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Email: Fred@Teeter.info

 

DYE 3, my first & worst assignment. I was 22, independent, and the proud nephew of the president of the company. Among his many failings, the DYE 3 station chief tried secretly to organize the Greenland Sector for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). A good ole boy from Alabama who enjoyed too many carbo-loaded meals, this fellow also was a DEW Line lifer with little patience for legality or rules that weren’t his. The station, all 12 of us, was organized into cliques. One either worked actively to support (and was rewarded for) whatever the Chief wanted or stayed out of the way and meekly followed orders. I did neither. The eruption came after I actively foiled an organizing conference call among the four DYE Sector sites. After threatening to have me hauled out of the station and onto the snow, the Chief shipped me back to Sondrestrom and worked hard to have me fired. Because of my Uncle, of course, the attempt at termination had short legs. The Sector guys sent me to DYE 4, where people looked sideways at me for awhile, then left me alone.
DYE 2: I was transferred to icecap station DYE 2 from DYE 4 to provide console orientation to a new radician who had recently graduated, as I had earlier, from the DEW Line training center in Steator, Illinois. Streator was known only for a glass bottle plant operated by DOW Corning and a thriving business in 24-hour bars. A rough spot, but I digress. I was reluctant to leave the freedom and beauty of DYE 4 for a return to the ice, but found DYE 2 a fun and different, if crowded, multicultural stew. The station was full of Danish construction workers on hand to extend our columnar ‘stilts’ and jack up the station to the required 30 feet above accumulating ice and snow, an operation that took place at DYE sites 2 and 3 every 10 to 15 years. In the picture, you can see plywood enclosures around the columns. The rooms inside protected workers from the elements. The sheet metal tube in the foreground was used to extend the vertical access tunnel to the Station fuel depot buried deep beneath the surface. This shot also shows the excavation bucket that descended regularly to retrieve snow & ice for melting in the Station water chamber. This was our only source of water. To the right, also attached to the building, one can see the only entrance to the station - a very long ladder descending diagonally to the surface. I contracted frostbite on my ungloved (yes, this was dumb) right hand while using the metal railing to haul myself and a mail bag into DYE 3.
Every night was a party, with massive Danish workers (they’re seriously big people) crowding the Station bar to guzzle an unlimited supply of Carlsberg. While in the bathroom one night, I heard snores emanating from a nearby stall. Seated there was a drunk Danish worker asleep on the commode.
The DYE 2 generator room. Each icecap station was a miracle, a self-contained universe sustained by the best 1950s technology America could offer.

A C-130 turbo prop outfitted with arctic skis off-loads supplies, including fuel oil in this shot, outside DYE 2.

A Twin-Otter spins its props for take-off and my return to Sonde from DYE 2.
So desolate. DYE 2 fades into the distance as I say goodbye from the window of a plane wisking me to Sonde.

Trackmasters like this one ferried personnel to and from supply planes, the station and the maintenance garage in bad weather.

 

 

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