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A Short Snow Story

                                                                                                        
                  
During my first winter at Loring (1970 – 71) working as a jet engine mechanic when I was assigned to

the flight line I started out on nights. After about two months or so I was put on days. My wife and I 

were living in base housing on Twilight Dr. in Presque Isle which is about twenty-five miles from 

Loring. The advantage of the Presque Isle gov’t housing was that you had a garage and since I played 

with motorcycles and cars, that was a big plus for me. The disadvantage was that you had a 25 mile 

one way commute through those severe winters, but I was in a car pool with a couple of other guys 

from the jet engine shop so it wasn’t too hard on any one person.

During that first winter I had a new ’70 Volkswagen beetle which was great in the snow but never 

really warmed up inside all the way to the base because it was air cooled. (I sold it after that first 

winter and bought a Pontiac with a good heater. One of the other guys had a Volkswagen bus and that 

was like an ice box on wheels). 

One day we were working on a KC-135 at a remote area of the flight line and shortly after we arrived 

at the location, it started snowing and it became one of those full blown Aroostook blizzards. Unknown 

to me and my co-worker in our remote flight line location was that the Chief Master Sergeant in charge 

of the engine shop had released all Presque Isle personnel to get going on home before the roads 

became impassable. (That early release was unusual because we were always dealing with snow 

storms and bad weather was the norm). 

When the FMS van came to pick us up at the aircraft location and I piled into the truck, the guys said 

“Rush, what are you still doing here? The chief released all Presque Isle people two hours ago.” I guess 

they forgot about me. Well when I got back to the engine shop which is right across from the arch 

hanger, I couldn’t even see any sign of my VW beetle. I was parked on the west side of the shop and 

there were huge snow drifts covering the few cars still there. You could see a little of the trunks of the 

full size cars poking out of the snow but no sign of my little car. I knew about where I had parked it 

and after a few minutes of probing around in the snow I found it. My PI car pool pals helped me dig it 

out and we made it home to Presque Isle after an hour and a half of humping over snow drifts and 

guessing where the Rt. 1 pavement actually was. 

In four winters of commuting back and forth from Presque Isle to Loring I was only late once, many 

times arriving before the guys living in the barracks which was the case that day. That one time I was 

late, the MSGT line chief chewed me out (but later apologized). It had started snowing in the middle of 

the night and I told him that snow doesn’t make noise when it falls. He told me I should have gotten up 

several times during the night to look outside since snow was predicted. That was my 4th winter and by 

that time I was a SGT and engine crew chief (waiting to sew on the rocker of SSGT) with a good track 

record of in-shop engine rebuilds so I guess that’s why he thought about it and came up to me later and 

told me it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
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