Page 10

William (Bill) Richard Forbis '63-'65

It's exciting to be a part of the Kagnew history. Thirty-five years is a long time ago, and I am afraid me memory will not recall a lot of the details. I am going to go back and review my slides and photographs and see if some of the old memories can be revived!

I do have some slides that were made at the halfway house zoo, and I will try to have prints made and send them to use however you may wish.

The halfway house was on the Asmara-Massawa road, aptly enough about half way between the two cities. Seems like it was on the left going down the mountain, and sat back from the road a good ways in a grove of trees. It was a "cafe" type place, with a few tables sitting out towards the front. It was enclosed. Sort of a "Casablanca" atmosphere! Adjacent to the house, was a reptile zoo. It was not a large place, but they had pits dug side by side with block or studdo walls built around them and a thatched type roof built over the top. There was always someone there to show you around and to handle the snakes and lizards or whatever else they may have at the time. There were always cobras, and the "handler" was always eager to show his skill and dexterity at handling them. When I get to go through the photographs I'm sure more of the details will come back to me, but until then I would like to know if anyone else remembers this at all! We never made the trip to Massawa without stopping there. As MP's, we always had access to the patrol jeeps, and could call the trip a "road patrol" and go to Massawa over our two day break between shifts.

I'll send you more later.

Gary ?? c/o Rich Suidikas '67-'69

I am interested in locating a few of my fellow Kagnew-ers. I would like to find the following:

Richard (Dick) Grimshaw 1967-69 05H20 Co A.
Rodger Thomson 1967-69 05H20 Co A.
Mike Tappen 1967-69 - Know he pcs'd to Germany in 69-70.
Rich Heacock 1967-69 05K20 Co A.
L.D. Hill 1966-69 Sgt, Co A. Went to Devens in 69 or 70.

Mike, Dick, Rodger and I were there when they started the auto racing up again in 69. Mike had a green Volkswagon that we modified for racing, Never did do too well! but what fun.

Ken Love '68-'71

Hi Rick,
My name is David K. "Ken" Love. I would like to be added to your Active Duty Roster and to your e-mail pages. I was at KS from September 1968 to July 1971. I was ASA as an 05H20 in Company A and worked at Tract C and my rank was E5. My wife, Jan, was there from December 1968 to July 1971.

Jan had entered Eritrea on the net and just happened upon the Kagnew Station homepage. This is the best thing we have found and have spent many hours reading all the information and thinking of all our friends and things we did while stationed there.

While we were there we enjoyed motorcycle riding and hunting trips to Mekele with friends.

Jan also logged over 880 hours of volunteer time at the post Dental Clinic as an assistant for Dr. Paul Hohenfeldt and Col. Ronald Miller.

We are going to submit several names to your "I remember" list in hopes someone might locate them.

We have several friends that are within 50 miles of our home that were there when we were and are listed below:
Ray & Patsy Greenway - ASA - Chesnee, SC
Johnny & Gayle Adams - ASA - Hartwell, GA
Steve & Gail Couch - Guard Co - Belton, SC
Gerry & Carol Gwaltney - ASA - Streator, IL
Mel & Nancy Whitmire - ASA - Anderson, SC

Thanks to your web page we are now "talking" to Mick McCombs and Mike Whepley and hope to contact other old friends.

Thanks also for all the hard work you are doing and we would like to encourage anyone that was at KS to send us e-mail.
Ken & Jan Love

Here's a second note from Ken after I asked about Denny Gilmore.

Denny Gilmore was at Kagnew in 1970 and 1971 and perhaps later. He was still there when we left. He was an E5, he did work for Stratcom, and he rode a 360 Yamaha. Together we made many unsuccessful attempts at Titty Mountain. He wasn't blonde haired though. He had dark has as did his wife Brenda. We had another Stratcom buddy named Luke McDonald Lamb, a SP6. Luke was sometimes a wild man, but he sure could ride a bike. Luke took about 17,000 volts from one of the antennas as I remember, but it didn't kill him. Just made him a little wilder. (the voltage may be a little extreme--my memory's a little vague.)

Art Adolphsen '57-'58

Hi Rick,

Boy you do alot of work on the web pages, nice job. I just got done reading the "Early Years' history, and an interesting addition might be the fire, I don't remember the exact date but it was in 1957, That is what forced us on to the new Kagnew Station that was not quite finished, When we were returning from the Eves' shift, The PX was on fire, and it was all down hill from there, I can't remember everything, but I can remember diving for cover when the fire goto the amunition in the PX, after the noise was over we got back to fighting the fire, wiped out the PX, it started in the 'fat' in the cooker, and spread fast. There were 6-8 fire engines from Asmara there but they couldn't get them to pump water.

Steve Nantz mid 60s

And thank you again. I lived with my folks on Kagnew for three and a half years, and often visited Karen, Masawa, and rural Eritrean locales the names of which are lost to me. These were some of the best times of my life, even though I was just a kid.

I look forward to spending some serious time here. Maybe I'll even find a recipe for zigni (spelling?). Take care, and again, thank you.

Steve Nantz
Son of R. Frank Nantz, USN (deceased)

Don Hall '63-'65


I Served at Kagnew in the hospital laboratory from 1963 to 1965.

I have often thought about the time spent in Asmara. Do you have any idea of the whereabouts of Dana Rotundo, Carol Coombs, Or Richard Sorrell. There were many others but time makes the memory a little faulty. Please post my name and maybe someone will remember it.

Thanks for your help,

James A. Armstrong '64-'65

I do not see any names I remember but might as well add mine. James A. Armstrong ASA Intercept Eq. Repair from 7/64 until 12/65, SP4/5. I left for the dregs of our detachment in Bangkok in December 1965.

I remember Manny Puerta, Tom Vancil (died two weeks out of the Army), Cory Bell, and the others I will have to dig through my photos to find names.

Good Luck.

Don & Lydia Humphrey '54-'57


Our son Michael L. Humphrey (now 42 yrs of age) was born in the post hospital on Kagnew Station 15 May 56.

(I was the first EM to be granted authorization for my fiance to travel to Asmara for us to marry.)

We recently celebrated our 43rd anniversary. Please include this info in your maternity ward page. Thanks.

Don & Lydia Humphrey

Gary Suidikas '67-'69


Just wanted to let you know that through the "looking for" program I found Mike Tappen and Rodger Thompson. I believe they will have enrolled by now. I also was contacted by three of my old cohorts and are in the process of exchanging info, address's etc. Will forward all this on to you as soon as I get it sorted, compiled. I also have leads on Richard "Grimmie" Grimshaw.

Thanks a TON :-)
Gary Suidikas

Henry "Hank" C. Franzen '68-'70


Please enter me on your Active Duty Roster. I was stationed at Kagnew, assigned to the Hospital/Dental Clinic from 68 to 70.

After I got out of the Army, switched to the Air Force and finished out my 23 years. I retired here in Fairbanks after a 8 year tour at Eielson AFB. I am now a Civil Servant working (Is that a contradiction in terms??) at Ft Wainwright. Wainwright is a great post. Weather is more severe than down in Anchorage or "SissyCity" as it is known up here. Right now we are in the 20's during the day and single digits at night.

Hank (former resident at Bar Fiore)

Mac Johnson '66-'69


I have been looking at the site for several months and waiting to see some familiar names. This is great to read about and see things that I so fondly remember. I served at Kagnew Station from September, 1966 to February, 1969. I was ASA, 05H20, Co. A., D Trick and made SP5. Left Asmara and finished at Two Rock.

I got out in September, 1969. Went to work for Mutual of Omaha in 1970, worked there for 26 years, took early retirement and then went to work for AAA in San Francisco. I've made a lot of friends in my life, but never have I been as close to those I made at Kagnew. Ebba, my wife at the time, lived off post in those apartments at the circle. Always had someone stopping by, usually after the bars closed, when they couldn't find their way back to post. One Thanksgiving, we had 19 friends for dinner. Great time!

Seeing Mike Tappen and Roger Thompson's names added to the site pushed me over the edge to sign up. The last time we were together was in 1987at Roger's home in Columbus, Ohio for the Fourth of July. Heard from Mike today. That felt good. Thanks! If it wasn't for all the work you have done, I probably never would have found him.

If there is anything I can do, please let me know.


Susan Trede (Ligtenberg) '65-'67

Hello, Rick!

I was so surprized to find all those messages from everyone, I'm afraid I was some-what terse when I sent you my stats. So, I would like to amend my original message with something a little more friendly.

I left in January, 1967, and I had no idea that life went on at Kagnew for so many years after that. Of course, it would make sense, wouldn't it?

I'm currently in contact with many of my classmates from Asmara American School, and I will definitely be going to the reunion in Las Vegas at the end of June.

I have been reading all the e-mail messages and a couple of them mentioned the Off Off Broadway Players and the production of the Fantastiks that was put on. I was part of the stage crew for that play! Unfortunately, I really don't remember most of the military personnel who also participated in it, including the guys who mentioned it in their e-mail. However, I did have a friend who was in it. His name was Larry Kaiser. Being a civilian, I have no idea what his military status was. I think his rank was Sp4 and I seem to remember that he also played in a band on post. If anyone has heard from him, please say "Hi" from Sue Trede.

Rick, this is fabulous!! Keep up the good work.

From Susan's other note:
Susan Ligtenberg (Trede) - Civilian dependent. Father (Harry Trede) built the new power plant on Kagnew for the Corps of Engineers. Attended Asmara American High School April, 1965 - January, 1967.

Jack Tucker '62-'67

Hi Rick,

JACK TUCKER MSGT 1962 1967. I worked in the provost office during my time in Asmara. It was a very enjoyable tour and I tried to stay longer. I hope some day to visit again. I am in contact with Joe Gillam and Don Hardy, Boyce Cox plus others. Looking forward to checking passes again. Thanks for posting to your home page.


John "Jack" Hannigan '59-'62

The KAGNEW page has really grown and is very informative. Keep up the good work. I know it takes a lot of your time but we all appreciate your time and effort.

I have been reminicing about our first Hannigan Christmas at Kagnew. Needless to say it was thirty years ago and quite different than what we were used to for the Christmas Season. The command decorated a Gerry-Cart with western christmas decorations and Santa Claus ( I think it was Bob Rayl, or one of the KANU TV guys) arrived at Kagnew. The brownbaggers children were estatic with Santa. It was a big day for Kagnew. Everyone enjoyed the Christmas Season and had fun under a typical December day on top of the mountain.

This was and still is a unique bunch of people that came together and spent part of their lives on the Mountain in East Africa and that experience will never be forgotten.

It is the Christmas Season and Baby Jesus is the Reason. Merry Christmas to all Kagnew Vets and their families - and to all the American Children that were born at the US ARMY Hospital in Eritrea. From the HANNIGAN Family 1998.
Ever Vigilant,

Yared Elsae

My name is Yared Elsae. I am of Eritrean origin currently living in Australia. I have been here for the last 29 years.

First of all I would like to congratulate you on your most wonderful site and the efforts you have put in. It is very nostalgic. I truly enjoy it.

The "Are you Looking for Someone" section must undoubtly have brought a lot of joy to many. I am looking for someone too. Although he was not directly associated with Kagnew, I feel I would try my luck just in case someone in Kagnew knew him.

His name is Dale Harger. He was my teacher "American Peace Corps" between 1961 and 1964. He taught in Bet Gherghis Middle School in Asmara. I believe he was employed by Manpower, Washington DC when he returned to US. We met again in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1968. I had a letter from him when I went to Australia on a scholarship in 1969. I have tried to contact him a number of times but I have not heard from him since.

May be some Kagnew folks knew him.
Could you help?

Follow-up note from Yared:

Thank you again for including my search for my former Peace Corps teacher, Dale Harger in your Are you "Looking For" Someone.

Your help has taken me a step closer. One of your readers has informed me that he saw Dale about 5 years ago in Washington.


My name is Enrico . I'm from Asmara . I live in San Jose Cal. I grew up listenig to Radio Kagnew Station, you people made lots difference in everyone's life. I always keep good memories in my heart. PS Since I discovered your home page I'm all the time reading all the info. Keep up the good work and keep Kagnew station alive.
Thank you Enrico

Bob Graler '61-'63

Hi Rick,
You can list John Osborne as "Found". I don't know if he ever saw the Kagnew Station home page but I'll make sure he knows about it now. We made contact after almost 36 years after I found him listed in Vern Greunke's ASA database.

Another O58 from the 60-62 period that I've located is Bob Flanagan. He has no e-mail but his address is : Connemara PO Box 100, Yellow Spring, WV 26865-0100. I'm sure most of the people from the early 60's will remember him.
Keep up the good work,
Bob Graler

John A. Morris III

Rick F. and team, and former Kagnew'ites,

My wife is getting PUMPED up on this project ? Lucia Filippini was born in Asmara 1932 , and had a long and diverse series of contacts ( friends - boyfriends - girlfriends ) with lots of quality photos from 1953/54 onward.

When we married Feb. 1975 the war was in full swing and the day we exchanged vows at the court house all hell broke loose downtown. After that date I worked totally to ship all our good stuff out of the country.
Smart Choice !

Till this time in our lives Lucia has kept her other events close to her heart and I saw very little of the pictures. Well that seems to have disappeared, I'll be working to scan and catalog what I can and try for names if she can remember. The communication with her old friends is there in Asmara, and all over the world. There is still a house ( in dispute ) that is just around the corner of the Photo labeled "asm09.jpg" to the right hand side where the young man is half way out in the street. Spent many a night from the roof watching the Ethi Army conduct their night ops. We also have relatives in and out of Asmara all the time.

Also my passion while in Asmara was Photography, and as the end got nasty I used a series of 35mm small cameras to capture the good, the bad, and the ugly when I could.

And as the closing series of events unfolded my local contacts on the "street-boy" networks, and some resident operatives for various resistance groups gave me a feel for the tide of change as it swept in. The one lost soul on the "in-power" government was Gen. Getachew Nadew ( then the Gov. General ) , and just weeks before the Derg destroyed in residence ( with he and his family in it ) I had a quiet conversation and a shot Johnnie Walker Black , he was Eritrean born , US Trained , and knew his time was coming to an end.

Really seems I've rambled on a bit too long , I'm getting Psy'd beyond belief.

Again thanks for all the hard work everyone has , I've done High School reunions last year and 10 years earlier, lots work but satisfying.
John A. Morris III

Here are John's stats that he sent along - Rick.
Aug. 1971 - to last flight out 1977 , US Navy , NAVCOMSTA (SPECOMM) , E5/ETN2 '71-'74 US Navy / '74-'75 CISCO OPS / '75-'76 PAE / '76-'77 CISCO OPS

Actively raced orange Alpha Romeo GTV 1600, close to the Italian community, married in 1975 to Lucia Filippini in Asmara, still have relatives and active contacts living in Asmara and Assab, took lots of B/W images during tenure (sports, country side, local culture, and final days of the facilities.

John E. Royal early '60s

My name is John Royal, my father was stationed at Kagnew in the early 60's. Of all the bases I lived on as an army brat; and then as a active duty member in the Air Force; Kagnew Station has always been my favorite.
Good luck to you and thanks for the site.