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.

9/14/2004 Update

December 21st
I have a question for any of you Kagnewites who may have been in Asmara spring 1974... Several of my friends and I were "extras" in an Italian movie which was filming at Asmara International Airport, must've been around February or March of 1974. Someone representing the production company came to the EM club on base asking for anyone who might be interested to show up at the airport. We did and were there most of the day. It was Italian, the actor and actress were (supposedly) famous and I think the name of the movie may have been "The Baboon Trail". I have no idea what it was about and I can't remember how much they paid us. I've searched the web to try and find the name of the film and have not been able to. I know it's a crazy request but it's driving me nuts. Can anyone help?! :)
Marsha (Harris) Thrash
Randy Harris - Navy 1973-74

Our friend in Italy, Francesco de Leonardis sends in this reply:

About the film: it's "La via dei babbuini" from 1974, directed by Luigi Magni with Pippo Franco, Catherine Spaak (yes, they are famous over here), Fabio Garriba and Gabriele Grimaldi in the cast. I'm not so sure it's out on video being a minor work by director Magni but I'll look around and see. Please say hello to Marsha on my behalf.
All best,

From Dan Carr, 73-74:
I can answer a couple of the questions that Marsha Harris has about the movie filmed in 74. We were paid 40 Ethiopian and we were there all day. They also provided us with a box lunch. We only did 3 scenes. We were filmed coming into the airport from a plane, strolling around the airport, and departing through the front doors of the airport. The stars may of had a few more scenes while the extras just milled around all day. It was an eye opening experience for me. I have never wanted to be in a movie since. There must of been so sort of official sanction of us going as I remember going out on a Kagnew Bus. If it were to be on video I would be most interested to purchase a copy. I'm sure there were other scenes filmed in and around Asmara.

December 17th
My name is Jeffrey L. Weeks. I was born at Kagnew Station March 10, 1964, to Capt. Earl Charles and Shirley Ann Weeks.

I desperately need a certified copy of my birth certificate - but don't know how to get it. What I have appears to be a copy with no raised seal.

Can you help? Thank you!

Please email Jeff if you have any information about obtaining birth certificates and also email me (link above) so I can pass along this information to others--Thanks, Rick.

From Sue Hartman:
The State Dept. issues a form called Consular Report of Birth, which is accepted as a birth certificate AND establishes US citizenship ( which of course an Eritrean birth certificate would not do). The form can be printed from the State Dept's homepage, along with address and price information.
Good luck! Sue

From Cliff Shaver:
I have an address that may help Jeff to obtain a certified copy of his birth certificate. Its for the US Department of State at, Vital Records Services. I had sent Jeff an E-mail previously but got no responce. Hope this helps.

From Tom McCandless:
Don't know if this will help this but all overseas births (in military hospitals) to American citizens are supposed to be reported to the closest American Embassy where they process paperwork and record the birth. The hospital is also supposed to give the parents a copy of the Army "Birth Certificate" forms.

My youngest was born in Germany in 84 (granted, 20 years after you but the process should have been similar) and what I did was send the form that the Augsburg Army Hospital gave me to the Embassy in Munich and they sent it back recorded and sealed (embossed) along with a sealed (also embossed) original of the "Certification of Birth Abroad" form. The Army Form reads like this:

(USAEUR Reg 40-3)
AE Form 360 1 MAR 78

Note that USAEUR was the regulating authority. That stands for US Army, Europe and for the admin stuff, they or whatever the European "headshed" was called back then should have been the bosses for this kinda stuff.

The form from the Embassy reads this way:

Department of State
Foreign Service of the United States of America
Certification of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America
Form FS-545 1-73

Like I said, the birth and the forms are 20 and 10 years after your birth but the process should have been the same. Soooo... To make a long story short, I'd think you need to contact the American Embassy in Asmara, give them all the info you have, including a COPY of any documents you do have, and ask for a certified copy of the report of your birth.

Failing that, I would contact the Foreign Service, Department of State, explain the situation and circumstances, supply COPIES of the documents, etc.

And if that fails, get your Congress person involved. You'd really be suprised how fast those government weenies can move when one of your legislative persons starts asking questions! (It got me an assignment to Fort Huachuca, Arizona (looks like Asmara, retired here) versus one to Fort Devens, Massachusettes (HATED, too COLD!) in spite of what the Army wanted me to do!!!!)
Hope this helps
Tom McCandless
Co B USASAFS, Asmara 66-69

December 9th
From Carlo MORAS
I am searching anybody that remembers my uncle, he worked at the OASIS warehouse in KAGNEW. His name is JOHANNES but it was knowed like ABBASH or JOHN. If yes please e-mail me and i will make a surprise to him for this cristhmas.
My e-mail is

November 26th
Hi Rick:
My name Clarence H. "Buddy" Bell. I was stationed there with HQ company attached to the motor pool from June 69 to august 70. My question is to any other personnel there during that period. Does any one remember the spraying for locust infestation supposedly by the UN Desert Locust Control. I remember being at the motor pool on several occasions when the planes that were doing the spraying over shot the motor pool and soaked us. I have contacted the UN and they deny that they were even there at those times saying that there was no locust activity in the area to warrant it. Does any one know who might have been spraying there at that time. My health has gone to hell after that time. I was transferred to Ft. Sill in Sept. 70 and was immediately hospitalized with asthmatic bronchitis and have had upper respiratory problems as well as neurological damage ever since. Any assistance would be appreciated. I also would love to here from any one who remembers me, as well. In sept. 94 I was hit by lightning and lost about half my memories.
Buddy Bell

November 26th
Rick, Got a very quick response to my request for a zigni recipe and thought that you might want to share with everyone so I'll just insert the whole e-mail (short!) and you may edit as necessary!
This recipe appeared in the Navywives wives club cookbook
written in the early '70's. 
    Beef Zigney

    1/4 cup oil 
    1 onion, chopped fine 
    1 tomato, chopped fine 
    1 clove garlic, chopped fine 
    1 teaspoon beri-beri 

    Fry the above for 5 minutes.  Then add the following to the mixture: 

    1 cup water 
    1/2 lb. round steak, chopped fine 

    Cook all together until meat is tender - 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. 

    Submitted by Bobbi Forster 

    Hope you enjoy! 

    Monica Breedlove 71-74 (wife of James "Butch" Breedlove)
Thanks, David F. VanHouten

November 26th
I just had a little question...the patch I see on the right of the page w/the leaf/ that something special having to do with Kagnew from 66-68? There would be no way of knowing where I could get that, would you know? It's ok if the answer is no. I just wondered. Thank you for your help always. God bless you on your special day. (Veteran's Day)

From Bob Howard:
The patch was for "U.S. Army Garrison, Kagnew Station."

To answer your question about the time the Kagnew patch became standard issue, was in 1955. I was at Kagnew Station from 1954-56. I remember having to sew them on my uniforms. It was for the ASA units only, as I recall. I remember also the pride of having an emblem depicting our own unit. We thought Kagnew was a unique outfit among military assignments and deserved its own recognition via a patch. I think the design was cre- ated by one of the soulders on the base and submitted for approval. It was approved and the rest is history.

November 26th
Hello Rick,
You posted a request for me in the 1999 section of "can you help" Marge Perry requesting, if anyone could help, getting a picture of the grave site of her child, buried in Asmara.

I wanted you to know that, a really nice, man named Mike O'Neill and a friend of his named Eric, (who did a lot of work), has sent me pictures of my child's grave site.

Thank you so much, for posting my request, it helped me a great deal, in get in touch with Mike, and so, much closer to my daughter. Words can't describe the gratitude, for what your web site means to me.
Thank You so much.
Marge (Frank) Perry Dependent 1963-1965 1970-1973

November 26th
Hi Rick,
A few lines to ask any of the people at Kagnew during the period Apr 62 thru Jan 64 who have not previously contacted me to please do so if they can. My time on my computer is limited due to cluster migraine headaches that can be triggered by the "tube". Some of the guys I knew over there have contacted me and I enjoy the renewing of their friendship. I was a "B" trick ditty bopper and was A/T/C when I left there. I would like to go to the reunion but I will not be able to go. My travel is restricted for health reasons. I would like to find out the names of a band that played at the Oasis Club on a regular basis. I remember Gene and Bonnie Peckinpaugh and was sorry to find out he had passed away. I think the first names of some other band members are Ralph and George. I have many happy memories of listening to them and tripping the light fantastic. I would really like to hear from someone who could give me some information on Sgt. James Wilder, Specialist Charles Allen Martin, Sgt. Harvey Wells, Sgt. Waller, and Major Bogle. Keep up the good work on the Kagnew Station internet site. I check on it on a regular basis to what is new.
Take care and God bless you and all the other people of Kagnew.
Andy Barber (Sp5 A/T/C "B" Trick)

From Don Lummus, ASA 63-64
I had one of the most booked bands there from 63 till I left in Nov. 64. I named them the "Roadrunners", and we played just about every night they had dances at the Oasis, and the Top-5 Club. Some of the members I can recall names of were; Dewayne (Butch) Garner, (lead vocalist,) Ernie (Peppy) Petrovich, (Piano), Andy Cook, (Rhythm Guitar), and Bill Lambert, (Drums). In addition to these guys, we also had at one time another singer, first name, George (can't remember last name), and a Rhythm Guitarist named Wayne (again.. lost that last name in my cluttered brain). We also for a little while had a Saxophone player,(name is gone completely), and a couple of other drummers. We played music more than we pulled Duty it seemed. At that same time, there was another band led by my room-mate, Don Snow, from Tampa. They played mostly Jazz and Easy Listening stuff, and spent most of their gigs at the Officers' Club (they were too high-falutin' to have a "Rock-n-Roll Country band in there) Anyway, hope this helps some. Also, I have pictures of the Roadrunners on our Web Site, If anyone who was there remembers some of those guys last names.. refresh my memory..please! I am still playing music in spite of what all my relatives told me.

November 26th
Would you like to help with a clothing drive for Eritreans. Dave Junge and Jack Hanchett are doing just that, so please contact Dave at if you're interested.

Clothing Drive details

November 3rd
Would anyone remember the name of the Warrant officer that took charge of the Crypto section in early 1952?

I met his daughter several years later in San Francisco. She had a picture of Haile Sallasie when he inspected Radio Mariana in 1952. In the background of that picture, I am in the background of that picture. I simply cannot remember her name and since she has no doubt married, even if I did it wouldn't do any good, but it occurred to me, while reading your column that if I could remember what that Warrant officers name was, I might be able to find him, and through him maybe find his daughter to ask if I could get a copy of that picture.
If it makes sense, appreciate your help. Bill Cross

October 30th
I was wondering if the people on this Web site could help the Eritreans. There is a former Peace Corps worker named Jeff Shannon who has been living in Eritrea since 1998. You can read his exploits at:

In his May 20, 2000 letter he has been asking for help: food, shelter, emergency medical supplies, etc.

His address is:

Office of Special Projects
P.O. Box 2967
Asmara, Eritrea
Phone: (291 1) 18 40 57
Fax: (291 1) 12 51 45


As with anything you do, check this out thoroughly if you're interested. The person and the organization above are not endorsed by the Kagnew page.

October 30th
I also am looking for a zigni recipe of any sort. Also, I am interested in any response you get for the Guinea roll for the Oasis Club. Anyone with a recipe for zigni or the Guinea rolls, please email me below. (, my wife's e-mail box!)
David F. VanHouten

October 30th
Is there any visitor to this site who was a member of the flying club at Kagnew? I left in Feb. 69, but understand that a flying club was established later that year with two Cessna's. I'm not sure how long it was in existence. I'm looking for information about flying small aircraft in Eritrea. If there were anyone who had experience flying small aircraft in the mountains there, I would be interested in communicating with you. I would be grateful to anyone with current information regarding the general aviation situation in Eritrea.
Charley Hobbs

October 30th
I am working on a travel project and would love to share some pictures of Kagnew and the area with the class. If anyone would care to email some of their pictures I sure would appreciate it. I was there with my Dad in 60-62 so anything more recent would be great.
Kathy (Luxbacher) Werling

September 26th
Does anyone have a recipe for the "Guinea" rolls served at the Oasis Club? I can remember spending many off hours drinking iced tea and eating "Guinea" rolls there....and occasionally teasing the waiters.
Jim Kimball

August 20th
Is there anyone whom served in the US Army at Kagnew Station itself that was still there when the last of the US Army moved out? I would like to know when the STRATCOM Facility finally shut its doors at Kagnew Station and turned out the lights. I had a couple of Army friends there that I have no clue as to where they went to once the base closed down back in 1975, Jeff MacAlley and Ralph D. Conley. They worked for the Post Telephone Exchange and as what they called back then, "Tape Apes." This was out at Tract B back then. E-mail me at

Added August 21st
The question I'm asking was when did the last US Army Signal Corps leave? When I left Kagnew Station back in December of 1973, there were still plenty of STRATCOM soldiers left behind. I was working with the other Army soldiers taking down the main telephone cables on Kagnew up until December 1973. Was there anyone either sailor or soldier that knows when the last Army Soldier left Kagnew Station and turned out the lights forever? It seems that after December 1973 all I hear is stories from the Navy Base and nothing more. Why?

Added September 26th
The official departure date may vary but the planes where moving people out April 1977. After the military officially turned over Kagnew the project became a CISCO (Collins International) (PAE) (US Navy) (E Systems) operation. With a large measure of US State Department involvement. I have some of the closing ORG charts and a good list of personnel, current to about Dec. 1976. CWO3 Todd D. Conley has a good piece on the closing process. It was coming fast and we knew it. The Russian GRU/KGB had been pushing for the American's to leave so the war could be notched up on the Eritrean "rebel" fighters. The only thing keeping it going were financial agreements and diplomatic contacts. When Tract "D" was blown away, the "DERG" thought the mission usage and value of Kagnew would fade fast. Fooled them by re-locating the transmitters and re-deploying antenna so the station would remain afloat. Yanks have ingenuity ! The last three years had much more going on than one person could know!
John A. Morris III,
Kagnew/Asmara 1971-1977

August 5th
I heard that the Sofia Lauren film "Africa Sotto i mari" was filmed in Asmara in the '50's...I have not been able to locate anyplace online that has a copy of this video..any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Ruben
PS I originally heard about this film on your site.

August 4th
Our friend in Asmara, Mike O'Neill has found something and has a question for everyone. Hope someone can help him.

Do any of you remember seeing a license plate like this on Kagnew? Does the TMP stand for temporary or something to do with MP's? Any help you give will be appreciated--Mike

Hi Rick--I believe the answer to the question of the day regarding the license plate, TMP 5 translates into, Transportation Motor Pool 5. Probably used on a particular Staff vehicle, i.e.; Post Commanders sedan would be TMP 1. Some place in my photos, one of our service club/ hunting jeeps displays a simular tag.
Cliff Shaver

Hi Rick, The explanation for TMP 5 License Plate is correct as explained by Cliff Shaver.
Bob Patterson Guard Company '68-'69

June 2nd (Updated 9/14/2004)
Hi Rick,
This probably is not the normal type of letter you would receive, but I am praying that maybe you can help me out. I am a 29 year old female living in the Washington, DC area. I was adopted by an American family on March 17,1971 while they were stationed at Kagnew. I was hoping that you could lead or give me some direction in finding my birth parents. I do have a copy of my birth certificate but it doesn't list the names of my parents. They is only a next of kin listed on all the paperwork. If you have any idea where I should start or who I can contact, please email me back and let me know.
Painfully Searching,

(Added 9/14/2004)
My name is Makele Ghebreamlak ( I am living in Germany. I was born in Eritrea (Adi Neamin). My family was looking for Angela for a long time. I heard a lot of stories about her. I need to come in touch with her! If you have any contact adress or phone number, that would be so nice!

May 28th
Back in the early '70's, the National Geographic sent a team to Ethiopia to film one of their tv shows. After part of the project had been completed, to the best of my recollection that they were on the littorina travelling between Asmara and Massawa when an ELF or EPLF team stopped the train, held them for a time, and confiscated their equipment and film. As a result, the show was produced only with footage that had already been sent back to the Geographic headquarters, and mainly featured Debra Damo.

I saw the show shortly after I returned to the States, and may have seen it once since, but have not been able to find a broadcast of the show in years. I contacted the Society and was told that the show was never made into a video, and they were pretty closed-mouthed about it.

I'm very interested in finding out if anyone has recorded the show, or has any information on where I can find a copy. Obviously, the question of copyright infringement makes me hesitant to post a direct request, so I'm asking you if you have any ideas. Thanks in advance!
Skip Dahlgren
Little Rock, AR

May 28th
Hi Rick,
My name is Vince Cominski. I was a Navy ET assigned to the Army Satellite Terminal there. At the station, I thought all along the last group of personnel to leave Asmara was in May of 74, when the base was turned over to the Peace Corps and civilians. But after reading the letter your received about the guy leaving in 1975, now I don't know. Were we the last ones to leave or were there people stationed there after us?

This is a great question so let's find out who was the last military out? I've read several stories over the last couple of years about this, but have never pinpointed it myself. So any of you out there that were in Asmara in the middle 70s how about a helping hand? Email the page (link above) with your information.

May 7th

When I was in Asmara from 1969-1972 with my parents and sister, I frequently ate a succulent fruit purchased from the little carts along the streets. Dad called the carts "hepatitis wagons" and probably wasn't too happy to see that I had used my allowance money to buy them. As I remember, the fruits were "cactus apples" or in Amharic "beless". That spelling may be corrupt as I've never seen the word in written form, but the pronounciation was "bell-ess". Boy did I love them. Haven't been able to find them in the States. Anyone remember them and/or love them as much as I did when I was 12 years old?
Tim Fosmark
Eugene, Oregon

I was in Asmara from '68-'72 (stationed at Kagnew from '68-'70), and spent a lot of time downtown and travelling around Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Beles is both the Tigrinya and Amharic word for the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, which as far as I know the Italians introduced (they're native to the New World, I believe). You should be able to find prickly pears in the produce section of most decent super markets and gourmet shops (in season, at least).

You said that you've never seen the word in written form, well here it is:

Skip (Bruce) Dahlgren

March 31st

Hi Rick,
I am looking for a documentary made about the Ethiopia and present day Eritrea called "The Lion and the Cross" (made in the late 50's I believe). Have you ever heard of it ? It was partly about the Ethiopian Navy that was trained by Americans at the time. Also do you know where I can purchase any videos about Ethiopia or Eritrea or Kagnew station?

March 11th

Does anyone have any maps of the base and/or Asmara in general? I've been gone for 26 years and seeing all these pictures which Rick's posted bring back a lot of memories, but so much time has passed that I think I could piece it all together if I had a map.
Marsha (Harris) Thrash, Navy Dep. 1973-74

(If you do, please email me (link above) too. I'd like to put them on the page if there are any good maps out there - Rick)

February 21st

I would like some help identifying the people in this picture. It's from my shorttimer's party at the Oasis Club, summer of 1970. If anyone looks familiar and you know where they are, please email me (link above) with the info. I have a negative for this picture that I could get prints made for them if they'd like.

February 19th

I got a request recently to break down each Tract at Kagnew and what was the function of that tract. For instance, I was at Tract B, where I worked in the receiver section. We also had microwave, tech control, crypto etc. We don't have to breach any security issues with the US government, but I'd like to at least put down a general decsription of what we did while there. So all of you who worked at Stonehouse, Gura, Tract D, etc. please contact me with the information. I will compile all the information and get it started as soon as possible.

This also includes Kagnew itself. The list there will be long, with all the services that we had. The Roosevelt, clubs, PX, Special Services, Ernie Pyle gym, etc. etc. Please help me out as I think this will be a very interesting project.

Email me (link above) with your information, and please put "Tract Info" in the subject line if you could. It helps me group emails and makes life easier. Thanks and I'm looking forward to putting this together.

If you have some pictures, please include them.