Sunday, March 8, 2009

Home on the Range (TONOPAH TEST RANGE) II

Well here is more of my time at TTR.

I left off talking about the accommodations at TTR. They were at best just hotel rooms but with more for no cost. After checking out the digs we went to the dining hall to get some dinner. This facility is open 24 hours a day since the base operated on the same schedule. Now it had ANYTHING you could think of. On Wednesday they called it Surf and Turf day. Yes steaks and lobster no joke. On any given day you could have burgers, sandwiches of any kind, pizza, well you name it they had it. In the drink department they ad unlimited choices you name it they had it. The facility had two lines. I call them the full course meal line and the what do you want line. The full course meal line had several menus to choose from like Chicken, beef, fish, turkey etc. on the other line there were sandwiches and fast food options of all kinds. Needless to say we were not going hungry.

After pigging out we checked out the other facilities. The Mancamp had more than a full gym, indoor pool with jacuzzi, racket ball courts, steam room, sauna, free weight room, Nautilus room, exercise room you know mats and the such and a basketball court.

The pool was unusual in that it was stainless steel not the normal concrete style you see everywhere. This is because of the earthquakes and testing done on the range would have cracked a normal pool in short order. It was very large, Olympic size is about right. The jacuzzi was also large.

There was also a baseball field, football field / running track, several tennis courts and outside basketball courts too.

The main building that housed the indoor rec equipment also had a library that could order books from Nellis if they did not have it. A very small quick store of sorts that was mainly run by GI's and stocked by them. They were mini entrepreneurs of sorts and the military gave them a very small room to work out of. You could get the essentials like smokes, dip (smokeless tobacco), beer, can sodas basically anything that the government did not provide.

In this building there was also a rec room with pool tables, ping pong,video machines, foosball, card tables everything you could think of. Here is one that may get your dander up, there was no golf course at TTR but they did have one of those whack your ball at a screen things with many different courses available to play. This was before they were popular and it cost a mint I am sure. But the big wigs spared no expense for the troops.

Now on the subject of BEER there was a full bar in this very building. Yes a bar just like in the real world, TV's, juke box, and a full service bar. Now this place saw lots of business and the group of guys I hung out with in my time on the range had our favorite drink of choice, KAMIKAZE'S by the pitcher (only $12.00) with no glasses we used something that was even better, what me called straws but were actually oil sample tubes for the jets, new ones of course. Yes they were not intended for this use but they were made out of plastic that would leave no contamination in the sample and for that reason they were just fine for straws at least we hoped. What can I say we were young and could care less about the health effects, hell we were drinking alcohol with them. The great part of being at TTR was that most people did not drive and there was no need to worry about DUI since there was a great mass transportation system.

One quick sidebar on the bar. Myself and many others were at TTR when the first gulf war started for obvious reasons. We all met in the bar to watch the Classified News Network since we had advance knowledge of what was going to happen. The Stealth fighter was first into action (yes the Apaches started the whole thing by killing some front line positions but they did not "boldly go where no one had gone before") Anyway we sat with our Pitcher of our favorite and waited for news of the first attacks. More on this later.

Now while at TTR we could not leave the fenced area which meant no going into Tonopah the town. We were isolated in that respect. The civilian workers had a bus that ran them into town on a regular basis called the town bus. I of course never rode on it. The gate of the fenced area of TTR was just outside of Mancamp. But I never made it past the fence that surrounded mancamp on foot since it was forbidden. The gate(yet another fence) that was used by the town bus to the free zone has now been moved, I have been told, all the way to the highway that leads to town about 8 miles from what I can figure, that's a lot of fence.

Another interesting thing about TTR was that it was of course restricted airspace. While I was part of the wing we had a Cessna make an emergency landing on our runway. He was in trouble and saw a runway and headed for it. He ignored repeated calls to not land but what was he supposed to do? When he landed the security nabbed him bagged him(bag over his head) and took him out of the secure hanger area. We heard that after some questioning and signing his life away he was sent packing. But the plane was not as easy. They could not let him fly out of our facility so they towed it to the fence outside of Mancamp and lifted it over the fence and sat it in the dirt next to the road. Sometime later he was allowed to repair his plane and takeoff from the road never to return.

Well enough for this run I will post more later. I hope those who read this enjoy it. Let me know what you think please. Until next time.

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