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Corlu in 1967
A Brief Run-Through of a Short Time in Turkey

Don Lonze

2003-2011 by Author

It was November, 1967 when I landed in Turkey. It was like going back in time 40 years. Turkey and Greece had been fighting over Cyprus and everyone was prepared for war. I had no idea why I was there, but I would be there 19 months. I extended my stay for the "early out" because it was a hardship tour, and being in the Army, we had only Army people, though there was a U.S. Air Force base about a mile away. I don't remember just how we were connected with them but we were.

I do remember life being crazy at Corlu; the housing was cold all the time and we'd go outside to warm up. We also never seemed to have warm water.

I was surrounded by a good group of guys which made our jobs easier and fun. I always wanted to help unload the supply truck when it came in and nobody knew why I did that. You see, I was friends with the cook - which, by the way was his last name - and when we were done uloading the truck he would always cook lobster for us! Well I guess the cat is out of the bag now!

I won't go into what our exact job was at Corlu because - you know the old saying: I'd have to kill you. But you know what we did there.

It was cool to have a houseboy and barber. I do remember Ahmet as I was one of the drivers who would take them home at night - the tea and bread was one of the reasons I liked doing that! I was no fool.

Each Christmas we would raise money for the homeless children, and I remember going down to the Marmara Sea for swimming and good times. We went into Istanbul all the time and spent a lot of time in the historic Bazaar. During the late 1960s, it was not the safest place to be. I still remember a female Russian spy we had to turn over to the MPs. You don't forget anything that pretty!

For a long time I never wanted to go back to Turkey just because of our bad living conditions, but the country is quite different now. It looks like a nice place to visit.

Here is another thought I just had: When we would go into Istanbul, I would stay at a hotel called the Kennedy hotel . Turks loved president Kennedy. This gave me an idea so I called home to Wisconsin and had my dad send me some Kennedy half dollars. When I showed the clerk the money, I could stay for that coin, and other services were discounted for the price of that coin, what a great idea that was!

I'll do some thinking...as I remember things I will pass them along.


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