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ABOUT AMERICAN MILITARY IN TURKEY

Originally Written in 1994 By BROOKS LOOMIS,
Captain's Yeoman, KARAMURSEL 1958-1961

With sadness, we must add that Brooks Loomis passed away March 12, 2011 after having lived many years in the Philippines where he headed up operations of Toastmasters International following his retirement from the U.S. Navy. Brooks was Captain's Yeoman (Aide) to Captain James H. Fortune, the TUSLOG Detachment 28 Naval Commanding Officer at KARAMURSEL Turkey during my time there.  Brooks and his close friend Ken Cadran - who was Executive Officer's Yeoman - and CT2 Shannon Janes and I were their staff members.  Born entertainers, Brooks and Ken were responsible for, and participants in, many entertainment events on the base, and in Degirmendere where they both lived among the "offbase" officers.  See our Memorial Page.




Chuck Maki

Our Founder, Chuck Maki

 

American Military in Turkey began with an idea by Chuck Maki, who, in 1957 was a young man in the Air Force.  Like most of us stationed in Turkey, his original assignment came as a surprise!  Fresh out of military schooling, Chuck found himself headed to Karamursel.  His beautifully illustrated, and very detailed story is found here.

Several decades after Chuck completed his Air Force enlistment, the World Wide Web had come about and he wanted to be there to see if it could help revive relationships with his former friends he had known who were also stationed in Turkey years before. And it worked!

Beginning in about 1994, Chuck contacted many people, inviting them to send in their stories for this new website, created for those who served in Turkey during the Cold War era.  After a vast amount of programming and organizational work, the website "American Military in Turkey" (AMIT) was born.  For several years, the website thrived and new and interesting features were being added, and the site became a mainstay for former Turkey-ites of all the U.S. military services.  In telling their stories of daily life, they created a website of interest to other military people and their friends.  Soon the Turkish population began finding the site, appealing to those who lived in Turkey as well as those Turks who had migrated to other countries including the U.S.

Around 2002, though, Chuck found it difficult to maintain consistency in the site due to the unreliability of the web providers who hosted it, and, in frustration, he dropped the site from the Web.

 

Jan Claire 1959


Jan These Days...

The disappearance of the website didn't go unnoticed by those who had come to rely on it for renewing old acquaintances.  One of those people who missed it was Jan Claire, a Navy guy stationed in Karamursel, Turkey, from 1959 through 1961.  Jan had worked at both WUSN and KTUS radio at "Mainsite" and knew many people - some of whom he's been in touch with ever since.  Several hundred of the people stationed at Karamursel are still in touch, including the Karamursel Air Station 1960-1961 crowd who today have annual (and massively fun) reunions.

Jan, having been stationed in Turkey in his younger years, has since carried with him an extra dimension for having gotten to know that wonderful country and its curious, upbeat, remarkable people.  Following his four years in the Navy, he continued the radio career he had started at KARAMURSEL.  After retiring from radio in 1980, he spent the rest of the 1980s and the first half of the '90s with the U.S. Gymnastics Federation where he ran the national membership program and also announced all the Federation's televised competitions, including the gymnastics events of the 1984 Olympic Games he also managed the Federation's national membership programs.  In 1994, Jan was offered a job working for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in Cambridge and, shortly thereafter, in New York City.  At age 56 he decided to retire and moved to Oakhurst, California, near Yosemite National Park.  His goal was to enjoy retirement, and painting, an artistic passion he hadn't much time for during his working career.  In the Yosemite area just a few weeks, he got a job offer from the local Telephone Company which was too good to pass up.  He would be helping build their new Internet company!

Still, longing for the times he enjoyed living in Turkey, Jan wrote to Chuck Maki asking where the "American Military in Turkey" website had gone, and Chuck responded that, considering he was working at a real job, he had become weary of dealing with web server issues, the writing of and continual changes in web coding, and the time consumed in finding new contributors.  So Jan asked if Chuck would consider transferring the website to him, as Jan had been exposed to the Internet since the very beginnings of the World Wide Web and had, in fact, created the first commercial website (for Costco stores in the early 1990s).  Chuck agreed, and even spent many sleepless nights bringing the website up to date, adding submissions, and completing partial articles that had gone on in the interim down-time, and transferring large - no, huge - numbers of web files over to Jan's new "MerhabaTurkey.com" servers.  (NOTE:  The website was transferred to George W. Durman in Mar 2013 and is now located at "Merhaba-USMilitary.com".)

When the job was done, and MerhabaTurkey.com was safely in its new web home, a process which took perhaps 30 days; in that short time, the written code which makes up web pages had changed quickly, the web was starting to take off.  (The "written language" behind web pages is continually evolving!  So many things within the site's programming needed updating.  Immediately Jan began re-designing the site's 170-plus web pages, (As of 9/16/2012: the overall site now numbers 336 pages) and he bought the domain name "Merhabaturkey.com" (amit.com wasn't available).  Then, Jan set about re-writing all the code to display each of the stories to suit requirements of the two main web browsers at the time, Netscape and Internet Explorer.  Later, more than 12 browsers were used in testing the code.

In 1994, many of those whose stories originally appeared on the website were contacted to let them know the site was making a return and offering to update their stories with material they might have remembered since they wrote their original stories on the site.  All the code has been rewritten with each new edition of HTML1, HTML2, HTML3, HTML4, and the latest:  HTML5.0!  In addition the site has used all the versions of Cascading Style Sheets and other ongoing evolutions and technical "improvements".

Chuck Maki is still an ardent supporter of not only the nature of our website and his original idea, and furnishes information and updates on a regular basis, but is also a great friend, advisor, and supporter.

The ongoing process of contacting existing users has proven to be the most time-consuming venture.  Email addresses change with the wind, people forget to update their new addresses (including Chuck!) and if their names are common they become difficult - if not impossible - to find.  But their stories remain on the Merhaba-USMilitary.com website because their memories and their times are still important to this historical "cold war archive".  (If you have changed email addresses, just click here and send us an update or send us your story of your time in Turkey,if you haven't already done so.  We are always actively soliciting new stories from those stationed at any time in Turkey.

The web pages of the site are now tested across all the major web browsers including newest versions of Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, and Avant as well as Browzar, which uses IE's coding and isn't really a standalone browser.

We have been contacted now by several American-Turkish organizations, and many individuals in Turkey who have seen and enjoyed the site which has resulted in our page of links to sources of information.  Most of us who came to appreciate the culture, the history, and the friendly people of Turkey, have regretted that we didn't do enough, while there, to create more memories.  Due to the depth of our contributors' recollections, there is now a large and growing number of students in Turkish high schools and universities visiting our site, contacting us, and making classroom use of the information here.  We have been contacted by students and professors of anthropology, history, computer science, development sociology, economics, and even english.  Turkey's literate people are legendary in their quests for knowledge and we are proud of the community which has developed around our website.  We've even had former Turkish military officers, who were stationed with our American military, ask that "their" Stories be published.  We have gladly accomodated them.

Further, it is intended that Merhaba-USMilitary.com will live on into eternity as the decision has been made that we will turn the website over to the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution at such time as we can no longer keep it going.

One constant has run through American Military in Turkey since Chuck Maki first wrote the initial code for the pages:  It is truly the website of the American Military's time in Turkey and the individuals who served in one of the most deeply fascinating countries on earth.  Where else, in one country, can you study civilization from 6,000 years ago and at the same time visit the most modern shopping, transportation, and governmental facilities anywhere?  Istanbul is, as of June 2014, building a shopping mall which will be the largest in Europe!  Turkey gets it.  Those wonderful Turks are committed caretakers of their historical relics, and at the same time are always pushing further and further into high-level scientific and personal achievements.  We applaud them for having continued the great friendship with the USA, and thank them for the warmth and good times we spent on U.S. bases in their stunning country.

It is our contributors' stories, observations, photographs, and reflections on the time they spent serving your country, in what initially was a "strange land", which then quickly morphed into "an incredible land".  For many of us, what we learned in Turkey still inhabits our daily lives.

This website belongs to those who have contributed to its archive.  We are a museum of comments, tales, documentation, and photographs that will live on.  We hope, if you were stationed in the U.S. military in Turkey at any time, that you will contribute your story of life in Turkey!











Escape &
Evasion
Conference.

George Now

[Note from the present caretaker of this website:  In March of 2013, after having sent Jan an original story, and several updates, Jan said he was thinking of turning the website over to the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, because he couldn't provide the time and care that the website deserved.  I begged Jan not to do that and volunteered to assume management of the site.  After numerous emails back and forth, Jan copied all the files from his computer to CD disks and mailed them to me.  I made arrangements with GoDaddy.com to register a new name for the website, Merhaba-USMilitary.com, and uploaded all the files to the site's new home.  Jan had also said interest was waning and he was afraid nothing more could be added to the site.  Since I assumed responsibility for the site in March 2013, we have added 48 new "Stories"!  Just a drop in the bucket compared to the number already there, but, nevertheless, we were able to add 48 new friends.  As of November 2014, I'm awaiting "Stories" from several new contributors, which will be uploaded upon arrival.]

[Note on the photo, Evasion & Escape Conference:  In 1975, I travelled to McDill AFB, Florida, as the USAF Air Training Command's representative, to attend a Joint Services Command conference on re-writing the classified USAFE Manual 205-1, USAFE Evasion & Escape Manual.  I had updated the Manual to accomodate all the lessons learned from the Vietnam War.  I travelled in civvies and the briefcase contained the Manual as I had re-written it.  Really had fun at airports when the officials insisted on looking in the briefcase.  Of course, I had "papers" designating me as a "Courier" and the briefcase could not be opened.]

George W. Durman
Knoxville-Sergeant@Merhaba-USMilitary.com


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