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A son of a military officer in Ankara, later in life
joins the Air Force, and is stationed at KARAMURSEL!
And that's just the beginning!
Here are the memories John recounts from both
duty stations as well as further adventures:

By John Tudbury


Contact the Author


Dear Reader,
    Originally a single story of growing up in Turkey, John Tudbury's subsequent updates take us from setting foot in Turkey for the first time as an eight year old, son of a military diplomat, and growing up speaking both English and Turkish, to having lifelong friends in two countries (or more), choosing the military and a Military Police career, and then - after getting out of the Air Force - continuing a civilian law enforcement career that included a medal for valor! After realizing the "middle east itch" wasn't going to leave him, he quit his civilian police job and set off for Iraq, where he trained new civilian police officers. Now we have yet another update: this time dateline:  Beirut, Lebanon! This is one terrific guy; as the pictures and stories show. Immediately below is his latest update and as you read down the page you'll go back into his previous lives. (or you have the option of starting with the earliest (bottom-most) story and working your way up and into the present. Take your pick.

New 3/8/2011

What an adventure:  Having Surgery in Lebanon

Most of you who have read my articles in Merhaba-USMilitary.com know that I am still old and getting older by the minute. As if that wasn't enough, I chose to get hurt in January of this year by walking down a flight of stairs. That's it. Nothing other than a flight of stairs and old age. The combination of the two worked to destroy my left knee (which was my only good knee left).

Immediate rush to the nearest hospital emergency room where X-Rays and an MRI proved that I had hurt myself. I thought, "I did not need a professional to tell me that I was in a great deal of pain."

So, on March 4th, I had knee surgery in this fine country of Lebanon. Now, before you gasp. Lebanon really is a modern and technologically advanced society. I had the best surgeon in Lebanon, Doctor Walid Germani, doing the operation. He was by all accounts as good or better than any surgeon in the United States. Not only was I confident in him, I looked forward to him relieving the nagging pain that had been dogging me for nearly two months.

At this point I need to tell you:  I am no stranger to pain. Thirty-eight years of law enforcement has given me much pain. I should also mention that I have always aspired to be pain free as much as possible. The mere mention of hospitals, doctors - and especially doctors who call themselves surgeons - makes me want to flee in terror. Despite the fear, I found myself on a surgical table surrounded by nameless, faceless glove and mask wearing doctor types. They were scaring the **** out of me. I tried to bribe them by handing out Boise Police Department patches in the surgical room. I'm sure that was a first for most of them, and I doubt most patients bring a gift when visiting an operating room. It didn't help, however, as I was strapped to a table so that I couldn't flee in the middle of this ordeal.

It gets better: I said to myself, "Okay, I made it this far, put me to sleep and let's get this over with in a hurry." Wrong. This nice nameless, faceless, Yale-medicine-educated anesthesiologist said, "We are going to give you a 'local' now and start the surgery".

Okay, I am no doctor, but I do know what a "local" means. That's the shot a dentist gives you to numb your face while he fills a cavity. All I could muster was an, "Excuse me???"

It went downhill rapidly from there. As I tried to escape, I forgot that I was strapped to a thousand pound surgical table. Neither of us budged. This nice, faceless, anesthesiologist noted some anxiety in my voice and body as I tried to recreate The Exorcist in front of his very eyes. All he said was, "It will be all right." I asked, "For whom???"

They covered my lower half with a curtain so that I would not direct the operation. I could not tell what was going on. He began to recite his resume, medical degrees and recent positive surgical experiences. I didn't care. I wanted to be put to sleep for the next two weeks so I didn't feel any of this. Now, not only was I going to be awake through the whole process, but I thought my knee wasn't that bad after all and we could all go home. That is when he stuck some electrical probe into my hip looking for a nerve to make my left foot do a funny rendition of Riverdance. Fortunately, he hit the nerve on the first try. Not bad. Then came the second probe. This time I knew it was coming because he was talking in English to someone other than me. I really didn't want to know, and wished he would revert back to Arabic so I didn't know what was coming next.

Blam! He inserted the next probe to make my knee try to keep in step with my foot which was still Riverdancing. He hit it on the first try as well. I said something like "I wish I could get just one of my hands free for a minute". At least he stopped probing me, and despite begging for my life and promising him and whomever he was talking too I would never do a bad thing, ever again, he gave me the "local". Confidently, he said, "We will begin the surgery in twenty minutes when this takes effect". He also gave me a sedative to keep me from levitating above the surgical table. Exactly 19 minutes, 45 seconds and 12 milliseconds later someone started cutting my flesh with a scalpel. What was worse:  I knew someone was cutting my flesh with a scalpel. I asked, my closest friend in all the world, the anesthesiologist, "I am supposed to feel that???" Two minutes later I was sleeping like a baby.

Thirty minutes later I was wide awake and being pulled across the surgical table like a dog's chew toy. I didn't feel anything that was happening but was relieved they had thought to strap me in because it was an "E-Ticket" ride at Disneyland (to you old timers). To make matters worse, the doctor was on the opposite side of this thousand-pound surgical table and was leaning on me to get an even better grip. For the next three and a half hours I sat there bored to death. Those of you who know me know I can make a funny situation out of any situation, but because of the sedative, I really didn't care if they worked on my good knee as well! I even told them in Turkish that I was getting hungry. "Ben çok açim !" (forgive my spelling). Of course none of them understood Turkish so I didn't get any food delivered to me. I don't know how to say I'm hungry in Arabic and really didn't care because I was still bored.

To relieve the boredom I remembered they had forgotten to strap my right leg down to the table. At this point I was thinking of anything that might reduce the boredom. I kneed the surgeon in the chest with my free leg. He stopped dragging me across the table for a moment. I thought, "I'll bet he thought that was just a reaction and not intentional." So I gave it a few minutes. He began dragging me around the table again. This time I tickled his stomach with my toes. That got a reaction! Not only did I get slapped on the leg (I realized there had to be a female in the operating room as grown men don't slap grown men!), but someone starting pinning my free leg to the table. I asked them, "So do you want to give me a local for that too???" I didn't understand the Arabic reply. They didn't think it was as funny as I did, so I just resigned myself to wait for them to finish. Then the possibility occurred to me that might have been the female in the room I was tickling, not the surgeon. All the more reason to stop.

After four long hours, the surgeon finally got bored and quit dragging me around. I mustered a Shukram ("Thanks" in Arabic) but I didn't mean it and I think he knew that as well. The only - and I mean only - nice thing about receiving a local anesthetic for this operation was not having the sedative hangover that comes from being put to sleep. To me, at least, I was my usual funny self immediately. I often forget American humor is lost on the Lebanese people. They are very polite but obviously (and correctly) think we Americans are somewhat demented. I doubt they have ever seen someone come out of major surgery cracking jokes. Seeing the slightest smile, I could tell they were thinking, "That local is going to wear off and we'll see how funny you feel then!" It really wasn't that funny after all.

Truth be told, I would have surgery with these specialists again without hesitation. The surgeons were top notch and the facilities were spectacular. The nursing core after-surgery catered to my every need without complaint and looked like they enjoyed the work. The Lebanese people are some of the most hospitable and caring people in the world. I am in my second year in Lebanon and would not trade the experience for anything...except a shot to put me to sleep.

Please enjoy in the spirit of giving.



New 1-1-2011

Happy New Year from Beirut, Lebanon!

Once again, I was treated to an awesome display for New Year here in Beirut. Due to the sensitive installations surrounding our immediate neighborhood, photographs and video are prohibited so let me try to describe what it means to celebrate the new year in Lebanon. Picture the fireworks from Disneyland...ON STEROIDS. Here in Lebanon, aerial fireworks are perfectly legal and encouraged. My apartment sits above the city with a splendid view of most of Beirut.

From this vantage point, I can see the airport to the south and the city of Jounieh to the north. Leading up to midnight, many, many fireworks were set off to celebrate weddings which is a popular occurrence on the day before the new year. Each wedding is always celebrated with an aerial display lasting at least ten to fifteen minutes. So, as darkness sets in, fireworks can be seen all over the city. This is nothing compared to what starts to happen about ten minutes before midnight.

To enhance the visual effects, all lights in the apartment are turned off. First, this serves to darken the area around the apartment in order to see more clearly. Second, it prevents us from being back lighted and silhouetted against the backdrop so we don't get shot while standing on the balcony. Of course you are probably thinking how could they be shot by fireworks? Well, not all the aerial fireworks are exactly legal.

The fireworks I am talking about are tracer rounds fired from weapons like AK-47's and machine guns. Among the aerial displays come the inevitable display of tracer rounds shot over Beirut. They are quite beautiful as well as plentiful. Weapons are fired all over the city and in all directions. It makes a rather interesting display among the legal fireworks. The sounds of fireworks exploding mixed with the sound of automatic gun fire from thirty round magazines makes for a visual and auditory bonanza. Typically, the ratio of tracer rounds to ordinary rounds is one per three making the full clip of thirty rounds much more visible. The tracers are generally red in color as they burn and climb to extraordinary heights above the city. This year most of the rounds appeared to be fired toward the Mediterranean sea or straight up in the air; however, there does seem to be little regard as to where they land.

The old adage that someone is going to get their eye put out appears to be appropriate here. Last year, there was only one reported injury due to "happy fire" on New Years eve. Hopefully, this year will be the same. While it seems dangerous, it is very interesting and quite beautiful at the same time. I certainly would not miss the opportunity to see this display by going to bed early. Tomorrow, we will see if this turned out to be a safe and sane holiday celebration in the Middle East.

Happy New Year to all of you and a safe New Year as well.


New 10-09-2010

Life in the Middle East Can Be Hard.

My wife, Sue, just came for a short visit and we had a wonderful time visiting several cities she did not see on her first visit in April. We stayed in the city of Byblos for the first few days. Byblos (Jibel) is reported to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The city is best known for it's Roman ruins and shopping in the Souks. The hotel we stayed in was right on the Mediterrean and the water was probably 74 degrees. Great time!

Next, we visited a site known as Harisa which has religious significance to all faiths. You might remember me talking about riding a cablecar (of death) to the top earlier this year. Beautiful views of the city of Jounieh from the top of the mountain.

Then, on to the town of Saida. It has a beautiful castle in the bay built by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades. As we walked through the many alleys and streets of the Souks in Saida, we came across an old Turkish bath from the 1800's. One of the shop owners was kind enough to open it up and let us take a look inside. This was a meeting place for families arranging marriages during the day and a "boys club" at night. Incredible to walk in such historic places here in Lebanon.

We also visited a banana plantation near the city of Tyre (Sur) and ate with the family. The wives were smoking tobacco in an Argileh pipe but did not want their pictures taken with pipe in hand. Great Lebanese food and we were treated like royalty.

Next, my Lieutenant Hamze Haidar took us to his village for the day. It is located in the mountains above Byblos where his aunt prepared a local dish on a round-top cooking stove. The food is a mixture of bread, cheese, and meat and like the old commercial "you can't just eat one". I probably gained several kilos on this trip just from her cooking alone.

Oh yes, forgot about the life over here being so hard...Oh, never mind. Enjoy the pictures!

Click Photos to view Enlargements



New 6-17-2010:

Just Another Boring Day at the Warwar Police Academy...

Except for: One large, black, possibly a Black desert Cobra in the sewer system; and making two arrests while working a "mock" vehicle checkpoint in Beirut, Lebanon.

First, the snake:

It has been living in the sewer system for some time. I suspect it was his place to locate rats and mice which are plentiful here. It took three days and finally it was smoked out of hiding by one ingenious sergeant. Guesses range from a Cobra to a black rat snake. I prefer to think of it as a Cobra.

Click Photos to view Enlargements





Second, while working a mock vehicle checkpoint to give the cadets an idea how they run, we made two arrests and recovered two vehicles. One vehicle had no papers. The motorcycle and rider had no papers as well. The motorcycle was stolen. Not bad for an hours work on the busy streets of Beirut.


New 05-30-2010:

What is it About Week 5 at the Police Academy?

Last week we had a bit of a problem at the police academy in Lebanon. It always happens during Week Five which is the week following firearms week. The cadets, once they qualify with a handgun (250 points) and rifle (400 points) feel they have made it through the academy. Unfortunately, it is only Week Four of the academy and there are Eleven weeks in all. As you might guess, discipline is the first thing to go for them. They are on coast and can become quite unruly. As an instructor, I am tasked with the daily routine of completing paperwork, inspections and Lieutenant tracking forms. To help me, I started an Instructor log so that I can refer back to each week and review any significant events during any one academy. Sure enough, the dreaded WEEK FIVE always comes up.

Now here we are in Week Five, Academy Class 16, classroom A (my class). I have forty-one students fresh off the range ready to graduate. Someone forgot to tell them the academy wasn't over for another month and a half... Cell phones start appearing in public, they start openly smoking cigarettes during breaks, uniforms failed to be pressed (you get the picture). Well, even some feel they can challenge the authority of the Sergeants, Lieutenants and God forbid, the American instructors (me).

It happened so suddenly, no one saw it coming, especially me. Week Five, Monday afternoon and we are in the middle of baton training outside. We have specific instructors schooled in the art of self defense and baton training. They are guest instructors and I take pride in the behavior of my cadets when a guest is teaching. We were outside with half the class practicing baton strikes and the other half (listening and watching?).

Those in the half not participating are supposed to be quiet so the instructors can shout out commands. I noticed one particular student talking loudly and not paying attention. Usually a look in their direction brings them back to reality and they quiet down. This cadet did not. So, I told him "Bala Haki" (be quiet) in Arabic and to my amazement, he laughed and continued talking loudly. I approached him as the rest of the forty cadets looked on in horror. I told him again to be quiet and he said, "Why?" The instructor came out in me and I explained at 2,000+ decibels that I was the instructor and he was the student (usually a pretty good argument). He stood his ground and tried to give me his best death stare. This continued for about five seconds until he backed down and shut up.

Now we American instructors have nothing to do with punishing the cadets for insubordination. We do have Wasta "influence" with the other staff members including the ISF Sergeants and Lieutenants. Now this cadet had raised himself above the normal student to a status of "dissident" for unruly and inappropriate behavior. It could not go unpunished. As it was the end of the class day, we let the incident go until the next morning but not before I reported it to the ISF Sergeant. I really didn't need to report it because everyone at the academy heard me shouting at him.

The next day was filled with speeches about Respect, Honor, and Discipline. I led the way, followed by my co-instructor, two Lieutenants (who backed me completely) and ISF Sergeant.

I did not single out the offending student as that is not my way. I feel the discipline problem is a team problem as there are no individual cadets, only Class A as one solid team. In the military, we took care of our own discipline problems before they got out of hand. At the ISF, things are different. There is no soft, cuddly hug when a cadet screws up. No, this cadet was jerked from his chair to go outside to some unspeakable punishment or jail. He knew it was coming and he knew it was going to be bad. Tears started to well up in his eyes as he had all night to wait for this moment. He tried to exit through a locked door near his desk. Yes, it was locked. Now, too his embarassment, real tears were forming as he had to do the walk of shame in front of the entire class to get outside the unlocked door on the other side of the room. Did I mention he now had two Lieutenants and a Sergeant yelling at him for not moving fast enough? Yep, his fate was sealed. The other forty students stared in horror. First, because they had never seen me angry or yell at anyone, but mainly because we dealt with the insubordination so quickly and established our authority without question.

Outside this 6'2", 230 pound bully was now crying loudly and uncontrollably. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. He was apologizing hysterically and I thought he was going to get down on his knees, beg forgiveness, and grab my leg. The Lieutenant was screaming something in Arabic I have not yet mastered. I got the point. He got the point. The academy got the point as other instructors and ISF staff came out to see all the excitement.

I did not have the heart to press for any further punishment. His apology was heart-felt and completely humiliating to him in front of his fellow cadets. I accepted his apology on the condition he never did it again. I also told him he was one of the leaders in the class and the other cadets looked to him for guidance. I told him to go to the bathroom and clean himself up (so that he could regain some of his dignity). He was very grateful that the punishment he envisioned did not come to pass.

Click photos to enlarge


 

Did I mention Week Six? Pepper Spray? I probably don't need to say more, as most of our readers have heard me describe the end of the world on Pepper Spray day (story below). This particular student got the worst spraying I have seen as an instructor. Oh, yes: caught on film in brilliant Technicolor. To his credit, he stood there and took it like a man. While the other cadets took a little spray and went off whimpering like little girls, this guy stood there for a full four-shot picture taking bonanza. I was so impressed, I gave him a certificate the next day. It was called the Pepper Spray Award (I made that up myself) for the student who took the biggest hit. He deserved the certificate and everything else he had coming...

Don't mess with the instructors.




Added 03-21-2010:

CLEANUPS CAN GET MESSY

(Click Photos to enlarge)

On occasion, my brain explodes. I don't know why, it just does. Every day going to work in Lebanon we pass a small church. This church is not unlike many churches in this part of the world built 200 or 300 hundred years ago. Small and basic in design from the outside and usually ornate and beautiful on the inside. This particular church has a design dating it around the 1800's. In front, it has been paved and relatively well kept. The back, however, is full of weeds and overgrown with trees. Pretty much the same as most churches of that era now abandoned to larger, more modern churches.

Last Sunday, since I am not much of a church goer, I decided to go work on the grounds of this nice older church. I gathered tools from my apartment manager including saws, shears, rakes, and a hoe. He is used to me doing this since I cleared the orchard behind my apartment recently. I grabbed a driver and off I went to this small church in Baabda.

The driver dropped me off and I went to work. For the next four hours, I weeded and cut down tree limbs. Pruned olive trees and raked up a massive pile of weeds and trash from the garden on the side of the church. The adventure only began when I moved to the rear portion of the property and in sight on one house on the opposite side of the street.

Now picture this if you will. I am in my Sunday clothes (bad 511 pants which were filthy and a bright red t-shirt with "BOISE" across the front, gloves and knee pads). My usual Sunday attire. From across the street, I hear "Hello!?!" I look up to see an elder lady with a walker and her attendant, a Sri Lanken maid. I waved and shouted out, "Merhaba!" (Yes, they use Merhaba (hello) in Lebanon as well). They looked at me somewhat bewildered as most Lebanense do when they see an American doing yard work. In my now familiar broken Arabic/French/English(Spanish) and - occasionally - Turkish language, I tried to tell them what I was doing. Circling my hands toward the ground, picking a few weeds and showing them a Lebanese rake did the trick. They just nodded at me as if I was a crazy man (I get that alot) and went inside. I continued on my quest to clean up this property. About ten minutes later, the Sri Lanken maid came over to the fence to talk with me. Her broken English was about as bad as my broken Arabic. The content of the conversation was quite clear. I had to leave. I asked her why. She merely said I could not be there and had to leave. I said okay.

Now, remember I never mentioned anything about getting permission to clean out the garden of this church. My plan had been to get in and get out, with no one knowing who had been there. It was Sunday and there were no church services here so I figured it to be a good time to clean up while everyone was at another church. I called for a driver and cleaned up what I could of the mess I made. I felt bad because I was not done and the grounds needed a lot of work. I walked over to the house and put one of my business cards in the door for the people to see I was not a vagrant. I was also happy they were able to see my vehicle, a brand new Honda Pilot to show them I didn't just walk to work.

When the driver got there, I asked him to please go explain to the residents why I was there (he is Lebanese and can speak Arabic). He came back saying everything was okay, they just didn't know why I was there. Feeling better, I went back the the apartment to get some lunch and clean up a bit. After lunch was when it started to get weird. I was bothered that I had not finished weeding. So, again without permission, I had a driver take me back to the church so that I could finish up. I unloaded all of my gear and started back to work. Driver left.

Not ten minutes later, the same Sri Laken maid was back with another female. This nice lady spoke very good English. I was trespassing. Now being a former policeman from the United States of America I know that is a criminal offense. Here in Lebanon, I don't know what that means but if a cadet at the academy can get two days in jail for having a cell phone, TRESPASSING can't be good. Since she spoke English, I managed an, "I'm very sorry." Followed by, "I am REALLY very sorry." She explained her Great grandfather built this church and it was the private property of their family (remember the older lady with the walker?) Yep, she's the owner. Graciously, she asked me to leave for a second time. I said my apologies and asked her to apologize to her mother for me. I immediately called for a driver to get out of there. The driver must have sensed something was wrong and brought back-up in another vehicle. By now, this nice lady is getting a sense I am not a terrorist, vagrant or despot planting bombs in a Christian church garden. It didn't make me look any less weird to her. She mentioned Lebanese people do not do these acts of kindness. I felt relieved with the "acts of kindness" statement. I also explained I worked with the ISF academy near the church and I passed by here everyday. As I was leaving, she said one more curious thing. She invited my to Mass at the church the next Saturday at 5 pm. I graciously accepted since I knew I would not be in prison on that day for TRESPASSING. I went back to my apartment and told my boss about being kicked out of church not once, but twice. A new personal record. He gave me the usual "quite messing with the Lebanese people look" and said nothing further.

The next Saturday arrived and I was anxious to make a better impression. I invited one of my co-workers and her husband as witnesses (and she is Catholic and can speak church-type stuff, if needed). I left early and stopped at a local flower shop. I purchase a dozen mixed roses in a nice bouquet to give to the elderly lady with the walker. Mostly, it was an apology for causing her any grief and to try to set things right. I arrived at the church and walked across the street to the residence. The Sri Laken maid let me in and looked me over carefully because I was now in my Saturday clothes, not my Sunday clothes. I was introduced to the son of the elderly lady. His name was Emir Hares Chehab. I met his elderly mother and gave her the roses. I was now her new best friend. I didn't understand a word she said but it sounded kind and she looked happy. Emir spoke very good English and we sat down in the living room.

Emir, being typical Lebanese, wanted to know everything about me. I told him the basics. He asked, do you remember talking with me this week on the phone. I thought, now that is a different question. I said, "No. I am sure I would have remembered that." He said, "Weren't you in General Sousy's office and talked with me?" Now, I think, where is this coming from? I said, "No, I have never been to the General's office." Emir pressed me for more information. He took out his telephone and gave me the exact time of the telephone call. Again, I said, "No. Wasn't me." Emir immediately called General Sousy (my big Lebanese boss at the academy to whom we all report but never see). They talked in Lebanese as I got out another of my business cards when Emir asked my family name (Tudbury). I am starting to think I am now going to prison in my Saturday clothes. They exchanged conversations and determined I had not been the one who talked to Emir from the General's office. I told Emir I had no clue who might have talked to him.

Emir seemed satisfied and gave me one of his business cards. EMIR HARES CHEHAB, General Secretary of the Islamic-Christian National Dialogue Committee. Crap! This guy was huge in Lebanese politics. I'm thinking why did I pick this church now.... he smiled, knowing I knew he was important. He seemed to be more at peace having established I was not, 1. a terrorist, 2. a vagrant, 3. and was just some dumb American stepping in a pile of (you know what). Off we went to church. The Mass did not start until he entered the room. It was filled with the town people who waited patiently for his arrival. Emir and I walked up to the front of the church and sat in the front row. The priest greeted him warmly and proceeded the service in Arabic and Aramaic (language of Jesus). It was a wonderful service and not any different than the Catholic services I attend with my wife, Sue.

After church, I was invited back to the house, along with Chris who showed up slightly late, to have Chai. Emir introduced his mother to Chris and we had a pleasant time talking. I begged for forgiveness saying we had another appointment this evening and had to go. Emir said he wanted to invite us to an invitation-only meeting on the 25th of March at the Jesuite school. He further said it would be the first time all of the various religions (including Druse, Shittes, and Shias) would be in a meeting in a Catholic church in Lebanon and it would be historic. Lech Walesa, the Polich Union leader, would be in attendance as well. Emir said, "Show my card to the guard, that is your invitation."

We left and attended a going away party for several members of our team. I happened to hear one of the instructors talking about his experience this week at the General's office (you guessed it, his name is John). He was so proud he had been summoned to General Sousy's office (and he had to get directions there as it was his first time). When he arrived, he was greeted by a number of dignitaries and General Sousy. One man jumped up and offered John a seat. General Sousy called a phone number and handed the phone to John. John, who is hard of hearing, is now talking to someone on the phone about his mother seeing him in church and thanking him for worshipping God. John, of course, thanked him and hung up the phone. I told John I think the phone call was for me. He said, I wondered why some Lebanese guy would thank me for praising God and his mother seeing me do it. (That's John in a nutshell).

I sent Emir an e-mail clarifying the mystery and asked him to please explain to General Sousy the error. All is well in Lebanon again.


Added 02-26-2010:

PEPPER SPRAY DAY
Or The End of the World!

The Mayan Calendar will abruptly end on December 23, 2012. Experts say the Mayans believed that is the end of civilization as we know it, therefore the calendar ends. It just stops. Here in Lebanon, I believe the Mayans were wrong. According to the cadets of the ISF Academy, Class 14 (A), Warwar training center, Beirut, Lebanon (also known as the center of the universe), the end of the world is February 24, 2010. It is commonly known in the academy as Pepper Spray day.

Now, as a teacher, I know every teacher in the universe has secretly had a thought of pepper spraying their entire classroom full of students from time to time. It is inevitable. But here in Lebanon, dreams do come true. Every cadet, every class, of every academy gets pepper sprayed. I know, they know it. It happens as soon as they come back from a week on the firing range. It happens almost exactly one half way through the academy schedule. It happens....

I can tell when a new class begins. Day One. "Mr. John, when are we going to get pepper sprayed?" They always throw out the disposable English speaker so at least you know one is listening to your entire conversations. I have a pattened answer. "Sometime in the near future." Not good enough for these young cadets. They have a communication system better than the White House. They know before I know and I am the one who picks the time and place.

As the weeks roll towards that inevitable last day of life, the excuses start. My mother only has me to survive the family. I have acne(?) (that was a new one this time). It will surely kill me. I have looked into 42 pair of eyes for a couple of weeks now. I don't know what I am supposed to see but they show me anyway. I tell them everyone gets sprayed. No exceptions. Almost made an exception for the one who had the cutest baby I have ever seen. Oh yes, I have seen the entire family album from most of these cadets. Doesn't help. Just makes me want to spray them even worse.

The week of the end finally arrives. Unfortuantely for these cadets, they were the last one of four classes to get sprayed. They have been told by other students of near-death experiences. These knuckleheads have even begun watching previous classes being sprayed. The self-mutilation is beyond compare. I try to assure them that it will hurt them a lot more than it will me. Didn't help... Offers of free lunches go unheeded. I don't play favorites.

I tried to trick them by telling them the wrong time and order of when the killings would begin. They already knew before I thought it up. I have never seen the Lieutenants and Sergeants so happy for a day to come. One lieutenant even came in on his own time to help kill the cadets. And so it began...

There was more weeping and wailing than a band of hysterical women. I had given them my, "Don't be a crybaby" speech, be professional police officers and suck it up."

Didn't work. Actors in Hollywood have nothing on these cadets. I could not get more response if I shot each one with a pistol. If I had not seen it with my own eyes and filmed it, no one would believe the dramatics. Fortunately, I got video and photographs to prove that no one died today at Warwar academy. I laughed till I nearly cried. Guess we will just have to wait until December 23, 2012 for the real end of the earth. (I wonder if the Mayan's knew about Pepper Spray...)

Please enjoy the pictures.

John L. Tudbury
International Police Trainer
Lebanon Police Mission
Warwar Academy

Click Photos to view Enlargements











Added 2-10-2010:

ROCK STAR STATUS
Everyone Wants Their picture With The Teacher

Living overseas as an American is nothing new. Many Americans live and work overseas every day. Not many of us get to obtain "Rock Star" status from the people we work with and teach. As an instructor at the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Warwar police academy, I have the distingushed honor of training some of Lebanon's finest young police officers. In turn, they show their apprecitation by turning almost every opportunity into a photo op with the teacher. Whether it be on the firing range or in the back of an old Russian duece and a half transport truck, their energy is boundless (and relentless). Once one photo is taken, a group starts to form, then a crowd, then, well you get the picture....

Here are some of my latest and greatest moments as a Rock Star.


Click Photos to view Enlargements


John and cadet

John and cadet

John with multiplying cadets

Mr. John with no clue

Nice hat

Added instruction

Done

class photo #1

class photo #2

class photo #3

class photo #4

class photo #5

Nice aim guys!

class photo #6

class photo #7

With cadets

With cadets

With cadets

Back from the range #2

Back from the range #3

Back from the range #4

Back from the range #5

Back from the range #6
John in old Russian Deuce and a half truck
Sleepy and crew

Firing line

John-demonstration

Kneeling

Photo Op





Added 02-08-2010:

John Tudbury and a pal take an unusual Lebanese taxi ride!

Tonight, Dave Kynoch (my boss) and I tried to hail a cab coming from the movies. It was late and our drivers were no longer working. A little old man stopped and Dave began negotiating a price. The man wanted too much money and Dave said he would find another cab. The man got out and started negotiating. I could hear Dave say, I will only pay $20,000 LL (about $15 US). Then he said, I think you're drunk. The man said he had a little to drink. Dave said I think you are really drunk. Dave then said I will give you $20,000 but you must let me drive the taxi. The old man agreed.

So, here we are, driving around late at night in a foreign city with an American driving a Lebanese taxi. The drunk old man questioned Dave about how long he had driven a car on the way back to our apartment. Thirty-five years seemed to satisfy him. Dave drove us to the apartment with the driver sitting in the front passenger seat. He even paid Dave a compliment for his safe driving. When we got there, Dave paid him the $20,000 and the driver said I think I should pay you, instead. Just goes to show anything is negotiable (including who drives) in Lebanon.

Absolutely a first for me.





New 02-03-2010:

They Are so Eager To Please

Our new academy class is into it's second week. These are great kids and much more disciplined than the last group. Mostly, because we laid down ground rules for behavior from the start. I have tried several experiments to see what works and what does not work. First, I laid black duct tape on the ground to mark where desks are supposed to be in the classroom. Last class, the desks started migrating around the room until you could barely walk. For whatever reason, the duct tape has worked. Not one desk has moved more than an inch since we started. It is like an invisible wall they can't climb or go around. Probably reverts back to their training and keeping perfect formations. So, experiment #1 was a success.

Experiment #2 was an attempt to have the cadets improve their image and uniform appearance. There seems to be a severe lack of shoe polish at our academy. Yesterday at the beginning of class, I watched the cadets in formation. I picked out one student (who also happens to be our entire basketball team rising to a height of 6'7") because of his perfectly shined shoes. Now imagine, this kid has probably stuck out all his life in a region of 5'8" males. I have never heard him utter a word in class.

As I began classes for the day with the ISF Lieutenant standing with me, I called Amer to stand up. He looked horrified that he had done something wrong. The Lieutenant was not part of the plan so he had no idea what I was doing as well. He put on his game face like he was going to punish this cadet for something I had seen him do which made the moment all that much more dramatic. I called Amer to the front of the class with my interpreter, Nabil. Amer promptly came to the front of the class and snapped to attention. The look on his face told me he expected to be crawling in the mud, have yogurt thrown on him and mud on his face by the time I was done. I told the class to look at Amer carefully. I said that Amer has the most perfect shoes in the class and he was an example for the rest of the class to follow. I told him, "Thank You," and to take his seat. He exhaled so hard I thought he would faint. He took my outstreched hand and gave me a big grin before taking his seat. I later caught him glancing at me and smiling. I never said another word about the compliment to the other cadets.

Today, I walked out of the office, coffee in hand to meet the troops as they formed into perfect rows. They called to me, (Mr. John) and wanted me to notice their shoes. Each and every one of them had spit shined their shoes for today's formation. They looked perfect.

So, experiment #2 was a success.

As we had a guest speaker in the room to talk about Lebanese law and Class B in attendance as well, I took the opportunity to again single out Amer and thanked him for being a positive role model to the rest of Class A and their outstanding appearances. Now, I noticed members of Class B were looking at their own shoes....hmmm, experiment #3 perhaps?

Please enjoy the pictures.

John


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First Lieutenant Baracat. 70 degrees and they're still wearing coats. Amer is the tall one in back. Class 14-A Can't beat a little competition among cops.
Competition: 200 meter run. Class A Sergeant Daadoud Enjoying the sun. Crash and Burn. Facing Academy entrance.
Lt. Nassar during class break. They never miss a photo op'! Timing the run. Obstacle course. John timing the run with help.
One of my supermen. The fastest in Class 14A. LA Ruba. Portable Showers ISF Academy office.
Cooks with cigar in kitchen. View from top: new classrooms. Another view of new classrooms. Workers sifting sand.
Cadet chowhall kitchen. Dining room. Dining room 2. New kitchen area. New kitchen.
Workers in new building. Future classrooms Interesting electrical housing. Nearly completed classrooms. New academy office building.


Added 1-11-2010:

John Tudbury and team graduate first
class of Police Trainers in Lebanon

Ten weeks turned into fifteen weeks because of various events, Christmas, and a new year but we finally graduated our students here in Lebanon. As a prize for being the top student for the academy, one student gets an all-expense paid trip to the United States. United States Ambassador to Lebanon Michelle Sesson and Mr. David Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State were present to hand out diplomas. Top officials from our company were also present for the ceremonies. ISF provided an Honor Guard and Band for the festivities.

We graduated 286 cadets and 21 officers. One of my students was in the Top Ten in academics and firearms. He received a certificate by the head of the International Security Forces, General Ashraf Rifi and a Boise Police challenge coin and patch from me. It is sad to see them go but I look forward to a new crop of recruits within the next two weeks.

Please enjoy the pictures below.

John


Click Photos to View Enlargements





Added 12/29/2009:

Amazing Mountaintop Discovery in Cyprus

(Google Earth Coordinates: 34°53'06? N, 33°26'06? E )

Sometimes in our travels we fall into a place unexpectedly that we will be grateful, later in life, for having seen. The Monastery of the Holy Cross (Stavrovouni) has been one of those astounding places.

We were heading down Cyprus highway A1 towards Nicosia when we saw a sign for Monastery Stavrovouni. In the past two days we had passed numerous churchs and didn't bother to stop, but collectively, we agreed to see this place and pulled off the highway. We found out it was 10 km from the highway and we took another vote. It won by a 3-1 vote and since I was driving it really didn't matter anyway. Off we went through the hill country, through the hilly-er country and then through the really tall-mountain country! We later found out this Monastery is located on top of Mount Olympus (not the same one as Mt. Olympus in Greece) but equally as high and shrouded in clouds. (Yeah, that high).

I manuevered the rental car towards the top, and when we arrived, the view through the clouds was spectacular. There was a gate (shown below) and then a small church in the lot (also pictured). Beautiful gold inlay was everywhere. We approached the entrance to the Monastery and found that women are not allowed to enter. We were not allowed to enter as well, since it did not open until 2:00 pm. We could, however enter their book shop and there we found a Monk named Antonio. He wore Full Greek Orthodox robes and had a long, flowing beard. He was the gatekeeper. He spoke Turkish so we had a good conversation. He still would not let us in.

We decided to take some photos outside and leave. Mari purchased some items including a book about the Monastery. What we didn't know is this Monastery has a piece of the wooden cross of Jesus, as well as one of the nails used to bind him to the cross! It was taken out of Palestine and brought to this location. In addition, they still have portions of the crosses of the two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. When these crosses were located by Ste. Helena (mother of Richard-the-Lionheart), one of the crosses was laid atop a woman and a miracle happened. It was decided this was the cross of Jesus.

Because one of the thieves (on the right side of Jesus) had repented, St. Helena wanted his cross as well. There was no way to tell the repentant thief's cross from the unrepentant thief on Jesus's left side, so Ste. Helena had the two crosses split in half, then joined together so that a portion of the repentant thief's would be with each cross. A portion of the cross of Jesus was added so a portion of all three crosses were preserved. The holy cross is in the center of the Monastery along with the holy nail.

We plan to return tomorrow for a look inside. After that experience, Nicosia was just a road stop. And to think we almost did not go the extra 10 kilometers!!


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Day 2 in Cyprus on the Mountaintop

Highlight of the trip was the finale at the Monastery Stavrovouni. We were allowed to enter the site today and we had to leave Mari at the front gate because women are not allowed in the church. I actually got to touch the sacred cross bearing Jesus's wooden cross and had a blessing bestowed upon a cross I purchased from Monk Antonio. I am not that religious but being in a location that has been guarded by Monks for 2,000 years really made me think how lucky I am to be in the presence of such an iconic symbol of Jesus. It was well worth the trip.


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Church at Stavrovouni Monastery

Church ceiling at Stavrovouni

Church keeper with keys

Church at Stavrovouni Monastery
 
 
Church of All Saints Icons

Church of Lost Persons

Cross at Monastery Stavrovouni

Church at Monastery Stavrovouni
 
 
Monestery on Mountain

Paintings at Monestery Stavrovouni

Paintings at Monestery Stavrovouni

Church at Monestery Stavrovouni
 
 
Church at Monestery Stavrovouni

Street Scene

Street Scene

Wall at Monestery Stavrovouni
 
 
Freedom Statue, Nicosia

Ceiling fresco, Medieval Chapel, Lumiere

Iconic paintings

Lumiere
 
 
Medieval Chapel, Lumiere

Inside Medieval Chapel

Mt. Olympus and Monastery Stavrovouni

Stavrovouni Monk, Antonio
 
 
Nicosia Street, Old Town

Restaurant, Lumiere

Roman Aquaduct

Rules of Monastery Stavrovouni
 
 
Setting the Prisoners Free

Shop Area, Nicosia

Signposts

Forthright Signage, Saint George's Monastery
 
 
Fresco Featuring Virgin Mary
   



Added 12/20/2009:

John Tudbury Brings A Little Christmas to Lebanon

We have spent a very gratifying day at a convent run by two Sisters, Natalie and Zuzu. It is located in the mountains above Beirut and it is about an hour drive by car.

David McNeely,one of the instructors with our company, began a donation drive when a group of orphans visited his place of work. He decided to research other orphanages, and perhaps start a donation drive. In Lebanon, there really is no such thing as "orphanages". These children do have extended families, however, due to circumstances, most are kept in Convents or Monasteries which are more like social services in the United States. A particular Convent, at Zaraaya, came up three times as a place which receives no outside help when David interviewed other Orphanges. It was decided to help two places, the Convents of St. Michel and Zaraaya. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact meaning of Zaraaya. The church itself, has been standing on the site for more than 300 years. The Sisters are Marionite Christians who take any and all children, regardless of faith. Some of the children are Muslim by faith.

On the initial drive, more than $1,500 dollars was raised for food (nearly a ton) and Christmas gifts. We drove to the site for the visit. Approximately 20 of our instuctors, language assistants and spouses attended. We spent the majority of the day eating a great lunch, touring the Convent and meeting the children. David McNeely dressed as "Papa Noel" to hand out gifts. There was a lot of inteaction with the children. They sang songs and danced for us, and in turn we danced with them. It was a very magical time and these children deserved as much as we could give them. Consequently, we took a second donation to help pay for fuel costs as the Convent is so isolated, electricity is poorly run and the generators are expensive to operate. Another $400 was raised among our group, on the spot.

I also learned the Convent was operating without a commercial washing machine! The washer had operated for 20 years until it finally broke down. Mind you there are over 45 children and staff living at the Convent. I talked with David, and we decided to buy two new machines and have them delivered. David received donations from several members of the company. I paid for one machine myself. Cost was about $650 in total. We had them delivered yesterday (Saturday December 18, 2009) and we drove up to make sure they were properly installed and working.

Sister Natalie runs the Convent. Sister Zuzu is in charge of cooking and house maintenance. This place was extremely organized and meticulous. We played with the children then ate a Lebanese meal of chicken and rice, tabouli, hummis, goat yogurt and many other foods I cannot pronounce, much less spell!

I spoke about having worked in Iraq and helping the children there. If you've read my stories here, you know how passionate I can be when it comes to children! David McNeely did a wonderful job of researching the locations and their ability to self-sustain themselves before choosing the Convent at Zaraaya. They grow their own food and process figs into marmalade to sell to the local stores in exchange for fuel. The children are very well cared for and are loved by the staff. No one goes hungry there. The children are free to go back to family members when it is appropriate but they remain at the Convent for studies and sleeping. As in Iraq, these were some of the most rewarding events I have been involved with in my career. The difference was we were able to interact with these kids, know them by name, and become an extended part of their (and our) lives. Giving them my expensive camera to use was a spur of the moment idea that worked out beautifully. I would not have thought to do that in a group of American children of the same age group. Here are some of the 550 photos I took.


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Added 11/29/2009:

A Day Trip to Jounieh, Lebanon

It started like any other day in Lebanon. Ate my cereal, took a shower, brushed my teeth and went down to get a vehicle at 8:15 am and to find a driver. Picked up two other instructors, Dennis Shaw and David Hudiburgh and off we went for a day in the beautiful city of Jounieh about 32 kilometers from Beirut. It started out so uneventfully....

Great drive, little traffic for a Sunday and then things started to change. We left the relative low lands of Beirut and headed for the coastal mountains of Jounieh. I knew we were going to see a fantastic statue of the Virgin Mary which sits on top of the "hills" in the area. David, of course, is 72 years old, has lived a long and full life. Dennis is just crazy! We are driving along and I noticed the "hills" are starting to turn into mountains. BIG mountains. The only hills, I left behind in Beirut and I was now heading for a one-way trip to hell (on a Sunday, no less). I remember someone saying something about a little tram ride up the "hill" to the statue. By now, I'm thinking, what "hills"??? This can't be right.

Wrong.

As we entered the little town of Jounieh, the sea was on our left. Placid as the Mediterranean often is and on our right, MOUNTAINS! I was the first to see the blessed Virgin Mary statue from my vantage point in the vehicle. It was sitting on top of this MOUNTAIN. As I stared in disbelief, I thought there must be a convenient way to get there without a tram ride. Nope, the driver said, this was the only way up as we stopped in front of this Disneyland type amusement park, sorta gondola thing. I think he just wanted to dump us there and head back to Beirut.

Now, it is 9:00 am and this tram doesn't start operating until 10:15. Plenty of time for me to fake an injury and get out of this mess. Oh, by the way, did I mention I am terrified of man-made heights? That includes buildings, bridges, dams, elevators and oh yes, trams. Especially trams in Lebanon (only because I have always managed to avoid trams everywhere else in the world). David, the kind old soul that he is, assured me it would be all right. Remember: he is 72 years old. What else does he have to live for? And then,Dennis? Well, I don't take advice from him. He's crazy!

We ate a last meal at a local restaurant which looked like a nice place to spend the entire day while those guys went off on the tram up the mountain. Nothing doing. Tickets were bought, seats secured and off we - all - go.

I reminded Dave (we call him Moses) and Crazy Dennis how petrified I am of heights and these heights seemed worse than my normal fears. The two of them were very re-assuring. Once the mini-gondola (very small, little, gondola) lifted off, I thought, this could be like the one at Disneyland.... Nope. Nadda, Neyet, Nine, No way partner: This was a one-way ticket ($7,500 Lebanese pounds or $4.75 American) to hell; and I'm thinking, "I just paid $4.75 to get scared out of my wits???"

Within moments we were gliding along at ten stories high. Dennis, being the caring individual he is, said he was going to shake the mini-gondola to try to rock it. I won't tell you what I actually said to him but it involved he would die before we ever hit the ground. He didn't rock the boat. No, this ride took two years to get to the top of the MOUNTAIN. OK maybe it was fifteen minutes, but I died a thousand times. When we finally landed on the eagle's nest, I thought, I MADE IT!!! Where is this stupid statue anyway?

Another tram ride away. Now I'm thinking, what did I just say? I hope I didn't make God mad with the stupid comment. So, off we went again on another tram. At least this one was grounded to the side of this steep mountain. This antique was slower than the last air ride to hell. I actually think the thing was trying to back down the mountain.

Finally, and I do mean finally, we reached the top. I'm climbing over little children trying to save myself before this thing falls two billion feet. I tumble out into a parking lot. A parking lot??? Who the heck puts a parking lot on top of a mountain that is only accessible by death-defying trams? Apparently someone thought it would be a good idea. Now I'm standing there with my mouth wide open looking stupidly at a half dozen taxis and one million private cars. I thought, I wonder if they drove up here? My second thought was how come I just took the ride from hell in a tram if they drove up here......I looked around and Dennis and David were running for their lives. I was going to strangle a little kid who was close by but I noticed he still had my footprint on his forehead from me exiting the tram. Guess who paid for the taxi ride when we were done......yeah, me. Take the Tram Ride yourself. Click Here.

Some Time Has Passed.

I'm calm now. Had a stiff Southern Comfort and coke (sorry Dan, no General Order #1 here) and decided to send other pictures far, far, away from the tram ride. Actually, there is a beautiful church down the road from the Virgin Mary statue on top of the MOUNTAIN. This was the Cathedral of St. Peter and John and was a Greek Orthodox church with no tourists (except for me, the taxi driver, Dennis and Dave). Below this church, was a Cathedral of the Patriarchs with nobody but military around it. Not one of the soldiers could tell us who the Patriarch was, but said Pope John Paul II had visited the Cathedral and blessed it. They had a mosaic to prove it. Also at left, I've included the sunset picture of Jounieh to prove I lived through my ordeal.

Enjoy!

John L. Tudbury
International Police Trainer
Lebanon Police Mission
Warwar Academy

Click Photos to Enlarge:

Courtyard of the Virgin Mary
 
View up to where we were headed.

The Gondola (just joking).
 
On the ride to the top.

Fisherman at Jounieh.
 
View from near the top.

Harbor at Jounieh.
 
Seashore at Jounieh.

Jounieh's waterfront.
 
Top of hill: Virgin Mary at Jounieh.

Another tram view.
 
And another.

Two spectacular views from
 
the top of the mountain

Jounieh below us.
 
Jounieh

David Hand and anchor
 
Dennis and Virgin Mary

Dennis making offering.
 
Nearing top of cable ride.

Street in Jounieh.
 
Virgin Mary at Jounieh.

Me with antique anchor.
 
Nearing top of mountain.

Dennis and David don't look exactly calm.
 
Made it to the top!

More Photos of our "Sky Trip" in Jounieh, Lebanon.


Altar, St. Peter and John Cathedral
 
Cathedral of the Patriarchs
 
Cathedral of the Patriarchs
 
Door to St. Peter and John Cathedral
 
St. Peter and John Cathedral
 

Statue of Mary.
 
St. Peter and Paul
 
Cathedral interior
 
View from Cathedral
 
Sitting area.
 

Mural at entrance.
 
Entrance, St. Peter and John Cathedral
 
An Orange Grove seen enroute.
 
Domes of St. Peter and John Cathedral
 
St. Peter and John Cathedral
 

New 11/08/2009: Once again I have settled in the Middle East to teach. This time in Beirut, Lebanon. Known as the Paris of the Middle East, this city is making a strong comeback from past conflicts. I hope to spend at least a year in this great land, possibly more if my wife allows me to stay. Currently, I am teaching police Rule of Law at the ISF (Internal Security Forces) Warwar academy. The students are picked from military sources to become policemen. Generally they range in age from 19 - 25 and want as much training as we can provide. The experience has been rewarding and the sights throughout the city unimaginable! Please view the photos below.


Baton Training

ISF Class A

ISF Lieutenant teaching.

ISF Police

Beirut

John teaching baton.

Beirut, Lebanon walk.

Fishermen

John (left) and fellow instructors.

A mosque in Beirut.

Friends and co-workers.(John rear right).

Starbucks, Beirut.

John's quarters.

The kitchen area.

His pantry!

Complete luxury!

Target practice.

Shooting range

Target practice.

Aerial view.

Observation

Target practice

John working on techniques.

Trainees

Lunchtime





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1961: Family apartment in Ankara
 

1963: Family Christmas, Ankara
 

1973: John Tudbury
 

1974: Main Gate, KARAMURSEL
 

1974: Skiing the Sea of Marmara
 

1975: On the Det.94-2 Football Team
 

1975: More football
Note "Elephant Cage" in background
 

1975: KARAMURSEL Gun Range
 

1975: Honor Guardsman
 

1975: John at KARAMURSEL ("Mainsite")
 

1975: Mainsite
 

1975: Mainsite
 

1975: KARAMURSEL baseball team
 

1975: Baseball Tournament at İncirlik, southeastern Turkey
 

1975: Portrait while in İncirlik
 

1975: On duty at the KARAMURSEL main gate
 

1975: On patrol: KARAMURSEL Carnival
 

1975: Turkish street scene
 

1975: A visit back to Ankara
 

1975: John's VW van
 

1975: Wild boar hunting  

1975 Yalova mosque
 

1976-77 Desk duty, KARAMURSEL
 

 
 

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1976: John's infamous "all American" stars and stripes arm cast.
 

1976: locals at the nearby carp farm
 

1976: Loading baskets of carp
 

1976: More carp being loaded
 

1976: Photo from "Stars & Stripes Newspaper" of John and friend Dale Miunick hunting
 

1977: Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, about 80 miles north of Denali National Park
 

1977: Bears wandering Clear AFS
 

1977: Feeding "BooBoo" at Clear AFS
 


UPDATE FROM JOHN Added July 23, 2009:


It's Official: Lebanon

As many of you might know, I was planning to return overseas to teach. I leave for Virginia in August as part of the training package, then on to Beirut, Lebanon. I will be working with a company which provides police trainers in Lebanon and Haiti as well as other regions in Africa. This will be a great opportunity to see a different part of the Middle East without the major effects of war.

My window of opportunity to provide this service is closing as I approach my "retirement" years. If I don't take this one last journey to impart some of my police knowledge to others, I surely will loss my effectiveness. I will miss family and friends but most I will miss my wife, Sue as this is often harder on her than me.

I will stay in touch and bring updates to all of you.

John




UPDATE FROM JOHN Added January 31, 2009:


Subject: Life in Iraq
Email dateDate: Sat., 31 Jan. 2009 14:23:19

Life in Iraq: The Tired Body World Series

I am 54 years old. "Old" being the main word in that last sentence. I was minding my own business after breakfast when I happened upon a softball tournament. I thought to myself, "that looks like fun!" So I stopped. Young strapping men and women of the United States Army locked in mortal combat in a war called softball. So I watched. The more I watched, the more I thought, "I used to be pretty good at that!" So I watched some more. Eventually, I thought, "I wonder if I could still play?" Bad idea....

The next thing I know, I'm dressing in my best softball outfit (gym shorts, a NO WHINING t-shirt and tennis shoes). I thought, "I'll just sit around and see if anyone needs any players." Another bad idea. Eventually, I overheard a conversation I had heard a hundred times as a youth. "We are missing some players". I immediately went in to savior mode to help these young folks out. I volunteered my services. The young Army Captain graciously accepted my offer. How bad could this be? Me 54, four young women and some underweight office type clerks banded together. We looked like something out of the Bad News Bears. I asked politely what unit I was now assigned to in this state of war. It was the 87th maintenance squadron. I had hoped for something like Special Forces or a SEAL team or something. No, I get a maintenance squadron.

Okay, I thought to myself. At least my softball day with be short. "One and done." Little did I know, but one of the gals had played on a college softball team. The other three had tattoos. We went up against one of the young, hard charging team of men who looked like they had just beaten Iraq by themselves. Now, they were going to wipe us off the face of the earth.

Miracles do happen!!! We won. We won BIG! Score doesn't matter, I'm writing this... But, my first hit was an in-the-park home run. I'm 54 remember. I ran to second base and tried to stop. My team urged me on to third. I looked in the out field and these Bozos are actually screwing up my chances at staying at second base. I was out of breath... So, cheered on by new found comrades, I ran to third. I tried to stop again. They were not having any of it! They encouraged me on towards home. I looked at them like they were a bunch of idiots. I tried to explain that I am 54. They were not listening. Now they were yelling at me. I felt threatened. I looked again at the outfield. Those pansies were still messing around trying to get to the softball. Jeezzz, I thought, would they hurry up!!! Needless to say, under severe protest, I struggled towards home. My teammates yelled, "Run faster" I simply said, "this IS top speed" as I crossed the threshold.

We ended up playing three games today. I pitched, played catcher and played outfield. Now, I'm dying. I'm 54 years old!!! This ragtag team which looked like something out of Battle Star Gallactica won second place. Now here is why it gets more interesting. Last game, we're getting killed by the other team. I'm pitching. Game was called on account of a rocket attack on the base. We went screaming like little girls from the field and hid in bomb shelters. When the attack was over, we told the other team we won because they went screaming like little girls first. I still have a second place medal for my efforts and a sore, tired 54 year old body... (By the way, I had seven hits and a walk while recording just one out)

Enjoy the pictures below. I can't stand to look at them right now...

John L. Tudbury
CPATT Advisor
FOB Diamondback


       
       
       





UPDATE FROM JOHN Added May 7, 2008:


Subject: Gifts for School Children in Iraq
Email dateDate: Wed, 7 May 2008 11:30:01

Hello to all;

Today, I was fortunate enough to be able to provide some joy to underprivileged children in Mosul, Iraq. With the help of my wife, Sue and great friends like Ronda Stewart, Harry and Sue Haun, Rod, Erik, Andrea Morris, Todd McLelland, Mark, William and the US Army, I was able to provide about 300 students with a touch of USA. Thanks to all of you on the home front, I had fifteen boxes of wonderful gifts to give out. I also had about 200 pair of shoes from all of you plus the Post exchange for all of the kids. Shoes are the items most needed by these kids.

This was the second time for us at Al Nahtha elementary school next to "Four West" police station. Again, the idea was to allow the Iraqi police to hand out all of the donated items. First, it gave the local police an opportunity to do some "community policing" in a land where police officers are feared. Second, it started a dialogue with the community which increases the amount of information given to the police on insurgent and criminal activity. And last but not least, it taught the police that kindness can go so much further than intimidation of the local populace.

On the list of great items we gave away, Ronda Stewart, you take top honors with the total amount of t-shirts, socks and such. We had enough clothing so no one was turned away. Sue and Harry Haun, if you had just sent toys, that would have been enough. Your dinosaur could have been raffled off to the military. They did not want to let it go. A young boy was selected by his teacher and the dean of the school as an "exceptional" child to receive "Dino". I gave up the bear, but didn't want to.... Rod, Todd and Erik. Your baby clothing was fantastic. Toys. Andrea, and all the rest of you, thank you. Toys never grow old. The faces on these children who have nothing was priceless. I went on line and purchased 150 balsam wood airplanes like we used to have as kids. They were very hard to find and are not sold in stores anymore. I located them at www.guillow.com.

I am so honored I was able to be here doing this work today. I have always said that we will win this war through the kids. I could not have done this feat without all the support from the home front. To my wife, Sue, who always seems to put up with me and my (crazy) ideas, thank you. You pulled together so many people to help out with these projects.

This is the fourth time we have done this and it just seems to get better each time. I know there are horrendous costs involved with buying and shipping items to Iraq. Again, thank you. Each and every one of you are in my thoughts and prayers. These children are worth the effort! Please enjoy the photos.

Pray for peace

John
John L. Tudbury
CPATT Advisor
FOB Diamondback
APO AE 09334

American gifts to Iraqi School

Students with CPATT coins
Advanced Students with CPATT coins.

 

Boxes to school
Boxes to school

 

Captain Choi at Al Nahtha
Captain Choi at Al Nahtha Elementary School

School Class
School class.

 

Boxes to school
Award coins

 

More Boxes
More boxes.

School Class
Still more boxes.

 

Boxes of gifts
Gift Boxes after delivery.

 

Boxes to school
Gift boxes at school

 

School Class
Passing out the gifts.

 

Boxes of gifts
Passing out the gifts.

 

Boxes to school
Gift boxes at school

 

Boxes of gifts
Iraqi Colonel arrives at the school with Personal Security Detail.

 

Iraqi Colonel with Student
Iraqi Colonel with student.

 

Tudbury with students
Tudbury joins the students

 

Colonel and student
Iraqi Colonel hands gift to a student.

 

Youngsters in the class
Youngsters in the class.

 

Ronda's_t-shirts
Giving out Ronda's t-shirts.

 

Middle-School students
Middle-school students receiving gifts

 

More gifts handed out
More gifts handed out.

 

Tudbury with students
Military personnel unpacking goods.

 

More presents
More presents for the students.

 

Bright, happy students
Bright young students waving to an-off-camera guest.

 

Colonel with students
The Colonel presenting t-shirts to the older students.

 

Haun Toys
The gifts included toys from Haun

 

A Haun dinosaur
Haun Dinosaur

 

A teacher joins the dean and students
Teacher, Dean and students.

 

Sandals
Sandals for the students.

 

Dean of the school
The dean of the school.

 

A thumbs-up for the visitors
Thumbs-up goodbye.

 



UPDATE FROM JOHN Added March 20, 2008:


Subject: Petra
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 03:53:30

Hello all,
I am back in Erbil, Kurdistan for the next couple of days. While in Jordan I was able to get to Petra {the stunning capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV (9 B.C. to 40 A.D."}. It is located several hours by car from Amman, Jordan. As many of you may recognize, Petra was featured in the Indiana Jones movies as the place of the Holy Grail. Indiana Jones rode horseback through the canyons where I walked. The area is beautiful beyond words, and is one of the most spectacular sites in the world.

I dare say these photos do not show the explosion of colors present in the canyon walls. Although I did see lots of horses and camels for hire, I will not say if I rode or not. Certainly there are no photographic evidences of such things...(there was a weight restriction to the poor beasts).

I encourage all of you to see this wonderful world beyond our borders!

Pray for peace,
John


Petra

Petra is an archaeological site in Arabah, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor[1] in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture.


Tudbury visits Petra
Nabatean Petra Oblisk tombt

Tudbury Visits Petra
Another view of tomb

Tudbury Visits Petra
In the wadi (valley)

Tudbury Visits Petra
Saddle horse relaxes

Tudbury visits Petra
Petra Canyon

Tudbury Visits Petra
Petra Canyon

Tudbury Visits Petra
The Siq (shaft)
Tudbury Visits Petra
The Siq
Tudbury visits Petra
2000 year old Carving near the Treasury
Tudbury Visits Petra
Horse-drawn carriage
Tudbury Visits Petra
Visitors
Tudbury Visits Petra
Water-worn and nature-sculpted sandstone
Tudbury visits Petra
The Treasury
"Al Khazneh"

Tudbury Visits Petra
The Treasury
Tudbury Visits Petra
The Treasury
Tudbury Visits Petra
Tour group
Tudbury Visits Petra
Ancient street facades
Tudbury Visits Petra
Camel rider in the wadi
Tudbury visits Petra
Tudbury Visits Petra
Tudbury Visits Petra
Tudbury Visits Petra
Cave tombs
Tudbury visits Petra
Cave tombs
Tudbury Visits Petra
Rest area
Tudbury Visits Petra
Caves
Tudbury Visits Petra
Camel Ride
Tudbury visits Petra
Caves






UPDATE FROM JOHN Added October 28, 2007 (Middle East Time Zone: 11:00 a.m.Sunday 10/28/07):

Hello all:

Just arrived in Kuwait this afternoon (10 hours ahead of mountain time) at an undisclosed location. The ordeal of getting here started with a trip to the Ft. Benning airport, Larson field then finding out there was a problem with the airplane (only airplane at the airfield, I might add) and we had to stay in the terminal all night on sqeaky cots and nice, I mean really nice vintage duffle bags. I wanted to take it with me. There I was with 268 of my closest friends sleeping and mostly snoring all around me. It was a wonderful two hours of sleep which now seems to be the norm. The next afternoon the plane was finally ready for us so off we went. Tried to tell Sue the stops at the time but they were classified. I can tell you they were the same as Ken's in Newfoundland and Hungary. Lots of flight time and they would not let us off the plane in Hungary for security reasons. Arrived in Kuwait around 1100 am (one of these mornings) I think it is still Sunday. Tent city. I will try to get a picture of this hugh temporary quarters. We are staying one night then on to Baghdad. Enough for now. I really am back in the military!

John


UPDATE FROM JOHN Added October 23, 2007:


As most of you know, I accepted an assignment in Iraq to teach Iraqi police officers. Currently, I am Ft. Benning, Georgia and just cleared medical and all in-processing procedures. Flight is scheduled to leave on Friday with stops enroute to Kuwait. I should be in Iraq some time next week. I was told I might be taking a position in Mosul on the Turkish border. They are expecting to utilize my Turkish language skills in that region. I just hope I don't have to translate to all 60,000 Turkish troops massing on the border!

It has been a long and stressful ordeal to get to the point of actually having to say goodbye to all my friends and family. I will miss all of you (except for Quilter and Frogley) from my BPD family. The support has been fantastic.

As for my immediate family, I will miss all of you the most (especially Harley the dog). I have a good, strong family support system with a wife, Sue, who loves me and supports the job I have always wanted to do. My mother, Dawn, has accepted that I choose to go of my own free will and without reservations. I will be doing an honorable job in a country slowly walking towards democracy. I want to take the fight to them before they bring it to American soil. Mostly, I want the Iraqi's to have the ability to stand on their own so we can get out of there and bring our troops home.

I can not or will not judge the pace of the war or the intricate details of how it is being waged. We are there as Americans and I am determined to do my part to make our efforts a success. Please do so at home as well. If you see a soldier, buy him a meal. Tell them you appreciate his or her sacrifice for their country. They are doing a difficult job but they are doing it to the best of their abilities. Support them, support me, support America. We do this in the name of freedom.

Everyone of you have a place in my heart and prayers.
John
(More updates appear following his story below).






UPDATE Added 06/26/2007:


For the past thirty-five years I have served my country and community as a police officer in the United States Air Force and ultimately as a civilian in the Boise, Idaho area. Choosing to serve in Iraq was not a hard decision. The only difference now as apposed to when I first joined the military is all the knowledge I gained through the years. Now, though, I feel I really have something to contribute. I am finally the teacher, not the student.

Iraq is a country with history dating back more than 3,000 years. Not too unlike Turkey, Iraq has a proud people with fierce loyalty to family and Allah. At this point in my life, freshly retired from the Boise Police department, I did not want to waste the skills and training that would be so precious in a land striving towards democracy. My whole life has been defined as trying to make a difference. Some changes are imperceptible. Some are dynamic. I have been told that we can't change 3,000 years of imbedded ideals. I don't believe that. I am going to make a difference. Education is the key to change.

In most third world countries, lack of education leads to a population swayed by ideals, corruption and even suicide bomers. Without education, a population can't make informed decisions on how to run their own lives. The Iman or cleric run their lives for them. I need to help educate these people for two reasons. First, it is the right thing to do and once on their feet, the Iraqis can make intelligent decisions for themselves. Two, we have military in country who are assigned to be there, some willingly. some not. I want to help get the Iraqis up to speed so we can all go home.

I have been told that I will leave my wife and family at home. Sacrifice is a hard pill to swallow some times. My wife is comforted by the fact that I am a highly trained police officer with good survival skills. She knows I will do the best possible job as a teacher, educator and mentor. At fifty-four years old, I should be a father figure to most of the recruits. I want to lead by example.

Most of the recruits I will be teaching are basic volunteers with no real knowledge of police tactics. I am told they are excited and eager to learn. I want to give them my knowledge and hope they use it wisely as I was able to all these years. As an example of police work in the United States, I want them to see me as a caring, confident beacon of solidarity that people trust, not fear.

Some would say I served my time and should just go play golf. I would argue that this is my time. The military and civilian police agencies were kind enough to give me great skills. Now it is my time to pay back for that knowledge. I have a window of opportunity that is, at this moment, open with viable skills that I can use to give back in a positive manner. In 1972, I was ready to serve my country when others sat back and complained about Vietnam. Now. in 2007, I am more than willing to serve my country when others sit back and complain about Iraq. We are there, like it or not. My goal is to make enough of a difference so that we can get our people out and have a friend and ally in the region. My sacrifice can't be measured because my country still needs me to toe the line and fight for what we stand for...freedom.



UPDATE Added 10/16/2007 - ALMOST ENROUTE TO IRAQ

I am finally through the cancellations and headed to Virginia in the morning. In a week or so, I will head to Kuwait then on to Baghdad. From there, I will begin a new career teaching young Iraqis how we do police work in a safe, humane way in the United States. Hopefully, it will help them in their quest for freedom and democracy. I intend to stay at least one year, possibly two.

I will be stationed in the 'relatively' safe Kurdistan region in north Iraq. The site has not been selected as of yet. I intend to answer all e-mails worth responding too (not Burley or Taylor smut letters) and will respond as quickly as I can depending on services available. Due to non-disclosure agreements, I will only be able to provide a look at everyday life in Iraq and hopefully put a positive spin on what is happening in the area.

I will not send 'death and destruction' pictures but you may see an occasional school being built and as much friendly culture as I can find. I suspect the people will be fascinating to see and interact with on a daily basis. We are going to be there for a very long time. I hope to shorten our military's role in the conflict by teaching as many new police as possible. It is their country and I hope I can make a small difference in their lives by setting a good example.

I consider all of you good friends and thank you in advance for your care and concern. It is important work and I accept it as a great challenge after a long and rewarding police career. I want to give back some of the knowledge I gained through my jobs and hope it does make a difference.

Thank you,
Write when you feel the need.






THE WHOLE STORY, BEGINS IN 1961...

June 1961 was the beginning of three and one half years living in Ankara, Turkey with my father, Col. John L. Tudbury, my mother, sister and twin brother, Erik. I had just turned eight years old and we were living in the Merhaba Palace while we secured off-base housing (as there was no on-base housing). I remember the new sights and sounds of living in a foreign country, so unique and different from what I had known living in Charleston, South Carolina. After about a month, we found an apartment on the outskirts of Ankara not far from the famous Ataturk's tomb.

Living off the local economy became a routine I knew well. All my friends were Turkish and at age eight I picked up the language rather quickly. I even began interpreting for my mother who would have arguments with the houseboy over how to clean the apartment. It would seem to be a comical sight: me yelling at him, on behalf of my mother, and flailing my hands to demonstrate my anger. I wasn't really angry at him, but it made my mother feel better...even though she had no idea what I was really saying. Most of the conversations were to tell him to "stay out of my mother's way and, how about that Turkish national football team!" He would supress his laughter because he actually understood my mother quite well, but insisted on making her angry by pretending not to know what she wanted.

In those days, I attended school at the old American school downtown. Each morning, my sister, brother and I would get ourselves dressed and catch the school bus outside our apartment. The school was originally located downtown and took about an hour to get to from our house. During the ride in to town, we would often shout at the local taxi drivers until one day we made one so mad he tried to get on the bus. Our Turkish driver fended him off but scolded us for having made him so angry. It seemed like a good pastime at the time.

Water in Ankara had to be treated before we could drink it, so it was a weekly event to drive to the commissary, fill up our five gallon jugs and purchase items like powdered milk. I can still remember filling the jugs, from a military water trailer. The water had the taste of chlorine in it. For years afterward, I thought whole milk tasted awful, after having grown up on the powdered variety.

There was no American television in Ankara, so we were always allowed to purchase comics. Every Saturday, I would ride the school bus to the local theater set aside for the Americans, and would watch movies and all the news highlights. As an eight year old growing up in a foreign country in the early 1960s, we didn't worry about kidnappings or problems with the local people.

The American military finally built a new American school out of town near a Turkish Army base. I thought the school was quite near our home, until I decided to walk there one day. For nearly an hour, I walked and walked while school buses drove past. By the time I arrived, I was late, filthy from the dirt roads, and I only did that once.

Since our new school was located near the Turkish army base we were in for a surprise. During our assignment in Ankara, there was a "mini" revolt which involved warring factions of the army and air forces. I had the opportunity to watch as Turkish planes bombed and strafed their own army forces! I remember looking under our beds at night to make sure an army soldier was not hiding there to avoid the fighting. During that period, we often had army soldiers patrolling outside our apartment yet, for some reason, I never felt we were in any danger at all. Also during that time, the Turks and Greeks were fighting over Cypress (again).

Growing up in Turkey and living with the Turks was a unique and rewarding experience. I learned to play soccer before I played baseball and football. We had our typical tee-ball games and pop warner football but nothing measured up to the daily soccer games with my friends. I was good at soccer, horrible at baseball and football. My one good memory of baseball was playing center field as a nine year old and catching a pop fly which was about to go over the fence for a home run. Out of the stands I could hear my dad say, "That's my boy!" It almost scared me as I didn't remember him being at most of the games, with his busy schedule.

My father worked downtown (somewhere) in procurement. He had been a pilot all of his military career while seeing action in Tripoli, Libya during WWII flying B-24's over Italy and Yugoslavia. He was later stationed at Wheelus AFB, Libya, where my brother and I were born. His assignment to Turkey marked the end of a glorious flying career and as he would have put it, "I finally had to get a real job".

To my knowledge, my mother and father never grasped a firm hold on the Turkish language. I am pretty sure the officer's wives never spoke it at bridge club, and my father never had much contact with the locals unless we did something wrong (which was often). Aside from throwing solid ice balls at passing vehicles and buses, we youngsters occupied our time harassing the local workers who made the open fields across the street from our apartment their personal bathrooms. All too often, workers would attempt to tell my father how we had thrown dirt clods at them while they were working. I insisted we only threw them while they were bent over and occupied in other matters. Not knowing the language, my father would simply ask them to go away and that it would never happen again. They didn't understand him, he didn't understand them as well. Most of the time, the workers seemed content to vent at my father. We paid for it later when my mother came home from bridge club.

Ankara, Turkey was a building block in my character which I still use today. Living there made me appreciate the things I have, and to realize there are people in this world not as fortunate as we. I was able to carry those ideas back to the United States where I shared my experiences with many children who have no idea how other peoples survive.

In all of my travels, Turkey still remains my favorite place. I was at home when I was there. The people were warm and inviting when given the chance. They would share whatever they had to make me comfortable. I only wished I could do more for them than they did for me.

THE CLOSING OF THE KARAMURSEL
COMMON DEFENSE INSTALLATION

 

Site of the FLR-9 Antenna (Elephant Cage) from current aerial view of KARAMURSEL CDI. The Antenna occupied 1,443 feet in diameter (over 4 football fields laid end to end) and the round conformation permitted direction finding of signals from up to 4,000 nautical miles.

See full view of KARAMURSEL base today.


KARAMURSEL FLR-9 antenna circa 1973. (© 2007 by John Sciuto)

I was assigned to the KARAMURSEL Common Defense Installation (CDI) in Turkey from 1974 - 1976.

I was part of the Det 94-2 law enforcement detachment assigned to provide security for the elephant cage. During my tour, I gave indoctrinations to newly assigned personnel, "ditty boppers". I was later charged with all physical security for the base and administered security codes to open and close businesses on base.

During my time at KARAMURSEL, I spent a great deal of time on the main gate along with our Turkish Navy counterparts. As mentioned above, having been a dependent of my father, Col. John Tudbury, in Ankara from 1961-1964, I became fluent in the language and thus popular with the Turkish guards. I did not smoke cigarettes but used my allotment of Marlboros to fend off any guards who insisted on smoking Bafras in my guard shack.

One of the most notable times during my tour was the Greek-Turkish war on Cypress, a period during which I was stationed on the KARAMURSEL main gate, 12 hours on and 12 off, for the nearly one-month conflict. I was also tasked with counting troop movements passing the main gate. In order to get an accurate count, I enlisted the Turkish guards help, and made a game of the count. They became very good at the game and gave very accurate counts of tanks, personnel carriers and artillery moving past the post.


 

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE,
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1977: Practice apprehension of an "invader"
 

1981: After the Air Force, John begins a public law career as a deputy in Ada County, Idaho
 

1982: Uncle John with neices Shannon and Heather, nephew Jason
 

1992: Some R&R back in Alaska on a fishing trip
 

1995: Deer hunting in Idaho
 

1995: Moose hunting in Idaho
 

2005: Proud member of the Boise, Idaho police force
 

During the embargo, I was one of the last of the personnel to leave the mission building before it was inspected by the Turkish military. During those hectic last few days, I assisted in taking off labels for the machines so the Turks would not know what they were looking at during the inspection. It was a very sad day when the Turks made us take down the American flag.

I became somewhat notorius during that period as I had broken my hand playing basketball. My decision to paint the cast with red, white and blue and stars upset the Turks. The base commander stated I was allowed to display the cast as it was not an American flag. As the Turks left his office, he nodded his approval to me. I was later featured in the Stars and Stripes magazine, and in a photo of me hunting on base near the trailers, my cast was prominently displayed.

I noticed football photos included with one of the stories on Merhaba-USMilitary.com. I, too, played football on base and wore #89. From the picture, we had the same football uniforms and possibly were on the same team. It was the roughest season I had ever played. One particular linebacker liked to try to take your head off using a clothesline technique. I was very active in the volleyball, basketball and softball programs as well. Our base volleyball team got to play the Turkish national team and nearly won. I also got to travel with the base softball team to Inçirlik and was offered a position on the all-Turkey team to go to Spain for the European games.

I was very active in the Rod and Gun Club on base. I led many excursions for dove and wild boar hunting in the KARAMURSEL area. With my Turkish language background, I was able to visit many places in the local countryside normally not frequented by Americans. I had two cars since my wife was also assigned to the mission. One was a Volkswagon van which could carry a surprising number of Turks to the hunting grounds. I was considered rich for having two vehicles.

I met a local businessman, Mustafa Kemal, who made tiles in his factory in Yalova where I lived for a short time before obtaining a trailer on base. Mustafa had a knack for playing tricks on the local hunters. He was well aware of my Turkish language abilities. Prior to any hunt, it was traditional to have çay and goat-stomach soup in the local tea house. Mustafa would order for me and I would sit mute while the local farmers and hunters made fun of the ugly Americans outside waiting impatiently to go hunting. Most talked confidently around me knowing I did not know what they were saying. Finally, Mustafa could bear it no longer as the din in the tea house became an uproar, and more insults were sent in the American hunters' direction. Mustafa would look at me and begin speaking in Turkish. The house would suddenly fall silent as they realized one of the Americans actually knew what they were saying. I would calm their fears by repeating - in Turkish - how silly the Americans looked, outside, and their lack of respect for tradition. We would end the game by playing the card game pişta.

As a result of my language skills, I was always asked to go with the dog handler at the front of the pack for boar hunting which is quite the honor. And when I wanted to hunt ducks during the winter months, I was allowed to use a motor off one of the small john boats at the KARAMURSEL base's pier after the busy season, since they were no longer renting them. I used the boat for duck hunting on the man-made lake in which carp were farmed. It was located just west of the base. There was a long jetty system there with a house in the middle. Since this was all located adjacent to the Sea of Marmara, it was quite an adventure trying to navigate the small boat in rough winter seas to get to my favorite hunting spots, but it was well worth it when I arrived. Naturally, I had created a special arrangement with the gate keeper of the carp farm lake, and was the only one allowed to access the property. It merely took a carton of cigarettes, and an hour of my time drinking çay, to gain his confidence.

My time at KARAMURSEL was magical! I spent 2½ years at KARAMURSEL, and it was the best assignment of my Air Force career. I also spent time at Edwards Air Force Base; Clear AFS, Alaska; and Travis AFB before leaving the service.

The reason I have been looking at Merhaba-USMilitary.com lately, is because I am currently scheduled to go to Iraq as a police instructor for MPRI. I am just waiting for an opening in country.






2001: John and partner, Steve Van Doren, are awarded medals for courage



That's our man John in the center!


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