DYE SITE VISIT
"This is great! I can't believe I'm actually corresponding with someone who has flown out to DYE III! I was able to find it on a map once--I think the map was supposed to be classified but it was hanging on the wall at the Arctic Hotel in Sondy--and saw that it was more than half way to the East Coast of Greenland.
We had a Sondrestrom routine in those days. Since we didn't have any work to do during the day, we'd head on over to the bowling alley at 10:00 or so, since it was the first place open for beer in the mornings. I probably could have gotten pretty good at bowling, but my game usually suffered by noon or so, since the second, fifth and last frames were "beer" frames. (I used to play golf in Austin to the same rules and, alas, the same results.)
By four we'd be at the Officer's or NCO club (whichever we were playing) and be on the pool tables or else hitting the slot machines. We were barred from using the shuffleboard because we kept picking up the ends and twisting the table to make our pucks go the right way. Then back to the Arctic Hotel to clean up before heading back to the club.
One night after work we raced soapbox derby-type cars down the hill to the Watson River bridge. I crashed across the wooden floor of the bridge on one trip and sprained a wrist--luckily, I was well "pre-medicated" with Scottish pain reliever. Twelve-year old, I believe it was, in a bottle with a distinctive crest.
Did you ever fly down the Watson River gorge? Tell the truth, now. On our flight, the pilot let the co-pilot handle the controls ("I'm checked out on that route," he said) but he took off down a wrong branch of the canyon (he went right and should have gone left). The pilot really freaked out and the co-pilot had to lay the C-130 hard over onto its port side to put us back on track. It was strange seeing nothing but blue out the right window and nothing but the Watson River out the left!"
" ... It is a small world. It could be considered a coincidence that I flew in a C-130 in Greenland in 1972. I was playing in Wanda Conklin country and western band at Sondrestrom AFB, and got an opportunity to fly to a DYE site (a radar installation) out on the ice cap. We got to ride on the flight deck with the crew and it was a real experience to land on skis and feather up to the big dome (the pilot had to ground-steer with throttles and rudder). We walked out through the prop wash onto the cold surface of the ice cap and looked around at the vast nothingness for a while, then flew back to Sondy. The crew took us back through the canyons of the Watson River (in clear violation of Air Force policy!) and it was astounding to roll back and forth in that giant plane through the twisting gorge with nothing but rock on either side. The 1000-foot drop off the edge of the ice cap down into the canyon set my ears to hurting for three days...."
(E-mail from Don H. Bowden, Educator, Anchorage, Alaska, 1996)