Pacific Tides
My name is Thomas Sturm and I'm a programmer, photographer and writer.

Now go outside and look at the sky.


While restarting the blog I spent quite some time trawling through my old blog posts, re-reading some for the first time in many years and discovering some long-lost gems, but also realizing how much of this blog is about memories and anniversaries.

It's not an extraordinary discovery that time passes relentlessly and that I'm a nostalgic person, but it never occured to me to look at this blog as some sort of compiled diary of my life.

That will become ever more true as we pass through 2019, as this is the 30th anniversary of many weird and wonderful things in my life. 1989 was an amazing year and I'm sure I will sit down every now and then over the next few months and write a post about it.

Let's start right here.


In January of 1989 I was still a soldier. I had been in the German Air Force for more than a year at this point, slowly counting down the days until my mandatory service would end in spring.

This would be the year the Cold War would end. But on January 1st that was a laughable fantasy.

I do remember vividly where I was on New Years Eve '88-'89: I was on shift for that night at my post, which was the MACC (Maintenance Control Center) desk on the bottom floor of the CRC (Control Reporting Center) Freising, a major NATO air surveillance site in southern Germany. The center was in a giant nuke-proof underground facility and my desk was in a tiny office in the server center, probably some 40 meters underground, surrounded by thousands of tons of concrete and steel.

Back then the whole facility was veiled in secrecy and access was heavily restricted, but some kind soul took pictures of the place when the military centralized their operations and retired the bunker. Here is what my desk looked like:

So at midnight on January 1st 1989 I sat right there, shaking the hand of the officer on duty, both of us clicking our coffee cups together. I had no idea yet what the year would bring or the adventures I would experience. For the next eight hours I would change tapes in the computer room, take phone reports from the radar units and occasionally note any activity in our duty log.

And I would be yawning. Giant hippo-style yawns as I would desperately avoid falling asleep while I was holding the security of western civilization in my hands.

© 1998 - 2022 Thomas Sturm