November 1, 2004 at 5:56 am #795
Hello, an OAE here, did three winters in Mactown. 91,94,95. My handle is the name I went by doing the sunday morning radio shows in 94 and 95. Was in the electric shop. Was the first electrician to do the runway lights when the Navy turned that over. That was an interesting experience. My friend Scott is going down now to be foreman for welders and Plumbers at the pole doing another summer there. I knew him when we did winters in Mactown. I did heat trace there we worked on frozen valves and lines when the trace went down or burnt up. I was on the other site, sorry to see it got spammed to death.November 1, 2004 at 6:27 am #7930
I’m at McMurdo right now. If the last year you were here was ’95, then most things would probably look the same. The biggest difference would be the new galley (oh sorry, we’re supposed to call it the “dining hall”). Lots of windows, it’s a nice space.
Other changes would be NASA’s JSOC building where the playhouse used to be, and the new Science Support Center (SSC) where the MEC was. The MEC had a certain charm to it, but it was certainly a fire-trap that had to go. Did the coffee house exist when you were last here? It’s also a vintage IGY building but definitely my favorite hangout. I don’t know what it was used for before it became the coffee house/wine bar.
I think I know Scott. Does he also go by “Scotty”?November 1, 2004 at 6:01 pm #7931
The coffee house used to be the Officer’s Club.
There were four bars when I maed my first trip during the 1991-92 summer. They were the Officer’s Club, the Acey Ducey, the Erebus, and I forget the name of the fourth. The Navy still had a strong presence and the bars were segregated by rank, at least for the military folks.
Now I’m beginning to feel like an old-timer.November 3, 2004 at 5:20 am #7932
And the Erebus is now Gallager’s after Master Chief Gallager who died down there after he retired from the Navy and went to work for ASA. I had the pleasure of shooting the bull with him when he worked behind the bar and watched him make ships in a bottle. I was also there for the fire that burned the quantset hut down that was next to the Coffee house. Ahh the good times. My name is supposed to be on a plaque in the Dining Hall for winning a golf tournement down there in 95. Bill Russell and I were partners for the first golf tourney in some years out on the ice by Willy field. And Yes, Scott does go by Scotty.December 30, 2004 at 9:45 pm #7933
Hi, my name is Jay Willard and I would like to find someone who is currently stationed on the ice. My late father was attached to VX-6 in the late 50’s and early 60’s. I have a few ashes of his that I would like to have scattered near the South pole if this is possible. He always said that his 2 tours on the ice were his favorite things he ever did while in the Navy. If this is something that can be done, please contact me at JAY123W@aol.com.
Navy BratMay 4, 2005 at 6:05 pm #7934
Hi Glenn Your mention of the MEC got my attention. In 69-70 winterover the MEC(we called it the USARP garage) was my home space. I was called the Senior Station Engineer(head mechanic and civilian leader) It is funny you called the garage a firetrap. Thats exactly what I called it when I arrived in October of 69. It had an oiled soaked wooden floor. Great place to weld. As soon as I could I got galvanized sheet metal from the Navy and covered the whole place. There were only thirteen of us civilians and 200 hundred Navy that winter. We were the first to move from and old Jamesway next to the field equipment building to the new two story dorm across from the garage and next to the new Chalet that was built in the summer of 69. Many more stories to tell another time.May 10, 2005 at 12:32 am #7935
It had an oiled soaked wooden floor. Great place to weld. As soon as I could I got galvanized sheet metal from the Navy and covered the whole place.
Yup, that metal floor (the original that you put down?) was still there, last I saw it. I wasn’t there for the demolition but I heard tales… Quite the cleanup necessary under those boards. I’m happy to say that things are much more environmentally sensitive these days.
I had some great times in the MEC, most associated with the “MEC Alternative Art Gallery”, or MAAG: a free-for-all art show where anything goes. It was the perfect venue because you could do anything — slop paint around, weld, sculpt ice, etc — and not worry about harming the building. It was an artistic and mechaincal sandbox in that respect. Still, it’s a wonder the place never burst into flames and burnt to the ground.
The two-story dorms next to the Chalet are still there. “MMI”, or Mammoth Mountain Inn, and the Hotel California.May 10, 2005 at 8:12 am #7936
Last year I was in touch with Jack Long, who wintered in 1960 basically getting the Sno-Cats ready for Al Crary’s historic traverse to Pole the next season. Jack needed a place to do it, so he somehow singlehandedly talked the Navy into helping him build the USARP garage. Jack spent a lot of time at McMurdo during the 60s–he was probably the program’s best expert on O&M of Sno-Cats. The traverse isn’t well known about but it was only the 5th single-season overland traverse to reach the South Pole. Here’s a link to more information about the traverse and a route map: http://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/igy1/igy1.html#crary Jack participated in many other traverses as well, and stayed in the program until the first support contract to H&N was awarded in 1968. Jack is an interesting guy, now living in the LA area (and not online).
To complete the rest of the timeline here, The Hotel was completed in 1969-70, the Eagles song “Hotel California” sung by Don Henley was released in 1976, and the Mammoth Mountain Inn was completed in 1976-77 (I was one of the first folks to stay in it after my 1977 winter at Pole.) 🙂May 12, 2005 at 12:34 am #7937
I certainly have fond memories of the old MEC. Lots of great parties were thrown there over the years. I recall one for which a brass pole was installed! Met a lot of the great people that worked there as well.
I have to get back there soon. It’s been five years and already so much has changed. No more MEC. The galley is called the dining hall now. The playhouse is gone. Crazy…
RobMay 28, 2005 at 6:16 pm #7938
If the MEC was torn down and replaced by the SEC where do they fix everything now?
Someone mentioned the Tucker Snocats that were for traverse. When I got there in Oct of ’69 there was two Snocats sitting there looking neglected and we were to busy fixing things to mess with them. When I got there the man I replaced was sure glad to see me since he was sitting there with a broken leg and he left shortly so the wasn’t any transition period. I hit the ground running and seldom stopped. There was was a big Dodge or Ford 4-wheel drive sitting there in the shop with the right front drive knuckle all apart. I had never seen one of those before so it took a bit of “headscratching” to get it back together and out of the shop. Our snowmobiles were two-piece units. You rode on the front unit which was hinged so you went up and down separate from the rear drive half. The one cylinder 10 horse Kohler gas engine was in the rear and drove the track thru a centrifigal clutch with a rubber drivebelt. Really noit a bad machine condsiderating there age. Far different from the modern machines they have today. Top speed was less than 10 mph but they pulled like hell and even had reverse. We also had several big Nodwell track vehicle and a couple of smaller Trackmasters.This is getting long so I’ll quit for now. Many more stories later if anyone is interested.
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