Flying Tiger Line
Pilots Association

Cold Bay


Cold bay was a a unique outpost that was involved with Tiger history for many years. The route over the North Pacific to Japan and the orient required a fuel stop. Cold Bay was either loved or loathed by crew members, including one Captain who refused to stop and always found it necessary to over fly and go the extra distance to Anchorage. The weather there was almost always awful, low ceiling and a nasty crosswind most of the time. The ones who loved it tended to be the outdoor type who loved to hunt and fish, as that was about all there was to do. Its sole purpose was to support Tiger flights. Therefore the entire town of Cold Bay was pretty much owned by the Tigers. The multi purpose building that served as Mess Hall where you could order free meals 24 hours a day, some of the favorites being cholesterol laden things like steak and eggs. The mess hall had a bunch of tables and a pool table where there was generally a hot game in progress. Adjoining the dining room was the bar, a small and usually noisy place where as I remember Ralph had a seat belt on his bar stool. Many a hot poker games and I think even a few gun and knife fights began there over the usual Alaska things like Women, of which there were very few in Cold Bay. Next to that was a small general store and about every Tiger flight that arrived in Cold Bay was carrying Company provisions for the store and inhabitants of Cold Bay. Across from the Main facility was the Cold Bay Hilton, a rather dubious Quonset hut with small rooms which the wind blew through on stormy nights. The late night trip of a few yards, after a night at the mess hall could be a dangerous trip as there were generally large brown bears in the vicinity, coming in to raid the garbage. Many an occasion saw them at the mess hall windows and even in the mess hall on a few occasion, from which everyone split in a hurry.

ColdBayDC8TailDuring the Vietnam day's when we were coming back from Japan everyone started buying small Honda motor cycles and leaving them in Cold Bay, The Maintenance hanger was full of them and when you came to town for a few days you had your own transportation. During the summer months there was generally some fish run on and you would find one of the Anderson boy's or Cal reeves and it was of to Russell Creek for some fine Silver or King fishing.

After the CL-44 days you could go all the way from Japan to SFO just stopping for fuel and proceeding on without a two or three day vacation in Cold Bay waiting for the next bird. The good old days were over.

BillyRoweIn the unpressurized nose gear well of the CL-44 was a large shelf that served as a wonderful deep freeze for the transport of frozen salmon and crab for the trip home, keeping things frozen all the way to SFO or Lax.