Richard M. Tsuda

Part 3. Missions

It was imperative that we get to the "race track" as soon as possible after we were alerted to fly. The race track was a location not too far from Kamchatka Peninsula where we flew in a set pattern awaiting a re-entry. During the mission, an unknown party would transmit morse code to us informing us as to the status of the Soviet missile. All of this information was in real or near real time. We carried along a "decipher book", from which we could translate the morse code messages. The messages were very informative in that it told us whether the launch was on time, or whether there was a delay, or what the count was at that particular time. Whoever was sending the morse code certainly knew what was going on. One night at the end of a particular month, the klaxon sounded. The security officer opened the safe, placed the decipher book in his briefcase and reported to the aircraft. We were soon airborne. After about an hour into the mission, it was discovered that the morse code which we were receiving made no sense whatsoever. After further investigation, we realized that we were now into the following month and the decipher book that we brought along was out of date and useless. The current decipher book was still in the safe!! We returned to Shemya immediately, refueled, grabbed the current decipher book, and returned to the race track. As it turned out, the launch was scrubbed.

Part 4. Boozer

I recently found out that Boozer was not a native of Shemya. Boozer's mother was "owned" by a Coast Guard unit assigned to Adak. An Air Force unit was sent to Adak in 1957 to set up a communication center, but after only one month on Adak, the 15-man unit was transferred to Shemya. That unit had adopted Boozer and took Boozer with them.

Boozer was everyone's pet, camping out near the main entrance to the composite building, which housed the mess hall among other things. Personnel would feed Boozer scraps they had removed from the mess hall. Evidentially, Boozer would get bored just sitting around waiting for food so he would occasionally jump on the base shuttle bus and take a nice ride around the island. He knew exactly where to get off!

Part 5. Entertainment

During one of our TDY tours to Shemya, a USO unit arrived and put on a show at the base theater. Along with the usual cadre of beautiful women, the Emcee was Pedro Armandariz, who starred with John Wayne in the movie, "The High And Mighty". As the rehearsed show came to an end, Senor Armandariz announced that there would be a dance contest and volunteers were needed to come up to the stage and dance with the ladies. Of course there was a storm of volunteers, but eventually, the same number of volunteers as there were ladies was selected and the contest began. One volunteer danced as if he had two left feet, while the others were quite proficient in the art of dancing. At long last, it was time to select the winner and the emcee left that to the audience, based on the applause for each contestant. The lousiest dancer won hands down. The emcee motioned to the winner to come close to him, along with the lady who was his partner. The emcee suddenly grabbed the winner by the back of his head and forced his face into the bosom of the pretty lady. The crowd went wild! All the winner could do was to yell, "I've been blessed by God!" Unbeknownst to the emcee, and the ladies, the winner happened to be the Base Chaplain!!!

R. Tsuda
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