Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Some Early Morning Thoughts

Bill Says: I got up at 4 a.m. this morning and thought I'd share a few thoughts with my computer. Mostly a one-sided conversation, ( there are those rare occasions when this contraption pops up with an intelligent reply and I promptly rush out to the kitchen to throw cold water on my face and wake-up), but I have found having a quiet chat with this nearly antique word processing machine often relieves some of the inner stress in my bizarre life. Much like this morning, while listening to the news on TV, where my 58 year old highly intelligent mind, ( it's my blog- I can mix sci-fi with realism), is struggling with taking in the events of today. I find myself comparing these news stories with the activities of the not so distant past. How the Fast and Furious operation is beginning to sound a lot like the news build-up, which led to President Nixon's resignation. It was called the Watergate Scandal and brought about the downfall of the most powerful political figure in our country.

I can easily, ( yes, the dementia hasn't set in yet), recall the anti-Viet Nam War protests held on the lawn before my high school auditorium between 1969-1971.  Crowds numbering in the dozens to a build-up of hundreds came together to voice their bitterness or simply some concern of the young men forced to serve in a far away land in a very unpopular conflict. We even had our school cheerleaders out there leading in some of the more interesting protest songs. Our school allowed this, mainly because it lost a lot of support in 1969, when it attempted to bring down the pupil's protest against a school dress code. A small riot developed and when it was all said and done, the dress code was out.

I often attended these protests, curious, but I never participated. I was actually a fledgling hawk- one of those John Wayne grunt and spit wanna-be warriors and a lover of mom's apple pie kids. Though, mom couldn't actually bake an apple pie and good old John Wayne never did serve in the military.

Usually wrapped up with either football or wrestling, forgetting my homework on a regular basis and giving the rest of my time to my girl friend, I was able to see how most of these protesting teenagers rarely knew exactly what they were protesting about. They blurted out this all encompassing message of "Say NO to Viet Nam and bring our boys home!" or "Hell NO- We Won't Go!" They were not old enough to have draft cards to burn yet and these very loud speakers with bull horns possessed little knowledge of what was occurring in Viet Nam. I became so interested in this subject that I enlisted right after high school graduation and promptly volunteered for Viet Nam- which they granted and flew me over there with only 24-hours notice. Stupidly, I forgot to mention all this to my new wife and I remember how they called me at my post, working main gate at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to tell me my orders for shipment overseas had come in. Excited, I asked the two big questions, "Where am I going? and "When do I leave?" The desk sergeant replied in a calm voice, "You're going to Danang, Viet Nam and we're sending your relief out right now!"   NOW? My young wife was not very happy to learn our shipment was to be done in haste and I don't remember if she even talked to me as we drove across country to California. I left her with her mother, which probably prompted the "Dear John" letter I got soon afterward.

So, as I watch these protesters from New York to Oakland, I am reminded of those events in my past- mainly because so many of the people camping out there have almost no true understanding in how Wall Street works. I don't. But I do know this is the wrong place to be if you're upset with the country's handling of finances, jobs and other aspects of the economy. These people, some who have stated there just out there for something to do, should be march on Washington DC to get their point across- much like the anti- Viet Nam War protesters did.

As a retired police officer, I am taken back by the conduct of some the police officers in how they have physically dealt with these protesters, and again much like the police dealt with the protesters of my day. But the hundreds of thousands who marched on Washington DC in 1968-69 and smaller numbers in 1970-71, got their point across and the war ended. Our Congress needs to understand how, why and what we are upset about, but mostly in a peaceful fashion. Oh, we have a right to protest- for our beloved country was founded on this idea. BUT we have no right to hurt people, cause damage to businesses and turn our beautiful parks into wasteland. We must also be careful of the communist-socialist propaganda spreading professionals who are out there to spur a lot of this on- just as they did in 1968. For them their cause is the downfall of the USA.

We must not let the media control our thoughts, for their sole drive is ratings. Yes, they do provide the news, but we must investigate the stories ourselves through the Internet and other sources to ensure the news is true and balanced. Most of media, from newspapers to radio and TV is controlled by democrats. Only a few media sources come from republican or right-wing liberals, and even they must be checked out. Good old Rush can get a bit overhanded and carry a big wind that is unsupported by facts- so be careful. The news you might share with a friend can be only based on rumor and before long the rumor creates serious harm.

In closing I wish to state I am extremely unhappy in how our president continues to go outside the laws of the Constitution to get his programs into operation- bypassing congress in hopes to gain votes. I firmly believe, (I'll probably get a visit by those dudes in the black suits and dark glasses, who'll want to seize my guns for this), our current Commander in Chief, wishes to bring about the downfall of our country. He is a socialist, with just too many ties to communist and multi-billionaires, who have attempted to cause such problems in Greece, Spain and other parts of Europe. His association with the Labor Unions, taking in their monies for his campaign, is simply wrong as he works to put the union's desires over the health of our country. Too many lies are coming out of his mouth as he hopes to use fear to get his job bill passed. He says we need more police out there, but it is the police unions who have selected higher pay over additional officers.

Look, a union I was required to join to work for the State of Alaska, in fact saved my job, while investigating the Lt. Governor. But I shouldn't have been required to join the union and it speaks of the old boss laws on New York in the mid to late 1800's and early 1900's, when the knuckle draggers came out of their holes to enforce the desires of the growing unions. Did they bother to explain how all those dues were being used and if I agreed with their union support of different politicians or bills before congress?

Enough said, my computer is frowning at me and my morning coffee has grown cold. Love to all and God Bless your day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Blue Eyes Part 3

Bill Says: Please refer to Parts 1 & 2 if lost or just beginning this strange tale.

As I walked up to the Flight Chief, outside the MARS Station on South Base, he begin to brief me on what had least as far as he was able to determine to this point.

Two people were working the swing shift at the MARS Site tonight. One was a female Airman First Class, (two stripes) and the other, a male Buck Sergeant, (three stripes). Approximately 30-seconds before the emergency call was made, the two of them had been busy with their machines, when they heard a loud crash outside. Though the female airmen first believed one of the vehicles had been crashed into, it was the sergeant who suspected the main gate was being smashed into. Neither of them was armed.

The sergeant walked over to the one window that looked out toward the gate and he suddenly startled the young female airman, by giving off a half-scream - half gasp, before feinting to the floor with a wump-like sound. Unfortunately, this would embarrass the young sergeant for sometime.

Seeing her supervisor collapsed on the floor, she ran over to the telephone to call the Security Police. This is when she had shreiked into the mouth piece, hurting my ear, and feinted to the floor only a few feet away from the young sergeant. Now most of us thought a girl feinting, upon being freightned, wasn't all that abnormal, but the poor guy should've saught reassignment to another base after his feinting episode...That was until other events occured and we understood why he was so startled.

When the South Base patrol arrived on scene, he discovered the gate smashed inward and was smart enough to park outside and walk-in, not wanting to destroy the gate further and cover over any tire prints caused by the intruder. He took caution, but remembering there were at least two people working inside, he continued to advance. He saw the two vehicles parked inside by the one entry door, but no other vehicles parked inside the compound or outside the fence.

He found the front door unlocked and discovered the two people unconscious on the floor. He first checked to make sure they were breathing and then took a brief look around before calling in. A combat veteran, his sixth sense was buzzing and he didn't like the feeling and this is why he wanted to flight chief dispatched to his location. None of the equipment appeared to be missing, nor was it damaged. Both personnel were first incoherant with the Security Police and the ambulance personnel, spouting off about some strange creature of amazing size. Due to this, their squadron commander ordered hospital personnel to administer blood tests for possible alcohol or drug usage. Both tested out negative for both booze and illegal narcotics, and they had no record of prior illegal usage. This greatly relieved the MARS Station Supervisor, who first arrived at the site and then appeared at the hopsital to check on his people. He was happy to see that none of the expensive equipment was destroyed, but the damage to the main gate troubled all of us. Later, when the two people were able to talk with us, refusing legal counsel, their separate stories were the same and they never had time to create a fable before the interviews. Doctors verfieid they had behaved as if truly shocked and their feintings appeared to be real. They were still excitable, while talking with our investigators and I later typed up these interviews.

After hearing the crashing noise, the sergeant first looked at his assistant's troubled expression and walked over to the window, not knowing what he would find. He first saw that the gate was heavily damaged and then he saw something that reminded him of a giant bear- his word, not mine. He thought it had burst through the gate and was now in the compound and approaching the building.  He added that this thing, for a better term, had these two radiating blue eyes, each one the size of a old-fashioned silver dollar. The eyes glowed, he had said. The thing was dark in color, even under the overhead security lights and all he could distingush was those weird eyes and that was all he could remember. But added that he had never seen such a creature before and especially around the site or even in the desert before that very strange moment. At the time, I thought it very bizarre how he couldn't remember more about the thing, but later....

Now the girl, who was 19-years old, she couldn't remember any shape or form what so ever. Just those radiating blue eyes staring back at her through a southside window, as the thing came closer and closer. That's when she collapsed and now doesn't even remember making the call to me on the emergency line.

Well, so much for interviews. We accomplished a thorough check of the place- inside and outside. I halfway expected to find a large California Grizzly, or maybe an escaped Gorilla, hiding behind the MARS Station. But we found no animal or some man in a animal suit playing some kind of joke. We also didn't find a motorcycle with a battering ram to take the gate down. One of our patrolman found a clump of hair on the gate, which was dark brown in color and felt strange, unlike any hair I could recall and it didn't feel like plastic or cloth. It was placed into evidence.

The Flight Chief summoned me to the other side of the building, the same side where the window was that the female airman saw the thing. The Flight Chief had his flashlight aimed at the desert floor, adjacent the building. His beam was reflecting off a smashed Coke bottle, one of those little 8 ounce jobs. There was a foot empression, or what appeared to be a foot empression right on top of the bottle glass. I say on top, because the broken glass in the impression was driven down into the dirt. The investigator summoned by myself, made a plaster cast of the print and took all the glass into evidence. He had also taken a dozen or more photographs of the impression, this side of the building and of course the gate. We never found fresh tire tracks that could've come from a vehicle smashing its way through. Only the fresh tracks of the vehilces owned by the two airmen. The investigator also took impressions of the tire belonging to all the personnel who worked at the site.

It appeared to all of us that the bottle had recently been broken; the glass edges were clean and shiny. But the rest of the glass was dirty from long exposure. Now, from prior experience I know I could stand on one of those bottles and never break it and I weighed 300 pounds...remember I was 6'7" and not shaped like some dumpy basketball...okay. So, I had to figure this thing was heavier than I. We also noticed that to look through this window, as the young airman had stated, the thing had to be over 7 foot tall and closer to 8 feet in height. The building was split level, making the first floor over 3-feet above ground. The thought of such a thing sent a cold chill up my back and we tossed around all kind of ideas... was it NASA? Was it from a UFO.... or was it a prank?

When the cast impression was pulled it revealed a flat print just over 14-inches in length and 6-inches wide. There were no ridges, no marks or scars- a real flat foot. There was also no evience of any blood from breaking the bottle. Nothing else was found at the site.

The Flight Chief insisted I ride back with him, so I turned my keys over to another patrolman and reminded him the vehicle had transmission problems. He was to deadline it upon returning to SP Headquarters. I don't think my Flight Chief trusted me, he saw that look in my eyes and probably thought I'd be out scouring the desert for this thing. I admit the idea had run through my mind- but I had a lot of typing to do. We didn't have word processors back then, but at least my typewriter was electric and I had a lot of white out.

Oddly enough, the very next day the MARS Site was closed down. All the equipment was moved and placed into another facility closer to Main Base.

I finally finished my report, attached evidence sheets and interviews, and handed it over to my Flight Chief for him to review. I also added the needed information to my running police blotter. The blotter is always provided to the Base Commander so he can keep an eye on what was occuring around the base, so it was constantly reviewed for content, spelling errors and mistakes before being sent to the Base Command Post. I can't tell you how many times I had to redo my blotter before I could go home. Everything looked okay tonight and I returned to the dorm, letting the mid-shift desk sergeant take over the reins. The oncoming flight was briefed on the incident and warned to keep their eyes open. An extra two-man patrol was assigned to South Base.

The next morning, I was awakened by an unapologetic day shift patrolman with loud knuckles, advising me my presence was required at SP Headquarters. They wanted my blotter completely redone and all mention of last night removed. I was advised the incident report was gone and later discovered so was the evidence.

Although I felt it wrong to retype the blotter, I followed my orders. I also wondered why the day shift guy couldn't have done it, but then remembered my signature was required at the bottom of each page. So, it took me less than an hour to accomplish what they wanted. I had to redo it twice due to mistakes- I'm not at my best early in the morning. I also only used three fingers to type back then and now use five. Having been self-taught, I tried typing school and thought they were trying to break my fingers and went back to my method. However, over the years I've learned to be quite fast with my five finger method. It was either that or get off work a couple hours late. There was one such night that left me with over 20 incident reports and I got off work some 7 or 8 hours later. The base was having racial problems in the barracks. Still, for some reason they liked my calm composure on the desk- probably something from having the daylights all scared out of my in Viet Nam.

Will, nothing happened for the next few nights, except for the routine UFO sightings that were called in from off-base residents and the few obscene phone calls called in by my intoxicated buddies. But otherwise, it was quiet and I was once again pestering my Flight Chief to let me back on patrol- he wouldn't budge.

Then....  sorry, you have to wait for the next part.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Blue Eyes Part 2 10/20/11

Bill Says: Hello People- it's a lovely day here in Moose Pass land, though a bit windy and snow is for casted for this weekend. Temperatures in the low 40's during the latter part of the day and dropping to 22 degrees. So, enough on the weather report. We are now on part two of the Legend of Blue Eyes-

In the late summer of 1974, I was stuck on the desk as usual and working the 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. shift. So far it had been a relatively quiet night; a drunk sergeant needing a ride home from the NCO Club to an angry wife and a brief fight at the Airmen's Club, which was broken up by the time the patrols arrived. With all the alcohol served at these clubs there always seemed to be a disturbance at one of them.

It was coming on 9:30 p.m. or 2130 hours in military time, when the emergency line began to ring. I quickly reached up and grabbed the special phone before the ring even ended, startling my assistant desk sergeant with my speed. To my surprise, all I heard on the phone was a woman's loud terror-filled scream, which was immediately followed by a thunk-like sound and I imagined this was the phone hitting the floor or table-top. This left me with an open phone line and no detectable background noises.

We had set procedures for such incidents and I grabbed up the other phone, while advising my assistant to go get the flight chief from the other office. I called the base phone exchange, which always kept an open tap on our emergency line, which would show the exact location the call had come in from. It took a young sergeant about 12-minutes to show the location- a bit slower than usual, but the call had come in from the base MARS Station on South Base. This surprised me, I was expecting a domestic disturbance from base housing or the woman's barracks.

As I dispatched three patrol units to the MARS Station, I was recalling what the building looked like; a single building of approximately 800-square feet and manned 24-hours a day by between two to five personnel. It was their job to operate radio equipment, which connected them to locations all over the world, similar to HAM radio operation. But this MARS equipment was far more complicated and extremely expensive. The station was located 8-miles south of the main base area, surrounded by a vast expanse of open desert. It would take my south base patrol a good five minutes to make it there. My highway patrol unit and a patrol I dispatched from the housing area, would take approximately 9 minutes to arrive on site for back-up.

I had the assistant desk sergeant continue to listen in on the open line in the event the caller came back on or if he could hear any other sounds, while I briefed the flight chief on the initial call and what actions I had taken.

8 minutes later, ( I had to record all the times in my running police blotter), my south base patrolman came on the emergency phone and my assistant handed the phone to me. He requested an ambulance for two personnel and our flight chief to respond to the MARS Station. When I asked for further details, he advised me it would have to wait and I hated waiting. So, I dispatched the ambulance for unknown injuries and watched as my flight chief left the office to respond to the location. I was getting mighty curious and had a strong desire for a chocolate donut. Whenever I got anxious, I had a hankering for a donut and my 300-pounds was evidence of this problem.

10-minutes later, the flight chief came over the radio and requested I contact the on-call Investigator and have them respond. He also add that since I'd be typing up all the reports, I'd better respond also once another NCO arrived to take over my duties. My assistant was only an Airman First Class and at least a Sergeant had to be on the desk at all times. I brought in a Sergeant from off North Base Patrol to relieve me and I took his vehicle to respond to the site. The flight chief felt my first hand look would help in what I needed to write up and I could tell by his voice he was somewhat confused and this had me really wondering what had happened at the MARS Station, as I drove south with my red and blue lights flashing.

I also realized my recently appropriated patrol vehicle was having transmission problems; the clutch was going out. I'd deadline this vehicle once I got back to headquarters and hoped the grinding gears would survive the round trip and then address this problem with the sergeant who was operating it earlier. He should've reported it and checked out another vehicle, instead he was up in North Base grinding gears and tearing up a transmission because the vehicle didn't belong to him. Or maybe he simply didn't know how to use a manual shift and thought the grinding was normal usage, I'd have to check into this. As Desk Sergeant I was also partially in charge of the vehicles used on my shift, a sad fact I came to learn early on when I was called back from a sound sleep to explain some of these problems discovered by the next shift and not reported in my blotter.  

The MARS Station is one large two-story open floor building, with the lower level sunken half-way into the desert floor; a split level surrounded by hard packed desert sand. The site is also surrounded by an 8-foot tall chain link fence, with coils of barbed wire on top of it. A large vehicle gate, which is always secured by a chain and heavy lock, is the only access. The lower level of the building is three feet tall and made of cinder block construction. The only door has four wooden steps leading to it and there are four sets of two windows on each side of the building and the area inside the lot is completely lit up by overhead security lights.

Driving south and grinding gears, I felt this location was one of the more secure sites on south base, especially since it was manned 24/7. I figured it would be pretty difficult for someone to break in and assault the personnel and why would they...unless someone wanted to steal all the equipment. That's what I thought, until I arrived on scene.

When I drove up, the first thing I noticed was how the heavy metal front gate was mashed down, appearing to be actually run over. All the Security Police vehicles were parked outside the compounded, not wanting to drive over any possible evidence. But it appeared strange, not like a gate being run over by a vehicle; the center of the gate was smashed down, but not wide enough for a vehicle to pass through and still secured by the chain and lock. I believed it would've taken a very large and mighty heavy motorcycle to accomplish such a degree of damage. Something like a two-ton bike at least and I couldn't remember any bikes weighing that much.

I parked my funky patrol vehicle and walked in to where the others were standing. The ambulance crew were inside the building. My Flight Chief saw me and he walked over to brief me on what he had learned so far.....

Part 3 to follow

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Legend of Blue Eyes

Bill Says: Long ago in a far distant galaxy- sorry, that's been used far too often and relates to a fictional tale and this isn't one of those. However, quite a few years ago, I wrote out the story of the "Legend of Blue Eyes" for my children. I had told them this weird and spooky story at many a bedtime and or while out camping- it was one of Micah Sue and Joshua's favorites. Now, as I said, this is not fiction, but a true event, which occurred at Edwards Air Force Base, California in the summer of 1974. It effected the lives of a lot of people. Later, I extended the story to add some details and provided a 15-page copy of the event to each of my kids one Christmas. Now, wanting to keep a record of such things in our new blog, I've decided to add this experience to my list of police cases and will present it in parts.

For information: Our son James, who is an E-6 in the Air Force, was sent to Edwards for a very short stay and he learned they still talked about Blue Eyes. This led me to check the Internet for any information concerning Blue Eyes and found several reports of a highly fictitious nature. These reports were made by people who were never there and the supposed facts they detailed never happened. This upset me some. So, this is the true story of Blue Eyes and I hope you enjoy it. If you want a sci-fi story about Blue Eyes, look it up on the Internet. Makes great fiction, but it didn't happen that way.

PART ONE: Now there were some who thought that strange night and the days to follow had something to do with the experiments NASA was conducting up in their high security area. We knew they did some really weird things up there and it was even rumored they were the ones who actually had the Roswell alien aircraft and three dead aliens. Their compound on Edward's North Base Area was extremely secretive, well guarded and very mysterious. I once watched a helicopter crash into the compound, which was mostly underground and the guards wouldn't even let us, the ambulance or the fire trucks in. Strange place.

There were others who claimed that night was all tied in with so many of the mysterious UFO sightings during that same time period, but a lot of the Air Force personnel who worked the flight line felt these sightings were only the highly classified Air Force and NASA aircraft buzzing about. These aircraft only flew at night and did cause some bizarre lighting effects. Then we had a few people who thought it was all a hoax, tied in with the recent showing of a "big foot" movie at the base theater. But for me, the summer of 1974 was a very real experience, one that still makes me wonder what really did happen in that desert compound and who or what, was Blue Eyes?

I had recently returned from a tour of Southeast Asia, where Uncle Sam had thoughtfully provided me with a all expense paid vacation to Viet Nam, followed by a tour in Thailand. I had weathered monsoons, unbearable heat and 200% humidity, along with little brown people trying to kill me, only to find myself assigned to the Upper Mojave Desert. This was where the summer's heat could hit 133 degrees.

A law enforcement specialist, I had become a member of the 6510th Security Police Squadron and a chilly night could drop below zero. At the time, being a city boy from the Los Angeles area, I thought these temperatures were down right cold, but little did I know... 4 years later, the Air Force sent me to the interior of Alaska. Here I was to learn what real cold was all about; 82 degrees below zero, ( actual temp), and another time when the windchill factor dropped to 122 degrees below zero. But I would come to love Alaska, where I met my beautiful wife and raised my family for the last 34-years.

Back to my story- To me the high desert country was a thing of mystery, a land where the imagination came alive and shadows of all forms, from dinosaurs to Martians, seemed to move about under a full moon. I spent almost all my free time exploring the 300-square miles of Edwards Air Force Base; 2nd largest military installation in the continental USA and 3rd or 4th largest in the world. Still, I have to admit I sometimes drove off base when I was on duty- but with good reason or at least what I thought to be a good reason. Once I chased a wild long horn steer with my truck and another time I fled from a pack of coyotes, ( I was exploring an abandoned underground facility).

My supervisors didn't always agree with my reasoning or my antics and they often grounded me by putting me behind a desk. I became the C Flight primary Desk Sergeant; handling the radios, alarms, typing the reports and a running police blotter, and talking with people over the phone or walk-ins.

I doubt if there were many people who had come to know this military desert as well as I did. For 4 1/2 years I patrolled it and took off on my own, while off-duty. There were of course some sun-bleached miners, who lived in some "Death Valley Day" old lean-to shacks just off-base and who I  found talking to themselves- but friendly. And there was the famous Pancho Barnes, the woman identified in the "Right Stuff" movie as the owner of a desert cafe/house of prostitution. They ignored the prostitution part in the movie, but Pancho was a madame and politicians visited her abode, while supposedly making a tour of Edwards. I finally got to meet her during a traffic stop, driving her massive Cadillac 30-miles over the posted speed limit. Back then she owned most of the desert the Air Force leased from her and she knew every square inch of that land, but her old cafe had burned to the ground by the time I arrived. I still liked to go out there and wander through the ruins- looking for a bit of history of all the men and women who had passed through there. Pancho finally died alone, surrounded by some 36-cats and the military took over ownership of the whole base. She never did pay for the ticket I issued her, she simply tossed into the back of her Cadillac, smiled and drove off.

The center of Edwards, or what we called Main Base, was a large island-like complex surrounded by a sea of sand. This was our service housing and barracks, stores and the various maintenance buildings, a massive flight line and two active runways. The runways ended at a huge dry lake bed, which was used to land test aircraft and these covered a distance of several miles in length and over a mile wide. This provided Edwards with the longest runway in the world and would come to used as the emergency landing strip for the Space Shuttle. Occasionally a SAC B-52 would need to make an emergency belly landing, diverted to Edwards because they carried nukes on board and Edwards was considered to be expendable if the bomb went off on landing. We'd all go out to watch it circle the base, using up its fuel and then come in for its belly landing. For one brief moment everyone on base would hold their breath until the plane came to a stop and then smile, when no mushroom cloud appeared to ruin our scheduled barbecue we had planned.

Edwards Air Force Base, named after a Captain Edwards, who was killed testing the flying wing, was the Air Force Flight Test Center. Assorted manufacturers brought their latest jet aircraft to Edwards to test and hopefully sell to the military at great expense. The northern part of the base, the area situated off the flight line, belonged to NASA and they conducted their own tests with some mighty funny looking aircraft. . This brought great delight to the local UFO society. Far across the lake bed from the main base area was an area known as the rocket site. It had a longer and formal name, but we just called it the rocket site. Here they tested among other things- rocket engines. They also had numerous labs, some of them underground and all highly classified. We would sometimes refer to them as the magic shops and I am here to tell you, some of the strangest things happened up there and these are a story in themselves, but that is for a later time.

After arriving at Edwards, I was quickly grabbed up by a very intelligent flight chief, who knew a good thing when he saw it. But in truth, he was extremely short handed at the time and needed a sergeant who could count all 11 of his fingers and twelve of his toes. He made me the desk sergeant, placing me in charge of 28-30 patrols and two gate posts. Most of our incidents concerned theft, disorderly conduct, domestic problems in housing, criminal mischief and assault, drug and alcohol violations, and vehicle accidents. My job was to also represent the Base Commander as visitors passed through the base all the time. Edwards was an open installation back then and outside the flight line area, the two highways that ran through the base were used by civilian traffic taking a shortcuts to either Los Angeles, Mojave and Lancaster or other communities in all four directions. We had special tickets to issue to civilians and even had a magistrate come on base to conduct traffic court. If we had to arrest a civilians, they were transported to either the LA County Sheriff or Kern County Sheriff- depending on where the offense was since the country line came right through the center of the base.

Some of the visitors would get lost and come in to Security Police Headquarters and meet me or my over worked and picked on assistant desk sergeant. I was training him or her and made sure they knew what their responsibilities were... along with some of mine. I needed to stay fresh to meet the public and I also needed to learn how to type. I thought my fingers were going to walk off and leave me.

Occasionally, tears flowing from my eyes, I prostrated myself before my flight chief and begged to escape my prison. Tired of my whining,  he'd let me escape and go on patrol. I'd usually have all-base patrol, which allowed me to go anywhere I wanted and of course, I'd head for the desert. One of the laws on base was no vehicle traffic in the desert after dark, this was due to people becoming lost and dying out there. One time my partner and I busted two men running guns to the Boron Mines, using the base's desert area to reach the striking miners. I also found a case of dynamite and one time, ( fortunate or cursed), I found an old World War I bomb.  Boy did I feel foolish when the bomb guys told me it was still live, especially after picking it up. It was a photo flash bomb, used to light up the area to show bomb damage. When they blew it up, it was brighter than the sun and would have simply evaporated me had it gone off when I dropped it. Again, my angels were watching over me. Poor guys work overtime in my life.

There was the time I had a 26-mile high speed chase after catching a guy who was stealing copper from the Rocket site. The chase ended when he plowed into a California Highway Patrol roadblock and destroyed two patrol cruisers. He ended up in their custody and was on the way to the hospital. So, I liked to stay busy on patrol and often caused my flight chief some heart ache, which landed me back on the desk until the next time I felt the walls closing in and began my whimpering scene.

He got mad at me once, can't remember what I did, but he put me on flight line patrol. So... I impounded enough tools, left behind tail stands and misplaced radios to provide for 15 incident reports. The desk sergeant was not happy, especially when a complaint call came in from one of the aircraft squadrons. What I did was certainly part of my job, but the colonel was not too happy. He knew the base commander would be receiving a report, showing how his men were leaving behind their tools and radios. Then I was back on the desk the following night and my flight chief was not talking to me. Good thing we were friends.

But on that summer night of 1974, I was on the desk and working the swing shift- 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. or 1600 to 2400 hours in military time. So far it had been a quiet night. It was about 9:30 p.m. when the emergency line began to ring... this was pre- 9-1-1 days.

Part Two to follow soon.