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Dorothy Roggeveen

Dorothy Roggeveen was interviewed on September 5, 2014 by Karen Brewster and Leslie McCartney at Dorothy's home in Anchorage, Alaska. Dorothy talks about her career in the Women's Army Corps and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where she met her husband, Adrian Roggeveen, who was an engineer, and about their life in Okinawa, Japan. She discusses how Adrian designed the iconic clamshells that protected radar equipment at Nike Missile Sites around the world by basing the design on Dorothy's oriental fan collection. She also talks about coming to Alaska to work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline after Adrian's death and her subsequent work in Alaska before retirement.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2014-18-07

Project: Cold War in Alaska
Date of Interview: Sep 5, 2014
Narrator(s): Dorothy Roggeveen
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster, Leslie McCartney
Videographer: Karen Brewster
Transcriber: Sue Beck
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
Alaska Historical Commission, Alaska Humanities Forum, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


Personal background and joining the Women's Army Corps

Getting a job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Okinawa, Japan

Meeting her husband, Adrian Roggeveen

Adrian's personal background

Adrian's earlier civil engineering work on bridges

Getting married

Living in Okinawa, Japan for eighteen years

Retiring to Arizona and Adrian's death

The clamshell design

Using fans for his inspiration and model

Use of the clamshell design by the military

Looking at photographs of the clamshell

Success of Adrian's projects

Knowledge of use of clamshells in Alaska

Award for meritorious civilian service

Coming to Alaska after her husband's death and working on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska, New York and Baltimore

Conditions for women on the pipeline

Her husband's accomplishments

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So today is September 5, 2014, and I’m here in Anchorage, Alaska with Dorothy -- Ro-ga-vee-en.


KAREN BREWSTER: Thank you. Roggeveen. And also Leslie McCartney is here as well, helping with the video and questioning. So, Dorothy, thank you very much for letting us have an opportunity to come visit you.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: It’s my pleasure, and I’m delighted to be included in this Nike project of yours.

KAREN BREWSTER: Alright, so to get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself. When and where you were born?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I was born in Detroit, Michigan. And at the age of nineteen, I joined the Women’s Army Corps, and I still remember my serial number. That was strange.

In those days, you know, they -- they had unique ways of assigning those numbers. Well, at the time -- Okay, I was W-A for Women’s Army.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, WA for Women’s Army.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: First number: 8 for 1948. Next number: 5 for Fifth Army area. And then 00-00-047. I was the forty-seventh woman to have gone in at that time.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what year was that?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That was second of November 1948, election day. Harry Truman got elected that day. That was that famous Dewey Won --


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: -- headline day? So from basic training I got my assignment.

It was a dual assignment: an initial four-month assignment to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. And from there I was to go to West Point, which I did, and --

You see, the Army has representational service people from all of the organizations of the Army.

So that the cadets, as they rotate through, have experience and have met the various services.

So frequently then, by the time they’re ready to graduate, they’ve made their selection for second and third assignments as they desire, primarily based upon what they have incurred.

But, of course, none of them are going to join the Women’s Army. But they were going to run into it, we WACs, wherever they would go. So --

KAREN BREWSTER: So what was your job once you were in the WACs? What did you do?


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: It was off the block I did it. I was a TARE assistant to the base dental surgeon, who was an orthodontist, and he taught me to do electric spot welding.

There’s a little -- metal pieces that went around the tooth in the process? And he used the Johnston -- Johnson arch procedure. Colonel Morelock.

So, I got out finally, and was back in Detroit in 1950 when the North Koreans went over. And stupidly or not so, I had joined the reserve.

Well, all of a sudden the reserves were all being called up for Korea. And I wound up assigned to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, which I hated.

The people in the vicinity did not think much of WACs, and were not afraid or disturbed to show their dislike.

So, went through that. I don’t mind being disliked, but I hate it when, because of circumstances, I can’t fight back.

And that would’ve been a big no-no. So from Camp Atterbury, I was selected to make up the first group of WACs that were going to be shipped over to the Pacific.


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, we were unsure. There was talk of Korea and several of us hoped to go, but we actually -- the whole group of us wound up in Okinawa. And that turned out to be a happy assignment.

Well, as a reservist I became a part of the large group that Congress said, “They fought their war. Get them out of Korea.” So it didn’t matter where you were.

You could’ve been in Germany or South America or what-have-you. But you were a reservist. You were going home.

Well, I thought to myself, "Here I am in the Pacific; I’ve never been here. Let’s hang around and take a look at the place."

So I applied for immediate release from active duty in an overseas area, which would be granted to me if I could provide proof of employment.

So I wound up as a general clerk in the Corps of Engineers. So exactly like a dental lab, isn’t it?

KAREN BREWSTER: So all of your time in the WACs, you were doing dental work?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: This -- laboratory work, yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Or lab work. Okay.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. They call it dental lab and they also called us dental mechanics, so, you know, take your pick.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what year was this that you left the WACs and became the clerk?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: August of 1951. I got out. Still had two weeks’ pay coming to me.

Thank God, because I was broke. And went to work for the Corps of Engineers.

I was a GS-3 and four months later I was promoted to GS-4. And two years after that, after I’d met Auddie, I was promoted to GS-6.

And then I just marched through the grades to GS-9. I learned construction contracting and grew on that and enjoyed it tremendously.

Since he was the engineer, we could discuss some things that normally a -- a wife doesn’t discuss with her husband or doesn’t get to discuss.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you -- you met your husband --


KAREN BREWSTER: And he was working with the Corps of Engineers?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Not at that time. He was working with a contractor who was doing work for the Corps.

That was Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. And he had worked with them at the airbases in Nuisur, Bingarear, and Sidi Azeiz El Hamman in North Africa.

And they asked him if he would like to go to Okinawa. Why not?

KAREN BREWSTER: And so was Okinawa being rebuilt after the war? Is that why the Americans were there?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh boy! My dear, Okinawa was one tree surrounded by mud at the end of World War II. The natives often referred to the invasion as the Iron Typhoon.

Because that’s what came out of the skies for them. And we -- the island suffered a severe typhoon in 1949, Typhoon Gloria, which literally wiped the island clean.

And the military decided then that they would put permanent stations there. And with that, well, then we had to get it built.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay, so the Army Corps was building US military facilities? They weren’t helping rebuild the Japanese communities?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Correct. It was military construction.


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: There was an organization on the island that was involved with the natives and was called GARIOA, which was a lovely acronym for Government and Relief in Occupied Areas.

So -- but we had very little if anything to do with them.

The only time I think it came into play was perhaps in real estate, where local owned land might become involved where we want to put a road or a -- a ditch or a -- a building, a structure of some sort.

But otherwise, a different community altogether.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So could you tell us a little bit about your husband. He was originally from Holland. So can you go back in his career --?


KAREN BREWSTER: His name is Adrian. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Adrian?


KAREN BREWSTER: But you call him something different?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I call him Auddie. I call him Ade.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. So tell us about him.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Adrian was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and attended the Royal Technical University in Delft. It’s -- it was a five-year course.

Originally, Adrian was scheduled to go into the Dutch Army or the Dutch Overseas Service, I should say, in Indonesia, which was then the Dutch East Indies.

And while he was at Breda, which was the Dutch West Point, he wanted to take up sword fighting. I think it was more like the sabre and was still part of that old tradition of Europe. You know, clanking sword at your side and etc.

So he had to have a physical, and at the end of the physical they discovered he had a severely malformed heart.

He had had scarlet fever when he was a boy, but I guess they didn’t have good stethoscopes at the time and it wasn’t discovered until he was in his second year at Breda.

So then he transferred over to the civilian Royal Technical University in Delft, and completed his five-year degree in three years’ time, which was rather outstanding.

From there he went to Indonesia and that was in 1920. In 1927, he emigrated to the United States and remained here happily until the Great Depression hit.

And he was concerned that if anything happened to his employment, he would be returned to Holland and then could never return to the US.

So he went voluntarily and worked for the Dutch government there. He rose to become chief engineer for the Bureau of Roads and Bridges under the Ministry of Public Works.

And after the war, the Queen appointed him professor, which title he held for life at the Royal Technical University, his alma mater. And so he was now Professor Engineer.

So that went on and they found out he had days that he wasn’t working, and so they made him director of the steel information center. He was the first one.

KAREN BREWSTER: And he was a civil engineer? Is that what his training was?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. Yes. Yes. In Holland, it’s not just civil, as it also includes structural. And the structural end of engineering was his primary concern because of all the bridges.

As I told you, thirty-six major bridges in the Netherlands including -- Well, let me ask you, have you heard of the book "A Bridge Too Far?"


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: The bridges that they were trying to capture, three of them were Adrian’s. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Oh.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: The bridge at Nijmegen, in particular. You know it was that long picture that I showed you? That was the first Nijmegen Bridge.

And the bridge at Arnhem, which was to go over the Rhine.

Montgomery did a damned-fool thing. He never should’ve made the attempt for Operation Market-Garden.

It was very chancy and they sent them out with incorrect radio thingamabobs, what-have-you.

So they had one part of a radio and the other part didn’t fit. So -- And then they dropped supplies and the supplies landed in the German lines.

Anything that could go wrong, happily went.


KAREN BREWSTER: And what year was your husband born?


KAREN BREWSTER: And what year were you born?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: 1929. Thirty-two years difference.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so how did he end up in Okinawa?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: He had come out with that Skidmore, Owings and Merrill group.

KAREN BREWSTER: But -- but he was in North Africa before, so he was -- DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Correct.

KAREN BREWSTER: After he worked for the Dutch government, he went on to private work?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Correct. He needed a break, so he wanted to go to work for somebody else.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And you said that you learned construction, so what -- what do you mean by “you learned construction”?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Construction administration I should say, would be more accurate. I had nothing to do with the nuts and bolts.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: You were more logistics?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, we would award a contract: put this building up. Well, sometimes as construction proceeds, they need a change, okay?

Then I would write the change order or supplemental agreement adding it to the contract. So that was my end of it.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how did you two meet in Okinawa then? The story?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: This is where I’d kind of like to have the machine off.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. (Recording break)

Okay, so you met him and then at some point you got married?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. We became engaged. We met on the fourteenth of May, became engaged on the twenty-eighth of August. And that was ’53. And married on Valentine’s Day ’54.


LESLIE McCARTNEY: But you had said earlier that when he realized the age difference that that was a problem at first.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: It was. It was. It was his problem more than it was mine.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: But he obviously got over it.


KAREN BREWSTER: Well, from looking at the pictures of him, he was a very handsome man.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: He was, and a very charming gentleman. He spoke six languages.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Six languages? My.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. Dutch, English, French, and German. And he was picking up Spanish. I know we went to Rome -- not Rome -- Madrid one time, and he sat up front with the taxi driver, and both of them were doing the Madrileno lisp.

And you haven’t lived happily until you have two men sitting in front of you lisping at one another.

So we finally -- and that was fun, getting to the Hotel Pa-lace not Plaza, Palace, and -- but that was a -- a wonderful holiday.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now this other photograph, you said that is you and him in Okinawa?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. This is at the Castle Terrace Club, probably around about the holidays sometime in, perhaps, 1967 or ‘68.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So how long were you there for?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I was on Okinawa for eighteen years.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So there was enough work for Adrian for that entire time? I can imagine rebuilding the place --

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They may still be there. Because we did -- the Corps of Engineers had responsibility for all construction in the Pacific north of the Philippines.

The Philippines and below was Navy. So we did construction on Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Okinawa.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And you kept working all that time, too, then, Dorothy?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I worked all the time until about 1962. And then I took off.

I quit, so to speak, and tried to learn how to play golf. I never did do it successfully.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now did you and Adrian have children together?


LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did you work on many projects then together? Because as you said, you could talk with him about his work. So did you collaborate on projects?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: As a true collaboration, no. No.

He was there for the design, and I wouldn’t see the project until it was under construction. So --

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Did he talk to you frequently about the designs that he was trying to make?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: All the time. We discussed a lot of it. There were many things that were being said and done in his division that I didn’t agree with.

And I tried to get him to see my point of view. Finally did. It helped -- (coughing)

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Do you want me to get you some water?

So where did you go after that? You said you were there for eighteen years.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Adrian retired and we went to Sun City, Arizona. And we liked it because there was a whole gang of us retiring at the same time and we were all going there.

And the bulk of them were all golfers, so they were happy. There was no water around, so there was no sailing for Adrian. He was a master sailor. There’s a sailing prize up there.


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: So, then he died and I stayed on for the obligatory year.

Didn’t sail, didn’t do anything stupid, just endured.

KAREN BREWSTER: What year did he die?


KAREN BREWSTER: And you left Okinawa in what year?


LESLIE McCARTNEY: So you had a few years in Arizona together?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Four years. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Four years, yeah.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: And charming little house. Now, this wood in the coffee table are rosewood, and the other big pieces are teak, all from the Orient.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So where in Adrian’s career did the clamshells come up?

KAREN BREWSTER: For the Nike sites. LESLIE McCARTNEY: For the Nike sites. When was that?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That was in 1960.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: 1960. So you’re in Arizona at this point -- KAREN BREWSTER: No.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No, no. We were on Okinawa.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And so how did -- how did that come about, then?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, all design came under engineering, and they had had a study of the wooden panels and were disgusted with them.

So they were tossing ideas, evidently, around. What to do instead? And Adrian came up with this.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what were the wooden panels? How did that work?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That was a design that came out of the Cold Regions Laboratory. In Fairbanks, I think, isn’t it? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Okay. That’s what they had used here in Alaska, and the Army wanted to use it all over.

Well, it didn’t make sense in the Orient because of the typhoon situation. A young man would take a hold of one of those, a gust of wind would take him here and there. He’d go sailing.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so how did it happen that they came to ask Adrian to help with this problem?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They didn’t. He did it on his own and offered it.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So tell us the story about how he figured out how to build them.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Beats me how he came to it. But once he did, then I and my pretty little fans were involved.

That’s -- he heard a lot from me about that.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So what did he do with the fans again?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Okay. I can show you here.

Here is the main mechanism. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Hm mm.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Alright? You see how these all are attached to this? LESLIE McCARTNEY: Yes.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: This is where my little fan came in. You know, where I flick? Mmm. One of them smells so good of rose -- of sandalwood.

KAREN BREWSTER: Even the whole panel design looks a bit like a fan.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: It is and it -- it was. See, here it is halfway risen.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So, he just sat at your kitchen table and tore your fans?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: At my dining room table on Okinawa. And the maid ran into hiding.

Okasan is screaming. And I was.

And all I could hear out of Adrian was, “But--but--but -- but--but--“

KAREN BREWSTER: So he was working on this design and he needed some piece to make it work? He was building a model or something?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. This was a model of about so-big. And there was string and sort of a thread spool.

And he’d wind it up and the thing would go up, and he’d unwind it and it would come down. It was a cute little thing.

I don’t know whatever became of it. We didn’t get it back.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: But he made it out of your prized fans.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. Yes. Back in those days, here and there, either in Kyoto or Tokyo in an antique store or a gift shop, you’ll see, you know, some beautiful fans.

And I couldn’t afford a lot of the nice ones. But a couple or so I did have. Dammit.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So then did he present this idea to his company then? Or who did he -- No?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No, he was working for the Corps of Engineers. He presented it to the US government.

KAREN BREWSTER: So at this point he’d already -- he’d switched from the private contractor to the Army Corps?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: He had switched to working for the Corps of Engineers back in 1954.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So what year was this that he designed it from your fans?


KAREN BREWSTER: And you said you were very upset when you walked in and found these fans and your voice went very high.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: As I said, I think I made my high C. I was not paying attention to niceties at all at that moment.

I would be, like, you go into the dining room and find your husband’s done something with your wedding gown. You’d be very unhappy, I think.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yes. Like -- but did that little piece that he used -- did that --

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Those two pieces? KAREN BREWSTER: Those two pieces -- that made it work?


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They were the crux of it. Showing the clamshell up and the clamshell down. Coming down.

KAREN BREWSTER: I mean, I know it’s terrible he destroyed your beautiful antique fans, but it’s interesting to think about how his mind was putting the ideas together that --

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: What I’d like to know is, where did he come to the idea of using them in the first place?

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. But to think that the clamshell works the same way that a fan works. It opens. It closes.

And that -- amazing he thought of that.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. He was brilliant. Don’t ask me how he -- he thought things out, because you just never knew what was going to happen.

I -- I could talk to him about the fate of poor dogs having to eat garbage outside a Chinese restaurant, and he got to laughing so hard he had to stop the car to finish it.

I could come up with idiocies, but not that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, why did he -- were there missile sites in Okinawa and Japan that were needing these panels and the shells?


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. Because the J sites, which are the radars, the Nike sites, were used worldwide by the US military.

And at that time we were trying to encapsulate, you know, surround the Russians and the Chinese and what-have-you.

And the sky was the only place to go. So these came up.

KAREN BREWSTER: So he somehow knew these sites were under development and were --


KAREN BREWSTER: Through the Army Corps, he knew about that? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So these photographs here then, Dorothy, that you have of them --

KAREN BREWSTER: Maybe we should look at the big ones.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: When they’re finally built, where were they --

KAREN BREWSTER: Dorothy, you said you had these pictures in -- big ones of these pictures, right?

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right in here in the book.

KAREN BREWSTER: Let’s look at the big ones.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah, pull it down.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Well, let me just find them first. This is them constructing it right here, isn’t it?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They’re already built, but they’re demonstrating how they work.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And where was this one located, Dorothy, do you know?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: This was in Machinato on Okinawa. And these are just continuing photos.


KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, I see. So the big ball in the middle, that’s the radar? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. LESLIE McCARTNEY: And this is just the protection around it? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: You can see the clamshell protection going up around it.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: You see, this is just like linen or something.


KAREN BREWSTER: And what’s the shell made from?


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I’d like to say steel, but I’m not positive. It could be aluminum.

That was -- material was shipped in a flat piece and then the Ryukyans pounded them out into the curve. And if you can imagine the happiness of the neighbors.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay, before you flip that, I have another question. So this -- this part right here? Those pieces?

Is that the fan part you’re talking about? That he based the -- the fan on? I don’t know how you describe those.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: The center looks like a -- DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Turn it around for me. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Sure. Mm-hm.

KAREN BREWSTER: So I was thinking that that’s --

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That’s an outer shell protecting these inner workings.

KAREN BREWSTER: But I was thinking these two little small pieces, was that the fan concept? Is that --?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, all down here is the fan concept.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. There it is all closed up.


KAREN BREWSTER: I think that one has to go in the other direction.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: This is that -- this is what they’re using to open and close them then, now, is it, Dorothy?

KAREN BREWSTER: And is that -- one of those people your husband?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No. These are two military personnel.

KAREN BREWSTER: That’s inside and how they move it? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah, KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Here’s Adrian and they’re inside. See, here's the outer skin.

And then this is Major Bush. George Bush, of all things.


KAREN BREWSTER: And they’re looking at the plans. That looks like a very happy designer.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh, he was. He was delighted.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And this looks like the ribs of it. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah, that’s the ribs of the shell, yeah.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Putting it up. And it must be in one of the ribs?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: But if you can imagine three million Ryukyans with hammers pounding away day in, day out.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: The fan structure, obviously. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that’s the inside structure? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Yeah. Dorothy, I’m just going to check to see if these pictures are the same. I believe that they are.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They are. They should be.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: They, yeah. Yes, they -- some of them -- they didn’t scan. Right? They’re not all --

KAREN BREWSTER: There's still some more, let's see what else. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so none of -- these are all in Okinawa?


KAREN BREWSTER: Was that the first -- DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: This is the original.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: That was the first one? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Uh-huh. The prototype.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. And it worked? Or did they have to go do some re-working?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh, no. This worked beautifully. And they came out from Washington, from Honolulu, and Tokyo to see the darn thing.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what’s that one?

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Looks like the control panels or something.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That’s probably what it is, yeah.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So was this one of the proudest things that Adrian did, or was it the bridge building, or did he have a highlight in his career?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, all of his career is sort of a highlight. When you do thirty-six major bridges, which bridge is the biggest, the best, the most important?

One of his bridges was the first one that was more than a kilometer in Europe. So if --

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I was wondering on the clamshell if they had to do re-design.

You know, any design and engineering project, you design it on paper but then when you do the prototype it doesn’t always work quite the same.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: There may have been. I don’t recall anything that was of particular note. It was minutia.

KAREN BREWSTER: But he was proud that he -- his design was going to be used?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh, absolutely! Wouldn’t you?

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And this is the big bridge. Which -- which bridge again, Dorothy, was that?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That’s the bridge at Nijmegen, over the Waal. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: That’s “the bridge too far.”

KAREN BREWSTER: Not “the bridge to nowhere.” DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: And that was his obituary there.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so did -- did Adrian ever see his design, besides that one in Okinawa that was the test one -- DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes.

KAREN BREWSTER: -- did he get to see his -- DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Any of the others? KAREN BREWSTER: -- clamshells? Yeah.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No. I’m pretty sure not.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did he know they were being used here in Alaska?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I don’t know. I know that when I first came up here and I was working with the Corps of Engineers, I was doing a real property survey for Fort Richardson and Fort Greeley and --

there’s another place, the one in Fairbanks, used to be Army -- KAREN BREWSTER: Fort Wainwright.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Fort Wainwright. And -- and we would be pulling drawings out and looking at them and comparing what the original design was and the current utilization of that same space.

Because, like, we have barrack buildings that are used as schools by the military, so the utilization has changed.

And I pulled out this set of drawings, and they were full size, and lo and behold, there’s Adrian standing in the corner. Or a little drawing of him.

And then I looked at ‘em and I said, “Oh my God! It’s the clamshell.”

KAREN BREWSTER: So was he recognized for his contribution to this --

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, I told you he got a medal with his name misspelled.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. What was that medal again?

LESLIE McCARTNEY: You showed it to us in the scrapbook there earlier, Dorothy. Where was it in the scrapbook?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Meritorious Achieve -- something or other.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: There. I think it’s right there.

I’ll hold it up a little bit so Karen can get a picture of it. There we go.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Department of the Army. Decoration for meritorious civilian service.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: But you said originally it was supposed to be another award.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: He was originally submitted as -- for the distinguished service award, which was a higher level. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Right.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: But being the military, of course.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you said -- and so on this award they spelled his name incorrectly?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No, on the back of the medal.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh! On the actual medal.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: The actual medal.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, I do see on there that it’s A-D-R-I-A-N-E?



DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah. At the time of his birth it was fashionable to Latinize names. And so simple Adrian became Adrianus.

So, when I got him naturalized, the judge made a magnificent speech and we were all alone in this huge courtroom. Adrian was the only one being handled.

And they got to the part where they ask if you want any changes made in your name to make your new residency more palatable.

Well, Adrian raised his eyebrows and turned and looked at me, and I raised mine and turned and looked at him.

And we both didn’t know what to do, because after all of the beautiful speeches from the judge welcoming him to the United States, Adrian didn’t have the heart to ask to take the U-S off. So he still was Adrianus.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so, what -- you moved to Alaska by yourself then?


KAREN BREWSTER: After he died in 1974?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No, in ‘75 I came up -- KAREN BREWSTER: In '75, okay. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: -- and work on the pipeline.

KAREN BREWSTER: I was going to ask why you came -- why you chose Alaska after Arizona?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Anything to get out of that hot place.

I always figured you can always put clothes on, but you can never get enough of them off.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: So what did you do on the pipeline?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I sold dirty magazines and cigarettes. But was hired as a commissary attendant.

So, toothpaste -- you’d have toothpaste but no toothbrush for sale. You’d have paper, but no Bic pens. You’d have Bic pens and paper, but no envelopes.

You’d have Bic pens, paper, envelopes, but no stamps. And it was musical chairs having everything.

But we always had cigarettes. We always had candy bars. And we always had dirty magazines.

KAREN BREWSTER: You had to have priorities. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Exactly.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so were you working for Alyeska, the pipeline company?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No, no, I was working for the Greyhound company, who had a culinary service end of it at the Camp Tonsina.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you were at Camp Tonsina? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So they were -- the Greyhound company was like a contractor for the camp?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: The culinary -- They provided the bull cooks, laundry, and cooking and so on.

It was the only camp that had a riot, too.

KAREN BREWSTER: What? Did they run out of dirty magazines?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: No. No. Everything was quiet until the pipeliners came up from -- oh -- Oklahoma and places down south.

And they wanted to run things their way. And they were being prevented from doing so, so they tore the dining room and part of the kitchen to pieces. Wounded several people.

One woman -- rather elderly at the time -- she was working to earn enough money to finish burying her husband, who had died. And she -- they threw either a table which grazed her or a chair -- something that grazed her.

And she wound up suing Alyeska, Greyhound, and both unions that were involved. And I hope she made a pretty penny.

But I saw some of the pictures of the horrible bruising that she endured from the -- the injuries. I happened to be in Arizona. I was out on leave when all this took place, thank God.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how long did you work there?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: About three -- three and a half months.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was the shift like? Was it on and off shifts?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: As a commissary attendant, you were on in the morning for a couple of hours until about 9 AM. And that’s when the mail truck would come down from -- or it would -- No, it would be coming up from --


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Valdez. And pick up mail and continue on its way on up the line.

So then you're free until about four o’clock and then you go back and wait for the mail to come in. And it’s coming on down.

And you get -- start sorting it, getting it ready for the troops when they come in.

It was -- it was interesting. And I must say that the area, that location of Tonsina is just beautiful.


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: And here I am heart-wounded from losing my husband, and it seemed like those mountains were trying to heal me.

And I fell in love with Alaska and have never lost it.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so you were there for three and a half months and then you went on to do something else?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I came back into Anchorage, and that’s when I got the idea to apply for re-hire at the Corps of Engineers here in Anchorage.

And got a job.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then did you retire out of that jar -- job?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh my lord, no, dear heart! I didn’t retire until 1995.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what else did you do?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, in 1986 the Corps of Engineers sent me as a contract specialist to go to Fort Drum, New York to build the twenty-first-century post there.

And that was interesting and a lot of fun. I stayed there three years. Came back to Okin -- to Alaska, and I was here for about a year and a half and I got a phone call.

The Baltimore district wanted me to come out. I’d done a good job in New York, so they -- "Let’s see if we can get her." And I said, "Well, I plan on retiring in three years.” "Fine. Come on out."

Well, I went and it was the happiest assignment of my entire Corps of Engineers career. It was a very happy thing.

So when I was ready to retire they said, “Well what are you going to do?” And I said, “Go back to Alaska.”

"WHAT!" No one -- it -- it’s strange. I call them flatlanders now -- cannot conceive of the grip that a territory can get hold of you.

While I was both in Baltimore and when I was in upstate New York, I’d get home leave and so I’d come up, be here, be happy.

But when I’d get on that plane to go back, I was bawling worse than any baby in arms.

The idea of leaving was so wounding. Oh, when that plane takes off and you’re getting to the level and then you’re getting above the mountain. No, thank you. I never --I don’t want that.

But Alaska is God’s country, absolutely.

And the people here, take you ladies, for example, are so outgoing and so giving.

I have the feeling that if I ask you for five dollars, you wouldn’t hesitate to give it to me. That there is nothing you couldn’t share or wouldn’t share, because that’s the Alaskan way. And I just adore my home here.

KAREN BREWSTER: I was wondering about when you worked on the pipeline. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: As a woman in one of those camps, what was that like?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Rough. If you didn’t flirt that was fine. They -- they didn’t bother you.

It wasn’t a question of being bothered in that fashion. It was just the incredible surroundings, you know, you’re living in those -- what are they called them? A-T-C -- like a baggage car?

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re talking about.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: They’re so limited, and it was -- it was really unpleasant. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: But you step outside or look out a window and find a mountain to cheer you up.

KAREN BREWSTER: And were other women that worked with you in the camp?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Oh, there were loads of them, yes. Bull cooks, culinary workers.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you had some support from other women?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: If I had wanted it, yeah.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Was Adrian ill for a while before he passed away, Dottie? Or was it --?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: For well over a year.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Was he? You mentioned he had scarlet fever and a bad heart, so that’s -- that kind of caught up with him as he got older? DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: You can put that on the table there. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I just wanted to ask you one more thing about Adrian. DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Sure.

KAREN BREWSTER: We only have a few minutes left. That -- it seems like you’re very proud of the work he did.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Absolutely. Absolutely. He was a brilliant man and a modest man.

His accomplishments, he would just pooh-pooh. You know? He was a -- a gentleman among men and a hero to us ladies.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I’m glad his design was used so prevalently that he was able to continue it that way.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. Yes. I don’t know if he knew how much it was going to be used. But we sure knew, and we -- we were happy.

And the people in Machinato were grateful when the pounding stopped. Oh!

You could be driving down Highway 1 and from a distance you could hear knock-knock-knock-knock-knock.

And there were housing areas and native villages and they had to endure that for as long as it lasted. And it was several months.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, since then, they probably did it much more mechanized. That was just the first one they did by hand?

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, they did it by hand because that was the only thing we had at the time. But afterwards, I don’t know where they were manufactured. They could have been manufactured in the States and shipped to wherever was necessary.

All you had to do was get the shape.


DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: And we did the best we could.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, as I say, looking at those photographs of him standing there with the clamshell, he looked looked like he was very proud and pleased.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Yes. Yes. He was extremely happy with the way it turned out.

The company that built the clamshell had never done anything of that nature before. Had no experience, and so they were struggling to get it done and get it done right.

So if Adrian was happy with it, that man -- I think his name was Lyons, I’m not sure. He was definitely happy.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Do you have anything else to say about clamshells or Adrian or your career before we thank you for your time?

KAREN BREWSTER: Or your life? LESLIE McCARTNEY: Or your life.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Well, actually, I think we’ve got everything that’s necessary, and probably more than enough.

LESLIE McCARTNEY: Well, Dottie, we really thank you for your time and sharing photos with us and your memories. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: I’m delighted to have been able to do this. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thank you. KAREN BREWSTER: Thank you very much.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: And I appreciate the work that you ladies are doing. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thank you.

DOROTHY ROGGEVEEN: Your work is just beginning. KAREN BREWSTER: That's right.


KAREN BREWSTER: It is. LESLIE McCARTNEY: Thanks, KAREN BREWSTER: Well, thank you very much.