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Larry Limbach 67-69

I was at kagnew 1967-69...with AFRTS. I lived downtown at white apartments...which the ethies called "white palace"...on Haille Selassie, at Leonardo da Vinci Blvd. I have many photos and super 8 films of the area: Asmara & Massawa. Some of the people I can recall are: Steve and Pat Howard...from MD; Al Osborne from Baton Rouge; Ed Elizando from Gary, IN; Carl Ramsey, Jack Gallagher, just to name a few. I'm at Box 2795, Decatur, IL, 62524, 1-217-423-1416. I've been in radio and tv since 1963. email: I'd enjoy hearing from you.

Luigina & Giuseppe Marini Fichera 60s

Dear Sir,

We are mailing you from Brasil, I currently work at the Italian Consulate in Belo Horizonte. My wife has recently retired and soon I will too. We have talked about going back to Eritrea as tourist this time to see places where we went out on our first dates, but sometimes to have memories is a better choice.

My wife and I grew up in Eritrea, and I had the opportunity to work for 5 years as a surveyor at Kagnew Station during the 1960's. I am very pleased to see pictures that bring such fond memories. Thank you very much for taking me back to some memorable years!!! My wife and I are grateful.

Luigina & Giuseppe Marini Fichera

Warren Krech 72-73

What a great website!

I'm Warren Krech -- Kagnew HHC 72-73. I was a lifeguard at the pool, and worked at AFRTS on the morning show with Mike King & Roland Richter. Also was "Crater Eddie" on the Saturday morning TV cartoon show--gave candy to the kids, and took pies-in-the-face from the crew. Did some live shows at the theater, including a production of "The Odd Couple" -- I was Felix, Al Duff was Oscar. I was adequate, he was perfect.

I roomed with Duff and Al Stevens, and hung-out with a loosely-knit bunch of guys calling ourselves the "2nd Floor Fire Department." We got the knickname following an unfortunate episode involving Boone's Farm and a barracks fire extinguisher.

I see Jim Hyland (finance office) every few years, and correspond from time to time with the crazy Texans. Got an e-mail once from a Navy guy, Danny Carr. I would love to hear from any of you guys. Those were great days. Anyone remember or know about Corey Atwell, Mike Kurtyak, Bob Carruth, Tom Hess, Pat Pipes...?

I talked with Tom Ryan once in Chacago in the early 80's--he was a manager at the Hyatt downtown, and I passed him on an escalator. I'm in Columbia Missouri doing a morning radio show with my son Ben. Wanna hear it? Hit Happily married for nearly 25 years--son and a daughter. My email is

My kids used to ask, "what did you do in the Army, Dad?" Well-- you're not gonna believe this, but...

Albert Shank 61-63


Just got "wind" of this page by looking up some information for my spouse, a native of Asmara, whom I married in 1967. I am Albert F. Shank, II. I served at Kagnew Station from February, 1961 until August, 1963 in HHC I was an E4 assigned to HHC as a Supply Specialist/Clerk to the old Post Ordnance building located off base near the Bar Tabacchi. I was an Italian linguist as we employed indigenous staff in our accounting section.

I married Alba Vittoria Verdacchi, a teacher at the Scuola Media "Eduardo DeAmicus" in Keren, Eritrea, born in Asmara. We have been married for 33 years. Our family is now in Italy, having left Asmara in 1970.

Very nice page! Hope to talk to you soon.

Ed Davis 67-69

Just found your site. I served in the Navy at Kagnew from Oct. 67 to Feb 69.

Got there just when 12 elisted and 1 officer got busted for smoking pot. Officer booted out, elisted put on ships.

Great memoirs. Great people Ethiopian waiters could take an order from 6 guys without writing anything down and get it correct. Was I dreaming or could we really get a full course steak dinner for about 75 cents? Maybe it was an Oasis (club).

Ed Davis from NJ

Herman J. Bir (Joe) 69-71


I served in Asmara from mid 1969 and left in Jan 71. I was with the ASA and I worked at what I think was called Tract C I don't remember a lot about my time there except that sereral buddies and I used to ride our motorcycles down to Massawa and spend time soaking up the sun at the resort there. Oh yea, I also spent a lot of free time helping out at an orphanage that was run by some Italian nuns.


Allen Peacock 57-59


I was originally from MS, worked in "E" section (crypto room), SP4, 12/57-12/59, rode big Zundapp motorcycle.

Is there anything about the old site? When I first got to Kagnew, we were working in the underground room, very close to the new site and had to pass through a room where the wrapping & packaging was going on (Hard copies of everything that was being shipped by courier back to traffic analysis in Vint Hill Farms near DC). There was a fan up high down there that provided ventilation to "E" section (crypto room). The chaff, bits of paper that came off the perforated tape that we used was collected in a small metal box underneath the teletype machines. Somebody would throw a handfull of this 'chaf' into the fan and the stuff would be scattered all over the place and was a mess to clean-up. Very difficult to sweep and control.----We only worked a very few months underground before we moved a short distance away to the new building that was all nice and airconditioned. Every morning (three times a day actually) we'd get off the bus and stand in line to be security checked before going in the building to work and what a sight! Picking at the laborers that were standing around with their lunch in the little covered dish, I remember trading' my apple or banana from the messhall for a covered dish!

Thanks for what you're doing, Rick

Ed Dubil, Jr. 70-71

Dear Rick,
My dad received your e-mail response today. He was touched that you started this web site (sorry I can't take that credit-Rick) for the vets. My dad doesn't talk much about his service in 'nam but we do share stories about Asmara. The reason being is that once my dad came back from Vietnam in 1969, he was sent to Vint Hill (I was born 11/01/69). After his schooling there he was sent to Asmara and took me (4 months old) and my mother with him. We were there until 1971 and the three of us came back to Pa. (also my mom was the 7 months pregnant). My dad always teases my sister that she has a stamp on her but that says, "made in Ethiopia". You may have read that my dad picked up a 1929 Chrysler Pick-Up over there. He drove it everday to the base and then he brought it home in 1971. He still has it and we show it around the country. Proudly showing the old Asmara license plate. The truck has been appraised at $500,000. It is certified as the only Chrysler truck ever built. Here we found out that a German brewmaster from Berlin personally knew Walter P. Chrysler and he had it specially made for him. The truck went from Germany to Bologna, Italy during the war and was used in the Italian takeover of the Northern province of Eritrea. SFC Charles Fornwalt bought the truck in 1966 of a Ethiopian family that had been using the truck on a small cotton farm.(ran kerosene in it) They said they hid the truck from the Italians in 1943 by hiding it in an old shed. If anybody remembers my dad or my family (the truck has also been called my big brother too) please contact my dad at (717)675-0160 or e-mail us at
Thanks for the reply,
Edward G. Dubil, Jr.

Joe Ewing 68-70

I really can't place you but I am sure we probably knew each other. I arrived in Asmara October 1968 with my wife Cecelia and daughter Kathy. I was a 2nd Lt. and after a short while Col. Higgs appointed me to be the STRATCOM Company commander. I was a big guy 6'4" tall and the first officer there with a mustache. I lived just outside the back gate of Tract B not far from the auto shop. I was into old cars and trucks. I started buying and selling old cars. Some of which I rented out from time to time. I had a 1960 right hand drive VW with reversed wheels and a modified carburetor and exhaust that ran up and down the mountain to Massawa real well. Several of the enlisted guys in the barracks love to rent that car on the weekends. As a result I almost never got to drive it on the week end. I also had a IH Scout that I bought from an NCO who got it from Property Disposal. It had been modified by replacing the rear axle with one from a Jeep. The gear ratios didn't match the front axle, so if you put it in four wheel drive it would lockup. My ingenious solution was to put 15 inch wheels on the front and 16 inch wheels on the back. This required a minimum of two spare tires. I also modified the Scout by building my own Safari wagon type of top. You couldn't miss it.

We often went to Massawa and to once to Keren. Our first big trip was to Axum and Gondar to see the Blue Nile Falls. We traveled Lt. Moir and his wife and Lt. Wallace. We took a week and it was a fun trip. I still remember Lt. Moir trying to call STRATCOM from a village with one telephone. He actually got through.

I was also a volunteer DJ on Armed Forces Radio Asmara. Most of the enlisted guys in the Company knew I was on the radio and got a kick out of it. I was known as Country Joe Williams and did a country show Mon-Fri 6-7pm as long as I was Company Commander. My wife and I played Duplicate Bridge with the club. Cecelia was the organist for the Post Chapel and played for both the Protestant and Catholic services. She was also the music director of a musical production of Bye Bye Birdie and some other musicals staged by a group that I believe was called the Kagnew Players.

May 1969 I made 1st Lt. and Col. Higgs appointed me OIC of the Plant Division where Joe Wilder was my NCOIC and Dave Nelson was NCOIC Carrier Section. They were my main men and the best damn NCOs in the Army.

Dave and I became good friends and he and his wife Judy travel all over Ethiopia with me and my wife Cecelia. We did a 2000 mile 21 day trip in April 1970. That was an experience of a life time. Towards the end of the trip Dave and Judy returned to Asmara while Cecelia and I drove into Lalibella. I believe we were the only Americans to drive into Lalibella, at least while we were stationed in Asmara. It was on hell of a trip but we loved it, even though two Ethiopians commandeered a ride with us. Actually with out them as guides we might have been completely lost.

Three weeks after we got back I was promoted to Captain and got orders transferring me to Vietnam. We departed June 1970 and returned by way of Addis Ababa and Kenya where we visited Nairobi and the Amboscli Game reserves and took pictures of many animals.


Bob Purcell 70-72

I served at Kagnew from Jan 70 till the ASA pullout in 72. I was an 05K at tract C and of course with Co A under Capt Ras. My son was born over there in January of 71. I have very much enjoyed looking over this entire story and will tell anyone I know to look it up. What great memories.
PS I currently live in San Marcos, Texas

John Harris 65-66 (Kagnew Page co-creator)

No I am not dead...not totally anyway. John Harris here. I am so happy to see the page doing so well. Kagnew folks are the best. At the end of this week I will be activating two email addresses. One is : the other is I will confirm at the end of this week. Moved my house, bought a Gonzo Monster MAC-G-3. I can be in communication a lot now.

Rick, you have done such a great job of keeping the Gazelle Flag flying. Page looks great. More importantly, a very special bunch of folks have a place to meet.

John Harris...65-66 ( hey how do I buy a reunion shirt)

Luther Smith 64-67

Hey Rick!

Great to hear that John and Mike will be back with us. Like me these two guys are getting a bit Grey Headed, but still have a lot of humor in them. I can remember them both, when they were real young, and they haven't changed very much. Thank Goodness. Ahhh! For the good old days. Nooo! I dont think so. Friends Yes, Hardships No! Miss the great Lemonade, and the Good Cook-Outs, with the best steaks in the world from Mr. Gola's Meat Market. Flies and all. The great Basketball Games, and me harassing the Referees. Bowling Night, and my handicap. Big Tex the MP, and John Howard, a Natural Athlete, excelled at any sports he played. Haille Salasse, shopping at the Commissary, Buying up all the Salem Cigarettes. Going up on the Mountain, and talking with ELF Leader. Patching up a Little Eritrean Boy's Cut Foot. That is the Memories I have. Could Go on forever, but it has all been said before.

Thanks for Your Kagnew Page: We deeply appreciate your hard work.

Jim Missenda 70-71

I did some research on my tour of duty in Asmara; I made E-5 in Feb. or March of 1970. I had attended US Army Signal School - Europe 5/70 - 6/70 and I was a SP5 at that time.

I am presently trying to track down 2, possibly 3 more guys who were STRATCOM bods the same time we were. All three are 'Burgh types like myself, either form Pittsburgh or within a fifty mile radius. I'll give you their names and see if any of them ring a bell.

(1) Steve Herniak, SGT, 32B "tape ape"
(2) Bill?, Bob? Stuckslager, SP4, Receivers?
(3) Anthony Macioce, SP4, another 32G "creep" like myself.

I also have 3 or 4 Kagnew Gazelles you may be interested in, including the issue when Gen. Westy stopped in Asmara for 27.5!! - just kidding minutes in Mar. '71. Only problem is, I have no way of scanning them and attaching them as e-mail, this computer I'm on now belongs to the kids!! Maybe I can snail mail them to you, and you can scan them and return them. Let me know your thoughts on this.

ex-SP5 Jim Missenda
Alias "Lizard"

Albert Shank 61-63


I am Albert Shank (, a Kagnew vet and I am in the "vets list" (HHC 61-63). I have a number of things to share: one is a "Guida della Citta di Asmara per 1938" (Asmara guide during the Fascist period); another is an interesting book on agriculture by my in-law, Comm. Giacomo dePonti, on the bao-bob tree. He came to Asmara in 1907 and was a noted agronomist. My late father-in-law, Dr. Geramia Verdacchi, was in charge of malaria control under the mandate regime and my mother-in-law was an OB-Gyn physician in Asmara and Keren. I have told you a little about my wife, Alba, who is a teacher here. Think anyone would be interested in these things? Lots more.

Albert Shank (HHC 61-63) Italian Linguist and Supply Specialist

Al's second note:


I really appreciate this site. I spent about four hours on it today. I have a special affection for Asmara and for Kagnew Station. I also want to tell you how much I appreciate what you are doing. I can scarcely believe you answer all those "e" mails! I posted some additional "info" on Asmara and my family today on the bulletin board. Would anyone out there like to see the original plans to the city as construed by the Fascist Italian administration in 1938? My late father-in-law was a very early party member (card #129) and was also in the Italian Navy as a physician during the war years. My family was taken prisoner by the British in 1942 and incarcerated in a camp. My wife was an infant at the time. They were later released to work for the British mandate as civilians since they were skilled medical professionals. Hope this isn't boring you. I love your page and I almost consider Asmara a "second home". I am going back in the Millenium. More later and thanks again!

Doug O'Donnell 64-65

Just saw your web page as a result of bumping into an old army budy. My name is Doug O'Donnell and I was stationed in Ops Co D trick ASA from Feb 1964 until July 1965. I was a 72b Comm Center and left Kagnew for the 5th RRu in Bangkok and later was sent to Det D of the 5th RRu (7th RRFS Udorn). I live in San Diego and have worked with the Airlines PSA and USAirways. Also a lawyer please email me any info.

Marsha Harris (Thrash) 73-74

This is unbelievable! My husband and I were in Asmara from 1973-74. He was in the Navy. We were married in the base chapel and had our first baby in the hospital! He was one of the very last men to leave the base when it closed (he worked in the print shop). Anyway, throughout the years, I have wondered SO MANY TIMES about what has happened to the base. I've lost touch with practically everyone we knew there. I even have dreams of what it looks like and dream of going back there, which I will probably never get to do. I just got my internet service tonight and was searching for "Asmara", "Eritrea" and although I was glad to have the information gleaned therein, it occurred to me that I could search for "Kagnew" and I am so totally overwhelmed to have this much information! I searched the registered guest roster and didn't see anyone whom I recognized. I will keep in touch this way. I appreciate your efforts SO MUCH! It's just good to see ANYTHING about that place which is so dear to my heart. Thanks for making my evening!

Marsha's second note:

I was so happy to get your message this evening! After all those years of wondering what happened to our base in Asmara, I now have many, many questions answered. I stayed in the net last night, reading mail, etc. until after midnight and I have been so tired today! I'm going back on tonight to read them in more depth. YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED. We lost touch with my (ex) husband's best friend, Dan Carr, from Atlanta, and searched for years to try and find him. But Atlanta GA's a pretty big place. I couldn't think of any way to find him without his SSN. Last night, I went into the roster and THERE HE WAS! I was so happy and it was such a fluke! I e- mailed him, not expecting to hear from him this quickly, and tonight I got home from work and there was a message from him! I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW LUCKY I AM! He said he'd been searching for me and Randy for years. This is just too good to be true. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your efforts!!!!!

P.S. Yes, I do want to go on the roster, if possible, even if we're not married anymore. I can't even remember Randy's rank. He is living in California but I will contact him and see if he wants to go on the roster also. He has e-mail.