This post will be of interest mainly to my sister. I'm posting here rather than writing her an email so I can keep the links handy for myself, too.
A while ago another blogger mentioned the "Endless Mountains" in northeastern Pennsylvania. I was in high school in that area when the contest was run to name the mountains (which are not mountains at all, but an eroded plateau). I searched the internet to see if I could get any information on why that was the winning entry (we all thought it was a stupid and arrogant choice), but the contest isn't mentioned anywhere.
However, I did stumble on a lot of info on the 648th Radar Squadron, Benton AFS. Seems like a lot of alumni of the base want to remember the place - unbelievable, but true.
(For those reading this who are not my sister and don't already know, the base was on top of Red Rock mountain, next door to Ricketts Glen State Park, in a deserted and man-forsaken section of northeastern Pennsylvania. That's where I lived through high school. It's isolated with a capital "I", with some of the worst weather anywhere. We actually had an Independence Day picnic cancelled one year because it snowed.)
What I've found:
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benton_Air_Force_Station.
Unit page (sorta like "classmates.com"), 20 members, plus me - I joined so I could see the roster and read the notes. Nobody there I remember. There's an email address in the notes for some guy who is looking for information on commanders, history, etc. http://unitpages.military.com/unitpages/unit.do?id=712468. If you have info, Sister, maybe you could contact him?
Wilkes Barre "Times Leader" article on the history. http://www.radomes.org/museum/documents/BentonAFSPAlookingback.html
The most interesting pages: http://www.radomes.org/museum/showsite.php?site=Benton+AFS,+PA
Has links to photos (snork! I've got better ones! Maybe if I can locate them, I'll send them.) and all kinds of info, including a roster of 80 people who had been stationed there (including email addresses for most). 80 isn't many, considering that at any one time there were at least 200 men stationed there, and they rotated in and out every two to four years for twenty-five years. The list does not include:
Lt. Burchard (on whom I had the worst crush)
Sgt Joe Prevost
Sgt Obie Philpot
Maj Warren Munson
Airman Tom Nichols
Our father, who was head radar honcho and commander for most of that period! He was the first radar officer when the base opened in 1951, and was off and on associated with the base for the next umpteen years, including as commander. But nobody remembers him?**
There are a lot more missing whose names I can't recall, but if I saw them on the list I'd recognize the names. There's a button for adding names, but I hesitate to add any because I'm not sure of dates, first names, functions, ranks, and so on. I think people have been adding themselves and their friends.
By the way, I'm pretty sure it was Daddy who designed that early emblem with the bat. The really ugly one that embarrassingly displays no understanding whatsoever of a bat's anatomy.
So, Sister, do you remember anyone else who was there and is not on the list? Are there any on the list you'd like to contact? Know a guy named Dave Schwartz whose father was stationed there (his email can be found at http://www.radomes.org/museum/guestbook.php?guestfile=2005/guest200507.txt)?
I also found this bit of special interest at http://www.ufoinfo.com/filer/1999/ff9936.shtml. It's a bit more detailed than the item you, Sister, had sent me about the same topic. Since few people follow links, I'm incorporating it verbatim:
You do know that Daddy had been working on Project Blue Book during that period he was at Wright-Patterson?
PENNSYLVANIA ABDUCTION FROM AIR FORCE BASEBENTON AIR FORCE STATION --I retired from the Air Force in 1990 as a Chief Master Sergeant. I was on the SAC Nuclear Disablement Team for many years. We would respond to any incidents/accidents or problems with nuclear weapons. I know of an incident that occurred on March 5, 1965, at Benton Air Force Station, Red Rock, Pennsylvania. Benton was part of the Air Defense Command Interior Radar Defense Zone. Two radar technicians (one being my brother) were repairing the height finder radar antenna located northeast of the 648th Radar Squadron site. An "object" described by my brother as being a small saucer shaped object landed nearby. The two technicians decided to investigate. As they approached the saucer, a beam of light came out and struck both technicians. That was the last they could remember, and they failed to report to their command post. Air Policeman went to search for the two technicians, but they could not be found. All their tools and equipment were located near the antenna they were fixing. The Pennsylvania State Police were alerted and a search of the area began. Sixteen hours later, a state trooper found the two technicians walking on Route 487 about 10 miles from the site south of Lopez. The two technicians seemed dazed and were transported to a hospital in Williamsport. They were examined and found to be dehydrated and confused. No alcohol or drugs were found in their system. They were later transferred to an Air Force Hospital at Stewart AFB, NY. Trace amounts of alpha radiation were found on their clothing and strange marks were discovered on their necks.
Special Agents from the Office of Special Investigations interviewed the technicians. They related their story up to the point of the beam of light. They could not remember anything after that. A psychiatrist wrote in the report that each technician experienced something they could not fully explain! They both spent two weeks in the hospital and were released back to their unit. My brother was reexamined at the Air Force Psychiatric Center, Sheppard AFB, TX in 1966. During a session with an Air Force psychiatrist, the doctor asked him if he thought he was abducted by extraterrestrial visitors! That was the first time anyone ever mentioned a UFO connection to my brother. My brother thought the Air Force knew. He told me years after the incident, he had nightmares about creatures poking instruments into his eyes, ears, and mouth. My brother served out his tour and was honorably discharged. He went onto college and worked for Boeing Aircraft Corporation until he retired in 1994. He won't speak about the incident. Thanks to CMSgt. Walter.
**Actually, I did meet someone once who did remember Daddy. When Jay and I went to Daughter's graduation from Penn State, we stayed at a B&B in Bellefonte. The host asked where we were from, and when I said I had grown up on Red Rock, we learned that we both had been there at the same time. He'd been an airman. When I told him who my father was, his face darkened, and he said, "I hope you don't mind, but I have to say, your father was a tough SOB. A royal bastard." I said, "Yeah. I know. I can show you scars."