William Ziesemer

I was stationed at Elmendorf during the earthquake as an Air Policeman. I still remember when the quake happened. We were in the basement floor of the air police headquarters when the wooden building began to shake. One airman said a bomb, while a couple of others said earthquake. We ran out of the building and hung on to the wire mesh fence across the street. The road looked like waves in the ocean. All of the air police trucks looked like they were dancing as they were bouncing up and down. A bunch of us ran and put the emergency brakes on and that helped stop the moving. Then a staff sergeant told me to go into the building and search for injured. The building was still swaying, but I checked every room. Everybody had gotten out. It was a long day, as I was up at 5 am and worked one of the gates on base. Then I was on the swat team, if that is what you want to call it. Ten airman had to be on call after our shift. What a long night, they put me at the bank guarding it along with the bank workers. The next morning we drove around the base looking for more injured. I finally got to bed and 4 pm.

What I still remember is one airman took his sleeping bag and stayed by the front door on the first floor. His room was on the third floor. About a week later, I had the top bunk, we had an after shock. The wall began to crack and the crack went all the way down the wall. My roommate and I headed for the door. By that time in shock quit. I was not able to call home until Sunday, as the only information out was by ham radio. I was working in the Alaska Air Command Headquarters, checking ID, as the place was busy on Sunday. This First Lt, asked me if I called home yet. He let me use the phone to call my parents.