and ornate. It is the room where some of the great classical composers presented their compositions to be published. We saw a few of the original manuscripts. Schott celebrated their 100th year of music publishing in 1995. With a few glasses of champagne under our belt on we went to Weisbaden.

Our hotel was the Schwarzer Bock and it was founded in 1486. It is very comfortable and there is a big warm pool on the first floor that feels good. The Romans used this pool 1000 years or so ago. It is relaxing.

The next two days we spent at the music fair in Frankfurt. We attended several champagne parties and were treated to dinner. The last day we took a side trip to Heidlebeg and just looked and walked around. That evening we had our traditional Bon Voyage dinner at the Dortmunder restaurant. The next day we all left for home. All in all it was a fun trip. Adios


The Cross Since our last issue of OUR TIME the following FAAers have passed away. {Unfortunately, when files were transfered from one computer to another, several obituaries were lost. Editor}

Debbi Foster, former AF employee passed away earlier this year after a lengthy illness.

Alice Kretsinger, former air traffic controller and accounting technician, passed away in February following a lengthy illness.

Mary Burns died peacefully on February 16th. Mary was a former secretary. She and her family lived in Juneau, Yakutat, Fairbanks, Glennallen and Anchorage during her 23 years in Alaska.

David Campbell, Manager of the NAS Engineering Division, AOS-200, at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City died in an automobile accident.


Herb Brazil took time to write and pass on some tidbits about former FAAers. Herb and Fran are both doing well in Medford, Oregon. Herb writes, "after retirement in 1971 we returned to Alaska every summer (we kept a summer home in Auke Bay, Alaska) until 1991 when health cut down our journeys." Herb goes on to say, "I am now 86 and wife, Frances is enjoying 93; both are in reasonably good health, "considering" Alaska has been my home since 1929, when I arrived with my family."

(Thanks Herb for the letter and information on the Alaska Yukon Pioneers. I have asked to have their address added to the Our Time mailing list. Charlie)


For those of you who are interested in the Alaska Yukon Pioneers you can contact:

Alaska Yukon Pioneers
Vera J. Sidars 
Membership Chairperson
2724-71 E Fir
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-6402




Each time I have received my copy of "Our time", I have silently thanked you for your time and effort to supply we "retirees" with not only a nostalgic look at the past, an update for the present, but also some news of FAA as it is today. So long last, and verbally, at least in writing, I thank you for your efforts to keep us informed.

After reading in the last issue a bit about the early days at Annette Island, I can't resist commenting about my experiences there.

I arrived at Annette, via "King Kris" with Jack Jefford at the controls on April Fool's Day, 1946. I had signed on as an Airport Traffic Control Tower Operator.

Annette was a fairly busy airport after the war for a number of non-skeds using the airport for refueling enroute to Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. PAA (Pan American) out of Seattle served Ketchikan, Juneau and Fairbanks daily, north and south bound. Coast Guard Search and Rescue unit covered SE Alaska and amphib operations were frequent out of Ketchikan. The Weather Bureau, Standard Oil, Custom Agent, and teachers for school created our little community serving aviation in SE Alaska.

It was on Annette that I met my wife to be Beverly Bestland, an adventure-some Norwegian spirit who arrived at Annette several months before I did as an Aircraft Communicator. A year or so later, after my continuous pursuit, we were married in the non-denominational Tsimshian Church in Metlakatla.

In 1952 we moved to Anchorage for a job in the RO. Then to Fairbanks for two years as FAA ADLO on Ladd Field in 1955. We returned to Anchorage in 1957 to the AT Division.

So many names and experiences come to mind each time I read "Our Time" and the roster of retirees. I was so fortunate 2 to work for men like Plett, Hulen, Whittaker and with co-workers like Culver, Williams, etc. Having some unforgettable experiences with Jefford and Hansen certainly spiced up the memories. Names seem to flood a memory. The RO Staff of AT and especially the friends and staff of specialists that manned all the isolated field facilities. Working for, and with all the dedicated FAA personnel was an honor and a privilege to be a contributing partner.

Thanks again, Charlie, You are really appreciated..

Don Wolfe

(Thanks for the kind words and a look into the Early Years.)


Anchorage FSS 
Remembered Again

It was interesting reading "Anchorage FSS" remembered by Jim Vrooman. I suppose you will receive several comments about it.

I hired into the CAA in September 1956, going to school there in the IFSS building for three months. I then went to work in the IFSS. All the rest of the class went to field stations.

As I recall, all operations were on the second floor. Virgil Lamb was Chief. He gave me my area rating exam. I believe he remained Chief until Ken Wood came on as Chief and Virgil went to the RO. I recall John Bassler came as Deputy Chief from Summit. I believe he served with Ken Wood, although John sure can fill you in on that. (Hi John)

I worked there until the middle of 1961. The FSS/IFSS was combined on the second floor all that time, but they were in progress of splitting them up when I left. I saw an awful lot of people come and go from that facility. It's hard to believe that it's over forty years ago that I started there. All that time it was six days a week and in the summer it was seven days a week. There are a lot of good memories from those days....

Roger (Mike) Mikkelson



Kids may say the darnedest things, but FAAers and old friends from the past show up in the darnedest places - or so it seems.

How about Miami International Airport. Now what are the chances you would find yourself sitting in one of the country's largest international airports and run into an old acquaintance. Well, Dottye and I did just that. Here we were, waiting for our Delta flight to brisk us away to Anchorage when who do we bump into - none other than Eddie Oaks - King Salmon's icon. He too was returning to Alaska from a Caribbean cruise.

Or, how about just the other day. Dottye and I moved into our motorhome and who are our neighbors you ask? Well, Chuck Crom for one and Jane and Gene May for the other. And, not to end there - Slim Walters.

Aren't we lucky to have such an extended family!

Your Editor


Flashing White Light ?
By Frank Austin

I was reading the most recent issue of Our Time yesterday so it was on my mind today when I heard a local news item on the opening of a "Control Tower Cab Exhibit" at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field here in Seattle. The news reporter was being shown around the exhibit when they came to the "Light Gun." It was described as being from that period when many aircraft did not have radios. It reminded me of a light gun story from King Salmon in 1960.

This was before the seven story tower was built in 1961. The tower was a small two story building located just south of the intersection of the two runways. It was on the same side of the airport as the civil aircraft parking apron. As was the practice, a pilot of a Super Cub with no radio called the tower on the telephone before he went out to his aircraft to takeoff. He advised me that he had no radio and would watch for a light to taxi out from the ramp and then would watch for a light for permission to takeoff. The ramp was at the west end of the airport on the south side of the east/west runway. After the pilot called, the weather dropped below VFR minimums. So when the pilot started to taxi out to the runway he evidently did not notice that the rotating beacon on the airport had been turned on. He held short of the runway for some time not knowing that the flashing white light I was directing at him indicated that he should go back to the terminal. After about thirty minutes of holding short of the runway he turned east and taxied along the south edge of the runway towards the intersection where the Tower was located. As he approached the intersection and the Tower I motioned for him to come up to the Tower cab. When you are working in a two story tower you can do that sort of thing. As I watched he taxied past the Tower to the intersection and took off to the south. He thought I had changed the runway and wanted him to takeoff to the south. As I recall the pilot lived somewhere south of Big Bear Lake down on the Alaska Peninsula so we asked the GADO to let him know what it meant when the beacon was in operation during daylight hours in the Control Zone. Those were the days when light guns were big....


It's a Small World

Until November 1996, I had never met Hal Eward. Then we both checked into the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. Hal and his wife Rose drove up from Lake George, Utah. I went on the mercy flight at Medicare/BC-BS expense. Time passed as usual after surgery then along came the rehabilitation.

Soon the physical therapist realized that Hal and I were giving her the same answers to her inquiries regarding our careers, where we worked, where retired etc. Without telling either of us, she managed to schedule us to workout at the same time.

First she asked me to repeat my previous information and then Hal. Both careers started with the FSS, the Anchorage IFSS/FSS, then the Air Traffic Division. Of course that was where we both retired from. I retired in 1974 and Hal later (1995).

The therapist was certain we were pulling her leg but we managed to make her believe it was merely a coincidence.

Hal had five by-passes and I had four this time and two in 1983. We both live in St. George, Utah and even returned home the same day. Our only difference was we had different doctors. However, they did work out of the same office. It's a small world.

Jim Carney


ATS NEWS--JUNE 23,1997

Confirmation hearings for Administrator-designate Jane Garvey were held June 24, 1997. It is anticipated that there will be a vote on her nomination before the July 4th recess.

According to Aviation Daily, British Airways is committed to fly the Concorde at least through the year 2005. BA claims that 82% of the passengers are repeat customers.


NARFE Special Hotline 
Tuesday 6/24/97!

Hello and welcome to a special edition of the NARFE Legislative Hotline, recorded Tuesday, June 24th. This four-minute edition updates the Friday recording and focuses on the revised means test contained in the Senate Budget Reconciliation Bill, S. 947. The need for immediate response to the means test contained in the Senate Bill is made easier by a toll-free number. The HOTLINE will be updated as needed. The means test that was included in the Senate Finance Committee's version of Medicare changes has been altered. Now the means test would be applied to the Part B premium rather than the annual deductible. With bipartisan backing, the new provisions would apply so called "income-based" payment to Medicare premiums rather than deductibles.

This provision will be debated and voted on so immediately that only telephone calls can impact the process. NARFE is opposed to any form of means testing.

The Finance Committee also approved a proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 over the next 30 years. As a result, more Americans age 65 and over would join the ranks of the uninsured. Efforts to delete the Finance Committee provision to impose a new 5-dollar co-payment on Medicare home health care were defeated by a motion to table that was adopted by a vote of 60 to 40.

Senate floor votes will occur as early as June 24th, so each NARFE member should immediately telephone their two Senators to oppose any Medicare means testing. To reach your own Senators you can call a toll free number sponsored by the AFL-CIO which will connect you to the Capitol switchboard. The number is 1-800/522-6721. After providing your name and address, tell your Senators you are opposed to any means testing in the Medicare program. The place for means testing is the tax code!



I noticed in "Our Time" that the Editor was wondering about Ed Dhabolt! It has been some years, but the last I heard, Ed and his family were in Grand Junction, Colorado. It has been a while, this info may not be current.

It is hard to realize that I left Alaska forty years ago this year and have lived at this address for thirty-nine with some luck you might yet locate Ed in Grand Junction.

In 1956 I went to Gulkana as SEMT and about the same time Ed became SEMT in Northway where two years earlier I had been the junior electronics man. I had met Ed for the first time at an Anchorage SEMT conference. But in the field we would compare notes about electronics equipment and personnel quirks at each of these stations, often with quite helpful hints as Ed had the same station manager in Yakataga as I now had in Gulkana. In this vein, let me mention that it was the late Jack Wichels who once had said during the SEMT conferences, often more was accomplished after hours when the informal agenda (after the formal proceedings) took place at the Mermac Lounge where one could let one's hair down and speak freely if not loosely.

When I got my orders to Washington DC, it was set for the COB on the last Saturday of July 1957. We were still working 48 hour work weeks. We were out of a home. While not exactly evicted, we sensed that we better head east on the Glenn Highway. Fortunately, I had talked to Ed and good old Ed had told us that there was an empty type 41 house in Northway and he got lodgings for us that evening. The next morning we bade farewell to Ed and his family and headed down the Alaska Highway. That's the last time I saw Ed. Two weeks later I reported to the CAA Airway Facilities Office in Washington.

I am so grateful for Our Time as it is so much like a letter from home. My whole time in Alaska was about 6 1/2 years, but what experiences, what learning, and what an impression on me. Thanks for keeping such memories alive and real.

Vernon & Claire Hill

P.S. I am a member of the Alaska State Society here in Washington D.C.

(Thanks for the antidote about Ed. I'm sure he was well respected and will be remembered for all the fine qualities he brought to the FAA. I had the pleasure of working with Ed in Cold Bay in 1961. He was the SET and I was part of the team that commissioned the newly established Cold Bay IFSS. I recall Ed was a good family man and dedicated to his job. He always was friendly, helpful and yes, he did love to walk on his hands, do push-ups in the most unusual place - like the stairwell ...Editor)

Andrew Billick, Regional Administrator
Alaskan Region

Charles W. Muhs, Editor

OUR TIME Retiree News letter is published by the Federal Aviation Administration. Correspondence, news items and articles for publication in OUR TIME should be addressed to: Our Time, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 202548, Anchorage, AK 99520.  Change of address should be mailed to: Federal Aviation Administration, Attn: Barbara Marshall AAL-10a, 222 West 7th Avenue, Box 14, Anchorage, AK 99513