The purpose of this Handbook is to acquaint you with the existing facilities, rules and regulations, and general living conditions for your stay at Site I, Thule Air Base in Green-land. It would be virtually impossible to cover completely all of the numerous details in a book of this size. You will, there-fore, receive supplementary information when you arrive at Site. This Handbook should answer most of your questions, and help you acclimate yourself to living away from home, thus insuring as comfortable and enjoyable a stay as possible.
It must be remembered, however, that all of the facilities offered to you and mentioned in this book are the property of the U.S. Air Force. The use of these facilities and their schedules of operation may be changed from time to time by the Operating Command of Thule Air Base.
The Personal Handbook for Site I personnel was written and published by the RCA Service Company, BMEWS Service Project, Personnel Department, Riverton, New Jersey.
Fourth Edition: June, 1965
To BMEWS Service Project Employees Assigned to a Forward Site...
You can be justifiably proud of the vital work which you will be performing as an employee of RCA Service Company, BMEWS Service Project.
This booklet describes and summarizes the many benefits provided for you by RCA and, in addition, presents a picture of what you can expect as a forward site employee.
In using this booklet, remember several things:
No such summary can be all inclusive, nor can it anticipate every possible circumstance.
Progress involves change; thus, the Company may from time to time add to or revise the policies, practices, and rules summarized here.
Your supervisor is your source of information and of interpretation of policy with respect to your individual situation.
I trust your assignment at site will be mutually satisfying to yourself and the Company.
W. F. Given, Manager BMEWS Service Prospect
THE BMEWS PROJECT
Early in 1958, the United States Air Force announced the selection of the Radio Corporation of America as Weapons System Manager for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System Project. The overall management responsibilities for the creation of this powerful space radar net was delegated to RCA.
The RCA Service Company is responsible for the operation and maintenance of this BMEWS system.
The project is a momentous endeavor to establish a giant electronic system to probe thousands of miles over the polar wastes, to detect and track an invading missile raid and to predict its point of impact. The success of such an endeavor depends greatly upon the cooperation and teamwork of the organizations working within the Project.
Brute force radar transmitters illuminating small cross-section targets at extreme ranges; ultrasensitive radar receivers, reading microvolt echoes through intensive electromagnetic disturbances, and generating precise position information; data converters, translating
data to digital information; complex solid state computing systems, making microsecond decisions – these are the basic components of BMEWS.
BMEWS is an epoch-making endeavor that was inspired through common purpose and need. The problems of environment, capacity, and performance inherent in the development, design, and installation of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System make it unique in the history of military electronics.
The swift advance warning provided by BMEWS is the most effective known deterrent of surprise missile attack, and thus plays a major role. in maintaining the security and well-being of the free world.
As an employee of RCA and a member of this gigantic BMEWS team, you should find your assignment at Site I an exciting and rewarding challenge.
GREENLAND – SITE I
During the year 982 A.D., the famous Norseman, Eric the Red, a Scandinavian by birth, left Iceland with a band of sea-farers and sailed westward until he reached the southern tip of Greenland at Cape Farewell. Eric led his band northward along the western shore, seeking likely spots for settlements. Favorite areas of settlement by the Norsemen were on the west coast near Julianehaab, and in the vicinity of the present day capital of Godthaab.
For some unknown reason the Norse settlements died out. Some historians say that the Norsemen were assimilated into the various Eskimo cultures which were there long before Eric the Red had landed. It is also possible that warfare between rival groups depleted the numbers of Norsemen, and the few remaining survivors gave up their settlements, and returned to Iceland and Europe.
The next permanent link between the Eskimos and Western civilization began when the Danish Missionary, Hans Egede, came to Greenland in the year 1721. Although several Danish settlements were established during the years, Denmark’s Right of Sovereignty was not recognized until 1933.
The present day inhabitant of Central and Southern Greenland is a combination of Scandinavian and Eskimo ancestry, and is called a Greenlander. His culture, like his ancestry, is a result of the assimilation of these widely divergent cultures.
Until Western civilization came to Greenland, the Eskimos’s entire economy was based upon the natural resources of the land. Being a fierce and valiant hunter, he was able to supply his required needs of clothing, shelter, household implements, and hunting equipment from the skins, furs, bones, and teeth of the animals he killed. He found an abundance of seal, walrus, polar bear, and an occasional whale which wandered near the shore. The Eskimo ordinarily lives in huts made of sod and animal skins, using the snow
hut only on hunting trips. Obviously, his diet was made up of the meat of the animals and fish that he killed. The Eskimo family .is a completely self-sufficient, self-sustaining economic unit. However, due to the gradual warming of the northward sea currents through the years, native Eskimos are today found only in the northern sections of Greenland, where the cold weather animals have migrated through the centuries.
Today, Greenland has a population of more than 23,000 inhabitants. A sizable fishing and shipping industry, a southern grazing land with more than 10,000 sheep, a fish cannery, and the world’s only cryolite mine, compose most of Greenland’s modern economy.
Considering Australia as a continent, Greenland is the world’s largest island, extending for more than 1700 miles from north to south The northern tip of the island is only 425 iles from toward the coastal areas in slow moving streams of hard snow-ice called glaciers. These glaciers often cut deep gorges enroute to the sea. These gorges are called fjords. Where the distance from the ice cap to the sea is short, the slow moving glacier pushes huge chunks of ice into the sea, forming the large icebergs which menace North Atlantic shipping lanes. Although most icebergs are relatively small, some of them have been known to reach proportions of several square miles.
If you are interested in complete details of Greenland’ B history and geography, there is excellent coverage in any of the many books about Greenland by the late Peter Freuchen. Mr, Freuchen, in fact, was a renowned authority on Grenland’s Eskimo cultures, having lived among the Eskimos in the Arctic regions for most of his life.
CLIMATE AND UNUSUAL CONDITIONS
At your first thought of Greenland, the first thing that probably enters your mind is the year ‘round living in arctic and subarctic temperatures and snows. However, you will find the climate at Thule to be not quite as severe as imagined, It will probably be comforting for you to learn that summertime temperatures at Thule Air Base have reached as high as 62 degrees above zero. The lowest recorded winter temperature was 47 degrees below zero. However, these are extreme temperatures.
The summer average holds at several degrees above the freezing point, while the coldest months, February and March, very rarely average colder temperatures than 12 to 15 degrees below zero. The humidity is extremely low during the winter months; even drier than the arid areas of the southwestern United States, This is good news to those of you who may have wished for a drier climate because of sinus or hay fever, The snowfall is relatively light, with most of the accumulation resulting from the snows drifting from the ice cap. There is one severe aspect of Thule’s climatic conditions. This occurs during phase activity, which takes place when certain low pressure systems are so situated that a high velocity wind sweeps across the Base from the ice cap. Phase activity is divided into three categories, and a base-wide communication system involving radio, telephone, and television is used to inform all base inhabitants of the current phase, and of what precautions are necessary to safeguard personnel and equipment. These phase conditions are covered in more detail in the “Living at Site” chapter.
If you arrive at Thule in mid-December, you will be “in the dark” for at least a month. For three months, beginning in November, the sun remains completely out of view below the horizon. Sunrise, which is eagerly awaited, comes after mid-February. During the dark period, there is a small sliver of light visible on the southern horizon. From late November until February this light is hardly more than a glimmer. During these dark months, the moon is usually visible, circling around the dark sky, and going through all of its regular phases.
Once the sun makes its appearance, it stays in the sky longer each day until, in May, it completely replaces the moon. Then for three and one-half months, the sun remains above the horizon 24 hours a day. It circles the sky in the same manner as the moon does in the winter-high in its southern arc, and low in its northern sweep.
The summer sun is extremely brill iant at Thule, and you are advised to wear sunglasses, especially during the period of light before the snow has melted. Glasses with dark lenses are recommended. Polaroid and other plastic lenses do not offer protection against snow blindness. Insufficient protection can result in ultraviolet burns on the eyes which usually causes temporary blindness, but can also cause permanent damage.
Although the snows at Thule do melt each summer, the permanent ice cap, which is located eight miles away, remains almost unchanged. Thule is located on North Star Bay on Greenland’s west coast, 921 statute miles from the North Pole. On the bay’s edge there is a port for sea-going vessels, and adjoining the port are the air base buildings and flying-field area. You will be surprised to learn that Thule is actually closer to Seattle (2457 miles) than it is to New York(2477). Moreover, Thule is north of the Magnetic Pole, which is situated on Canada’s Prince of Wales Island, which is 724 miles west-southwest of Thule.
Thule is centered along the most direct aerial routes from European Russia to the United States, and is only 2760 miles from Moscow.
Scattered in all directions are the outlying stations which depend upon Thule for aerial supply. On the Canadian island of Ellesmere, which is north of Thule, there are two small, joint Canadian-American weather stations known as Eureka and Alert. The latter station in the northernmost permanently inhabited outpost in the world.
There is a time differential of one hour between Thule and New York City. Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. is one hour behind Thule time. If it is six o‘clock in the evening in New York, it is seven o‘clock at Thule.
TRAVELING TO SITE
You will be flown at company expense to Thule, Greenland via Military Air Transport Service (MATS) aircraft fram McGuire Air Force Base near Wrightstown, New Jersey, The flight takes approximately six hours by jet and 14 hours if a prop plane is used. Your flight arrangements must be made through the Transportation Office at Project Headquarters.
The following information is furnished for your information and guidance in preparing for departure.
You will be required to carry on your person proof of your American citizenship, such as Birth or Naturalization Certificates, affidavits by a parent or near relative, or a signed affidavit by an attending physician at the time of birth. Passports and visas are not required for travel to Thule. You are also required to carry on your person your RCA Employee Identification Card.
Note: It is unlawful to reproduce copies of Naturalization Certificates, regardless of the method of reproduction.
It is recommended that you have in your possession $50,00 to $100,00 in cash at the time of your departure from the United States.
Whether you are going to Site for a permanent assignment, or for a shorter visit to conduct Company business, you will be required to receive a series of immunization shots given at the dispensary. These shots should be scheduled as soon as it is known that you will be going to Site. If you have not received the shots and are not scheduled for them, remind your supervisor to make the necessary arrangements. This immunization is mandatory.
You will receive an “International Certificate of Vaccination”, which will be referred to as U.S. Department of Health Services Form PHS731. All immunizations will be recorded on this form, and must be carried on your person at all times as proof of immunization. This is imperative when departing or reentering the United States.
You will be authorized to carry only 66 pounds of luggage on your flight to Thule. Distributed with your offer letter is a list of clothing and personal items you may want to take with you.
Those who will be working for the most part in an office can leave out many of the heavy clothing items, and substitute lighter garments. Those going for shorter visits should alter the list according to the length of the visit and the time of year. Remember that it is a suggested list and should be altered to your own discretion.
Although the Thule Base Exchange (BX) sells many of the items included on the list, you should try to carry as many as possible with you, with the BX being used as a replacement source only.
Flammable items, such as cigarette lighters and fluid, matches, etc., are not to be included in baggage. Photo flash bulbs must either be carried on your person or included as cabin luggage, but cannot be packed in baggage to be stored.
All baggage in excess of the 66 pound limit will be rejected at the McGuire MATS Terminal. To avoid embarrassment and inconvenience to others, please choose carefully items
to insure a weight within the acceptable minimum. If you wish, you may have additional personal belongings sent to you through the following procedures:
Parcel Post....If the package being sent is 70 pounds or less in weight, and 100 inches in combined girth, it may be sent to you via regular parcel post. Simply have the package properly addressed, with proper amount of postage, and send it through the mail.
Parcel Post addressing should be as follows:
Your Name and Box Number RCA BMEWS Project
c/o BMEWS Field Ofhce APO New York 09023
RESTRICTED ITEMS The following items cannot be transported to Site I:
1. Firearms or weapons of any kind.
2. Alcoholic or malt beverages.
3. Acids, chemicals, explosives, or flammables.
Upon re-entering the United States, you will undergo a complete customs’ inspection. In view of this, be certain that all cameras and other expensive personal belongings are registered prior to departure at McGuire Air Force Base. If these articles are not registered, you may have to pay customs’ duty on them upon your return to the U.S. At each re-entry you are allowed to bring with you, duty-free, one gallon of alcoholic beverages and a reasonable amount of cigars and cigarettes. If you expect to bring back other merchandise purchased outside the U.S., it would be advisable. to secure specific information beforehand concerning U.S. Customs requirements. This information is available in pamphlet form at U.S. Customs Offices.
EYEGLASSES AND DENTURES
There are no facilities for the replacement or repair of eyeglasses and dentures. It is highly recommended that you bring an extra pair of eyeglasses and dentures and that you leave a copy of your eyeglassea prescription with the Dispensary at Project Headquarters. In the event of a damaged or lost denture, impressions can be made at Thule and sent to the dentist you have designated in the U.S.
Obviously, it will be to your advantage to see that your glasses and dentures are inspected and put in perfect condition prior to your departure.
Travel to Thule is arranged through the Transportation Office at Project Headquarters. When you have satisfied the medical requirements for site duty and have received your dispensary clearance, you will receive confirmation of your transportation and departure date.
On the day you leave, you must pick up your travel orders at the Air Force ATCO (Air Traffic Coordinating Officer) Office at the MATS Terminal, McGuire Air Force Base. Travel orders are only good for one-way trip for Permanent Change of Station Transfers.
If for any reason it is necessary to cancel a scheduled trip, the Transportation Office at Prospect Headquarters must be notified as soon as possible. Failure to comply with this will result in the BMEWS Project being charged with the cost of transportation even though the trip was not made:
DO NOT PACK YOUR PRIVATE FILE OF TRAVEL ORDERS, CITIZENSHIP DOCUMENTS, PERSONNEL FOLDER, EMPLOYEE IDENTIFICATION CARD, OR YOUR INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF VACCINATION WITH YOUR BAGGAGE. YOU MUST CARRY THEM ON YOUR PERSON AT ALL TIMES AND HAVE THEM ACCESSIBLE FOR IMMEDIATE PRESENTATION AT ANY TIME.
LIVING AT SITE
Upon your arrival a t Thule, you will be met at the Air Terminal by a Company representative, assigned to living quarters, and be advised of the requirement to attend the next Site Orientation Program.
Accommodations will be provided free of charge in modern dormitory buildings or military-style barracks. Most personnel are assigned two to a room. This may vary depending upon room availability and position title. All buildings have furnished rooms, lavatory facilities, free automatic washers and dryers, and lounges with television.
Food will be provided without cost to you in a clean, attractive dining hall operated by the RCA Service Company. Well-balanced meals are planned and prepared by professional cooks and restaurant personnel. A wide variety menu, including such items as beef, seafood, and a complete variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, is made possible through a unique airborne food supply system, Food service is available on schedules which will accommodate all work shifts.
In addition to the large dining hall at the base, a small but equally attractive cafeteria is located at the Technical Site where full-course luncheon meals are served to those working in that area.
Medical service will be provided by the RCA Medical Staff. An infirmary is operated for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries. In the event of serious injury or illness, you will be admitted to the Air Force Hospital. Emergency dental treatment will also be available at the Base Hospital.
In the interests of preventive medicine, a complete health program is administered by trained RCA personnel for the protection of all Site employees. Periodic physical examinations are administered by qualified medical personnel, Routine inspections of all operational locations are made for the arrest and prevention of communicable diseases, and for monitoring the occupational health program. Sanitary and industrial hygiene engineers of the operating command make regular health surveys of the entire Site and its facilities.
Religious services are provided by Thule Air Base in a chapel that is staffed by Catholic and Protestant chaplains. Jewish services are usually conducted by a Jewish layman. Schedules of weekly services are available at the base.
Adequate, free transportation is provided by shuttle buses which run at 30-minute intervals to all major points of operation on the base. Regularly scheduled buses are also provided for traveling to and from work at the Technical Site.
The weather phase conditions are hereby listed with precautionary measures as follows:
Phase I: A period designated by the Base Commander when initial preparstions will be made for an impending storm. It will normally be a period when winds are in excess of 30 knots and/or when weather is considered a hazard to life and property.
Phase I Precautionary Measures:
1. Personnel are alerted for a possible Phase II and III.
2. All personnel are restricted to the base proper with the exception of emergency maintenance and utility operations.
3. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be limited to essential service activities necessary to maintain operation of the base.
4. Precautions will be taken to secure all loose equipment.
Phase II: A period of restricted activity designated by the Base Commander when full precautions will be taken to safeguard life and property because of existing hazardous weather conditions. This will normally be a period when winds are between 30 and 50 knots and/or when weather is considered a hazard to life and property.
Phase II Precautionary Measures:
1. Personnel are alerted for the possible announcement of Phase III.
2. All personnel will return to their quarters except those who are required to perform essential operations.
3. All personnel are restricted to the base proper.
4. In the early part of this phase, the motor pool may be called upon for movement of groups of personnel. Bus and taxi service will be maintained as long as possible.
5. Vehicles not designated by unit commanders as essential will be returned to the appropriate motor pool, Water and waste trucks, ambulances, and fire and crash vehicles will be operationally available for use at all times during this phase.
6. Dining halls will continue to serve on regular schedules.
7. Community areas, including all clubs, theaters, hobby shops, the gym, chapel, and Base Exchange will be closed.
8. Essential and emergency base functions will continue as is necessary for the health and protection of personnel and equipment.
Phase III: A period of very closely restricted activity designated by the Base Commander when full precautions will be taken to safeguard life and property because of existing hazardous weather conditions. This will normally be a period when winds exceed 50 knots and/or when weather is considered a hazard to life and property.
Phase III Precautionary Measures:
1. All personnel will proceed to the nearest available shelter and remain there for the duration of Phase III.
2. Designated emergency or. essential indoor activity is permitted.
3. Only personnel designated to perform specific emergency or essential operations are authorized to engage in outside activity,
4. Vital functions will continue limited operations as directed.
FAILURE TO OBSERVE THESE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES MAY NECESSITATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION OR POSSIBLE TERMINATION.
Upon your arrival you will be issued a parka, boots, gloves, Arctic pants and suspenders. These items must be carried with you when traveling to J-Site from October 1 to May 15. You must return this clothing at the completion of your tour. Naturally, if you lose any of these items, you will be required to pay for their replacement.
TOOLS AND TOOL KITS
Depending upon the nature and extent of your particular job, some of you may require specialized tools and tool kits. These will be iesued to you on Site on a loan basis, being signed for and returned upon completion of your tour.
For incoming personal mail you will be assigned a numbered individual mail box located at the mail room in the dining hall. For outgoing mail, there are conveniently located letter drops. Although postage stamps may be purchased at the mail room, all other postal services are handled through the Base Post Office.
Letters and parcel post packages from Thule to the United States normally take three to seven days. If you have a package that exceeds parcel post weight and volume limitations described under Baggage, contact the Base Transportation
Office. You will only have to pay the cost of postal or freight charges from the MATS Terminal to the destination in the U,S.
All personal mail sent to you should be addressed as follows:
Your Name and Box Number
RCA BMEWS Project
APO, New York 09023
Morale telephone calls may be made by BMEWS employees on the Company tie-line from Thule after PHQ working hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.). Since there is a long waiting period, you are asked to limit your calls to five minutes. Your private telephone number will be billed for the charges from Project Headquarters to your home. Please tell your family that there may be an occasional interruption in the service because of cable breaks.
Private cablegrams may be transmitted to Europe and the United States through the Danish radio station OZZ via commercial circuits.
This service is available in the Base Communication-Center. Your message, which must be paid in advance, will be relayed by Danish radio. Wire orders for flowers are also excepted.
Personal messages from the U.S. to Thule Air Base should be filed with Western Union, marked “via RCA” and addressed as follows:
Your Name and Box Number
RCA Service Company
Thule Air Base, Greenland
It is also sometimes possible to place personal phone calls from Th ule to your home via the Military Affiliated Radio
System (MARS). This is accomplished through a scheduled hookup with amateur radio operators in the U.S., who in turn make it possible to talk to your families through a combination of radio and telephone. The cost consists of the long distance charge from the amateur radio 'station in the U.S. to the location of the telephone exchange called; all calls are made collect.
There are no banking facilities at Thule Air Base. In view of this, it is highly recommended that you maintain a stateside personal checking account and carry an adequate supply of checks. For those of you going to Site for short visits, it is recommended that you make arrangements with your supervisor to have your paychecks deposited in your checking account while you are at Site. This is most important, since there is always the possibility of unexpectedly prolonging your stay due to business, weather conditions, etc.
Personal checks up to $200 maybe cashed by the Site Finance and Office Services activity with the prior approval of your supervisor. This privilege can be revoked if it is abused. The service clubs and the base exchange can also accept personal checks in payment for purchases.
Those of you on permanent assignment at Site I will receive partial paychecks, with the remainder of the amount due deposited in a Stateside bank of your choice, or sent to your home if you wish. You will be asked to complete Payroll Authorization Cards, on which you will designate where your check should be sent while you are at Site.
At the Base Exchange you may purchase toiletries, tobacco, candy, stationery, and many other small items. Many luxury items, as well as basic items, are available at considerable savings over prices for similar merchandise in the U.S.
Although the Base Exchange has been authorized for your use, the Base Commander has requested that you use moderation in your purchases. Due to resupply problems, the availability of this facility can at any time be restricted to the purchase of necessities only.
LAUNDRY AND DRY CLEANING
In addition to the laundry equipment available in the housing area, laundry and dry cleaning services are available at nominal cost through the Base Laundry. These services generally take seven days.
The following shops are available at Thule Air Base:
Barber Shop Shoe Repair Shop Tailor Shop Jewelry Repair Shop
PERSONNEL SERVICES AND FACILITIES
The recreational facilities and services at Thule are among the finest to be found anywhere and have all been made available to you.
Thule has a large gym with facilities for a wide variety of sports activities including boxing, handball, basketball, gymnastics and weight-lifting. There is also a steam room, a sun room, and a weight-lifting room.
For a nominal admission fee you can see the latest films in this 500-seat theater which is equipped with Cinemascope.
You will be authorized membership, based entirely upon your occupation, in the Airmen’s, NCO, or Officers’ clubs. All clubs offer an extremely pleasant atmosphere and serve food and refreshments at nominal prices. Professional stage shows and other forms of entertainment sponsored by the clubs are brought to Thule periodically. The wearing of a coat, shirt, and tie is mandatory in these clubs.
The Base Service Club is not a private club and individual membership is not required. There is a snack bar within the club and several rooms have been set aside as stereo, library and recreation rooms.
BMEWS RECREATION ASSOCIATION
B.R.A. activities are programmed in addition to the established Site activities. You must be a B,R.A. member to participate. Present Site I activities which receive B,R,A. support are the Ham Radio Club, the Photo Club, the Press Club, the Bowling League, and the Bridge Club. Various athletic teams, including basketball, volley ball, and softball, also receive B.R,A. support. Ping pong tournament, handball tournament, monthly drawing of prizes, and the Site I newspaper “The Polar Views”, are other examples of activities receiving B.R.A. sponsorship.
TELEVISION AND RADIO
A television set is located in a lounge in each housing area, Reception is from the Thule station which transmits top-notch taped programs from the United States,
There is an AM radio station at Thule, KOLD, 1425 KC. In addition, there is an FM radio station, KFMT, 100 MC, which is operated by off-duty RCA employees.
This facility is stocked with complete sets of electrical and manual tools for woodworking, leathercraft, radio and TV repair, photography, and model railroading.
TOURS AND OFF-BASE ACTIVITIES
During the summer months, tours and hikes to the glaciers, ice cap, and ice cave are coordinated by RCA Personnel Services. These tours afford the photographic enthusiasts excellent opportunities of capturing some of the beauty of Northern Greenland through the camera lens.
Lack of transportation to surrounding areas, rugged terrain, and climatic conditions restrict individual recreation activity to the immediate area of the Base. In addition, the visiting of neighboring native villages is discouraged for reasons of health. Common virus diseases, which are of a minor consequence to Americans, are often fatal to Eskimos. Although not necessarily infected, most Americans are common carriers of such viruses.
For those of you interested in literature, education, and extra-curricular reading, the Base Library has an excellent selection of fiction, nonfiction, and technical material.
WHAT IS RCA?
Let’s begin with a few important facts. RCA stands for the Radio Corporation of America – world leader in radio-television and electronics.
RCA is a symbol of pioneering and progress, dating back to the day of its formation, December 1, 1919.
For four decades, RCA has played a prominent role in developing and extending the usefulness. of electronics for the public, industry, and national security.
RCA’s activities today encompass virtually all phases of the electronic arts and sciences: research and engineering, development, design and application, manufacturing and distribution, d o m e s t i c and foreign sales, worldwide radio communications, radio and TV broadcasting, “Victrola” phonographs and recordings, technical training and servicing.
These activities are conducted through 21 divisions and wholly-owned subsidiaries.
Highest of the towering steel and stone structures comprising New York’s Radio City, the RCA Building serves as headquarters for the Radio Corporation of America. The address is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, New York.
The 70-story building itself, constructed during the tense 1930’s rises as a prodigious achievement, an inspiring demonstration of American courage, vitality, and resource-fulness that came at a crucial and reassuring moment in the life of the nation. On the 53rd
floor of the RCA Building are. the Executive Offices of RCA and the RCA Board Room. Officials of the Corporation on duty here include Brig. General David Sarnoff, Chairman of the Board; Dr. Elmer W. Engstrom, President; and Frank M. Folsom, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board.
RCA’s progress has steadily gathered momentum. It began with only 457 employees, In 1947, the total reached 40,000. Today RCA and its subsidiaries employ approximately 85,000 men and women, with a total domestic payroll of more than $330,000,000.
THE U.S. NAVY REQUESTS
Formed at the suggestion of the United States Navy to provide America with an independent international radio communications service, RCA has its roots deeply embedded in the history of radio. The first big step to bring radio into commercial use, it will be remembered, was taken by Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless , when he transmitted signals across the Atlantic for the first time in 1901. RCA’s initial move was to acquire the properties, patent rights, and good will of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America. On March 1, 1920, RCA transmitted its first commercial trans-Atlantic messy, opening the first direct radio service between the United States and Europe.
RCA’s Charter covered five major activities: To send and receive signals, messages, and communications; to create, install, and operate a system of communication which may be international; to improve and promote the art and business of electronic communication; to radiate, receive, and utilize electromagnetic waves; to create and manufacture consumer goods, and to hold patent rights in radio, electronics, and other fields.
Thus the foundation was laid for RCA’s growth not only in the vital area of international communications, but in pacing and extending the radio art through broadcasting, manufacturing and application of inventive genius.
BIRTH OF RADIO BROADCASTING
The birth of radio broadcasting as a service to the American people was foreseen as early as 1916 by General Sarnoff. He urged that steps be taken to make radio a household utility, like the piano and phonograph.
RCA brought that plan to fruition in the early 1920’s and, under General Sarnoff’s direction, the National Broadcasting Company was formed in 1926 as the nation’s first radio network. Foreseeing also the possibility of enormous benefits to the public through a combination of radio science and recorded music, he initiated the move in 1929 through which RCA acquired the Victor Talking Machine Company, with its decades of prestige and achievement in the phonograph and recording field, and the revered trademark of the little terrier “Nipper” listening to “His Master’s Voice.”
The transaction brought into RCA the colorful and magnificent history of Victor – the company of the great pioneer Eldridge Johnson, who had introduced the “Victrola” and
brought to the public the voices of such immortals as Caruso, Scotti, Calve, Lucia, Melba, and Tetrazzini, and the artistry of Fritz Kreisler, Sousa, Toscanini, and Paderewski.
Radio “electronized” the phonograph and recording techniques, giving new vitality and growth to an industry that had suffered losses in popularity during the fast rise of broadcasting.
THE CORPORATION EXPANDS
Victor’s plants and facilities at Camden, N.J., provided RCA with an important manufacturing setup, which was enhanced the same year of purchase by the acquisition of radio tube and radio equipment rights and facilities from the General Electric and Westinghouse Companies.
In 1934, the various RCA units engaged in the manufacture and sale of products were unified as the RCA Manufacturing Company, Inc., and eight years later this company was merged into RCA as the RCA Victor Division.
To keep pace with the continued growth of RCA, a further realignment of organizational structure occurred in 1954. Under this move, all manufacturing activities were grouped into two separate categories, namely, Consumer Products and Electronic Products. Sales and Services also were regrouped for more efficient operation.
An overall view of RCA’s achievements since its formation reveals impressive advances through engineering research and pioneering, major contributions to progress in time of war and peace, continuous efforts to extend the usefulness of electronics for the public, industry, and national defense. It also reveals the immensity of the challenges and opportunities ahead.
In meeting these challenges, every member of the RCA family can share in the crystallizing promises of. this, the most promising of all industries in the world today.
YOU AND YOUR JOB
The starting point of all RCA employee relations is the policy that there shall be no discrimination based on race, color, creed, age, sex or national origin.
Original employment depends upon the applicant’s fitness and suitability for the work to be done. Selection of new employees of RCA is based on these main factors: ability, skill, experience, training, character, and physical fitness. Job retention and promotion to greater responsibility are based on these same qualifications.
Equally important, RCA makes every effort to place the right person in the right job. Training opportunities are made available to help employees assume their responsibilities and perform their jobs satisfactorily.
The incentives for good work throughout the Corporation include fair salaries and wages, recognition of work well done, reasonable job security, and opportunity for advancement.
The final aim of these policies is a happy, unified organization of people, alert to its responsibilities of producing more and better products and services.
We hope that you, as a member of this organization, will want to work for its continuing success and help maintain our important position in a highly competitive industry,
The nature of our business makes it impractical for BMEWS Service Project to maintain inflexible working schedules.
These schedules may vary from one location and one department to the next. The schedule of hours of employment will be arranged to give you the most desirable working hours consistent with job requirements. In all instances, hours of employment conform to Federal and State laws and regulations.
It is a basic principle of RCA to pay wages and salaries equal to, or in most instances better than, those paid by other companies engaged in similar industries in the area in which you work. To assure the success of this principle, RCA has a plan of wage and salary administration based on job evaluation and occupation classification.
The duties and requirements of each job are constantly weighed and compared with those of other jobs, Job descriptions and job classifications are periodically reviewed to make certain that they represent the current nature and scope of work performed.
In accordance with our policy of paying wages and salaries comparable to those currently being paid for similar work in similar organizations, the Company regularly surveys industry and area wage and salary practices.
Wage and salary payments are made in the form of a company check. BMEWS Service Project uses a bi-weekly pay period.
All checks represent the employee’s gross earnings for the particular pay period minus various deductions required by law or authorized in writing by the employee. Deductions required by law vary from state to state but may include the following: withholding tax, state non-resident tax social security tax, unemployment insurance, state disability benefit insurance.
Voluntary deductions will also vary with the desires of each employee and may include the following: tuition loan and refund, BMEWS Recreation Association dues, combined
charities deductions, retirement, payments for purchases at the Family Store, and U.S. Government Bond purchases.
In all cases, each employee receives with his check a statement of earnings and an itemized listing of deductions made during the pay period.
The Company is required by law to inform the Government of the annual earnings of each employee. A copy of your annual earnings’ statement including the amounts withheld for income and Social Security taxes is supplied you for information in preparing income tax reports.
BMEWS Service Project recognizes the following holidays: New Year’s Day. Good Friday, Easter Monday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
RCA recognizes the importance of the annual vacation as a period of rest and relaxation, and the policy of granting vacations with pay exists throughout the Corporation. Your supervisor will be happy to give you complete information about the vacation practice at your location.
One week’s vacation with pay is given to employees with three months of service who are hired before April 1 of the current year. Two weeks vacation with pay is granted in the next calendar year to employees with six months of service who were hired before October 1 of the previous year. Note: Should you terminate prior to the completion of your six months of service, your two weeks of vacation entitlement will be reduced, and you will only be reimbursed for one week. Vacations are paid at your stateside rate. After five years and nine months with the Company, an additional day’s vacation is allowed each year starting with the following calendar year. After ten years’ service with RCA, you will be entitled to three weeks vacation with pay. When you have 19 years, 9 months with the Company, you will receive four weeks vacation.
The current work schedule calls for you to work seven days per week, eight hours a day. Our customer, U. S. Air Force, could change this schedule to satisfy operational demands. Because Thule must be maintained on a 24-hour basis, there is more than one shift in most work areas.
The only allowable paid absence for U.S. employees at Thule is for personal illness or injury as certified by the Site Physician. Allowable paid absences from Thule will be approved for death in the immediate family or of a near relative and for special or unusual circumstances which absolutely require your presence. The latter reason must be approved by the BMEWS Service Personnel Manager.
Your supervisor is the person who will direct your working activities, and who will provide official contact for you with the rest of the Company, He will introduce you to the other members of your department, explain your duties in the department, and answer any questions you may have about the Coznpany, its policies, practices, and your assignment. Matters concerning recommendations for increases, promotions, and transfers are generally handled by your supervisor in conjunction with members of the personnel department. You will find your supervisor friendly and well-qualified, eager to assist you in becoming familar with your new environment.
FOR YOUR HEALTH AND SAFETY
Good health is one of the best guarantees for the successful performance of your work. Your earning power and your whole future depend on your personal safety both on and off the job. RCA is interested in helping you maintain both. To do this, the Company maintains clean, healthy working conditions in all of its locations and provides well-equipped dispensaries and other medical services in all major locations.
We earnestly solicit your cooperation in seeking improved safety methods. We ask that you think and work safely, using the safety devices and equipment provided for your protection. Sound rules and regulations for the safety of our employees are in effect in all RCA operations. You are urged to protect yourself and your fellow employees by closely observing all safety precautions.
BEARDS ARE NOT PERMITTED AT THULE FOR HEALTH AND SECURITY REASONS. THE EFFECTS OF FROST BITE COULD BE CONCEALED BEHIND A BEARD. IN ADDITION, THE IDENTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES ENTERING CLASSIFIED AREAS AT THE TECH SITE IS DOUBLY DIFFICULT WHEN AN I.D. PHOTOGRAPH DOES NOT MATCH THE FACIAL APPEARANCE OF A BEARDED EMPLOY EE.
RCA provides for or contributes to a number of benefit programs designed to ease the financial burden of its employees in time of accident, sickness, or advanced years. The benefits available vary according to length of employment, salary or wages, and other factors.
RCA provides Group Life and Accident-Sickness Insurance for you as well as Hospital-Surgical Insurance for you and your dependents. The “RCA Employee Insurance Benefit Plan” booklet explains in detail the benefits available under this program.
RCA RETIREMENT PLAN
After three years’ service with RCA, you are eligible to join the RCA Retirement Plan.
Plan members build up their retirement income by making payments into the Plan each pay period based on their base wages or salaries. The Company also pays a substantial amount toward each employee’s retirement benefits. Benefits from the Plan provide you with a retirement income for life and normally begin at age 65.
The full details of the Plan are clearly explained in the booklet “You and the RCA Retirement Plan.”
FEDERAL AND STATE PROGRAMS
In cooperation with your State and Federal Governments RCA contributes to and provides for a number of programs for your benefit which are prescribed by law. Among these programs are:
Social Security which provides for an allowance to be paid to you at retirement age. It is important that you keep the Social Security Administration informed of any change in your name or place of employment.
Unemployment Compensation laws provide for benefits in the event you are unemployed. The amount of benefits depends upon your past earnings and the provisions of your state laws.
Workmen’s Compensation is carried by the Company on all employees. All injuries sustained at work must be reported to your immediate supervisor.
SPECIAL SERVICES FOR YOU
RCA recognizes the importance to the community of many welfare and charitable organizations, known under varying names in different communities, and offers you the opportunity to consolidate and budget your gifts through the payroll deduction method. Your participation in the payroll deduction plan is encouraged.
Located in strategic and prominent places in all sections, the bulletin boards serve as an additional medium of communication. You should make it a daily habit to read notices for information affecting you and your interests. To assure that all material is both current and of general interest, the Personnel office reserves the right to approve all material for posting.
At regular intervals, employees receive without cost the employee publication. This is the official Company news publication designed to give interesting information about the Company and the people with whom you work.
U.S. SAVINGS BONDS
RCA strongly urges you to invest a portion of your savings in U.S. Savings Bonds through payroll deduction. Forms authorizing the Payroll office to deduct a specified amount each payday are available from your supervisor or Personnel office. Your savings will be accumulated and a bond purchased for you as soon as the deductions total the price of the bond.
ESPECIALLY FOR YOU
At most of its locations RCA extends to its employees various special services as follows:
SOCIAL AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
In most locations the BMEWS Recreation Association provides members with sports, social, and recreational activities.
Membership is optional, but the small monthly membership fee of 50 cents (voluntarily deducted from your pay) entitles you to all the privileges of the group, including sports events, and other activities, scheduled throughout the year. The company also contributes to the fund.
RCA employees are given the opportunity to purchase at discounted prices many of RCA’s products through the RCA Family Store. The services offered by the Family Store are not intended to be in competition with authorized RCA dealers in the community. Purchases, therefore, must be for your own personal use. At Thule orders are taken in the Personnel Office. Employees with less than six months of service must make purchases on a cash basis. Once they have six months with the Company, they may initiate payroll deductions for purchases.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION – RULES OF CONDUCT
We think our employees are among the finest in the world, and it is the Company’s policy to place as few restraints and restrictions on your personal conduct as is possible. For the protection of its property, business interests, an d other employees, however, RCA, like other companies, establishes reasonable rules of conduct for its employees.
We ask your compliance with those rules we have found necessary to establish, and with other rules that may be established in the future. Since the breaking of any of these rules by an employee could result in serious loss to the Company and other employees in many ways, the Company reserves the right to discipline – including discharge – employees who do not abide by them.
Involvement in any of the following types of activity, among others, will be considered a violation of Company rules of conduct:
1. Violation of a public law.
2. Willful or negligent damage to Company property including that entrusted to it by others, including the Government, and to property of employees or visitors.
3. Theft or dishonesty (including falsification of time record, time card, entering data on another employee’s time card or record, or furnishing false or incomplete information for personnel, security records, or other Company records).
4. Creation of hazards of fire, safety, or health and failure to use safety devices or procedures provided for employee and public protection.
5. Reporting for work while under the influence of intoxicants, or their use on Company premises.
6. Gambling, fighting, disorderly conduct, and conduct which violates common decency or morality (including abusive language, possession of or use of narcotics, etc.).
7. Insubordination or failure to carry out any reasonable order by a management representative, including refusal to work on jobs assigned by the supervisor.
8. Incompetency or failure to meet reasonable standards of efficiency, including gross neglect of duty.
9. Tardiness without valid excuse, absence from work without notifying the Company, or failure to return to work promptly upon expiration of leave of absence.
10. Leaving one’s workplace for other than assigned duties without authorization from the supervisor, except for health purposes.
11. Directly or indirectly selling any item on Company premises without proper authority; unauthorized solicitation on Company premises during working time; unauthorized distribution of literature or other matter in working areas during working time; posting literature or other matter on Company premises without proper authority.
12. Violation of or non-compliance with Security Regulations including:
– Giving Company pass or badge or other Company identification material to any person not entitled to it.
– Attempting to enter, entering, or assisting any person to enter or attempt to enter the Company’s premises or restricted areas without proper authority.
– Removing or attempting to remove Company and/or Government material (documents, equipment, etc.) from Company premises without proper authority.
13. Revealing to any unauthorized persons any of the Company’s records, reports, papers, devices, and apparatus, or disclosing to others any information concerning the Company’s business, including formulas, practices, processes, and methods which are considered by the Company to be of a secret or confidential nature without the proper authorization therefor.
RCA'S OPEN DOOR POLICY
You want to receive fair treatment and to give fair treatment to those who work with you.
You undoubtedly wish to feel assured that problems which arise from time to time on your job will be given the kind of consideration they deserve. Everyone wants this assurance.
Your Company is reemphasizing ways and means whereby we can understand each other better and thereby become an even stronger working team. This is being done by a free discussion of job problems, with full confidence that these discussions will in no way jeopardize your job standing,
Reflecting this is the following procedure set up and encouraged by the Company:
Each supervisor shall encourage his people to discuss freely with him any suggestions, questions, or criticisms relating to his job. In such discussions the supervisor shall give the employee a specific answer on the point at issue, or indicate his intention of obtaining an answer within a short period of time.
If the employee is not fully satisfied, the matter is to be presented to the next level manager and, if satisfaction is not achieved, to the Site Personnel Manager for final determination of a course of action.
This procedure gives you sound basis for “talking things out.” The better understanding that both employees and supervisors have of each other’s problems and responsibilities, the greater will be the respect each has for the other – and the greater the benefits for all.