Holiday Beach, the MOVIE
A feature film inspired by true events.
1962, Some mistakes, a crisis, a psychopath ... just another day at the beach.
Written by Gary Jenneke and Gary Larson
You probably are aware of this, since you didn't see us on Kodiak, but I just want to add that as a small independent Minnesota film company, we could not afford to shoot the film on location and used the Lake Superior north shore as our substitute... just didn't want to disappoint you folks at the museum!
Tech Control was destroyed by fire about 1985. This was the central hub for all communications circuits for the Coast Guard (and Navy prior to that time). All cables and microwave circuits terminated in this facility. Tech control was built in 1952 as part of the Navy's HF communications upgrade after WW2.
After the fire, tech control was moved to the garage complex next to building 576. The location was refered to as building 603. In 1990, plans were laid to remotely control all functions of tech control from a central location at the Buskin Lake transmitter site. By the end of 1992 this was completed and building 603 was abandoned and turned over to Coast Guard Support Center Kodiak. Alaska Communications Systems DMS telephone switching equipment and a small microwave repeater station (that the Commsta owns) is now located in what was the tech control center of the Commsta.
Comments on above pictures from early 1980s:
1.jpg - Collins analog microwave transmitters (3) and mux equipment. There were three paths.
The order wire teletype and test printers are shown. 2.jpg thru 10.jpg - various shots of the patch bays, test equipment and FDM mux equipment.
Building 576 is an all concrete building with few windows. Temperatures in some parts of the building reached 1000 to 2000 degrees.
Pool room, 2nd floor *
Notice the stream. It goes right down into the rocks (underground stream). If you look you can see bottom. Nice & clear picture. This is about 200 yds. from the ocean.
In front of barracks.
Pretty. Standing in the shadows looking across a cove. Notice rocks go all the way to the edge of the water.
Horse Shoe Lake with a buddy (Hancock), me in the back.
Some dog salmon with a small silver in front. Dogs average around 10 of 12 lbs while the silver was 8 lbs. Check those teeth in the dogs. I caught those in 40 min.
It is a pleasure to hear back from you and a real plus for me to run into your website. I have fond memories of Kodiak. Even the ones that are not so fond, I still hold dear to my hear; i.e., the Great Alaskan Earthquake. I was reading some of the posts on your Tsunami guest book. Had I written something like that in 1964, the details would have been much better. I actually did write a lengthy letter to my mother right after the quake, but we cannot find it. Too bad.
I was stationed at the Holiday Beach Receiver Site from August 1963 to August 1964. I was the only one in my class at RMA school in San Diego who actually requested Kodiak as my first duty station. I remember my class instructor as he was passing out orders telling me in front of the class that anyone crazy enough to request Kodiak should get it. And I did!
I was quite the outdoorsman in those days and had heard a lot about Kodiak. I was really impressed with the Salmon fishing. In fact, I was impressed with everything until March 27, 1964. More about that later.
When I arrived at the Kodiak Airport, a sailor picked me up in the old Navy gray van and drove me immediately to the Holiday Beach barracks. But on the way he stopped at a bridge overlooking a stream that was loaded with dog salmon. I had told him I loved to fish and he made that special stop for me. I couldn't believe the fish were so thick they were knocking each other out onto the banks. Later I would wind up catching a lot of them. But I do remember they would not bite any lures. We had to snag them with big treble hooks. Not the most sporting way, but quite effective and a kick in the butt. They were not big fish but plenty of them.
Upon arriving at the barracks everyone was friendly, but I do recall being called "New Guy." In fact, all new arrivals were "New Guys" or "(expletive deleted) New Guys" for the first several weeks. I didn't mind and before long I could say "New Guys" to all newcomers. ha
Like I say, when I arrived I was an RMSN right out of radio school. I made third at Kodiak and second in Vietnam about a year later. Wow! It is all coming back.
My first job at "RC" was to man the CW circuits. That was really my specialty and was a labor of love. I was one of those guys they called "dit crazy." The mid-watches were the best. The prog would get real good in the wee hours of the morning and I could scarf messages from all over the world. No ship ever called NHB (Kodiak). Most didn't even know we existed. They would always call NPG, NPM or if they were really far south they called NBA (Balboa Canal Zone, Panama). I loved stealing message from these guys late at night. We used to sit around at breakfast bragging about the messages we "scarfed" from one of the other stations. It made our day !
I got my speed key ticket while at Kodiak. But when I reported aboard ship after leaving the island, CW was starting to become a thing of the past. Too bad. I still remember the code very well but have never really had a chance to use it again. That would be fun.
Aw Yes! March 27, 1964. Not as big as Pearl Harbor but will remain etched in my memory banks the day they put the last nail in my coffin. I was setting at the end of the barracks with some friends around 5:30 in the afternoon. It was still daylight. We heard some rumbling but didn't think much about it because there had been some dynamiting earlier with construction going on nearby. But the rumbling turned into violent shaking of the whole building. We were all puzzled and started looking at each other. Being from California, I had experienced many earthquakes but nothing like that. I said "That's an earthquake. Let's get out of here!"
With that, we headed toward a passageway that lead outside the barracks. We ran up to the road in front of the barracks but there was really no place to hide. When terra firma starts to shake there is no escape except to get out of the building. The barracks was just about full of people since the day watch had already reported back from RC. And all of us were standing on the road watching this whole thing unfold in front of us. A couple of guys had been in the showers and came running out with nothing on but a towel. Might seem funny now, but it was not funny at the moment.
Joe, I did a tour in Viet Nam after Kodiak and recently had open heart surgery (triple by-pass). But to this day I can honestly say that the couple of minutes during that earthquake was the only time in my life I was convinced I was going to die. I had done some reading about Kodiak and the surrounding area and recalled the Katmai Volcano which erupted several decades before and had spilled ash all over the north end of Kodiak. Thus the reason for few trees and vegetation. At least that's the way I recall it.
During the earthquake, the thought entered my mind that this was more volcanic activity and we were going into orbit at any moment. We could see avalanches and billowing clouds of snow in the nearby mountains. Dumpsters were moving all over the place and water was sloshing out of mud holes. It was terrifying.
There was another young man in our group named Stanley Fredekind. He was from Spokane, Washington. Why would I remember him? Because he was one like me who loved Kodiak. He had extended for another year on the island and had just arrived back after 30 days leave. He had been back no more than a day when the earthquake happened. As soon as the earthquake subsided, someone turned to Fredekind and said "Welcome back to Kodiak, Freddie." It got a laugh out of everyone at a time when we were not in a very good mood.
Immediately after the quake, the only communications we had was listening to local commercial radio. We tried getting information from RC but everything was down. No micro links to the main base and all single side band was out as well as transmitters and receivers for CW. We kept listening to local radio and heard there was a Tsunami on the way. Only they were not called Tsunami's in those days. It was called a "Tidal Wave."
I recall vividly we were standing next to the barracks and looking out across the bay. I believe it was called Woman's Bay if I'm not mistaken. Less than an hour after the big quake the bay seemed to get real confused and the water started to recede. Then here came this big surge of water which broke over some cliffs where we used to hunt and just walk around. It was like a science fiction movie watching all of this water make it's way over the cliffs and up into big fields where we kept our rhombic antennas.
We learned later that a couple of people were caught in a car in that area and were killed. There were also a lot of cattle had drowned and some of us had to go out a few days later and pour kerosene on them and burn them up.
Also part of our job the next few days was to repair land lines from RC to CC. During one of these repair missions, I recall the tide coming in around us and was rising higher than ever before. We had to get in the van and leave because the tide was starting to covering the old gravel road. We were told later that our side of the island had actually settled or sunk several feet during the quake, thus making for higher tides. For a long while we could only drive back to the main base at low tide.
For several days following the earthquake, we had lots of tremors. Many of these tremors would be a major quake here in Southern California these days. We had a second class radioman (don't recall his name) who was older than most of us and had really become shell shocked over this whole thing. While watching movies in the rec room someone would inevitably walk up behind is chair and shake it. He would come flying out of the chair. Most guys would be swinging but he was not nearly big enough for that. If I were to ever see him again I do believe I would apologize for us playing those tricks on him.
About a year later while I was in Viet Nam, I received a Unit Commendation from the Navy Department for my work during and after the big earthquake in Kodiak. I never really felt I deserved this because I was nothing more than scared to death for several days. I sure was no hero. (ha)
I did see the list of names on your website who served at the NavSta in 1962 and 1963. I didn't arrived until August of 1963 so I didn't recognize many of them. But I did recognize Riley Stogner, a first class RM. I also recognized Paul Zasada who was a first class boatswains mate and was just finishing out some time before retiring. He was the man in charge of transportation and other things at the Holiday Beach barracks. I really liked him. I was only 19 at the time and of course "Boats" was much older and helped me to be a better sailor.
I also recognized Larry Gerlits. He was a CS3 and was one of the cooks at the barracks. The other cook was Ronald Baines, but I didn't see his name on the list. My name was not on the list so I must have reported just a few weeks or months after the list was compiled. I would love to see the roster for the next year. My name would be on there but more importantly, others who I would remember.
I had a rifle and shotgun while I was in Kodiak and did go hunting a few times but rarely shot anything. I was always a much better fisherman than hunter. I remember going up to a small pond several times during the fall and winter and just sitting there waiting for a deer. Someone told me that was the way to do it. But I never saw one. Could have been my cigarette smoke (ha). I was a smoker back in those days.
We also used to drive down toward Chiniak and hunt ducks. Lots of big green necked mallards and good shooting. But I was one that did mostly shooting and little hitting.
After Kodiak, I spent close to a year in the Amphibs in Viet Nam, got out of the Navy in 66, went to college on the G.I. Bill and spent the next 31 years in the sales department in the corporate world of the baking industry. I retired in 2000 but am busier now than ever in my life. I produce a sport fishing program for FOX Sports Television here in Southern California. We do go to Sitka, Alaska, each year and produce episodes there as well as British Columbia.
A few months ago I sent several emails to various people in Kodiak including the local newspaper. It has long been on my "bucket list" to return to Kodiak. I received a very nice email from the commanding officer at the CG Station in Kodiak. His name is LCDR Michael Nasitka at the CommSta. Mr Nasitka informed me that when I return to Kodiak, to call him and he would give my wife and I the grand tour of the CG Station. Wow! I am looking forward to that and plan to do so this summer.
I was saddened to hear that the old Holiday Beach barracks and RC is not there any more. But I hope I can still drive out there and check out where it was. It will bring back so many memories.
Again, thanks for your website. It's great to see that someone has taken the time to build the site and that so many people have responded. Fond memories indeed! Should anyone want to contact me (and I would love that), my phone is 714-775-3163 and my email address is videooman at aol.com.
Thanks so much !!
Danny Jackson, Producer
Ronnie Kovach's "Fishing Ventures"
FOX Sports West
Santa Ana, California
Last year I sent an email to the USCG at Kodiak. I told them about my being stationed at the U.S. Navy Communications Station, Kodiak, Alaska in 1963 and 1964 and that it has been my wish for decades to return to Kodiak. I was in Kodiak on March 27, 1964, during the 9.2 earthquake and the tsunami that followed. From Kodiak I went to Viet Nam and served in an Amphibious Task Group.
A few days after I sent the inquiry to the CG in Kodiak, I received an email from LCDR Mike Nasitka. Mr. Nasitka basically said to let him know when my wife and I would be in Kodiak and he would take care of the rest. And indeed he did.
On August 3, 2009, my wife and arrived at the Kodiak Airport. Chief Warrant Office, Spencer James, was there to pick us up and took us to the guest house on the Coast Guard base where we were greeted by Peggie Pies and checked in. That is when this great trip all began.
For the next two days we were given the red carpet treatment by the Coast Guard. There are many people for me to thank and I want you to know how we sincerely appreciate it. I really didnít expect this kind of treatment. Iím just a sailor who served my time in Kodiak and have always wanted to return.
LCDR Peter Van Ness Commanding Officer of Communication Station Kodiak
LT David Pizzurro Executive Officer of Communication Station Kodiak
CWO2 Phillip Jordnelli of Communication Station Kodiak
OSC James Richard of Communication Station Kodiak
OS2 Joshua Bouknight of Communication Station Kodiak
SK3 David Flowers onboard the CGC ALEX HALEY
SK2 Marla Daw of Integrated Support Command Kodiak
YN2 Jennifer White of Integrated Support Command Kodiak
CWO2 Spencer James Administrative Officer of Integrated Support Command Kodiak
Photo of 1951 staff
Names of the people above
Article in the Kodiak Bear December 14, 1951
CDR. William M. MILLER, Commanding Officer
LT. JACK D. DURHAM, Executive Officer
Lt. Leonard R. Womack Lt. (j.g.) Lee A. Hodges Lt. (j.g.) Donald G. Spencer Lt. (j.g.) William E. Hower Ens. Roc M. Brierley Ens. Charles R. Scobee, Jr. Ens. Samuel C. Smith, Jr. Ens. Edward M. Elmendorf Ens. John D. Devlin Ens. Eldred "B" Stricklin Ens. Lawrence L. Edmundson Ens. Marion J. Diederich CWO-3 George R. Ballweber Eugene T. ABel, RMC Francis C. Affolter, RM3 Carl W. Alvers, ET1 James L. Anderson, RM2 Joseph L. Angelillo, CEPCP Robert D. Armstrong, RM1 Joseph F. Baggs, RM1 Larry D. Baldridge, ETN3 Phillip J. Barrett, ENSN Tommy (N) Barrett, RM2 James E. Bashline, BM2 Robert W. Bell, RM3 William A. Bengston, Jr., RM1 Harry R. Bigelow, RM3 Fred N. Bonton, SN John R. Boyd, RMSN David K. Brackney, RM3 Leonard R. Brown, EN2 John F. Brownlee, Jr., CEPCN William J. Burch, RMCN Timothy F. Burns, RMSN Charles R. Burr, RM1 Ronald C. Burski, RMSN Robert H. Burton, RM3 Milton P. Campo, RM1 Silviano (N) Candelaria, RMSN Robert D. Carlson, RMSN Simon W. Carraway, EM3 Benny C. Carson, RMSN Louis R. Charters, Rm2 Melcor (N) Chavez, ENFN Richard A. Cook, RMSN William (N) Webber, RM3 Ernest L. Woodring, RM1 Benjamin F. Zartiga, RM1 Earl R. Counts, UT1
Leslie J. Crow, SW1 Richard G. Crump, RMSN Marshal A. Davis, RMCA Ronald C. Dean, RM3 Guy F. Decker, RM3 Benjamin W. Denio, RMC Robert E. Dietz, SA Billy J. Dolgener, SA Donald L. Eizenga, RMSN William H. Emery Frederick K. Erickson, RMSA David F. Everleth, ETNSN Lee C. Fellenz, RMSN Aaron F. Fielder, SA Robert C. Franco, Jr., RM3 Richard A. Freeman, RMSN Edward C. Gacke, RMSN Jack W. Garoutte, RMC Harry J. Geraty, Jr., RMCA Lawrence E. Gerlits, Jr., CS3 Darrold L. Glanville, RMSN Richard P. Golightly, ETN3 Theodore (N) Granlund, RM1 Billy L. Gray, RMSN Thomas E. Greene, CS3 John A. Grennell, EN1 Georg (N) Gruen, SKSN Paul T. Halchak, RM1 William E. Hall, RM1 Lee N. Hancock, RMSN Gary B. Hamby, ETN2 Dale F. Hannaman, RMSA Tommy A. Harmon, PN2 Dennis L. Harris, RM1 Francis R. Harris, RMSN James I. Hart, RMCA Glynn L. Hathcock, RM1 Billy D. Havenhill, RMSN David G. Hemming, ETNSN Wiley O. Heninger, EMCA Harry J. Henzen, SN Jerry C. Hinman, ETN3 Francis E. Hopton, RM1 Frederick I. Horn, RM1 Calvin (N) Hughes, BUCA Charles A. Welch, RMC Jack C. Wright, SW1 Paul E. Zasada, BM1 Patrick A. Husseman, RMSA
Gary L. Jenneke, RMSN Jon C. Jensen, RMSA Carlton R. Johnson, SK2 James L. Johnson, YN3 David E. Kimes, RMSN Kenneth L. Kloncz, RMSN John H. Koons, RMSN Henry H. Kopf, RM1 Kenneth A. Koski, RMSA Walter L. Krout, EO1 Gary J. Langston, YN3 Romaine H. Lee, SN John O. Lewis, RM1 Thomas B. Lewis, Jr., SN Tommy G. Lewis, RM3 John J. Lindsey, ETC Frederick J. Lounds, Jr., RMSN Vernon L. Luce, RMSA Robert M. Luther, RM2 Donald H. Maclaine, RM1 Maximo "F" "X" Madril, EM2 Frank C. Marcell, RM2 Michael S. Marchesano, RMSN Lewis C. Martin, UTP3 William H. Mason, ETN3 John P. Matthews, RMSN Richard G. McAtee, RM1 Richard E. McConnell, CS1 Paul L. Mead, RM1 Ribert H. Miles, RMCA Richard A. Morales, RMSA William J. Motto, RM2 William C. Mowery, BUL2 Evert R. Mudersbach, RMSA Marvin C. Mumm, SN Raymond A. Meyers, ETN2 Donald W. Newberry, ETR2 Robert E. Nolan II, RMSA Gary U. Noone, RMSA Elno O. Nuenz, RM3 William E. O'Donnell, RMC Oscar W. Osvatics, RMC Charles F. Palmer, RMC Thomas W. Park, ETN3 Jimmie C. Patton, RMSN James F. Williette, SN Elwood E. Yetter, RMSA Edward "J" Zimmerman, ENFN Harlan D. Peterson, RMSN
John R. Phillips, BUL3 Ledger (N) Powell III, SA Michael W. Quade, SKSN Jay A. Ranney, RMC Calvin A. Ray, Jr., ETR2 Kenneth W. Roberts, ETN3 Roy J. Roberts, ETN3 Ray A. Robson, SKCA Ignacio V. Rodriguez, SN Henry T. Rouse, CE1 Horace R. Royals, Jr., ETN3 Edward F. Rudzinski, BMCS Franklyn G. Samson, RM2 Earl D. Saulmon, RM2 Richard W. Scherer, RMSN Herbert S. Schory, ETCM Norman R. Schwendler, RMSN Dennis H. Schyvincht, SA Donald L. Scott, EN3 Miguel (N) Sevilla, YNCA Gerald E. Shelden, UTP2 Gaelon W. Silva, HM3 Joseph F. Skelding, SA George F. Smith, CS1 Paul W. Smith, CS1 Neil L. Sovern, RM3 Paul R. Speelman, RMSN Lawrence (N) Spencer, RM2 Charles E. Stephens, CE1 Richard B. Stivers, RM1 Eddie K. Stoddard, RM3 Riley H. Stogner, RM1 Kenneth J. Stone, ETNSN Willard R. Strong, SN Ta'a (N) Ta'a, Jr., RM1 Tye A. Taylor, ETC Donald O. Thompson, RM2 Donald C. Timmons, RMC Ronald L. Tira, RMSN William F. Trant, ETNSN Jack N. Treher, SN Stewart W. Vandervort, SWE2 Manuel J. Vasquez, RM3 Murry L. Walker, SA Leither D. Walley, ETN3 Larry G. Ware, RMSN Ronald E. Warren, PN3 Larry L. Watson, RMSN Robert W. Williamson, ETN2 Phillip N. Young, YN3
Image of above roster
http://www.kadiak.org/radios/commsta.html Updated 2013 March 4