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Photos from James Thomas Cerar
Thailand 1967: After training in Cheyenne, this was my first TDY.
Uniform of the day was quite correct for that location....
Training at F.E. Warren. Ok guys, this is called a Geodetic dome, it has 13 panels. When it is complete, it will look like a ball.
Training at F.E. Warren. Great job guys! James, I was very impressed by your door stop.
Training at F.E. Warren. Hey Sarge, why is the camera painted in camouflage? Don't worry about that; you will know when we send you TDY...
Thailand: Look at that, all our electricity is supplied by Briggs and Stratton.
Thailand: Wait a minute, this place looks nothing like the stuff we had back in Cheyenne. Why is it on the border with Laos and where is our Geodetic Dome? I do hope the camera is camouflaged!
Vietnam: Now that you are trained, get on that plane which will take you to Salt lake City-Washington-Alaska-Japan-Vietnam. What's a Vietnam, it's a Beach in South East Asia!
Thailand: Don't worry about Laos, it is very safe here. If it is so safe, why is there a squad of Thai Army Guards here?
Thailand Food: Well I had to develop a taste for it, but after awhile I found "bush meat" not so bad....yes, it tastes like chicken.
Thailand Transportation: Equipment and supplies can be easily moved to the site in the jungle with this most welcome Ox cart. So where is the Ox? You're looking at him....
Thailand: The mighty Mekong River, it must have have been the dry season. Look behind the guy on the right, snake for dinner....If you are in this picture, you know who you are... This ends the Thailand TDY...other destinations to follow.
Thailand Transportation: Well it didn't take too long to figure out going through the jungle in flip flops wasn't the safest way of getting around. For $25.00 I purchased this brand new Thai bicycle. Having a bike in this village was a big deal. I gave the bike back to the shop owner at no charge when I departed the assignment 4 months later.
Thailand Food: For my going away party, the village prepared a great feast. Sorry to say, this dog was never seen again!
Cheyenne: After 4 months in South East Asia, I returned to F.E. Warren for about 2 weeks. It took about that amount of time to get all the paperwork together for the finance office. Once I got that check, I was ready to go again.
Well James, you appear to be a bit thin and your tan is a bit dark, so we have decided to send you to England for the winter. Oh goody!
RAF Fylingdales: About 11 miles south of Whitby, England, these very picturesque radar domes are part of an integrated missile early warning system. Located in the Yorkshire moors which is another name for a peat swamp with lots of purple heather and sheep.
RAF Fylingdales: I was told before going to England that it was very easy to fall in love over there and you might regret it later on. Well I did fall in love...she had a certain glow and I couldn't wait to slip into her sleek warm body and spend some time with her. Yes, she was my first Jaguar XKE which I shipped to Cheyenne after my TDY was completed. No regrets falling in love....Photo was taken next to Whitby harbor.
RAF Fylingdales: After six months at this location it was time to return stateside. Thank goodness I was able to find a snow shovel. While at Fylingdales, I heard a phrase used by the Brits during WWII to describe Americans. "Over fed, over paid, over sexed and over here". I was so glad I could keep that tradition going.
RAF Fylingdales: Did I mention that there were a lot of sheep in the Yorkshire moors? Well, this was Gladys. She was a going away present from my colleagues. The Brits really know how to cook lamb!
Welcome back from England James. I see you lost your tan and put on a few pounds. By the way, do you speak any Spanish? Just a bit I said, had a course in school. Perfect....This will take about a month to set up but your next trip will be to South America. Goodie..
After about a month hanging around the MARS station and working at night for KFBC radio, I was told I will be on an Embassy run which will include about 12 countries. I was given the above clock which just arrived from the National Bureau of Standards and I could use it to synchronize the Cesium Beam Atomic Clocks in the field. This clock is so advanced that I was told, just use the term "Coca Cola" if you run into trouble. Good bye Cheyenne and off I go!
Curacao S.A: Nice place to stay, high per diem. This trip is going to be great...
Curacao S.A: If this is you, you know who you are.
Surinam S.A: Nice place to visit however I hear a buzzing sound outside my bedroom. I'm sure it's my imagination.....
Well our trip continued over the Andes and stopped here, there and everywhere and ended up in Brasilia, Brazil.
Brasilia: What is that? A termite mound and hard as steel. Where are we putting the site? You're looking at it!
Brasilia: Looks like the termites are building that mound again...
Brasilia: What a nice pad for the PC1000 camera. When is the geodetic dome arriving? Most likely after our mission is completed at this location. Do you really think they send those domes to the field?
Brasilia: During a daily visit we noticed a dent in the side of the camera which was stored inside the trailer. We also noticed a bullet hole in the door.
Brasilia: Here is a good picture of the dented camera and the bullet on top. Good news, no animals were hurt or mistreated during this mission, including termites! The camera continued to work just fine but soon after we moved to Natal, Brazil to set up a new site.
Natal, Brazil: Wow, look at all this stuff, now where are the instructions on how it all goes together?
Natal, Brazil: Well good to see we have a shortage of geodetic domes again. Did you get trained in tents? nope....
Trinidad, S.A: Once we got the site going in Natal, we headed back to Cheyenne via Trinidad. I met a bush pilot there and we went on a flight into the interior of the country. Now that was an experience and a good way to end my travels in South America.
Never needed this damn clock and notice the hands never moved over the entire time it was with me...I have been a Pepsi fan since those days!
Well here we are back from South America and at the gates of F.E. Warren Air Force Base. I understand some changes have taken place in my absence.
Look at that.....somehow my Squadron lost 3 digits while I was gone. The 1, 3, and 8 are missing. Guess I need to use the newest "1" on my fatigues which I never wore in my travels.
By the way James, your time is up on your Air Force enlistment. What are your plans? Well let's see, it's 1969, I'm single, I'm not in Vietnam, I know everybody at the finance office....OK, twist my arm, I guess I'll stick around for 4 more years. Little did I know I would do this 7 more times during my career. Of all my commanders, Col Holway was by far the best I ever served with. The key word is "with".
James, would you like the good news or the good news? As you know many of your peers have married and since you are always willing to go TDY, how about the South Pacific? Guess what was going on in my head when I heard the words, South Pacific.....
We are going to connect you with another Embassy run which will touch down in another 10 to 12 countries as the flight makes a round trip to Australia. I had visions of Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga and such places but ended up in a place called Somoa.
Pago Pago, American Samoa. Here we are and the site looks great!
Pago Pago: I can't believe my eyes. A geodetic dome really made it out of Cheyenne and is in place in Samoa. This is a good thing...
Pago Pago: Housing was very good and I even had a Ham Radio station just waiting for me. I have had a ham license since 1959 and now I have a great reason to use it.
Pago Pago: This is called a QSL card. It confirms you had a contact with another ham somewhere in the world. Believe me, any contact from Samoa was to somewhere else in the world. This was our main communications mode via military and ham frequencies. We also did what is called a Phone Patch so members of the team and others could talk to family and friends......eg. "Hi Mom, Over."
Pago Pago: If you're in this picture, you know who you are.
For you Pitcairn fans. This had to be the most exotic rock in the South Pacific. Let's see, we can put a site on top of that mountain which I understand is in the clouds about 95% of the time...
Mass transit, Pitcairn style.
Pitcairn: How do you get in contact with Pitcairn, well with Ham radio of course. This is Tom Christian at the mic of his station with the call sign, VR6TC
Pitcairn: This is Tom's QSL card. Notice the P.O. box number. He was also the Post Master.
How did I get here? Canton Island in the Phoenix chain. Population 2, plus 7 from our aircraft.
Canton Island: This place must be American, look at the bullet holes...
Canton Island: Now I know we are heading home, look at the Food. Our cook was one of the two islanders, originally from Samoa.
From Canton Island we flew off to Hawaii and from there we should have flown to California, but never left Hawaii. Problems with the aircraft, James you might have to stick around for a week or so to get your connections set up. Oh how sad I was, a week in Hawaii while it was snowing in Cheyenne!
Finally made it back to Cheyenne. It's now early 1970 and I wonder what my next exotic destination will be?
Welcome back to Cheyenne, James, would you like the bad news or the bad news? Stellar Camera operations is being dismantled which means your TDY days are over. Does this mean the end to $ per diem?
Until your next assignment comes in, we will keep you at the MARS radio station to run phone patches to our military brethren over in Vietnam. You might be there awhile for according to our records you have been out of the country too much. Does this mean the end to $ per diem?

Not being the type to just sit around Cheyenne at night, I got part-time work at KFBC radio/TV and a part-time Engineering position at Radio KRAE. Good substitute for $ per diem.
For those of you who watched the 10pm news on channel 5, at 10:15 you might have seen my weather broadcast. KFBC was the last TV station in the states to go color. I just loved wearing orange ties in front of those weather maps. Look, summer in Wyoming. Circa 1970.
Msgt Albert Roberti warned me about falling in love with one of those wild Cheyenne women, you might regret it later on. Well I did fall in love again. She had a sable brown glow and I couldn't wait to slip into her sleek warm body and spend some time with her. Then she took her top off! I just could not resist. Yes, she was my 2nd Jaguar XKE, this time a convertible.
It's now at the end of 1970 and my orders arrived which sent me to a place called Kashiwa, Japan for a 15 month tour. Sarge, will I get per diem in Japan? NO! Say good-bye to your friends at the finance office, the Mars station and your radio and TV work downtown, besides you're a terrible weatherman. In Cheyenne everyone is a terrible weatherman, it's Cheyenne after all! As I departed on the road of life, the 1st GSS and Cheyenne reflected nostalgically in my tail-lights.
Goodie, as time passed, I did get more $ per diem.
From the James Thomas Cerar collection.