Kagnew Station Patch

Can You Help??

I've had some special requests for information that I personally can't help with. I'm putting this page online in the hopes that someone out there will be able to help these people with the information they need.

There was a guard, a sergeant, older guy, balding, real out going, we always called each other Shiftas. He was in charge of posting the guards around and worked out of the old site. He gave me this badge but I can't remember his name.
Robert Young

My husband, John, and I remember with great fondness the rum cake that we often had at several restaurants around Asmara, especially Menghettis. I've tried to recreate it without much success. Perhaps someone out there has the recipe?
John and Lynn Raitz

Out the front gate, right at the first light and a few blocks down on the right (across from Fiat) was Johnny's Garage. Giovanni Gribaldi I believe it was. Any info on him would be appreciated. I think he might have gone back to Italy sometime after 1967. Johnny kept most of our cars running. He built me a real good race car. The last I knew Chief Ruth owned it.

Larry Freeman has a list of guys he wants to find, can you help?

From Michael Austing:
While looking through your site, I noticed I am not listed on the roster. I was a SP5 assigned to the Motor Pool from November 69 to April 70 when I transferred to Vietnam. My wife (at the time) was Janet who worked as a volunteer at the hospital. Evidently, she was volunteering more than she should have(!!!) as I found out later from an MP SSG named Mike Heintz that she and I were both under investigation by CID due to her actions/associations with someone with the E.L.F. Please search out anyone who may know anything concerning this and have them contact me at: 1035-A Jefferson Street S.E., New Philadelphia, OH 44663-2346.

Now for the easiest question you'll ever find. What was the name of the street leading up to the main gate of Kagnew Station? Dave Engstrom sends in a note saying "When I was there, a sign not far from the gate labeled it as ANDOM TESFATZION BRG GEN ST - which I guess means Brigadier General Andom Tesfatzion Street. The sign was kind of rusty, like it's been there a while, but other than that I don't have a clue when it was put up." OK, who will be the first to give us the exact name so we can post it here.
Email me with the answer! (link above)

The street leading up to/in front of the main gate at Kagnew Station was Via Padre Reginoldo Giuliani. (Gee, I thought everybody who served there knew that!)
Bob Hart

I have enjoyed rambling through your site since I discovered it. In 1964, I was in the US Marine Corps (2nd Radio Batallion, Electronic Warfare Company) and we had a temporary ASA assignment at Kagnew during the Fall of that same year. We of course stayed on the Army base and met some great folks. I was only there for a month or so but never forgot my African experience.

Does anyone know where I can get a Kagnew Station patch, coffee mug or a T-shirt with the Kagnew Gazelle?
Bob Moorman

Hi every one of you,
Daniel is a young man his age is 28 and his mother name is Amaresh Gebremariam. His mother use to work in Kagnew Station Asmara Eritrea. While she was working there she has two handsome boys from one American man from the army. His name is James and his last name is unknown. His entire document was destroyed during the war in Eritrea. If any one has any idea about this please contact me at: or
Thank all
Zemichael G-Egziabiher

Any homepages that you know of to Detachment-2 in Teheran, Iran?? Det2 , known as the US Army Teheran Relay Station, reported to Asmara and was a small unit providing communications for the U.S. Embassy and Armish/MAAG (Army Mission to Iran and Military Assistance and Advisory Group. The "Armish" part took care of the Iranian cops and gendarmes while MAAG took care of the Iranian armed services.)

If so, you'll know that many of us from Asmara ended up in Teheran, sooner or later. I served in Asmara from 1960 to 1961 and in Teheran from 1964 to 1966. I was back TDY to Asmara from Teheran in 1966.
Nick Olguin

Does anyone remember an Ethiopian bar owner named Cassidy? That was also the name of the bar. I visited there often during my time there in 69-70 and I seem to remember that he was well connected with the "underworld."
Russ Zaino

I have a inquiry about a Person, who was Working in the Kagnew Station in the Time of 1960-1972 and now he is looking for some Body who could help him to get his Certficate and other Documents of his Work in this Time. You know how important such Documets are if the person is an Elder. Before I gave you his details I woud like to ask you his name if it is possible to get such Documets or not. I hope you coud give me a positve Answer.
My best Regards to you
Z. F.

Mike Metras , '67, '69-'70 is looking for Rene Strous. I did not know Rene nor whether he (she) was a military person. I acquired a Maria Theresa dollar ( a trade coin used in Ethiopia) that has a planed surface with the engraving "Rene Strous/10 Jun 1964/Asmara, Ethiopia." So all I really know is that Rene was in Asmara on June 10, 1964.

I would like to know the history of the coin and of Rene's encounter with it in asmara. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Ken Mahon '64 '67 here. Maybe someone out there can help with some recipes! I'll bet others would like to know too!

Top of the list is zigni (not the 50 megaton variety though - or at least how to moderate it).

That spaghetti meat sauce the restaurants in Asmara ladled over those yellow egg noodles. I remember it as not having as much tomato sauce in it as here.

Those hard roles with the thick crust. Can't find a bakery here in Central Ohio that even comes close to producing something like them.

Recipe courtesy of Larry Bucher (November 3rd)

From Jack Haley ('56-'58):
Someone recently wrote, asking if anyone knew where you could get some of the hard rolls like the ones in Asmara. There is a German style deli-bakery in Oklahoma City that makes brotchen hard rolls that are, if not exactly the same, nearly identical. This is as close as any I've ever come across. Besides that, they are delicious. I asked the proprietors about having them shipped and they said that they do provide that service. They did say. however, that the breads lose some of their freshness over the travel time and will not be as good as when first baked.The rolls and other breads can be acquired at;
Ingrid's Kitchen
3701 N. Youngs
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 946-8444

Ciao, Rick!
Thought it might be fun to see if anyone remembers, and has any current information on, a houseboy named Brehanni (Berhanni, Brihanny, whatever) who worked at A Company while I was there (July 1968 - August 1970). His domain was the south end of the 2nd floor, was probably mid-30's to mid-40's (who could tell?), and had a partner named Yazoo (Jesu? Jasu?). He was really a hell of a likable "old" guy, and I've often wondered how he faired after Kagnew closed.
Jim Hinds

John Hallahan has just sent in a couple of questions which I've always wondered about myself. We want to see what everyone else thinks and we'll post the answers here.

1. What is the correct spelling, pronounciation and origin of the term used for those great carts (gherry gharry jerry etc.) we used to ride downtown and back for about 50 cents?

2. I remember the term "shifta" being the correct name for what we all called shifties, but can anyone confirm what the term was and where it originated?

Guess we have our answers - thanks guys!!!

According to the World Book: Gharry or gharrie; pl gharries; in India a cart or carriage, especially one for hire; pronounced gar'i. We GIs Americanized the word. This really the most accepted spelling of the word, but I also have seen it many ways.

The Shifta or Shifties was once fighting for a cause for the Eritreans to be united with Ethiopia, but when the UN treaty assigned a federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia in 1952, the Shifties definitely were bandits. I supect that the definition already listed is correct. As far as I was concerned, they were bandits and they killed a buddy of mine.
Jerry Pry

Dictionary confirms that my first guess on "gharry" is correct: it's a Hindu word for cart. Almost surely imported during the British occupation -- both by Brits used to India and by actual Commonwealth troops from India. The Italian word was "carozza" I believe. I don't think there's any one "correct" way to spell it but I found gharry used in two dictionaries.

On the shifta question: My guess, which I cannot confirm, is that it is straight from Amharic/Tigrinya and translates best as "bandit".

Larry Bucher

If I remember correctly Edgar Rice Borroughs refers to shifta in his Tarzan novels. I believe his references are to bandits when using this term.
Mick McCombs

From Yohannes Berhane: I am very happy to join your discussion. We had a villa in Tiravollo area and it was rented to Americans, I was a child and don't remember the name of the tenant, I know only that he worked at Kagnew Station. The address is Dej. Gebremariam Street 121. Currently, my family is living in this place, if anybody knows about him, please e-mail me, I would love to meet him and invite him back to Eritrea.

Andy Roberts (Born August 14th, 1962 at Kagnew Station) asks, "do you have any figures of how many American babies entered the world via Kagnew Station?"

Marge Perry has another special request. Marge had a child that died after birth while at Kagnew and is buried outside the main gate. If anyone has any photos of that area, please contact Marge and try to get her a copy. For anyone planning to make the trip to Asmara, please contact Marge and see if you can help her out. I'm sure she would be eternally grateful.

Glenn Traylor (Parents: Wilbur and Catherine Traylor) believes that he and his twin brother Garret were the first twins born at Kagnew on October 11, 1959. They were delivered by Dr. Holstrum (sp?). If you know of twins born before that or you can confirm they were the first, contact Glenn and let him know.

In reference to Glenn Traylor's query regarding being the first twins born, there were twins born in October 1953 [Brillhart], however they didn't survive past the first month, so his answer is they weren't the first born, but first surviving. These twins were my younger sisters.
Danni Hart

Marge Perry asks: Does anyone know if the clock over the PX quit working at any time. And if it stopped, what time was it stuck at? Tough question!

From Marge's note, I remember that I don't have a "good" picture of the PX and I'm asking all of you to dig into the archives and see if you can find me an excellent picture of the front of the PX. And while you're at it, any excellent pictures of any Kagnew buildings. I'd like to put together a page of just Kagnew building pictures. Email them to me here at the page (link above) or contact me about them and we'll figure out how to get them online.
Thanks, Rick

Found this photo that you might want to post. It's looking toward the back gate from the third floor of the Navy Barracks. Does anyone remember who used the housing in the picture that was just inside the back gate? I'm not sure I ever knew.

Contact: Dan Carr

From Don Nye (STRATCOM):
According to the Kagnew Gazelle of Sept 19 1964, Vol 9 Num 10, these barracks were as follows: 222-man barracks for enlisted men, plus 64-man barracks for bachelor officer's quarters and Senior NCO's. It was completed before I left country in April 65.

I been trying to remember the name of the owner of the of the Olive Wood Shop. And what happened to his family. I was quite close to them in 1957.

Email Ron Mealey (57-60) at

Lee Ruebush reports the owner of the Olive Wood Shop was Italian and his first name was Bruno (don't know his last name) and his American wife's name was Dorothy. They divorced and she married Sgt Major Harry Barbee. The Barbee's lived in Palm Bay, FL., and she has since past away but Harry still lives there. Bruno came to the States some years ago to live with his son in California, but he also died from cancer.
   After receiving numerous emails in answer to my inquiry about the where abouts of Bruno Corellas I was able to put together the following . Bruno and Dorothy Corellas owned the Olive Wood and had a son about four years old when I was there. Sometime later Bruno and Dorothy were divorced and Dorothy married Sgt Major Harry Barbie. They lived in Palm Bay, FL where Dorothy died a few years ago of pulmonary problems.

   Bruno remarried an American named Terry who operated the Stars and Stripes Bookstore at Kagnew, this was after my time. Apparently Bruno died in California of cancer. He was living with his son. I was told his son was living part time in Italy and Chad and he traveled a lot.

I want to thank all the people who help me on the where abouts of Bruno and Dorothy.

I have four 33 1/3 records, all of which is Ethiopian music. Not CD-ROM. Not the kind of Access records. Real music records. Stuff from the 50s through 80s. Thirteen tune music that will make your teeth shatter.

Is there a way to put this music on .WAV or .MIDI? I would like to make a web page with photos of Ethiopia with Ethiopian / Eritrean music. How is it done? How is it transferred?

Editran in Milwaukee says its very expensive. Isn't there just a way to copy something on the computer?

Contact: Jerry Hirsh

Being a student of the linguistics, I am desperately looking for anyone who would be willing to send me any stuff about the Amharic language. I am especially looking for:

1) any general bilingual Amharic dictionary e.g. from Amharic into English, German, Italian, French or Russian and/or vice versa)
2) any grammar book of the Amharic language

I really would be grateful for any book or magazine in Amharic, too. Any information on the other Ethiopian languages (Omoro, Tigrinya, Gurage, Welamo, Afar, etc.) is also welcome.

Best regards Radomil

Does anyone remember the name of the Italian motorcycle repair shop owner down the main drag in Asmara? The shop, as I remember it, was just a hole in the wall on the left side of the main boulevard after you turned left coming out of Kagnew Station.

Seems to me the owner's name was something like Morbuti ....???? He worked diligently on our Moto Guzzis, Perillas, Suzukis, etc. Was a short man with light brown wavy hair. He always had on greasy overalls.

Rick - I have received about 15 responses to my query about the Italian motorcycle shop owner. Most people who responded remember him as "Morbiti". So I guess that is our answer. Thanks.

Jim Norris

From Larry Freeman:
I'm having my son scan a picture of Arthur and Mobily, The motorcycle shop owners in Asmara. I realize you have had several answers to the questions re: their names but the answers given are wrong. I knew them both real well and visited their homes and took several meals with both their households. My friends who I am in contact with here in the states all agree that the Dad's name is Arthur and the son is Mobily. This may not be spelled right but that is how it sounds and in Italian Arthur's name has an O at the end. I hope this will straighten out things for you.

"What was the MOS 525.10 and why would someone with it be attached to HQ company?" Email Kevin if you have the answer.

Allen Peacock sends in this note asking for info on the "strike" at Kagnew:

There was a STRIKE! at Kagnew Station during the 57-59 era. I would like to know more about it, but some where some body knows what happened. There was a post commander, ?, who was under the impression that this was a Citadel, or a spit & polish mission, rather than a military mission of gathering information off the airwaves of the entire middle east region. Maybe it is still classified and should not be discussed but I find it interesting and would like to know more about it. Over a period of several weeks, the troops were being harrassed! There was PT and Police Call every morning, every afternoon and maybe every evening. I recall PT & PC at least twice a day, before going to work and after work, and maybe it was after each trick or shift. There was inspection every Sat., and I just believe the troops got to a point where they could not hear the signals!

It trickled down to every section at the site. There were no packages coming into "a" section to send by courier to the states, there were no groups for "e" section to re- encipher and PLT and rtty back to analysis in the states and eventually, it began to backfire. There were questions asked by the authorities to the administration of the post and some IG folks came in and asked questions of the troops and of course the story came out. Any way, we had a change of administration on the post and word leaked that alcoholism played a part. Changes came about and we were able to abolish the BS and get back to the mission of the post. I would like to know the whole story and I bet there are folks around that could shed some light.

Joe Ewing has sent along a couple of photos and we need a little help from our fellow STRATCOMers to identify those in the pictures. Here they are: #1 -- #2

Please email Joe at or me (link above) and help us out!

I'm looking for a photograph of the 'McElroy' tape recorders we used in the 058 manual section, or maybe a whole console. Any suggestions??

Art Adolphsen

I am a feature writer in Florence, Alabama. I recently talked with a woman who was at Kagnew Station in 1956. Her husband was in the service at the time and she was a nurse. While she was there, she taught at the nursing school (Itegue Menen School of Nursing is what she called it). She taught the first graduating class at this nursing school. I have been talking to her about her experiences there for a feature article but I've hit a brick wall in a research. I want to know if the nursing school is still there (and if not, what happened to it?) and I'd like to know about the nursing climate in Asmara, today. I know Ethiopia is in combat comflict, but if you know of ANYONE or any other resource I can use, I really would appreciate your help. By the way, the woman's name is Mary Jane Gooch. Her husband's name is Douglass O. Gooch. He is retired, now. Your Web page is full of great information and I'll pass it along to the Gooch family. Thanks for anything you can do!

Sherhonda Allen
The Times Daily Newspaper
219 W. Tennessee St.
Florence, AL 35630
(256) 740-5732