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Erzurum, Turkey 1972-1973

Barney Shows

2003-2011 by Author

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First Snowfall at Detachment 98, November, 1972

My first nowfall at Detachment 98 - November, 1972.


March 1973

Shows outside barracks March 12, 1973 at TUSLOG Detachment 98.


Rations delivery, Erzurum Airport, 1973

Rations and supplies delivery via C-130.


Det 98 Headquarters

Tuslog Det. 98 Headquarters. Building to the right and behind is the officers' quarters, and the building in the foreground is where the barber shop was located - open Friday only!


Erzurum Fire Department truck

Erzurum Fire Department


The Koran School "ifte minareli medrese" featuring twin minarets, Erzurum, 1973.



In November of 1972 I landed in Istanbul, Turkey along with nine other new guys. As we deplaned, Turkish soldiers surrounded the Pan Am 747 armed with the rifles and machine guns. We were loaded into a bus and taken to the terminal where the Turkish liaison officer met us. He took us through customs and put us on a bus and transported us to Cakmakli Det 67. We arrived just after dark and were met by a Turkish sentry at the gate, after notification of the Officer of the Day (OD) we were allowed into the compound. We were given a sandwich and something to drink, then the OD had sleeping bags handed out to us and we spent or first night in Turkey sleeping on the floor in an empty room.

The next morning, after breakfast, we were able to see our surroundings in the light. The Det. 67 compound was made up of lots of cinder block buildings painted white or a light green tint, hardly any grass existed, just lots of dirt and hardly any color for the eye to take in. Finally, we were taken to in-processing, which did not take very long and then we were told to which detachment we would be assigned. My buddy Dennis Laube and I were sent to Det. 98 located in Erzurum. That afternoon, November 15, 1972, we were finished with our paperwork and were given tickets and orders, taken to the Istanbul airport and put on Trk Hava Yollari (THY) airline.

Our plane departed Istanbul in the early afternoon and had a stop in Ankara before continuing our trip east to Erzurum. Judging by the way they flew in the take offs and landings, thepilots for the THY must have been military fighter pilots. We landed late afternoon at the Erzurum airport, at that time a military/civilian airport. After making our way to the terminal we were met by a really strange bunch of guys from Det. 98. Strange in the fact they did not look like military personnel at all. Here we were on our way to our new home for the next year. For us this was an isolated hardship tour of duty 12 months long. Dennis and I being the new guys were part of every practical joke that they could come up with. We were well taken care of in getting settled in and then it was "let the games begin!" It was not until the following morning that we found out who the enlisted men and officers really were. I was assigned to TUSLOG Detachment 98 whose personnel only numbered 50 or so officers and enlisted personnel. There were four to five Air Force personnel assigned who were the "commo" guys.

TUSLOG Detachment 98 was located on the side of a mountain outside Erzurum. A Turkish Army detachment comprised of infantry, artillery, and armor personnel surrounded our detachment which was made up of seven cinder block building and two Quonset huts. The orderly room, commander's office, mailroom, aid station, and day room were located in one building. Across the street the was mess hall along with the commo shack. There were two Enlisted barracks and one building serving as Non Commissioned Officer quarters plue one building for Officers quarters. One of the two Quonset huts was used as a class six and game room. The other was used as storage, later it was made into a movie theater complete with projection booth and heater. The men of the detachment constructed the theater.

I was raised in southeast Texas so being assigned at Det. 98, where it snowed 9 months of the year, was a real change and challenge for me. There were many guys from the northern states to show us how to deal with the weather. Most of my time was spent training or on guard duty on the hill - a place where tactical nuclear weapons were stored. The U. S. controlled the use of the weapons but the Turkish government owned them. We also had down-time so we would go into Erzurum and enjoy the local community, as well as sight-see.

Sometimes we would hike into the mountains and explore the area. On one of our trips, one of the officers, a Lt. Bums, and I found a very old fortress overlooking a neighboring valley.

Once a month we would load up in the trucks and make our way to the Erzurum airport to meet a supply plane. The C-130 would come in and deliver our ration supplies, class 6, and PX supplies. Then we would make our way back up to the Detachment and unload the supplies. This was usually a very good time. After we were in country for a while we were sent to Oberrammergau, Germany for schooling. It was like a vacation to us! Other times one officer and one enlisted or an NCO and an enlisted would be sent to Incilik Air Force Base in southeast Turkey to order rations and obtain class 6 and PX supplies for the detachment. This was always a nice trip to visit Incilik because it was almost like being stateside.

One time on one of these trips Lt. Burns and I could not get out of Ankara for our return trip back to Erzurum by plane, so took a train from Ankara to Erzurum. An hour and half trip by plane ended up taking us 3 days by train! One thing about it: we got to see a whole lot of Turkish countryside that way.

We stood guard duty for 24 hours and we had the next day off. My first night on guard duty about 0400, there was a loud noise and someone chanting over a loud speaker. It was my first time to hear the Muslim call to prayer from nearby minarets.

It seemed we were always on some kind of alert, so security was always tightened up. When I arrived in Turkey, the country was under Martial law. During the national elections we had a person enter the detachment area and try to cut down our communication antennae. Our CQ on duty discharged his .45 and called for Turkish security, thereby spoiling this act.

We would have to work on the hill in the bunkers every now and then and it seemed to snow every time.

We had a great group of Officers and NCOs at the time I was there. Major Silvia was our detachment commander he was a fair and friendly commander who cared about his men. Top was 1SG Kubinski he rotated out in the spring of 73. Officers we had were 1 LT Salazar, who was our Turkish translator, 2nd. LT Barker, 2nd. LT Burns, 2nd. LT Massy, and 1st. LT Ireland. NCOs included SSG Parley, SSG Jones, SGT Rose and "Mess Daddy" our Mess SGT whose name I cannot remember.

After working and living with these Officers, NCOs and enlisted men it was hard to adjust to the regular army after leaving there. We were all like family while we were there looking out for each other and helping each other.

As I approached the end of my tour in Turkey, I started seeing my buddys leave and was happy for them. I was glad when it was my turn. Roger Brown and I left at the same time. He was headed for Florida and I was headed for Texas. We cleared Turkey in two days and were on our way home. We went our own ways upon reaching JFK airport in New York. Later, while stationed at Fort Hood I met several of the guys and officers from Detachment 98. Some were in my unit and the others were assigned to other units.

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Erzurum, Turkey, 1973

 

Erzurum

Erzurum, Turkey street corner

Erzurum

Erzurum, Turkey, Ataturk Circle

 

Det 98 Mess Hall - the hill in the background is where the bunkers were located.

View of plains toward valley, area behind the mess hall.

 

Street corner, downtown Erzurum, 1973.



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