Author Topic: 50 years  (Read 3988 times)

Offline jbendick

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50 years
« on: October 18, 2019, 04:26:42 PM »
                                                50 years ago                                   
         I wrote this last year being the procrastinator that I am. I put this aside till now. Having talked to   Chief Jack “68JK09” and a few members of our Proby Class That it was the start of a whole new era in the Fire Service. I’ll try to highlight these changes through my career. Please feel free to correct me or add to. 50 years is a long time of remembrance.
   In the winter of 1967 the City of New York announced that a test for FIREMAN was to be given in the spring of 1968. Being that I was in Viet Nam during the filing, my family got the application for me and I was able to successfully apply.
   The test was given as stated in the spring of 68. Being that I now was assigned to a stateside post’ Indian Gap, PA’. I was able to get home to take it. The city was in such dire need of Firemen that the scores were sent out very quickly. They decided that your list number would be determined on your written score along with a qualifying agility. When the list came out I was number V169.  I applied for the veteran’s credit as I was unable to find out where I would be without the credit. Being that I would be mustering on August 9th. And not want to attempt faith. I decided to leave well enough alone.
   The next step was to take the agility test while I was still in the army. We were told to report to a building near City Hall. Our proctor suggested that we do just the minimum on each event. If we needed more points we could go back to our best event. To pass you had to scale an 8 foot wall. Being only 5 foot 6 inches the wall along with the 6 foot broad jump were my hardest events. With severe determination and adrenaline I was able get my fingers on top of the wall and pull myself over. Being in the army was to my advantage. The rest is history.
    On September 12, 1968, one month out of the army, Chief Jack Kleehaas, aka “68JK09” and myself along with 248 other young men started on an adventure of a life time. We were appointed to the New York City Fire Department. We were to report to the telephone company building in lower Manhattan on Thursday September 12 to be sworn in as probationary firemen.
    We reported to the Training Academy on Welfare Island, (Roosevelt Island) better known as the “ROCK” on the morning of Saturday Sept, 14th to fill out our paper work. We were issued badges, mine was 3119. One of the most important piece of information we were given was to write on the back of our pay check, under protest. It seemed that the city was lacking in paying you overtime on a timely basis.  It usually took 6 weeks to get your money. If there was a mistake and the words under protest were not written, you accepted the check as accurate and paid in full . We were given a list of uniform and equipment needed and told to bring a check for the Union Store and the UFA. As of that day we became members of the UFA, after we paid our initial dues
   We also were placed in platoons. It was suggested that we should try to make up car pools. Being just out of the army, I was without a car. Lucky for me that Rich W. was in my platoon. We made arrangements for him to pick me up on Central Ave in Yonkers. That Monday would be our first day of six weeks of training. We were told to report in blue jeans and Chambray shirts.  These were considered our work duty uniforms.

   

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50 years
« on: October 18, 2019, 04:26:42 PM »

Offline mikeindabronx

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 01:34:07 PM »
Thanks Capt. JB for posting this

Offline 68jk09

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2019, 05:55:45 PM »
A great time in 1968 as one of my proby school classmates John Bendick related above...I too was in Viet Nam when the test was announced....friends back home got me an application....my enlistment in the USMC was up in March of '68 & their rule was you were supposed to be back on US soil no later than 5 days before you were to be separated (so processing...collecting gear ... etc could take place).....the Tet Offensive caused massive delays in the normal schedules i was still "in the bush" 5 days after i was supposed to have been discharged...i got back to NYC mid March '68 & 2 weeks later i was on the Fire Patrol (#3 on Dean St in Bklyn) ...i also had an opportunity to become a Provisional BKLYN Dispatcher Thanks to Bob Lepage a BKLYN Supervising Dispatcher & long time FDNY Buff  i opted with the Patrol as i wanted to ride around on a red truck with a siren & also i hoped to be on the FDNY sooner than later & i did not want to become a Provisional Disp then quit after Bob making the arrangements....  the test i think was actually held in June of '68 & the FDNY was making several Second Sections that Summer so the list came out very quickly.....if i were to use my Vet's points i would be #22... if i did not use them i would be 237...they were making 250 the first class so i did not use them i held them until the BCs list came out & used them on my BCs list in '98 ....it moved me up 100 names....at the agility test as John said above you were told by the proctors only to do the minimum ....there was an event doing sit-ups with a weighted barbell behind your neck....you were paired up with another candidate & took turns holding each others ankles during the sit-ups...(i was paired with a fellow who i did not know at the time but also was a Marine ..Norman "Nuke" Newkirk who later was appointed to LAD*26 then later R*1 ...he held my ankles as i did my minimum reps then we switched & i was holding his ankles ...when he reached his minimum the proctor told him to stop but he kept going...the proctor told me to let go of his ankles but i did not want to see him get hurt so i held on but i was thinking to myself  "this guy is going to get us both disqualified"...he did the max & we were sent to the next event with the proctor staring daggers at us (since the agility was only a pass or fail the proctors did not want to waste time having guys max out) as John said on Thurs 9-12-14 we reported to a Phone Company Auditorium at 60 Hudson St in Lower Manhattan dressed in a suit & tie for a swearing in...Sat 9-14-68 we were officially on the payroll & at the Rock....my Father had been OTJ in LAD*43 from '37 until he died in '65 & friends i had OTJ told me maybe i could get his former Badge # 7818 if it was available i thought about it but figured i would start with my own # ...i was given Badge #5413....about 2 weeks into the class we were given our custom fitted Cairns Helmets...they were all placed outside the bldg in rows...at lunch they told us to walk thru the rows & pick out our Badge # on our Helmet as i looked for my 5413 i saw my Fathers old # 7818....someone in the class had gotten it....there was 250 guys & we were only there 2 wks so you really only knew the guys in your immediate platoon at that time....i waited by the Helmet until a guy picked it up....i said that was my Fathers Badge # ...he looked at me & just kind of shrugged & walked away....he was assigned to an ENG on the other side of BKLYN so i never saw him after Graduation....almost a year later i was in 108s HW reading the Dept Orders & i saw the same guy quitting the FDNY & returning to the NYPD (i was not really surprised considering his attitude when i told him he had my Fathers Badge #.....many guys rolled over to the FD from PD but hardly any former PD ever went back after getting on the FD ) .....a few years ago i was relating the Badge story to the CPT "The Prince" of LAD*58 he said to me that my Fathers 7818 sounded familiar but he did not know why...a few days later after he returned to work he said he glanced over in the cab & there on his Chauffer's Helmet was 7818.....that FF Retired not long after.... i don't know where 7818 is today....a few months ago i was looking at some photos of a job in BN*54 on "First On Scene Photos" & there was a proby in ENG*317 with my old 5413...a Friend who is a BC in BN*54 told me the proby is a good guy..... i remember my Father signing Under Protest on his checks & as John said we were told to do it in proby school ...i do not remember when most stopped doing it but i know myself & many others continued for quite awhile after....actually in '68 there was not really overtime except in exceptional circumstances & i think the Under Protest had more to do with monies owed from previous unsettled contracts....in proby school my carpool partner was also another  Rich W. who i had spent several teen years with ....he had been NYPD & upon our Graduation was assigned to ENG*95 where he spent his career & died after RET....the chambray shirts & dungarees were purchased in an Army & Navy store of your choice & were of no specified brand as long as they all looked the same....these were worn in the FH for years until the Job came out with a specific work duty Uniform ....i wish i had the $ we spent on the different types of mandatory Uniform purchases thru the years prior to the start of the FDNY Quartermaster years later.....so many of the early Uniforms were crap starting with the polyester ones that resulted in some serious burns when melted to some FFs skin....less problematic but still a waste was a feeble attempt at a dungaree looking type pants that shortly bleached out & started falling apart along with an accompanying golf shirt....nothing beats real dungarees but at least todays work duty Uniforms are free from the QM so you are not wasting your own money.......i had taken the NYPD Entrance Test at Tilden HS in BKLYN in early '65 (got a 96 hr pass from the USMC to come home from NC to take it)...they were appointing a lot of NYPD back then & i was called right away but had to defer because of being in the Military....upon my Discharge i could have went right on the PD but back then a Uniform & Gun was about $500. & the Academy was 6 months & guys in the know said the FD would be hiring soon so skip the PD & wait for FD so i did....the fact was due to the tough years of unrest in NYC back then i would have only been in the PD Academy for a few weeks then out on the St in Blues instead of Rookie Grays & even though i may have lost out on some of the $ from the Uniform & Gun i would have made a lot more in a few months on the PD than on the Fire Patrol however the more serious mistake in not doing it was had i went on PD upon Discharge i would have been credited retro actively back to '65 when i was first called & placed on a Military holding list which upon RET from FD would have given me a additional 60th for each of the 3 yrs reflected in my pension.....who knew ....all i wanted to do back then was get on the FDNY which i did so all the rest is water under the bridge....no regrets....we had our 50th FDNY Proby School Reunion last Oct 26 2018 .....Oct 26 2018 which was 50 yrs after the date we graduated after completing  our SIX WEEKS of instruction....i was assigned to LAD*108 on Seigel St.     
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 08:52:20 PM by 68jk09 »

Offline JohnnyGage

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2019, 10:08:20 PM »
Thanks John and Jack, both wonderful stories, and probably felt like it was just yesterday while you wrote them. When I received my first FDNY check in 1982, my Union rep in 88, Joe B told me to sign "under protest" on the checks too. I did so up to the point when the checks were automatically electronically distributed into your checking account.  And you're so right about the lousy jeans and golf shirt uniforms, the worse!...Thanks for sharing your insightful stories and experiences, good stuff!......LSMFT

Offline lucky

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2019, 11:47:15 PM »
The black denim dungaree turnout pants were terrible. Water weakened the sticthing and the crotch opened up after a month or two. The medical was also strange. I think we took it on the West side of lower Manhattan. I'll never forget the hearing test, I thought I heard someone whispering in my ear and turned around. A fireman asked me to tell him what number I heard. I responded and was told that I had passed the hearing test.

Offline 68jk09

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2019, 12:27:12 AM »
^^^^ My medical was held on Spring St (at the former Qtrs of long disbanded Triple Section ENG*30) which in '68 housed the Medical Office & Sat*2....the FH is now the FDNY Fire Museum.

Offline Signal73

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2019, 09:41:21 AM »
Willy D asked me to post these

These are pictures from the 50th FDNY Probie School Reunion Oct 26, 1968 that Chief Kleehaas is referring to in his reply # 2


















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Offline nfd2004

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2019, 11:49:57 AM »
 Thank you very much Brad for posting those pictures of the 50th Reunion of the FDNY Probie Class of October, 1968.

 The pictures above are of the busiest firefighters in the history of the FDNY as far as "structural working fires goes". They were the firefighters who started at the very beginning of the so called "FDNY War Years" and worked throughout them.

 These are some of the FDNY Firefighters who I have often referred to as "The Greatest Generation of Firefighters". These are some of the guys who I chased through the streets of NYCs toughest ghetto areas from one working fire to another.

 These are the guys who saw many changes occur during the FDNY such as:

 The introduction of the Tower Ladder
 The introduction of the handie talkie
 The introduction of closed cabs
 The introduction of the ERS Boxes
 The introduction of the "voice alarm"
 The introduction of the adaptive response
 The introduction of the automatic transmission
 The introduction of using a power saw instead of an axe to open a roof
 
 These are the firefighters who worked during the busiest years of the FDNY and saw the closing of FIFTY Fire Companies and the lay offs of 300 junior FDNY firefighters.

 These are the firefighters who saw the end of what was referred to as a "second section" company. Added because there were so many fires in that response area.

 This was a time when books were written and documentaries done about these busy firefighters

 These are the firefighters who were Role Models and taught so many younger firefighters the "tricks of the trade" of fighting fires and surviving on the fire ground. And little did they know, that many buffs who were also firefighters, or wanna be's from other places, learned so much about the job so that they could survive in their streets too.

 These were the firefighters who later became fire officers and chiefs that lead the FDNY to what it is today.

 These are the firefighters that "I THANK" for all I was able to learn from watching them do their job and answering my numerous questions.

 These are the firefighters who also taught many of my friends the "tricks of the trade" too. Many who became Role Models and Officers in their own departments.

 I am forever grateful for having the chance to learn from the best and most experienced firefighters in history. I am also grateful that I had the chance to talk to some of these firefighters who attended this October, 1968 Reunion and tell them what I tell you here.

 Today, I have become friends with some of these guys in the above pictures. I really don't ask them too many questions about fighting fires anymore. But what we do talk about is those days when they DID fight fires.

 I was HONORED to be an invited guest at this reunion.
 

Offline Signal73

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Re: 50 years
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2019, 06:15:14 PM »
Mr Bendick (John) asked me to post this write up for him:


50 Years Ago

 

As was stated in My Early Buff Years by a couple of very knowledgeable  members, of this site, the early war years ran from early 1960’s to 1975.  The work load in areas such as the South Bronx were winding  down.  With blocks and blocks of vacant lots, there wasn’t much left to burn or places for people to live. Causing  Many people  to leave for the upper Bronx.

In April 1974 because of the failure of Rapid Water and great success of 1 ¾’ hose. The Dept. decided to reduce the manpower of each eng. and sq’s in the six division by 1 man per tour or 5 men per Co,s.

The criteria was that if no one volunteered , the Capt. Was  to pick members with 5 years or more to be lifted. Being that I had just over 5 yrs, my name was submitted. At the time I was on medical leave, Lt. McClay  called to notified me, I would be one of the members to go. To make matters worse. I had just been married that afternoon.

Lt. McClay Submitted the CD-30 (transfer request ) . He put me in for Eng. Co’s in the North Bronx. Fortunately I went to Eng. Co 75, in quarters with Lad. 33. Lad.33 was a primary relocater to Lad. 31.  In 1974 the tide  turned and the South Bronx  fires were extending  all way up to Kingbridge Rd.

 

When I got to Eng. 75 we were on workload interchange with E50-2 . One night tour I was detail to L33. L33 and 50-2 caught 3 jobs together. While E 75 sat in 50’s quarters, 50-1 took all runs that they were available from their own quarters. If 50-1 was not available then E75 acting E50-2 would take the run.

In 1975 Eng. 75 along with Lad. 33 were slowly working it’s way to the top of the runs and workers. This was the start of the  later part of the war years.   The introduction of the ERS boxes   caused the number of runs for E75 to go skyhigh.  The tide was changing.
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