Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Walt Pinto - AFRS Alaska 1961

The only thing I have is a picture, since I did mostly TV.  (And there was no videotape in 1961 and 62.

Greely had the Arctic Test Board and the Cold Weather and Mountain School.  I think I mentioned that we broadcast on Channel 8 with 200 watts.  That got us into Delta Junction about 10 miles away.  The only other TV the town had was one translator from a Fairbanks TV station.

But I worked in radio for two years before the Army.  I enlisted for the 3 years because I was about 6 months from being drafted.  As you know the 3 year enlistment guarantees the school and no reserves after separation.  Went to the Defense Information  school at Ft. Slocum in NY.  Spent a year at Bragg in Psywar, doing details.  Then the year and a half in AK.  Discharged 45 days early in Nov. 62.  Went back to radio and am still in it today.

When I got there in May of '61, the TV station was halfway between the New post and the Old post.  The staff...all 3 of us lived at the station, which was great.  We had a kitchen and private rooms.  Then about 6 months later, they moved the radio station into the building and built several more rooms for those people.

We were the first station to get the weekly shipment of films from LA.  After we used them, they were sent on, eventually reaching the middle east about nine months later.  The entire week's worth of programming...arrived two weeks before they were supposed to air.  We had a projection room with two projectors which an editor used to watch every piece of film to make sure there was no commercial or even a commercial frame on those films.  I became friendly with a couple of the MPs, and many weekends they would come by late at night on the weekends and we'd have a beer party watching the shows before they aired.

Living at the TV station was great.  Not one inspection or any kind of the usual oversight.

I have wanted to go back to Alaska since I left, and three years ago got the chance.  My wife and I flew to Anchorage and drove around for two weeks.  Before I left from here, I contacted the Info office at Greely about getting a tour.  They said OK, and we had a nice tour when I got there.  The post was closed a few years ago, but reopened later and now is a missile base.  Part of the post is now top secret, but I got to see the rest...almost nothing recognizable from 50 years ago.

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