Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't
up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does
neither does the dance.-Margaret Mead
I Did Attend An NCO
At Macord Field In Tacoma, Washington While Stationed In Condon.
Is A Small Farming Community Of Approx. 600 People.
My 1948 Mercury
1954 I Was Sent To Geiger Field, Spokane, Washington
from The Air Force. That Was The First Time
I Was Able To
See B36's Taking Off and Landing. Also, This was
The First Time
I Was Able To Get Up Close To Such Big Air Craft.
Field, We Did Get To Tour The Boeing
Plants At Seattle, Washington, Where They
The B47. It
My Mind, If At The Time,
Started Building The B52.
"Dick Reed" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- 636th AC&W Squadron
Thu, 8 Jul 2004 22:40:54 -0500
Ned, I just stumbled on your site and saw the 636th listed and read
you said about it. I too was a radio operator at the 636, getting
at Christmas 1953 and leaving in August of 54 for Geiger Field. I
an A/1C and lived in the barracks farthest from the messhall. I
there were only two or three there.
good buddy from there was Len Tyree and we have corresponded several
in the past few years. He is retired living in Thailand.
do not recall your name, but perhaps you remember me. I did go into
ops and worked behind the big board but never cross trained into
field. It was just a job that kept me out of trouble.
the time I was there my dad worked at the Hanford plant in North
and I hitched hiked up there 14 times during the eight months I
love to hear from you. Dick Reed
was Richard Reed when at Condon.
Photos Below Provided By
email - email@example.com
636th AC&W Squadron
Dec. 53 - Aug. 54
AC&W Squadron From The Air
636th AC&W Squadron With Buildings Pin-Pointed
Radar Dome From Down The Street
Below Provided By
Looking Toward Mess hall From Barracks # 2
636th Operations Building Entrance
In Front Of BAQ 3
PT- 26 Flown By One
Of The Guys At The Site
from James Huddleston
great to from another Condonite after all of these
town was a real culture shock for me. I was born and raised in
the Los Angeles
know...hustle-bustle and fast paced, but warmer than the Big Apple, in
ways. Anyway a quick story about my arrival at Condon...the
When it was time to report to the 636th, I flew from LAX to PDX,
arrival, I got downtown to the Greyhound
Depot where I went in to purchase a ticket to "Condon, OR".
The agent looked into a book about 12" think looking for the
some help from another agent, the two finally found Condon. But
gets better; on the ride from Portland
to "ARLINGTON, OR",
in those days was on US
30, approx 150 Mi out of Portland...today
been moved up the hill because of a Dam installation on the Columbia River...so it's now on I-84.
<>Upon arrival in Arlington, which was about 10:PM in
early July. There was a young girl on the bus that I talked to
Isle...she asked if I was reporting to Condon..."Yes", she
asked I her family could give me a ride to Condon. Well, of
course I took
them up on the offer. Stayed the night in the Condon Hotel. The
morning, I looked outside...I said to my-self that this had to be a movie
set, surely real people do not live in a place like this...do
Well from July of 1957 to Aug 1960 I was stationed at Condon. I
Base Supply...as a clerk typist...out of my AFSC/MOS. In August
of 1960 I
was transferred to Portland
until discharge in Dec 1961. More later...will dig out some 'OLD' photos for your
consideration. Ned, have some comfort in knowing that all of our
are fading...know what I mean. I'll write to you soon.
Huddleston, 08.09.2007, 4:02PM,PDT
From: Ned Scholz
To: James HUDDLESTON
Wednesday, August 08, 2007 7:46 PM
636th AC&W Station
I received your
about being stationed at Condon, Oregon...I
was there from July 1952 until November 1954 when discharged. I was a
and when arrived in Condon there was not much use for operators anymore
into radio maintenance, had fun at that job. Ran the MARS station in
time. Also, worked part time off base in Condon for a retired AF person
think but not sure his name was Tom Kagia) helping to put up TV towers
customers in the area wanting to receive channel 6 out of Portland. Tom
radio/repair service in Condon. I remember driving to Portland
attempting to gain a dates with
girls at a nurse’s school.
to remember those years as it’s so long ago.
Did you check my
and look at the 636th page? If you put a few words together about your
time at Condon along with any pictures and with your
I would like to add it to the site.
Anyway, have a
and let me hear from you
Email from Tom Whiteley
August 12, 2007
to have found your site. I ran the MARS station at Condon from July
October 1965, while working at the GATAR Site (Ground to Air Radio). I
First Class FCC Radio Telephone License with Radar Endorsement and my
this gets to you I have a few more things to mention….
Tom Whiteley's 53 Olds
Click Here For Online Air
Defense Radar Museum
Email from Tom Whiteley
August 14, 2007
a few days ago I found Ned's web site and contacted Ned and John Franz.
gave me a copy of James email, so I thought I would start a Condon
Group in my email
was at the 636th from July 1964 to October 1965. I am fourth generation
Franciscan, and like James, there was a "bit of a culture shock" upon
arriving at the 636th and then discovering the big city –
From people in Biloxi (where I went to
school) to San Francisco,
I heard the same story. "Why at the 636th, there is a girl behind every
tree"! They forgot to mention that there were no trees! J
I left San Francisco by Greyhound,
Condon, little did I realize that the bus stopped at Arlington and
did not go straight through.
The bus station was on the north end of town and today is under water
with the rest of the old downtown area.
I arrived in Arlington
I called the site and they had a red headed sergeant pick me up. He was
cheerful and just a good person. As I entered the orderly room, I was
by a first lieutenant who was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He
to me before I took three steps and said, "I was an enlisted man like
I went to operation bootstrap and became an officer"! I think that is
only time we spoke. He was a bit strange.
I mentioned to John I had lots of adventures at Condon. I enjoyed
much as possible. I play flamenco guitar and formed groups to entertain
in Fossil, and the surrounding communities. We also played folk and
western music. The people were starved for entertainment.
about a year at the 636th, people would get flaky. Many
drunk very often. Several guys got drunk and drove off cliffs. I
drink so I decided to drive my 1953 Oldsmobile to San Francisco and visit my family. I
almost every weekend. At 6 PM I would be on the road and stop for
gasoline at a
truck stop at Klamath Falls.
The guys at the gas station knew me after a short time and would give
about 6 AM Saturday I would arrive home, mom would fix breakfast and
would visit my friends. At 6 PM Sunday mom would serve dinner and then
be off. At about 6 AM the next morning I would arrive at the 636th,
shower, etc. and go to work at 0700. Amazing what you can do when you
your early 20’s J
Sleep, what sleep? Who needs sleep?
two years there is reunion at Condon for the 636th. I went
years ago and due to my job I was not able to go last year. It was fun
guys I had been stationed with, as well as meet the residents of Condon
found the people of Condon to be very friendly and willing to help an
but they hated anyone from California
who was not a member of the 636th. Case in point:
was no mayor at Condon, but the owner of the Coast to Coast Hardware
of ran the town. The Texaco gas station was sold to a civilian from California. The
the hardware store called a meeting. I was a customer in the front of
when I heard what was going on. The owner said, "A Californian bought
Texaco station. Put the word out – do not buy anything from him"! In
thirty days the Texaco station was out of business, and bought by one
Airman at the 636th, who was from California. The Airman did well with
newly acquired business.
was a very bad winter storm December 1964 that wiped out the Condon
supply. The 636th trucked in water until things were
During that storm a radar site on the West Coast of Oregon blew off its
We gave them our FPS 20. I had escaped the storm (barely) and spent
at home in San Francisco and went to North Hollywood to attend a friends wedding. I
friend’s sister and we celebrated our 41st Wedding
express how the people of Oregon
felt about Californians, the following is offered. The later part of
governor of Oregon
was on television. He stated, "We have completed I-5 so Californians do
not have to stop in Oregon"!
I was at Condon there were about 1200 people. At last count there were
600. If you grew up in Condon chances are that you had to leave to have
job. When the Air Force left the population reflected it.
is a link to a PDF file about the last 636th reunion:
Page ten = left side towards the bottom.
From the Air Defense Radar Museum you will be able to find very good
information about the 636th. On the main page left side, click "Radar
Sites". Enter in the Unit/Squadron block 636. Location enter Condon,
State enter OR. Select North American/Hawaii.
Click Serarch for the site.
from Dick Gaarenstroom
Date: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:23 PM
To: Ned Scholz
From: Dick Gaarenstroom TSG USAF (RET.)
Subject: Condon AFS
Ned, great website. I enjoyed the posts and reading the memories
of those who lived and worked at the Radar Station. My name is
Dick Gaarenstroom TSG USAF (Ret.). While never having served on any of
Oregon's Radar Stations, I did serve with the 621st TCS Det.3 at Mt.
Palgong-San in Korea. I guess out of all of Oregon's AFS my
service in Korea would be more akin to Mt. Hebo on the coast. Darn Cold
and Darn Windy.
I had the privilege of visiting Condon AFS last August. I stayed
in town for about 4 days and tried to envision myself being a young
airman again and what my off duty hours would be like. I see myself
yawning. That's not to be derogatory. At 18 yrs of age I probably
would have had all the energy in the world, but with no car and no
money what can one do. Matter of fact, for those of you that were
in that same situation, what did you do?
Things change I can attest to that, and I'm sure Condon has as
well. The bowling alley in town is converted over into a grocery
store. Downtown looks probably like downtown did back in the
50's. There is a block or two of very nice retirement homes for
the elderly, the golf course is probably a lot better off now that it
was back when the base was on line.
The Airport just past the cemetery is quaint and the only part of town
expanding is the cemetery. Condon is shrinking, but it's not dead
yet. You will not believe the wind generators along the ridge
line. What a thing to behold. I know the State of Oregon and
private partners are banking on renewable energy generated from the
winds of this area. But life is never easy in the big
lonely. I hear the Air Force is not happy with the wind
generation being produced. To be fair to the Air Force they rely
on the Radar near Fossil for making their bomb runs on the bombing
range of Boardman. The Air Force is concerned that the wind
generators are disturbing the radar that is crucial for their
flights. Lord knows all they need to do is ask us and we would be
more than happy to consult with them letting them know it may be a win
win situation to just relocate the Radars and accomplish the mission.
I took a load of pictures of Condon Air Force Station and I sorely need
some help interpreting all that went on their. I would like to
strike up some friendships with folks that remember it the way it was
and not the way I saw it. The housing area is intact and most if
not all the houses look like they have been restored and are either
rentals or private homes.
The main gate, orderly room/theater on the right hand side as you come
into the gate I get. I think the flag pole is located there as
well. The commissary is behind the orderly room and next to it the BX.
By trade, my Air Force experience was aircraft mechanic and jet engine
mechanic. I've learned a great deal about the search and height
radars but I have to admit that I have some serious learning gaps when
it comes to visualizing what some of these structures would be. I would
be much appreciative if anyone is interested in helping me out with
researching Condon Air Force Station.
As a matter of fact, I guess I'm asking for all kinds of help. My
long term goal is to research all of the Air Force Radar Stations in
Oregon. I don't really see myself as a historian. I see
myself as a Geographer, which by the way I am. I really want to
know how these bases functioned in the rural settings they were placed
in. How life intersected with the local towns people. How
the town help win over the hearts and minds of the service men and
women, and how the Air Force culture helped change the lives of the
As people we interact through sports, politics, hunting, recreation,
love, marriage, religion, what have you. That's the information
I'm after. Who are these service men and women? Who was the
commander, XO, who participated in the Condon Bowling league?
What was the name of the Condon AFB newspaper/newsletter and who wrote
it. There is so much to learn about these places more than just
dates and dirt. Its people and lives and mission and work and community.
I feel privileged to post on your website and look forward to meeting
and talking with whomever out there would like to talk about your life
and your dreams, about your Air Base and your town Condon.
Please feel free to contact me.
Please note that if you lived and worked on another Oregon Air Force
Station I still want to talk with you. My goal is to compile the
geography of all of the Air Force Stations sited in Oregon. Hope to
hear from you soon.