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Peter Deacon 43 (Massawa)

I arrived in Massawa in November 1943 aboard HMS Sirius, a Dido-class AA cruiser, along with about 500 crew. Our ship had been bombed off Scarpanto in the Dodecanese a few weeks previously with major damage and loss of life. Minor repairs were made in Alexandria but we were ordered to proceed to Massawa for dry-docking. Sirius was in Massawa for 6-8 weeks and during that time I was transferred to the Port War Signal Station at the naval base (HMS Bull). I got marooned there because another signalman at the station was long overdue to return to the UK and I was not! I spent about 7 months living at the PWSS in comparative 'luxury' working 4-on,8-off watches in the tower (we were 'busy' if we saw more than one or two ships a week). For nightlife, across the harbour there was a rooftop open-air bar/patio with really rotten beer, there were a couple of restaurants with great spaghetti and gelati, while on the base we had open-air movies almost every night with a good stock of vintage films left behind by the Americans. Admission was free but we had to stand while they played the US national anthem while getting nibbled on my the mosquitos. Every 6 weeks we got a pass to ride the railcar up to Asmara for a long weekend, which was quite a treat. At Ghinda we changed out of our khaki bush jackets and shorts and put on our 'blues' because of the change in temperature. A carton of cigarettes was good barter for all manner of goodies. The food was always excellent and we stayed in a hotel whose name I cannot recall.

All in all, Massawa wasn't all that bad, even the heat was bearable because of low humidity. I got a temendous tan without getting burned, swimming at least twice a day off the breakwater (inside the shark net!), and rowing around the scuttled ships in the harbour. Dysentery was a problem - must have been that rotten beer! Release came in the form of a troopship (SS Dilwara) that took me back to the UK just in time for Hitler's V2 rockets.
Best to all Peter Deacon.

Tom Webb 54-56

Ciao Rick,
I am elated to find among the many web sites one that is exclusively for Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea. It has been 45 years since I left Asmara and my military connections with Kagnew Station. I couldn't help but notice, while going through much of what you have displayed on the web site, that people from the years 1954 to 1956 seem few and far between. Never-the-less, all that I have read, from many of the alumni who served at Kagnew Station, have confirmed my suspisions that very little has changed since I was there. I have only my 8 mm movie film to remind me of what things were like from 54-56.

It might interest you to know that during 1954-1956 our ASA outfit was the first to don the gazelle patch displayed on your web site heading. I remember vividly being issued them to sew on my uniforms. The other patch to the right of your heading I'm not familiar with, maybe someone can bring me up to date as to its origin.

I was assigned to the ASA 8604 unit. My time in Asmara and the country of Eritrea is an experience I will never for- get. I would not trade my time there for anyother place I could have been assigned. I did not serve on the new post. When I left it was just being built. I remember passing it on the way to the communication site. I too have many fond memories to share with you, some would only repeat what I have read about from others.

A doctor here in Michigan turned me on to your web site. He appeared in a feature article in our local newspaper about gathering clothes for the people of Eritrea. I called him and found out that there are five alumni from Kagnew Station located within spitting distance of each other. All of them served later than I did, but that doesn't matter. Once you have served at Kagnew Station you automatically belong to the brotherhood. Kagnew Station was one of a kind and so will the people who served there. Please list me among those that have served. Maybe some of those who served with me will see my message and contact me for a chat.

Owen Keller (McManus)

While at Kagnew Station, I was a Spec 5 and my name was Owen Koeller, which was my stepdad's name. I changed my name back to McManus, which causes confusion in military circles since we basically usually referred to each other by last names. To make life easier, perhaps you could list me as Owen Koeller McManus since they will remember the Koeller. Anyway, I have been on the site a lot, and perhaps now is the time to list. Let me know if there are any suggestions to clarify any name confusion. Thank you for this wonderful memory.

James F. Kidwell 61-63

I arrived at Kagnew Station and E-2, was there for the Berlin and Cuban Crisis extensions and left as an E-5 Sgt. I worked in the com center the entire 32 months. I am sure I did not particularly like it while I was there but I sure have thought about going back many times. I think that is my age creeping up on me. I just realized that it has been 40 years since I first landed in Asmara. I have not had time yet to go thru the list of guys yet but will. I do remember Gascon, he was from the south and had to have his chickery coffee, sent home and got it and most of the guys did not like it. We of course called him GasCan, he arrived shortly before I was sent back to the States. Thanks for all of you who had anything to do with this Organization, I'll be playing with my computer more now that I have something that interests Me.
Again Thanks, Jim K.

Dave Tuttle 67-69

This has brought back so many memories. I have all of the letters that I sent my parents while stationed at Kagnew Station and I had to get them out to see what my address was while stationed there. I have already been in touch with a couple of the guys that were in Asmara while I was there. I would really like to go back to Asmara for a visit. If anyone else is interested in planning a trip, please let me know. I have talked to so many people about Eritrea/Ethiopia and have thought about it many times over the last 32 years. Thank you for sharing this Web Site with all of us.
Dave Tuttle

2nd Note

My name is Dave Tuttle and I came to Kagnew Station in September of 1967 and left in Jan. 1970. I worked in crypto as an o5k2h2.

I never thought that I would hear from so many people that were at Kagnew Station. I was happy to come back to the states after my 2 tours, but I have had many good memories from that experience. In retrospect, it was possibly the best place I could have been during the 60s.
Please add my name to your list!
Dave Tuttle

Leonard Thomas 63-65

I was a member of a band called "The Group". We played at all of the base clubs and also at the Imperial Palace for Haile Sellasie in Addis Ababa. I would like to get in touch with any of the old band members...Don Snow, Dan Calahan and others. We were playing at the officers club on the evening that JFK was shot. Have many stories. Is John O'halloran out there? Rumor has it that you re-upped and spent your bonus on a hot car, had an accident and was partially paralyzed. Any truth?

2nd Note

Hello brother Kagnew Killers...Does anybody remember "Kagnew Killers"?

My name is Len Thomas and I was stationed at Kagnew Station from 1963 to February 1965. I was an E4 commcenter specialist. I was also a member of a musical group called "The Group". I was the second guitar player. The lead guitar player was Don Snow and the singer was Don Callahan. We played music at all of the clubs at Kagnew Station. We were playing at the officers club on the evening the JFK was killed and I'll never forget it.

My best friend was George Thompson, a farmboy from Pennsylvania. The two of us invented the "Kagnew Killer". The Kagnew Killer is: 2 shots of blackberry brandy and one shot of 151 rum over ice, stirred with a green swizzle stick. It tastes like gasoline and kicks like a jackass. The only way to drink a Kagnew Killer is bottoms up.

We used to play music sitting on bar stools (on stage). My friend George would sit at a table at the edge of the stage and the two of us would drink Kagnew Killers all night. I fell off the bar stool many times and broke 3 perfectly good Italian electric guitars. (that was a lie...there never was a perfectly good Italian electric guitar)

It sure would be nice to get in touch with some of the guys I hung with....I have many true, but unbelievable stories. I'm in a hurry and have to run so excuse the bad English and the worst spelling. I will send some pictures at a later date.
Best regards,
Len Thomas

Robert Dodd 63-64

I left Kagnew in 64 and went 6th FS Homested Fla, I was a good friend of the late SP5 John Nelson.

Lauren (Lary) Keiser 65-68

Arabic Linguist; Keyboard player of the band-MAUROCKS

Charlane Tetreault

My son, John Michael Tetreault was born June 9th, 1971 at Kagnew Station in Asmara, Ethiopia. We initially lived in Decamere' where there was a small radio transmitter site for the US NAVY. Gura was the name of it. It was a wonderful place and we enjoyed it very much. Our family lived in the village with about five other families. We traveled with the bus up to Asmara when we needed to go to the base. Because of the shifta's, we needed the protection. My husband was a first class radioman in the Navy, Roland Joseph Tetreault Jr. and has since retired. My son is in the US Air Force. We loved living in Ethiopia. Massawa was a great place and the history of the entire region was wonderful.
Thank You, Sincerely,
Charlane Tetreault

Jon D. Peterson 56-58

Spent much of my Asmara Duty down at the remote site of Ghinda. Hoever, I did have an opportunity to work at the new site in Asmara, and also lived on the new base. Was an interesting tour of duty in the Military, and thoroughly enjoyed.

After 1958, I went to college for one semester - wasn't for me; worked at several different things; Veterans Admin Hospital, Iowa City, IA for 2 years; Hired by Dept of State as a Communications Officer - did that for 27 1/2 years - retired 30 June 1989; working full time now as a Security Alarm Company Monitor/dispatcher. Hope to retire completely in August of 2002 and try to survive on my Govt Annuity and Social Security - if there is any left by tat time.

Glad to finally be able to get registered on this site, Thanks in advance.
Jon Peterson.

Tom Warner 70-74

I did go to Eritrea in 94 for two weeks with a group consisting of retired Army, dependents, peace corps, and other interested parties. We had a chance to see first hand the damages of the war, and we were told we were the first Americans allowed on Kagnew Station. This was an escorted bus tour by the Minster of Defense and Protocol, and believe it or not, they even opened up the Top Five Club and prepared a party for us consisting of Zigginy, Asmara beer (ex-Meloti), and played some old rock n roll records they had stashed away. We had thirty minutes to walk around the base and take photos without any restrictions. The bowling alley was in fair shape, the chapel building itself was in good shape but the inside was barren and the pews are damaged. Most of the Eritrean Government hierarchy was living on the base and may be a reason why no one is allowed to enter the base without permission and an escort. We hosted a cocktail party in conjunction with the American Ambassador for the President and his cabinet at the Amba Soira Hotel, it was great to hear their personal stories of the battles and how they came to defeat the big Army of Ethiopia.

Genny Burnham (Render) 69-72

Dear Rick,
My father (E6 Ed Burnham ASA, 69-72) was stationed at Kagnew. I was six years old when we moved there. My name is Genny. I remember Track B like it was yesterday, as I went to School, church and to the movies there. We lived on Track A across the street from the Rod and Gun Club. I would like to find the next door neighbor boy (Mike Hill) his father I believe was Robert. Most Importantly I would like to find a pilot who flew the C141, the Starlifter, I think. Not long after we were there I needed eye surgery, We flew to Frankfort Germany on this C141, My dad and I with these crew members. They allowed me to sit in the cockpit and fly the plane. I was so impressed by the aircraft and all the buttons the for the next 12 years all I talked about were airplanes and helicopters. I now own my own helicopter company operating in Atlanta GA. I would very much like to thank the pilot and crew of that flight. I now have my dad's pictures of Asmara, Massaua, Kerren, the horse stables(not the American Stables but the one across the street out by Track C). All of them were slides. I have just spent over $100 converting them to photos My dad used to go hunting with someone by the name of Mr. Allen, Mr. Johnson (wife's name was Alice, and Mrs. Dana Hamilton and husband. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks,
Genny Burnham Render

William W.H.(Bill) Laverty 62-64

I'd like to be included in your email listings for Kagnew Station. My name is William W.H.(Bill) Laverty. I was assigned to HQ. Co. from April 62 to April 64. I worked for special services and spent about 14 months at the R&R center at Keren with Ralph Dellinger who had been there forever and later with John McClean who did several tours at Keren.

Steve Gambino 72-74

I was stationed at Kagnew from 1972 thru 1974. I was a SeaBee who worked at Gura and the Main Station in the Public Works facilities and power plant. I have many stories to tell, from Missionary activity to Flying people to various places within Ethiopia - nobody did what I was able to do, basically, a lot of wonderful experiences.
Steve Gambino

John Sell 59-62

I was assigned to Kagnew Station from April 1959 through June 1962. I then transferred to the Teheran Relay Station and stayed there until June 1965. I worked as a crypto operator and section NCOIC at USAMESA. I would appreciate a holler from anyone there during that period of time.
John Sell

Eddie Howell 68-70

I was in Tract B also. I worked mostly in the crypt-graphic room at the site behind locked doors. I became a sgt E-5 in '69. I don't remember you. It must be an age-thing or something. I played right field most of the time on the Jets softball team. Steve Shupe played center field and Manske played left. I played left-field once in-a-while too. I was there from Nov 68 thru Apr 70. I'm sure we must have crossed paths. I was on the 3rd floor. I'll have to look for a picture of you on the Kagnew Station web page. I think I do remember Wojo. He was one of the forwards. Right? Harris was center, Nat Wheeler was one of the guards. I was not a starter on the team. Once Wheeler came I sat on the bench. He was great.

Keep on giving me more info on yourself. This is getting interesting. I'm sure my memory will start to jog.
Take care.

John Spoonemore

George M. Spoonemore (70-72) was my dad. I miss him. Some you may have known him. If you did, could you email me? I'd sure like to know who his friends were. My name is John Spoonemore.
Thanks for listening...

Ann Peterson

Good Morning Rick,
Have a question... is it OK to add my name to the Roster, I worked in the Post Dental Clinic as a Dental Assistant for Dupont, Hastings, Plank (forgot their rank) too long ago. Jim as I stated before worked with STRATCOM, but some people may remember me too. Dental Clinics are not a fun place, so some memories may be there.
Thanks, and really enjoyed those stickers,
Ann Peterson

Steve Bolnik 71

Thank you for providing this site. It's a critical link to my past.
Steve Bolnik
Stratcom, 1971

Grady Olmstead 69-70

Hi Rick
Please add me and my twin brother to the e mail listing. We were both at Asmara from Jan 69 til July 70. His email address is and you got mine from this email. Also note that we were 72B's at work.
Thanks Again

Jack Creamer 70-71

I just noticed that the counter has passed the tenth of a million mark. Congratulations! The popularity of the site gives testament to the hard work that you've put into it. The site remains one of the most pleasing to read, easiest to navigate, and ____ (Fill in your own superlatives).

Great job! Thanks for all that you do...
Jack Creamer
Stonehouse 70-71

Jesse Booth 67-69

SSG, NCOIC of Inside Plant Branch, also played in bands (The Chosen Few, Mark VI, and Shifty Kickers)Motorcycle, 250 Suzuki Scrambler. Retired MSG E8 and GM-15

Jeff Miller 70-72

Dear Rick:
Thanks for notifying me about being added to the Kagnew Roster. I am particularly grateful to you and everyone that has contributed to creating the website. I lost most of the pictures and documents I had from that era in a fire, so what was becoming a distant memory has come back to life, and I have already found some long-lost friends. I just want you to know that your efforts have filled a very large vacuum in my life, and that I am extremely grateful and appreciative of everything you are doing.

I have downloaded just about every picture or document that I can relate to (about 500 of them) from the site, and I have put them in a slide-show format (Micrograpix SnapShot) and burned them to a CD so that I will never again be without images of the most unique time of my life. I would be happy to send you a copy if you'd like one, since you're the one that made it possible for me to create it in the first place. Just let me know and it's on the way. It's not professional or anything, but it will continue to be a work in progress. Once again, my profound thanks for a great website.
Jeff Miller

Christine Lum 58-61

Aloha from Hawaii.
I am Christine J. Lum, and I lived at Kagnew Station with my dad, Nick Lum, my mom, Rose C., and my sisters Loreen, Nickie, and Lani from 1958-1961. We had a great time there, and I will never forget it. I've been through a marriage, a divorce, and a civil service career that was a bit more successful: it began in 1967 and ended recently on January 31, 2002, just 12 days after reaching the age requirement. I promised myself when I first began that I would retire the minute I achieved the full requirments. I kept that promise, although, as a computer specialist, there were incentives to stay in. You must keep the promises you make to yourself, and another I made when I was little came true when we were lucky enough to be stationed at Kagnew in Asmara. That was to learn to ride a horse (I've always been a horse-crazy kid). My teacher was Sgt. McAllister. He was assisted by Lynn Grumbles, who lived above us across from the baseball field with her parents (Margaret and ?), her sister (Janet) Page, and her brothers (Owen) Kent and (Michael) Mark. How's that for memories?!!! Anyway, that dream was the start of a lifelong love of and association with horses, so Kagnew was a catalyst for me.

How about it? Is there anyone out there who remembers the stables right outside the wall and the bunch of horse crazy kids who frequented it? There are many names I remember, but they may fade if you don't write to me and say hi! It was a great time to be a kid, those days at Kagnew.
With fond memories and much aloha,
Christine Lum, ~cjl_