Christmas is upon us and so is winter, after a very slow start. We are hip deep in snow, the temperatures hover near zero degrees Fahrenheit, and we are struggling against the usual problems with which you are all so familiar. The Sondrestrom rotation schedule goes on...and on...and usual. A long tiring flight terminated by a cold beer, very little in the BX and much too much in the clubs. Sondy has a new commander, and a new Protestant Chaplain who is a former P-38 driver. We have never succeeded in persuading him to venture to the cap with us. His reluctance could not have been because of his predecessor's briefing; they exchanged greetings on the ramp leading to the "Yellow Bird," only! We've been tapped to furnish base operations with a "TDY" clearance officer for sixty days and Major Brackbill is in the slot now. "We've done so much, with so few, for so long, now they expect us to do everything with no one."

`This recap of the year may be familiar to you late leavers, but please bear with us for the benefit of the early departees. The year was characterized by the many departures (all of you), arrivals too numerous to list and the anxious wait for assignments by the new crop of "short timers" To mention a few, Major Gregelein to C-123s in SEA, TSgt. Smiley to Langley, Major Edgell to CCK, TSgt. Coyne to Lackland, and Capt. Morrissey to RF4Cs in SEA. (Editor's Note: Capt. Morrissey is MIA as of 1996.)

"Twas" a grim year for promotions, brightened by Major Myer's promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, TSgt. Girven's selection to MSgt. and numerous new TSgts, SSgts, and Sgts.

Read the December 1967 issue of "Airman," and the October issue of Lockheed's "Airlifters," (page 29), for news of fellow ski troopers. We did our part in the usual number of exercises and special projects, including the seemingly endless "Cool Rope" and HALO training for the Army. Of special interest to those of you who participated in "Turnkey," is the fact that your efforts were recognized by the Secretary of the Air Force. Your letters will reach you eventually. We also provided airlift support for the visiting King and Queen of Nepal, who came over to sample Alaska's big game hunting.

We celebrated two birthdays this year; the first anniversary of the 21st Composite Wing on 7 July, and the 20th anniversary of the 17th on 11 December. The first momentous occasion was highlighted by parades, parties, etc., while the second, and dearest to us, was celebrated by an early launch of the alert crew, a three ship TAC training mission, a strip check, and a flying safety meeting.

Thanks to DACs Peter Fink, whom you all remember, Narsarrsuak is now an approved R&R center for the 17th aircrews in place at Sondrestrom. A few of the boys were whooping it up in the mission commanders room, Peter Fink called Colonel Bethe, a crew was launched and a precedent was set.

Not all was fun and games at Sondy though, we did our share of work too. Lots of trailers went to Dye III, along with steel to jack the joint. Would you believe we bent one at Sondy last week? Good old 490 was attacked by a wheel bird during an engine run up.

Old Sondrestrom and Taipei Troopers will be glad to hear, we think, that the "Dave Bunker Show" is playing at Elmendorf this week.

The crop of Firebirds has fallen off this year; perhaps it's a sign of advancing age in all of us? Again, it might be that we are flying more, or better pills, or just plain luck.

The ice cap is beginning to resemble a used airplane lot since a second Aero Commander crash landed there in August. Major Gregelein and crew brought the survivors out. A group has been attempting to salvage the first Aero Commander, though they experienced navigational difficulties even after a twenty minute, telephonic, course in celestial navigation.

Major Larry Sharrow did an outstanding job of landing 489, gear up, here at Elmendorf recently but his accomplishment was somewhat dimmed by his being observed with a TAC patch on his flying suit upon exiting the aircraft.

List of "rotated" Firebirds - 1967

Major Gary G. Lattin
MSgt. Jess Hopson
Captain Alan C. Anderson
Captain Donald H. Flandreau
TSgt. Dewey D. Palmer
SSgt. Robert C. Piner
Capt. Richard C. Kiper
TSgt. Charles E. Dorman
Major Ronald E. Hebert
Major Richard L.W. Henry
Major Harley G. Jergensen
Capt. John A. Poplis
Captain Roland D. Guidry
Capt. Nolan W. Bailey
Capt. Thomas L. Sutton
Lt. Col. John C. Parker
SSgt. Paul R. Chenvert
TSgt. Harold G. Lee
Major Ralph W. Hamilton
Captain John J. Cayton
Captain Life N. Dove
Capt. Richard C. Dodge
Major Carl J. Berg
Sqdn. Leader Michael R. Nash
MSgt. Francis E. Termin
SSgt. Jose Padilla
Capt. Richard L. Tinney
SSgt. William R. Sims
SSgt. Glen E. McElyea
TSgt. Michael C. Ashcraft
Captain Densel K. Acheson
Major Bruce Vernon Bradley
TSgt. James D. Statler
Captain Raymond P. Hull
Sgt. Garland R. Ekenstam
Captain Albert E. Benson, Jr.
Captain Gary W. Schmidt