|At the outset, this volumes' raison d'etre
was the commemoration of U.S. Army Security Agency tenure in East Africa. Apart
from that, it was free to evolve into what it has become -- a history of
American activity in Eritrea since 1941. It could be more accurately described
as a Mark Twain approach to military history for it has purposefuly been
infused with local color at the expense of lackluster military details. A
simple listing of the changes in titles of Kagnew organizations would run into
pages. It, I suppose, very little more than a piece of memorabilia -- a
sampling of Ethiopian history, desultory facts and life at Kagnew Statioin over
The contents can be faulted on a number of counts and even the most cursory examination will lay bare some obvious omissions. In it's defense, I submit that information was extremely scarce and what little was unearthed had to be tested against a number of selection criteria. In short, if it were interesting, had some redeeming social value, were not a compromise of security, passed tthe scrutiny of a jaundiced eye or two and could be tailored to meet budgetary limitations, it was incorporated. You have my assurances that there's an underground version yet to be written.
This small volume is owing, in part, to a lot of help from my friends. Had it not been for Mike Hoffman's photographic abilities, Joe DiVeglia's understanding of the arcane art of printing anything in Asmara and Alem Domoz's painstaking efforts to transpose my caprices into the composition of every page, I would have foundered. Special credit is also in order to Mike Edwards and John Kircher, for multifarious assistance above and beyond the call, and to Joan Chrisman whose nimble fingers have thyped this manuscript many more times than you will ever care to read it.
Finally, the entire scheme presupposes that you, as a citizen of Kagnew Station, have an abiding interest in the whys and wherefores of your own tenure in East Africa. Perhaps this book will answer some of you long-standing questions regarding Ethiopia and Kagnew Stations, or better yet, it may fill in a few blanks of which you were completely unaware. It did for me.
John R. Rasmuson
May 25, 1973