Memories From Westover

Submitted By Tom Fitch.

* My partner, Ron Schofield, and I used to tunnel through the snow from one B-52 pad to the next so we could get in out of weather. Stick a heater hose in each end and the tunnels were warm and cozy. I recall a couple of guys who stuck the smaller heater hoses into their Parkas and passed out because of the carbon monoxide. One nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

* We used to attend the Service Club on Saturday nights and dance with the local gals who came out to the base. That is where I met my wife, Maryann. We were married on 23 Feb 1963, two days before I received my discharge from active duty on 25 Feb 1963. We are still together. T/Sgt Jerry Campbell and S/Sgt Emil Chando were two of my grooms men.

* In October 1962 the Cuba Missile Crisis occurred. Maryann and I were dining at the Oaks Inn. I had just proposed to her when I was called back to the base. After the third 16 hour shift, I was standing post at a C135 command aircraft when the duty sergeant came up with coffee. We stood talking and during the conversation he asked how things were going. Being somewhat of a smarta** I replied I was bored and felt like firing off a round to break the monotony. He smiled, left the location and returned about 20 minutes later with my relief. I was taken immediately to HQ and told to report to the Psych at the base hospital for evaluation. When I went to the Doc, he listened to my tale of woe, laughed and told me to report for regular duty.

* One day I was on patrol and went to Stony Brook for an area check. As I was rounding the end of runway I heard a flight of F101's taking off. As I looked up, the fighter furthest from my location wobbled, the canopy flew off and two ejection seats followed right over my head. I stopped, radioed in my location, turned on a access road into the woods. Traveling in a westerly direction, I observed both parachutes coming down. I pick up both officers and radioed for an ambulance. The fighter fell about 300 yards further west of us. Apparently the aircraft had a flameout on lift off and they did not have enough altitude for a restart.

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