In both 2 1/2 and 5 ton trucks, intermediate axles often broke, usually in the most inopportune circumstances. It usually took minimum of a week to get back on the road. When for example a scheduled supply run did not arrive they were given a day or two window before a search was begun, usually by aircraft. When the truck was located and situation became clear, a replacement axle was sent by truck. How much time depended on how far you were from Benghazi, also known as "Bloomer". Installation usually could be done in a day.
Clumsy party was a 1st order levels party. Camp was equipped with a radio/longue tent, a cook house on a 2/12 ton, sometimes a mechanic, a medic once in a great while, an aircraft or chopper (mostly for the purpose of keeping party members on Non Crew Member Flight Status at $25 extra /month) and sometimes an NCOIC and /or OIC. We also had an ample supply of beer, but no refrigeration. We found that filling a wash tub with Avgas and hovering a helicopter overhead quickly cooled the beer. (Field Expediency).
Daily routine consisted of me (since I was party chief) getting the cook Hank Campbell up at 0300 and the level party up at 0400. We left camp in the dark hoping to get to the end of yesterdays work by sun up. We ran levels until the wind got too strong or heat waves to intense for observation. Usual progress was three miles. We usually busted the 4th mile but often found that entry mistakes had been made (fatigue?) and the forth mile was invariably fixed. Some days we got only one mile because of "distractions"- see photos.
We worked 6 days of the week with Sundays off. Sometimes we visited vacation spots such as Cufra, Swani, Fusano and other 'jet set' locations.
At one point we shared out radio net with an Air Force Mortuary team looking for remains of Lady be Good crew. The AF people were plagued with all sorts of hardships such as broken air condition, sand storms and general mission failure. We shared with them, and the world at large via the net, our deepest sympathy. Some of us paid a social visit to a British Petroleum Exploration team. The members of the team had originally found the Lady be Good and eventually found the crew member remains. NCOIC was Bucky Harris. Lt. Green was OIC when we had one, Don Muldowney was medic, Lewis (five speeds in reverse) Fitzpatrick was the mechanic. Level party was Burke, Hays, Hahn, Gildroy, Arias and I. Dave Duncan was computer.
Around Easter 1961 we closed the line on a monument, packed out gear and headed out of the desert for Iran.
Skiing was a popular sport...
TOPOGRAPHIC TRAINING TEAM
Rudi on the truck, Dan Morrow and Mayzell getting ready to handle the dust.
Jim Kirschenman provided the following information:
The rock outcrop is more than 200 feet high, scale is often hard to determine in the desert. Note the rod man off to the side.
...as was hill climbing. We didn't do it often, and when we did our excuses were accepted because it was, after all, a difficult place to run levels.