Shemya post-wwii scrapbooks (bruce bowden)
I was stationed at Shemya from August 65 to August 66, POL Section. During mail call at Amarillo AFB (tech school for POL) our OIC finally delivered my orders for PCS. He asked me had I ever heard of Shemya, Alabama. Being born in Alabama and visiting over the years I could only come up with Selma, Alabama. Then the hardest words that an 18 year old could hear was "this isn't Alabama, there's an "R" behind the base. You're going REMOTE!! Arriving in Elmendorf in August 65, we spent the first week moving furniture from the first floor to the third floor of some deserted barracks and then from the third down to the second and first (Military management of idle troops). Upon departing EAFB we flew out on the Alaskan Airline "superconnie," and there was an electrical fire in the belly of the old bird. The pilot came on the speaker and said “don't worry, we're extinguishing it” and proceeded on to Shemya. I knew then that the venture I was embarking on was going to be a lulu. When we arrived at "The Rock" I was assigned to the POL section there on the tarmac by the tower. My barracks was one of the huts (Perk's Palace) until they moved us into building 600 around November 65.The thing that sticks out in my memory of "The Rock" more than anything was that the Reeve Aleutian Airways plane couldn't get in due to weather around Christmas and a lot of GI's didn't get any presents until after the holiday. Chow hall prepared every wing a cake. When we awoke Christmas morning, the snow had fallen and covered the island with about a foot of snow and the sun was shining bright. First time I'd ever seen so much snow. A Christmas gift from God. I had hoped when the glorious day came to go back stateside Alaskan Airlines would have got a jet to replace the ole Superconnie. I had refueled it for a year each time it came and went. They didn’t. The day I left, the pilot fired up the inside port engine; it caught on fire! I knew I wasn't going to get off The Rock! The pilot advised for us not to worry....he throttled up the engine and blew out the fire. Then the old tired bird took us to Elmendorf. I grew up a lot at Shemya. Have been haunted by it all my life and it seems to mysteriously call to come back. May do that some day if I ever win the lottery. Would love to hear from any of my old buddies stationed there with me. Bruce Bowden SGT USAF POL 1965-1969