I went to my first training as a tour guide through the museum. I will have the pleasure of telling hometown folks and/or tourist about the Hangar in person, once a month for 3 hours. Of course, the museum is awesome. If you have not been in the Hangar or seen the museum for a long time, you are missing a special treat. Rita Welch, Christian Gurling, and their crew are doing a dandy job. I see changes and improvement every time I go. The café has been leased. So, make it a day, go to lunch and see the museum. Do not miss the two short movies. One is about the condition of the Hangar, the other one is interesting also.
I mentioned in a past article that Hydrogen was the fuel for the Blimps. No, that was wrong. ( I am learning as I go along, Please excuse mistakes). If you see that I am wrong, please call me. I like the telephone better than the internet. It gives me a chance to get to know you.
This is what I learned about the fuel during my tour. The K-Class Blimps at NAS Tillamook used Helium as their lifting gas. Each Blimp held 435,000 cubic feet of Helium. The Helium was extracted from underground wells outside of Amarillo, Texas and shipped up to NAS Tillamook via rail cars with giant tanks aboard. These tanks were then buried in the earth for later use. Helium was chosen over Hydrogen because it is inert (not flammable) and the United State had a natural abundance of it at the time. It is no longer available in the United States. It has been reported that Algeria, Russia, and Oatar have access to Helium. Oatar is the largest contributor of helium.
There is a large machine that extracts the unused helium, and purifies it, sends it to a huge round steel storage container outside the building. The machine is still intact but only a picture is available of the storage tank. Again, I encourage you to come see this for yourself.
Another interesting thing I saw was a Drone, as long as a car, with a simple frame body and 2 motors at the front. (Looks like a giant green stick bug}. You will see it, among the planes. Rita told me, that most of these were shot down. They were used as target practice. This must have been in the 60’s. Rita told me a story about Marilyn Monroe. She was working in the factory that made the motors. A picture was taken of her as an advertisement. Someone from Hollywood saw the picture and you know the rest of her story.
I visited with Dale Nielsen, a real interesting storyteller remembers his first job, he was 15. He and his friend, Ray Streeter set up pins at the bowling alley on the NAVAL AIR STATION TILLAMOOK. His family owned a dairy farm near the NAS and they walked to the Station and asked for a job. He said “I liked it a lot better than milking cows and they were paid.” They worked there for about 3 years.
Although, the Hangars, and all the buildings were set up so quickly. The Military created a small town atmosphere for the men and woman serving our country to keep us free. There was also a small store and a clinic. Dale’s Mother Una, loved Hershey bars and they were not available in civilian stores, so, Dale saved his money and bought his Mother, Una Nielsen, a whole box of hershey bars. On the way out of the gate, he was stopped by an air-policeman. “what do you have in that coat?”, he said sternly
Dale showed him his box of bars and told the policeman that his mother loved them. The Police said “you cannot take anything off this Base.” But he allowed him to take the hersheys to his Mom. Another day, he was feeling ill and asked to go home, instead, they gave him something to ease the pain and sent him back to work. It was a female nurse . So that answered the question about Women serving there.
Dale talked about the Blimps being tied down and the crew that would place them where they needed to be to rise. Every morning many Blimps were prepared for take-off. The landing for the Blimps was also an interesting thing to watch. There were Long ties hanging down and the ground crew needed to catch them to get control of the landing. Dale said “It was really funny to watch them when the wind was blowing”. One of them got away and landed in a farmers field and was destroyed.
Thank you Dale, I really enjoyed your stories.
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!. A donation 2. Monthly donations 3. Help us with our Fund Raisers 4. Volunteer for our Board