reply posted on 3-5-2013 @ 10:04 AM by bentheredunthat
I am possibly the only living past employee (USAF) of this place. I was assigned to Montauk 773rd Radar Sqdn in April of 63. I was assigned to work
in the tower because my AFSC was 27350 (AC&W operator). I have been from the top of the tower to 4 stories below the tower. I will admit that I never
saw anything that was questionable to me, nor did I have any strange feelings while there. I worked for Capt John Beason in the radar ops room during
missions and with TSgt Clyde T. Nason in the ops office as a clerk when no missions were being performed.
Our sqdn commander was a major. He and I got along quite well. I was the base photographer. I also ran the recreation/theater/library building
after I got into a military dispute with Tsgt Nason. The commander felt it was in the best interest of the AF if we were kept apart. Good decision.
Nason was a drunk and verbal abuser of everyone walking the base. He respected no rank and no rank respected him. This made me curious as to why he
was still in the service since such behavior was not tolerated as a rule. As base photographer I was allowed to go anywhere on base I felt was photo
worthy. THerefore, I have been to the top of the tower during maintainance of the Antena. There was a plaque of some sort there but I never paid
attention to it.
My family and I lived in Sag Harbor for the two years we were there. We rented an upstairs floor from a Mr. Edwards. Right on the main street as you
went into the town. Lived two blocks from John Steinbeck, who was a prominent 'oddity' around town, as he always rode a bike, and had a large red
irish setter that was trained to ride on a wooden platform over the back wheel.
This base was like a small new england fishing village. It was designed to look like that because of WW II. That one building in the series of
pictures shown on this forum, which has the steps going up in the front, to a double door, was an all purpose building used for Church services, and
housed a small AF exchange/commissary, which at the time was operated by our first sgt. on his time off. We held plays and other social activities
inside the hall. I have pictures of that too.
I have google earthed the base and it looks nothing like it was in 63. Standing at the tower base and looking back to the base proper, on the left
hand side, the first building was the orderly room and commanders office. The next building was a supply building of sorts, the third building was
the recreation building which housed the theater (used for commander's call every month), a small library, several rec. services, pool tables, wood
shop, photograpy dark room, and a central lounge area.
Past that, across the street, was the aforementioned building. DIrectly across the street from the rec. hall was the dining hall, going back up the
street towards the tower again were the barracks, two sets of them. Everything was designed like an old fishing village. Nothing military about it
at all. The motor pool was off the main road, back in the woods. It also housed the auto hobby shop where we could work on our own cars.
I have been in the bunkers a number of times. Had a base recall one night and we had to muster in one of the bunkers. Never knew what that was
about. You could drive an 18 wheeler inside one of them. The WW II gun emplacements, 16 inch cannons, were open toward the ocean. There were
several stories below the bunkers but I never cared to go there. Had no need. But I 'knew' they were there.
Off to the south of the main tower, was another smaller tower, which housed the height finder radar and it's associated equipment to make it
function. The height finder looked like a regular antenna, on it's back, facing out and would rock up and down when in use. The whole thing would
rotate to follow the aircraft but the up and down motion gave out a height seeking beam once it was positioned on the aircraft in question.
ALL that I have read about Montauk to today, makes me wonder just what was our mission there. We never utilized it like a 'working' AC&W site. I
had worked at one and knew what they did. Montauk, for all its 'show', did not fit that bill. SO, now I wonder.
When I think about it all, I can agree with any warning you might see, or hear about it. Be very careful out there.It wasn't what it seemed in
1963-1964, and I am sure it is not what it seems now. Had I been as interested then, in what I am now, I would have been all over that base with my
camera, like stink on a skunk's butt. R.A. De Long