Interview With Robert J. Clouse

From the interview with Robert J. Clouse of Port Townsend, WA conducted by Hazel Hatfield at the Fort Worden History Center on March 6, 2003.  Mr. Clouse served in the U.S. Army 513th Missile Battalion at Fort Worden during the Cold War Era from 1956 to 1958  and later worked at the Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center.  In this part of the interview, he describes his military service.  Mr. Clouse died in 2005.

“At that time there were two mine sweeps here in Fort Worden, the USS Redhead and the USS Elder, they were anchored at the dock.  There were about 80 sailors up on top of the hill called the Harbor Defense Unit, and there was a detachment of Marines over on Indian Island, also five to seven guys in the Air Force who were in the radio relay station up at the top of the hill.  The Army didn’t have a mess hall, so they gave us a subsistence pay of $77.10 and we ate downtown.  The Navy had liberty runs going downtown all the time and we just rode with them or would catch a ride with several of the guys who had vehicles. We were radar operators.  We ran a scope.  When we worked we were in a shack on top of Fort Worden.  We actually lived in the bunkers originally, then we were housed with the Navy.  The Army lived on one side of the house and the Navy was on the other side.  We lived in a huge house—there were two of them that were later torn down.  We worked two guys at a time, and we also had generator technicians because we ran huge generators. There were also three sergeants.  The total Army here then was 15 or 16.  We would rate for 24 hours and we would be on surveillance where you’re actually watching the scope for 16 hours. A Tipsy Dog Radar (AN/TPS I D) not only can pick the planes out of the sky, it can pick ships coming through the Straits.  That was the importance of the Tipsy Dog.  It is probably the same thing that the Air Force has out at Makah now.  The machinery was in the bunker, but upstairs all we had was an old generator shack and a little shack, because while you were on the scope your buddy was sleeping.  You took turns watching the scope.  You worked like a fireman—when you worked, you worked 24 hours straight through and then you were off for three days. “

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