I got orders to report to active duty at NAS Patuxent River, MD for 3 months training before going to Airborne Early Warning Squadron Eleven (VW-11) in Argentia, Newfoundland where I would be flying the WV-2 Super Constellation. We moved to an apartment at PAX River in Dec 1961, where we celebrated Christmas and Nita celebrated her first birthday by having the measles. One weekend we drove up to New London, CT, to visit our friends Ed and Polly Roy. Ed was at the submarine base there. I reported for duty in Argentia in March 1962, found an off-base apartment and Nancy Sue and the kids flew up and joined me there in April. We rented a 2 bedroom duplex apartment, from Mr. Murphy, in the little town of Freshwater, off base, where we lived until we got base housing 3 months later which became our home for the next 2 years. During this time, I was on a rotation of 21 days training and administrative work with the squadron in Argentia and 14 days on DEW line patrols out of Keflavik, Iceland. While in Iceland we would make 7 flights of 12 hours each patroling the areas to the east and west of Iceland. The winter weather in Iceland was terrible and there was only about an hour of daylight in winter.
The seasons in Iceland seemed to be summer, which lasted about a month (if we were lucky) and winter, which was the rest of the year. Our crew arranged a bus tour while off duty in Iceland on a beautuful summer day. We saw geysers, a huge waterfall and greenhouses heated by volcanos. The entire town of Reyekivik (the capitol of Iceland) was heated by steam piped in from a nearby volcano. It was a very interesting place to visit.
We enjoyed our time in Argentia. The weather was mild and seldom did we see temperatures below 0F. I was a ham radio operator, and had my rig set up in our apartment. Once I was talking to a guy in Biloxi, MS, and he commented that it must be really cold, where I was. I said, No, that it was about 40 degrees with the sun shining. He was amazed and said they had ice in the Gulf of Mexico. They said that was one of the coldest winters, on record, for Mississippi. In summer we traveled around the area when I was off duty. During our time there, we bought a new VW station wagon from the dealer off base. We got orders out, to leave in February 1964 and we decided to drive out in the VW. The night before we were to leave they got 3' of snow across the island so we had to stay in a BOQ room with the kids while we waited for them to clear the roads. We drove the 600 miles to Port Aux Basques in 2 days and caught the ferry to Nova Scotia.
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Newfoundland and Iceland - 1961-1964