Home‎ > ‎Member Index‎ > ‎1970-1979‎ > ‎Veno, Jerry (1972-1973)‎ > ‎

Forklift to the rescue!

"One interesting event does come to mind about my time at Loring.  I was stationed there from August, ’72 to September, ’73.   Having been born and raised in southern NH, I figured spending a winter at Loring would be a breeze, that’s why I requested Loring when I left Clark AB in the Philippines.  Was I in for a rude awakening when winter set in around the end of September, early October.  We got 176 inches of snow the year I was there, that’s over 14 feet if you do the math.   And unlike southern NH, the warm spells where it would melt some of the snow in between storms didn’t happen very often, so the bulk of that snow was on the ground before spring finally set in.

I lived in the barracks which were right across the street from the base motor pool.  There were maybe three or four 2-story buildings which housed some living quarters for airmen and buck sergeants.  The buildings were interconnected with tunnels which was a nice treat for getting around during the winter.  I believe the Airman’s club and a chow hall were housed in the center building if I’m not mistaken.   Unfortunately, all of those buildings have been bulldozed and now there is nothing more than an empty field where I used to live.  I get up to Loring every summer to visit with my daughter and 4 grandkids who live in Ft Fairfield.  It’s always so sad to see how the base was left to deteriorate.  The jet fuel tanks at the POL tank farm just down the road from the east gate are all rusted out and ready to crumble.  Hard to believe that our country let this wonderful air base go like this.

But, back to my story.  I believe it was in either December or January, we had a 1 day warm spell where some of the snow melted enough that when driving, water splashed up underneath your vehicle.   And in addition to that, water puddled up along the side of the street.  So at the end of this particularly “warm” day, I found the barracks parking lot full so I had to park alongside the street directly across from the motor pool in a puddle of water.  

Overnight, the usual deep freeze set in and everything went back to it’s usual frozen tundra state.  The next morning, I went out to my car, managed to get the door open, got inside, and started it up with no problem.  When I put it in drive, nothing happened.  The tires wouldn’t move no matter how much I revved the engine.  I was literally frozen in place, my tires were encased in maybe an inch or two of solid ice. I figured, no problem, I’ll get a few of the guys to give me a push.  I rounded up 4 or 5 friends and even with all that muscle pushing on the car, nothing, I was stuck in ice and was going nowhere.  They walked off laughing and saying, “see you in the spring.”  I was left there to ponder my predicament, when I noticed a fork lift from the motor pool heading in my direction.  A kindly individual had obviously witnessed my predicament, and knew what to do.  He came up behind my car, and very adeptly maneuvered the back of his fork lift against my rear bumper.  With a substantial revving of his engine, I eventually heard a loud pop and my car broke free from the ice.  As it turned out, I was not only frozen to the ground, but the water had gotten up inside my wheels and had frozen inside there as well.  I worried that something might have broken in the under carriage or inside my wheels, but thankfully that turned out not to be the case.  The fork lift guy smiled and drove back to the motor pool before I even had a chance to say thank you.  So, to whomever that was that helped a stranded individual that very cold day , I say thank you very much, your help was indeed much appreciated!