Getting To Know You

Bob Spiwak

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I was born on November 29th 1931 in a very small town in Connecticut called Moodus. The name Moodus derives from Machemoodus, a Wangunk Indian name meaning "place of noises." The Wangunk created a religion around the noises, believing that the area was the dwelling place of Hobbamock, a vengeful god angered that the Europeans had come to Connecticut. Colonial settlers attributed the noises to fights between the black magic witches of Haddam and the white magic witches of Moodus. The noises are heard frequently and come from the local caves. I quit high school at age 16 and started working in a lampshade factory. After about three years, in April 1951, I joined the Air Force took basic training at Sampson AFB in New York, and went to Scott AFB as a private first class to study radio repair. I was then assigned to Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Texas as a corporal to await a clearance and assignment to a radio security squadron. At this time the Army Air Force was becoming the United States Air Force and while waiting for my clearance I, like many others, was "demoted" from corporal (which was an NCO rank) to A2C (which wasn't) and I started taking turns at KP. We were provided with olive drab uniforms during Basic Training and later got Air Force blue uniforms, I still had my old Army uniform when I was discharged in 1955. I finally got assigned to the 136th CSS Detachment 12. Here are a couple of pictures from that time.


 me at sampson

May 1951 Sampson AFB, NY.

Olive drab Ike Jacket Army uniform. Before the blue

Air Force uniforms were issued.


Local newspaper. May 1951

USAF 3334th  Student SQDN. Radio Repair School graduating  class. Scott AFB.
Back Row: Chuck Edson (Instructor), Percy Roberts, Robinson, Barrett, Bobby Minaert, John Kroph.
Middle Row: Bob Spiwak, Burns, Joe Foelker, Ben Davis, Meyer Weiss.
Front Row: J. P. Hanson, Frede, Monk Hanson, Dawson.


3334th  Student SQDN. Radio Repair School.  Nov. 1951

Scott AFB, Illinois

Bob Spiwak

Beer party behind Detachment 12 Dec. 12 1952

Same beer party

Major Krula, S/Sgt. Bohac, S/Sgt. Pierce, S/Sgt. Lemons, Lt. Wilson

Kneeling: S/Sgt. Fletcher, T/Sgt. Burns

Guys in the back left corner are unknown

For about the next six months I was responsible for radio repair and taught a class in basic electronics. At the end of 1952 I was assigned to the 136th CSS Det. 6 in Moriyama-cho, outside of Nagoya, Japan. I "shipped" (I thought I had joined the Air Force) out of California at the end of January 1953. In Yokohama, Japan I met Ed Harrop (coming for his second tour). We left for Nagoya but due to bad weather we flew to Taegu, Korea then Miho, Japan and finally took a train to Nagoya. Here are a couple of reminders of Moriyama:

Entrance to Moriyama-cho Compound, 18 March 1953

Billets at Moriyama Det 6 136 CSS, 18 March 1953

By April 1 1953 I was at K55 Osan, Korea replacing Iving Moody at Det. 6. We lived in tents and the radios were in huts on the backs of 6Xs until our Quonset huts were built. T/Sgt. Hayes and later T/Sgt. Brown was in command of Detachment 6. We shared Hill 170 with C Battery of the 398th AAA, which had 40mm and 50 cal. antiaircraft guns. We also ate in their mess.

K55 Osan, Korea April 1953




New Quonset and Guard tower May 1953

We had some great vehicles in Korea. Our personal carrier would only go up our hill backwards due to a pinhole in the fuel line. The fuel tank had to be above the carburetor. Our jeep lost a front left wheel so John Fox, Emil Wilson and I took a bottle of booze to the motor pool sergeant and we swapped hoods (they had the serial numbers) with a working jeep.

Brown taking over from Hayes July 4, 1953






We also had a bit of fun at K55, such as this Hot Dog Roast.

Rhodes, Boyle (standing), Kon (houseboy), Norbert J. Prylinski (Ski) and Kendall Ropp


Who remembers the night that our fifty kilowatt diesel generator ran away? We were playing cards when the lights started to get brighter and brighter and then went out. We all ran outside to watch the generator run faster and faster until the engine head began to glow red. The fuel injectors failed. No one wanted to get close to it for fear it would blow up. Finally T/Sgt. Hayes, using a long stick was able to pull the fuel hose from the diesel barrel. A few minutes later the generator gave out a loud shriek and died. It boiled out all 20 something gallons of water from the radiator.



During my stay in Korea word came that our billets had burned to the ground. Lucky for me all of my civilian clothes and most of my dress uniforms were in storage. Click on ""136th CSS "Det 12", "Det 6" & "Det 6 Sec 1" 1952-1954"" on my home page to see more photos of the fire.

I made A1/c and after my return to Japan in November I started working with these guys:

Anderson, Kobuchi, Me, Orval Krul, Irving Moody

In December 1953 we flew to Yokoda Air Base on a mission to monitor some Air Force nets. The plane was flown by "Rapid" Robert Reckner our CO. Rapid was his MARS amateur radio handle. On our way we flew past Mount Fugi in our C-47. Unfortunately we recorded everything using 60 cycle recorders not knowing the power at Yokoda, Japan was at 50 cycles. Upon our return to Moriyama we found the tapes unreadable. But it was a fun trip.

The above photo was taken at Yokoda showing a WWII Japanese Kamikaze plane.

Photo of Wayne Hamel with Japanese Kamikaze plane. Yokoda, Japan Dec. 1953

Japanese WW2 "Tony" a copy of our P51 at Yokoda, Japan Dec. 1953.



My next job was to run the Moriyama club, which served steak dinners, hamburgers, beer, free coffee etc. I ran the club until I went stateside in late summer of 1954. A lot of beer was consumed in that club. These were about the best nine months in my Air Force career.

Sato and I behind the bar.

The Nagoya Airmans Club had darkroom facilities so I got interested in developing my own photos. The following few pictutes show the results.

John Charles Cameron, Denis Houston, Bob Spiwak and Raymond Fuchs 1954.

Virgil Ashford 1954


Joe Gifford Clerk/Typist, Moriyama 1954

Left Japan in September of 1954

First sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, California. About 6:00 AM 1954

East side of the Golden Gate Bridge after passing under it. 1954

Barracks and operations of the 26th RSM March AB Riverside, California

I spend my last six months in the Air Force at the 26th Radio Squadron Mobile at March Air Force Base, California. I was discharged on April 5th 1955.

Using the GI Bill I attended the Ward School of Electronics at the University of Hartford. In 1957, after graduation I joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey as a technical aide. In September 1957 I married Carol Anderson and we began a family, which after 49 years consists of four children and twelve grandchildren. I retired from Bell Labs in 1995 as a Member of the Technical Staff. Since retirement we spend our time in Basking Ridge, NJ. Carol is involved in the St. James choir and I am a volunteer driver for the church. I play a little golf, fish and ski and like going to watch the NJ Devils hockey team. We attend the NJ Symphony several times a year. We bought a lake front lot in Maine about 30 years ago and in 1995 built a small cabin on it. So we try to spend as much time there as we can.

Our wedding day September 21, 1957

Bob Spiwak