Antarctic Reunion in Providence

Then I drove back to Providence, RI, the location of the 2006 Old Antarctic Explorers Association's reunion--my final excuse for making this trip in the first place. The reason for this event being in Providence was that it was near the former Navy bases that supported the Antarctic Program...Quonset Point Naval Air Station, where the squadron VX-6/VXE-6 had been based, and the Davisville Seabee base where the Naval Support Force Antarctica had been headquartered. In December 1972 I drove up to Quonset Point to catch my military C-141 flight...for my first visit to Antarctica. (I'd been selected to winter over at McMurdo in 1974 as a public works officer, and this was my indoctrination trip. The assignment was later cancelled because, as I was told by the detailer, that some of the Antarctic work was being turned over to civilian contractors. The rest is, well, history.

opening ceremony of the reunion
I didn't document the meeting sessions very well, but the opening ceremony included this presentation by a local corps of Revolutionary War re-enactors, and a ringing of bells as the names of the folks who died in Antarctica were read off.

One of the presentations was by yours Antarctic History lecture which I'd created for the Sunday Science Lectures at Pole during the 2005 winter. And later I would present revised versions during my 2008 winter as well as a later Polar Technology Conference.

former Quonset Point air station site
The event included a visit to the former site of Quonset Point air station...we're looking toward the hangar which now housed their Air Museum.
NYANG LC-130 in Providence
The New York Air National Guard showed up in style, with one of the ski birds. And they gave tours!
flags which have been flown at Pole
The Air Force folks display the flags flown at Pole during the various veteran's celebrations and the erection milestones for the elevated station...provided thanks to Charlie Bevilacqua and Jerry Marty.
museum buildings at the former Davisville Seabee base
We also visited the former site of the Davisville Seabee base, where they had several buildings set up as small museums.
the Davisville chapel
Behind the trees is the base chapel, which had some serious roof leak issues.
looking toward the large Seabee statue that used to be at the main gate
Looking south, in the center background is the large Seabee statue that used to grace the Davisville main gate.
Cliff Dickey and his wife Jean
Back at the hotel hospitality room, here's Cliff Dickey (at the back end of the couch). Cliff wintered at Pole in that first 1957 winter. His wife Jean is at right, in the white sweater. Between them is historian Dian Belanger.
the closing banquet
The last evening included a banquet...with raffle tickets, talks, and other stuff. Here's a general view.
our table at the banquet
Here's our the blue shirt at left is Billy-Ace Baker, next is Dick Wolak...and me.

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