Side Trips from Ft. Lewis WA

Operation Jack Frost, Alaska 1977

In January 1977, the 2nd Ranger Battalion deployed to Alaska to act as OPFOR for the 18th Airborne Corp. Despite mild temperatures at Ft. Richardson, we acclimatized and prepared for continuous operations in the arctic. 72 degrees below zero, white out on the drop zones, and non-navigable blizzard conditions prevented re-supply or reinforcement. Bad scene. While assigned to the Rangers I was assigned to an M19 60mm Mortar Section. This weapon had been in the Army inventory since W.W.II.

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Above is a picture of a parachute drop into Ft. Richardson AK.  I landed like a sack of s??? right at the feet of LTG Warner of the 18th Airborne Corp. Below is pictured a crew pulling an "achio" troop equipment sled. Pictured is a member of the 2nd Ranger Battalion moving off of the drop zone with an M60 MG at port-arms.


Jungle Operations Training Course, Panama Canal Zone 1977

In November of 1977, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry deployed to the Panama Canal Zone as a world-wide contingency deployment. While in the jungle, out platoon functioned as a rifle platoon, and I had the misfortune of getting to carry a radio a majority of the time. Lucky me. Additionally, the unit's soldiers attended JOTC. Only about 40% of the soldiers who attended the training graduated from the course.

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Pictured is the lighthouse on the point
where the Panama Canal meets the Atlantic Ocean at Ft. Sherman, Panama Canal Zone.
Jungle Expert Patch Pictured is a rope bridge that is part
of the Green Hell obstacle course
at Ft. Sherman.


Mt. Rainier National Park

While stationed at Fort Lewis, I had the opportunity to visit my first national park. The southern entrance is about forty miles southeast of Ft. Lewis. One thing that I observed was that even if it is raining in Tacoma--and it usually is--the weather will be nice in the park, unless it's snowing. I made the mistake of taking off for the park one day on my motorcycle and got caught in a snowstorm. Oops.
Mount Rainier National Park

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Pictured is a view of Mt. Hood in Oregon taken
from near the top of the mountain (10th Mtn Div)..
Pictured is the mountain at sunset.

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Pictured is Paradise Inn in the park. Pictured is the mountain in Summer.


Olympic National Park

One long weekend, a friend and I took a drive around the Olympic Peninsula. What I came to understand was that the Olympic National Park is really a composite of three different ecosystems. Separated from the main park, Ruby Beach provides recreational access to the Pacific Ocean. Once you enter the rest of the park, you pass through a dense primordial forest, climbing towards Hurricane Ridge's alpine tundra at elevations above 5000 feet. Olympic National Park

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Pictured is Olympic Ridge.

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The primordial rain forest. Pictured is Crescent Lake. Hurricane Ridge in Summer.

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Mount Olympus (High Divide). Ruby Beach along the Pacific Ocean. Hurricane Ridge in Fall.


US Army Mountaineering School (Alaska), 1979

In 1979 B, 2-1 Infantry deployed to Alaska. Many of the NCOs had the opportunity to attend a US Army Mountaineering School in the Chugach State Park outside of Ft. Richardson AK. Despite the seeming good weather, fog and high winds grounded all aircraft over the mountain passes; and we had to walk out of the mountains back to Ft. Richardson.

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Pictured are three mortar sergeants (including me in the center) standing at the base of a 500 ft. cliff below Snow Hawk Peak. The object in the center is a shelter made from ponchos that is being held down by C-Ration boxes.

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