Jacob Drake – Elmendorf AFB

Thought I would share my own memories of that event.

Don’t recall what I did that day, but I was almost 8 years old (two weeks later was my birthday) and had the day off from school. My mom had made spaghetti for dinner (uh huh – what a dish to serve then, eh?) and we were eating, since my dad got home from work (Elmendorf AFB – personnel office) just after five. I guess I must have been a fast eater in those days. I was the first one done with dinner and had just gone upstairs (base housing) to brush my teeth, which we did right after eating. With the toothbrush up to my teeth, the building started shaking. My dad got my brother and two sisters out of the house while my mom came upstairs to get me. By the time we got down the stairs (hitting both sides of the stairway the whole way down) and outside, it was over.

What’s weird is that of the three years we spent at Elmendorf, the first year and a half was across the street from the base in an apartment, attending Government Hill School. Just before Christmas of 1963 we were assigned base housing and started attending the government school on base. Had we still been off base we would have had to attend school throughout the summer like all the rest of the kids who could no longer attend GHS, due to the severe damage.

I recall my dad bar-b-qing on the tailgate of our station wagon in the parking lot of base housing. Don’t know why, unless it was the next day and we still couldn’t use the stove/oven inside. He was drinking beer and it was a Saturday, so who knows. He always took any opportunity to be a “good ol’ boy” with the rest of his AF cronies.

Our dog made it out with us. Our cat remained in the basement, but didn’t get even a scratch on him.

Jacob Drake, Olympia, WA