Steve Cleveland

5/72 - 4/73

Yep, I remember that darling site, a woman behind every tree, and all of that entertainment available. I was there from May 1972 til April of '73. Escaped because my replacement came early and I begged a trip back on a plane that was supposed to not fly. I was there when we lost two airmen who went out to hunt for caribou, shot one and it fell down the mountain side. One of them, last name Heart or Hart, hurt his back and the other two, one of them was a civilian, tried to help him to bottom camp, but the weather turned rough and darkness fell. The other airman was new, had a long "ski" name. He tried to hoof it to an emergency station on the road, went around in circles within a hundred yards of one. The civilian made it, he was dressed in a snow suit, the airman only had parkas and jeans with as it was mild day, but that changes in a hurry. I was in control room on duty trying to get the captain to do something, but he kept saying give them a little more time.
I just missed the strippers, saw all of the pictures though. Had one USO act make it, the rest got canceled. Five movies a week which you would go down and watch all at once if you were off and had someone run the projector. Other than that it was the bar, blackjack, ping pong, pool or reading, no TV, no vcr's or tapes, just plain boredom. We could take a daily shower, but it was get wet, soap up and rinse off, no constant running water. I forget all of the names but remember the faces and would probably recognize a name. I even have a little 8mm film or two. And I remember "scuz" money, still have my 708th cigarette lighter though I don't smoke anymore.

I read some of the other accounts on the site and the one about a cook threatening to poison us was a reminder of another cook when I was there. He had been there a while and was in the bar, all bitter about something and he made the comment he would poison the food to someone who was aggravating him. That night someone knocked on his door, threw a blanket over his head and beat the tar out of him. The next time I saw him was when I visited base camp and he was there cooking, all backeyed and busted lips. That's when he told me what happened. He was awaiting to be shipped out. He never really understood why someone would take his comment so seriously.  There was a guy there who when I first got there would hang around the bar but never drank. Then all of a sudden he was getting sloused every time I saw him. The bartender explained that he had drunk chlorine to try to get out of there, but they took him to Elmendorf, evaluated him and sent him back to finish his tour. Got to be the same guy someone else mentioned. He couldn't drink when I first got there because his throat was all screwed up from the chlorine.

Thought I'd upload a picture of the lighter I got when I became a short timer at Indian Mtn. I have never really used it, but time in a jewelry box has scratched and chipped the paint off. As I recall this was a going away gift to someone who was officially a shortimer, and I believe that was when you were down to 3 months to go, but I could be remembering incorrectly. That was the only way to get the lighter, you could not buy one.
One event I will never forget had to do with the malamutes that hung around the station. There were about five of them and in the winter they huddled in the entrance to stay warm. One in particular was the runt of the group and they were constantly running him away, especially at mealtime where he had to try and steal a bite. He was only about half the size of the bigger dogs. One day I came by the entrance and saw the biggest dog laying there with cuts and bleeding and figured he'd met up with a bear or something. The dish washer, I forget his name, came by to treat him and told me what had happened. Seems the dishwasher had given the runt a leftover t-bone steak and the big dog came along and proceded to take the bone away. Well the little dog tore into him like nobodies business and wore his ass out good. I could not believe it. I guess that steak was the last straw. Anyway, enjoy the picture.