It was 1961, I was single and owned a 1951 Ford Consul. The starter broke and I had to bring it to an Auto Electric place in Ipswich. Left the base at lunchtime to hitch a ride there. Made it to the Woodbridge cutoff on first ride. Then, 1956 Dodge Station Wagon, Green and White, approached and I new it was my Boss, Maj Lieb. He stopped for first 2 airmen and they were going to RAF Woodbridge. Then approached me and I was caught. Told him I was going to the Ford garage in Woodbridge. He offered me the ride. While driving through Woodbridge I convinced him to take me to Ipswich as the Auto Elect was cheaper and near to his home. Made it back to base late and my NCOIC asked me how my trip was? Never heard any more... Remember getting stopped by a Bobbie, on a bicycle, for speeding off Foxhall Rd, Ipswich. Got a warning, no ticket...Jim Tansey
Short sheeting beds, eggs left in the boots just before a drill, barrier changes at 3am, killer vollyball games, responding to off-base crashes but not exceeding the speed limit-bells only, dear john letters, weddings, full dress assignment to a WWII memorial service at a church in the middle of nowhere, Dave Conley and I got a big write up in Stars & Stripes for making delivery of water rations to Brit nuclear site in bad weather (I remember it as "a big write-up", probably 1 inch column)... Steve Krulin
Good experiences: Lifelong friendships and memories, Rainbow over the chow hall and knew there was HOPE for the food; All the airmen who stopped by my gate to keep me company. Riding my bicycle on the country roads; Living in Wickham Market; Going to London and seeing Broadway plays at dirt cheap prices. Bad experiences: Cold weather and no heat in gate shacks; Former supervisors and back office guy's who failed to give us any real support; The box nasties and some of the officers who'd freak out that we weren't wearing white gloves; Seeing young Security guys go 'snap'. Interesting experience: Seeing a UFO siting in Feb 1980 with Airman Duffield and Police didn't take it serious... Lori Rehfeldt
Operation Ferrett, Brave Defender. Lots of good memories working with good people at a young age. I lived on Warwick Ave in Woodbridge, across from Wally and Sylvia Secker. My Landlord was a WWI veteran by the name of Mr Robeson. I also lived at Martlesham Heath on the old airbase, in new apartments. I find myself also emotional with the news of what has happened to the twin bases. Being an SP, I found myself working at both bases. I spent the majority of my time on Bentwaters in CSC. I lived in England at a very impressionable and emotional time of my life (18-21 years old). I have also contimplated a return visit to the area. We spent a great deal of time in Woodbridge, Ipswich and Felixstowe. My first night in the U.K. was spent with my wife in a room above the pub in Eyke. I find myself with nothing but good memories of my time in England, despite the fact I can also remember the lonliness and homesickness of being away from home for the first time. While living in Martlesham Heath I will never forget the policeman who "walked the beat" and stopped to visit me, my wife and small child. P.C. Frank Rider. We still have pictures of my young son wearing P.C. Rider's hat and carrying his truncheon. I would also like to hear from anyone stationed at the twin bases during this time. My E-Mail account is currently undergoing remodeling. My home address is: Derek Hobbs, 858 Westgate Dr., Anderson, In 46012... Derek Hobbs
I was an armorer in the 79th Fighter Bomber Squadron, when we shipped out of Langley AF base in June of 1952. We were equipped with the Republic P-84's. Although being able to completely fieldstrip, detail strip and reassemble every weapon the AF had up to a 20 mm cannon...blindfolded...I knew I had been sent to something special. A high school graduate that could read my diploma in Latin and English at the time were the standards of the era, plus a modern Language...of which I chose French. What was later explained to me in Woodbridge RAF Station was that the very curious bulky weapon I watched being loaded was...as I observered at Langley Field...of something I never saw in Armament School at Lowry AFB outside Denver Col. As the youngest guy in the Squadron til the day I rotated and got discharchged somebody must have planned to tell me what I was working on. Lt. Plotnick asked me if I had my Top Secret clearance as I reported to the loading crew that day out on the outskirts of the runway. I just said I was informed of my Secret Clearance (not that much of a risk at just turning 18 that day) "Do you know what you are working on?" All I could say was "I don't think we are laying down pest control". He said..."This is the Mark II, Mod O, atomic bomb."Somehow knowing what I could guess already was still quite riviting. An Armorer's job is the best when you develop a mind set. Do your job right. If the manufacturer does his job right. But if either screw up you don't get a chance to blink. Played "Dr. Strangelove". years before the movie came out. as we took turns sitting on the nose as the round ball was chain driven to the rear of the shape in the unarmed position. Retired Airline captain now. I can say I have seen as much as I ever want to see of the world. Twelve different transport category a/c has been a study. But I soloed at Ipswich Airport in a De Havilland bi-winger TigerMoth as an A1c And the ex-cropduster pilots...as Lt Plotnick came out to fly them also....(Submitted by No Name)
81st Air Police Sec, C Flt 1961-64: Post 8, in the VA area, fightin' the Hawk, watching the sun come up at 3:00 am in the summer, hearing the alert siren at 2:00 in the morning and jumping in my VW along with my 2 best buddies (Bob Strope and Jim Baker) and heading off base until all posts were manned (even though the base was sealed, the guards would let us through). Then we would come back and say we were in town and just got back. We were then assigned standby which basically means we hung around CSC and slept on the floor. Being on runway duty the day a F101 went in and took out the 92nd OPS building which was right behind CSC. Pilot was killed when he ejected and his chute opened just as he hit the ground. Playing baseball, coach was "Knobby Walsh" played in 62-63. Dated a girl named Margaret Smith, who, I found out was also dating a Lt Moody who I believe was in Supply. Anyone remember him? Anyway I recall being so PO'd that when I was on motor patrol on the midnight shift I would actually break in to the supply hut that he was in charge of and then call him at 3 or 4 in the morning and tell him I found the door (or window) open. He would have to come down and lock it up. I did this at least 3 or four times and I just knew he thought something was up, he never said anything and he did not know I was dating the same girl he was. I would also sit out front of the O club and wait for him to drive to his hut. I stopped him a couple of times for speeding (speed limit was 15 mph so everybody was a violater) but only gave him a warning. Once he complimented me on being so concientious, unbelievable. Hanging out at the Rondevous (sp) and the Bowling Alley (Wimpy's). Had a crush on the girl behind the counter, but could never get her to go out with me. Going to my buddies post on very cold nights and jacking up the patrol truck so when it was put in gear we could rack up some miles to put on the trip ticket while we took turns sleeping. Syphoning gas into my VW and swallowing a lot of it. Stopping off at the Flamingo (Flamin'Joes) on the way back from Ipswich and sometimes getting in fights with the locals. OSI investigation one morning when 10 of us were assigned to these agents and went into town and to various barracks to arrest a buch of guys suspected of smoking dope. Selling cigarettes on the black market. Damn! I miss it like hell! Definitely among the best days of my life...Joseph Vialonga
My Parents owned the Moat Tea-rooms, opposite Framlingham Castle. Many GI's visited there and stayed after hours to visit with us. Took several groups over to the castle late at night to "look for ghosts" and scared some of them silly! My Dad, Leslie Jecks-Wright, later opened the Framlingham Laundrette by Clark's Feed Store and did a lot of dry cleaning for Base personel. Sadly, he passed over in 1987. There was another UFO incident in 1969-70ish. In Framlingham we saw a UFO and another 2 shot out from the main one. As we watched, we saw a phantom jet take off from RAF Bentwaters or RAF Woodbridge and fly up towards it, then turn around and fly back down. It was witnessed by the local Fire Chief, Teacher, etc. Our friend Scotty, who worked at the Tower RAF Woodbridge said they picked it up on radar, but when we called to notify them, they said it was just a bright star (yeah, right!)... Virginia Jecks-Wright
Several people walk the mall each morning to exercise and just visit and several are retired or have served in the military. Myself, Jan 1957-Jan 1960 at RAF Woodbridge. (1264th AACS Det-1 out of Bentwaters) As we were talking, one of the guy's stated he had been there 1957-1961, (F84/101 Maintance 81st Sqdn). Then he asked if I had a copy of the 1959 yearbook,which I didn't even know were ever made. Anyhow, as we put it in the south (Hotlanta), if anyone needs a certain page copied, I could probably borrow it and go to the corner and make one... 40 years ago and I didn't know I was that good looking____---- -- ---- -- (that is ha ha in morse code, cu later ray wb4loj...Raymond and Brenda Burt
Was there, 1975-78, when a Sgt. Roblado used his re-up bonus to buy hashish, kept it in his apparatus locker and that day the dogs came through. He spent 8 months in UK prison then discharged and deported. Also was there during the remodel of station kitchen, when we washed dishes in the main head. I remember I got such food poisoning . Also recall having random drug testing in that head. Urine bottles lined up on pool table. Names I recall: Bob Quackenbush (New York), Dennis Reilly (Boston), Bob Tiernan (New York), Lanny Caudill (lifer), Bob Perez (now Santa Barbara County Fire...Mitch Wiley
I was stationed at RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge from 82-85 (active) 86-89 (civilian). During my active time, worked at RAF Bentwaters Dining Hall. So all my co-workers e-mail me!! Anyone that ate at the dining hall, should remember the snack line "Chili", most everyone liked it as I cooked it "Texas Style". Man, so many names I couldn't list them all....But, my nickname (thanks to AJ) was Alfie. Most of the people there on my shift names: Molly, Al, AJ,and all the Civilians. I left RAF Bentwaters Jan 1985, only to return in Aug. Got a job at AAFES, RAF Bentwaters Gas Station, later the RAF Woodbridge Station as well. (Ah, yes Gas Rations, got to love them...NOT!) Then after that one winter we had, moved inside to Food Land driving the Running Chef (ie:Roach Coach), mostly RAF Woodbridge days, Eric drove nights, Connie drove RAF Bentwaters day shift. So there is a very good chance I have either met you or sold you a Mountain Dew (Soft Drink of Choice of the 81st SPS!!) I also knew allof the Civilian workers on the base, Mostly fuels. I still have a T-Shirt of the 87 Fueling Rodeo. Anyway, drop a line. I'll be glad to chat about the 'good ol days'!! Cheers...Don Wilson.
Things remembered are Sherwood Forest,Beatles,pirate radio broadcast stations,fish & chips Elephant & Castle Pub & all sorts of wonderful things too numerous to mention here....Michael P. Dupre.
The bad: Having the brass tell us to paint the stupid rocks because some Gen. ( Gen. Brown to be exact) liked brown or something really stupid. Having a huricane blow down most of the trees in the Queens forest. The good: How beautiful the land is and how green everything was. Living in North Dakota has been great but it isn't as pretty. The ability to travel all over the country to see many different contrasts in the landscape and do it all in just a few hours from home.....Jeff Gilbert.
Favorite Pub was Plow and Sail, Snape at the Maltings. Favorite part of career has to have been the UK years (1982-90). Enjoyed Pubs with Real Ale, London, TDY/leave in Continental Europe. Was late 20ish single Staff Sergeant. Worked and played hard then! Hope to take my wife over there after I retire...Wayne K Huber
Memories include Running Buck, Wimpy's, Captain's Table (Woodbridge), Kersey, Golden Lion, fog, pubs, fish & chips, Great White Horse Hotel, Orford, Amy's Clocks (and the clock I did not get), castles.... What a wonderful place and a wonderful people!...Ken Eister
Running Buck, First Floor Club, Christchurch Park, Great Yarmoth, Africa, Italy, Turkey, Scotland, Norway...to name some. Had a great tour, great memories. Bob Townsend
Biggest memories: Swamp between chow hall and barracks. Found it difficult to remain on the path some nights after leaving the Airmans Club. Lt.Col Petzen(?)-test pilot. One Saturday morning he test flew an F4 after I fixed a landing gear problem. He insisted that I wait on the flightline until he returned. He told me that if the gear worked we would have a beer together, if it didn't he was going to kick my ass. He was about eight inches shorter than me, I outweighed him be forty pounds and he was twenty years older. With all that, I was glad to have a beer with him after he landed without incident. Green Man Pub. Town of Eye, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Dated a sweet young thing there my last year at RAF Bentwaters. Two years after discharge she showed up at San Francisco airport and called my parants looking for me. We married Dec 11, 1971 and still going strong (met her in ChristChurch Park, Ipswich). Last, but certainly not least, mini-skirts, Beatles, Stones, Carnaby Street, Zoot Money and his Big Roll Band, the D' House in London, seeing the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park at a free concert in '69, TDY to Wheelus(?) AFB Libya, Running Buck, Ipswich (11 pubs and two resturants under one roof), my 1949 Morris Oxford Salon. Radio Caroline. A lot of great memories. ...N.A. Dean" Fraser AF19872921
There was indeed a nasty A/C crash at the end of the RAF Bentwaters runway in the 60's. It went into one of the PE hangers, almost hit the snack bar, then hit some of the cars parked there. As of 1974, there was still an empty spot where the hanger had been. As I said, it was a good but tough time. Had the great honor of meeting Col Olds, Lt Col James and others. One of Col James aircraft, an F4, is on display at Tuskegee Institue. It could use a little help as it is showing signs of weathering. Wish those of us who have the good memories of him and Gen Olds, as do I, could get together in some way to give it a cleanup and and make it look good. I'm in Montgomery AL (going home to Ohio soon) and have visited it twice... John Reed Msg (Ret. USAF)
Remember the plane going through a hanger and the pilot being killed also talking to a guy who felt very bad because he worked in the parachute shop and thought it should have opened. Also, remember the night at the RAF Woodbridge NCO club when my sister and I were watching a young man named Gerry Dorsey try to save a really awful show. We allowed as how he should have better luck. He does now, go to Vegas and see Engelbert Humperdinck...Margaret Walker
I just looked over the web page and noticed many familiar events and days especially the November crash on the runway as it was a Friday and we were cleaning up the electrical shop before the weekend and Gene Walker shouted "He's going to crash!" at which time we all ran outside and saw the 101 leave the runway and crash through the AP shack and then start hitting the cars...an awful sight. Then I saw Dusty Springfield's name and remember when they visited the Airman's Club because some of us had to go and get seats so by the time the show started I was ready to go to sleep as a result of the hard afternoon I put in..hehe...Jim Clark
(Cont'd)There was a Major Maney in charge of 81st Base Engineers. He was an alcoholic and gambler and got so deeply in debt playing poker that one day he went over to the fire department, drew and signed for a pistol out of.their armory, then drove around to the old aircraft butt for test firing guns, then blew his own brains out. We had another Major after him: I can see him--steel glasses, a bit over weight, black hair, New York of New England accent, very short, suffered from pimples he squeezed regularly, was always thumping one fist into the other hand and proclaiming, "OL Everybody. Let's get to it!" Whatever IT was I never remember. I do remember the "as built" maps of the various sites around the base were hopelessly wrong. So Capt Bisher, keen on getting us out from under foot, despatched daughtsman Bethke, surveyor Gayhart, and myself off with transit, alidade table, chain and staff, and we resurveyed the base as a large scale measured drawing. It was one of the happiest summers I ever spend. About a year after we finished up an aerial survey contractor flew the base with stereo pairs and made a new map master to 1/2500 scale. Our survey fit like a glove when the new one was blown up to our scale. I remember another character: Mr (Ted?) Smith of the Ministry of Works. He was an electrical "Clerk of the Works" and was a good friend to me. Various Base Engineers became exasperated by the slowness of the MoW, and wanted things done yesterday. I ended up being the diplomatic go-between, and Smith was a great help. Speaking of Smith, the Wing Commander, that titular Royal Air Force officer still in charge of "RAF Bentwaters," was a Wing Commander Smith, and another good friend. He resigned from the RAF, and opened a boat yard in Melton. Derrick Booth
(Update 3/14/99) How time flies when you are having fun. I distinctly remember my first day in England back in Dec 57 when we landed at Burtonwood and went to London by train. I spent my first day in London running the streets and chasing the English girls all over town. I went back to London on numerous weekends thereafter and during those years when I was in my early twenties it was a great place to visit. Well London beckons like a magnet and I am running the streets again after 41 years. As a result of a good 'showing' in a previous marathon I have been given a guarantee entry in the 1999 Flora London Marathon. I am joining all those 'mad' folks who will lineup on April 18 to run the marathon and for me it will be a most memorable event. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be running the streets of Ipswich on training runs or participating in a marathon in London. Jose Badillo
Many fun memories: Taco parties at our house, cheap booze and other things, The Running Buck pub, concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, The Ipswich Gaumont Theater, Brans Hatch...Brittish GrandPrix, The mail train from London...leaving at 0415 getting back to Ipswich in time to stand roll call at 0800 at the fire station, Orford Castle, great all night pay day poker games at the fire station. Stephen Curry
Arriving in the UK July 3rd, 1983 after about 20 hours of travel to save Uncle Sam some money, and "white knuckling" it all the way from Mildenhall to Bentwaters because of lack of sleep, jet lag, and driving on the wrong side of the road! Got to my dorm room and found my roommate and his best friend each drinking from a "party seven" can of Abbott Ale. Spent a LOT of time at the Mariner's Arms Pub (now the Old Mariner) with my friends Brett Spence, Scott Pogue, Gerry Galada, Chris Thorpe and others (remember Joe the parrot?). Fell in love with Carolyn, the cook at the Mariner's and dated for two years. Made the biggest mistake of my life letting her go. Car racing at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, and Snetterton. Concerts at the Ipswich Gaumont (Motorhead!). Shop parties (81 CRS/Sensors/Pave Penny). The best friend anyone could ask for: Brett, Greg Clark, Jay Curtis, Rick Schuck, Scott, Joyce Seminick, Linda Quigley, Joe Cimino and too many more to list. Bicycling to work most days of the week with Paul Cosenza and Brett from Woodbridge Town. There were some bad times: getting divorced, along with most of my friends. Almost getting kicked out of the Air Force but it turned out ok. Christmas with the worst flu I ever had. Leaving in 88. But it was mostly good. Just getting to spend the best five years of my life with the wonderful Suffolk and Twin Base people makes me feel lucky. *Phil Calvert
(Cont'd) Anyway, enough about Dad. Have fond memories of my 3 years in UK. Really was sad to see a picture of the abandoned and somewhat weed-covered Woodbridge High. I have great memories too. From an 11 or 12 year old kid's perspective. Of course, I was hooked on soccer (football) like all the other kids, and remember watching Saturday matches. Also remember "Top of the Pops" on Thursdays, and watching very unique tv shows, such as Kenny Everett Video Show, and Saturday Banana. Favorite show was The Tomorrow People. I also remember field trips with my class, to neat places like Belgium and Bath. What else - movie theaters that were very different from the States, some sort of boardwalk/arcade in (I think) Great Yarmouth...or was it Felixstowe? Funny how some of the names stick in your head 20 years later! Ever since I found your site, I have realized that, as a "Brat" (and with "brats" of my own, now), the Web is perfect for doing exactly what you, the Tansey's, have done - connecting now-grown people with names, pictures, and memories of things that they almost weren't sure ever really existed. Thanks for the great site - would love to hear from you. ... 1Lt David A Sherman 5/14/99
A1C Paul M Rose(Cont') All the wing flying was finished for the day and the spec ops guys were just getting warmed up to start their evening's fun. About 5 pm, the sun was just setting off the departure end of Runway 27 and Snick 32, a spec ops C-130 was taxiing to the runway down the parallel. CY (SSgt Curry) said, "Have you ever cleared an aircraft for takeoff before?" I replied that I hadn't. He said, "Here ya go, PM. You know what to do." So, with the adrenalin really pumping, I assumed the local control position, signing the position log "PMCY" stating the I was in the position with CY monitoring me. I began the position scan: looking down the runway for obstructions, checking the BRITE radar display, rechecking altimeter and weather, looking at airspace over the departure end of the runway for birds or other flying obstacles to assure a safe departure for my aircraft. It didn't take long for the radio to come alive, "Woodbridge Tower, Snick 32 ready for at the end." I scanned the runway and the wind indicators one last time and
replied, "Snick 32, Woodbridge Tower, Runway 27, wind 250 at 3, clear for takeoff." "Snick 32, cleared for takeoff." I was still scanning the runway, I was standing by this time with binoculars in hand watching everything closely. As the four engines ran up, the C-130 Hercules lifted off the runway right in front of the tower cab. After crossing the departure end of the runway, I instructed the aircraft, "Snick 32, contact departure, good day." "Snick 32, to departure, thanks." And that was the first aircraft I controlled, I will never ever forget any detail of that. It's an incredible feeling to control
aircraft. I just wish that I had been able to make it last longer. I was in for a treat, they were going to practice lights out approaches that night. It was surreal, dimming all runway lights, obstruction lights around the base and even the tower cab lights, so that the C-130 pilots could use their night-vision glasses to make a touch and go approach to the runway. The only way you know that they are there is when you hear their engines go full power to get airborne again. There are so many stories like that, I will someday get them all down on paper or some sort of media and write a book about them.
There are so many things about the twin bases and the surrounding area that I loved. Orford castle, the quay at Orford and that awesome stretch of grassy beach and it's trails. My wife and I spent alot of time there. There was Framlingham Castle, the Felixstowe carnivals and flea markets. I lived in the base housing there for awhile and that was the most enjoyable time I had in the UK. It was only a 2 minute walk to the beach on the North Sea. Most of the time the wind was almost strong enough to knock me down, I certainly had to put my head down into the wind so to speak. We frequented the Southern Fried Chicken place about 10 minutes round trip from the Felixstowe housing area, I forget the name of the one little circular street, though. We ate so much candy from all the candy stores in Felixstowe we made ourselved sick on it. My favorite was the sugared popcorn you could get at the Odeon theatres. I really love that stuff. One of my favorite memories was when the base theatre finally got Star Trek 6 in about 7 months after it was released in the States. The line was out
the door and around the block, but I was so looking forward to seeing the newest Star Trek, I was going to wait all night, if necessary. I managed to get there early enough to get a good seat, back rown center and I was moved to my core with the whole movie. To this day, that's my favorite Trek movie. Another thing I'll never forget is watching "Three Men and a Little Lady" at the base theatre. When they went to England to Sylvia's wedding, the first thing we saw was a Mini. Every single person in the theatre shouted "Mini!" and laughed our tails off. Then, when they were getting directions from the sheep herder with the Mini completely surrounded by sheep, everyone was busting a gut. We really had a great time there at that theatre. (10/7/01)
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