As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

FRENCH CONNECTION: Cold War baseball memories

One station was built at Puntzi Mountain

Who remembers the Cold War? In the late 1950s, Russia (Soviet Union) and its allies were at odds with the USA and its allies. Everybody feared a third world war would break out any minute.

The U.S. saw Canada as its first line of defense against the Russians, and with our participation, they built a series of radar stations (the Pinetree Line) across Canada.

The radar could identify enemy aircraft heading toward the U.S. so they could be intercepted before they got there. The base could also provide fuel for U.S. aircraft going to Russia.

One station was built at Puntzi Mountain, near the small village of Puntziville, located mid-Chilcotin.

With up to 200 airmen and 75 local civilian staff, the station was a boost to the local economy.

The American military liked the Chilcotin and the Chilcotin liked them, so it was a good deal all around, especially as no enemy aircraft ever showed up to be intercepted.

This came to mind recently when longtime friend Edna Telford gave me a picture of the Alexis Creek ball team we once belonged to.

Neither of us remember how or why it came about, but the Alexis Creek ladies and Puntzi ladies challenged each other to a baseball game to be held at the base’s ball field.

The base had many recreation facilities, including a bar. Our team thought we should have uniforms, so we made some. We each dyed a pair of our husbands’ winter long johns red.

Before the game we were invited to the bar to have a drink. Whether it was the drinks or our unusual uniforms, we lost the game.

The radar station is gone, as are many of the baseball teams.

Is history repeating itself with USA and allies at odds again with Russia and its allies?



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ColumnistWilliams Lake