The Beverly Wickersham Collection

January 1971 - December 1971


START (click here)

GALLERY (click here)

REALLY BIG! Each normal photo is 1024 pixels wide or high and zooms even bigger. It has its own gallery so you can find that little trawler and really zoom on it. Beware, the biggest images are about 5 megabytes each!

Start the slide show by clicking on START Each page includes in its title bar the file name of the photo itself for easier selection and most photos are labeled on the file name and title bar.

Each photo is clickable; clicking on the photo advances you to the next photo. Below each photo is a set of links (buttons) to advance, return, or exit the slide show. Each photo includes a button to ZOOM to a larger size.

A thumbnail gallery is available for visually selecting photos. If you choose this option, clicking a thumbnail puts you into the slide show at the photo chosen; from there the slide show proceeds with the remainder of the show.

Commentary on Adak, January, 2004

I never did roam about the island like a lot of people obviously did, because a lot of the places didn't seem familiar to me at all. I stayed up on our end of the island most of the time, venturing down to the px every couple of weeks for film, or for something different to look at. I have met several people since I have been out of the Navy who were on Adak, mostly older people who were there during WWII. It was very interesting to see the pictures from that era. The special on PBS a few months ago showed a lot of the same or similar images.

I was on Adak from January 1971 to December 1971, never having to spend Christmas on the island. I went to Russian Language school in Washington D.C.. The other language school in the country was in Monterey, California. Those of us who had to go to D.C. felt cheated. Since I played golf, Monterey would have been heaven. I think you could play Pebble Beach in 1969 for about $25, compared to about $300 now. Of course I didn't have the $25 back then either. There were several D.C. interpreters on Adak when I was there. Joe McFadden was my cubemate. Pete Boice, Ken Sherfey, Chris Hoff, Dennis Mauser, John Laplante, plus some others whose faces I remember, but not complete names.

After leaving Adak, I went back to Washington, and served out the rest of my four years at NSA. Like many others in our area, I never set foot on a ship during my tour.

Two eventful things happened while I was on Adak, I'm not sure in what order.

There was at some time, an atomic test performed on or near an island in the Aleutian chain to the west of us, which some experts thought might cause damage on Adak and the surrounding area. We were prepared, at least mentally, to run back up the hill in case of a tidal wave. This had all of our families worried, but nothing came of it. I don't think even a ripple was seen.

There was also a nice earthquake. From reading on your website, I have learned, or relearned, that it was on April 1, 1971, and was 7.2 on the Richter scale. I remember very clearly being in the gym, watching a movie. It started very slowly, as many small quakes had done, and continued to build for what seemed like a long time, but I'm sure it was no more than 30 seconds. The movie screen, which was hanging directly in front of the basketball goal, began to swing back and forth, and the building shook quite severely. There was no military bearing in our reaction, no single file marching out the door. We all made for the exit as fast as possible without running over anyone in the process. We got outside, and by then, it was over. The people who were outside when it happened said they could see it coming across the tundra like a wave. Damage was minor. No buildings were harmed that I recall. Lots of lockers were turned over though, and minor damage was quite common. Again, a cause for alarm for all our families, but I believe the Red Cross notified everyone that we were. alright. We had several other small quakes after that, but none of consequence.

I also remember, but had forgotten, Oly beer, Harvey Wallbangers, and grilled tuna fish sandwiches in the grill outside the Ptarmigan club. I remember well the 3 or 4 lane bowling alley. I had a friend, who I think was a T brancher, named John Bothe, who was a great guy, and the smoothest bowler I ever saw. I remember the winds of Adak, and the poster in the hallway which explained wind-chill factors, the first mention I ever saw of them. Chill factors are used today in weather reports to make the weather sound more dramatic, but the winds on Adak really did bear watching.

I remember Reeves Aleutian Airways. I think I read somewhere after leaving Adak that they had the worst accident rating of all American airlines. Easily understandable, having experienced the winds they were forced to fly in. On my initial flight out to Adak from Anchorage in January, 1971, our flight was delayed because of winds. The night before we left, there was a strong wind which blew about 1/2" of snow under our door in the motel room. When we got to the airport, small planes had been blown all over the frozen lake next to the airport, and the hangar which housed our plane had blown over, trapping the plane inside. They used some type of crane to raise the door up, got the plane out, and away we went. The scariest flight I ever had. About a year after I left Adak, a Japan Airlines plane crashed flying from Seattle to Anchorage, carrying some Adak personnel. Then several years after that, a plane, maybe a Reeves Aleutian, crashed into Mt. Sitkin coming in to Adak.

I have gone through all of my old slides and prints, and cleaned the best of them up as well ias I could. I will describe them as well as my memory allows.

B I have included the pictures of the people I can name in hopes they, or someone who knows them, might recognize them and get in touch. I would be glad to share any of these or other pictures I have with anyone interested.