My Loran Tales #3
High Jinks on Attu
By Ned Stevens
When I received orders to LORSTA Attu I had some idea of what life on a restricted duty station was like after all I had spent a year at LORSTA Sitkinak about four years previous. We had visitors at Sitkinak, most of them were CG personnel.. Other visitors included a private plane that was low on fuel land, and some occasional Navy personnel from Kodiak coming to Sitikinak to do some bird hunting.
On Attu it was a different story. There were the contractors that came to inspect the runway so they could submit a bid for repairs, the Alaska state fish and game folks, the U.S. government bureau of Land Management., the civilians to hike around the island, the AF people from Shemya AF station, who come over for a weekend ,the couple that tied up to the pier in their sail boat. This couple had started in Australia, and had stopped in Japan prior to coming to Attu. Then there was the Professor from a college that came and spent about 3 months to teach limited classes. One if not more of the summer visitors were to play a part in one if not two of the episodes that created a lot of laughter.
Donít get me wrong. All the personnel stationed at LORSTA Attu were highly motivated to make the loran station the best operating station in the chain. Yet there was time for recreation and fun, like the evening movies with freshly baked pizza, and the indoors Easter egg hunt at Easter. Everyone of the crew maintained good grooming habits, kept their hair cut and wore clean neat uniforms during duty hours.
Roger, the current CO had a sense of humor and was known to pull a few humorous pranks on different persons at the station. Before coming to Attu he had been the CO of a 95 footer at Monterey California. Rumor was that he got caught water skiing behind the 95 footer by a high ranking officer of the 12th District. This water skiing incident may have had a bearing on his transfer to Attu. I donít recall the various pranks he pulled, but I do remember two that were pulled on him.
One of the snipes and the cook planned the first one. On a weekend they observed the CO practicing his pool shooting in the rec deck. One of the doors leading from the rec deck went to one of the crews quarters. The cook and the snipe went to their rooms and dawned long hair wigs and returned to the rec deck to see what the COís reaction would be. At first is was total surprise, then total laughter.
The next time occurred one morning when Roger opened his office door and was met with a room full of inflated balloons. Seems some of the crew had made friends with some of the summer time visitors. When the visitors got to Anchorage they purchased all the toy balloons to be had in Anchorage and shipped them back the Loran station. Some of the crew spent most of the previous night in engineering spaces inflating the balloons with the oxygen bottle. What did Roger do about the balloons after he quit laughing? Well he sat down with a
pin and began to pop the balloons. He kept a large quantify of the inflated balloons around for a while to remind him of the this episode.
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