760th Radar Base

760th AC&W RON AIR FORCE BASE 1950-1960
Colville, WA
by Mary Ellen Jefferson-Long

 Shortly before the Korean War, the U.S. Air Force began looking at the 49º Longitude between Canada and the United States as a possible ‘outer ring’ of defense for their Strategic Air Command (SAC). These ‘satellite’ bases were authorized by Congress in March 1949 to insure the country would never again be caught unaware as it was at Pearl Harbor. An Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron could detect any aircraft within a 150 mile radius. The 760th AC&W was affiliated with 9th Air Division (Defense), Geiger Field Air Force Base Spokane, WA.

A site 22 miles E of Colville on Tiger Hwy (Hwy 20) by Black Lake was chosen as the 760th location. The mountain, which apparently had no name then, is now called "Radar Dome". A low bid of $761,254 was accepted by the Utah Construction Company of Richmond CA in June of 1950 and the first buildings begun shortly thereafter. 760th officially began operations on 28 November 1950.

The Base layout was divided in the middle by the road leading to the Radar Dome. On the left side of the road were the motor pool, three barracks for enlisted men and the sergeant’s barracks. Situated behind the motor pool, between it and barracks one, was the supply room. Behind barracks one and two was the combination PX/gym/theater. The NCO (non-commis-sioned officers) club sat between, but in back of, the Supply and PX. Airmen, NCO’s and officers all used the club. On the right side of the road was the orderly room and Officers barracks (upstairs) with a dispensary and library on the main floor. Next was the Power Plant where coal was used to supply steam heat to all buildings through large overhead pipes. The last building on the right before heading up the road to the Radar Dome was the Dining Hall.

The Radar Dome was approximately one mile above the base and consisted of communications, cryptography, radar and, in 1956, five or six Army Personnel in Radio. There could have been Army personnel stationed there in other years but the only person known to be in the Army and stationed at 760th is Ed READ.

The Radar Dome had its own heat plant with height finders behind it. The height finders were approximately 100 feet above the ground and were used by the ‘scope dopes’ to judge the altitude of airplanes flying within the area. Fighter pilots from Geiger AFB, Larsen AFB out of Moses Lake, and other bases kept the Radar men on their toes by flying low enough to just miss the height finders or by lowering their wheels and announcing they were about to land.

Very little information appeared in the local Statesman Examiner about the Base. The paper for 17 Nov 1950 quoted Capt Moe WRIGHT, Engineer Corps officer… "100 or more men will be stationed at the site, the men will be white and of higher than average intelligence". He urged the community to refrain from asking the troops about their work. No mention was found of the name of the Commanding officer when the base opened, but Major John SINGER was commander in June and also December 1951. Major Jack EGGINTON was the commander from 1952-1954 and then again in 1957-1958. Other Commanders included; Major Leslie CROZIER and Capt James GOLDEN. Capt John SAMILA was Commander in August 1960 when it was announced the base was closing.

The total personnel were usually close to 150, peak strength was 188 military and 21 civilians. At least 75-80% of these were single airmen, plus approximately 10-15 Officers and 20 civilians. Married personnel lived in Colville or surrounding areas. In 1955 a housing area was built just below the base which included nine houses. Major GOLDEN was Commander at the time and this could be the reason it was called "the Golden Circle." After the Base closed, all facilities were turned over to Spruce Canyon Youth Camp. When the Camp closed, these houses were sold and relocated around Colville.

Elevation at the barracks was 3200-3300 ft and at the Radar Dome 4000-4200 ft making for long winters and deep snows. The motor pool kept trucks running 24 hours a day in below zero weather. Transportation to and from the Radar Dome ran on a regular schedule and to miss the bus meant a long cold walk on winter mornings. One time an airman was lost near the Base and two Search and Rescue Teams were sent out to hunt for him. When "A" team failed to return from the search, the Fire Fighting Team was sent out to find the first group. Eventually all three units returned safely, as did the lost airman, but no one got much sleep that night. Bear and deer were common sights and many young airmen were ‘city boys’ not used to the isolation and wildlife. But M/Sgt WALDEN is the only person with the distinction of shooting his bear in Base Housing.

760th AC&W personnel
R-L: Sam Rollins, L. Fugier, J. Widmar, Melvin J. Watkins, Arlin Wise, Walter Clevenger and Phillip Briggs (ca 1955)

 

When not working, airmen spent their time reading, (over 300 books in the library!), playing cards, watching movies or swapping stories in the NCO club. The more sports minded airmen joined the ‘Ray-Darts’ basketball team. Tournaments between other 9th Air Division teams, as well as Inchelium, Hunters, Kettle Falls, Trail and Grand Forks B.C. didn’t result in 1st place trophies but were always fun. TV reception was often poor, in spite of the TV antennas stuck up on trees. Colville formed a ‘civic group’ to study ways they could make the military feel welcome. Dances and fund raisers were held to furnish a club with furni-ture, TV, and games for the men. Many enlisted men found "second" homes in Colville with girl-friends or local residents where they could get a home cooked meal and a taste of civilian life. Several Airmen married local girls and some of these returned to Colville to live after they were discharged.

Getting to and from Colville often proved to be a hazard in itself as the paved road ended at Park Rapids when the base first opened and remained unpaved until around 1956. The road from Park Rapids to the Base was gravel, but Park Rapids Lodge had pool tables, beer, and music so it was often the destination. One of the airmen who lived at Park Rapids designated himself town ‘Mayor’.

The Airmen published their own twice monthly Newsletter, called the "Railway Express". The newsletter tells of bowling tournaments, squadron dances and scheduled movies. Talent and variety shows were held in the Colville High School auditorium to benefit various charities, and "The Bill BILOY Combo", "The Vocals" and "The Singing Sergeants" regularly took part. The Colville Community Chorus, under the direction of Mrs. Robert SKIDMORE, invited any airman interested in helping with Easter and Christmas performances. Open house was held on Armed Forces Day, and most holidays were celebrated with special dinners in the dining hall. The proposed pay increase listed in the January 1958 Railway Express called for a six percent cost-of-living pay raise bringing an Airman 2C monthly pay to $99.37. An Airman 1C was to receive $140 a month for less than two years of service and $180 for two through four years of service.

Plans to turn the 760th into a SAGE operation (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) were begun in early 1959 but canceled in the summer of 1960 because automation had taken over the job being performed by the manual Radar system. Base personnel were at a low of 65 men in Aug 1960. During the time the 760th was being phased out, the state applied to the General Service Administration for permission to use the former base as a forestry camp for rehabilitation of first time and young offenders. Sgt Gilbert WILLIAMS was the only airmen at the "former 760th" in February 1961 when Spruce Canyon Youth Camp announced they would be "fully operational by July."

The following list of names were compiled from 760th phone books for 1958 and 1959, Special Orders for Sgt Edward LONG; memories, photos and Statesman Examiner newspaper articles. Recollections of Richard WILLIS and Leona (Mrs. Ralph) LANE were invaluable as are the pictures so graciously shared by Richard WILLIS who drove to Colville from Louisiana especially to deliver them. (photos of the 760th)

This list of names does not include all the airmen who were stationed at the 760th. Be sure to also check out "More 760th" at the left. If anyone knows of additional names not on either list or has pictures they wish to share, please send them to NeWGS at research@newgs.org.

ADAMS, Wallace E. S/Sgt
ADAMS, William J. A/3C
ADDINGTON, Ronald A/1C
ALLENWORTH, James L. A/3C
AMAN, Francis M. A/2C
ANDERSON, Alvin J. A/3C
ANDERSON, Dalton A/3C
ANDERSON, Harry A/1C
ANDERSON, Robert C. A2/C
ANDERSON, Stanley R. A/3C
ANDERSON, Winton L. A/3C
ARNESON, Siguad A/2C
ARTHUR, Harold J. A/3C
AUZINE, Donald P. A2/C
BAILEY, James R. A/2C
BALLENGER, Wallace H. A/3C
BARKER, Donald O. T/Sgt
BARKER, Richard P. 1/Lt
BARNHILL, Martin D. A/3C
BARRAGAN, Carlos A2/C
BAUMAN, Donald A/1C
BAYNE, James A. A2/C
BEACHLER, Fredric J. A/3C
BEAL, Loren N. A/3C
BEARDSLEY, Charles H. Civilian
BEE, George W. W/O
BERRESI, Salvature A/2C
BERRY, Nelson A. A/1C
BILOY, Leonard L. A/1C
BIRKELAND, Roger A/1C
BISHOP, James A. M/Sgt 1
BLACKBURN, Leroy A/1C?
BLACKMORE, William M. A/2C
BLAKE, Clarence Capt.
BLANKENSHIP, Hufford A2/C
BLOUNT, James C. 1/Lt
BOTUCHIS, John 1Lt

BRENNON, Earnest W. A1/C
BREWER, Ray D. A/3C
BRIGGS, Phillip L. A/2C
BROWN, Donald A. A2/C
BROWN, Gerald W. A/1C
BROWN, James W. A/1C
BRUCE, Charles A/2C
BURDO, Jack B. A/1C
BUTTON, David A/2C
CARDOZA, John C. A/2C
CARDWELL, Thomas R. Civilian
CARNDALL, Boyd Y. S/Sgt
CARRYL, Neal S. A/3C
CARSON, Donald S/Sgt
CAVALLUZZI, Joseph H. A/2C
CHARLTON, Richard G. 1/Lt
CHERF, Gerald M. A/1C
CHRISTIE, Arthur O. A/1C
CIOTTI, Sam A. A/2C
CLAIRE, Sidney A/1C
CLARK, Franklin D. S/Sgt
CLARK, Fred E. A/1C
CLELAND, Vinson O. 2/Lt
CLEVENGER, Walter L. A/2C
CLIFTON, James L. A/1C
COBB, Charles B. A/2C
COFFEY, W.B. T/Sgt
COGGINS, Douglas F. A/2C
COLADONATO, Daniel F. A/1C
COLANGELD, Joseph A. A/3C
COLLETTE, Leroy A. A/2C
COOK, --- Capt.
COOLEY, Solomon A/Basic
COPELAND, Gates B. A/3C
COREY, Marshall 1/Lt
COWSILL, William E. A/1C
CRAIG, Gerald H. S/Sgt
CRANDELL, Boyd S/Sgt
CROGHAN, James M. A/2C
CROZIER, Leslie T. Major 3
CURRIER, Charles S/Sgt
CURRY, Doyle Civilian
CURRY, Samuel B. Civilian
DARAS, James A/2C
DAVIS, Raleigh G. A/1C
DAVISON, Donald F. A/1C 2
DAY, Alfred B. A/2C
DEADLOFF, John A/1C
DEMAREST, Luther Capt
DEMPSEY, Paul A/3C
DeRIZZO, John J. T/Sgt
DERUSE, Joseph T. 2/Lt
DIAZ, Richard A/2C
DICKERSON, Nelson R. A/3C
DIELING, Dennis A/2C
DISON, William J.  A/1C
DOW, Richard E. A/3C
DRIGGS, Howard Civilian
DRUMM, Stanley I. T/Sgt
DUDENHOEFFER, Thomas C.A/1C
DUTTON, George W. A/2C
EADS, John L. A/3C
EAKIN, Lawrence L. Civilian
EBERTH, Raymond A. A/1C
EGGINTON, Jack H. Major 3
EIBEN, Marlow A/2C
ELLIOTT, Dean L. A/2C
ENTERS, Robert A/2C
ERNST, Burton A/1C
EVANS, Robert C. A/2C

FEASTER, Dale Capt.
 FELSEAD, Allen L. A/2C
FERCHIE, Edmund A/2C
FERRELL, Ollie T/Sgt
FIELDING, James H. A/2C
FITZGERALD, Will P. A/2C
FITZPATRICK, Walter J. T/Sgt
FLANARY, Loyal A. M/Sgt
FONNESBECK, Carl L. 1/Lt
FORTIN, Charles H. Civilian
FOUTCH, Wayne A/2C
FOWLER, Earnst C. A/2C
FREEMAN, John A/2C
FRICKE, Gerald E. A/1C
FRIEDMAN, George Capt 1
FRUITS, Ollie L. A/3C
FUGIER, Lyle A/3C
FULLAGER, Paul R. A/1C
GAHR, Richard J. A/2C
GARCIA, Ralph B. A/2C
GARVIN, Grant J. S/Sgt
GATTO, Franco A. A/3C
GERMAN, Leroy J. A/2C
GEYER, Keith A. 2/Lt
GIBBS, William L. S/Sgt
GILEWSKY, Joseph A. A/3C
GLANDER, Jack 1/Lt
GLIDDEN, Lawson W A/2C
GOLDEN, James K. Capt 3
GORDEN, Earl H. A/1C
GOUGER, Jack S.  A/1

GRACE, Allen E. S/Sgt
GRAY, Robert L. Civilian
GRAY, Raymond A/2C
GREER, Roger C. S/Sgt
GRIMES, William F. A/2C
GROOMES, Colie L. A/2C
GROMS, --- 1st Sgt
GUINYARD, William F. S/Sgt
GWINN, Jimmy M. S/Sgt
HABER, Donald P. A/1C
HAGERDRON, James A. A/2C
HAGERMAN, Robert W. Capt
HAGLER, Charles A/1C
HALL, Richard E. A/3C
HALL, James E. S/Sgt
HAMMER, Warren C A/2C
HAMMOND, George M. S/Sgt 1,2
HANSON, Gary L. A/2C
HARKINS, Roger H. M/Sgt
HARPER, Bobby Lee S/Sgt (1956-1959)
HARRIS, Jerry B. A/1C
HARRISON, Leo D. A/3C
HATFIELD, Albert T/Sgt
HAYNES, Kenneth H. A/2C
HEFFNER, Marshall B. Capt.
HEIDEMAN, Harold D. A/3C
HELTEMES, Nicholas J. A/2C
HENDERSHOT, Ronald J. A/2C
HENDERSON, Charles M. IIIA/2C
HERKIMER, Robert A/1C
HETZEL, Robert L. A/1C
HIGHLEY, Vernon P. A/1C 2
HILL, John A/2C
HILTON, Alton A/1C
HINES, Mickey A/1C
HIX, Tommy A/1C
HIZER, Donald L. A/1C
HIZER, Jack H. A/1C
HLAVAY, Frank A/2C
HODEK, Henry W. Capt
HODSDON, Richard J. A/2C
HOLLAND, Marvin D. A/1C
HOLLOWAY, Charles T. T/Sgt

HOLTZCLAW, William A/2C
HOPKINS, Alvis E. A/3C
HORRELL, James A/2C
HOUSTON, Jack H. A/3C
HOWARTH, Bradford L. A/2C
HOWELL, Riley A. A/1C
HUDSON, Tommie M. S/Sgt
HULSE, Dale Capt
HULT, David L. A/2C
HUTSELL, Samuel E. A/2C
INGLIS, Edwin B. S/Sgt
INGRAM, Harold S/Sgt
ISAACS, Benjamin A/2C
JACKSON, Wayne S/Sgt
JACOBS, L.R. A/1C
JARRARD, Henry A/1C
JETER, Raymond A/1C
JOHANSEN, David A/2C
JOHNSON, Arthur B. A/2C
JOHNSON, Howard R. Civilian
JONES, Dean Civilian
JONES, Jerry N. A/2C
JONES, Lawrence B. A/3C
JONES, Gerald D. A/1C
JONES, William A/2C
JORDAN, Edward A/2C
JORDAN, Thomas A/2C
KACZMARSKI, Anthony T/Sgt, Chief of Maintenance
KAISER, Herman Civilian
KAISER, Walter Civilian
KARR, Harold G. A/1C
KEETH, Cecil S/Sgt
KELLEY, Calvin R. A/2C
KELLEY, John F. A/3C
KERR, Clifton A/2C
KEYS, Dale L. A/2C
KIEL, William J. A/1C
KINDSCHUH, Donald D. A/2C
KING, Vernon H.  A/2C
KIRK, Daniel D. A/2C
KITCHIN, Archie G. T/Sgt
KJOLSETH, Eathel J. Civilian
KLING, David S/Sgt
KOEHLER, Harold Civilian
KRAFT, Robert J. A/2C
KYLE, Donald A/2C
LAKATOSH, Donald A. S/Sgt
LAMB, Clendon V. 2/Lt
LANE, Ralph S/Sgt
LAPEZ (LOPEZ?), CarrasquilloA/3C
LARSEN, Theodore A. 2/Lt
LEE, Walter A/1C
LESCORD, John H. A/3C
LeVENTON, James I. Civilian
LeVERT, Charles R. A/3C
LIMA, Liborio A/2C
LITTLETON, Boyce J. A/3C
LONG, Edward A. A/1C 1,2
LUCCHESI, Amadieo A/2C
LUONGO, Joseph A/2C
MAKEE, Kenneth F. A/2C
MALONE, Robert A. A/3C
MANNING, Samuel F. S/Sgt
MANZER, Dan Civilian
MARSHALL, Joseph P. A/2C
MAURER, Melvin A/2C
MAYES, Arlin A/3C
MAY(?S), Samuel A/1C
McCALL, Michael G. A/3C
McCLIMATE, Ronald A/2C
McCORMICK, Ernest (Bill) A/1C
McGILL, Robert C. A/2C
McGREGOR, Dave A/2C
McKEOUGH, Don A/2C
McLAUGHLIN, Robert A/2C
McNEELY, William O. M/Sgt
McRAITH, Jeremiah J. A/2C
MEADOWS, Melvin R. A/3C
MELTON, Steve C. A/2C
MILLER, John G. A/3C
MILLER, Marvin D. A/1C
MINCH, --- A/1C
MOATES, Charles K. A/2C
MONTGOMERY, Marvin L. A/2C
MOON, Monte R. Civilian
MOORE, Billy L. A/3C
MORGAN, Robert R. A/1C
MORGAN, Lester S. CWO
MULL, Randall H. A/2C
MURKOWSKI, Clem A/2C
MURRAY, Robert J. A/2C
NEEDHAM, Frank M. A/1C
NELSON, Allen E. A/Basic
NESTVOLD, Karl J. S/Sgt
NETHERTON, Jerry L. A/3C
NEWTON, James B. A/1C
NEYE, Robert A/1C
NIMMO, John A/1C
NOBLE, David A. A/3C
O'DELL, Murray C. S/Sgt
ODOM, Joseph B. A/3C
OGDEN, Edward Civilian
OVERBY, James A. Civilian
OWENS, Arthur A/2C
PADGETT, Leonard O. S/Sgt
PALMER, Stanley F. T/Sgt

PARKER, Larry A/2C
PARKHILL, John M.(Jim) 1/Lt
PARKINSON, Bradford 1/Lt
PARKS, Dewey A/2C
PATERNO, Robert C. Civilian
PATTERSON, Arthur J. A/2C
PAYNE, Joseph W. A/2C
PEMBERTON, James D. A/2C
PENNY, Irwin O. M/Sgt
PENSON, Noland B. A/2C 2
PERRON, Auther G. A/2C
PETTIS, Robert G. A/3C 2
POISSANT, Pierre M. S/Sgt
POLITE, Paul A/2C
PROVINCE, Thomas W. S/Sgt
RANDOLPH, Clark N. A/1C
REDDINGER, Wendell G. A/2C 1,2
REED, Harold C. A/3C
REED, Sidney A/1C
REESE, Edward S/Sgt
REINDL, Paul J. A/2C
RHOADS, Russell D. A/2C
RICHARDSON, Reuben A/2C
RIDDLE, Jack Capt
RIESE, Ethel Civilian
RIGGLEMAN, John D 1/Lt
RILEY, Cecil A. Capt
ROBBINS, William A/2C
ROBINSON, Fredrick A/2C
RODMAN, Harold A/2C
ROLLINS, Samuel A/3C
ROMERSBERGER, Gary L. A/2C
ROMOS, Donald A/2C
RUDERMAN, Allen M. A/1C
RUNNING, Duane G.  A/2

RYAN, George  A/3C
SALMON, Ted A/1C 2
SANTO, --- A/3C
SAVAGE, John A/2C
SAYLOR, Warren I. A/3C
SCHAUER, Walter D. A/2C
SCHMITT, Norbert W. A/2C
SCHULTZ, Carrol L. A/2C
SCOTT, William R. S/Sgt
SCULLEY, Lee A. A/1C 2
SENTMORE, Henry T. A/1C
SHAW, Luther O. S/Sgt
SHINALT, Frank E. S/Sgt
SHOEMAKER, James C. A/3C
SIMKO, Robert J. S/Sgt
SIMPSON, Thomas F. A/3C
SINE, Mark G. M/Sgt
SIVERHUS, Ardell V. A/1C
SKINNER, Francis M. A/1C
SLAGLE, Clifford L. Civilian
SLAZEK, Donald A/2C
SMITH, Bethrie A/2C
SMITH, Fred A/1C?
SMITH, Edward A/2C
SMITH, John J. T/Sgt
SMITH, Richard K. A/2C
SMITH, Ronald W. A/1C
SPENCER, Ronald L. A/1C
SPERLING, Donald L. A/2C
SPRAUGE, Jerry A/2C 2
SPURGIN, Vernon G. S/Sgt 2
STAGG, Herbert W. --- Major (Commander 1959)
STANKOWSKI, Anton J. 1/Lt
STANLEY, Lawrence A/2C
STENSGAR, Jude C. A/1C
STEPHENS, Butler F. A/2C
STEWART, Jerry L. A/3C
STINSON, Charles A/3C
STONE, Arnold D A/2C
STOUT, Gene A/1C
STOWER(s?), Albert S A/2C
STRONG, Jimmie E. A/3C
STRONG, William R. Civilian
SWAIN, Robert C. 1/Lt
SWOFFORD, Allen S/Sgt
TARR, Roger D. 1/Lt
TATE, Jimmy A/1C
TEALL, Edwin E. A/2C
TEITEIR, Frank A/2C
THOMAS, David R A/1C
THOMAS, John A/2C
THOMPSON, Arnold S/Sgt 2
THURMAN, Robert A/1C?
TITUS, Jack B. 1/Lt
TOWELS, John R. A/2C
TOWRY, Jimmy D. A/2C
TRAMONTANO, R. Capt.
TRAUERNICHT, Thomas R.  M/Sgt

TRIPI, Charles R. A/2C
TRUJILLO, Michael A/2C
TURNER, Leroy A/1C
VAUGHN, Dudley A/2C 1,2
VAUGHN, Willis D. A/1C
VENSKUS , William J. A/2C
WADDOUPS, Jay P. A/3C
WALDEN, Joseph A. M/Sgt
WALKER, Hugh Capt (1956)
WALKER, Frank M. A/3C
WALLNER, Donald J. A/2C
WALSH, James T. A/2C
WALSH, Robert L. A/2C
WATKINS, Melvin J. A/2C
WATTS, Glennis A/1C
WEBB, Layton T. A/2C
WEBBER, Kenneth D. Capt. 1
WELCH, Eugene L. Civilian
WELCH, Stanley L. Civilian
WHITE, Arnold R. A/3C
WHITE, Walter 1/Lt
WHYTE, James C. A/3C
WICHMAN, Ronald G. A/2C
WIDMAR, J. A/3C
WILLEY, Harold   Civilian
WILLIAMS, Charles W.  A/3C
WILLIAMS, Jack A. A/3C
WILLIAMS, Margaret Civilian
WILLIAMS, Robert F. A/2C
WILLIAMS, William K. A/2C
WILLIAMS, William R. A/2C
WILLIAMS, Gilbert M/Sgt, NCOIC Supply
WILLIS, Richard D. A/1C
WILSON, Robert J. A/2C
WISE, Pat O. Civilian
WISE, David A/2C
WISH, John R. 1/Lt
WOLDSETH, Ben E. A/1C
WOLSCHLAG, Robert E. A/1C
WOODARD, Donald A/2C
WOODS, Dalton R. A/Basic
WRIGHT, Charles D. A/3C
WURSTER, --- A/3C
YOUNGSTROM, Gary G. A/2C
ZACKARIUS, Terry A/2C
ZEZINKA, John A. A/1C
ZINSER, William T. 1/Lt
ZOLFO, Frank A/2C

1= Lived in Colville after discharge
2= married local girl
3= Commander

  For more infomatiion about this base and other radar bases, go to the Online Air Defense Radar Museum.  On the left side of the web page, click on "Radar Sites" under "Content" and type in Colville for a search.
 
And for some recent photos taken at the radar base in 2013, check out John Olsen's site.