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Adventures in the Air Force
June 27, 1957 to June 26, 1961

David L. Devlin

2003-2011 by Author


CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

David Then (above)
and Now (below).
(Click to enlarge)

 

My name is David Devlin currently I am retired from the Television Graphics Industry. My wife, Sharon Feldman, and I split our time between Sebring, Florida in the winter and Blue Ridge, Georgia in the summer.

This narrative is being written as a reminder of my time in the United States Air Force. It is mainly written as a submission to the KAS 60-61 group consisting of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine personnel that served on the military base located in KARAMURSEL, Turkey between 1957 and 1961. KARAMURSEL was located on the Sea of the Marmara about 90 miles outside of Istanbul Turkey. It was called Mainsite, "Mudsite" and other unprintable names.

I, of course, can only relate my experiences in the Air Force; however, I believe that members of KAS 60-61 from all services probably went through much of the same. I believe that our time leading up to and following our service at Mainsite are all relevant. Feel free to skip anything.

Lackland Air Force Base
San Antonio Texas
June 27th to July 26th 1957

An all night flight from Philadelphia - the first for me - was the beginning of a blur of activities. Arriving at Lackland AFB, I remember a little man yelling at us constantly, a buzz haircut, uniforms, stripping cigarettes, heat and more heat. I spent three days in the hospital with sun stroke. Last, but not least, a midnight bus ride to Keesler AFB.

The Heat

I don't believe it went below 100 degrees during the day that whole month. Just by chance I was in San Antonio on July 26, 1982 - exactly twenty five years after my departure in 1957. It was still over 100 degrees that day.

Keesler Air Force Base
Biloxi Mississippi
July 27th to February 1958

Basic Training

At Keesler, we still had six more weeks of Basic Training in the afternoons. I remember Sgt. Horn, a much nicer Drill Sergeant than the little man in Texas. We did our share of Marching, KP, cleaning barracks and staying out of the way of the new Little Man that could bounce a quarter off of his bed, shave using his shoes as a mirror, and got to wear a rope. My parents came to visit for my first weekend pass. Sgt. Horn let my mother give me my first stripe. She was thrilled, I was embarrassed.

Basic Training Class
(last names below)

Avery - Pinonsky -Brawley - Powells - Fishwick - Boone - Bolton - Krum - Nelms - Cambell - Miner
Forder - Renner - Voss - Kelly - Brannan - Yeager - Myers - McKarthy - Squires - Hudson
Blank - Lowell - Guhman - DeRiclo - Bozzel - Nowak - Paine - Embry? - Mudry - Bergman - Lambert
Stienbauer - Borgess - Lyons - Tewell - Chapolaine? - Sgt. Horne - Schott - Quinne - Devlin - Gretz - Toth?
Front:  Paine                                                          Augestine

Radio Operator School"

The most memorable part of Radio Operator School was the march across the flight line at 6:00 or so every morning. Any member of the military that did that march deserved hazardous duty pay. Have you ever been chased down the runway by a DC-3 being flown by a Colonel putting in flight time?

I could already type about 50 WPM, but still had to sit through ASDFJKL - at the class speed. Morse Code was a little harder, but it all came quickly. They had some guy come in one day who was copying code groups about 4 lines behind. Who knows if he was faking it, but it was impressive at the time. Intercept school was more of the same. I graduated fourth in my class in February of 1958. I got assigned to Printer School at March Air Force base Riverside, California.

On the back of the photo (click picture below) are these names, some have position in photo, where he is from, and where he was going. It's hard to read, and if anyone recognizes someone, . (Click the document below. If, after it loads in your browser you see your cursor is a magnifying glass, just click again to enlarge even further.)



March Air Force Base 6942nd Student Squadron
Riverside California
March 1958 - August 1958

Waiting for Security Clearance

These six months were probably the best time for me while in the Air Force. I stepped off the AF bus that took me to the hill and sprained my ankle. So much for my grand entrance. I spent three days in the hospital, and was put on 2 weeks light duty. On myy first day on light duty I was sitting watching Sergeant Solomon trying to type a letter for the Captain. I offered to help, but he just kept pecking away at the typewriter. The Captain came in and wanted to know why the letter wasn't finished. Making a long story short: I ended up being the Squadron typist for the rest of my wait for clearance.


6942nd Student Squadron Emblem

SSgt Aldaz, A/3c Squires, S/Sgt Solomon, M/Sgt Tindall, Devlin

Unknown Airman and a Classic Car show


Left - Scura and Glen Lyons, Right - Miller and Neuby


Squires left of three pack, others unknown

Parking lot at Country Club.
Another Classic Car Show

My first weekend in Riverside put me at the Greyhound Bus Station. There was a cute blonde selling Poppies for the VFW. It cost me a dollar for the poppy, and got me a steady date for the next 6 months. Her father owned a 1957 Thunderbird, and she had almost exclusive use of it. She would pick me up at the orderly room on Friday afternoons, and bring me back on Sunday evening.

After finishing Printer School, I was the only one in my class assigned to Tuslog Det-3 KARAMURSEL, Turkey. I think a couple of guys went to Det 3-1, (Trabzon) or, 3-2 (Samsun).


Tuslog Det 3 6933rd RGM
KARAMURSEL Turkey
September 1958 - Spring 1960

On the way to Turkey,
first time out of the U.S.

Getting there is half the fun

I would guess that my trip from Charleston South Carolina was much the same as everyone else's: a stop in Bermuda; a stop in the Azores; and a midnight ride on a bus to Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya. Of course, the most memorable thing about that was the early morning wake up call of two jets going into afterburner just outside the barracks.

I was lucky and got out of Wheelus the next day, but ended up spending three days in Athens. Tough duty.

I got my first ride on a real Jet via a French airline over to Istanbul and the rest of the trip to Mainsite was a blur, as is quite a bit of the rest of my stay.

The Dispensary in the winter of 1959.
Mainsite, Mudslide, and other nicknames
do not describe this picture.


Shift Duty - Able Flight


I do not really remember what flight I was on at KARAMURSEL, but, as I see in pictures, I am wearing a green hat with the letter A on it, as were my roommates. So, I guess Able Flight was mine. Shift duty included three Swing-shifts, 24 hours off, three Mid-shifts, 24 hours off, three Day-shifts then three days off. What a schedule we put in! It took a while for me to get settled into the routine, and to get up to speed at the job. Some time during that initial period my shift supervisor, name and rank unknown, chewed me out up one side and down the other, for something. It was during this ass-chewing that I acquired the nickname Dexter. It stuck with me the entire time I was there. I actually grew to like it.

For a while I was put on duty separating carbons from the 5 ply paper we used in the printers. Strip off the sides and dump a whole box of printout into a barrel, and pull the paper up and let the carbon drop down. I got pretty good at it. After I got out of the Air Force I went to work in the Computer center at the University of California Berkeley Lawrence Radiation Lab. First time I dumped a box of print out into a trash can some Physics professor waiting for his output almost lost it.

Flu Shots

Late in the fall of 1958, they came around and gave everyone flu shots. I am not sure if this was the first year of flu shots, or just my first. I was laid up for 3 days afterward! The next year the medics lay in wait for us at the entrance to the OPS Center. I told the guy I was allergic to those shots. So he, thinking I just wanted to get out of the needle, said he was going to stick me twice, once to test, and then the shot. He put that test shot in, and my whole arm swelled up I had to go back to the barracks for the night. I have never had another flu shot.

Earthquake

On January 26th, 1960, at 9:53 in the morning there was an earthquake that hit the Sea of Marmara area which was caused by the underlying Anatolian fault. This same fault slipped again in 1999 causing a devastating earthquake in the very same region. I remember the racks of radios bouncing around on the floor. It seems that some were about to tip over. That was my first experience with an earthquake but, later, living in the San Francisco Bay Area for fourteen years, it was not my last. When the big one hit that area in the 90's, I was not really surprised.

Courier Duty

For awhile I was assigned to courier duty during the Midnight shifts. At about 4 am, I was given a satchel, and a sidearm, and a jeep. I had to take the satchel someplace either on or off the base, I am not sure which. Going out after dark around the OPS area was dangerous. They had Turkish Army guards patrolling the perimeter of the fence. I had been told at one time they actually gave the guards ammunition, but that they always came back in the morning having fired off all the rounds. Eventually they just didn't give them ammunition. Truth or Legend?

Antenna Room

This was my favorite place to work. Operators would call up with a frequency and the guy running the antennas would cycle through various antennas according to where the signal was originating, pick up the best signal, and plug it into the appropriate receiver. Does anybody know what the "Do Not Answer" transmissions were about?

Jackets

Our shift ordered jackets from Germany. They were rayon on one side, white as I remember, and black cloth on the other. One side had either the USAF Security Service rocker, or the Tuslog Det 3. When we got them we were told we could not wear them because no one was supposed to know we were there. I kept it for years. After 35 years I know the exact location of the thrift store where I donated it. I have regretted it ever since. I also had a couple of tapestries that I brought back that are gone along with my green shift cap. These pictures are the only thing left except the memories. My mother kept the inexpensive silver bracelet and earrings I sent her. I doubt she ever wore them.

New Years Eve

One New Years Eve, the Officer of the Day on swing shift told the AP's not to let anyone into the ops area that came to work drunk. About 15 minutes after midnight he called the desk to find out why no one from the Mid shift had come to work. The AP said they were all out there waiting to be let in.

I remember one guy was so out of it that they put him at a station, put on a pair of headsets, spun the dial and let him be. About a hour later they said he started copying the fastest he had ever copied. Truth or Legend?

Barracks

The barracks was a whole different world. I believe that we paid to have the halls and latrines cleaned, so there was not much housekeeping duty. We had a tendency to party a lot, especially on the three day breaks. I had at least two roommates: Bill Broughton and Mike Tuttle. If there were four to a room, the other guy was either "Whitey" Wytoschic, or Jim Wheatly.

Jim Wheatley, Randolf Wytoschic, Bill Broughton, Mike Tuttle (No individual picture of Bill Broughton, he claimed he went to the Citadel.)

 

Jim Wheatley, liked to drink, and smoke cigars

 

Mike Tuttle, the intellectual with a great sense of humor

Whitey, big guy with a big smile

 

S_Sgt Smalley: Please note undivided attention to comic book. He is studying for OCS


Chess, Bridge, Gin, but not much poker, were the games most guys played. There was one guy there that could beat three or four guys at a time playing simultaneous games of Chess.

Caption: Myself, Mike Tuttle,
Jim Wheatley (hidden), and
unknown with lousy gin hand.


Unknown airman going crazy

 

Guy on left unknown other guy Bill Broughton. Probably got stuck in the rain.

We did some drinking. Crown Royal comes to mind. I got so drunk one night, I still remember that I vowed never to do that again. I have stuck to that vow for 50 years. However, I did spend the 60's in Berkeley, and you know the saying "If you remember Berkeley in the 60's you weren't there", but I digress.

Things could get boring on the Base and I have pictures to prove it. One day a water main broke and there was no water. The break was outside our barracks, so Bill and Mike went down to see what was happening. After awhile a couple more guys joined them, then out came some chairs. I think they spent most of the day out there. My guess, since the pictures show Mike and Bill in uniform, is that we were waiting to go on shift, probably swings.


Mike Tuttle and Bill Broughton in shift caps found this water main break fascinating. Do not know who the other guys were.

 

Watching water can even become boring, so the dog was a nice break.

 

As the day wore on the crowd increased.

Dispensary

I remember the following like it happened yesterday. At some time I put my name down on a list of blood donors. They kept a list with the blood type of people willing to donate if needed. One night about one in the morning an AP woke me and told me I was needed at the Dispensary. When I got there they told me to sit tight they might need blood.

A couple of hours later an orderly came out and said they need blood NOW. He took out the largest needle I have ever seen. Later I found out that it was the wife of a Lieutenant and she was in labor with a Breach Birth. After the transfusion they took her to the airfield between Mainsite, and Yalova and flew her to Istanbul. Both she and the baby survived. They told me the blood saved them.

The couple lived off base in Yalova. I went to visit them once. I would love to find out what happened to them and the baby. He would be 49 by now.

Judo Class

A new Assistant Provost Marshall arrived on base. As I recall, he was a Captain. He started a Judo Club. A guy I was friendly with, named King, got me interested in the club. The Captain enjoyed tossing me around the ring. One night while a basketball game was going on I think I remember him throwing me 32 times before he finally wore himself out.

I think there was a basketball tournament going on that evening. I have a few pictures with no one identified. Maybe you will recognize someone.


I have not idea who these guy were.

 

Recognize anyone?

In the late 60's I ran into my friend, King. I was a Charter Pilot and flight instructor at a small General Aviation operation at Oakland International Airport. He was a flight instructor at a small field west of Oakland on the other side of the hills. He was not pleased to see anyone from the old base, and did not want to have anything to do with me. I never really figured out why.

KTUS
"Keeping in Touch with the U.S."

It was small and put together by a few interested, technically proficient airmen, but it was the voice of Mainsite and everyone was proud to be part of the Station.


"Let's see what they are having for lunch Today"

I have absolutely no idea of how I got involved with KTUS. Based on the dates of pictures I have, I was involved for quite a few months. I remember I did a half hour show at 11 am, and 4 pm. I read local announcements, played some music, and read the menu at the chow hall for lunch, and dinner. I think I had a pretty good audience because of that. If they were serving Liver and Onions, the AFEX would have a rush hour. I got carried away with the menu thing, and got some grief from the mess hall people. I believe I either toned it down, or got fired. Not sure which.

I remember the late Don Brown, but not many other guys. Pictures show me in uniform and civilian clothes. I even had hair in those days. There's a website about the station: Click Here

I did have a full head of hair at one time.

Larry Webb, you could light up anywhere then. Other unknown to me.

Christmas Party 1959, I recognize myself, and Larry, other unknown.

Christmas Party

Christmas Party

I think this was part of the Christmas Party. Looks like some heavy brass attended.

If I didn't see the apples hanging you would think those guys were making out. Not the Jacket on the guy to the right.

Cardinal Spellman came to visit for Christmas.

We had a Choir on base. Perhaps the women were dependents.

Family Picnic

I have absolutely no recollection of this picnic, but it appears I was there, and so was everyone else. I do not recognize any of the people in the pictures. I saw in another person's photo album some pictures of what I believe the same affair. I see children in the pictures, but do not remember them.

I guess the loser got dunked.>

 

Maybe the winner got a beer. Names anyone?

 

Names anyone?

 

Names anyone?

Names anyone?

 

Names anyone?p

 

Names anyone?

 

Some of the Turkish men at the Beach. Names anyone?

Inspection

These pictures show a formal inspection. Why I was able to take pictures, and was not in the inspection I don't know. Maybe our shift was just getting off of a Mid shift. I saw a picture in another album of a guy getting his Good Conduct Medal at what may have been the same ceremony. I believe this took place in the Summer of 1959.

If you know any of these people, in the general inspection, let me know.


ISTANBUL

On the ferry to or from Istanbul

I am not sure when I got really interested in going to Istanbul on a regular basis. I think it was around the time the base Chaplain had arranged a sightseeing tour of the Holy Land, including Egypt. You needed to have a copy of your birth certificate, and $100.00. I sent home for both. When they arrived the Birth Certificate did not have a seal on it, and they would not accept that I was an American Citizen so I could not go on the trip. I was really ticked off about that.

What to do with an extra $100.00? There are many stories to be told - in person - about what happened with that money. It did, however, allow me to learn a lot in Istanbul, and I had some fun times. The people were great, and the city was exciting.

It was possible to get off work after three swing-shifts, go to Istanbul, and be back on base for the Midnight shift. You could also get off three Midnight-shifts, go to Istanbul, and return in time to do your day-shifts!. I did that a lot during the latter part of my tour.

Hilton Hotel

My father knew a Major that was assigned to Tuslog in Istanbul. He arranged for me to meet with him, and in turn the Major arranged for me to meet some Turkish Big Wig. I remember the dinner we had, but only because I have a picture.

I had a puzzle ring made at the Jewelry store in the Hilton. I wanted 18K gold, but the jeweler made it in 22K. I wore that until 1977 when I lost it in a house robbery.

There was a hotel down the street where I liked to go for dinner. You could get a 7 course meal for about 75 Lira plus tip. They would make Steak AuPauve at the table. This is still my favorite way to cook a steak.

Street Vendors

Does anybody remember the guys on the street that made the cheese sandwiches? They took this coarse, crusty bread and put cheese between two pieces, then put it into a waffle iron type device. It would melt the cheese into the bread, toasting it at the same time. I would love to have one of those again.

Old Side of the City

One day I was wandering around the old part of the city looking for Mosques and interesting places. I stopped to ask directions at a Chi house. There were some old guys out front playing backgammon on an old marble board. One guy spoke a little English, and I spoke a little Turkish. They ended up teaching me backgammon. I never won a game, but would go back on occasion and make them all laugh at how bad I was. I think they really liked me, and I know I loved going there and sitting with them rolling dice and drinking Chi. I never did visit the Blue Mosque or see much of that part of the city. I would have had pictures and little memory; instead I have wonderful memories, and no pictures.

Bowls

I saw a lot of dancing, both public and private, and never bought a bowl. Enough said.

Pictures

The following is a picture that someone may recognize.
I have more pictures from Istanbul. Nothing exciting or that someone
else hasn't posted before. I would be happy to share them with anyone
interested. Just

I recognize both of the guys, but no names.
I would guess the woman and child are dependents.

Ft. Meade Maryland
6972nd Support Squadron
Spring 1960 - June 26 1961

Jimmy Bell

I have to mention Jimmy, long passed, who hired me as soon as I turned 16 and got my drivers license. His shop specialized in repairing Buick, Cadillac, Packard and even a couple of Rolls Royces. My job was to pick up parts and customers. He had an old 1941 Buick Business Coupe with only a driver's seat for running parts. I worked for him during the summers and after school all during High School. He had a heart of gold and a face to stop a freight train.

I saved $900.00 while I was in Turkey. I sent my folks a letter and asked them to give the money to Jimmy and have him buy me a car. I gave no instructions on what I wanted just have him get me something.

When I arrived home on the train in Philadelphia from Charleston my father and Jimmy were waiting for me at the depot. Sitting in the parking lot was a 1956 Buick Century Convertible, Robins Egg Blue and White. It had about 9000 miles on it. He had put a new top on it, new tires, a tune up and what ever else it needed. I have no idea how much it cost him, but it cost me $900.

I drove it back and forth from Ft. Meade to Philadelphia almost every weekend until I was discharged. I drove it to California along Rt. 66 in September of 1961. I don't have a single picture of that car.

NSA

I spent time at the National Security Agency, teaching Lieutenants and Ensigns how to read print outs. I also spent a lot of time watching an older woman (26) climb the ladder to get to the upper shelves where they stashed things. She had great legs, and, unfortunately, a big boyfriend. Oh well.

I spent a lot of time in grade and with no intention of reenlisting. I was not going to get promoted or offered any way to advance. One day I was escorting someone in the basement through the tape room. One of those 12" x inch tape reels had broken, and the tape was mostly on the floor. Some guy was trying to get it wound back onto another reel. It must have been an important tape. I told my supervisor that I could salvage the tape and so I finished my tour downstairs in the tape room, cataloging tapes, and running print outs! I tried to get on as a civilian, but they turned me down.

Probably the most impressive thing I saw at the NSA was the Marines. Any one that has come in contact with Marines doing their job will feel the same way.

Discharge

Four years to the day, I was discharged honorably as an Airman Second Class. I was not a spit and polish soldier, but I did my best, and served my country with pride. And I kept their secrets.



 

May 29, 2007

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