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Ascension Island

Robin Wheaton

Aria Aircraft 374 had just arrived at Ascension to cover a Titan II mission. Everyone got settled into their rooms and was talking about getting  something to eat at the Volcano Club. Everyone went their own way and the next day Randy Losey and I went and changed the sign on “Red Mountain” to read 374, of course. We went back to our room an changed clothes because of all the red lava rock dust all over them. We then went to Green Mountain to the pond up on the very top. By the time we got back we found out that the mission was delayed for one day so we caught the movie an got a good nights sleep. The next day was when the fun began.

Randy and I woke up and decided to go swimming and snorkeling. We ate breakfast and gathered up our stuff and headed to the water. We played & snorkeled for about three hours not realizing just how sunburned we were getting. By about 2:30 p.m. we headed back to our room to wash all the saltwater grit off and to get something to eat. By the time we finished cleaning up Randy was beginning to feel the effects of the sunburn. We got something to eat and waited for the little store to open so we could get something to put on our sunburned backs. Water blisters had already started to appear on our backs. When the store opened all they had was ponds cold cream. We bought the biggest jar they had and went back to our room to apply it and to get some rest before the mission that night. I went to dinner that night & then went to sleep for a short time. When we got up & put on our flight suits did we ever get a big surprise? Our flight suits really scratched our backs. We took towels to wet for the flight & prayed that we would survive without going crazy. We survived how I don’t know but we did.

Randy was suffering from a mild case of radiation poisoning because he slept most of the day after the mission. Neither of us would go outside except to get something to eat. We ended up talking all night long. The next morning as we got ready to leave we found out how good sound travels in a noiseless building. Our boss Master Sergeant Gil Siefert asked if we planned on getting any sleep on the trip home? Then he mentioned we could forget it because we kept everyone else up last night. So we weren’t going to get any sleep on the way back to Wright-Patterson. It was a long trip but everyone got a little sleep & was very happy to be home again!

Robin Wheaton