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=> Grand Turk AAFB, Tracking Station #7 <=

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    This page was updated: 22 JANUARY 2013
    Look for the RED highlights for the latest additions.

    (Scroll down the page for NEW JAN. entrys)
    Do a search for NAVY , or scroll down the page as there are a few NEW entrys,
    (I am trying to keep the people who were in/or associated with the GTK Navy Base all in one area).


    This is a working page for information about the ETR Range Tracking Station #7, Grand Turk AAFB (GTK AUXILIARY AIR FORCE BASE), and I will be adding info received as time permits. You as a former Radio Corporation of America (RCA) or Pan American Airways (PAA) down range employee (rangerats) can share information with me. If you have info. about your time on Grand Turk AAFB please send it to me. (Other employeees who worked at the ETR Grand Turk base are also welcome to submit information).

    Click on the yellow box below to go back to the main page of the Range Rat Introduction page where you will find information about downrange people, where they worked, where they are now, their email address (if they wanted it published), what stations/ships they worked on, and news about those who have died etc etc.

    I now have a Range Rat Sign-in book, to be used exclusively by Range Rats (and their famlies) that you can leave a comment of your experience on the range, where you worked, etc, etc. (See the other entrys in this book for examples, if you leave a comment or message not relating to the range the entry will eventually be deleted, for instance a "Howdy" does not qualify as an entry!). You can give your email address (its not required but its requested) so that other range rats can contact you.

    Please do NOT use my "GUEST BOOK" to sign in, that book is for collectors who visit my website, and that is why I made a seperate book for use by Range Rats, called the Range Rat Sign In Book.

    Perhaps you are looking for someone who you used to work with that you lost contact with, you could include it in your message in the sign-in book, or better yet send me an email and I can include it on this page.

    Range Rat Sign-in Book

    If you worked on the Grand Turk AAF Base, I would like to hear from you.
    Send Email to Joe


  • 22 JAN. 2013,: A LINK TO AN ARIEL MAP OF GRAND TURK WHERE YOU CAN SCROLL AND ENLARGE THE WHOLE ISLAND,
  • 22 JAN. 2013,: NEWS ABOUT THE USAF BASE FROM JUNE 2010:
    • A non Range Rat, by the name of Paul Day from Cockburn Town, Grand Turk,Turks & Caicos Islands emailed me and I wrote back asking some questions. This what he emailed back: "I I have lived on Grand Turk for 18 years I have (whats left of it) a rice and sugar processing plant on the old Pan AM base. In fact when we were building the site up we renovated an alloy framed building which I believe was the base cinema part of the Conch Club.

      Carnival/Margaritaville is built on land reclaimed or raised by dredging when the new Carnival pier was built and was not part of Pan Am Base.

      The telemetry site in the middle of the island on the east side up the hill was a night club called Nokie Hill up till recently.

      My business plus a good part of the island was hit by hurricane Hannah and Ike over the course of 10 days in 2008. Most buildings have been rebuilt."

    • Editors Note: I wrote Paul back after I received the above and told him I thought he was talking about the radar site (TPQ-18) and not the telemetry site, as the telemetry building was near the airstrip and not on any hill. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep in contact with Paul due to my health problems, and lost his email address.

  • 22 JAN. 2013, UPDATING THE LIST OF BASE COMMANDERS:
    • NOTE: BLUE entrys are the previous updates.
      • 22 JAN. 2013, In Nov 2012 RuthAnn Ranker of Kingsport TN wrote this in the RR Sign-in Book: "Captain Richard Ranker was actually the commander from May 1980 to June 1981, (not 1979-1980, as was previously stated). His middle initial is A not E. I know this all to be true since I was married to him at the time he was on Grand Turk and visited him there with our two children."
        And so the entry on Capt. Ranker is now updated. Thanx RuthAnn.
      • 22 JAN. 2013, Dennis Wood of Titusville FL had a new GTK base commander to add to the list below, that of Capt. Joseph Patrick Murphy III of about the 1968-69 time period. Dennis also confirmed that Dale Ludwick was the GTK base commander June 1981-June 1982. This from an email received in Nov. 2012.
        Now who can verify the term of Capt. Patrick Murphy at GTK? Please send me an email if you have more info. Thanx.
      • 22 JAN. 2013, In Aug. 2011 GTK Base Commander Dale Ludwick, from Abingdon IL, wrote this in the RR Sign-in Book (which clears up when he was at GTK, as mentioned by Bob Hawthorne below):
      • "I was Base Commander at Grand Turk AAF from Jun 81-Jun 82. Was unlucky enough to host the funeral of Chief Minister JAGS McCartney during my tenure. Had to retrofit a PANAM pickup into a black hearse. Remember TOO MANY nights at the Conch Club Out of a 23 year AF career, this was definitely a fun one. I retired as Lt.Col. out of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas in 1991. Presently mostly retired head night auditor over 9 local motels. Just found this site trying to find out what Hurricane Irene had done to the islands. NOTE You can read his entire entry in this one page Range Rat Sign-in Book and search for Dale Ludwick

      • 22 JAN. 2013, Dale Beadle, Louisville KY emailed me in June 2011 with another name to add to the below list, that of Major Joe Culp who was Base Commander of GTK 1975-77. (Thanks Dale).
      • 02 MAY 2011, In March 2010, (yes folks I know I am way behind in updating this page).... I also heard from George Smith, Greenville SC, who was the Base Operations Manager (BOM) at GTK 1968-69, who told me that Major William Parker was the Base Commander when he was BOM there, so thats another name to add to the below list. (Thanks George).
      • 07 MAY 2011, In an update Bob Hawthorne, LtCol, USAF Retired, added additional info. in the RR Sign-In Book about 2 other GTK Base Commanders, he writes: "Major Richard E. Ranker was Commander of Grand Turk 1980-81....Rich later served with me at Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB..... While he stayed on the faculty of Air Command And Staff College... he retired and went to England to teach school". NOTE: Bob couldn't remember the full name of who came after Rich Ranker, he thought it was a Capt. Dale (unknown).

      • Editors Note: See latest entry of 22 JAN. 2013, where Capt. Dale Ludwick signed in and provided the name Bob Hawthorne couldn't remember.

    • This GTK Base Cmdr list was first published 25 May 2008, and with the info below from Lt. Col. Bob Hawthorne, received in March 2010, he is now added to the list, as well as Major Mike Nova, the last Base Commander. While Hawthorne mentioned Mike Nova as a Captain, evidently he was promoted before he left GTK, as I have documented proof, see the special envelope below commemorating the LAST DAY OF OPERATION of the Grand Turk Base.
    • 25 MAY 2008: A PARTIAL LIST OF GTK BASE COMMANDERS:
      • I went through my old downrange travel orders (yes, I am a packrat) and came up with some of these names below which are marked with a *, the dates are from the travel orders, so they may have served earlier or longer than noted.

        *Maj. Charles C. Maddox, July 1958
        *Capt. Sheril D. Huff, Nov. 1958 - Mar 1959
        *Maj. T.A. Jankowski, Aug 1959 - Jun 1960
        *Capt. Alvin R. Garner, Aug 1960 - Nov 1960
        *Capt. Donald A. Kaehlert, May 1961 - Oct 1961
        *Capt John P. Portasik, Nov 1961 - Apr 1962
        Capt. Joseph Patrick Murphy III, about 1968 - 69.
        Major William Parker, 1968-69 exact year dates may be incomplete, (see the input by George Smith GTK BOM above).
        Major Joe Culp, 1975 - 77
        Capt. Richard A. Ranker, May 1980 - June 81
        Capt. Dale Ludwick, Jun 81 - Jun 82
        Major Bob Hawthorne, 1982 - 83
        Major Michael R. Nova, 1983- Feb 84

    • I would like to add more names to this list, and to make it more complete, if you can remember who the base commander was when you worked at the Grand Turk base, or correct the dates served of the first 6 base commanders, send me an email, with the names and years that you can remember.

  • 13 MAR 2010, INFO FROM 2nd TO THE LAST BASE COMMANDER OF GTK AAFB
    • This is what Lt. Col. Bob Hawthorne wrote in part in the Range Rat Sign-in Book 16 Oct. 2009, which is worth repeating here:
      "Hello...I'm Bob Hawthorne and I served as the Commander of Grand Turk Air Station, 1982-83. We not only supported launches from the cape, but also hosted a team of DEA and US Coast Guard contingents and other US gov't agencies visiting Grand Turk. One of our major accomplishments was selling fuel, electricity, water, road and runway support services to the island, making us a 'no cost' station to the air force... We also got the USO to do shows at the Conch Club. The Conch Club made enough money to put us in the black where we were able to support our PAN AM and RCA families, and other charitable events. Captain Mike Nova followed me as the last Grand Turk Station Commander ... leaving behind a small FAA and Smithsonian presence."

      After Lt. Col. Hawthorne signed the Range Rat Sign-In book I emailed him and learned a bit more about him and the base, this is what he wrote:
      "When first assigned at Grand Turk, I was a captain, and I was promoted to Major while there --- and subsequently retired as Lt Colonel. Colonel Ken Carnahan who lives in Sattellite Beach was our Det 4 FTD commander --- Ken when he retired as a full Colonel --- went back to work on the range ships --- he was smart --- he was working into his 80's!!!
      I worked hard for Cape Canaveral --- but also other agencies, State, DEA, IRS, etc... I haven't been back to Grand Turk but I enjoyed the work for both the range, and the locals.... I enjoyed the Turks Head Inn --- Ed Russell, John Houseman (the author who was cremated and buried under the table in the courtyard of the Turks Head inn --- where we played liars dice till the wee hours of the morning --- and enjoyed Pauli Girls!!!" (Editors note: that's a name of a BEER).

  • 13 MARCH 2010, SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE COVER (ENVELOPE) FOR THE LAST DAY OF OPERATION OF THE GTK BASE:

  • Last Day Cover of the USAF Base at Grand Turk Island
    Cover has special space related stamps associated with the base: a
    15 cent stamp showing the splashdown of John Glenn's
    Mercury space capsule in Grand Turk waters and a
    5 cent stamp showing a remotely located radar station on Grand Turk.

    • I have always tried to keep abreast of any news about the downrange stations after I left the range in 1972. I don't recall where I learned that the GTK base was going to be closed, but when I did learn of the fact, I wrote a letter addressed tho the Base Commander (who it was at the time, I didn't know). I requested that I would like to have a memento of the base closing. I requested that on the envelopes I sent him (a few for me and a few for his own use), of which I had already affixed Turks & Caicos Island stamps, and asked him could he put any base markings on the front of the envelopes and have them mailed on the last day of operation of the base. (And then prayed that my request would be honored). Later that month I received my envelopes back as you see above, the Grand Turk postmark in illegible however Major Nova did put a rubber stamp date of 29 FEB 1984 above rubber stamp impression of the Eastern Space & Missile Center logo, also a small impression of a space shuttle and then his rubber stamp address which reads: "Michael R. Nova, Major, USAF, Commander Grand Turk A.S."

  • 22 JAN. 2013, GRAND TURK NAVY FACILITY (NAVFAC) PERSONNEL HEARD FROM...
  • On occasion I do hear from a few Navy people who were assigned to GTK, although they are not Range Rats like we are, I guess they could be "related" to us RATS, don't know if they would like to be called a RAT tho!
    • 22 JAN. 2013, In June 2011, Donald Mc Cormick RMC USN(Ret) who resides in Dumfries VA wrote "Joe, I was at the NAVFAC at the same time as Rich Fekula (early 1960's, see Fekula's entry down the page). I was a RMSN and also saw the Bob Hope, Anita Bryant and Zha Zha show. What a treat that was. a fellow shipmate, Roy Sutton from New Jersey was there with me. He passed some time ago. I was sent to San Juan for Dental treatment and never returned to the island. After some health problems I went back to active duty and and I ended up at NAVFAC Argentia NFLD. My memory is not the same now so I forget most of the people at the Turk NAVFAC. I remember the 9X12 EM club! AFB base was a much nicer place to go. Cockburn town was very dirty. We use to throw carton's of Milk (Frozen) to the Beewees when drivng to the base from the "M" Boats that brought the supplies."

    • 22 JAN. 2013, In Jan 2010, I received an email from Robert J Kuplinski from Gilbert, Arizona, who wrote:
      • "Hi Joe, I was on Turks with US Navy Seabees MCB7 1959. I was on a vacation cruise and revisited Turks in Dec 2009. You might say my 50 year anniversary visit. The Navy base on the north end of the island was closed during the 1980s. Some of the buildings are being used by the island college. I had the pleasure of meeting Neal V. Hitch, the director of the Turks & Caicos National Museum. He is trying to put together a museum display about the military bases on the island. He is searching for information,artifacts or mementos for the meuseum display. I related to him what I remembered during my deployment. I searched the deep depths of my belongings and found 130ft. of 8mm film I took while on Turks. I had it put on a CD disk and sent it to him."
      • Editors Note: When Mr. Kuplinski emailed me, he also gave me the email address of the museum director, and I sent him an email, letting him know that if he replied back I could add his email address to the above so that others who read this page could contact him with further info. etc. unfortunately he never replied back.

    • JAN. 2009: I heard from George D. McCoy, now living in Laplace LA, he was an engineman who worked on the diesel engines that supplied the electricity for the entire GTK NAVFAC. He wrote:
      • "I was in the US Navy and served on Grand Turk around 1963 to 1964. I was walking down the hill when I was told that President Kennedy had been shot." I corresponded with George some more and he snail mailed me some photos of the GTK Navy Facility (NAVFAC) taken when he was there. It would have been nice to make scans of them but the definition of the photos is poor. George said they had the only fresh water swimming pool on the range. When I was on GTK in the late '50 an early '60, I did get near the Navy Base but never went on the base proper. It might have been off limits to the range personnel. Does anyone out there know?

    • MAY 2009: Another GTK Navyman, Richard G. Fekula from Bethlehem PA, emailed me in May 2009 with a good report of his recent visit back to the island, this is his report:
      • "I was stationed at the Navy base on the other end of the Grand Turk island in 1960 to 1961 time frame. I just completed a cruise on the Crown Princess this April 2009 and rented a car to travel across the island. During my original stay there was only one major road between the bases, now it is a little harder to navigate. I did get to the navy base and took some pictures. As you probably know it is now a Community College. I walked around the base and felt deep emotions as I looked for things I could remember. I had other pictures from my first stay and was able to identify many of the buildings or what was left of them. Our swimming pool is no longer there. While stationed on the island I played softball against the Pan Am guys but I don't remember any of them. We always envied the Pan Am guys because they had better diving gear. The best we had was snorkling glasses, tubes and spear guns. It looks like the Pan Am base is still operating but I did'nt have time to make that determination. My wife and I did see some of the damage done by Hurricane Ike. The donkeys are stil roaming about and some of the shacks stil exist with minor improvement. I guess I expected major improvements. Margaritaville is beautiful but evidently they built some type of sewage processing facility at the south point which blows in some awfull fowl smell.
      • Do you remember when Bob Hope, Anita Bryant and Zha Zha Gabor visited the Navy base per USO? I have some pictures I took and developed then.
      • I stil have fond memories of the pristine waters and some of the friends I found there. Bill Wilson, a fellow sailor, was a very close friend that I have lost contact with. I also remember the two bars downtown that we frequented - only places that had generators for light and refrigeration to keep the beer cold. We did shots (blastoffs) with a countdown as per the rockets at Cape Kennedy. I brought the Limbo to town and remember some kid that would say here comes Fekula, get the Limbo stick. Thanks for your website. (signed) Rich Fekula"
  • 15 DEC 2009, TAKE A SATELLITE TOUR OF GRAND TURK ISLAND...
    • By going to the following link you will see an ariel photograph of the NAVFAC GDT (I imagine GDT is the Navy's terminology for GTK) looking southwest, and you can click to see other GTK NAVFAC photos, the Grand Turk lighthouse, one of the islands famous donkeys, etc. To the right of the photo you will see the satellite view of the island, and you can see the entire island by scrolling and also enlarging the image for an expanded view. When you get down to the south end of the island you will see where Margaritaville is located by the new wharf built so that the cruise ships can come in close to the shore. click here for the photos & satellite tour..

  • 08 NOV 2008, WOMANS BASEBALL TEAM AT GTK...

  • Can you identify anyone in this photo?

    • Carl Abbott (better known as "Barney Oldfield" the go cart racer on Grand Turk) sent in this photo, which was taken in 1961, saying it was a baseball team. I can't remember a ladies team on GTK. Can anybody identify anyone in the photo. (I think one woman looks like Schribers wife).

  • 08 NOV 2008, DOES ANYONE REMEMBER RONALD WEST FROM GTK?
    • In Sept 08 I received an email from Ron, who now lives in Columbus OH who wrote: "Hi Joe, In 1960 and 1961, I was chief of the water distillation plant, Grand Turk guided missile station. I propbably met you if you were there those years. I was an original member of the diving club initially established there. On of my diving buddies, (name not recalled but might have been Carlos), had dove with Jacques Cousteau. The maintenance supervisor at the time was Mr. Stoneburner. That was a most memorable time in my life. One of the RCA techs spoke about seven languages and wore a different colored sock on each foot all of the time. Do you know him?"
      I wrote back the following about that question: "The RCA tech that you were inquiring about was my roommate in A barracks, his name was Bert Berthelsen. He's been dead a long time now. He used to say the reason he wore different colored socks on each foot was so that he could tell which one was the right foot and which one was the left foot. He also wore a different cap each day too, and also wore those farmers bib overalls the kind that had two straps over the shoulders and buttoned on to the front bib. Remember his white beard that he once tinted it light blue. He was also a world traveler and was a member of the International Bar Flies Club. He was married to a russian princess too. I still have the book he wrote, and signed for me, called the "Tin Can Man", is about his life in the Navy many years ago."
      Ron has not signed the Range Rat Sign-In Book yet, so if you are reading this Ron, why not sign in?

  • 01 JUNE 2008, RANGE RAT JOE FRASKETI WORKING FOR A CHANGE.:

  • Click on above image for an expanded view
    • This photo was in the uprange files, probably taken by an RCA photographer to show the various Grand Turk telemetry positions, when the files were being cleaned out years later, someone who knew this photo was of me send it back down range to me. This shows your webmaster testing the Ampex 7 track tape recorders, it looks like I am performing a drag test of the reels. I believe the photo was taken in the early 1960's as I recognize some of the Project Mercury equipment that is situated at the extreme left of the expanded view. The equipment in front of me was for additional testing of the Ampex recorders. In the expanded view at the extreme right was the patch board rack and directly behind me was the telemetry receivers and the Sanborn recorders. Behind me was the other part of the building which we shared with the communications receivers section.

  • 12 JULY 2007, TWO GTK FRIENDS GET TOGETHER:
  • Halter & Taylor GTK friends
    • When Don Halter signed the Range Rat Sign-In book on 03 May 06, he made a comment that he was looking for another down ranger, Hank Taylor, who was his best man when he got married. I knew both Don and Hank when I also worked at Grand Turk back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although Hank Taylor hadn't signed the RR Sign-In Book, I did some super sluething on the internet and "found" Hank's current address and phone number, (Isn't the WWW great!) and passed this info. back to Don. Needless to say, these two old RR's got connected.
      This past June (07) Don sent this email message: "I went to Fla. last week for a family reunion, and at the same time went up to Melbourne to visit with Hank Taylor. It turned out to be his 47th wedding anniversary so we went to dinner to celebrate his and mine at the same time, his was June 11 and mine was June 15th (44years). Had a great visit, and he said that he would sign the RR Sign-In Book, but I don't know if he will remember, but I will keep bugging him. Had a great visit, and here is a picture of the two of us, I'm on the left, Hank is on the right."
    • 15 DEC 2009, MORE INFO ABOUT DON HALTER... Don relates how it was that he was "assigned" to Grand Turk.
      • "When I was in the Navy (1950-1954) my squadron used to make yearly trips to the Dominican Republic. It was a great place to go then. Not spoiled by tourists.. When I joined RCA (1955), I was told that I was going to be assigned to the Dominican Republic. Great rejoicing!!!!
        However, as I was on the plane and we stopped at Grand Turk, I was taken off the plane and told that I was being reassigned to Turk!!!!! It turned out that, that was OK, as I had a great time while I was there. But sometime during my Turk days there were several of us that took a ride on a native supply sailboat out of Turk to the Dominican, sailed all night, landed on the northeast coast, don"t remember the little town, but it sure was nice and the people were really nice to us. Spent two days there and then sailed back to Turk. What an experience!!!!!"
    • The above account was taken from the Topica Message Board for Range Rats, Oct 2009. If you would like to join this message board, check out their webpage by clicking here.. By clicking on that link you can also just read the messages if you so desire. Try it out.

  • 05 MAY 2007: OLD PAN AM BASE TURNED INTO TOURIST ATTRACTION:
    • Last year Dale Beadle of Louisville KY (who was a PAN AM Air Traffic Controller at Turk from 94-97) wrote and told me to check out the Margaritaville.com website. He said Jimmy Buffett and Carnival Cruise Line now have a huge facility on Grand Turk, where the old PA AM base was.
      Click on this link to go directly to the Margaritaville Grand Turk page: It's a direct link to the Grand Turk pages and can be found here. When you get there, you will find a "Grand Turk's Photo Gallery", unfortunately the photos are too small and I don't see a way to enlarge them.
    • Grand Turk was never like this when I worked there in 1958-63, I much prefer it the old way! It now looks like something out of Hollywood.
    • UPDATE 15 DEC 2009, From my observations of the satellite view of the island it looks like Margaritaville was built south of the old Pan Am base, where the old troposcatter installation was, and NOT on the base proper. On a website I found about Grand Turk it stated this: "The former air force base is now island administrative offices." Today many of the Grand Turk government officials have an address of "South Base", which was what the PAN AM/USAF base was called when it was operational. Who else can verify any of this? It would be helpful if someone from Grand Turk could email me to verify this.
  • 11 FEB. 2007, DOWN RANGE FACTS GLEENED FROM THE SIGN-IN BOOK OR FROM EMAILS:
    • Charlie Zoranski commented that he was the last Base Manager on Grand Turk and Russ Reed was the first Grand Turk Base Manager! Charlie was also Base Manager at Antigua during the 70ís & early 80ís besides being BOM twice at Grand Turk.
  • 05 NOV 2006, "BASE OPERATIONS MANAGER for PAA at GRAND TURK - TOM ELDER:
      I knew Tom during the early 60s when I worked at Grand Turk. You probably knew him from there or from another island as he worked at quite a few stations. Grand Turk was his first assignment down range. Did you know he wrote a book called "Travels and Explorations, a trilogy about Travel, Hypnosis and Anomalies" which was published in paperback in 2002? One section of the book is devoted to his work with Pan American Airways and also the down range islands, with seperate sections for Grand Turk, Eleuthera, Antigua and Ascension. The back cover of the book reads:
      "This is an autobiography of a more than ordinary man who lived in extraordinary times. When World War II began and Africa was threatened, the U.S. did not have adequate air bases to fly both personnel and supplies to the African front. Tom was one of many men who were sent to construct the needed air bases.
      Tom worked for a number of years for Pan American World Airways. His background in psychology lent itself to a life-long interest in the field of hypnosis and its use in teaching and in behavior modification as well as its production of interesting anomalies. His Pan Am assignments included assignments to South America where Tom learned to speak fluent Spanish.
      Tom worked on America's Space Program for Pan Am on some of the islands used as tracking stations by the U.S. Air Force. He met many of America's original astronauts.
      He traveled widely and often and each trip brought on its own adventures of discovery and increased Tom's interest in history.
      Now married and retired, Tom still pursues his interest in the use of hypnosis in teaching and in behavior modification. He has been a licensed practitioner for many years."
    • Unfortunately, a few years later, Tom died in March 2004, just a few months after Down Ranger Larry Wenger and his wife Alice went to visit with him. While they were there they picked up a copy of his book for me which he graciously signed "To my good friend Joe, With best wishes, Tom Elder"
    • One interesting point about the book is that it is written with the help of Dwight A. Collier, another downranger, who most of us know him as "Speedy". While the book does not list Speedy on the front or back cover, he is listed on the title pages inside, and there is one page about his interesting background.
    • I think you will find Tom's book interesting to read and it is still available at Amazon.com so click here.
  • 26 OCT 2006, SEEBEE CONSTRUCTION WORKER AT GRAND TURK 1958 :
    • Jim Regan ( njseabee7@aol.com ) from Toms River,New Jersey wrote: "I was stationed on Turks with Mobile Construction Batallion Seven (US Navy Sea Bees) from about March of 1958 for 14 months. We are the group that built the entire Naval Facility at the other end of the Island from the RCA/PAA site. We also built a base on San Sal, and a Coast Guard LORAN station on South Caicos.
    • Jim wanted to share this interesting story that happened while he was at GTK. He said: "It was about one of our walk-in reefers at the SeaBee base. Evidently there was something wrong with the motor on the compressor that interfered with your tracking of the missiles fired downrange, and they notified us every time there was to be a launch, so we could shut down that reefer until the missile had splashed down."
    • Jim asked if I knew a guy named Curry, that worked at the Grand Turk base? Curry lived with his family with Rev. David H.K. Sherif & his wife & son." Can't say that I do remember anyone by that name. Does anyone remember Curry and the Reverend? No doubt Jim visited the Conch Club while he was on Turk, so maybe someone out there knew him too. It's always good to hear from anyone who helped construct the bases on the range islands, even tho they weren't range rats. Its good to give credit to the Sea Bees for all the construction work they did on the islands.
  • 22 MAY 2006 (WHO CAN REMEMBER......
    THE TOMBSTONE AT GRAND TURK TELEMETRY?)
    :
    • Another early Grand Turk RR now found...... Don Halter made an entry in the Range-Rat sign in book on 03 May 06, and inquired about another RR by the name of Henry "Hank" Taylor and wanted to know his whereabouts as Hank was best man at his wedding. Well I knew both Don and Hank from my late 1950's Grand Turk days, and with a little computer sleuthing I was able to locate Hank who is still living in Indialantic FL and so Don was able to make contact with him. So far Hank has not yet signed the Range Rat book, but maybe after this entry he will.
      Now about the tombstone... When I arrived at Grand Turk in 1958 my two bosses at telemetry were Bud Hollenbeck (Manager) and Hank Taylor (Chief Technician). One day while I was checking out the telemetry grounds I found an unusual tombstone under the wooden tower that held one of the telemetry antennas.
      Evidently someone thought a lot of my two bosses to make this tombstone for Bud and Hank...
      Grand Turk Tombstone
      Can anyone provide any additional info. on this tombstone?

  • 10 MAY 2006 (GRAND TURK HISTORY):
    • In an email from Fred Perkins last year, he wrote: "I was thinking about when you and I were on GTK in the 58-60 timeframe. I remember doing the "Turk Times" newsletter there. Aided and abetted by Bert Berthelsen, he of the different colored socks. I remember signing up to go on the Mercury program, which had a tracking station in Zanzibar, where they spoke Swahili, and Bert was teaching us a class in Swahili. RCA wound up not getting the contract for the land stations, and I wound up working on the USNS Coastal Sentry, the Indian Ocean Ship of Project Mercury. Those were indeed fun times Joe."

      Well this is one email I overlooked answering when received, so I will answer it here since other Range Rats might find my reply of interest: Fred: Since I am a packrat from way back I went thru my storage boxes and located some of the "Turk Times" newsletters, including the first one issued. The first issue is mimeographed and wouldnt take a good scan but here is the front page of Volume 1, No. 7 from 31 Oct 1959. The front page contains 3 articles:
      1. Article about the Garden Club activities of Bob Husby, Dave Atha and Bob Ellis, (all of PanAm Supply), and Red Richards of Plant Maintenance. The Base Commander Maj. Ted Jankowski was also mentioned.
      2. Article about former BOM Rawleigh Tremain who designed new Turks and Caicos postage stamps for the islands new constitution of July 4, 1959.
      3. Article about a 5 foot shark killed by skin divers: Jack Little, Ron Ramey, Bob Rouse, Walt Bloomquist and Al Fraga.
      How many of these names do you remember?
      If you know where these RR's are please let me know,
      and why not contact them and tell them about my Range Rat Info. Page?
      To read the front page of this copy of the "Turk Times" Vol.1, No.7 click here.

  • REMEMBERING FATHER AND SON WORKING ON RANGE AT THE SAME TIME (this bit of info. added Jan 08, 2006):
    • How many people remember old timer Ralph N. Cron, who worked in RCA/Timing at Grand Turk, and before that at St. Lucia (I knew him at both stations 1956-70's). Ralph also worked on the USNS Coastal Crusader (see his picture on the "Range Rat Ships Page", its a group picture added 03 May 2007).

      Did you know that his son also worked on the range at the same time, I dont recall the son's name but he was a Cron, and pretty much looked like his father, with the red hair and freckles except he was a lot thinner. Does anyone know the son's name and his present location? Here is a space envelope prepared by and signed by Ralph for the Apollo 13 flight at Grand Turk:
      Grand Turk Apollo 13 cover
      Ralph Cron serviced collectors envelopes for the Apollo flights when he was stationed there, the above one is with a special design.

      Does anyone know of other range rat families that worked on the range at the same time, that they would like to report? Like father/son, mother/daugher, husband/wife, cousins, twins, etc. (Course in my days on the range there weren't many females working the range, like there is today, so I only know of the two Cron's personally).
  • Range Rats Friends that I have contacted by email long before I started this Range Rat Information Page, plus a few I've added since then, (Grand Turk is listed here, please note that this list may now be incomplete):
    • GTK - Grand Turk
      • Glenn Brown
      • Marvin "MO" Calvert
      • Dwight "Speedy" Collier
      • Jay Grimes
      • Chuck Hewett
      • Larry Wenger
      • Dave Thompson


    POSTAGE STAMPS ABOUT THE RANGE

    The left stamp issued by the USA on the day Astronaut John Glenn successfully splashed down in Grand Turk waters.
    The middle stamp issued by the Bahama Islands shows a radar antenna. Grand Bahama Island, Station No. 3, had a radar station.
    the right stamp issued by the Dominican Republic shows the Mercury capsule orbiting earth. There was a tracking station (No. 8) in the Dominican Republic, at Sabana de la Mar, in 1956, however (DOM) closed in 1957 long before the Mercury flights of 1960-63.

  • Click here to go back to the
    Range Rat Introduction Page.



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