More recently, the Pole winterovers went to an "outward bound" type "ropes course" which involved lots of bonding and teamwork and also incorporates the psych exam. Nowadays they have a couple weeks of serious firefighting and medical training that is just a bit more extensive than the 1-hour lecture we all had in the McMurdo firehouse. For those of us who were on board in the northern hemisphere summer of 1976, we went to the NSF planning conference at the Mountain Shadows Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. This event was and is still held for the scientists, but in our day there weren't many civilians in the program so the w/o contractor types were invited. The event featured lectures (right) by Charles Neider and Larry Gould, as well as gory frostbite slides (yes, Bill Spindler actually had to leave the room). Another interesting event was a happy hour for the w/o's. The story was that folks would watch us to see how we could handle our liquor. Of course we w/o's (from all 4 stations) stuck together and had that figured out, and we had fun putting on a show.
Here's the list of attendees which I recently received from Gary Bennett, who'd wintered at Palmer in 1975 and was returning to the ice to work at the RIGGS field camp.
At left, Jan Boyd, H&N admin type and one of the first contractor females to spend time at Pole (not our year) (left) is talking with friend Dave Bresnahan, who then and more recently was one of the NSF types involved in helping the contractor keep the scientists happy. Jan was always moving...hence she's blurry in the photo.
And at right--another view behind the scenes in the H&N admin office. At left is Elaine Houser; next is Mike Pavlak, who'd be the admin coordinator in the Chalet in 1976-77 and succeed me as Pole manager in 1978.
Hmmm. At left, there's Del Harper (right) our original comms coordinator who never made it south of McM (long story). To his left at the table is Bill Vincent, who was to be our w/o cook. He opted not to winter, but he stayed around for the summer.
Some of you may remember Andy. He didn't winter.
In early October many of us ice folks headed south. Our flight was a military charter flight (a civilian airliner) that departed from Point Mugu, the Naval air base near Port Hueneme. After the long flight we ended up in Christchurch.
A more distant view of the CDC (no, they
didn't call it that then) looking west.
Me and some of my fellow travelers on my flight just before we left Christchurch for McMurdo in October 1976. I'm second from left in the back row. No other (eventual) Pole w/o's in this group, but there are a few familiar faces...including Andy Banks (standing, far right) and Les Rohde (sitting, far right). To my right is Larry Duckett, the first civilian cook at Pole during the 1975 winter--he was one of our summer cooks (and a great resource of information about the station).