I arrived at Dreux Air Base in July or August 1962. I was
stationed at RAF Chelveston England, home of the 42nd Tactical
Reconnaissance Squadron and one wing of the 10th tactical
reconnaissance Wing. These Squadrons were moved to other bases
so Chelveston was fazed down. In answer to your
Just what was the foam fire retardant composed of ?==
Protein based, animal blood, it came in 5 gallon drums we had 2 crash trucks 1 O11B and 1 O11A they had a 1,000 gallon water tank with a 100 gallon bladder which held the Foam retardant. The water and foam mixed at the Nozzles Turrets mounted on top of the trucks. The O11B had one Turret and the O11A had two Turrets. These trucks held a crew of 5. A driver, turret operator, crew chief, and 2 hand line men. I was a hand line men in England. We worked 24 on and 24 off with 3 days off a month which was called a Kelly Day. We would pull 2 to 4 hour shifts on line standby when aircraft were flying. When I got to Dreux I was assigned as a driver and pump operator on a 011B crash truck and driver pump operator on a 530B structural fire truck. At Dreux we ran a 4 man crew on each truck, Driver/pump operator, Crew Chief, and 2 hand line men. The hand line men were French men.
How many sliding poles were there in the upstairs quarters ?
We believe there could have been five, from the pictures showing the upstairs decaying damage we have been sent ==
I remember at least 3 maybe 4.
Did you guys wash your fire trucks at the wash rack located between the main hanger & the fire department ? When Dreux had aircraft this was used to wash the C-119's==
We washed the trucks at the Fire Dept.
How many Airmen were there in the fire dept when you were there ? How many Frenchmen worked with you .==
I think about 14 or 15 Airman. 2 NCOsí( Staff Sgtís) and
a Fire Chief (Tech Sgt.). We had about 6 French men Muton,
Peppy,Corramenus, Glouvard, and two younger Frenchmen Michel & ?
and one in charge of them who spoke English his name was Massy.
The Airmen lived in the rooms above the truck stall. We had a small kitchen and eating area, a shower bath room and a laundry room. There was a long hallway which ended at the day room at the end of the building. The fire poles were in the hallway with large rooms on each side of the hallway. We divided the larger rooms up into smaller 2 men rooms using lockers as dividers. We got very little sleep as the trucks were right below us so when you got off your 24 hr shift it was very hard to sleep.
Did you guys go off base to fight local fires==
yes but mainly grass fires in farmers fields. The trucks had French Sirens on them, you may remember how they sounded.
Was the base main mess hall open for you guys ? ===
Yes but we ate all our meals at the station, We had a Chow
runner who would pick up our meals at the mess hall and bring
them back to the station. Christmas and Thanksgiving we would
eat in the mess hall. Right before I left in 1965 we were moved
to barracks,so when we were off duty we ate at the mess hall.
Was there still a Transient Alert office found in the main hanger (?)==
With no aircraft based at Dreux, did the rotating green light beacon at the control tower, still operate at night ==
I donít think so. We did have planes that would land there at times and if they came in at night we would turn on the runway lights, and there would be someone in the control tower.
Did you know the last Dreux Air Base commander a 1st Lt. Davis==
Chuck followed up with questions about
the Officer's Club fire.
We got the alarm late at night or early in the morning, We rolled three pumper trucks. My bunk mate Leo Cervati took the 530B. Not sure who took the 530A, I was assigned to drive the 530B but the assistant chief said to roll 3 trucks so I took the 750A which was normally not used because it was a bitch to drive. Charles Gender and Bobby Lazenby road tailboard on the 750. When we got there the club was engulfed in flames. The fired started in the kitchen area if I remember right. The fire was so hot that the money in the slot machines melted into a ball if silver !! Now for a good story . The fire hoseís were charged with water and were laying across the street. Who comes driving up but the Base Commander. His driver wants to drive over the hose. I tell him no he canít driver over the hose. He says donít you know this is the Base Commander. I replied I know but you canít drive over the hose. About than the Commander rolls down the window and asks whatís wrong. I said Sir the hoseís are charged with water and if you drive over them they might collapse. I told him we did have block ramps on the truck that I could get off the truck but it would take me awhile to get them set up. His response to me was thatís ok you have other things to worry about. They did not drive over the hose. Later that morning we had all the hose we had hanging up to dry. The chief asked who would volunteer to go to our sister base at Evreux and get some dry hose to load our trucks with. I said I would. On the way to Evreux I started thinking about what went down. Holy crap I gave the Base Commander a order and he obeyed it. I thought thank God I had my bunkers on so he did not know my rank Airman 2 class. I never told anyone and I never heard anything about it!
Look at the building of Dreux pictures album & you'll see
it being built, an inside shot. The officers then began to use the NCO
club we heard. Where was the barracks you moved into after you left
the fire station ? Could it have been behind the NCO club ? We have a
list of barracks numbers and we can locate just which one you went to
by your answer. See attachment picture The more info we receive from
former Dreux folks the more stories we can piece together to put on
the web-site. Was the Army MP's also doing gate guard duty ? Some have
said they were ?
Yes there were Army APís at the gate. One of the them was a good friend of mine, Canít remember his name but he was from Alabama. He would let us Fireman pass through the gate if we got late coming back from the EC.
What state do you live in ?