Forest Service Stories: Bruce and the Handheld

I couldn’t find any photos of archaeology crews with handhelds from the 90’s; but here’s Central Oregon Initial Attack Crew 4 Crew Boss Trainee Kira Santulli Leads Training Simulation at the Deshka Landing Fire on August 30. Photo: Mike McMillan – DNR from Alaska 2019.

This story comes to us from Steve Marsh, then (1997) Archaeologist on the Groveland Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest.
From: Steve Marsh:R05F16A
Date: ## 03/18/97 11:44 ##

There are certainly joys and heartbreak about working with seasonal crews. I had a summer archaeological survey crew that included Bruce, a good hearted guy but who sometimes did not quite have a firm grasp on life’s details. One day we were surveying a mountainside. The crew was spread out in a line on the slope below me, with Bruce at the far end. When we reached the drainage at which we were going to end the survey line, I called Bruce on the H.T. (handy talkie, hand held radio) to tell him to stop at the drainage and wait for me there. I headed downhill, gathering other members of the crew, going toward Bruce.

This hillside was covered with thick brush, and I could not see Bruce. During surveys, our habit was to locate each other by yelling, “YO!”, so when I got to where I thought Bruce should be, I called out, “YO, BRUCE!”

He answered back, on the radio, “I’m over here, Steve”.

Even after working with Bruce for awhile, this dumbfounded me. Thinking he’d get the idea, I called out again, louder, “YO! BRUUUUCE!”.

Again he answered back on the radio, “I’m over here, Steve”.

Although the rest of the crew was giggling wildly, I was very calm as I got on the radio and told Bruce, “I can’t find you….I need you to YELL to me”.

To my chagrin, Bruce yelled back, on the radio, “I’M OVER HERE, STEVE!”

By this time, the crew is rolling on the ground, and I’m red faced and spluttering. I was still very calm, though, as I got back on the radio (praying that nobody anywhere was also receiving these transmissions) and said, “Bruce, I need you to turn off your radio, and yell to me with your voice, so that we can find you”.

Needless to say, it was hard to be mad because the whole episode was just hilarious, and when we finally did find Bruce, he had realized what he was doing, and was giggling, too. Also, needless to say, someone else carried the radio after that.

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