Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Not Minot?


Air Frame: A B-52H Stratofortess comes in for a landing at Minot AFB, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2013. (Air Force photo by SrA. Brittany Y. Auld) Click on image above to reach larger version.  (Ed: And don't that look COLD?)
The answer to the question is "Freezin's the reason."  That's an old AF saying, one I heard many, MANY times when I received orders to this gawd-fersaken place, which was 138 miles northwest of Minot.  Like this:


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Minot was my support base and we... my Fortuna-Friends and I... used to go down that way to party when we weren't headed north to Regina, Saskatchewan (both "cities" were about equal distance from Fortuna).  But yeah, freezin' WAS the reason.  I never really knew what "cold" was until I spent a winter up that way.

In other news... I poured my first cup at 1312 hrs today, a new personal worst for me (without a hangover).   But I'm one-third of the way through Season Three!

29 comments:

  1. As you know, Minot is a sister to Barksdale. Growing up here, I knew a lot of kids that had lived at Minot.

    As little as Bossier City had to offer (at the time), it was a childhood paradise to most of them when Daddy got transferred. I've heard stories of misery in them thar hills now my entire life from AF friends.

    But...it can't be ALL BAD!

    Maybe.

    Congrats on the headway you're making with 24. You'll soon be ready for a "Jack Bauerisms v. Chuck Norrisisms" virtual shootout.

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    1. But...it can't be ALL BAD!

      That depends on your outlook, in large part. Big Air Force had a real problem manning Minot back in the day, in that a LOT of folks chose to either retire or separate once they received orders to go there. Their answer? Offer a guaranteed, controlled five-year tour to anyone volunteering to go to Minot. The benefit was family stability back in the day when your average tenure on any given base was three years or less. You'd be surprised at how many people took the bait; I know I sure was.

      OTOH I know a couple o' people who retired in the Fortuna area and I DON'T understand that.

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    2. Just as an aside...and, I have NO data to back this up...I think BAFB must the the "longest term AFB in the mix." Hell, I know guys that were here 12, 16, even 20 years. I guess it has to do with the B-52 deal, being so localized to a couple of spots.

      But, I'd be interested to know how many Zoomies stayed "forever" in Minot.

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    3. I'd guess not that many stayed in Minot but I COULD be wrong (it's happened before, surprisingly enough, albeit not THAT often).

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  2. My grandfather (half Norwegian, half Swedish, full Scandinavian) had a farm south-east of the base. He was given 160 acres in 1905. The railroad decided their tracks needed to go through his property, so they bought it, and he bought another 160 acres that was even better (better being a relative term) :-)

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    1. I forgot the punch line - that I think I have the genes from my mother, as my body chemistry has no interest in freezing from my fathers side :-)

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    2. I take it your paternal grandfather was the NoDakian?

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    3. Yes, paternal. I tried doing some genealogy on him, but got no further than 1905 when he showed-up in the North Dakota census. I think the previous 3 US census were all lost in a fire. My dad escaped from there in 1933 when he joined the CCC to drive huge bulldozers in Arkansas. He said they built the road to Devils Den. Then went to Oregon to build a road in the Columbia Gorge. Finally got drafted into the big party they were having in Germany. Interesting to me, the bulldozers were so big, they had to be assembled on site, and broken-up for trucking to the next location. He said they didn't have many fights in his outfit, because they were too tired...

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    4. I think the CCC was a good thing, others disagree (sometimes vehemently). I find it amazing how much infrastructure is still left from those years... you still see a lot of "CCC" cast into concrete bridge abutments.

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    5. My Dad was in the CCC, Buck, right out of college in '36 before he landed a job teaching HS, then got sucked up in the Oct, 1940 "OHIO" draft in '40 (was asupposedly one-year deal, hence the name "Over-the-Hill in October" lol) He helped build Lake Decatur in Decatur, Ill. He was real proud of that--the drive from our town to Decatur took us right by the shore-line--he always commented about it..

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    6. Grandpa died in 1938. I think he was in his early 50's. Grandma gave the farm to my uncle and moved to Minot and a house with the life insurance. My uncle died in 1946 of a heart attack at age 30. They finally sold the farm after that. My three aunts died of childhood diseases. One was born in December 1922 and died in January. They didn't have country doctors back then, so they just built a coffin and kept the frozen body in the barn until the ground thawed.

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    7. @Virgil: My father and yours were prolly contemporaries in age but my Ol' Man didn't go into the CCC or any other Roosevelt alphabet org. He didn't talk much about the Depression, other than to say life was a bitch. I do know he did a lot of different things before he went into the Army in 1940.

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    8. @Anon: Life sure was hard back then and your family died young... waaay too young.

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  3. Spent 3 days at Minot. In June. 'Twas enough for me.

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    1. Minot in June can be dicey. But, just out of coincidence, I reported into Fortuna in June. TSMP said "this ain't so bad... what were you on about?" and then went back to school in Indiana in September. She found out how bad it was when she came to visit over New years.

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  4. At about the time you worked there Buck, I lived in Regina and we used to go south to Minot, ND, some weekends to warm up and see how much we could drink.. This was prior to me being married and finding out just how cold a witch's tit could be.

    I don't need to go there anymore, I know exactly how cold it is, and my memories of the town are all good.

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    1. Hmmm. We went to Minot... you and I... for pretty much the same reasons. I have no need to go back, either.

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  6. Yesterday we had an unusually warm day here in OK. Looking outside, it was overcast and looked to be cold. But when you stepped outside, it was in the 60's. And it was very humid! I'll take that over a day in ND.

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    1. We had the same weather here. But it's cold today!

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  7. That place is just about as far North as you can be in the US. It's right up there where the oil patch boom is going on. I just read where Walmart workers there started at $17 an hour.

    On that note about wages, back in January of 1963 when I was first looking for a college teaching job, I found an opening at either Williston State or Minot State, I forget which. But the thing was, the annual salary they were offering was almost like double what was being offered elsewhere. There was no oil boom then, but I think I know the reason the salaries were so high. I admit the money was tempting, and even though I was still green enough to take such a step, Joyce pointed out that we'd be freezing our butts off 24/7. We chose lower paying but sultry Hammond, Louisiana, instead.

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    1. You DEFINITELY made the right choice, Dan, especially where Williston is concerned. Back in 1975 Williston didn't have a McDonalds; I shudder to think what the place was like in the '60s.

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  8. I think I might of mentioned this once over at Lex's place, Buck, but a class-mate of mine in UPT (an NCState grad used to Carolina wx) got assigned to B-52s pipeline out of tng to Minot.It was during the winter and they had to helicopter him in from somewhere where he had to store his car as they couldn't make it because of the drifts. He was there all of two mos before he said "I can't take it anymore" and called up his girl-friiend back in N.Carolina and proposed marriage, lol.

    Another story involves a guy in my squadron in the UK who had the misfortune to lose his F-4 assignment out of Woorbridge because of a pissed-off Wing Co and was shunted into T-39 s@ Wright-Pat as the personal pilot for the 4-star head of AFLC (Air Force Logistics Command.) One winter Sunday he was taking the Head guy into Minot for an Inspection and on a long, boring straight-in approach chatted with the enlisted type in the tower. "Viking country, eh? When does all the Rapin' Plunderin' and Pilliging start?" he joked. Came the reply: "I don't know about the plunderin' and pilliging part, but I'm sure as hell ready for the rapin' to start." LOL!! THEN, once on the ground, the base had to send a snow-cat to come pick them up because they hadn't plowed the taxi-ways yet. On the way to the VOQ as they were passing the control tower they noticed two red foxes f******g in the snow by the tower. The enlisted driver of the Snow-Cat looked out and casually commented: "That's the most sex I've seen here since I've been here." LOL!! My guy said to him "Are you sure you're not the same guy I was talking to in the control-tower?" lol, lol, lol.

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    1. I flew over Jan Mayan island (way up north of Iceland) and we called the weather guys stationed there on the radio. They said they were three men, two women, and a dog.

      So the next question was "who gets the dog!"

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    2. @Virgil: I think EVERYONE who was ever in the AF has a Minot story!

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    3. @Anon: Heh. That's pretty good.

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  9. LOL! Depending on the quality of the women, maybe the short-straw winner...OR maybe it's one of the fems--you just never know these days. ..I had a friend who went home once with a gal from the bar to her place and when they were in bed just getting down to serious business the gal whistled and this giant German Shepard came bounding into the room, leaped into bed, muscled my guy aside and started having at it! ROTFLMAO! He fled the scene pronto. : "You can't imagine what it was like running down the stairs and trying to put on my pants and shoes at the same time" he said. ROTFLMAOPIMP!!! Said to me; "And if you ever tell anybody about this I'll kill you." :)

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    1. Your friend wasn't a true degenerate, then. I think I might have stayed.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask.