Winter Over Memories 

Just a few of my memories from time spent on the Ice (W/O 91/92 and 95/96).  You can post them or delete them as you see fit.

I wintered over in 91/92 and 95/96.  Packing was still going on behind the scenes even in 96.  Due to the Politically Correct goon squad  I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of photos of a couple of these events.  At least not until I retire in a couple more years.  But I have been both the packer and packee.  I walked into Willy Tavern back in 91 and was promptly escorted back outside (read, DRAGGED) and became one with a snow drift.  I spent the next 15-20 minutes removing snow from my shorts, socks, shoes, shirt, ears, nostrils, etc...  Helped dig a few "graves" and went through a few rolls of duct tape during my time there.

Suicidal Teddy Bear
During the 91/92 winter we had a guy that always had the country music playing in his room.  One day while he was at work we, ahem, gained access to his room and hung his teddy bear, given to him by his girlfriend by it's neck with an overturned chair under it.  The bear had a note pinned to it "I'm sorry, I couldn't stand the country music any more"

JATO juice
At the various parties during the winter (like we really needed an excuse to get drunk) bottles of this clear liquor would show up that was claimed to be JATO fuel.  Personally I figured there was a still stashed somewhere in Mactown.  What ever this stuff was it went down like sand and hot steel shavings for the first couple of shots.  After the initial shots, the remainder went down like water because my senses had been numbed into submission.  A couple of times we tried to make JATO Jello shooters, but the Jello refused to jell to it's normal consistency.  It was also recommended to not smoke too soon after a shot of this stuff.  When ignited it burned with a barely visible blue flame.

CO's sea story and B47's
My ex-wife's uncle (now deceased - the uncle, not the ex) used to fly B-47's in the Air Force.  He told me a story about how he was giving a demo flight one day.  While they were out over the ocean he spotted a carrier and decided to give them a little show.  He broke into the carriers pattern and commenced to fly an approach complete with wheels and flaps extended.  He said the carrier had it's wave off lights flashing and "there was some guy frantically waving a set of paddles".  I thought it was a pretty funny story, but filed it under the same heading with the foreign student pilots and them mistaking cruise control on a van with a planes auto pilot.   Now, fast forward a few years and I'm sitting across the dinner table from Capt. Smith (NSFA CO during my 95/96 tour).  He was telling some sea stories from his younger days.  Much to my suprise he starts talking about the time that some crazy Air Force pilot brought his B-47 down the groove while the carrier he was on was doing flight ops.  Sea story?  True story?   The world may never know.

Static Electricity
Anybody who has spent more than 5 minutes in McMurdo knows that hurling lightning bolts is not just limited to the Gods.  We used to shuffle across the floors in sock feet, then sneak up behind some unsuspecting person and then touch them on the earlobe.  On more than a few occasions the yelp of pain was followed by a "thud" when the person fell to the floor.  Who needs cattle prods when you have wooly socks and a trusty finger?

I made the mistake of touching a piece of weather equipment that I maintained without first discharging the static build up.  The display went blank.  I thought I had totally fried the circuits in this thing.  It turns out that the extra juice provided by my static zap was enough to blow a 5 amp fuse and chromed the inside of the glass tube that contains the fuse.

Almost became a airdrop package
I said I'd re-enlist if I could do it at the South Pole, so a couple of weeks later I found myself on a cargo/boondoggle flight from McMurdo to the pole.  On the flight there I realized that I didn't have a reenlisting officer so I made my way up to the flight deck and asked one of the pilots to do the honors.  I have a picture of that reenlistment that made it into the cruise book of a ship I was later stationed on - USS Chandler.  The caption under the picture reads "I said I'd reenlist when Hell froze over".   Anyhoo, on the return flight there were a bunch of us looking out the side door windows looking at the scenery.  Out of nowhere there was this whining sound.  One of the aircrewmen immediately jumped up and plowed through our crowd and started flipping switches on this control box next to the door where we'd been standing.  It turns out that someone had almost succeeded in lowering the ramp.

During the winter you can just about see every star in the Milky Way.  Just like a night at sea.  Sometimes out of the corner of my eye I would catch a "star" hauling ass across the sky.  Knowing that it was sunlight reflecting off a satellite I would raise my middle finger in salute.  I kept this tradition up in later years when I'd be on a ship underway at night.  My way of thinking was that on the off chance that it was some spy satellite I'd give them something to think about when they developed the picture and saw someone flipping them off.  And even more of an off chance that it'd be the same person looking at photos taken over McMurdo would be the same one looking at photos taken of the ship years later.  I can see them scratching their heads over that one.  Ah well, it was something to do when the work was done for the day.

That's all I can remember right off the top of my head.



ETC(SW/AW) Tim Anderson
24 HR Monitored chat:


I KNOW there has never been a "midwinter" landing at Pole, but I thought the fact stretching involved only the calendar, and that was the bit of trivia I was looking for. More than once, an unscheduled flight has gone back into Pole well after the last official flight (but still within daylight and decent or at least marginal temps). The most recent one I think involved a guy who freaked out because he didn't think God would be able to find him in the dark, so they went back in and got him out.
Bill S.


I was in administration for VX-6 Det. Alpha at McMurdo (PN2).  Only time that I got onto the continent was when an R4D crashed at Byrd Station and I had to go over there and do a report.  All the rest of the time down on the ice was at McMurdo. I have other photos.  If you are interested in them I'll try to get off my duff and send them to you.  Not that I am lazy, it just seems that there isn't time enough in the day to do all that has to be done.
I was DeepFreeze IV & V and wintered-over in DeepFreeze V (59-60).

Take care & God Bless.

Any winter over sagas? Jack Spanley w/o 64 sure did like green trees. He wintered at Pole and they built a super duper sauna/steam bath, then jumped out into the record low cold winter from plus 150 degrees? Bet they didn't stay out too long..  


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