Robert Bucari – Elmendorf AFB

I was stationed at Elmendorf AFB in 1964 when the earthquake occurred. I was in the base BX store when the shelves and light fixtures began to shake violently. Some said it was an earthquake and to get outside. I made it to the parking lot. I saw the parking lot moving in waves that looked like waves on an ocean. The walls of the base gym which was next door were moving back and forth as if they were made of rubber. The corner of the walls stated to come loose and some bricks fell. Someone shouted that it was an act of God because it was Good Friday. One man in the parking lot was trying to grab the door handle of his car but was having difficulty because it was bouncing up and down so much. When it finally stopped I went back to the barracks. The next day I went to work in the hanger where I worked on aircraft. Some of the metal cross beams which supported the roof of the hanger had come loose because the rivets had snapped.


4 thoughts on “Robert Bucari – Elmendorf AFB

  1. I was four years old and lived in a trailer on base I think? My family of five were at home and my mother was fixing breakfast – frying bacon or something and we were watching tv, she had a planetarium that sat on top of the tv and I remember watching it fall to the floor and shatter, which started a chaotic response from all. I remember we were in pj’s and went outside in the yard, snow on the ground and I distinctly remember sitting on my fathers knee watching people running and the earth shaking. I was told much later by my parents that lives were lost and they rushed to fill
    up all the bath tubs with water I guess there were at the point in time problems that
    Could be severe and long lasting without water? I have some pictures of my brothers and myself in hooded-fur rimmed coats and pictures of moose. I also have a pair of earrings- “moose turds” I think as a joke for family back on mainland. My mother and grandmother by themselves drove my brothers and I from Tennessee all the way across the Alaskan highway. I thought that was so very courageous in the 1960s.

    • I also was at the BX, I was 12 years old. With my mom and dad. Watched the flag pole go side to side. Sent from my iPhone


  2. My father was a Master Sergeant and chief of the air traffic control tower at Elmendorf at the time of the quake. My family and I were in the BX when it occurred. My father, older brother and I (I was not quite 4 years old yet) were standing in an aisle and I was in a shopping cart. I can remember the coffee pots were jumping up and down and the shelves. My father told my brother to take me out into the parking lot near the car and wait for him. My Dad went looking for my Mom and sister, found them and went out the back door of the BX near the base gymnasium. My brother staggered with me in the shopping car to the car and waited for my Dad, Mom and sister. In the back of the BX, they saw numbers of men escaping the gym with just towels on, my Dad remembered a telephone pole just beating the heck out of the gym building. They had trouble standing up and stuck in the snow.
    After the quake, we all assembled in the car and my Mom insisted that we do not go back to our home on base housing near the quad and that we just go up into the mountains and wait it out.
    We did that. Long night. Cold. Strange memories from a 3 year old.
    I recall my Mom pushed my Dad to get a transfer out of Alaska. He was successful and in June we were transferred to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, TX.

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