Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nights in the TDC Building

One of my earliest posts to this blog was about pulling watch duty at USTDC.  During normal duty hours, the Master at Arms sat behind the "glass cage" in the lobby, which was referred to as the quarterdeck.  We Air Force people had no idea what a quarterdeck actually was but at least we knew what they were talking about.  To the left is my very poor sketch of how I remember the area.  You're looking down from just above the main entrance and that would be the chief's cage directly ahead with the stairs to the second floor just to the right of it.  The J-1s office was to the left.  I don't remember there being an office on the right side, across from the J-1.

BMC Gagne spent his days there on the quarterdeck during most of my tour and he departed not long before I did in 1974.  I don't recall whether he was reassigned elsewhere or retired.

During evenings, weekends and whenever the chief had to be somewhere else, the quarterdeck was staffed by other available enlisted people, I think in grades E-4 through E-6.  Certain shops were exempt from the duty, but I believe that all of us in J-1 were scheduled for it.

The reason I'm writing about this again is that I just remembered one of the duties of the watch that I'd long forgotten about.  I may not have the times right, but I believe that somewhere around 8:00 PM (2000 hours; eight bells), we came out of the cage, took a right down the hall to where it hooked to the left and continued on to the other front entrance door.  We locked that door and then pulled down a steel overhead door.  At about 10:00 PM (2200 hours; four bells) we did the same thing back at the main entrance.  At some specified time the next morning, we raised the steel doors and unlocked the entrance doors for the new day.

Okay, so maybe none of this is of any interest to anybody but me, but I can still hear the clatter of those doors echoing up and down the deserted hallways of TDC late at night so I guess it's still part of the history of the place.

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