Naval Medical Field Research Lab, Building 66, Camp Lejeune, NC

My mother, Vivian M. “Mick/Mickey” Gibson worked about 45 years as a Civil Service secretary.  Most of her time was stationed aboard Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.  I recall that one of her secretarial jobs was at Building 66, the Naval Medical Field Research Lab on Base.  The time would have been the early 1960s.  I found an official document regarding the NMFRL-CLNC-1963-AD0422922 online.

I rode with my mother, or drove to pick her up, on Base many times through the years. If you were near the traffic circle when the flag was schedule to come down (maybe 6 pm??), all traffic stopped, even in the circle, until the ceremony was over. Mom worked at the Industrial Relations Labor Board (at the main entrance to Camp Lejeune) when she first started working on Base. But, many years, when we were living in the old house on the corner of Hwy. 24 and Queens Creek Road (now the Burger King), she would leave about 7:30 am, and return about 5:30 pm going along Queens Creek Road and on Base via the “Back Gate” (Hwy 172). *Interesting that they built a million dollar hi-rise bridge down at Sneads Ferry some years ago, and a short time later closed public traffic down Hwy 172.

My first dog was “Lassie”. I’m not sure if it was legal, but Rip Jackson had rescued the dog from the Lab. It would have been one of their many test subjects. *One of those mental images that has stuck with me through the years, although I never actually saw this, was that as part of the testing procedures, they would put a cadaver’s foot in a boot and blow it up to see the results. **Note that this was the Vietnam War Era.

Some of the names I recall of persons that she worked with, some secretarial and some not, were Barbara Brainerd, Robin Short & “Rip” Jackson.  One Christmas, mom had Rip Jackson put together some fishing equipment and she gave me that as a present that Christmas.  I still have the Penn “9” reel, which sits above my bathroom medicine cabinet.

Penn 9 Reel
Penn 9 Reel that was part of the fishing tackle Rip Jackson purchased for my mother.

It does not work properly now, but probably could be put in working condition fairly easily.

There was a metal fishing tackle box in a copper colored finish.  I recall one lure which looked like a bright pearline white shrimp with several hooks hanging down beneath it.

On Christmas morning, mom and I rode down to the Bogue Sound Fishing Pier.  It was a cold, bright sunny, morning, but there were several fishermen on the pier.  Neither one of us knew what we were doing.  There was an old fisherman located on the pier near where the waves were breaking down below.  He was pulling in sea trout on a regular basis.  Mom nor I ever caught anything.  *We joked about moving near to the old fisherman, and then he would move away from us.  I guess we were messing up his fishing;-)

Aunt Pete & Ervin & Boat 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970
Aunt Pete & Ervin & Boat 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970

I probably did not go fishing again until Irwin Wilkins took me out on his boat during one of the summers when I was up living with my mother in Aunt Pete’s home on Riverside Drive, Portsmouth, VA.  Irwin was my Aunt’s long time “beau”.

Irwin had about a 16ft. boat with an outboard motor on it.  We would put out from my Aunt’s wooden dock.  There was a great difference depending upon the tides.  Once we almost got stuck going out, and would have either had to sit in the boat until the tide came back in, or tried to make it to shore in knee deep mud.  Irwin worked at getting his boat out from the small receding water channel, and finally with much work succeeded.  We would have been out in the James River.

The “body language” tells it all.  I’m taking the picture.  Glad I was oblivious.

Mom & Mustang 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970
Mom Mustang 521 Riverside Drive Portsmouth VA 1970
Bill in front of 521 Riverside Drive 1970
Bill in front of 521 Riverside Drive 1970