If you would like a full-size copy of the original file, or discuss any of these pictures, please contact the original donor as I do not have the copyright to any of them.
October, 1978 image of the new GSH-135 communications console in Bentwaters Tower. The old console had, by rumor, been around since the late 1940's. It certainly looked like it could have been wartime vintage. I don't remember the exact date of installation, but the console looks very new in this image. The field lighting console was WWII vintage, perhaps even older. There was a taxiway road which crossed midfield and which had a traffic light that was controlled in the tower. To remind the controller that the signal was switched to allow ground traffic to cross the runway (not a good idea if aircraft were landing or departing), a peanut butter jar lid was typically used to cover up the wind indicator.
RAF Bentwaters Control Tower, proudly proclaiming the field elevation of 86' Above Mean Sea Level. This image is looking southeast, to the best of my recollection. The weather observer occupied the floor directly beneath the tower, which is deceptively marked "Base Ops," and the Base Operation office was actually the second floor. The fog was so thick at times that during the day, the wind sock pole, even when lit, was not visible from the tower catwalk. I have saved an old weather report noting "WOXOF," which translated means, "vertical visibility 0, sky obscured, visibility 0, fog." These weren't that rare. Shot May, 1978...so I guess that I arrived in September, 1977.
Controllers at work in Bentwaters Tower, circa 1978. The controllers on the phone, in the foreground, is Airman First Class Greg Labuda. The seated individual behind Greg is Bill Mooney, who was responsible for behavioral rumors for many years to come-he was quite a maverick.
Master Sergeant Woodrum was a very popular, friendly supervisory player during the late 1970's. He had cross-trained to Air Traffic Control. This shot is looking southeast toward the hardened A-10 hangars, and the runway-in-use indicator (very high-tech) is obvious-Runway 25. This shot is dated September, 1979.
Leo later emailed that he believes this is STEVE WOODRUM. Anybody confirm or deny this? 5 Feb 99.
The individual in the center of the photo is Staff Sergeant Bennie J. Wells, who was my original trainer in the air traffic control industry. That's Master Sergeant Woodrum behind him. The young lady facing away from the camera is unknown. This image was shot looking east, and the flight line fire department complex is just visible over Bennie's head. The image is dated September, 1979. Converted to black and white because of what 20 years and flourescent lighting had done to consumer Ektachrome.
Again, looking east out of Bentwaters Tower in September, 1979. Staff Sergeant Bennie J. Wells is seated in the middle, working the Flight Data position. Staff Sergeant Bill Mooney is standing, evidently begging for lunch money. Master Sergeant Steve(?) Woodrum is standing behind the young lady from the last photo, evidently training her in the Ground Control position. Seated behind Bill Mooney is a Senior Master Sergeant whose name I cannot recall, but who was the Chief Controller following Senior Master Sergeant Phil Farnsworth's departure. Seated on the raised chair to the left of the frame is the SOF, or Supervisor Of Flying, who was actually a pilot stationed in the tower (they rotated daily) for technical emergency response aid.
Newly promoted Brigadier General Rudolph Wacker, Commander of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, is at left of the frame. Also joining the party are Major Ralph Wright, Chief of Air Traffic Control Operations (right of frame), Staff Sergeant Bill Mooney playing the saxophone, and Technical Sergeant Ivan Barker (a control tower supervisor) on guitar. Believe it or not, this is actually not a photo of them, but of a festival in Ipswich one year... I can't really remember what. But I had you fooled, eh?!
Yes, Leo, I was fooled, but why wouldn't it be those you mention?
Open House activities at Bentwaters in 1979, probably during September.
There is a single A-10 Warthog on low approach at the left of the frame,
and two tanks parked to the opposite side of the runway between the tower
and the nearest hardened hangar, leading me to believe they're simulating
a tank attack.
This shot is looking southeast toward RAF Woodbridge. Converted to black and white (reasons above).
I had trouble deciding to forward this or not - I believe the airfield was closed for whatever reason. Staff Sergeant Bill Mooney, to the left of the frame, is in "civvies," as I may have been, and our guest, a local motorcycle enthusiast (whose name I cannot remember, but who was very well liked), had introduced Budweiser to the tower. Note too the television in the lower right of the frame. Again, the coversion to black and white is made because of the poor quality of the original slide.
As in the first image, this appears to be the very new GSH-135 console just after installation. Note the airfield model on the console, which was used to indicate which airfield lights were on. October, 1978.