Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

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.

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