In an earlier blog, I briefly introduced the four-person staff at Minna Bluff who run the camp and support our science. Each of them plays a key role in keeping our camp running smoothly, allowing us to focus on field development of the RAID drill. By living and working together 24/7 in close quarters, we’ve gotten to know each other better as people. I’d like to share a little about who they are and how each of them contribute to our success.
Hailey, the camp manager, is originally from Colorado and now calls Washington home. In effect, she is our mayor and CEO, yet this hardly scratches the surface of what she does. On a daily basis she is our overall logistics manager, staff supervisor, HR director, counselor, flight coordinator, cargo supervisor, weather technician, communications specialist, and science liaison. She is the principal conduit of information and decision-making at the heart of our camp. Either by necessity or natural evolution, she is also our principal Good Humor generator!
Joey is from Washington and now calls California home. He has his hands on many things, including fuels, cargo, water supply, and care and feeding of our large Cat Challenger and its little sister, the skid steer. He is a master manipulator of the skid steer in tight quarters, helping to move pallets, lift heavy crates, and scoop snow in the mine. He also makes a tasty chili and other great meals!
Martha is from Minnesota, calls Alaska home, and runs sled dog teams near Juneau in the Antarctic off-season. Martha keeps the backbone of the camp running. She manages our water supply produced by snow melting. She tracks how much waste we generate and how much water we use. She organizes our re-supply from McMurdo for everything from food, to Sharpies, to T.P. and hand soap. Martha is also Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Raider, our camp newspaper. See her earlier post to this blog on cooking.
Terry, from Oregon, takes care of the mechanicals in camp, including operation and service of our heavy RAID power generators (500 kW) and the smaller camp generators (50 kW), and he operates the large Case quad-trac that is used for grooming the snow surface and pulling our drilling modules. His previous experience on long science traverses is valuable background for his work here.
Our camp would not be successful here at Minna Bluff without the tireless support of Rebecca, who is based for the season in McMurdo. In many ways Rebecca is Hailey’s counterpart ‘in town’, coordinating people, materiel, communications, and air transport. She is our eyes-and-ears, with a special knack for anticipating what our needs are and how to resolve problems quickly. It’s an understatement to say that she is a miracle worker when it comes to finding random pieces of equipment in the treasure trove of various McMurdo storehouses. Because of her vision and foresight, we have been able to stay ahead of problems as much as possible.
Hailey, Joey, Martha, Terry, and Rebecca are a joy to work with. No matter how mundane — or how extraordinary — the request, they jump in eagerly to help out. For example, we needed to dig a pit in the snow so we could bury large totes of our drilling fluid in order to keep them cool (they warm up in the Antarctic sun), and Joey was there with a bucket loader. Or when we need to make a call to someone in McMurdo, Hailey gladly drops whatever she is doing to help connect the call on a sat phone. Terry was happy to take time on a day off to hitch up and move our five heavy modules. And Martha creatively and happily makes up gluten-free special meals.
Without support like this, we would not be able to maintain clear focus on our project tasks at hand.
Photos by John Goodge.
The views expressed here are personal reflections that do not represent either the RAID project or the National Science Foundation.