My Story
By Larry Freimuth

Early Life

Ketchikan Location

I was born in Spokane WA in 1934. My father was a flight instructor. When I was nine, my father got a job as a bush pilot for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Ketchikan Alaska. Ketchikan is one of the rainiest towns in North America. The annual rainfall often exceeds 175in/yr. In the summer tourists would come to town and ask "Does it always rain like this?" We would reply "No, in the winter it snows!" The population of the town was about 4000. We lived on the edge of town and deer and bear often came into our yard.

Ketchikan from the Air

The high school had about 400 students. These were happy days for me. I still am in close contact with many people from high school. I belonged to the Air Scouts which was a big deal then. We threw dances had parties and many fun things. We restored a small plane and took flying lessons. In the summer we worked for Ellis Airlines. We did everything from cleaning planes to engine maintenance. Ellis Airlines eventually merged with Alaska Coastal Airlines to form Alaska Airlines. The Ariel photo shows the airport that was built on the adjacent island. It is served effectively by a ferry every fifteen minutes. There was a plan to build a highway 3.5 miles south to a place where a bridge almost as big as the Golden Gate bridge was to be built to the town.

Main Street and Federal Building
Fortunately it got defunded. It was called "The Bridge to Nowhere" The highway got built at the cost of several million dollars. It is never used. It's called "The Highway to nowhere." The FWS sent us to Juneau for two years and then back to Ketchikan. I remember ice skating on the frozen lake in front of the Mendenhall glacier outside of Juneau.
Air Force

After high school, I left Alaska and went to the lower 48 and joined the Air Force. The Air Force sent me to Lackland AFB in Texas for Basic Training. It was really easy.

Home, Sweet, Home

We were to go camping one night in a vacant lot across from the barracks, but rain was forecast so they sent us back to the barracks. I couldn't stop laughing. In Alaska when we went camping it was almost always raining. Of course we would always take a rifle with us in case of a bear attack. After Basic I was sent to Airborne Electronics Tech School at Scott AFB Il.

Doing Paris

This was one of the best things that ever happened to me. The education I got served me well all my life. I graduated third out of a class of 100. I was supposed to get first choice of assignments, so I asked for anywhere in Europe. I was assigned to Williams AFB in Chandler Az. Not what I hoped for. Willy air patch as we called it, was a fighter pilot training base. We had T-28s, T-33s. F-86C,D,&K. It was interesting work and I enjoyed it, but I still wanted to go to Europe. When a chance came up to go to APO 84 came up, where ever that is, I volunteered and a month later I arrived in beautiful Paris. At Dreux AFB I was assigned to barracks Bldg. 163, corner of California and Florida Avs. For the first few months I got assigned to projects outside of my AFSC.

Home, Sweet, Home

I handed out aircraft modification kits for a while and then laid cinder blocks for add-ons to the NCO and officers trailers. I finally was assigned to the electronics shop repairing equipment. I liked it. It was a good learning experience. Dreux was kind of a slow base. We worked 8 to 5, Five days a week and the rest of the time we had free. My favorite hang-out in Paris was a bar named Le Touquet. It was on Rue Jean Mermoz near Place FDR, just off the Champs Elysee. I met a beautiful young French girl and we soon had a serious relationship. We got married and moved into the Chateau de La Barre. A copy the Dreux Review under my name in Memories of Dreux describes it. It wasn't as primitive as the article implies.

Guess Where.

Civilian Life

In Sept of '58 I was discharged and we moved to California. I got a job with North American Aviation working on the X-15 experimental rocket plane at Edwards AFB. But after two years my wife missed city life after having come from Paris, so we moved to Los Angeles. I got a job with a company involved in electronics intelligence for classified government agencies. The work was secret. I got to travel a great deal I really enjoyed the work and did it for more than fifteen years. I guess all the traveling took a toll on my marriage and we divorced. The company that I was working for sent me to London for two years as the company's European technical expert. I traveled a great deal all over Europe. In London I met an Israeli lady and we started a relationship. I returned to the states and she soon joined me and we got married. We moved to San Jose where I worked as an international consultant in technology. Mostly I designed the wiring systems in commercial buildings for computers from the wall jack to the data center design. I did a lot of buildings for Cisco. One of ,my last projects before retiring was a 7,000,000 sq. ft. finance and trade center in Beijing China.

Retired Life

Larry Today

Lost City of Petra

I am retired now. We travel a lot including several trips to Israel. I have been all over the old city and I don't need a map there anymore. I went swimming in the Dead Sea, and went into Jordan to visit the lost city of Petra. It was fascinating Now I am just enjoying my retirement.

Larry as he would look if he had stayed in Alaske