Snow plowing with Dad

9 years ago

To the editor:

My dad worked for the U.S. Government at Loring AFB from 1958 until the base closed in 1994. He worked what was known as “Temporary Winter Over Hire” to supplement the roads and grounds crew in snow removal.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had the opportunity to go to work with him one night. The early part of the shift, I rode in the plow with him and his wing man. Now, these plows weren’t like you see on the highways at all. They were called “Rollover” snow plows mounted on huge Oshkosh trucks with double wings. The reason they were called rollover was because if you were plowing and casting the snow to the right, as we see on the highways, and you needed to save time instead of going back and starting again, you could pull or push a lever in the cab and the whole blade on the front of the truck rolled over so you could go back the other way casting to the left.

A short time later I was able to ride in the big snowblower with the operator. When the plows made a wind row, the snow blower came along and blew it into an unused area so it would be cleaned up in the parking ramp area or on the runway.

After lunch that night, I got to be the wing man for my dad. I learned the proper way to lower the wing and how to roll the plow and when to lift it to roll it as any wing man does when in the plow as the driver has all he can do to drive and run his wing. I was a tad disappointed when at 4 a.m. the night shift ended, but I was glad I got to experience what some young men can only dream about.

I still think back to that night from time to time and miss those days.

Gary Woodworth
Presque Isle