From the interview with Harold P. Aden of West St. Paul, MN conducted by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on November 4, 2004 by John Clise. Mr. Aden served in the US Army 369th Engineers as a truck driver in the motor pool during the Korean War. Most of his time was spent at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island and at Camp Desert Rock, NV. Here he discusses his time in the Army:
“We stayed on Fort Flagler on the island. We got there in about March 1951, we stayed there til about November of 1951. Then we went down to Camp Desert Rock in Nevada where they had the bomb testing sites. We stayed down there til June of ’52, then they shipped us back to Fort Flagler and we stayed there the rest of my two years in the service. …We did go down to Coronado in San Diego for a month, maneuvers, before we got out of the service. …At one time we did take a bunch of men down to Yakima, Washington, for a machine gun range they had down there. I didn’t participate in the machine gun firing or anything. I just drove the truck down there and then we just kind of goofed off all day for two weeks. I had it pretty easy in the motor pool.
…I think the only stress we had was the morning we were in Camp Desert Rock in the foxhole waiting for the atomic bomb to go off. It was kind of scary. We didn’t (have any special glasses), we just kept our heads down in the foxhole. I forget how it was, but first you hear the noise and then you feel the shock and then the lights. It was quite a spectacular thing.
We were down there putting up Butler buildings and so forth because we were in the Engineers. About every month they would ship in a bunch of new service people to watch these atomic bombs.
At Fort Flagler, I just kind of went up to the motor pool and I think we were always done at 3:30 or 4:000 in the afternoon and then we’d go back to the barracks and have our chow. We had our movie theater there and the beer hall, of course. There was a USO Club across the parade ground. Occasionally we went on pass. We’d go to Port Townsend, and if we got a three day pass we might go to Port Angeles. One time we went up to Vancouver, Canada….Our main way of getting over to Port Townsend and back was riding the M-boats.”