While this may seem like a harsh treatment, in light of the working schedules for many fire departments today, it really had a strong motivational impact. This was particularly true for the married first-term personnel who were not eligible for on-based housing and had to commute out to the base from Fairbanks every other day.
There were no living quarters for them on base, so if they wanted to bring their wives up to live with them, they had to rent in town. These men would be on the road every day, going one way or the other, regardless of the weather, which, as you might imagine, ran the gamut from bad to worse during the winter. Therefore, the three-day break was a tremendously valuable commodity.
All of us in the December 1966 arrival group made the upgrade to our 5-level in minimal time. Then most of made our first promotion soon thereafter, also in minimal time. This did not seem odd to any of us, because every one of us was going through the same positive experience. I personally thought nothing of making Sergeant in less than two years, because so many of us did it together.
Little did we know at the time just how important this positive, goals-oriented environment would be to our future success in the service? It was not until much later, when I moved to other air bases and ran into buddies who had served at other stations, that the value of Chief Haider