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CAKMAKLI, TURKEY 1972 TO 1973

Lyndon Rose

© 2003-2011 by Author

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TUSLOG Detachment 67, (US Army)
was the Headquarters for artillery companies
and one ordnance company stationed mostly in and around
western Turkey. Renamed as 528 USA Artillery Group, akmakli.

See Lyndon Rose's many wonderful pictures
following his story, at bottom of this page.


DESTINATION: CAKMAKLI, TURKEY

These are my memories of my military career which took me to a wonderful country in a far-away place, and as in all sagas, there is a starting point; mine was in the late summer of 1971, just 3 months after my wedding, and four months after my college deferment ran out, in a small North Eastern Oregon city named Cove, population 590. (…remember Hee-Haw?).

I received a letter which began: “Greetings” and was signed by President Richard M. Nixon. I had the dubious honor of being one of the last drafted members of the military in the last draft of our nation. My induction date was 10 November 1971.

After completion of my Advanced Individual Training in Fire Direction Control for the Artillery, my Military Occupation Specialty designation was 13E20 (Field Artillery Operations and Intelligence Specialist) and being sent to my duty station was imminent.

Just before we boarded buses that would take us to the airport, we were lined up alphabetically in typical military fashion, and were told where our next duty station would be. As we progressed down the lines, I heard names of cities in Germany, where the other GI’s were being sent. Names like Rhein Mien, Wiesbaden, Munich, etc. but when they came to me, the Sergeant said “Istanbul, Turkey!” The guy behind me was sent to Athens, Greece. Everyone else - and there must have been more than 80 soldiers - were sent to Germany.

Even though I had been a college student, I didn’t know where the country of Turkey was located, except probably somewhere in the Middle East. I had heard of the name of Istanbul and remembered a movie about a student who was accused of smuggling drugs out of Turkey, and was put in jail, with an extremely long sentence. Not a pleasant thought.

My Military Air Command flight left Atlanta Georgia and flew to London England, then a change to Pan Am flight One (the around the world 747) to Rhein Mien in Germany. At the transfer depot, it was discovered that I needed shots for Cholera - more unsettling news about this country called Turkey. Because the shots were a series of two, and required a one week time period between shots, I got a two week “vacation” in Germany, and even though it was early April, the weather wasn’t too bad.

I flew out of Germany, once again aboard Pan Am flight One, and was the only soldier on the plane. I knew this because at that time it was a requirement to travel while dressed in one's Class A uniform. I was very tired and fell asleep, and when I awoke the plane was landing, it was nighttime, with a slight drizzle of rain falling. Because of my grogginess I was not certain where I was….I wasn’t sure I was in Turkey, but assumed that I was disembarking the plane at the correct place. We got on a bus, the plane didn’t “dock” at the terminal, and so had a short ride to the airport buildings. I tried looking for signs at the airport that would tell me where I was, but didn’t see any.

When I walked into the dimly lit building with the rest of the passengers we worked our way to customs, where I was expecting to see someone from my new duty station, or some other US military personnel to meet me, or give me directions and instructions about what to do, but no one was there, adding to my confusion.

As I was standing in the line waiting to have my bags checked through customs, a man came up, grabbed my duffle bag and suitcase and started heading to the customs table. This guy was wearing what looked like an old style suit with a sweater under the coat, and I knew he wasn’t an American. When I tried to ask him what he was doing, he ignored me and was jabbering in some strange language so I just followed along, not knowing what to expect.

He forced his way to the head of the line at the customs table and threw my duffle bag and suitcase in front of a lady who was inspecting luggage, and started to speak to her in a very loud demanding voice, again in this strange language. She exchanged a few words with this man, and then took a piece of chalk and marked an X on each of my pieces of luggage; I had just cleared customs.

The man then grabbed my stuff, and with a nod of his head indicated that I was to follow him. We headed out of the building, still night time, with a rain now falling, and came up to what appeared to be an International travel-all (hard to see in the dim light and the falling rain), the man opened the back and threw my bags into the vehicle and rushed back inside the building.

I looked at the vehicle and the only occupant was the driver, who was motioning that I was to get into the front seat beside him. When I closed the door, I said “Hello, where am I?” He just gave me a look, put the vehicle into gear, and off we sped. When I looked closer at him, I noticed that he too was wearing what appeared to be an old style suit and he too had a sweater under the coat, and was not an American.

We headed out of the city (I was wondering what city) with the rain falling, the windshield wipers moving back and forth, in complete silence, and wondering where in the heck I was going.

Soon we were driving in the country and I couldn’t see any lights from towns or cities ahead of us. Occasionally I would spot a small cluster of lights and wonder if this was our destination, but as we drove past in the dark and rain, I knew we were going farther.

After what seemed like hours and hours, I noticed another cluster of lights approaching on the right side of the highway, and again wondered if this was our destination. Sure enough, the driver turned off of the main road and headed down the street into this area.

We came to a barrier across the road with a sign in the center that said DUR. The driver threw open his door, and ran into a building nearby, leaving the door open with the dome light on.. I was watching for his return, when a noise at my side window caused me to look in that direction. I was startled to see a man in a strange looking military uniform with a “grease-gun” machine gun slung around his neck and held at his chest staring in the vehicle window at me. Before I had much time to react, the driver returned, slammed the door and yelled out the window at the guard; once again, I didn’t understand what was being said. The guard opened the barrier and we sped off into the raining night, now on a very rough road which looked like cobble stones.

We were back to the silence with only the wipers keeping tempo, and I was still wondering where I was, and where I was headed; back in the rut of trying to see any lights up ahead, looking for some sign of my new home.

We approached some lights on our left, but once again drove past. However, at the next set of lights on our right, we pulled off of the road and stopped at a barbed wire gate set into a barbed wire enclosure type fence with a small guard hut at the gate. It was like one of those war movies when the gates of a prison camp were shown.

Another guard in the same strange uniform I had noticed earlier looked into the window at me and motioned for his buddy to open the gate, and we drove through. I could tell we were in some type of military area, but with the fog starting to settle in, the rain beating down, and the dim 220-volt 60 cycle street lights it was hard to see much.

The driver drove along the street to a building; stopped took out my luggage set it on the sidewalk near a series of steps that led up to the door of the building and drove down the street into the fog and rain, and out of my sight. As I stood alone, in the rain and fog I still was uncertain where I was. I looked down the street and tried to spot someone...anyone! I tried listening for sounds from the nearby buildings, but it was deathly quiet. It was like a scene from a movie filmed in England: a deserted street with fog and rain, dimly lit, and completely devoid of human inhabitants or sounds...very eerie!

The sign on the building I stood by read "112". I gathered my belongings and headed up the steps and into the door of the office, hoping that I could finally find another human being or some signs inside the building to help me identify where I was.

When I entered the office there was a counter that I approached and I could see a desk and some chairs, and a doorway leading to a back room….but nobody was in the office. As I was trying to read some posters, I noticed that someone was coming from the back room into the office…I waited in anticipation. Lo and behold, a guy in a US army set of Olive Drabs was walking towards me…..I was at my new home! I was at Detachment 67/168 at Cakmakli Turkey.


Life Begins at DET 67, Cakmakli Turkey

When I arrived at Detachment 67 I finally found out that I was actually a member of the 528th Field Artillery, which had been deployed to Turkey under NATO. We were officially known as HHD (Headquarters, Headquarters Detachment) TUSLOG Det. 67 (Turkish United States Logistics Detachment) and were under SASCOM (Special Ammunition Support Command). (Acronyms abound in the military )

Det 67 was Headquarters for the 528th Army Artillery in Turkey. We were set up as "S1 Headquarters command" (which was a full colonel; the 528th commander, and light colonel, the XO or executive officer, and a command sergeant major).

S2/S3 were Operations (S3) and Intelligence (S2), and were housed in the same office. I was assigned to S3. I worked in the office as a clerk typist at first. Apparently, there was a slot for my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in Det 67, although I never once performed the duties that I was trained to do: Fire Direction Control for the Artillery. What we did do, however, was to organize and direct all operations and logistics for our Artillery detachments in Turkey. We also provided support to Turkish Artillery units who had 155mm Howitzers and Honest John Rockets. Our job was to assist the Turkish Artillery, in case of war, to provide them with the nuclear warheads that were under our control.

S4 was supply, as well as the motor pool.

I also discovered that we shared our “base” with another detachment, which was Det 168. These were the soldiers who provided the guards for the nuclear warhead bunkers and enclosures. Det 67 had about 60 members and Det 168 had another 60 or so, which made our total US army presence at around 120.

I was surprised one day to see two US Air-force men walking down the sidewalk and going into the NCO club. I found out later that they were stationed with us and maintained the Single side band radio communications system that we used to contact SASCOM, and other Detachments. They usually did their work late at night, and spent the day just relaxing. These guys had it good. Nobody told them when to work, when to get a haircut, or when to shine their boots. They didn’t fall out into formations, do Physical Training, pick up cigarette butts, or any other forced military crap which the rest of us had to do. They took advantage of this and would look a little scruffy, with wrinkled fatigues, un-shined, un-bloused boots, long hair and beards. Yes, I was jealous!

We also had a doctor and two medics stationed with us and their medical facility (a two-room office) was in the same building with S2/S3. The medical guys also had an ambulance. One time there was a serious civilian motor vehicle accident near the town of Cakmakli (about 3 miles from or base), and the Doctor and medics responded with our ambulance. They brought the civilians back to our detachment and treated them for their injuries. The nearest Civilian Hospital was in Istanbul which was about forty miles away, if I remember correctly. All the civilians were successfully treated and were released with many thanks for our Doctor and medics.

We also had some Army Commo men in our detachment as well. There was a Lt, a staff sergeant and several enlisted men, who operated our radio equipment that was separate from the SSB system. The radio room consisted of a big box-like container permanently set up on the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck. There were poles with an antenna wire stretched between them. I can remember some very interesting “conversations” with other detachments using our Army Commo radio system. You really learned how to use the military alphabet system. A for Alpha, B was Bravo, C was Charlie…and so on. I can remember when (and, sometimes. “if”) contact was made with another detachment the radioman would say (after a response from the other end) “How, you, me? Over.” There were a lot of “Say, again.” refrains. Sometimes the contact was so poor, that you had to spell every word, using the military alphabet. Here is an example; the word “message” using the military alphabet would go like this: “Mike, Echo, Sierra, Sierra, Alpha, Golf, Echo” which means that a person could spend a long time trying to send a message, even a short one, to another Det. Sometimes, after sending a message, the radioman at the other end would say “Say, again. Over.” and you had to repeat the whole thing again, using the military alphabet...again!

Even though we did have some telephones in the offices, which were civilian in nature and went through a Turkish military operator and switchboard, they were very unreliable and frustrating to use. You'd pick up the phone, and a Turkish man, with a rudimentary grasp of the English language would say “Yes, Agbi?” (Pronounced "AHbee," meaning "friend" in Turkish). You gave the number of who you wanted to call, and with several clicks, and static noises, sometimes you got through. Sometimes the static was so bad you couldn’t hear the other person. Most every time you were using the phone, someone else would pick up a phone somewhere else and the Turkish operator would say “yes, Agbi?” or someone else would say “operator” and you had to say “working!” hoping that they would hang up so you could continue. The interruptions were very frequent and you were continuously saying “working!” sometimes in frustration adding some other phrases. Maybe the Turks had only one phone line that all phones in the system were hooked to…I dunno…but it could be very frustrating. I can remember hearing someone in the office trying to use the phone system and after saying “working” numerous times, you would hear the phone slammed into the cradle and a string of expletives erupting from the person who hung up in frustration (usually an officer). This phone system was also not secure and so you couldn’t use any classified words or phrases. We seldom used this system.

We had a bachelor officers quarters (BOQ), Non-Commissioned Officers barracks and a number of barracks for the enlisted men. Det. 67 men were in separate barracks from the Det 168 men, and we were usually with men who worked in the same office. We also had a “day room” which was a place to play foosball, ping-pong, shuffleboard, to lift weights, play cards, or games.

We had a combination barber/tailor shop in one building, and there was a PX, a theatre, and NCO club, a basketball hoop, a football/baseball field (outside the perimeter fence) and a small miniature golf course. There was also a carpentry shop, and a maintenance shop.

A number of Turkish civilians worked on the base. The tailor, the barber, the PX clerks, the cook in the NCO club, the motor pool drivers, the carpenters and maintenance men, and the house boys were all Turkish men. The house boys were men whom each barracks hired to keep the building clean.

Each barracks had a combination laundry room and latrine, a large room with bunks for new soldiers who arrived (you stayed here, until a double occupancy room opened up - and rank always got you into a room faster). There was an entrance foyer with the mail cubbyholes for the residents of the barracks, and an outside landing that encircled the building (which was raised above ground level about two feet). Each room had an entrance from the central hallway, and a door to the outside that opened on the landing. It was the job of the “house-boys” to keep all this clean. They would sweep and mop the floors, keep all the windows clean, do laundry for you, clean your room if you wanted them to, and care for the outside of the barracks area, and keep the laundry room/latrine clean. For all this work, they were paid by the occupants of the barracks.

The houseboy for my barracks was named Bosh, and spoke no English, but he was trustworthy, friendly and did a good job. We paid him $30.00 US for one months work. This may sound like a low income level, but during the time I was in Turkey, the exchange rate was one US dollar for fourteen Lira. The Turkish solder received a monthly income of fourteen Lira (one US dollar), so Bosh did very well, in the economy of that time. He also cleaned another barracks and received another $30.00. I remember that you could ride the public train system from one end to the other for 7 cents US. You could buy a loaf of Ekmek (bread which looked like a round loaf of French bread, and was extremely good) for 7 cents US.

Both the tailor and the barber barely spoke any English, just enough for rudimentary interchanges. The barber was amazing; he cut your hair with a straight razor that he honed on his strop just before your haircut. This was the sharpest razor I’ve every been around. You could hardly tell when he was cutting your hair….it never hurt, and just felt like someone was lightly touching your hair. The barber loved American cigarettes...well, ALL the Turkish civilians loved American cigarettes. Even though Turkish tobacco is some of the best in the world, the government must export all the good stuff and sell the dregs to their own people.you could always tell when one of the civilians was smoking one of their country's cigarettes…the smell was horrible!

American cigarettes were not sold to civilians anywhere in Turkey. That was forbidden (good trading material). This is how the barber was always supplied with cigarettes (at least by me). I and a lot of GI’s on our base had moustaches (I know, mine was pathetic…but it must have been manly). When the barber finished your haircut, he would take his extremely sharp straight razor and trim your moustache. When he had that lethal instrument just under your nose, he would use his broken English (which at this time, became completely understandable) and say “you buy cigarettes, Agbi?.” The reply to this question was always a very affirmative yes…but you never nodded your head, just spoke very carefully. He would give you the money to go over to the PX and buy him a carton of cigarettes, "Marlboro if you don’t mind". Usually the tailor was watching this interaction, and would ask for the same favor, which was always also agreed to. I think that the US cigarettes were sold on the black market (the ones not smoked by the civilians) for extra income.

Life on the base soon became routine. Up at 7:00 am (that would be 0700, military time), formation, breakfast at the Mess Hall at 7:30, and report for work at 8:00am. Work until 5:00pm (1700 military time), Chow at the Mess Hall at 6:00pm, and the rest of the evening belonged to you, that is, unless you had some type of duty. The lower ranked, newer guys had orderly room duty usually from 1700 until 0800 the next day. After your night of duty, you could sleep in and not have to report to work until the next day. This duty was rotational and you only had this once every couple of weeks. I only ended up having to do this two or three times.

And so my so called life at Det 67, Cakmakli Turkey had begun.


More of life at Det 67

When our new CO arrived, life at the Det. took on a new meaning. He was one of those soldiers who would say things like “When you start to look like soldiers, then by God, you’ll start acting like soldiers!” Or, “When the Turkish guards look through the fence at you, I want them to see America, and what our soldiers look like!” Obviously he had a different perspective on military life, than the rest of us.

Until his arrival, we had never had a barracks inspection; but that soon changed. I received word at work one day that I was to meet the CO and Top at our barracks at 0900 for an inspection. Everything went well at first. We proceeded through the latrine/laundry room, the large “new guy” room with the bunks and wall lockers, and proceeded down the hallway towards the rest of the rooms. When Top got to the first room, the door was locked, as were all the remaining rooms….the CO asked if I had keys to all the rooms. My answer was no, only to my room which I shared with another friend Bill Lopez from personnel. That is when things began deteriorating rapidly.

 
This is a Christmas card that we sent to people while I was at Cakmakli during winter, 1972. These are the guys I hung out with the most.

Standing back row on left is David Miller and next to him is Ernie Maciorowski.

Kneeling in third row from left is Norm Neuberger (he worked in my office), next to him is Bill Lopez (my roomate and fellow "belly dancer" adventurer), next to him is Bos, our "house-boy" (he has his hand on my shoulder).

Second row starting at left is Wendell Gentry (I think), next to him in blue shirt is me, next to me sitting on step is John Gartland, and next to him is Steve Waller (Mr. Budwieser....holding a bottle of Bud, no less!). Front row with our mascot, Dixie, is Tom Nixon.

The Top told me to told to go and get all the men who were at work, and bring them back so that the CO could finish the inspection. After about 20 minutes, all were present and accounted for. As you can imagine, not one room passed inspection, except for the areas that Bosh, our houseboy maintained. Everyone was informed that our rooms were non regulation, and that things had better change. I don’t see why it was a problem that a heavy layer of dust covering your shoes stored under your bed was so critical, or your bed wasn't made so tightly it would bounce a quarter, or some of your clothes left lying on your bunk, or your desk were covered with junk. But these things mattered to the Commanding Officer.

Top informed us about what we were to change and that the next day he would check to see that we were doing what we were supposed to. He also said to leave all the rooms unlocked. Unfortunately the next day was laundry day. We took our dirty sheets, blankets and pillow case to S4 and traded them for folded clean ones. You then laid them on your bunk and fixed your bed after work that day...the way we had been doing it ever since life as we knew it had begun at the Detachment. After formation and breakfast, I had just started my day's work at S3 when I got a message that Top wanted to see me at the barracks. When I arrived Top took me to my room and pointed at my bunk and said, “what’s that?” I replied (like he didn’t already know) that it was my clean laundry. Top said that it was laid on the bunk the wrong way. He said that it needed to be “stockaded.” When Top looked at my face, he knew that I was not understanding him; so he showed me the correct way to lay the folded sheets, the blanket, the pillow and pillow case on my bunk (located where the pillow would go). He required everyone to “stockade” their bunks the same way. He also said that everyone in the barracks needed to shine the shoes that were lined up under our bunks. He would check back the next day and see how if we had done our duty.

I had a barracks meeting where I explained what the CO and Top wanted us to do...and I got the same blank look the Top had seen on my face when he told me to “stockade” my clean laundry. But from then on we were stockade soldiers. I hoped that everyone in the barracks would take care of the shoe shine directive, so I could get Top off my back.

The next day just after breakfast Top stopped me at the Mess Hall and told me to get everyone from our barracks and meet him there. When we all arrived, Top said that the CO wasn’t happy with how our shoes looked, so we would all take our shoes/boots outside, sit on the ledge and shine our shoes/boots until we learned how, and they would pass inspection. We commenced to start shining in a military fashion.

My barracks was directly across the street from the S2/S3 building where I worked, and as we sat shining our shoes I could glance up and see the door way into that building. At about 8:45 I looked up to see Major Frye standing in the door-way looking over at us shining our shoes. He stood there for a little while, and then headed our way, not even wearing his hat (which was a no-no when you went outside, ‘cause rules is rules).

He came up to me and asked what did we think we were doing? I told him that our CO and Top thought that we weren’t being good soldiers and we had to shine our shoes, until they thought we had done a good enough job. Since most of my barracks worked in S2/S3, there was no one doing the work at those two offices. Major Frye got this slightly angry expression and told us all to put away our shoes etc and get back to work. As I watched him leave, I noticed that he was heading towards the CO’s office. I would love to have heard that conversation...and needless to say, we never had any more inspections, or shoe shine episodes. Ahhh, life was back to normal.


More life at Cakmakli, Det 67

Since I was the training NCO I was responsible for all training, whether going to schools, or at Det 67. One day I received orders from SETAF that it was time for the annual PT (Physical fitness) test. I got all the instructions for setting up the test course, along with the score cards for all the enlisted men. It was a requirement that all US Army personnel have a yearly test that they must pass, to stay in.

I set a date and published the orders so that everyone would be aware of the test date. I had some helpers set things up, and had them keep score for each segment of the test. On the day of the test, at 0800, the enlisted people started arriving and the individual testing began.

Shortly after we started running people through the test, a 2nd Lieutenant showed up with all the score cards for the officers. He told me to sign all the cards for the officers, indicating that they had passed the test...without participating, just like the rest of us were doing.

Since I was a draftee, and not a career soldier, and was not planning on making the Army my career, I had an un-sympathetic view of what this officer wanted me to do. So I told him “no, sir, that wouldn’t be right." The orders said specifically that ALL military personnel at Det 67/168 were required to take the test.” He insisted that I sign the officers cards, and told me that it was SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) that officers didn’t actually have to take the test. Now he had done it. I became very pissed, and had my hackles raised. I told him that I would absolutely not sign the officers cards, and that they would have to take the test just like everyone else. I then asked him if he was ordering me to sign the officers cards. He just stood there looking at me like he couldn’t believe what I had just said. He turned and went back to the BOQ.

The more I thought about it the madder I got! Next came a Captain (Det 67’s company commander) and made the same request about signing the officers score cards. I told him the same thing that I had told the Lt. He insisted that I sign the cards….so I said, OK I’ll just sign all the score cards; officer and enlisted. He said NO! that wouldn’t be acceptable.I was just to sign the cards for the officers, and the enlisted men would have to take the test. At that point, there was no way in hell that I was going to just sign the cards for the officers.

I told my helpers to stop the PT test! I asked the Captain if he was giving me a direct order to only sign the officers cards.I think by now that he could tell I was really pissed! I told him that he could give me an article 15 (military punishment, that appears on your record), or do anything he wanted, but I absolutely would not - ever - just sign the officers cards.it would be ALL or none! He too left and returned to the BOQ.

I sat down and waited for more developments. The next officer to appear was the XO (a Lt. Colonel who was the executive officer and the second in command of Headquarters). He must have been clued in to all that had occurred previously and there must have been an officers meeting where a plan had been put together. The XO asked very politely if I had thought over the situation, and asked what I would be satisfied with in resolving the issue. I told him that I wasn’t trying to be an obstinate jerk, but that I would only be happy with signing ALL the scorecards. He said that would be fine.so I signed all the PT scorecards for officers and enlisted alike. The only real sufferers were the several enlisted that had already completed the test.

I was surprised that there were no repercussions. Not one officer said anything to me later about my actions, except my S3 major (a really nice guy) who said that I had a lot of guts. He also said that the other officers had wanted him to come and talk to me about signing the score cards, but that he had refused.

The incident with the officers wanting preferential treatment over everyone else in regard to the PT test came back to haunt them again and again.

I remained the training NCO for the 528th and its detachments for the remainder of my stay at Det 67. We were always getting notices of schools for extra training in different parts of the world. Some were in Oberammergau, Germany; some were in Greece, England and other places. We could select individuals and send them to these schools. Some schools lasted a couple of weeks, some were three to four weeks.

It was amazing how many officers were requesting to be sent to one school or another; they had ways of finding out when schools were available. I suppose sometimes they were out to get a better resume for their records, but sometimes it was to have a vacation away from the Dets and travel to a country that they hadn’t been in before.

There was not one single officer who ever got to go to any school, while I was training NCO (a period of about 9 months)….payback for preferential treatment (which, at the time, I thought was the proper response). I was constantly asked, by officers, if such and such a school was one they could attend. My stock answer was always: “Sorry sir, but we’ve already got an enlisted man signed up for that school.” Oh, life was so sweet! I would make calls to all the other dets, and see if an enlisted man wanted to go to school; and I sent a fair number. I even went to a couple of classes in Oberammergau, myself.

While I was stationed at Det 67, there were a large number of officers and men who had completed their duty in Turkey and were rotated to another duty station. The tour of duty for Turkey was considered a “hardship” tour and was the same length of time as a tour in Vietnam (13 months). We were also paid in accordance to that risk factor. This provided for a fast turnover rate for personnel, and it seemed that there were people leaving all the time.

Which brings me to the story of my good friend SP4 Bruce Diehl and the new replacement Captain of Det. 67, our Company CO.

Since we were so isolated and our personnel hardly ever traveled to other military bases, we had become a bit slack in how we looked. Our previous CO wasn’t as concerned with appearance as with getting our work done. The heads of our offices only wanted staff to be on time and to do a full days work. We hardly ever were told to get a haircut, or shine our boots, etc. We never had barracks inspections; and morning formations were never attended by anyone but the barracks Sargeant (me for my barracks) and we didn’t even take role call, so if someone wasn’t in formation, it wasn’t reported. The only thing that seemed to matter was going to work on time, and doing your job well.

That is until the appearance of our new Commanding Officer, whose name was Captain Huff (I think this is correct, but may be mistaken). When he arrived he looked like a model for an enlistment poster, or an example of the perfect solder. He had creases on his creases.

One day he appeared at our morning formation with our company First Sgt. whom we called TOP (I think this is a general military name for the company first sergeant in any unit). This was the first time that TOP had ever interacted with us. The CO approached me (the "dufus who stood in front of the formation wearing sergeant stripes") and said he wanted to inspect the troops.

He told me to give the order for “open ranks” which was something none of us had done since our bootcamp! The only things we were used to “opening” here at Det 67 were; beer, soft drinks, frito bags, doors and our mail, when it came. But I boldly stepped forward and gave the command!

Here is how it is supposed to work. When a group of solders is in a formation, each lined up side-by-side standing directly behind the soldier in the front rank and one arm's length apart on each side, and one arm's length behind the man in front of you, and so on. There were four lines of us, or four ranks in military jargon, all lined up in rows. When the order for open ranks is given, the front rank takes four steps forward (all in unison and staying in line of course), the second rank takes three steps, the third rank takes two steps, and the last rank (or row) doesn’t move. This is to give the man who is inspecting the formation room to walk down each row. With training it is done quickly and sharply and only takes a couple of seconds.

Here is how it actually worked that morning:

When I gave the command (I was standing facing the formation) everyone had that “deer in the headlights” sorta stare. I knew that we were in trouble! The guys in the front rank started to step forwards…some four steps…some three…you get the picture if you've seen the movie "Stripes." After about three minutes of staggering around and looking completely inept (like the keystone cops) we finally accomplished the maneuver.

The CO and Top, along with yours truly, the barracks Sgt, started our inspection. The CO told me to take my notepad to jot down his comments about our group as he found problems. What notepad?! I didn’t carry any stupid notepad! Top kindly lent me his, along with his pen. Going down each row, and as we came to each person, the CO had something to say. Nearly always “this man needs a haircut. He needs a shave. He needs his boots shined,” etc. I don’t believe that there was one good comment. I was even told to get a haircut!

Finally, after going through all the men, we came to the last man in the last rank, my good friend SP4 Bruce Diehl. Bruce was getting to be a short-timer: he only had about three weeks left before he was do to be sent to his next duty station. In every situation there is a person who pushes the limit of what he can get away with and, well, that was Bruce. And with the lax personal appearance standards we had been used to, Bruce had pushed way beyond the limit. We were not all that far forward from the 1960s.

So when the CO took a look at Bruce, he just shook his head. Now Bruce had fairly long curly hair that stuck out from under the sides of his hat. He was wearing tinted glasses. He needed a shave. His fatigue pants had been worn so long that they had this permanent bulging area at the knees which looked like he was partially squatting and that area was faded to nearly white. His boots were a sight to behold; so worn and suffering from a lack of polish for so long, that the tips were no longer shiny black….suede-ish brown. When the CO finished pointing out Diehl's defects (I nearly had half a page in the CO's pad) he said to Bruce: “Specialist Diehl, you are a disgrace to the US Army!” Whereupon my somewhat demented friend said: “Thank you sir!”

There was a trip to the Company office in Bruce's immediate future, and I’m sure another tongue lashing.


The Daily Life at Det 67

It wasn’t long before I came to know that being at Headquarters, Det 67, we had command over other members of the 528th Artillery detachments who were also located in Turkey.

Det 74 was at Corlu, which was located in the European part of Turkey same as Headquarters (Det 67) and our co-detachment 168. Corlu was located South West of our location inland from the Sea of Marmara.

The other detachments were located in the Asian part of Turkey (everything East of the Bosphorus).

Det 97 was at Izmit, which was about 12 miles from KARAMURSEL (an Air Force detachment) and located on the coast of the Sea of Marmara.

Det 98 was at Erzurum, in Eastern Anatolian Turkey close to the Euphrates river. It has been considered as the “Eastern capital of Turkey", situated on the foothills of the Kackar mountains, and is a transportation hub for travel in and around the region.

Det 155 (this number may not be correct, so if someone remembers, let me know) was located at Izmir, which was on the Aegean Sea on the West coast of Turkey. It is the third largest city in Turkey. Izmir was the ancient city of Smyrna.

When I started work at S2/S3 we had the S3 officer, Major Frye, then came Capt Miller, Lt Steele, SFC Thornton, Staff Sgt Olivette, and four everyday GI’s which included SP4 Bruce Diehl, SP4 Norm…., and me PFC Rose. We had three Warrant Officers; CW2 Winters (the nuclear guy) and two CW2’s who were helicopter pilots (sorry, I’ve forgotten their names). S2 consisted of Lt Johnson (our Turkish speaking translator), Sgt Nixon the classified documents dude, and his back up SP4 Don Healy.

Soon as I came to work, I had to get a Top Secret security clearance because of the nature of the documents we handled and wrote about. I was also given a Crypto (in- cryptographic) code clearance along with a NATO security clearance. So my impressive security clearance was: Top Secret, Crypto, Atomal. I found it interesting that at the end of each day we had to place any carbon paper, messed up reports we were typing, and the ribbon from the typewriters into the S2 Document vault. This was a large walk-in cell-like room with safes and vaults and always had someone on duty inside, locked in. You had to approach a window with bars to check out or put in any classified information. We called it the “cage” and called Sgt. Nixon the “monkey”. When any classified material was removed, or added (this included carbon paper, type-writer ribbons etc) they were either logged in or logged out and the logs had to be checked at the end of each day, and all the documents accounted for.

After a couple of months our unit designation was changed. When I arrived we were under SASCOM (Special Ammunition Support Command) but SASCOM was renamed SETAF (Southern European Task Force), so had to change all the patches on our uniforms.

After about 3½ months I was promoted to SP4. As time went on both SFC Thornton and Staff Sgt Olivette were transferred out of Det 67, which left us with no Operations Sgt, or Training Sgt. This required the rest of us grunts to work harder and longer to fill the void. Since we were without an Operations Sgt, and a Training Sgt, the higher ups in the detachment decided to promote some poor SP4 to an “acting Sgt”. That is some poor guy who has the rank and responsibilities of a sergeant (in this case the Operations and Training Sgts) but still only gets the pay of a SP4. Guess who got to be the new “acting” sergeant? Yep it was me!

Now I was the Operations Sgt (an E9 position), the Training Sgt (an E7 position), and soon I became the barracks Sgt for my barracks; the NCO member of the EAP (Emergency Action Procedures) team; and when Sgt Nixon left, and his back up Don Healy, I became the S2 Sgt. All this responsibility and extra work….for the pay of a SP4 somehow didn’t seem very equitable. Oh, and not to forget: I was periodically required to do “head count” at the Mess Hall. Needless to say, we had a severe shortage of NCOs for S2/S3.

One good thing about being a Sgt, was that I no longer had to pull overnight orderly duty. But being the NCO member of the EAP team required you to be on call for a 24 hour period. You could get an EAP message anytime of the day or night, but usually at night. EAP messages were special coded directions for removing the PAL (Permissive Action Link) safety lock that was on all the nuclear warheads under US control, and getting the warhead ready to be transported to the Turkish Artillery for firing in event of a war.

These EAP messages were for our practice (thank goodness) in preparation for combat. Something interesting that I found out about PAL locks (these were installed in the fuse area of the warhead to prevent any type of unauthorized or accidental arming of the device. And were supposed to be un-removable without the proper combination). Since the USSR was our greatest potential enemy with nuclear warheads, and did not have any safety devices on theirs to prevent accidental or unauthorized firing, the US sent them the technical drawings for the PAL lock, so that the Russians would install them on their warheads….apparently they did, in fact, start using them.

The EAP team was made up of an officer and an NCO. When an EAP message came in both team members went to S1 where the encoded message would arrive. The officer was the A team member and the NCO was the B team member. The message had to be decoded using a special code system that changed each day. One part of the message was decoded by the A member, and one part by the B member. Then A showed B and visa versa a section of their message that could be verified by the other. This was to make sure that both parties had the same information and got the messaged decoded correctly, and also to prevent just one person from getting access to the safe and retrieve the PAL decoding information.

The safe had to be opened by using two combination locks…one lock was the A team lock and the other was the B team lock. Both of course had different combinations. The A member would open his lock, then the B member would open his and then the safe door could be opened. Neither member knew the combination to the other members lock. After access to the safe each member took his part of the EAP message and using a code book, got that days number for his part of the PAL lock combination. Neither member knew the other members combination number.

The next step was to drive to the bunker exclusion area, about a mile or two away, gain entry to the area by passing a guard, then with another guard go into the bunker and using the two numbers that each team member had, plus the guard’s number, unlock the PAL.

The officer would dial his number on the lock and start the dial in the direction of the next number. The guard would then dial in his number and start the dial in the final direction. Finally the B member would dial his number and the PAL could be removed. We only went to the warhead storage are a couple of times…the rest of the time we just decoded the messages.

We had a movie theater on base (when I first arrived it was in an old Quonset hut, which was in a very dilapidated condition) and the projectionists were guys from the base. If I remember correctly, when you went to the movie, you paid a small amount (the movie itself was free) to pay for the projectionist. I ended up becoming one of the projectionist because one of my buddies already was one.

We had two projectors and usually a movie came on only two reels. You put one real on each projector and advanced the film to the start point. You had to pay attention as a projectionist to watch for the indicators on the movie (as it was shown) to let you know when to start the second projector so the movie viewers didn’t even know that another projector was showing the film. When a film was being shown, the film from the back reel of the projector, as it went through the projector was picked up on the front reel (the take-up reel) and wound backwards.

If you remember from the old days, when you watched a movie, about half way through there would be a small black dot appear in the lower right of the viewed images, followed shortly by another. These were indicators for the projectionist to start the second projector. When you saw the first indicator you started the second projector, but without turning on the light. When the second indicator appeared, you simultaneously turned on the light of the second projector and turned off the light from the first (if done correctly the change went un-noticed). As the second real was being shown, you rewound the first reel to get it ready to send to another Det.

At one point in time, it was decided that we would get a new movie theater. While construction was being done on the new building, we showed the movies in the NCO club. We used the wall for the screen and set the projector (only one would fit) into a small ticket taking room near the entrance to the club. This room had a window in the door so the film could be shown with the door closed so that you didn’t have to listen to the sound of the projector, which was pretty loud. When one reel would finish, you had intermission while you changed the reel…since this was the NCO club, intermission was OK; you could recharge your drinks while waiting for the second part of the movie.

When the movie Patton arrived, I happened to be the projectionist on duty. I started the film, and since the projector was so loud in that small room the projectionist would sit out in the NCO club proper. When it came time to change reels, I opened the door to the ticket room and had quite a shock….I hadn’t properly closed the snap on the front take-up reel and it had fallen off just as the film started.

Patton was a very long movie, so the reels were completely full of film. All the film from the back reel had gone through the projector and it was piled on the floor in this immense mess (think of when the line on a fishing reel gets this huge gob of twisted, gnarled, intertwined line). I stared in disbelief! The pile of film on the floor and the size of the room made it almost impossible to get to the projector without stepping on the huge pile of film.

Of course this fiasco didn’t go un-noticed by the rest of the guys in the NCO club, who thought it was hilarious! With the help of a couple of guys, I got onto the counter and was able reach the projector, without stepping on the film. My thought was that since the film exited the projector and accumulated on its own, I should be able to reverse the process. So with crossed fingers, I reversed the back real, and controlled the speed of the rewind process and amazingly I was able to completely rewind all the film from the floor back onto the reel without one problem….it was time for a celebratory brewski!

Going Downtown to Istanbul

I remember my first time taking the “pass-bus” downtown and going to the Grande Bazaar. We had a Turkish driver, and some of my new friends were giving me all kinds of advice on how to survive the ride to town, along with wanting to know how good my nerves were. I thought they were just trying to scare me, or make me nervous. So I put on a good stoic face and said I could handle anything at anytime….this drew some chuckles and smiles.

I did notice though, that as we left the base, the laughing and joking became more and more subdued the farther we went down the road. It got quieter and quieter on the bus. I also noticed that we seemed to be traveling at a rather good clip….the bus was even rocking back and forth on the rather rough road.

As we got onto the main road to town, which was a two lane paved highway, we started getting into more traffic; this is when the fun began. We were probably going at the maximum velocity that the pass bus was designed for. Anytime we came up behind another vehicle we would pass….even if we were only going 3 mph faster than the car in front of us, we passed. It didn’t matter if it was on a blind curve, or even if another car was approaching in the opposite lane, we passed!

If we were traveling on a straightaway and started passing when another car was approaching…the car we were passing would scoot over to the right side of the road as far as he could; the driver approaching did the same on his side and we managed to squeeze between both vehicles. At the same time as this was all taking place, all the drivers would be flashing their headlights on and off and honking their horns. It didn’t matter if you were yelling at the driver of the pass bus, he ignored you and kept on going. I sometimes wonder if the English we were using was somehow mistranslated into Turkish that said “please disregard everything I’m saying”….or, “speed up, you are going too slow”.

If we were passing on a blind curve, that’s when you really had a tight death grip on the hand rail of the seat in front of you….even the “old hands” were pretty sober when we did this maneuver. I never once experienced the driver to follow anyone the whole time I was in Turkey, he always passed, whatever the road conditions. I have even witnessed a tourist bus passing a car when another tourist bus was approaching….everyone just scooted to their respective sides of the road…started flashing their headlights, not slowing down and the bus squeezed through the gap, and kept going.

Each trip to town allowed the newer guys to become more accustomed to the Turkish suicide method of driving, and were more relaxed with each successful adventure. Pretty soon you had the attitude that, “the driver of this bus has made this trip hundreds of times and returned safely….I’ve made this trip lots of times and returned safely….so why worry.”

There was only one close call that I remember while taking the pass-bus. The bus would take us from Det 67 to the suburb town of Yesilköy, where we would take the train into Istanbul.

In Yesilköy there was a short section of four lane type highway, with road crossings and turn lanes…not a freeway. We were rocketing down this section one day (as usual) when up ahead I noticed a horse drawn wagon piled high with cabbages, entering the road from the right side and heading across the four-lane. The driver of the wagon never once turned his head to check for traffic. As we got nearer, our driver headed into the left lane and stuck his head out the window, started yelling, and mashed his hand down on the horn button. He had to slam on the brakes and tried to keep as far left as he could. As we were screeching to a halt I noticed our driver now was so agitated with his constant yelling out the window, that I thought the veins in his forehead were going to burst.

We came within mere feet of crashing into this wagon load of cabbages; and the driver of the wagon never once turned to look at us…I think he figured we would stop and he could cross the road. The minute he was past, our driver (while still yelling out the window, and honking the horn) jammed the gas peddle to the floor, and with the engine screaming we got back up to maximum velocity and proceeded on our merry way.

At Yesilköy, we would walk to the train station and take the public transportation system into Istanbul. It seems to me that this was about a 20 or 30 minute trip. A ticket on this train system cost 7cents US and you could travel from one end to the other.

The ride on the train was also an interesting experience. The cars themselves were rather antiquated and fairly worn out. I don’t think that any of the windows would open, and the seats were all hard and made of wood. When you got on the train, it was first come first served regarding seating….even the women would force their way and take a seat from you, if you were too slow. Most of the time I traveled the train it was in the standing position. The trains were usually pretty crowded with people going into Istanbul.

During the summer, it became quite hot and oppressive inside the train coach, and didn’t smell very good, with all the humanity packed in. There was one part of the trip that was always bad. We passed a tanning factory, where hundreds of animal skins could be seen hung out in various stages of the tanning process. This place always had a very bad aroma exuding from it; but in the summer heat, inside the close packed train coach it was almost unbearable.

One time we were taking the train into Istanbul with a fairly new guy from the Det, and the train was unusually crowded. We had to stand (as usual) and everyone was pressed together like sardines. Most of the Turkish people were shorter than we were, so we “stood” out. The new guy was a little ways from me and I noticed that a Turkish man was standing facing him in very close proximity, bumping together, etc. as we rocked down the tracks. The Turkish man was staring up at the new guy, and I could tell by the way that the new guy kept twisting his head from side to side, that he wasn’t having a good time. Pretty soon the new guy turns to me, and in a loud voice said: “Hey Rose, this guy’s breath smells like dog shit!” I immediately pretended that I didn’t know who he was, and prayed that no English speaking Turkish people were on board….I had visions of our battered and bruised bodies being thrown from the train. But, the incident passed and we got off the train without complications. I then reminded him about common manners and proper behavior.

The train would arrive at Sirkeci train station in Istanbul (this was a famous destination and stop for the Orient Express), where we would then either walk to our destination (the Grande Bazaar was around a half mile from the train station) or take a cab if we were traveling farther.

When we walked around town we were always accosted by street venders and shoe shine boys. These venders and shoe shine boys would follow you for blocks, trying to get you to buy something or get a shoe shine. If you spoke to them, made eye contact, or shook your head NO!, this was good for another couple of blocks of their company. You soon learned to ignore them completely and act like they weren’t there…this would keep their hawking down to only a block or so.

Most of us wore sneakers or tennis shoes…which for some strange reason made no difference to the shoe shine boys. They would still hound you about a shine. I suspect that they had learned that their target when annoyed enough would give them money or cigarettes to get rid of them.

Downtown Istanbul

The Grande Bazaar was a really amazing place. It was situated on over 40 acres; was mostly covered, had over 4,000 businesses, and had been in existence for hundreds of years. I think you could have purchased anything in the world from that place…probably even people.

I was always amazed that as we entered the Grande Bazaar (the place we entered was a very large open area that had “streets“ radiating out in all directions) some of the venders would always yell out; “Cakmakli GI’s”. I don’t know how they recognized us, but they did. Maybe it was because we were all young and looked American and ran around in small groups wearing American clothes.

One good thing about this recognition was that we usually got pretty good prices from the shop owners. The prices on all the things sold at the Bazaar were negotiable, and you were expected to “dicker” over them. We usually went to the same areas, and the same shops when we visited the Bazaar, and the shop owners knew that we would be return customers, so were willing to sell you something at a reasonable price.

There was one shop that we always visited when at the Bazaar. This was a jewelry shop, and the owner was always glad to see us and was always very hospitable (he spoke very good English). He would welcome us and ask if we wanted some Chi (the national tea drink, which was very good) or a Coke (which was very bad….the Coca-Cola company had modified the formula to be acceptable to the Turkish palate…but that made it un-acceptable to us). He would make sure that the other shop owners in the area treated us fairly, and would sometimes ask what price we had paid for an item. If he thought it was too high, he would take us back to the shop and make the owner lower the price. He was a good friend.

It was always an adventure going through the Grande Bazaar, and there were many wonderful sites and sounds to enjoy. I purchased Onyx and metal art objects, jewelry, Oriental rugs, leather coats, pottery, copper and brass pots, carved wooden boxes, tapestries, and many other items…too numerous to mention.

There was another Bazaar (the Spice Bazaar) that we would visit while in Istanbul occasionally. It was on the Southern end of the Galata Bridge that crossed the Golden Horn river and was near Sirkeci station in the Eminonu district of Istanbul.

This Bazaar was full of an amazing collection of spices, nuts and seeds, dried fruits of every description and type. There was always an exotic aroma when you went through this Bazaar. We would usually purchase some dried fruit and nuts (I was partial to Pistachios) and some lokum (Turkish Delight) to snack on when we caught the train and bus back to Det 67.

When we returned to Yesilköy from Istanbul, we usually had to wait for the pass bus to take us back to the Det and so we wandered around the area where the pass bus would arrive. There were a lot of small shops that sold a variety of items. On one street, there were a lot of produce shops. Shops in Turkey were usually pretty small (maybe 12 feet wide and 20 feet deep) so a lot of the goods being sold were placed onto the sidewalk. It was always nice to walk down a shady street and see all the fresh vegetables arranged at each shop.

There was a small café near the area where the pass bus would arrive, and we would usually stop in and have a bite to eat or something to drink. This place had an outside eating area that was surrounded by a stone wall about three feet high and had a lattice type roof covering that was covered in grape vines (I think)…it was always comfortable and with a slight breeze was a nice cool shady oasis to relax and enjoy our stop.

The owners of the café were always glad when we stopped and soon we became regular patrons. After while, the owner would offer us a drink, which (if I remember correctly) was called Raki. This was the national drink and was distilled from grapes and flavored with Anise seed (tasted like licorice). This stuff was clear like vodka until you added water, then it changed to a milky white color. You always, and I mean always, added water because this stuff must have been about 50% alcohol. I took a sip one time to check on the “pure, undiluted” taste. WOW! It felt like someone burned my tongue.

You also didn’t want to get carried away and enjoy to much of this at one time…it would sneak up on you and wham!

At some point in time, one of my buddies wanted steak and French fries (which were definitely not on the menu), and so asked the owner if he could have some. Through mutual broken communication, the owner implied that he would have some steak for us the next time we stopped (the next day as it turned outs), but he had no idea what French fries were.

He had a couple of us go into the kitchen and show him what we wanted. He did have some potatoes and so we showed him how to cut the spud into strips for making French fries. He only had olive oil, so we used that in a deep frying pan. They actually tasted pretty good. The next day when we stopped for our meal, the owner very proudly brought each of us our steak and French fry meal. The only problem with the meal was that the steak was pretty tough and didn’t have much flavor. I noticed that the meat was very lean (I don’t think Turkish people eat much beef, maybe it’s too expensive, so the beef isn’t fattened like it is in the US). But it was a steak, and the fries were very good. The café didn’t have ketchup, so we were given a small dab of mustard like stuff….we came to enjoy this sauce with our fries. We gave the owner a generous tip for his efforts, and steak and fries became a regular meal for us.

Traveling around Turkey

Since I was part of Headquarters for the 528th Artillery at Det 67, we periodically traveled to the other detachments that were under our command. These opportunities allowed me to see other parts of Turkey that most other soldiers didn't get to do, while they were at their assigned duty stations.

When we visited Det 74 at Corlu, we only had a trip of several hours (if my memory serves), and traveled down along the Sea of Marmara, and then headed inland about 10 miles until we reached the City of Corlu, then on to the Detachment. The scenery along the coastline was very nice.

When we visited the other Detachments, we had to cross the Bosphorus to get to the Asian part of Turkey where all our other Dets were located. To do this we had to use the public ferry system. There was a new bridge being constructed but it wasn't finished until after I left the country.

The first time we used the ferry it was an education. Since we were in the US Army, and Turkey at that time was under martial law by their military, all military vehicles got a priority to use the ferry ahead of civilians. We drove past a long, long line of trucks waiting to board the ferry..this line must have been over two miles long. There was another line of passenger cars, and the ferry workers would take a mixture of cars and trucks when they guided you onto the ferry. We drove past these cars and were always allowed onto the ferry ahead of anyone else.

One time we arrived at Serkeci and drove to the front of the line, but had to wait for an approaching ferry to dock and unload. I was surprised to see a large number of people gathering near the ramp that would be lowered so cars could disembark. As soon as the ferry was even close to the dock, before the ramp had been completely lowered, people would start jumping from the ferry across the gap between the dock and the ferry. At the same time people on the dock would start jumping onto the ferry. It was chaotic at the least, and looked extremely dangerous.

One time while we were waiting to get off the ferry, a man had tried jumping a little earlier then everyone else, and fell into the water. The ferry tried stopping and backing up, but its weight and momentum carried it completely to the dock. Fortunately the man had swam to the side and was rescued by some bystanders on the dock.


Turkish First Army Headquarters.

Another time, as we were waiting to drive onto the ferry in our staff car, some other cars had gotten loaded before us, and a truck had just boarded ahead of our car (probably a 2 and a half ton). The truck was loaded with empty 50 gallon barrels, which were piled extremely high, laid on their sides and tied to the truck with rope. Just as we started up the ramp, behind one other car onto the ferry, the truck reached the superstructure of the ferry and started under it. But the barrels were piled too high and they caught on the superstructure and the truck jammed there. The ferryman who was guiding the loading started waving at the truck driver to get him to back up his truck. The driver tried to back up, but the truck and barrels had made it far enough under the structure, that it couldn't back up..it was stuck!

The ferryman and the truck driver were now standing near the back of the truck and with arms waving and loud voices were discussing the situation, while the assistant driver (or truck loader guy) was watching quietly. I don't know who came up with the plan, but soon the driver and his assistant were letting some air out of the truck tires. This worked, and the truck was able to drive under the superstructure and park.

We drove up and parked one car behind the truck, while there were cars on each side of the barrel truck. The ferry was finally loaded and we started across. When the truck had became stuck under the superstructure and the driver was trying to go back and forth to free it, he had caused some of the barrels to shift, which caused some of his ropes to become less than tight.

When we were about half way across (the water was a little rough, so the ride wasn't the smoothest) some of the barrels fell off of the truck. We had gotten out of the staff car and were on the observation area above the superstructure and had a front row view of what was taking place, along with a lot of the other car passengers.

Three barrels fell off the back tier of the pile and fell onto the hood of the car parked directly behind the truck. As this happened, we heard one of the passengers who was enjoying the view with us on the observation deck, make a loud exclamation in what I think was German. This man immediately ran down the steps onto the deck where his car was parked..yep, it was the one the barrels fell on. If I remember correctly the car was a fairly expensive one.a black car, maybe a Mercedes or something like it, that had became the landing pad for the empty barrels. When the barrels were falling off the truck they probably fell at least eight or nine feet before hitting the car..they made a really cool banging noise. After hitting the car they rolled onto the deck between the cars and the truck.

The truck driver and his assistant had gotten to the truck before the German Tourist and were attempting to get the barrels back onto the truck. When the German arrived he started yelling at the two Turkish men who were hurrying to get the barrels out of the way and re-loaded. This re-loading process took at least 15 minutes; and the whole time the German man was screaming at them. The Turkish men ignored the German, and finally had the three wayward barrels back on the truck and retied.

About this time the ferry was making its docking maneuver and people were getting back into their cars to drive them off the ferry. The Turkish truck driver and his assistant were in their truck waiting as well, and the German man was standing at the drivers door and was still yelling at the truck driver.

The ferry docked, and the cars and truck started to disembark, while the German ran and got into his Mercedes and started following the truck. The last thing I saw was this truck loaded with barrels gently swaying from side to side with it's almost flat tires slowly heading away from the ferry with a black Mercedes and a mad German in pursuit. I don't know the outcome of this calamity, but I'll bet the German with his dented hood and broken wiper arms didn't get any insurance claim or financial re-imbursement for his car.

Another time we had to travel to Det 98 which was near the city of Erzurum (in the far Eastern part of Turkey), the farthest Det from our headquarters, and the plan was to fly on a Turkish civilian aircraft.

We arrived at the airport in Yesilköy and were waiting to get on our plane. At the time I was in Turkey, the Airports I used didn't have any docking facilities for the aircraft. You walked out onto the tarmac and climbed up to the plane, or rode a bus.

There were a fair number of civilians waiting with us to board the plane. When the time was at hand to load up (we noticed this because all the civilians started rushing out of the air terminal towards the plane) we followed along.

When we checked our baggage at the terminal we assumed that we wouldn't see it again till we arrived at Erzurum. Wrong! The system worked like this (we only knew this because the Turkish civilians were the example we followed), our luggage was loaded onto a baggage carrier cart and stationed near where we would walk when going towards the plane. There was an area on the opposite side of the baggage cart that had a yellow painted line in a square shape. You took your baggage off of the baggage cart and set it inside of the yellow square area, and then it was loaded onto the plane.

It was a good thing that some civilians were ahead of us and we were able to watch them move their luggage. If not for them, I would have just went past the cart and got on the plane. It would have been a real shock to get to Erzurum and find you had no luggage..especially since we stayed there for five days.

As we got onto the plane, we realized that there was no distinction between first class and the rest of the passenger seating..altho the plane had a first class section (larger more roomy seats and less crowded than the rest), it was first come first served. We realized that was why all the civilians were in such a hurry to get on the plane first..they were almost running to the plane, and were very happily setting in the first class section when we got on board.

The weather at Yesilköy when we left was slightly overcast but not bad. The closer we got to Erzurum, I noticed, as I looked below our plane, that the clouds looked rather ominous. When we started our descent down through the clouds the weather was really bad. The plane was buffeted around and at times it was so rough it was like driving on a really bad wash-board gravel road...very severe rapid bumping.

We were setting about two-thirds of the way towards the back of the plane. A couple of times, I'm sure that lightening struck the plane, because there were really loud crashing noises..almost like the plane was hitting objects in the air..like maybe a couple of VW beetles. I remember looking forwards and seeing the fuselage of the plane undulating back and forth..like when a snake is moving along from side to side. There were occasional hard downward jolts accompanied by more loud noises. At one point a severe jolt or lightening crash caused the overhead compartments to fly open and stuff to cascade down on the passengers.

It was very scary and I had a death grip on the arm rests of the seat. I looked at the other people on the plane and the GI's setting by me and noticed that their faces were white and they also had death grips on the arm rests. I don't remember hearing anyone screaming (but maybe my screams were drowning out everyone else haha) but it was a tense time.

We finally got below the cloud layer and the severe part of the ride was over.well, almost over. There wasn't anymore lightening, or crashing and severe jolts like when we were passing through the clouds.

It was raining very hard and the plane had to make spiral turns to get down into the mountain valley where Erzurum and the airport were located. As we got lower to the ground and were making our approach to the airport runway, I notice some tall poplar trees that were nearly bent in half from the wind. We were going to land into a pretty strong headwind.

As we were attempting to land, the plane would get shoved sideways by the wind and the pilot had to correct. We touched down on one wheel and then bounced over to the other wheel.like a teeter totter. We did this for awhile, but the teeters became shorter and we finally got both wheels on the runway. By this time we had used up a good deal of the runway. I could look out the window and see the rear part of the engines. The pilot closed some reverse thrust doors over the engines, applied maximum brake with maximum reverse thrust on the engines and we proceeded to slow down. The braking was so severe that your body was bent over your knees and your head was touching the back of the seat in front of you.

When we finally were slowed to what seemed a safe speed, everyone on the plane started clapping and smiling. When the plane made its turn at the end of the runway to take us back to the tower and terminal I was looking out of the window and saw a surprising sight. The wing of the airplane was extended past a barb wire fence, as we made our turn! I am pretty sure we used up all of the runway!

After disembarking from the plane and getting all our luggage we gathered together waiting for transportation to the Det. I was the Operations Sergeant and was traveling with the S2/S3 officers, including our Major Frye, Captain Miller, Lt Johnson, CW2 Winter and another Lt who's name has slipped away. I told them at that time that I was not going to fly back to Yesilköy! The flight had so unnerved me that I was not willing to endure another one. I told them that I would take a train or bus or taxi, or walk..but I was NOT going to fly.

During the time we stayed at Erzurum and did whatever we were there for, I would periodically tell whoever would listen that I still was not going to fly back! Most of the officers, especially Major Frye and Lt Johnson, would try and convince me that I was a "weenie" and a "fraidy-cat"..but it had no effect on my determination to NOT fly!

We stayed at a Hotel in Erzurum for the time we were visiting Det 98 and it was an interesting experience. The bed was shorter than I was accustomed to (I was only 6' tall, but the bed was made for someone about 5'5'' or less), and my feet were always hanging over the end of the bed. The hot water was only turned on for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening..but not the same time slot each day. You had to take your chances when taking a shower. Sometimes about half way through, the water would turn ice cold..you could hear screams from other tenants as well as your own.

As we neared the time to leave Erzurum and head back to Yesilköy I finally relented (they knew I would fly back!) and we made arrangements for the trip from the Det to the airport.

This time we knew the procedures for baggage control and boarding the plane.so we made it to first class and had more comfy seats than the other passengers.

Needless to say, the flight back was extremely smooth, the sky was clear blue, and the day perfect. The landing at Yesilköy went very well and I enjoyed the flight.

More Adventures in Turkey

I remember the first time that our office (S2/S3) had a dinner party in downtown Istanbul. I had been in Turkey for about two months, and hadn't been downtown for an evening dinner at a restaurant, or even downtown much at all.

One day we were informed at work that the following Friday we all would go to a restaurant for an office dinner.

We traveled via staff car and travel-all to a section of Istanbul called Kucukcekmece (there would be umlauts over the U's and a tail under the first two C's which would make the word sound phonetically like this: Kew-chewk-chek-meji) located on a small bay just West of the Golden Horn river on the Boshporus.

This word means "small bay" (thanks to my new friend Aydin who helped me with the translation, and who I met through this site) not as I thought "large bay".thanks Aydin.

We went to a very well known restaurant called Beyti's (which is still doing business at the same location today) which specializes in meat dishes. We all ordered the same thing.the seven course meat dish dinner. WOW! It was fantastic. This became the standard meal when we visited Beyti's.

I absolutely love Turkish food..so now would be a good time to digress from the narrative and discuss the different types of Turkish foods.

Döner Kebab (Note umlauts over the "o", so sounds like "Dewrner") is a large cylindrical meat loaf made up of Mutton and Lamb with seasonings and broiled/roasted on a vertical spit (see one of my pictures.I think). It rotates next to a vertical gas grill and the outer layer is cooked to a crisp juicy-ness. A layer of this is then sliced very thin and placed on your plate. Just thinking of this makes my mouth water..one of my favorites.

Rice Pilav (pilaf), this is the authentic, original; no "aftermarket" pilaf tastes as good as the pilaf in Turkey. It is made with a specific type of rice, or it can be made from bulgur, or a type of noodle, but I prefer the common type of pilav (just the rice and seasonings).

Sis Kebab (shish kebab) cubes of mutton broiled on skewers with peppers and tomatoes. I also had some sis kebabs that looked like small little meat loafs.were made from some type of ground meat made into these small oblong pieces and grilled on a skewer just like all kebabs. Very tasty!

Börek (umlaut over the "o") is small rolls or triangles of pastry stuffed with cheese or minced meat and onions.

Midye dolmasi are mussels stuffed with spiced rice and cooked in olive oil, usually served cold. These were pretty good, but for me, it took a while to get used to the "coldness".

Köfte (with umlauts over the O, pronounced almost with a very soft "R": "KEWRF-ta") were meatballs and rice compressed together, also very good.

Occasionally there would be appetizers, like soft goat cheese that you could spread on your ekmek (bread, which looked like loaves of French bread, cost 7 cents US and was very good). The goats cheese was very strong, but tasty.

At one restaurant we went to, there were what looked like whole goat or sheep brains sitting on a lettuce leaf; which must have been some type of appetizer (this combination of words sounds like an oxymoron). I mean the whole intact brain.just setting there waiting. I tasted it and the flavor was nearly non-existent and very bland and was also cold. I didn't have anymore of this!

Balkava was a crisp pastry with layers of nuts and served in heavy syrup.yum! This would be desert. There was also some type of custard usually available for desert.

Turkish Coffee is served in very small demitasse cups and was made by grinding coffee beans into very small, fine particles (like flour), placed into an ibrik (a small pot that holds one or two servings) that has been filled with water. The coffee grounds (flour) float on top of the water (isn't stirred in, yet) and the whole thing is slowly heated. As the water starts to boil it produces foam (an important step). When the foam reaches the top of the ibrik the pot is stirred. This process is repeated a couple of times. The foam is scooped off, the coffee is poured into a cup and sometimes the foam is added back to the cup and slightly stirred in.

When you order your coffee you tell the waiter how sweet you want it to be (they add the sugar at the beginning of the process), we always asked for extra sweet.

The first time I had Turkish coffee, Lt Johnson told me to order extra sweet. When it arrived, I was surprised to see how small the cup was and how unusual the coffee looked (kind of brown and creamy looking on top). I was talking with other people and when I took my first drink, (I probably slurped half the cup into my mouth), I immediately knew I was in trouble, but had to swallow anyway. In just a short period of time it felt like my heart rate doubled, my blood pressure reached 240, my face broke out in a sweat, and my temples were throbbing. A true caffeine rush!

I soon learned that you sipped your Turkish coffee, and made it last for a half hour or so. I occasionally enjoyed a cup after a meal, and was always waiting for a new guy to order some.

Okay, lets get back to my first dinner out at Beyti's. The seven course meal took over and hour and a half to eat.they brought each entrée after a period of time, not all at once. That made the whole process more enjoyable and you didn't feel stuffed at the end. We nearly always had the house wine with our meal. This was a Turkish wine and was always very good.

We always had a personal waiter for our table (like a head waiter or something) who made sure everything went smooth and everyone was enjoying the meal. He had a couple of younger waiters who did the actual serving etc. Anytime you looked in his direction, he would come to the table and see what you needed. He didn't speak much English, but Lt Johnson was our translator and spoke fair Turkish.

We had a new officer come into S3 after Capt Miller left and who had been born in Germany and lived there during his younger years. He was Capt Dieter Hoffman, and spoke excellent German. This was a real asset when we went to restaurants, because a lot of Turkish people speak German. As was the case of the head waiter who worked at Beyti's. Capt Hoffman would order for everyone and do all the required negotiations with the Head waiter.

Do to the exchange rate, we could eat a very expensive meal in the eyes of the Turkish people but which actually didn't cost us that much. We always gave huge tips to the waiters (especially the Head waiter) and were always welcomed, and got what seemed to be special treatment any time we ate at Beyti's or any restaurant.

While eating dinner at Beyti's that first time, I had another eye-opening experience. Near the end of the meal, I had to use the restroom. I asked one of the other guys at our table where the rest room was located, and he told me you had to go out of the restaurant, cross a courtyard and it was in a separate building.

As I left the restaurant and entered the courtyard (it was night out) it was a little hard to see, as the lighting was minimum and Turkish electricity is 220 volts at 50 cycles a minute and the bulbs give out less light. I did see several out buildings and headed towards one that had a light over the doorway.

I went inside (where the lighting was also rather poor) and noticed I was in a wash room with sinks. I went through another doorway to the "facilities" I was in need of. But here is what my eyes beheld. There were no urinals or toilettes, only what looked like shower bottoms made of porcelain with two raised areas in the shape of shoes with rough ridges where your feet would go, and a hole in the rear center area.

There were two of these "waste facilities" setting side by side with no partition between them. I looked closer and didn't see any toilet paper, only a water faucet located on the wall behind the "shower bottom". I came to the conclusion that this must be a Turkish toilet. Then I became concerned that I might have entered the "female" part of the building. But by then the urge to evacuate my bladder was overruling any more thinking, so I stepped up to the shower bottom and did my business. I learned later that Turkish people (at that time anyway) didn't use toilet paper. They used their left hand and the water to "clean up" their backsides. From then on, anytime I went downtown, I took a little roll of toilet paper.just in case!

After I finished, I went back into the first room and washed my hands. When I looked for a towel, I couldn't see any. I was turning around to look behind me when I was shocked to see a short stature older woman with a white bandana on her head standing behind me..I don't know where she came from, and it was a surprise. She handed me a towel to wipe my hands on, and when I finished she held her hand out for what I assumed was a tip. I didn't have any Turkish change with me, only 20 lira bills, so I gave her three US quarters.

She looked at the money in her hand and looked back up at me quizzically and looked back at her hand. She picked up the money and gave it a close examination and looked back at me questioningly. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to the restaurant. I always wondered if she was able to get the money exchanged, or used it in some way..I hope that she did, it would have been a good tip for her.

Another time our S3 group went to another Det across the Bosphorus. It included Major Frye, Capt miller, a warrant officer and myself (then acting sergeant) in a military staff car. For some reason we were wearing class A uniforms (our fancy dress ones). Major Frye was driving, don't remember exactly why, but maybe he just wanted to.

After we got off of the ferry, the Major wanted to stop somewhere and get something to eat. We pulled into the town of Uskadar (I think) parked the car on a street, got out and started walking around looking for a place to eat. One street we went down had a lot of people and some kind of market. We became quite an attraction. We were wearing our class A uniforms and people just stared at us when we went past, and pretty soon there was a fair sized crowd following along. I don't think they knew we were US Army..they probably didn't know what army, except that is wasn't Turkish. We became a major attraction for awhile.

The major was leading our expedition and soon he found a restaurant. This was just a little place on the street.kinda like the mom and pop places over here. When we walked in we created another sensation. The few customers and the waiters looked at us like we were some invading aliens with two heads each.

Pretty soon a man came up to us with a smile and waved towards a table. After we sat down he stood near us expectantly waiting for us to order. There weren't any menus, and that wouldn't have made any difference anyway. He soon realized that we needed help, so he motioned for us to go over to a counter near the kitchen and we pointed at the food we wanted. I don't even remember what we asked for, but it was all very good.

When our food arrived I was getting pretty thirsty and didn't want wine or beer.you didn't drink the local water (you know the reason!). A young teenage boy happened to appear about that time with a wire basket and bottles of water with little foil caps on them. I got one and drank it right away, it was room temperature, but it was wet and refreshing. I bought another one from him and drank it while we ate our food. It too was room temperature, but I didn't mind.

After we finished eating, the waiter gave us a piece of paper with the price of our meal on it. If I remember correctly it was equivalent to about $3.50 US (that was for four men who ate till we were full). We gave the waiter about 140 lira, about $10.00 US and he was thrilled. He walked us to the door and waved good bye, and I think wished us well.

When we were out on the street and heading back for the car, I noticed something that made me pause. We were walking past an outdoor fountain by the edge of the sidewalk and guess what? The teenage boy who sold me the "bottled" water was refilling his bottles from the fountain and putting the little foil caps back onto the tops. I was a little nervous the rest of the day, wondering if I was going to get the usual malady. But all was well and there weren't any ill effects from drinking the "bottled" water. That was the last time, however, that I bought any bottled water.



Another time (since we are on the subject of eating, this just keeps stuff popping into my head.so we will continue in that vein), we decided to have an office dinner party at another restaurant (one that someone recommended to Lt Johnson).

It was down on the shore of the Sea of Marmara and in fact, part of the restaurant was on pylons sitting out over the water. Lt Johnson and I went down to this restaurant on a Tuesday (I think) and talked to the owner. Lt Johnson asked if he would prepare a meal for about 20 people for the following Friday. Since Lt Johnson spoke Turkish, I didn't get much of what the conversation was about, but the owner was more than happy to do all that was asked.

When we showed up that Friday evening, the place was all decorated up and there was a long table covered in plates, glasses and other decorations, and the waiters and owner were all smiles.

After we were seated, the owner came over and started talking to Lt Johnson. Lt Johnson then told me to follow him. The owner took us out of the restaurant onto a little board walk that extended out into the bay from the restaurant. We stopped by a pylon and the owner pulled a wire basket up out of the water, which contained three different types of fairly large fish. We were supposed to pick one of these still alive fish, for our dinner. Neither one of us were familiar with any of these fish..we didn't know what they were. We finally picked one and the owner took it from the basket and we all headed back to the restaurant.

When we got back to the table, we noticed that the waiters had been bringing large platters of food to the table. These included stuffed mussels, something like kofte but were wrapped in grape leaves, platters of deep fried oysters, shrimp, wine, bread, cheese, (and this is where the plates of individual goat brains were), salad etc.

After awhile the waiters brought the fresh cooked fish that we had selected from the basket in the bay. It was really good! After the meal, there was still enough food for all of us to eat another day. We had a very good time, and the owners made a good income for their time. We were invited back, but I left not too long after this, and never got to experience that place again.

Cakmakli again..

As time went on, I had more things to do in regards to my jobs at Det 67. After Sgt Nixon and SP4 Healy left, there was another enlisted shortage at S2/S3. It seems odd that we never seemed to have a shortage of officers….hmmm. At any rate, I then became the S2 documents control NCO, along with all the other responsibilities that I was then taking care of.

Part of my new job meant that I had to periodically be locked into the classified documents vault (the “cage”) and become the “monkey”. I was responsible for logging out, and logging in, all the classified documents. Making periodic inventories of all classified material (just in case some were missing). Keeping track of classified materials used in the daily work done in the office (this would include typewriter ribbons, carbon papers, letters and documents that were “in progress”) etc.

Any carbon papers or messed up letters or documents, used up typewriter ribbons, along with any classified US Army regulations that had been updated or superceded couldn’t just be thrown out in the trash. We had to log them into our classified log and about every month or so we had to destroy them.

On classified documents destruction day, Lt Johnson and I did an inventory of the classified trash…checking each item in the bin with the log book to make sure that we were in fact destroying all the classified trash. We then took the trash out to a special fenced enclosure area that had a metal wire cage set in the center and a special burning chamber in the center of that….all locked of course. After passing all the fences and cages we got to the burn thingy. It was a metal box-like device with holes drilled through all the sides, suspended on two stands with a door that you put the documents into. When you lit the documents on fire, you then turned a crank handle that was attached to the suspended burn box to keep the burning material continually moving. The idea was to make sure that all the material burned. We had to stay in the special wire cage structure until the fire and the trash were completely consumed. We had to open the fire-box and inspect the interior to make sure everything was gone.

Since S2 was “intelligence” for Headquarters, we also received information from the Turkish military and the civilian police authorities. Since Turkey was under marshal law, almost every information item came from them. The police were under the control of the Turkish military also.

I remember reading some of their “interagency” reports that we got copies of. The Turkish government disliked communism and communist countries in general. One time we got a report that a certain man was wanted by the military and the police for speaking out against the Turkish government and was said to be promoting communism. The report gave the usual details, like name, a description, last known whereabouts, etc. The part that caught my attention was the last line in the bulletin. It said that when the suspected individual was spotted he was to be “shot on sight”.

Another time three fanatics, or terrorists, drove by the Turkish First Army headquarters (kinda like the pentagon) and assassinated a Turkish general. One of the men was killed by Turkish soldiers as they were driving away. Another was shot shortly afterwards, but the third escaped and was heading across the Bosphorus to Istanbul (Turkish First Army headquarters was at Uskadar on the shore of the Sea or Marmar, directly across from Istanbul). A manhunt was soon underway.

We received that report and a copy of an interagency bulletin that told the citizens of Istanbul and the surrounding area that a curfew was in effect and that no one was to leave their homes, while this man was sought by the authorities. All US personnel were to stay on their bases as well.

This sounds unbelievable, but within two days the authorities had captured that man. The population of Istanbul was around 3 million, and because the military was in such control, I’m pretty sure that almost everyone obeyed that order. I also suspect that this man was turned in by others. This event may have been solved so quickly merely do to luck, but it does say something about how well the Turkish military did their jobs.

I can remember many times when we were downtown in any city, we would often see groups of two Turkish soldiers with their Thompson sub-machine guns slung over their shoulders patrolling the area. I always felt very secure and never feared being robbed or assaulted by Turkish civilians. This was probably do to the justice system, but also to the nature of the Turkish people themselves.

Another memory of Turkey is one of scents, or smells. I can remember traveling via civilian means and occasionally when mixed with a group of Turkish people I would catch a whiff of an unusual odor, sorta like an exotic perfume. What was unusual, is that I would catch this same scent at different locations and on different days, always within or near a group of Turkish people…but the smell was the same…..it was almost like a certain brand of perfume that a lot of people liked and used. It was a pretty strong, lingering aroma. I was always curios about what this aroma was.

One day a couple of us decided to travel from Yesilköy to Istanbul via a different transport system than the train. We wandered over to a taxi cab area and were discussing what we should offer to pay a cab driver for his time in taking us to Istanbul, when one of the guys I was with noticed some people getting into a van-like vehicle and paying the driver. We had observed these types of vehicles before when we were taking the pass bus, or a taxi, and knew that they were a way to get from one place to another. One of the guys knew they were called a Dolmus (pronounced dollmoosh, I think) and you could ride them to different places. These were a cheap way for poorer people who didn’t own a car to travel from their homes or villages to the bigger cities.

We talked it over and decided to try our luck and have a new experience in Turkey. After talking to the driver and making sure he was going to Istanbul, and noticing that he only had two other passengers, we decided to get on board. This van had 6 seats, not counting the driver. When we entered the door to the van I was immediately overwhelmed with a strong aroma…yes, the unusual scent that I smelled before. It was almost sickeningly sweet and overpowering, but we went ahead and took our seats. While we were waiting to leave, two more Turkish people got on the van. I was watching them, and noticed that their was a flask of some liquid hanging from the dash. As they boarded, they each poured a little of this into their hands and applied it to their necks. When they sat down in front of us, the already heavy aroma became even more apparent. I now knew where this aroma originated from, why it was used (we won’t go there), and why I had smelled it at different times and in different places. If I remember, the cost of this trip wasn’t determined until the driver got the door closed and was ready to depart. Apparently the cost of the trip is determined by how many passengers the driver has. Whatever it was it was very cheap.

The only problem with this Dolmus way to travel (not counting the extremely intense aroma) was that this thing must have stopped 25 times before we got to Istanbul. If a person, or two, or three were standing along the side of the road, and the driver had room for them, he would stop and pick them up. Also some of the passengers weren’t going to Istanbul they were just going a mile or so down the road, or to a small town, and the van would stop and let them off. Then if the driver saw another person standing near the road he would stop to pick them up. This process continued till we got to Istanbul. I don’t remember how long it took, but it was the last time we rode on of these things.

One time my room-mate at Cakmakli, Bill Lopez, suggested that we go downtown to Yesilköy, get a room at the Cinar Hilton hotel, enjoy a meal out, see the belly dancer (which neither one of us had as of yet done) and just relax. We proceeded to make that suggestion a reality. We took the pass bus downtown, caught a cab to the hotel (which was located on the shore of the Sea of Marmora (I think I have a picture of this hotel in my photo collection at the end of this narration), checked in and started to relax. The only problem was this was only about 2:00pm in the afternoon….we had a lot of relaxing to do!

We found out that there would be a belly-dancing performance at 4:00pm. We wandered around the hotel, both inside and out got an ice-cream at a vendor walked around some more and checked our watches….it was only 3:00pm! Finally after what seemed like forever, it was time to go see the “belly dancer”. We went into the lounge/bar of the hotel, got a table and waited with great expectation. Soon some exotic music started and we turned to look at the doorway where we expected this gorgeous scantily clad woman to appear.

Well….a woman did appear. But our hopes and dreams of beauty and excitement were suddenly over! The “belly dancer” was a very large, overweight woman, who was scantily clad….eeeewww! But not in the “lets watch” way. We probably were staring with open jaws and unbelieving eyes….we looked at each other, finished our beers, got up and left.

Our enthusiasm for our overnight stay was dwindling quickly, and it was only 4:30 pm! We decided to go and at least have a good meal in the Hotel dining room. As you may already suspect, the meal was nothing like we expected, and was in fact just ordinary. We finished and walked outside for a breath of fresh air….it was 6:00pm.

As we were standing there we turned to each other and said, almost at the same time…”lets go back to the base!” We could at least go to the movie, or the NCO club and have some fun.

We went over to the taxi area and asked a driver if he would take us to Cakamkli. We were amazed when he said no. We approached several other drivers and they too refused to take us, even when we offered double the price….something was very strange. We noticed another cab (this one looked like one of those black cabs that you see in London) and was an older model. After a lot of whining and pleading, and offers of substantial funds, this man finally, and reluctantly agreed to take us back to the base.

We got in the cab and headed out onto the road. It was starting to get towards evening and the sun was nearly setting. As we left the city and suburbs we started to notice more traffic. As we finally got onto the highway that would take us to Cakmakli, the traffic was incredible! And it was all heading into the city. Believe it or not, it was bumper to bumper coming towards us, and zero traffic going the way we were….we were the ONLY vehicle in our lane. Not only that but now the traffic coming towards us was in BOTH lanes. The two lane road had now become a one-way, going to town only road. Our driver started driving on the shoulder and he was driving very cautiously….probably not going over ten to fifteen miles per hour. We were driving on a portion of the road, along the Sea of Marmar that gained in elevation as we left the shore line and headed up onto the plateau to travel more inland. You could see the road in this long gentle curve as it made its way to the top of the plateau. As far as the eye could see, there were bumper to bumper cars coming towards us and using both lanes of traffic.

In just a short time we came to a bridge that crossed a small stream .Here is where this trip became even more interesting. We were still driving on the gravel shoulder and when we came to this bridge we had to stop because there were cars in both lanes crossing the bridge. I looked at our driver and he had a few rivlets of sweat running down his cheeks, he was setting very upright in his seat and had both hands gripping the wheel. He took a deep breath and slowly started up onto the pavement and was going to cross the bridge! The cars approaching us didn’t stop, they just sorta moved away from us and crowded closer together. We proceeded to inch our way onto the pavement. The flow of traffic that we were meeting wasn’t going very fast…just a crawl, and we continued up onto the pavement and started to slowly cross the bridge. I couldn’t believe it! All the other cars who were heading towards us just moved closer together and slowed even more. When we got onto the bridge, the cars in our lane squeezed together even more and some moved into the other lane and stopped traffic there. Some cars in our lane stopped on the far side and we drove across. No one honked at us or even yelled at us. Amazing!

When we got across the bridge (this bridge was probably less than 60 feet in length) we got back onto the shoulder and the driver stopped for a breather. I think all three of us were holding our breaths when we crossed the bridge.

We continued this on the shoulder driving regime for the next ten or fifteen miles (if memory serves) without a break in the two lane one way traffic flow. It wasn’t until we turned off of the main road at the Turkish Tank battalion, that we were able to drive in our lane of the road. There wasn’t much traffic on this road, and most of it was heading the same way we were. When we arrived at Det 67 we gave our driver double what he had asked for when the trip began. We shook hands and complemented him on his bravery and determination, and the fact that we actually made it back….I wish he could have understood our words, but I think he could tell by the smiles and looks on our faces how we felt. I think this trip took over two hours of total time. If I remember correctly, a taxi ride from Yesilköy usually only took about 45 minutes.

When we told our friends about our experiences none of them could come up with a meaningful explanation or reason for this one way exodus towards the city. I think it was Lt Johnson (who had studied more about Turkish society and custom than the rest of us) who thought it was probably a national holiday or an observance of an Islamic custom. Apparently everyone had left the city for huge gatherings and were returning at the end of the days activities. At any rate in was an almost unbelievable experience.

More Adventures in Turkey

While I was stationed at Det 67, we had several “Quick Train, Readiness” exercises. These would occur when we were notified from our command group in Germany/Italy? to get ready to move out and re-locate our Det as if we were at war…..these were re-deployment and reset up exercises, for mobility in the field.

The problem was, that these things almost always occurred at night. We would hear the alert over the loudspeaker system that a “Readiness Alert” was issued. You were supposed to go to your office and have all essential items ready to load onto trucks…at S2/S3, we had a conex container (a metal storage container about 8’ wide, 6’ high, and 8’ long which would fit into the back of an Army truck) loaded with the bare essential material.

When you arrived at the office and the trucks that were to carry us to our new field location, you were supposed to bring all your TA-50 gear (this was a bag of stuff issued to all soldiers….it contained, among other things, your metal army helmet and liner, your web gear harness, your backpack, your ammo pouches, your canteen and holder, your mess kit, your entrenching tool, your sleeping bag, your shelter half, your bayonet, and all the other stuff necessary for war). You went to the armory and checked out your M-16 (but weren’t issued any ammunition…..HUH?), got all your personal clothing etc stuffed into your pack, and were happily prepared to go to war.

Remember that this was called a “quick training exercise?” The problem was that these training events happened only about every three or four months….so when you were in your barracks looking for your TA-50, and other stuff it wasn’t always readily available. You forgot where you put it, or you had gotten stuff out of the TA-50 bag to play with….er, I mean practice for war with…and couldn’t find all the stuff. So by the time everyone had assembled at their respective offices, they were very late, or arrived with only part of what they were supposed to have.

Another problem was with transportation. Detachment 67 had no Army trucks to haul our men and equipment in. All our trucks and drivers were supplied from the Turkish battalion located next to our enclosure. So even if we were all ready to load up and relocate to the field, sometimes there were no Army trucks show up to move us. Fortunately, most of the Quick Train exercises were called off, after everyone was assembled at their offices with all (or nearly all) of their soldier equipment.

There was a CW2 named Winters in S3 who was one of the logistics officers. He was a gung-ho soldier who always wanted to move all of our Det into the field when we had a Quick Train Exercise. He was always the first one ready with all his equipment and had his S3 stuff all organized before anyone else did. He was always very disappointed when the alert was called off. He must have complained to the Colonel that we weren’t getting the proper training in the event we had to be redeployed. He wanted us to do a complete Quick Train and move everything out to the field.

So one fine day everyone was notified that we would have a day-time readiness exercise, scheduled for the following day. We spent the rest of the day going over all the things in our conex to make sure we had portable tables, folding chairs, field phones, typewriters, ribbons, pencils, paper, rubber stamps….you know….all the things that allow the military to function. At the end of the day, we were well organized (thanks to CW2 Winters and his clipboard and check-off list), and ready to head out to our field location and spend the night…..yes, I said spend the night!

CW2 Winters had high hopes and great expectations…..our trucks would be loaded with all our equipment and men, we would be able to move out quickly and be set up for operations at our field location by noon. Yes….it was going to be a fine day.

But here is what really happened the day of the Quick Train fiasco. The Turkish drivers and trucks didn’t show up when they were scheduled to…..they were three hours late. By the time all the trucks had gone down the street at the end of our compound and turned around, came back and parked in front of all of the respective offices, another hour had elapsed. Our office was supposed to have two trucks, one for men and personal gear and K rations, and the other for our conex and other equipment. But we only ended up with one, which was equipped with wooden bows and a canvas top….the conex wouldn’t fit under the bows, so we spent another hour removing them. When it came time to load up the conex container, it was discovered that we didn’t have the means to pick it up and put it into the back of the truck. The search was on for the forklift! The Det forklift was at the weapons storage area and had to be brought back to the Det…..another hour delay.

By the middle of the afternoon we finally had everything loaded and were ready to go. CW2 Winters had the maps with the directions and location of our field site. He got into the lead vehicle and was going to be our guide as we started our great adventure. Each truck had a Turkish driver, a US Army NCO and officer in the front seat with a walki-talki radio. In our truck it was Lt Johnson and me. Soon the order was given to move out. When Lt Johnson told our driver to start his truck and get ready to move, he didn’t start his truck, but responded by talking to Lt Johnson in Turkish (good thing that Lt Johnson was our Turkish translator). I also noticed that I couldn’t hear any of the other trucks start up. By now CW2 Winters was asking for Lt Johnson on the radio, and wanting to know why none of the drivers were starting up their trucks.

Lt Johnson and I got out of our truck and started looking for the Turkish officer in charge. After Lt Johnson met with this man and spent several minutes in discussion, he returned to me and said that we wouldn’t be going anywhere. Apparently the trucks didn’t have enough fuel to go to the field, they only had enough to get back to their base. When Lt Johnson broke the news to CW2 Winters, I thought he was going to cry. We spent the rest of the afternoon, unloading all the trucks and storing our conex and other equipment in their designated spots; this would be the last Quick Train with trucks that we had. The only good thing to come of this was a supply of K ration cases that were removed from the trucks and somehow got into my barracks and stuck under my bunk….hmmm., funny what a person will eat instead of the usual mess hall chow (except for the lima beans and ham slurry, that is).

Another time we had to participate in a NATO exercise, which only included S2/S3 and army commo (our truck mounted radio equipment and its operational personal). We had to go to Turkish First Army Headquarters (think Pentagon…on a slightly smaller scale) and set up our operations and logistics and intelligence functions there. Turkish First Army was located across the Bosphorus near Uskadar (you could see the large impressive Headquarters Building every time you rode the ferry across, and the building was only about ½ mile from the ferry docking area). This building also housed a high security prison for extremely hard core prisoners.

This time we had our stuff loaded into an army truck driven by a Turkish soldier with enough fuel to make it there and back again….at least that was our assumption. When we arrived at the Headquarters, our driver parked our truck about 200 yards up the hill away from the entrance and walked down and into the building. The rest of us followed along and met Major Frie and Lt Johnson inside the main entrance, where they showed us the room that would be ours (it was on the third floor). We were told to go get all of the S2/S3 equipment and bring it into the room.

At the time we had this NATO exercise, we also had a new Lieutenant with us. His name was Lt Geller, and I think he was a spook (CIA or NSA) because even though he was assigned to our office, he never did any work while there. He left the office at odd hours and wouldn’t return till late, or he sometimes didn’t show up for two or three days at a time. And never got chewed out by any other officers in our office. Anytime we took a picture, he always turned away, or covered his face with his hat…..very interesting! He was only stationed at Det 67 for a month or so and then left as mysteriously as he arrived.

Back to the narrative…..Lt Geller and the rest of us noncoms and grunts went back to the truck to get our stuff., but the Turkish driver wasn’t around. We waited for about 45 minutes and then Lt Geller went back into the building to find our driver. When he returned alone, he told me to get into the truck and drive it down to the door of the building. Here is an interesting fact: I didn’t have a military drivers license (not that it would have mattered in Turkey) because my eyesight was below standards for driving in the military….but not below standards to be drafted….or have a civilian license….go figure!

I was pretty sure that I shouldn’t be driving this Turkish army truck, so I respectfully disinclined to acquiess to his request (means I said “no”). Lt Geller finally stopped trying to get me or one of the other GI’s to drive the truck and climbed on board himself. When he got started down the hill towards the building we walked along behind. Pretty soon he was near the entrance door to the building, but he didn’t stop….he just kept on going down the hill, till he was out of site around a corner. We all stopped at the door and the Turkish guard was still looking down the street in the direction that Lt Geller had been heading in the truck. After a little while we could see the truck heading back up the hill towards us, driving pretty slowly. When he got to the doorway he turned away from us and turned the truck off, kind of blocking the street. He was laughing and said that when he applied the brakes….they didn’t work. It took him about four blocks after the corner before the hill smoothed out and he found the emergency brake. Good thing that he was in a lower gear when he started down the hill. It was also evident why the Turkish driver had parked the truck sideways to the hill when he parked it the first time.

When we had the truck unloaded and all the equipment in the room on the third floor, I asked Lt Geller if he was going to move the truck. He said “Hell no, it belongs to the Turkish army….someone else can move it!” I think what he really meant was, “I don’t think I should be driving that Turkish army truck.”

We all got rooms at a Hotel near the ferry docking area….I could look from my balcony right down on the ferries and the cars and trucks unloading or waiting to load. I have a couple of pictures in the photo section that I took from this spot. We were given K rations to use for food when at the Hotel, or when on duty at First Army Headquarters…..I think this was payback for when I took the K rations during the “quick train” because by now I was pretty sick of them.

We were on a twelve hour on and twelve hour off schedule while involved in the NATO exercises. So I would work for twelve hours straight, have twelve hours off and then work for twelve hours straight again….this lasted for the three days of the games.

Our hotel was close enough to the First Army Headquarters that we would just walk back and forth when we were on or off duty. During one of my rotations I had to walk to the Headquarters to be on duty at 3:00 am. Walking the streets at night was a challenge because of the poor street lighting and the dimness of the lights that were on. There might be only one street light in a four block area, and there was no traffic to speak of. As usual I was wearing my fatigues and when I got near the First Army building it was very dark. When I got to the perimeter of the grounds I heard the Turkish word for stop (Dur….umlauts over the “u“) and heard the bolt of a “grease gun” automatic weapon drawn back, then some other Turkish words directed at me….but couldn’t see anyone, and I suspect that the Turkish guard couldn’t see me either. And naturally the Turkish army had neglected to supply their guards with flashlights. I responded with a phrase that I hoped said that I was an American soldier, “American Asker” (pronounced…aus-care) I kept repeating this anytime the guard talked to me. He approached and lit his lighter to get a look at me. He indicated that I was to head towards the building….to a different area than I had previously ever been.

As we got near the building, another guard showed up and walked ahead of us. When we got to the building I was led into an office. Soon an officer appeared and held his hand out for what I assumed was my identity card. I was issued a clip on identity card when we first arrived that would allow entry into the building and into the area where our operations room was located. Unfortunately this card didn’t have a picture of me on it. I handed him that card and when I felt for my wallet, I realized that I had left it at the hotel….I mean I wasn’t going to need any money while on duty….was I? I tried to explain that I was a US soldier and was here playing war games for NATO and I was expected upstairs for duty….only no one understood me. I asked for a Tercüman (means translator and is pronounced terj-ew-man). The only problem is that at 3:00 am there were no Turkish military people on duty who spoke English.

I knew that Lt Johnson was on duty upstairs and tried to tell these men to go get him…..but without much success, at least for awhile. I kept pointing upstairs and saying “American…. Asker….tercuman.” After about 45 minutes another officer appeared who looked a little peeved and had probably been woken up. He spoke fair English and I breathed a sigh of relief. He examined my identity card and looked me over, paying special attention to my Sgt stripes (at that time you wore your rank as a collar pin on both ends of your collar). He seemed skeptical that I was a Sgt. I finally convinced him to get Lt Johnson, and a phone call was made to our operations room. After about ten minutes in walks Lt Geller, and gives me a smile and tells the Turkish officers that everything is OK and grabs my arm to lead me out of the room. The English speaking Turkish officer stopped us and asked to see Lt Geller’s ID. Lt Geller had all his and showed them to the Turkish officer….who examined them very carefully. I could see that Lt Geller was getting a little upset. He began to complain that both he and I were needed upstairs to man our posts, in case any EAP messages came in…..the big fat liar! He didn’t do anything while on duty! About that time Lt Johnson arrived. He calmed everyone down (by this time the English speaking Turkish officer was also getting a little upset….I think he out ranked both Lt Geller and Lt Johnson). In Turkish, Lt Johnson must have said all the right things, because we were allowed to go. Come to find out, both Lt Geller and I looked to young to be an officer or a Sgt…..that was the whole problem!

When the phone call was placed upstairs, Lt Geller had arrived to replace Lt Johnson and Sgt Nixon was waiting for me to replace him. Lt Johnson had gone to the restroom when the phone rang and so it was answered by Lt Geller who decided that he could handle the situation. I received a rather robust dressing down for not carrying my US and Turkish military ID. You can bet that I didn’t forget it again!

The rest of the time we spent at Turkish First Army headquarters was uneventful….except that Lt Geller was always wanting to play Gin Rummy for money. Seems like I was on duty with him the most….maybe he arranged that, because I was terrible at cards and he would usually always win.

While we were involved in the NATO exercises we were in the process of having Major Frie replaced with a new S3 Major. He actually took over in the middle of the exercises. I have forgotten his name so will just call him Major Pain.

Major Frie had always been a good guy and a good officer….he really knew his stuff! But our new Major was cut from different cloth. He seemed confused at times, or incapable of doing what was necessary in the operations of our office. Sometimes he would give orders to do something and then later contradict those orders.

One time he told me to do something and when I had the clerks finish doing it exactly like he had instructed me, he chewed me out for not following his orders. This type of confusion and inconsistency was also aimed at the officers who worked under him.

Every time he called my name and wanted me to go to his office, I cringed and was nervous about what would happen... Would his instructions or orders make sense? Would he contradict them later? Would he claim that I hadn’t followed his instructions?

Our once well functioning and enjoyable office was no longer like that. Everyone tried to stay clear of Major Pain. The officers would come into the office and get their tasks done as quickly as possible, give me the instructions for doing what they wanted and then leave.….unfortunately since I was the Operations Sgt in charge of making sure the other grunts did their jobs….I was always the one (the highest ranking enlisted man in our office) who had to stay put! Although I spent a lot more time in the documents cage than I had ever done before. But I was always tracked down when the Major wanted me. Life sucked!

One time Major Pain checked out a Secret folder from the documents cage to look at the information inside. The rules were that no document classified Secret or higher could leave the S2/S3 building. The documents were supposed to be read while in the building and then returned and checked back in before the person left the building.

Major Pain had taken his Secret folder into his office to look at it. When quitting time arrived, the new PFC who was being trained as the S2 documents clerk came to me and said that the Major hadn’t checked the Secret folder back in. I went to his office and he was gone….apparently taking the classified material with him, as I couldn’t find it in his office. All the other officers had already left….mostly to get away from Major Pain and so I told the clerk to stay in the cage and I would go find out what was going on.

I found Lt Johnson in the BOQ and informed him about the classified documents and Major Pain. He couldn’t believe that the Major had done something this stupid and against the rules. We both went back to S2/S3 and looked all through the building trying to find the documents…..I think Lt Johnson was uneasy about confronting the Major about the documents. Lt Johnson finally realized that he was going to have to ask the Major about the documents, so we headed back to the BOQ to find him.

After checking his room and looking all around, we found out that he had gone downtown with the Doctor to eat. The doctor had his own car (a white VW bug) and it was not in the parking lot. Apparently he and the Doctor had met in the hallway of our joint use building (the Doctors office was also in our building) and both went straight to the Doctors car and drove off the base.

When they returned it was discovered that the Major had taken the Secret documents in his briefcase all the way to Istanbul and left them in the car while he and the Doctor dined. Although all the documents were in the folder when he returned to the base, he was called before the Colonel and I’m sure had a dressing down.

It wasn’t long after this that the Majors’ inconsistencies became worse….it was almost like he was having a mental breakdown or something. One day he didn’t show up at work, and when I asked Captain Miller where the Major was, he said that the Major was seeing a doctor at KARAMURSEL.

In the Majors absence, Captain Miller was running our offices and doing the work that the Major was supposed to be doing. The Major didn’t return to our Detachment for over two weeks. I ran into him when I went to the Barber shop for a haircut. He was sitting in the barbers chair covered in the usual cloth protection thingy having his hair cut. When I walked in he said, “Hello Sgt Rose, how are things going?” I said, “Fine Major….er, how are you?” His next response shocked me! He said, “Oh, you don’t have to call me Major anymore….or even salute me.” I didn’t know what to say….I probably just mumbled something, because I didn’t know what he was talking about.

When he was finished getting his hair cut, the barber removed the cloth cover and then things became a little clearer. The Major was no longer a Major! In the place where his Majors rank emblem was supposed to be (the gold oak leaf looking thing) there was the rank of a SP4. I now outranked the Major/SP4.….weird!!

I was still not sure how to react to him, but he seemed all smiles and he happily left the barber shop. I immediately went back to the office and asked the Captain what the heck was going on!

Captain Miller informed me that the Major had been “rifted” from a Major back to a SP4. Apparently he was diagnosed as unfit for command because of some mental problems, and the Army gave him a choice. Either leave the military with the rank of Major and loose all his potential retirement benefits (he hadn’t reached the twenty year mark to lock in his full military pension), or have his rank changed from Officer 4 (Major) to Enlisted 4 (Specialist 4) and finish out his time till he had locked in his twenty years of military service. I think that if he stayed in he would receive the retirement benefits of a Major even though he finished as a SP4.

Major….now SP4 Pain was soon shipped out to another duty station, and I assume completed his military career. I’ve always wondered what type of job the military would give him to do at another duty station?


CAKMAKLI, YET AGAIN!

I remember a time when I was responsible for "head-count" in the Mess Hall - another perk for being a Sergeant - you had to set behind a counter (at the start of the chow line) and make sure that the soldiers and officers who had separate rations were checked off on the master list, so nobody could sneak into the Mess Hall and enjoy some of the wonderful Army chow.

Speaking of which, we may as well reminisce about some of the cuisine that was presented to the US Military at the time I was stationed in Turkey.

Lets start with breakfast. The usual menu almost always consisted of eggs (the neat thing was that a cook stood by a grill at the beginning of the chow line and you could order your eggs in any amount and in any way you wanted them cooked, fried, scrambled or cheese omelets, thank you very much). Then you proceeded down the line and commenced to fill the rest of your tray with various types of food.

The bacon and the link sausage usually had a slight green tint to them and were not worth eating. There was usually a pot of oatmeal that looked like gray wallpaper past with lumps of lard in it (I don?t know what it tasted like because I never tried any). The only people I ever saw eat any, were the old lifer Sergeants who already had 20 plus years in the army. They could eat anything and seem content.

There was usually toast, or French toast (hard to tell which was which sometimes) and was usually limp and soggy. The one thing I did really like was SOS (shit-on-a-shingle) which was either sausage in gravy, or chip-beef in gravy which you put over the toast or French toast if you couldn't tell the difference. It was actually pretty good. There was usually some type of canned fruit like pears, or peaches or fruit cocktail to be had. Once in a while there would be applesauce - at least I think it was applesauce!

Lunch was varied depending on who was in charge in the kitchen. If the head Mess Sergeant was in charge the meal was more balanced and had a number of options to choose from like chicken or beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, cooked vegetables, green salad and some type of desert. If the next in command in the kitchen was in charge you ended up with green tinted hot dogs or dried out hamburgers, some type of potato that was a cross between fries and wedges, with all sorts of shapes and thicknesses, and very soggy. Dessert would be a toothpick.

Dinner was occasionally interchangeable with lunch in what was prepared. We would sometimes have steak, chicken or fresh rabbit (I'll tell about this later). One had to be careful eating the rabbit because it would have shotgun BBs in various locations. You always chewed carefully and slowly. Sometimes we had lasagna or spaghetti instead of the meat. We would have some type of cooked vegetables, like corn, green beans or succotash (can anyone eat cooked lima beans?).

The cooks were very clever and you had to be careful about what you ate at lunch time or dinner time. They would take leftover stuff from breakfast and add that to things prepared for lunch or dinner, and also add leftovers from lunch in the dinner foods, and sometimes leftovers from a day or two earlier. You learned to remember what was served prior to the meal you were getting ready to eat, and carefully look at what was in the chow line.

They always had leftover green bacon and sausage from breakfast and you would see those things reappear in green beans or other vegetable dishes. The lasagna or spaghetti appeared about every two weeks and I'm pretty sure that the left over green sausage links was added to that. The cooks would also make a vegetable soup that I'm sure was made up entirely of left over stuff. Who else would put lima beans in soup? We almost always had a green salad for dinner (and lunch) and this was always worth eating.

At one point we got a new head Mess Sergeant and he was very good. He would make pastry, like sheet cakes, or cobblers, or cinnamon roles or donuts and they were all very tasty. If you did him a favor (like sending him to a school in Germany, which I did) he would make you a special pie or pastry! mmmm! He became a friend, and after I finished head count he would tell me to come back into the kitchen and we would have coffee and some type of pastry. He was also able to make the food in the chow line look and taste better than the previous Mess sergeant.

Life was almost bearable during chow time from then on..that is until the cockroach infestation!

Which brings me back to my "head-count" story. The chow line was a long counter that had metal warming containers filled with the foods for whatever meal was being served at the time. Suspended above this row of foods was a divider that came down from the ceiling to about two feet above the serving line and went the full length of the line. It was to separate the kitchen area from the food serving area. When you walked along the food line and filled your tray, you couldn?t see into the kitchen?I think this divider was put in so we couldn?t see the cooks adding leftover stuff to the meal we were dishing up!

One day as I was setting on the stool doing head count I happened to look down and was shocked to see a cockroach run across my legs. Whoa! When I told a friend who was in the chow line, he said that lately you could find cockroach wings mixed in the chow line food so you had to be careful. Sure enough when I went through the chow line, I could see an occasional cockroach wing laying on the food. The cockroaches were probably crawling around the divider above the food line and wings and other stuff would fall into the chow (do cockroaches poop?). Which now explained why I had noticed how everyone who was dishing up was bending way over the food and examining it very with care. Talk about losing your appetite!

As I sat at one of the tables getting ready to eat, I noticed that everyone was moving their food around on their trays, looking for cockroach pieces. I too became very interested in checking out my food! The only people who didn't seem bothered about dishing up or eating their food was the older lifer sergeants. They just sat at their tables and shoveled in the food with a contented smile on their faces. Maybe the cockroach parts made the food taste better. Come to think of it, every time they were eating they had that same look!

The next day we were notified that the Mess Hall would be closed for the next two or so days for fumigating! We were pleased that the powers in charge saw fit to eliminate the cockroaches...well most of us were pleased. The old lifer sergeants wanted to know why it was necessary to close the Mess Hall!

During the time the Mess Hall was closed we ate outside. The cooks broke out the Field Kitchen that would be used if we had been deployed. Oh, the joys of eating outside! You stood in line waiting in the dust and the wind to walk down the chow line and have your food (which was now almost lukewarm) served to you from large metal ice chest looking containers that looked like they came from WWII. I hoped that these had been cleaned and sterilized before they were used here. When we ate our food there always seemed to be some type of grit in it. I was hoping it was sand and not food residue that was left in the metal serving cans from the Battle of the Bulge!

When you were done eating you took your tray and dumped what was left of your meal into a metal garbage can (I'm pretty sure that this was the "left over" food storage for the cooks to use in our meals later on), took your tray and utensils etc., and dumped them into metal garbage cans that had diesel fired heaters submerged in them and supposedly kept the water hot. I noticed that a cook would take the tray in the hot water garbage can, move it up and down in the water, take it out and set in on the pile of trays that was being taken to the head of the line for the guys to use?.this pretty much confirmed that the food serving metal "ice chests" had received the same diligent and thorough cleaning that the trays were now receiving. Which also made me wonder if the soup we had the next day came from the tray cleaning garbage can. That cook did have a peculiar smile on his face as he moved the trays up and down in that water!

We were all pretty happy when the Mess Hall was finally ready to be used again. Well, almost all of us were. Yep, the old lifer Sergeants seemed disappointed that we couldn't keep eating cold food from the WWII metal food containers. Go figure!

Now, lets talk about the Rabbits. When our new CO of Det 67 arrived (Capt George Hufford) it soon became evident that he was an avid hunter. A little while after he arrived he decided to start a hunting club. Since I too was a hunter, I and several others joined the hunting club. At the start of the club we had about 5 members if I recall correctly.

We ended up going to a Turkish Government building in Istanbul and getting our Turkish hunting licenses. All they wanted was the correct spelling of our names and 10.00 Lira/ That was all! You can see a copy of my hunting license in the photo section...following the narrative.

Somehow, from somewhere, Capt Hufford obtained some shotguns for us to use on our hunting trips, about which we were very curious. What would we be hunting? Deer, Elk, Bear, Antelope? I think the fact that we were given #6 shotgun shells sorta made us realize that our game to be hunted was something different! We were pretty excited as we boarded our transport with our shotguns and hunting licenses and headed out into the wilds of Turkey.

When we arrived at our destination, we were in an area of rolling hills and low shrubs and short grasses. We had a Turkish man as our guide, who spoke no English. As we headed out into the hunting area he would keep saying something that sounded like "Rebit". But none of us really understood what he was saying.

Pretty soon when a rabbit ran from under a shrub he started gesturing and telling us something in an excited voice. When none of us shot at the rabbit he started waving his arms around and looking at us like we were idiots.

When the next rabbit took off and, again, we didn't shoot at it, he made a pantomime of someone shooting a gun and kept saying, "rebit," or what sounded like that. He pointed after the rabbit and kept making the shooting action and saying, "rebit!". Ah-ha! Now we understood! We were to shoot the rabbits.

The next rabbit didn't have a chance. Five young John Wayne wannabes opened up with everything we had. When the dust settled, the guide went over and brought back what at one time was a rabbit, but now was not! He kept shaking his head and looking at us with unbelieving eyes. He pantomimed shooting a gun and raised one finger and waved it back and forth in front of our eyes. We were pretty sure he wanted only one of us to shoot the next rabbit. With sheepish looks and downcast eyes we all nodded in acknowledgment of his suggestion (amazing how well someone can communicate even without speaking!).

We ended up getting about 10 or so rabbits, if memory serves. We offered one to the guide who seemed very appreciative. When we were leaving the hunting area, he seemed pleased that we had done so well and was shaking our hands and smiling a lot. At least we assumed he was pleased, but maybe he was just happy that he didn't have to be around these crazy Americans any longer!

We took the rabbits back to the base and gave them to the cooks, who prepared them for the evening meal. Mmmm, fried rabbit! From then on when we went on our hunting trips we always gave a rabbit to the guide and the rest to the cooks. It was always nice to see fried rabbit in the chow line, since this was the freshest food that we had, excluding the vegetables used in the salads, so we were always ready to go hunting.

CAKMAKLI AND THE USO

While I was stationed in Det 67 we occasionally heard about USO shows that would be touring cities and military bases in Germany and Italy, and very occasionally at some of the larger Air Force bases in Turkey, like KARAMURSEL.

Since our base was so small and so isolated we figured that we would never get to have a USO show come to our insignificant corner of the world. But lo-and-behold one day we got word that a USO show was going to come to Det 67/168 a couple of weeks later.

OH BOY! We were very excited and could talk of little else. Even the commander was caught up in the festive air….he was seen to have been smiling on occasion. The news of the coming USO show was the catalyst for a lot of activity.

We were ordered to get the place looking sharp! We policed the area like it had never been done before…even better than when the General was supposed to come for an inspection. We couldn’t imagine who might be a part of the show….maybe beautiful dancing girls (might even be Playboy bunnies!!), or beautiful singing ladies….or beautiful movie stars (female of course!)…..did I mention Playboy Bunnies?

Everyone pitched in and worked hard…cleaning, organizing….painting rocks, painting the flag pole and ropes and posts and the concrete slab that the flag pole was part of….painting the steps to the buildings…heck, we would have gladly painted the grass!

We even got the Turkish military compound next to us (they controlled the entrance gate area) to do some painting…they painted the little guard hut next to the gate, altho it was only re-painted the same color as it originally was…..yep, you guessed it…olive drab! But, HEY! It was painted. And from the way the Turkish guards were smiling, I think that they were caught up in the excitement as well…..

As the great day was approaching the excitement level kept increasing…we shined our boots and dress shoes, had our uniforms cleaned and pressed….cleaned the barracks (poor Bos, our house boy…he must have thought we were nuts!) We kept telling him to clean the latrine and mop the hallways and sweep the outside constantly…I think everyone in the barracks told him the same thing….over and over. He probably thought our mothers were coming for a visit! (little did he know that PLAYBOY BUNNIES were coming!)

A few days before the USO group was due to arrive (they were to perform in the evening, stay all night and leave the next day) all the final arrangements were made. In our excitement and hope, we had made some big assumptions. What would the beautiful Playboy Bunnies be doing after the performance….where would they eat (aha…they would eat at the NCO club!)…would they stay and possibly DANCE with us? OH! We had such great hopes and dreams.

When the day finally arrived, everyone that had to work, wore their best fatigues and boots…we had fresh haircuts and shaves, we splashed ourselves with Hi-karate and Old Spice. The place smelled like a perfume factory! Oh! The anticipation!

Everyone found some excuse to go outside the building they worked in to peer towards the gate to see if the USO group was arriving….it was amazing, every time you went outside….the street was nearly lined with GI’s gazing toward the gate. Not much work got done that day….even the officers were outside a lot.

As the day wore on, it became obvious that the USO group wasn’t going to arrive till late in the afternoon….I think a clerk from S1 came around to all the buildings and told us that there was a slight delay, and they wouldn’t arrive till after chow time….the group was doing a little sight seeing as they came.

After chow….we raced back to our barracks to change into our best civvies. We re-combed our hair, re-shaved and re-applied our after shave….oh boy!

Then the word spread like a wild-fire….THEY WERE HERE!! Everyone was to go to the theater and take a seat….the show was about to begin! Oh what Joy! We raced like madmen to get a good seat (unfortunately the officers knew of the arrival before we did, so they were all in the front row seats)…but we forgave them! We scrambled into our seats and sat grinning like lunatics. The theater was so crowded, that men were standing along the walls and across the back…..all eyes were straining towards the stage area. Our excitement level was at a fever pitch!

Then it happened….a USO officer came up onto the stage and thanked everyone for coming and said how proud the USO group was to be here to perform for us soldiers. He turned to the side door and said something to this effect….(just as he was finishing speaking the USO group came from the door onto the stage)…”Here they are…the world famous…well known recording group…give a big welcome for (we all jumped to our feet to see the playboy bunnies as they walked up onto the stage)…THE HARMONICATS!”

The yells died on our lips our hands ceased their clapping movements…our jaws dropped and our mouths gaped open….”THE HARMONICATS????”

For those of you who don’t know who this group was, they were an ALL MALE bunch of guys from the fifties and sixties who played harmonicas…..that’s right…harmonicas! One of them was a dwarf…he was the group comedian.

As we stood and stared at the stage, with our bodies frozen and our mouths gapping open in disbelief….the silence was deafening. We slowly sunk back into our seats and kept glancing over to the stage door….hoping that the playboy bunnies would soon be coming onto the stage. As the program continued with wonderful harmonic harmonies floating around the theater we constantly were still hoping for the girls…..but as the evening wore on….we came to the realization that this was it….this was the USO show! NO PLAYBOY BUNNIES!! Would be appearing! (I do want to say that the Harmonicats we good guys and it was great that the would be willing to travel around to military bases and entertain us troops….and the truth is…they were entertaining and we did enjoy them!) But our expectations and fantasy dreams about the beautiful bunnies took awhile to get over!

After the USO show, the Harmonicats did go to the NCO club and those of us who joined them had a good time….they even bought a round of drinks for all the GI’s who were in the club, we all laughed and spent an enjoyable evening. The dwarf got amazingly drunk and had to be carried to the BOQ where they were to spend the night…he was hilarious and quite funny!

The next day, Lt Johnson told me that during the night the dwarf would get up and run up and down the hallways banging on the doors and creating quite a commotion. He had to be rounded up and put back into bed….but it wasn’t long before he was up again and running around. He did this three or four times during the night….sounded really funny!

After morning breakfast we gathered around to bid the Harmonicats a found farewell…and we really meant it! Amazingly the dwarf was back to normal and had no ill effects from his late night escapades….I always wondered if maybe the night before he was putting on an act!

That was the only USO show that came to Det 67 while I was stationed there….but it was a memorable one!

More later…

Click on thumbnail photos to see enlargements.

1. This is a picture (professional) of an office party (S2/S3 from Det 67) at Beyti’s restaurant in Kecukcekmeji (Istanbul…on the sea of Marmar).

 

2. This is the photo folder that picture number one (from above) came in.

 

3. This is something like a travel ticket, or admission ticket (forgot…senior moment).

 

4. This is my Turkish military ID card.

 

5. A twenty Lira bill (the exchange rate in 1972 was one US dollar equaled fourteen Lira)

 

6. This the front cover of my Turkish hunting license. We had a “hunting” club.

 

7. This is the inside section of my Turkish hunting license.

8. This is the back cover of the hunting license.

 

9. This is me getting the ARCOM (Army Commendation Medal) from a Turkish General.

 

10. This is me at Det 67 near my barracks (I was the barracks sergeant).

 

11. This is me with our Turkish “houseboy” Bosh (he was paid $30.00 per month for keeping our barracks clean and tidy….the pay that a Turkish noncom received was 14 lira per month….one US dollar).

 

12. Climbing the water tower at Det 67 for a photo op.

 

13. Getting closer to the top.

 

14. The view of Det 67 and the surrounding countryside looking Easterly. The white tents in the field were some gypsies that helped in the harvest for farmers. These pictures were taken in the fall of 72.

15. This picture is more South-Easterly and shows wheat that has been cut and “shocked” into bundles and laid in piles, to be picked up with a horse drawn wagon. The farmers cut all their wheat with hand scythes…very labor intensive. The farmers in the area of Cakmakli would transport their bundles of wheat to a large field near the village and wait for a threshing machine to come to the village (this threshing crew would travel from place to place and thresh wheat for local farmers).

 

16. Looking down on the barracks section. The buildings on the far left (in the row running away from the foreground) are the NCO club, the theater, the PX, and the “day room”. The small trees and buildings on the far left, outside the fence, are the Turkish military buildings.

 

17. Looking about due North towards the entrance gate into Det 67/168. This was a combined Detachment with 67 being Headquarters and 168 being Ordinance.

 

18. A helicopter landing near the Turkish military complex. We had two warrant officers in S3 that were helicopter pilots…all they ever wanted to do was fly.

 

19. This was the Turkish guard that made us come down from the water tower after our photo op….he indicated that he wanted our cameras (probably to take the film) but we didn’t speak Turkish, and he was on the other side of the fence, so we just walked away.

 

20. The Shinar Hilton hotel, downtown Yesilköy.

 

23. This is a clerk in a Jewelry shop in the “Grande Bazaar”, one we always visited when shopping. She is holding the national drink Chi (Turkish tea served in a small hour-glass shaped clear glass on a saucer). We were always offered Chi when we went to this shop. You could see young boys hurrying through the byways of the bazaar carrying trays of chi for the many customers. The “Grand Bazaar” (Kapali Carsi) or “Covered Bazaar” is over 40 acres of covered shops (approx 4,000 businesses in this Bazaar) which date back to the beginning of Ottoman Turk conquest of this area.

25. These are Turkish civilians who worked at Det 67. Beginning at the far left and moving right, are: The tailor, our barracks “house-boy; Bosh, and the PX clerk (the only one of the three who spoke passable English) standing by building 115 the PX

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26. Five of my Det-mates visiting Topkapi Palace (Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror’s Palace). You could always pick out a “Cakmakli GI” from the crowds.

 

27. View of the Eastern Anatolian City of Erzurum from my hotel balcony while inspecting Det 98.

 

29. Looking at downtown Erzurum. This picture shows a man pushing a handcart, a donkey cart (both upper left in the street), older US vehicle (maybe a 57 Jeep wagon), numerous men in their brown suits walking by Turkish shops on the street. Pretty typical of most city streets at the time I was there.

 

30. Same view of Erzurum without telephoto lens.

 

31. View of a town on the Boshporus while driving to Det 97, at Izmit. A fairly typical town scene.

 

32. View of alley below my hotel at Erzurum…notice the copper pots setting on the cobblestones. This is the copper manufacturing center of the city.

33. Close-up of a “tradesman” making a copper pot in his “factory”; notice that the sun is just coming up…my alarm clock for the morning! I woke to the sound of a lot of hammering on copper pots at 4 AM!

 

34. A new “high-rise” under construction.

 

36. A view of the straights of the Dardennelles on the way to the Aegean coast city of Izmir (Det 166).

 

37. View of the sea of Marmara along the Bosphorus in the evening, heading back to Cakmakli from Yesilköy.

 

40. Gypsies on the road to Izmir.

 

41. The Gypsy camp near Izmir.

 

43. A “tea house” (men only) with a Ford tractor parked outside, probably owned by a rich farmer. This was a large tractor, and most farm work was done by animal pulled equipment.

44. Rice paddy in southern Turkey. The black sedan we are following is a US military staff car with our headquarters (we had two of these). I think this is on the way to İncirlik.

 

45. More rice paddies. These are hand planted, and hand harvested, that is why the individual paddies aren’t very large.

 

47. A farmer plowing his field with a team of oxen.

 

49. Typical farmland/countryside view.

 

52. School kids waiting for the bus. Notice the portable traffic lights on the far right side of the picture. Still following the staff car.

 

53. View of Istanbul from Uskadar (on the Asian side of Turkey) from my hotel. Looking across the Bosphorus. I was near the ferry dock; where all the vehicles in the foreground are waiting for the next ferry. The large building complex you can see on the other side, is Topkapi Palace.

 

54. View of ferry dock at Uskudar from my hotel. Across the Bosphorus, in the center of the picture is the mouth of the Golden Horn river (where the ferries dock at Serkaji) and the city on the right side of the Golden Horn, is the old city of Istanbul.

56. View of the Blue Mosque from a ferry. This is the only Mosque in Turkey with 6 minarets, and is covered on the inside with thousands of pieces of blue tile mosaic (hence the name Blue Mosque).

 

57. View of Saint Sofia Mosque from ferry leaving Serkaji in the Golden Horn river (this mosque was originally constructed as a Christian church by Constantine, the Roman Emperor who became a Christian). Notice the line of trucks parked along the edge of the highway at the bottom of picture (this also tells me that this picture is reversed….the trucks should be pointed in the other direction). They are waiting to board the ferry to go across the Bosphorus and deliver goods in the Asian side of Turkey.

 

58. Same view of Blue Mosque and Saint Sofia from ferry (this time the picture is correct and not reversed as is number 57. Saint Sofia is on the right and the Blue Mosque is on the left.

 

59. The view of the lighthouse at the mouth of the Golden Horn river as the ferry heads into the Bosphorus. Notice that the trucks waiting for the ferry are lined up and continue around the point of land. This was about a mile and one half line of trucks, and was the usual case every time we went downtown.

 

60. This was a passenger ferry entering the mouth of the Golden Horn river heading for the ferry dock at Serkaji.

 

61. View of the suspension bridge being constructed across the Bosphorus. Notice the decking where cars will travel is suspended in the center of the bridge and is being built from the center towards both ends of the bridge equally.

 

64. Looking down at Serkaji ferry dock, the Golden Horn River, the Galata bridge and the trucks lined up to get on the ferry. Serkaji is also the train station where the Orient Express would make a stop.

65. A ferry getting ready to dock (the suspension bridge looks closer than it really is because I’m using a telephoto lens to take this picture). See all the people lined up near the ramp of the ferry? When the ferry was getting close to docking, the ramp would be lowered and then the Turks would start jumping across the gap trying to be the first ones off…I saw at least two people (men) over the time I was in Turkey, fall into the water and have to be rescued by the ferry crew.

 

66. A Russian Cutter heading up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea towards a Russian port.

 

67. Looking across the Golden Horn river from Topkapi Palace. This area has been an important port since the Roman times.

 

68. Another view looking up the Golden Horn River.

 

69. Looking across the Bosphorus at the mouth of the Golden Horn River towards the Asian side. The island with the structure on it has a history (if I’m correct). One of the Turkish Sultans had a problem with one of his wives, and had this building erected on this Island in which he exiled this wife. This Island and it’s building were used in the 007 movie entitled “Die another day”.

 

70. This is a water fountain (every time I visited Topkapi without a camera, this fountain was working), and is an amazingly complex, sculptured work of art.

 

71. This is looking down on the old defensive wall of the palace towards Uskadar, across the Bosphorus in Asia.

72. The harem garden at Topkapi.

 

74. Another view of the harem garden.

 

76. This is the central courtyard and garden of Topkapi Palace; very beautiful with all the flowers blooming. This was about two acres, I think.

 

77. These men were wearing authentic costumes from the era of the Sultans. There were several displays of life in those times, but I can’t find the slides.

 

78. This was a courtyard with some important/famous well in the center (the covered structure with the lady tourist sitting by it). But, alas, I’ve had one of many senior moments, and the name escapes me. This well still has water in it.

 

79. Another view of the courtyard garden at Topkapi.

 

81. Looking at the door to the harem room in Topkapi Palace. Very nice mosaic work, and the door was very intricately carved teak.

82. Looking down one of the corridors in the Palace.

 

83. A separate building at Topkapi that housed the pottery museum.

 

86. The Blue Mosque; the only mosque with 6 minarets. These towers were where traditionally, the eman (sp) would call the faithful to worship every 3 hours. During my time in Turkey the call was made with loudspeakers in the towers.

 

87. This is Saint Sofia Mosque. I took this picture right after the picture of the Blue Mosque by turning 180 degrees. There is a large park area between both mosques, and I was about in the center. Saint Sofia was originally a Christian Church, built by the Roman emperor Constantine, after he became a Christian. The “cellar” of the mosque is huge water cistern, that at time I was in Turkey had water in it, and you could go down and take a boat ride in it.

 

88. This is a picture of a Roman monolith, and I took this picture in the same park area between the Blue Mosque and Saint Sofia. It was 90 degrees from the location I took the two previous pictures. The base of the monolith has been excavated to the original footing. It is about six feet lower than the lawn area around it. The city has been destroyed a number of times, with new buildings placed on the ruins of the old. Till the level of the current civilization was reached.

 

90. This was a tanning factory, which we passed every time we left Det 67 and went downtown to the train station at Yesilköy. During the late summer, this area was almost unbearable because of the smell. Whew!

 

91. Another view of the tanning factory and the animal hides “curing” in the summer air.

92. A section of the old Roman wall that was built around the city when it’s name was Constantinople.

 

94. Wintertime at Det 67. This is me standing behind a snowdrift by the protection fence. I don’t know if the fence was to protect us from the Turks, or to protect the Turks from us.

 

95. This was our mascot (I’ve forgotten her name) she would follow me around wherever I went. She was at the Det when I arrived. She must have disliked the Turkish soldiers, she would always bark and growl at them when they entered our compound. She lived with us in our barracks.

 

96. This is Captain Hamner and Lt. Johnson shoveling snow from barracks 2 to the BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters). A surprise! They didn’t make a GI do the work for them. Both of these officers were good guys. Lt Johnson was the S2 officer and the Turkish speaking translator for Headquarters. He was also my commander when I was doing the duties of the S2 sergeant.

 

97. More of the shoveling officers. At least they were shoveling snow and not S**t, as was sometimes the case.

 

99. This was the back door to our barracks. After the blizzard, the snow was packed all around the opening, and was about a foot deep at the floor level of the hallway. Our buildings were about two feet above ground level, so this snow at this spot was over three feet deep.

 

100. This was the view from my barracks towards S2/S3, the building where I worked. Brrr!

101. The wind was really blowing in this picture. The bus like vehicle across the street was our “pass bus” which we took when we went down to Yesilköy or Istanbul. In the picture you will notice that there is a wooden fence portion at the corner of the barracks next to ours. This was built when we were told that a US general was going to be inspecting our Detachment. There was a lot of cleanup work done to impress this general when he arrived. One job was to paint all the buildings. Our buildings had oil fired boilers that would heat our buildings and they were located at that end of each building. There were heating oil tanks located in the furnace room with the boilers. Needless to say these tanks, the lines, and the boilers all leaked heating oil onto the furnace room floor. The block buildings allowed the oil to leach through the walls and form oil stains on the outside walls of the buildings. When the buildings were painted (to hide this unsightly mess) the oil bled through the new paint and were just as noticeable as before. We couldn’t have that, so carpenters built this panel fence to hide the stain; one for every building on the base. The general never showed up, so all this work was in vain.

 

102. This is the office where I worked S2/S3. The soldier at my desk is McGurk, who I’m training to work in our office.

 

103. Another picture of my desk with private McGurk banging away on the old Royal typewriter. Since nearly all the documents typed at that machine were classified, we had to put the ribbon from the typewriter in the classified documents vault (S2) at the end of each day.

 

104. This is the day that the enlisted men attempted to put up our GP-medium tent. An exercise in case we had to be emergency deployed during war. The gentleman with the instruction manual is the command sergeant major of our Detachment.

 

105. Another picture of “tent day”. The two individuals with their hats on were second Lt’s. The one with his hands behind his back was just an observer. Needless to say, that with the instruction manual and a command sgt major (who probably had over twenty years in the army) two officers and several enlisted men, the tent never made it to completely set up. After about two hours they refolded it and put it back into its storage bag (another interesting thing to watch).

 

106. This is the Turkish tank battalion that was located about four miles from det 67, and was at the intersection of the road to our Det and the highway to Istanbul.

 

107. These are Turkish street sweepers working at a new housing complex that was being built in Yesilköy. Notice that their brooms are made of twigs tied to the handle.

108. This is Yesilköy International Airport. I took this picture from the Pan Am 747 that was taking me back to the US for my discharge from the Army. I had extended my tour in Turkey (which was considered a hardship tour and was the same duration as Vietnam…13 months) till I had only five months left of my active duty remaining. The military would allow someone who extended in a hardship area to have an early discharge. Whoopee!

 

109. These are the Swiss Alps we flew over on the way home. I think we were flying at around 30,000 feet. It was late June of 73.

 

111. More Alps, and the edge of the wing of the plane.

 

113. This is an interesting picture, because of what it means. This is the day and night of the “rebellion” . It all started (if memory serves) when the Mess Hall had to be fumigated (again) for a cockroach infestation, and the enlisted men had to eat cold rations. Someone came up with the idea of a “camp out” and soon a large number of GI’s were on board.

 

115. This is the preparation time, you know…getting the camp fire ready, the tents set up, the sleeping bags smoothed out, and of course, enough beer to make everything more enjoyable.

 

114. This is party night…everyone gathered ‘round the fire, singing camping songs. When the tents started appearing, the officers wanted to know what was happening. They wanted to put a stop to these proceedings. Which led to a more “determined” effort by the grunts. More confrontations with the officers, gave one an eerie feeling of a type of mutiny among the ranks. The officers suggested having a BBQ at the NCO club…but by now it was too late to stop this slightly out of control event. Fortunately there must have been some officers with sense who prevailed. The campers were left alone and the camp out continued.

   

116. This is the morning after the rebellion. Everyone, as you can see, had a wonderful time. When everyone finally came to…the rebellion was over. All the tents were put away, the area cleaned up, people went back to work, and life once again was normal. The officers never caused any problems for anyone, and some even thought our antics were humorous.

 

117. This is the actual town of Cakmakli, which was about 3 miles from our Detachment site. The field you see is where the farmers would bring their bundles of wheat for the threshing machine, when it came to town.

 

118. There were lots of fields of sunflowers around our area. Farmers grew them for the oil.

 

119. This is a typical Turkish boat that was used to haul goods across, and around the area of the Boshporus, and Sea of Marmara. This one is loading logs…maybe for lumber, or firewood.

 

120. Downtown Istanbul. When I was in Turkey, the population of Istanbul was close to 3 million.

 

122. Suburbs of Istanbul.

 

124. This is a bridge from Roman times, and is still in use.

125. More downtown Istanbul. These people are waiting for public transportation buses.

 

127. More downtown Istanbul. Notice the overhead wires for the electric powered buses. You can see the back end of one, the red bottom, tan toped bus.

 

129. The Black sea. Some friends and I took a few days leave and traveled around. We decided to check out the resort area along the Black sea.

 

130. The beach on the Black sea.

 

131. More downtown Istanbul. We are on the Galata bridge crossing the Golden Horn river and heading into Serkaji, where the ferries dock and the train station is located.

 

132. Steve Waller