by Jack Romney
Introduction & Foreword
|Editor’s Introduction: It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to share this special story with our RB-29.net web site audience. Jack Romney is the source of two other stories currently in our files. One is entitled “Men share tales of reconnaissance missions” and the other is entitled “Was This The First USAF In-flight Refueling Mission In Combat?“. This story “A Night on Antelope Island” is unique from the other two as it involves a most hazardous event involving circumstances stemming from an RB-29 training mission in the United States in September of 1949. Thanks for sharing this with us Jack.
Foreword: This is the account of how two young Air Force officers came to meet and in a few hours spend the night camping out on Antelope Island, an island in the Great Salt Lake of Utah.
Antelope island is one of the peaks of the Oquirrh Mountains that were largely submerged when the Great Salt Lake was formed. It is five miles wide, and fifteen miles long, the long axis being approximately north-south. Its highest point, Fray Peak, is at 6,596 feet elevation; the lake surface is at 4,191 feet elevation and higher depending on rain and snow melt. Salt Lake City is at 4,300 feet elevation.
At the time of this incident a development company, Allen Improvement Association, owned and operated a cattle ranch on the island. It was a one-man outfit run by Orren B. Hale who did everything from cooking to repairing the ranch buildings to minding the cattle. Ample fresh water was available from artesian wells and there was plenty of grass for the cattle. in the rugged flat areas around Fray Peak. The cattle didn't have to be fenced in or herded because the lake kept them on the island and the artesian wells kept them nearby for fresh water. Besides cattle, they kept a herd of about eighteen buffalos.
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