4 thoughts on “Fortuna Air Force Station

  1. There’s a story behind that picture. I arrived at Fortuna in the dead of winter 1976. I enlisted in the Air Force as a prior-service radar veteran, so they gave me orders to report to Fortuna, and a handshake. Uh, excuse me – do I get any money to travel with? – no! So, I sold my car for $200 and flew to Bismark on a jet, then to Williston on a prop job where we had to fly 100 feet off the ground, as it was overcast and snowing. I had $2 to my name, and called Fortuna who sent a staff car for me.

    An Airman arrived and looked around, and asked if there was anyone else, and I said “no, I’m it.” He laughed, as I had hair down to my shoulders and a scraggly beard (fit for a Norwegian descendant).

    The First Sgt saw me the next day, and told me he didn’t want to see me until I was in uniform, so I brought an old field jacket that had no stripes on it and, pissed-off, he sent me to Crosby for a haircut and shave. I told him I only had $2, and he gave me another $5 after I signed for it. As we were walking to the staff car, he opened the screen door to the orderly room and yelled at the airman “make sure they cut those god damned sideburns off!”

    When I came back that afternoon with my levis and field jacket, he told me I was to go to Minot the next day with the Commissary Sgt and buy four sets of uniforms and some blues. He handed me a punched card with all the payment info, and we stopped to get my cold weather gear before driving back. The next day he said I was to report to the 26 tower.

    The snow melted in the spring, and I found out there was a photo lab at the hobby shop. So I bought some film, took a bunch of shots and developed and printed them in the photo lab. Anyway, that’s why it’s not in color, as you had to go to Williston for color film processing. 120 miles or so round trip.

    My Dad wanted a picture of the place, so this is the picture I sent him. He said “You idiot, they sent you to a God damned prison!” Prison or not, I enjoyed my stay. Thank God for Crosby high school basketball, as that was pretty much my only entertainment. I was just bidding my time until I got back to the real air force. Which luckily I did in 1978 when I got my wings and flew as a radar tech on AWACS.

    Now you know the rest of the story…


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