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NSGA Cape Chiniak, Alaska - circa 1956
Images from   Richard Kivi (former CTR2)

Please scroll-down. There are 48 photos.
Click-on each photo to enlarge and read the page.


Chiniak Barracks - 1956

Maintenance Shops - 1956

Chiniak Barracks, letter home - 1956

Chiniak Chow Hall - 1956

Chiniak Chow, Thanksgiving - 1956

Chiniak Cooks, good chow too - 1956

Chiniak Chow Hall - 1956

Chiniak Chow Hall - 1956

New Ball Field - 1956

Ready for Softball - 1956

Softball Field - 1956

Chiniak Softball - 1956

First Snow - 1956

Ice - November 1956

This chopper came in from the main base not long after the salmon runs started. . . ostensibly for some medical reason, shots or something. However, I was told that the Officer's Club wanted to swap for some of our smoked salmon. We wound up, as I recall, with steaks and frozen strawberries. Can't remember if we got any fresh milk or not. (My memory's hazy on this one, so I'll be glad to see corrections.) But I do remember one of the guys building a smoker into a hillside next (or near) the horse barn. And we did have a lot of salmon.

Chiniak antenna fields. We let a local rancher pasture his herd out here. Might as well, kept the brush down. But one of our mascots was a border collie and he'd spend all his time herding the cows from one end to the other. Kept running off all their weight. Don't think the rancher left the cows with us for very long.

Here's a shot of what the dog was doing. It'd run those Herefords back and forth for hours!

One of our mascots: "Fang" was a good ole dawg. I think by winter we had several in addition to him. We boarded the dogs in a dog house with a long entry that had burlap bags to serve as a sort of an airlock to keep them warm during the winter. After I left in January, '57, I was told by someone, possibly apocryphally, that a bear had come up and tried to get to the dogs. It tried to get into the "airlock" and wound up shoving that dog house halfway down the hill from the barracks. Apparently the dogs made quite a ruckus and everyone came out with their M1's to see what was going on. (There was a huge allotment of left-over WWII ammo we had to shoot up every month. So we were all issued weapons.) There was no information on what happened to the bear, but the dogs survived.

The dogs went everywhere with us, especially "Fang." One thing I can say about Kodiak Island, during the summer it was incredibly green and beautiful. That's "Texas" on the left, and "Lee" on the right. Lee never failed to flip the "bird" at every chance. That's a Marlin .22 with "microgroove rifling" I'm holding (if memory serves). We'd take pot shots from the Cape into the Puffin communities on the cliffs below just to see them take off and skim across the water. Beautiful birds—and incredible flyers. More on rifles and gear in other pix.

You can see the location of the HFDF shack from the barracks in this picture.

Looks like I was coming off the day watch.

Christmas 1956 at Cape Chiniak was the best I had in the Navy. If anyone says that CT duty was "whatever" 'cause we had to do places like Adak, North Africa, "Nam" and/or whatever, we also had, even at the "hard" duty stations, some pretty good times. Probably because we had a helluva good bunch of buddies to work with.

Stuff from home. . .

We got permission to burn down an
abandoned shack. . . 'Course, it
took a few beers to do so.

I think this was also the Christmas
party, but I'm not sure.
Probably before the bonfire.

I think this was also the Christmas
party, but I'm not sure.
Probably before the bonfire.

I think this was also the Christmas
party, but I'm not sure.
Probably before the bonfire.

The Techs had a shop behind the chow hall.
Apparently the party moved there next.

Sometime around late November early
December, we started converting the loading
dock area into a so-called "EM Club".
It was a good place to kick back.

Later, we added a bar and a
pinball machine. . . I have no idea
where that came from, but enjoyed playing it.

Although, in one case, just looking out the back door of the barracks was a treat.

But around Chiniak, the island was dotted with WWII fortifications. We spent a lot of time exploring them. This is just one example. However, for the life of me at the time, I couldn't see how anyone would want to try to invade the island. . . considering the cliffs (see to the right of the pillbox).

We had a horse barn downhill from the barracks where we boarded a couple of horses for a rancher. (Note the lake behind, its starting to freeze over.)

Here's two of the horses (I believe) that we boarded for awhile.

Same two with yours truly.

One of the guys befriended an injured raven and kept it in the horse barn too.

Remember I said we were issued M1s? Well, here's Earl Loy with his. You can also see the ammo bandolier hanging from his neck.

Heading inland, in the fall, you'd start to get to the interior. There were still a lot of people about however, and yet the wildlife abounded. This was around the time the salmon moved into the streams from Old Woman Bay and elsewhere.

And the salmon runs were fantastic. This is a Pink or Humpack that's finished spawning. Every stream was full of them, but you had to keep an eye out for bears. However, on our part of the island, they weren't that prevalent (more about that later).

There were a number of people living near Chiniak. Here's a road washout that I believe lead to one ranch. Besides our "Burma Road" truck and the pickup, we also had the Weasel you can see to the right. Later that winter, we were putting in snow fencing to keep drifts off our road. I was standing on the back hammering in steaks and my watch came off. I couldn't find it in the snow. I loved that Bulova.

Some of the ranchers tried importing Scottish cattle because they felt they were hardy enough to withstand the Kodiak winters. Didn't matter to the bears. One killed a bunch of them and then only ate the tongues and milk sacks.

Cattle were a mainstay, in 1956, of Kodiak ranching. Late Spring, 1956, we helped in a roundup for one rancher.

And part of that included calf branding. (Kodiak had open range then, and branding was necessary.)

While I never saw any, these two cubs tried to steal this trappers smoked salmon. We found out that they were orphans whose mother had been shot by rangers earlier because she kept raiding the Kodiak dump.

They were obviously starving and ready to steal food wherever they could find it.

Someone said they were about 15 months old. Very young and immature. They chased the trapper, retired and living on social security, off his smoker. He went into his cabin, came out, and shot them with a 12 gauge using deer slugs. One of the bears shows the coup de grâce in its forehead.

This is a Kodiak bear "baby". I could barely lift its head.

Although it's not that far north, Chiniak did have a "sort" of midnight sun. And, from the back door of the barracks, it was even better than most summer sunsets. I always enjoyed watching the sunset before hitting the sack. . . sometimes after the eve watch (well, thereabouts; I honestly can't remember the exact time of evening this shot was taken, it's been 51 years, but my notes say 'approx. 22:30 or so').

Right after Christmas, 1956, I went home to Portland, Oregon on emergency leave—after a little over 11 months in the Aleutians. After Portland, I was transferred to Kami Seya, Japan and, after that, helped set up the station at Sasebo with seven other very lucky "R" branchers.

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