Edition of January 2011
I enlisted in the ASA in Boston in February 1953 with a report for duty date of 8 April. At Fort Devens, Jenks from Cambridge and James "Red" McBride from Belmont were on duty station at Ft. Devens in my barracks. I bought Jenk's 1938 Ford 4 door sedan which was in excellent condition, had been his aunt's I believe. He didn't intend to take it when he shipped out so I made him an offer, 'anytime day or night, I'll give you $300 for this'. So he called quite late one evening to 117 and said it was mine. So now I had three cars. The ex-Maguire '35 Olds four door and the '37 Chevie parked in the garage under 117, I had taken off some of it's best body parts, doors for one item but later had a junk guy tow both cars and parts away.
For the first two months or so I was in charge of orientation of new recruits while awaiting start of another 8 week full infantry basic course at Ft. Dix. I drove the '38 Ford to Ft. Dix with Richard Reagan of Belmont after we had attended Belmont High Class of '50's first reunion dinner and dance. In July I returned to Fort Devens and I think all we did was take some tests and fall out for inspection. I can recall someone in our group counting cadence in 'duck quack' and the NCO thought it so funny he had the guy fall out and lead the group doing the same. I think the guy was Brown who ended on the AFRS staff in Asmara. Some of us received orders and flew on GI 'hops' to Fort Gordon, Georgia, arriving in 90 ish heat and humidity. I attended the Signal School of which I remember only typing in a stuffy room and got a Cryptographer m.o.s. I remember the post, the saturday parades, the jazz group at the rec center which had a great pool. While at Ft. Dix for the fourth of July weekend I picked up my brother where he was stationed, Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and drove to Cape May, NJ. He drove me back to Dix and I loaned him the car for his stay at Indiantown Gap. That summer his friends, John O'Reilly and John Bok drove the "38 Ford from Massachusetts intending to deliver it to me at Ft. Gordon. Coincidentally my Uncle Edmund and his wife Alice from Key West picked me up at Ft. Gordon for a day trip into the Smoky Mountains. As we were ascending a narrow mountain road I was astounded to see my '38 Ford pass by going down the hill. We turned around and met O'Reilly and Bok where they had stopped to look at the view. I don't know whether we all had a dinner together or not but I do recall 'switcing rides' into my own old Ford. We drove back to Ft. Gordon and I retained the Ford while O'Reilly and Bok flew back to Boston.
November 12, 1953 letter to my grandmother and aunt in Coral Gables Florida. written in the cocktail lounge car of the 'Silver Star', Seaboard RR, 10 pm, approaching Columbia, South Carolina. I had a seven day leave prior to the beginning of leadership school and had driven the '38 Ford the 70 miles from Camp Gordon to Columbia and left it at the station while visiting my family in Belmont Mass. I can recall giving a ride to Columbia to the supply sergeant of the leadership school.
In the letter I describe a date with a Wellesley girl for the Harvard-Princeton football game. She was the sister of Gordon Fitzpatrick, Harvard '51, my brother's class. I assume my brother arranged the date. When my brother arrived late from Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania, we drove to Wellesley and I was introduced to my date. I recall going to some post game parties then going to a dance at the Hasty Pudding. My brother and John O'Reilly went to a dance at the Harvard Law School. The following Tuesday I dated this young lady again, doubling with Brad Atwood.
My few weeks at Leadership School were interrupted because orders came through for Asmara at the same time my OCS application passed some early step. The ASA Colonel gave me Labor Day weekend, 1953 to 'think it over', so I drove over to Ft. Benning and visited Bob Mungovan from Belmont. He was standing road guard when I drove up. He and his friends showed me around and we ate in the mess hall. I talked with sergeants who had been in Asmara and decided to take those orders rather than stay in Leadership School and continue with the OCS application.
My letter of 29 December 1953, Tuesday, 2:30 pm to my family, stateside.
(stationery printed with Cairo Airport-Egypt, Airport Restaurant)
"We just arrived at this airport. The flight from Tripoli took about 6 hours. We've been flying with Turkish Officers on Military Air Transport since we left Westover, Saturday. Holt and I had riotous time in Tripoli yesterday. We roamed through the native quarter until 4:30 pm. One's life is not safe after that. We rented good English bicycles for 6 cents an hour and ate in the fabulous Del Mahari Hotel. I had two dinners for $2.00. We are only stopping here for an hour and can't leave the upstairs of the terminal.
The Arabs are fascinating. A little one saluted me as we came in. I was in the lead and the tallest, but I'm the only one wearing civilian clothes. Nobody told us to wear uniforms. Love, Joe."
Roger Holt and I had a day's stopover at Wheelus Field, we were at the bottom of some manifest and slept in the AF barracks. We rode on the bicycles taking pictures until we violated some Muslim space and had rocks thrown at us. I had some photos of that but haven't yet located them.
There were Egyptian army guards with automatic weapons at the Cairo terminal entrance. I can recall the view from the terminal windows.. We spotted some wrecked and stripped airplane hulks out beyond the end of the runway, some from World War2 era.
Jan 2, 1954 letter from Dharan, Saudi Arabia
"Holt, Flint (John Flint, Bennington VT) and I have been here a week. We were excess weight for the Asmara flight so are here waiting for the next plane.We always weigh in last, hoping to be excess.
Westover wasn't a bad place. They caught me for KP only once. Christmas Dinner was excellent. We saved excess oranges and fruit cake in our pockets and finished eating them in Tripoli. We left the 26th and flew to the Azores, our first glimpse of foreign land. We landed at night and stayed for two hours."....,,,'Our next stop was Tripoli, Libya, Wheelus Air Force Base. We put on civies and took a bus into town.".....
I recall feeling relief at landing at Lajes Field, Terceira, Azores, Portugal. We saw only lights from the plane. On my return flight to the U.S. I recall getting off and walking into the village of Terceira. In Dhahran I think it was more like five days than a week. I can recall some Air Force guys died New Years Eve 1953 drinking illegal alcohol. Tiny Turbes and I barely made the C-47 flight out of Saudi to Asmara. The plane was taxiing and we caught up with it on the runway, tossed our duffel bags up and using a rope hung out of the door by AF guys, climbed aboard. We had stopped for a malt or such in snackbar and missed the boarding call.
My tour started early in January 1954. I was assigned to the crypto room at the Receiver Site. I can recall C.W.O. Horst's exhorting us that "we don't make mistakes" in crypto. Others who started then with me were Gardner, from upper peninsula Michigan who re-upped and Roger Holt who I believe was from Illinois. In a February 14, '54 letter home I wrote: "I rode a bicycle five kilometres out the Cheren road yesterday. There was an auto race at Cheren and Haile Selassie, the King of Ethiopia had gone to see it. He was staying here at his daughter's house and was returning after the race. The road was lined with police and natives from the palace downtown to the Asmara city limits, four kilometres out on the desert. The natives cheered and cried "Americano" as I peddled by. I raced back, the road cleared for the King but no cops stopped me. Two native boys raced me for a stretch as the natives cheered.'
Some dates relative to my 'time'.
September 16, 1952 The last British troops left Eritrea. My arriving about 15 months later meant that many natives would be seeing 'Americans' for the first time. Way, way out on hunting trips we might be the first caucasians they had ever seen.
U.S.S. Pittsburgh docked in Massawa in about March 1954.
May 19, 1954 Haile Selassie left Ethiopia for USA
May 26, 1954 Haile Selassie addressed a joint session of the US congress
December 6, 1954 Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia after six month visits in Canada, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Greece, Britain, France, The Netherlands, West Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.
In a letter of March 11, 1954 I mentioned we had been on the firing range and had an Inspector General inspection. I also had decided not to pursue my pending OCS application.
One of our first jobs was to chisel holes in the walls in order to mount thermite bombs, standby destructive devices in the event the facility faced being overrun or captured. Later one of my duties was to take the out of date bombs out to a clearing beyond the Receiver Site buildings and put on a demonstration of how to pull the pin and detonate the bomb. It was fun when at night half a dozen guys would watch the extreme heat melt some rocks.
After a month or two my eyes started bothering me due to the fluorescent lights flickering. I went to the Italian doctor downtown and got new prescription glasses with some tint. It was easier on my eyes to main the 'coke' machine which was what we called the tape transmission equipment which transmitted punched tape messages to the transmitter site for relay usually to the U.S. Some more cryptographers arrived and we had an 'overage' in the section.
In my letter of April 14, 1954 to my brother I gave the knicknames I had acquired, 'the cool cat from Harvard', 'Harvard', 'happy', 'McGoo' and 'nearsighted McGoo'. The flourescent lights on my first assignment bothered my eyes badly and it was months before a competent eye doctor, Paolo Guerra, pointed out to the Army that the flickering lights gave me considerable eyestrain and prescribed heavily tinted glasses. (I still have the prescription in Italian to 'L'Ottico Di Asmara, Vaghi'.
In the same letter is the following prescient sentence, "Indochina is a certain U.S. Military personnel graveyard to the majority of opinion here."
April 17, 1954 letter to my grandmother and aunt I mentioned a 10 room furnished villa that I rented along with Roger Holt, John Flint and someone I can't remember. We kept it only one month. I promised my grandmother I would not ride a motorcyle after quoting a Kagnew nurse who said the hospital had formerly had a ward reserved for motorcyle accident injured.
From my letters of the first half of 1954 I gleaned the following facts:
Sgt Scotti who was the recruiting officer who signed me up for the ASA in Boston was assigned to Kagnew as Mess Sergeant in early 1954.
- Ichizaki from Hawaii went stateside in July '54
- Cecil Gore, code receiver at the site was from, Wilmington, North Carolina
- Bob Blackman, Operations from Southern Alabama
- Joe Shea, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Al "Zeke" Maziekus Operations, PA
- Ed Lamb, Broomall, PA
- Charlie Davis (transferred to French Morocco July '53)
- Charlie Shea, Transportation Control Clerk
- Jim Lawson Harvard '52, Foxboro MA
- In an April 1954 letter I mentioned a Phil Salt from Newton MA and Boston College who was taking a lot of correspondence courses.
- In a July 1954 letter I mentioned Charles Davis, Seaman USN who had an official radio show for a few weeks had been transferred to Port Lyautey, French Morocco.
There was an opening in S-3, Major Merritt's staff to produce the Gazelle and a daily news bulletin so I spoke up and got that assignment.
I worked the daily paper with Cpl Ty Curtis who went to Iowa State and was from Lubbock Texas. I also did some fill in 'dj' for Cpl Ray Healy NYC. I recall doing the Jazz after Hours show at 1 am and taking requests after that to see if anyone was still awake. We guessed maybe 10 people were listening. I was a Stan Kenton, Perez Prado fan then. Great sounds over the stillness of an ancient land at 8000 feet.
AFRS announcers at that time were Ray Healy (NYC) and Bob Anthony. The tour of a guy named Murphy ended close to the time I started on the newspaper job.
Curtis and I intended to take the Foreign Service exams to be given in September 1954. I began studying for them but gave up on the idea.
Another job related to the newspaper was working with the Publications section on Forms Control. I can remember being given new Army regulations by the Master Sgt and told to implement a forms control program. Many locally designed forms duplicated ones the Army offered free, others needed to be approved. I can remember the Eritrean who ran the Publications section as one damn fine guy, efficient and co-operative.
An August 5, 1954 letter home was written in a room I took at the Hotel Hamasien. I mentioned that along with 6 friends we had a songfest at the Mocambo nightclub and were joined by three Point Four people and two Swedish couples. We kept the place open an extra hour for ourselves. The German troupe was the current floor show
In 1954 Jim Lawson asked me if I would take his place teaching English in the Asmara Evening Institute. I did it I believe for about 6 months, three nights a week for an hour and half is my guess. I remember the pay was $3 Ethiopian per hour which was pretty good. Most important, however, were the students I met. It was rated about 4th year English and although I spoke some Italian I was forbidden to use any of it. One of our favorite laughs was 'translating' the words of the lesson books which were from England. I had to draw sketches to explain 'hedgerows' and other British Isles terms. One student was the daughter of the Minister of the Interior and the reason I got invited to usher an annual beauty contest in the little imitation 'La Scala' Opera House. The Minister would come into the lounge of the Mocambo with some 'visiting dignitaries' and in our good 'ol yank' manner we would great him without any 'bowing and scraping'. Do some of you remember the floor shows? Belly dancers, a touring Mid-East troupe? I have clear recall of Al Maziekus loud exclamation of approval of one dancer's "movements". Or the nights we sat and yakked with the Ethiopian Air Force pilots using some French and English? Or the local 'dilettante', the same guys who could come up with a new Millicento to race every year?
A December 1954 letter describes my substituting in English instruction classes for Hugh Gourley, Brown '53 and Brice Harris, Swarthmore, '53. I also mentioned a Thayer Brickman, MA whose tour had recently ended.
In January 1955, apparently, I was transferred from the newspaper job in S-3 to S-4 because two privates arrived who had graduated from the Army Information School at Ft. Slocum, NY.
For awhile I worked for Lt. Peter Walton whose titles included, Acting Ass't Comptroller (performing audits), Forms Control Officer, Central Post Fund Custodian, Postal Officer and a few odds and ends. I That entailed equipping the recreational photo lab and some other recreational equipment I can't recall which had been set up in a house across from the main gate. An old house the Army had acquired. It also entailed calling for a jeep and driver and riding around town and to the Eritrean Army post to pay bills. I can clearly recall the Eritrean soldiers with their leather sandals, berets and that some, the Lieutenant I paid the money to particularly, as speaking good English. We bought them basketballs and I think some of our guys, one from Indiana, taught them some basketball. Some of the troops had been in Korea and comented on that. (We hoped they had covered up some from the shorts they wore in Asmara). I recall that everyone wearing a beret was taller than the average Eritrean. Years later I met a young woman in Southern California whose father was a major with that detachment. He had been a Colonel in Ethiopian overseas embassies for years when I met her in about 1985.
From then on, everyplace I ever worked I got varying degrees of responsibility for forms control.
In a letter of May 1955 I mentioned a Steve Sanderson of Milton MA
Sometime in 1955 when those jobs were running out of challenge I was called back to Receiver Site Operations and assigned to Traffic Analysis, working rotating shift. I can recall Sgt Wade making sounds while two or three of us, one being Ed Meador were posting information to the files. The game was to guess what he was imitating. The funniest and hardest to guess was a pile driver. Sgt Fox was the NCOIC.
I think it was about that time that there was a short Eritrean cook we named 'John' (Toldae) in the snack bar at the site. John had a great sense of humour and on eves and mids we had joke and story telling contests.
I can recall the bumpy ride in the Army colors school bus, Cecil Gore riding Bobbby Blackman and other standard ongoing jokes. The driver was actually a race car driver. I had seen him in those wild Asmara to Massawa road races, plus the 'around the haybales' in Massawa. I've been a 'car nut' all my life so I've added a separate page on the auto scene of Eritrea in the mid '50's. Asmara 1952 street race photos
I lived in one or the other of the 'end two' barracks nearest the Officer's club when I worked at the site and in the barracks on the parade field side of the theater when I worked at Headquarters. I also had use of an apartment nor far from the Emperor's Eritrean 'Palace'.
For a time around August 1955 I was billeted in the hotel noT far from the post, name began with B. I rode a bike nearly all the time.
example of my 1952 era 3 speed Humber 26' bicycle I rode to Massawa
Purchased from Cpl Ty Curtis for $45. I held on to it until 1987 when I got $50 for it from a collector in California.
Sometime in 1955 I wrote the following paragraph in a letter home;
"I rode a bicycle to Massawa sunday morning, a rather unusual feat, considering the heat and altitude drop. The drop of approximately 1,000 feet is in the first 50 kilometres, and the last 50 is almost flatland. 2 hours for the first 50 and 3 for the last 50. 100 kilometres = 62 miles. I did nothing in Massawa but eat, drink, sleep and watch the ships load and unload."
It was well tuned by a bike shop downtown for my Asmara-Massawa run. I returned to Asmara via the Littorina and there was some publicity on my feat. At least three other guys rented bikes and attempted the same feat. They ran off a curve and tumbled down a steep embankment outside of Asmara and had to be brought back. They were only bruised and scraped as I recall. I had ridden bicycles all my life and had practiced on many shorter runs before attempting the Massawa road. It took racing techniques, outside of the road going into a curve, hugging the apex and letting the bike 'ride out' to the outside edge coming out of the curve. I can recall coming around one curve to see a roadful of goats ahead. I had fresh brake pads, well adjusted and slowed down enough to pass slowly between the goats. Going across the flats was possible since I had left very early in the am. Another day I rode the bike south out of Massawa until i noticed the road surface getting soft from the sun's heat. I had the Army ship the bike back to the states and sold it in S. California in 1989 to a restorer for $50.
Some edited excerpts from Another undated 1955 letter. I was in the NCO club and borrowed a pen and some ledger paper from Tex and Rosie in the office. On the day before, a saturday I yakked with Charlie Caruso (sp? Carroso? Carruso?) at breakfast in the mess hall. I had worked with Charlie at the Cape Play House Restaurant on Cape Cod, summer 1951. He was leaving that day for the states, via an Army bus to Massawa to catch a passenger ship. Charlie Shea had joined us and I asked if I could go along for the ride. He got permission from his Captain in Transportation. On the bus were four MP's with sub machine guns and 45's. The ship was late so all of us took a break from the heat at the CIAAO hotel. When the Dutch ship came in, the Captain opened the tap in the bar for some creamy Dutch beer and again 'we relaxed'. The trip back to Asmara was so uneventful I managed to sleep. I noted later that Charlie Shea had graduated from Providence College in 1952, was married, lived in Connecticutt and knew a Father English at Providence College who had been a school days friend of my mother's and during WW2 used to visit us in Belmont.
One sunday some guys were riding around town in a yellow pre-war Mercedes convertible sedan and they jumped a curb downtown and sideswiped the fronts of some stores. I recall the buildings were of stone and Col. Charles ordered the offenders to get the tools and equipment and go done and repair what they could, hiring a local stonemason where necessary. Where the car had come from is another tale of questionable truth.
Three of us went west into the Sudan 'hunting' one time in a jeep. The experienced sergeant driving stopped when we had descended from the plateau, unsheated his rifle and dropped a black cat of some variety I can't recall out of a tree. We turned over the carcass to some nearby natives.
Cpl Curtis and I were returning from a little outing in his '37 Topolino one day when it started to slow to a walk on the rise from I believe the Cheren road. I can recall huge camels passing by. We opened the hood and things looked okay but something gave me a clue the head was loose, so we tightened the bolts with whatever tools were behind the seat and enough power came back to make Asmara.
One place I used to ride my bike in the afternoons was the airfield where I could get a limonata in the small terminal building. I can recall a British plane, probably a Viscount so loaded with goats, people and baggage that it would not get enough speed on some runs to take off so the pilot would taxi back and try again. Sometimes I believe some baggage was unloaded. The plane had Arabic markings. I think it was Saudi based.
Another rare but great sight at the airport were the prewar British Firefly fighters, the version of the Spitfire with a second seat. I loved to hear those Rolls engines roar when they took off.
Does anyone else remember when a French Mirage jet flew very high over Asmara and the streets filled with natives chattering about what it was? It was written up in the local Italian language paper of which incidentally I read almost every issue. There was a 'new car' dealership on the main drag with a new but two year old Studebaker in the window in 1954. They also sold Land Rovers. The Desert Locust Control Land Rovers and the adventuresome British guys were a common sight in Asmara. I can recall at least once when the streets were so covered with locusts you had to walk carefully.
November 12, 1955 letter to my Aunt Mary in Coral Gables Florida I mentioned that Kenneth J. Donnelly, a career sergeant would be in Coral Gables at Christmas time enroute to his next station, Fort Devens.
December 1955 Tito of Yugoslavia visited Ethiopia for two weeks. I stood amongst a large number of locals, towering over them by half a foot at a main intersection and found myself looking eye to eye with Tito and Haile so I waved. They were on the back seat of a Mercedes four door convertible. Motor officers surrounded them and local police and I suppose troops were stationed along the route.
About February 10, 1956 when my turn came to fly back to the U.S. I believe I flew with Shea, Tiny Turbes, Fisher and another I can't recall. I can remember landing in Newfoundland in the snow.
See below my pictures of us on the way to the U.S. Shea and I flew back to Boston from New York as I recall. I can envision us saying goodbyes in winter uniforms in an air terminal which may have been McGuire AFB.
In Feb '56 I enrolled immediately at Harvard and moved into Adams house, my brother having made arrangements for me.
I met Shea one time in downtown Boston and can recall being on Tremont Street in his car.
George Rose was at Harvard, living nearby in an apartment and we got together quite often. I don't recall any other 'Kagnew' contacts other than my mother saying someone had called when they were in Boston on a trip. I think it was Fisher but no details were left.
I told my regular Army armored divisions Lt. Col brother in law some tales of our days in Asmara and he smiled and said, "Joe, you really were in a Sgt Bilko army, not the real one' (or something close to that>. It was a unique and extremely educational experience. More tales I hope will come up from my memory 'drum'.
I have noted that so many reference points changed with the new post opening in 1957 after a fire in the PX of 'Radio Marina' that my interest focuses on prior to 1956. Over the years I met a few guys who had served there in the '60's. One was a Downey California Police Detective.
I enjoyed my tour immensely and have cited it many times as the high point of my education in life. At Harvard in an anthropology exam I cited the society and customs of Eritrea and had to appeal the low grade given by an instructor who figured I must have made it up. The Department Chairman had to go before a faculty board, explain the presumptiveness of the instructor and got my grade upped to the proper level. Another professor told me he had never seen a grade changed at that level before.
|Turbes, Shea, AF Officer and two unknown with us, waiting at Asmara (I think) airport for plane readiness.Feb '56,||On the plane. I recall taking this to celebrate that we were 'in the air' on way home. Turbes with shirt open due to the heat while on the ground waiting, Shea, unknown on the right.||Layover at Dhahran we took a bus to Bahrain. Shea 'negotiating' with vendor kid, Tiny looking on. The sun was super bright.||Tiny Turbes in front of the Singer franchise, Bahrain.|
|Shea passing gas station, Bahrain. I recall we walked around quite a bit.||Shea headed back to our plane after a service stop. Newfoundland.||Tiny 'enplaning' after the service stop, Harmon AFB.||-|
Mat Turbes, Ottertail , MN, 56571 and I yakked on the phone on June 5, 2000. He was retired in Minnesota, village of 312, wasn't complaining of any health problems, only mentioned his legs weren't good from being on them so much while owning with his wife a dinner club in Minneapolis. He said he 'had enough' with computers working for U.S. West for 11 years and was not on line. I will trade information with his son and post what I can on these pages. His wife of 40 yrs, Phyllis survives. Below quoted directly from archives of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Fergus Falls, MN.
Mat "Tiny" Turbes, 69, of Ottertail, died Saturday, Aug. 17, 2002, at the Otter Tail Nursing Home in Battle Lake. A memorial service is planned at 1 p.m. Tuesday at St. Lawrence Catholic Church of rural Perham, with the Rev. Jerry Nordick officiating. Burial will be in Gethsemane Cemetery in New Hope. Visitation will be Tuesday two hours prior to the service at the church. Schoeneberger Funeral Home in Perham is in charge of arrangements.
Mr.Warren and Mr.White, (email to Kagnew reunion committee)
So nice to meet some people that actually knew dad back in his younger, wilder days. First I would like to introduce myself, I am Mat Turbes Jr, and I'm regrettably emailing to inform you that dad passed away August 17th, 2002 due to complications with his diabetes. He received your letters in June and I am sure it was a huge pick-me-up, since he had spent the better half of 2002 in the hospital. Dad always said he had a blast while in the service and from some of the pictures I have seen, it doesn't look as though he had any trouble making friends for funtimes. I assure you that his style never changed after his service days. Dad was a very devoted, loving husband and father. He and mom celebrated their 40th in March 2002.
I guess I would like to know if either of you could offer some insight to dad's service life with some pictures or stories you may have, I am in the process of putting together a scrap book for mom for Christmas and anything would be very much. My father always said he had a blast in the Army, and if there's anyway you gentleman can help me, just think of Tiny smiling down on you from above! Dad was very quiet about his younger days so, if he had any real close friends in the service, please ask them to email me as well and share some stories or pictures if they could! I want to thank you guys for your letters and not forgetting dad, as I never will.. He sure was one very extrordinary man.
Thank you, sincerely, Mat Turbes Jr!
From: George Rose
To: email@example.com (Tiny's son)
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2002 9:34 PM
Subject: Your Dad
Matt - had your email forwarded to me by Joe Nix, with whom I stay in regular contact, though not really with many others of the Kagnew alumni.
We will miss Tiny mightily. I talked to him on the phone in Ottertail less than a year ago, and we shared old times together. I went overseas to Asmara with him in '53-'54 - don't remember the actual date - and we became pretty damned good friends in the two years we were both there. I was a radio-op, and trick chief for a while, and we shared the same barracks, with Jim Deal and some others.
You asked for some stories about him - our trip to Asmara went via the Azores, then Saudi Arabia, then someplace else I don't remember, and seemed to take forever. We each were expected to carry a huge Army duffel-bag, and as I weighed all of 148 lbs., and the duffel bag almost as much, I will NEVER forget your father, with his duffel under one arm and mine under the other, as we emplaned, deplaned, etc. etc. He carried them as if they were two loaves of bread.
He was a wonderful guy - I remember his describing most of the Turbes men as "big" - am I right in thinking that your grandfather was the fire-chief? He had brains, and humor, and style, and I will never forget him. I am just glad that we had that last chance to chat.
I am a major cancer survivor - stage 4 and all of that - and have been wonderfully lucky so far - I only wish he had been so lucky. Please express my thoughts and affection to your mother and any members of the family - he will be missed...
33 New St., Charleston SC 29401
Beaver Falls, PA
Nov.'53 at home before
leaving for Asmara. My brother had
finished his 2 yr draftee term..
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