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Craig Stoa

MSR, PAR, Cavalier Air Force Station

6 September 2016

Guestbook Entry

Note: Obituary links open in a new window. <$

I would like to add to the comments made by many others about working at the MSR and at the PAR site. Forgive me if I misspelled people names or had not included various names. Numerous USAF personnel came and went through the years and their names and ranks can not be readily recalled but over all glad to have worked with them. The years went by and many people came and went. I can say that it was good knowing them all and having worked with them.

Started working at the MSR Site for Napoleon Steel in 1970 and retired in June 2013 from the PAR Site or as it is called now as the Cavalier Air Station. I can remember the "bumper to bumper" traffic caravan from Langdon to the MSR Site in the early morning rush and made driving in Minneapolis look easy. Later on the drive was from Langdon to the PAR Site starting in Oct 1972 working for Pan American World Airways and in 1977, I became a "shift" worker working 7 days on a rotating shift. I can most certainly recall driving in some terrible storms during the Winter months and dreaded going through the lake bottom flats East of Langdon during the night ( and for that matter during the day as well ) when it was snowing and blowing. One night I found myself almost going into the ditch 3 times in a short distance. It was called white knuckle driving.

Another memory recalled around 1973 was a morning drive to work from Langdon to the PAR Site. It had snowed through the night and there was about 3 inches of new wet snow on the highway. I was driving and was about 2 miles from the "old" highway going down Hanks Corner. All of a sudden we heard what sounded like a metallic noise coming from underneath the car. My brother asked me what that was and I said I didn’t know. So got to work and my brother drove the car to the PAR Bldg parking lot to plug in the car for the day. Later that day at quitting time I waited for my brother to pull up with the car. About 15 minutes later had past and my brother walks in and I asked him where the car was and he says the right front wheel fell off the car. Couldn’t believe it. So how was your day!

During the years I worked there particularly from 1977 and later brings back memories of the Cold War and the roles we participated in the defense of the US. The Space Track mission became as it progressed from the initial software version to its present capability is quite a story. I don’t think most of the Western Electric / IBM / Bell Laboratories people working there then had any inkling of how sophisticated the Spacetrack mission would become. But that is another story by its self.

There was an endeavor for the PAR Site being expanded and it was called EPARCS. The software was almost finalized and it was about two weeks from being completed when the program was terminated. It was an interesting time when this was being put in place.

My story starts in 1970 when I finished school at Wahpeton, North Dakota State School of Science with my primary that of computer programming. The early Summer of 1970 greeted my work prospects at being zero as a large group of computer programmers were laid off by a large manufacturing firm in the Midwest. I ended up getting a job working for Napoleon Steel at the MSR Site. I was in charge of payroll and processed the data for creating checks, federal and state withholding taxes, etc.

A highlight from the construction of the MSR Building was the finishing section of the turret for the "pyramid". Here I can remember that a large number of people were observing the placement of huge thick rebars being positioned for a cad weld. So the "fuse" was lit and the cad weld process began I believe on four separate sections of rebar. Napoleon Steel let it cook I think it was 2 days before they opened up the collars to view the cad welding that took place. They all were successful and the placement of additional smaller rebars was undertaken in preparation for concrete to be poured.

The people I remembered that worked for Napoleon Steel included:

Kent Larson - Project Manager
"Stub" Auck
George ?
Lewis Pontekis
Ann Thomas
Bob Moore
Bud Buchanan
Jerry Smith
Jim Anderson
Barry Thorfinnson
Some of the iron workers included the Poitra’s group… Harry being one of the group

My next job took me to the PAR Site where I worked in material receival for Pan American World Airways. I was "loaned" to Western Electric Company and was assigned the job of maintaining the field change effort.
While there I worked with the following Pan American people which included:

John Morris
Paul Fitzpatrick
Al Barron
Shelly Ottem
Roxie Vondal
Linda Nordstrom
Larry Meinke
Del Domres
Bill Farren
Dale Fontaine
Lonna ?
Nancy Lawson

and the local Pan American World Airways booking agent for Pan Am flights was
Mary Schindele

Mary booked and made arrangements for a trip for me to the Far East and it was a trip of a lifetime. She did a superb job in booking the flights and hotel.

and two Western Electric material receival inspectors:
Bill ? and Russ Larson

The Western Electric Group that I worked with included:
Glenn Ryan
Ken Burton
Jim Priske
Floyd Eggleston
Boyd Davis

From this job I was relocated to the PAR Building and worked in the Repair Parts department and the Repair and Rebuild Program with these Western Electric Company personnel :

Dan Strickland
Nancy Martin
Tony Kelly
and in Greensboro, NC were:
J D Woods ( Woody )
C C Reid <$
and in TMRC with these WECo personnel:
Bill Kornelis
Tom King
Jim Edwards
E. J. Wolfe ( Ed Wolfe )
Jerry Hockmier
Herb Storie (Obituary) <$
Jim Carr ( Jim appears for a brief time on a video I think is found somewhere on this website )
Dick Allen
Sam Freshour
Russ ?
Ron Derringer

The Pan American World Airways people included:
Jack Ottem
Delores ?
Bonnie DeMers
Mrs. Pollard - TMRC
Mary Forward - TMRC
Mary Jo Pollard
Pat Roth - TMRC

My next job was working in the Data Management area and worked with these Western Electric Company personnel:
George Grasso
Bill ?
Ginger Harris

Next job was assigned as a Communications Clerk and worked with the following Western Electric Company personnel:
Will Carter
Fidel Galindo

and the Pan American World Airways people included:
Shelia Lorenz
Cheryl Pengilly
Wally Stevens
Tom Charbonneau (Obituary) <$

Next was my job working on the EPARCS Project. I was trained to work on creating and installing patches for the software loads in conjunction with working with Bell Telephone Laboratories in Whippany, NJ and worked with these Western Electric Company people:

S M F Healey
Barb Kloss

and Harry Mauer and Bud Farris Western Electric Company at the PAR Site who trained me

and I worked with
Dale Fleming
Jean LaVang
and we were "on Loan" to Western Electric / Bell Labs

My next job was being assigned as a computer operator and later I became a Data Processing Maintenance Director. This was my job when I left in June 2013. Some of the Western Electric Company personnel included:
Bill Mraz - ( Bill I believe wrote a book entitled An Electrifying Journey and included a number of pages devoted to the PAR Site )
Bob Kimmel
"Mac" McGurvan
Jerry McManamen
Jim Quinn (Deceased) <$
Joe Kosmos
Ken Weaver ( K O Weaver ) ( Ken and Noel Laxdal appear in a brief video found on this web site )
Lee Eastburn
Mel Droege
Bob ?
Hank Loge
Howard Hove
Gordon Weeks
Chuck Henley
Ted Lanning
Jim Shores
Dick Merrick
Cliff Schneider
Bill Barnett
Tom McKenzie
Gene Gardner
Lenny Sunshine ( from NJ )
Dwight Satermo ( Dwight later came back to work at the PAR site and was in charge of the software group and brought his expertise and know how to further re-establish the knowledge and capability of the software group }

and later personnel that worked in Data Processing at the PAR Site:

Anna Schoenheit
Faye Best
Noel Laxdal ( Noel appears for a brief time along with KO Weaver in one of the videos on this website )
Virgil Burr
Curt Schweitzer (Obituary) <$
Susan Benko
Debbie Light
Valerie Nagel
Jeff Day
Rich Moos
Denise Riel
Brian Danielson
Bruce Olson
Cam Turner
Terry Busse (Obituary) <$
Scott Ashpole
Rodger Hartz
Dave Disher
Wade Klindt
Jean Covert

System Analyst:
Brian Kennelly

and some Radar personnel:
Tim Devine
Vic Bachman (Obituary) <$
Dave Theroux
Jerry Davidson
Bob Thomas
Carl Ghodes
Kevin Berg
Jerry Ulvog
Jerry Anderson
Ron Gemmill
Rich Goodman
Neil Dame
Jeff Vikan
and some of the General Electric personnel ( up to Fall of 1977 ) were:
Vince Merrill
Bill Benko <$
Don Strader
Ken Driver
Theodore (Ted) Wege (Obituary) <$

Former personnel who have passed: <$

Larry Frieson (Obituary)

Rodney Byron (Obituary)

Lloyd Sauer (Obituary)

Betty Christianson (Obituary)

Lloyd Johnston (Obituary)

This is the end of my thoughts and thus I had worked for Pan American World Airways, ITT FSI, ITT FSC, ITT FEC, Raytheon, Planning Research Corporation, SAI, Mason & Hanger Corporation, and BAE Systems.

If there are any future tours of the PAR Building it might be an eye opener to go and see the modifications done to the PAR Data Processing area. if you had seen the original recording room you will be surprised to learn what replaced it!

Craig Stoa
Langdon North Dakota 06 SEPT 2016

An Electrifying Journey by William L. Mraz

AT&T Archives : A 20-Year History of Antiballistic Missile Systems
Aug 8, 2011 - A 1975 film tracing two decades of US missile defense systems, and ... on by Western Electric and Bell Labs in conjunction with the U.S. Army: the ABM studies, Nike Zeus, Nike-X, Sentinel, and Safeguard. ... at Cheyenne Mountain, PAR antennas and console operations, and the BDMC's link with NORAD.

This link here ( ) provides a number of pictures and some articles pertaining to the Safeguard System - MSR site and PAR Site.

Here is a link ( ) for additional info on the MSR Site and PAR Site.

Here is another link ( ).

Virtual Reality tour of the MSR -

SRMSC Virtual Tour

Cavalier County Republican Article

Here are some links related to the MSR -

The Abandoned Pyramid of North Dakota

An American pyramid

America's Pyramid

A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere