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Memories of K7AIR at Moses Lake (later Larson) AFB, Moses Lake, Washington

May 13, 2001

Roger A. Mundy
Commerce Township, MI

Dear Roger,

I was in the Navy for 8 years, and had a call N11JAY, but on February 9, 1949 my buddy and I were discharged from the Navy, at the 11th Naval District in San Diego, California. That same day, we enlisted in the 2347th AFR Training Center in Long Beach, California. Spent a couple months with that outfit, and was transferred to Moses Lake, AFB in Washington State. We were both married, and I had a baby boy.

We made our way up on Interstate 101 in California through Oregon, and into Washington. We stopped at a little one short street town, went to a little Diner that had a counter, got some lunch and asked what town it was. They laughed and said, "Moses Lake." Boy that thrilled us. We asked, where is the Air Base. They told us. After lunch we got back into our cars and headed out to the base.

What a disaster! The barracks were tar paper shacks, with no insulation, one coal heater at one end and another coal heater at the other end of the barracks. There was a coal heater in the bathroom, which heated the water also.

I was a T/Sgt at the time, so was my buddy, we didn't lose a day's pay or rank when we changed over to the Air Force. We were with the first 2000 troops to open the base again. I was the 325th Fighter All-Weather Wing Electronic Inspector. Our three squadrons of P-51's were the 317th, 318th Squadrons at Moses Lake AFB and the 319th Squadron at McChord AFB Tacoma Washington.

The Communications Officer sent a form to the FCC to get the K7AIR call. I didn't know that he put my name as the holder of the call, until you sent me your letter. I believe I was licensed as W7NSL at the time.

The equipment was out of a GRC-26 Mobile Radio Hut. I set it up in the tar paper barracks and every time I would key the transmitter, the lights would almost go out. Consequently we didn't do much operation from there.

I think it was 1950 we moved to McChord AFB in Tacoma Washington. The Communications Officer left the organization and I didn't retain the K7AIR call. There wasn't anything memorable about this period of time, except the winter of '49. The temperature went down to 39 degrees below 0. The town of Moses Lake ran out of coal, we had nothing but little pieces of coal, and I mean little pieces of coal to inadequately heat the barracks. When we mop our area, the mop would freeze to the floor.

Thank God, I was an Inspector, because I had a cold weather Flight Suit. Used to get a quart of milk from the mess hall, and set it by the head of my bed, at night and we would have iced milk in the AM.

Like I said Roger, it was a long time ago, and I can't remember a lot of those years.

Let me know, if you have anything that might jog my memory. Loved to hear about it.

J. F. Thomasson, Jr., W5HOO

May 13, 2001

Gordonville, TX, USA

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