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Randall Laster 72-73

In November of 72 I was transferred to USAH Kagnew Station after the 225th Station Hospital in Munich closed.

I did not know what to expect but was surprised at my arrival to find a flourishing outpost set in an exotic location.

My specialty was Surgical Tech and was assigned to the Operating Room at the Hospital. However, because there was not that many surgeries going on we did other duties. I spent time in the emergency room, cast room, several clinics and pulled ambulance detail more than a few times.

One of my duties was to drive the Dodge Van over to a collect Liquid Nitrogen from one of the outlying sites. We used the Liquid Nitrogen to do wart removal by freezing them.

I also pulled independent duty down in Massawa at the Hotel/R+R center. Can't remember the name but it was run by an NCO and there were two MPs and two Navy supply guys stationed there also. One of the MPs either owned or borrowed a Jeep that was painted with Zebra strips that we drove around in.

While there a film crew was filming Shaft in Africa with Richard Roundtree. Met him a couple of times and he was very nice. Got his autograph one night when the film crew brought copies of Shaft and Shaft's Big Score and we watched them on the patio of the Hotel.

A while later I went back with an Ambulance to attend the Ethiopian Naval Graduation. Had a good time except I ate or drank something I should not have and contracted Salmonella.

I also owned a Yamaha 125cc Enduro and rode it all over Asmara and out into the country. Did not go too far but did so some exploring.

At one point I went on a trip to the monastery at Debra Damo with several other people. We had two vehicles, a Chevrolet Blazer that I believed belonged to the base dentist, and a small Datsun Sedan. I rode in the Blazer and at one point we didn't think the Datsun was going to make it up the hill but it did. However, the two women with us had to stay with the cars as Debra Damo does not admit women.

I was sorry when the Army pulled out as there we other things I wanted to do but duty called and I was shipped off to the 196th Station Hospital at SHAPE in Belgium.

I do still have the plaque that they gave all of us when we left. Just a simple wooden plaque with the Hospital Insignia and our name and rank.

I would like to hear from anyone that was stationed at the Hospital during my short stint. I have written to a couple of people already and look forward to conversing with them.

Randall.Laster "at"

Dwight Gibson 64-67

It was December 25, 1964 when Rose arrived in Asmara. After living in one bedroom apartment type place we met Ron and Shirley Dill. They invited us to live with them, and we did for about 30 days while we waited for approved housing to rent downtown.
What a great couple and family!

From left to right - Rose and Dwight Gibson, Shirley and Ron Dill. This pic is at the Dills' with number 12 behind us. They live in Orange Park, FL.

John Stokes Mapping Mission

I do thank you for contacting me. I can tell you one thing about Kagnew, that being we at the Mapping Mission always looked forward, even the times when we had to have dental work done, coming up to Kagnew Station, because we didn't have nearly enough items or amenities like you all had up there. To me Kagnew Station was like a kid in a candy store, getting to enjoy having Malts and Milk Shakes for one, that we didnt have available at the Mapping Mission in Addis Ababa, nor having a PX the size you had. Ours was in a very small room off the Mess Hall and the Commissary up there was a favorite spot for the Military wives to visit once a month to buy all the food items they'd need, or until payday came around again. It was a treat coming up to Kagnew for a lot of people, me being one of them.

William Veach 60-62

Thanks for the quick response. While a dependent I went through the 4 th and 5 th grade at the American School. I was still pretty young but old enough to remember the whole experience. We had alot of good memories hunting and fishing. Once I was turned on to the Kagnew web site I've really enjoyed browsing through it. My Dad died in 83 from Heart failure. I would really like to find someone that knew him or worked with Him. I believe he was in the guard company, His name was Sgt. Earl Veach. Could be wrong about that unit. At age 11 I really wasn't to interested in what my Dad did.

Nice hearing from ya!! Have a good day and again.
Thanks alot.

Roger Hall 71-73

I was stationed at Kagnew station from Oct 71 to Dec 73. I was a cook at "Moms Place." Your web site shur stirred some memories up. I got to feed Richard Roundtree ( Shaft in Africa) and Haile Sellassi twice. The mess sgt was Roger K. Shook. Who can't forget the Top 5 club and the putt putt golf range. Anybody remember the Quic draw incident with the M.P.s? Well it is great to hear from fellow Kagnewites.

Once again thanks for the blast from the past.

Bob Palombi 61-62

Hi..My name is Bob Palombi.
I was at Kagnew Station from Jan l961 thru Sep 1962. I worked in Crypto at one of the sites. My best friend John Bartosik and I bought a 1950 Chevrolet (Black) that was passed around and around and seemed only to be repaired by a mechanic called Giovanni. I fell in love with one of the Italian girls who worked on Kagnew (Tita) but she at the time was dating one of the MPs so that did not work out. I still have a card from the Oasis Club where my favorite meal was always hamburger steak and potatoes. I was a part of a flag football team for which I was the quarterback and for which we lost all six games. No Heisman trophy for me. I will always remember the great job that the houseboys did and I will always remember the beautiful weather at Kagnew, day in and day out. Thanks for allowing me to e-mail you and best of luck to you.

Jerry Kiple 62-64

I was stationed in Asmara from 62-64. Played basketball and bowled on "B" trick. Would love to find or hear from anyone that knows the whereabouts of Jerry Jones (New Mexico), John Maddi, Tom Hegan, Doug Tracy, John Plemmons (North Carolina), Sgt Ed Weber. What great times and memories from those days, Oasis club, sand greens at the Asmara golf course and the local color.
Thank you,
Jerry Kiple Carpe Diem

Jim Sayre 58-59

Dear Sir,
Thanks so much for this web site. I served there 58-59 in the signal corp, visited the Oasis Club most everyday. R&R down to the Red Sea. Had many "Ethi" friends down town. Would love to return for "just a few days" to see how much the town has changed.

Steven R. Burrows 72-73

My name is Steven R. Burrows, I was an MP at kagnew station from Aug 72 thru Dec 73.

David Lake 69-70

I was at TV-Radio 69-70 and was the 2nd Kaptain Kagnew, it was a blast! I would like hear from any of the folks who worked at the station then. (Hal Gardner, Ev Brewer, Dan Minchen)

Frank McGuire

I have not yet been listed on the roster, but that is sure to come.
Frank/Francis X. McGuire,
130 Devon Loop, Apt. 5,
Staten Island, New York 10314.

Danny Stockwell

Keep up the good work. This web site has kept me connected with my old buddies, Bill Clark and Tom Jenkins. We got a little reunion together in '04 in Charlotte and 20 people showed up.

Bruce Haupt 64

Bruce W. Haupt 058 in Asmara during 1964, before being recalled stateside to Attend USMA Prep School at Ft Belvoir. Never went to the Point & finished up my enlistment at Kuma Station in Chitose, Japan. Ham radio call sign k3myi and operator at both ET3USA [Kagnew] and KA9MF [Kuma]. After discharge, went to U. of Md. at College Park on the GI Bill from 66-70. B.A. in International Affairs, then {no longer on the GI Bill] to U. of Baltimore for 3 years of law school. J.D. in 1973, Co-founder -- University of Baltimore Law Review. Admitted to MD & DC Bars in 1973. No longer practice law, but am now a Realtor with Realty Executives of DC with MD, DC & VA licenses.

Great Trick C reunion in May, 06 at Tysons Corner, Va. Nice to see everyone I haven't seen in 42 years!

Bruce on the loose

John Kaylor

Name is John Kaylor Tour 67-68.

Joseph J. Ford

I was stationed in Kagnew twice in 65 and again in 67 - CommCent 72b20.
Joseph J. Ford

Tom (Tommie Joe) Johnson 60-61

Rick, Just revisited your email page and see that I made some typo's on it. I was there from Jan.. 60 to Oct. 61. I was one of the few who did manage to get out after we were all extended six months (see Tom Millers note). I was able to use my reading of the Army Regulations to sucessfully argue that in my case, my extension was aganst army regs, and should be returned to the states. I was given the option of Vint Hills or Two Rock. I wanted to go to California, but figured I was not too popular with the person who would write my orders, so I said I wanted to go to Vint Hills. I was sent to Two Rock instead. Later, I was able to use similar arguments to get an early out to return to college in Feb. 62. Result was that my Berlin Crisis extension resulted in about 3 weeks longer military service.

Personal update: My email address has changed (click name above). It's now I also use . I fully retired in 2001, but still live near Crestview, FL. Back in '96, I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, and have been controling it with CHT (combination hormone therapy). Recently, my PSA started to rise, and a bone scan showed bone mets in my pelvis, so I have just completed 4 weeks of radiation therapy. If any one wants to correspond about PC, I'll be glad to respond. I have been a facilitator of our local PC support group for several years.

Sherry Renfrew

Rick: I was from Georgia, 20 years old, first time on an airplane, by my self to meet my husband in Asmara. I had $40 cash to my name, no credit cards in March 1970. I flew Al Italia from New York to Rome, Italy. In Rome, we started to take off on Ethiopia Airlines and a bomb was found strapped to the latrine. We finally got stopped, went down the shoots, was on TV. After hours of interrogation, we got back on the plane and another bomb was found in the mail bags. Went from there to Beirut, Athens, then Addis Ababa. No one knew where we were for 3 days. Johnny kept going to the airport and no word on our where abouts. Some of his tape ape buddies finally got ticker tape of the bomb on the plane, that was all it said, no word of crash, if we were okay. Had 2 wonderful years, but hard years in Asmara. You know the feeling!!! We left January 1972, and when we finally started to land in New York City, another plane was on our runway and we almost hit. We circled using up fuel for 3 hours, then when we did land, the engines caught fire. Firetrucks were everywhere. I brought back a cat from Asmara, he finally weighed 25 pounds. He had a passport and had his own seat on the plane when we left Ethiopia. I have since divorced Johnny, but someday would like to attend some of the Kagnew Station Renunions. You had to be there to understand the closeness of the people you came in contact there. Don't know if you remember our car, but was the silver 240Z Datsun, black hood. I will try to forward a picture for the website if you will forward me your address. Again, thanks for bringing back all the wonderful memories.

Dave Washburn 61-63

Rick this is a great site. Keep up the good work.

My name is David Washburn and have been on the roster for a couple of years. I have really enjoyed seeing the photos and reading the stories. Please keep up the good work. We are all approaching senior citizen status, I retired this year after 41 years at Ford Motor Co and hell, the newest of the “Normans” are in their middle fifties. We Kagnew vets need this site just to remember our youth.

I was ASA at Kagnew Station as a TTY repair from 10/61 to 11/63. Cleared the site the day Kennedy was killed and left the following Friday. Ran around with Bill Harder, Myron Hood, Don Austin and Marv Schenbly and many others that I can't recall their names. When I arrived my security clearance wasn't finalized so I hung around Opns. Company for about a week. One day while checking the bulletin board across from the CO's office I thought that I recognized the guy standing there. So I moved around to see his name tag and it was Bill Harder. Bill and I were in the same class at Fordson High School in Dearborn, MI. Seventeen years after I left Kagnew, while working as an engineer at Ford, a salesman that called on my office thought that he knew me from somewhere. We sat down and talked about anything and everything that might jog our memories. Asking him about military service he said that he served in the ASA. Come to find out that he arrived at Kagnew about three months before I left and that how we knew each other. It really is a small world.

If any one is interested, I found and placed marked Kagnew Station on the "Google Earth" website. Just go to the site and rotate the earth till you get to east Africa and click on the stickpin. You can see Mama Kathy's, the Bar Fiori, the Bosch, etc.
David K. Washburn
Class of ‘63

Wesley Napoleon Howell Jr late 50s

I love your web site

My Dad, Sgt Wesley Napoleon Howell was stationed at the station in the late 50s. He was a member of the honor guard and I remember him wearing those chrome helmets and holding Old Glory on a marching pole in the parade field. Dad was assigned to taking Brass out on safari and he was known amongst his fellow GIs as the Great White Hunter.

He carried a six shooter on the hip and carried some sort of rifle over his shoulders. I have pictures of him with the Gazzle patch on his hat. We had a pet monkey that was very protective of us as children even so that she killed a police dog and we had to put her down.

When I was there as a child we spoke Italian as a second language...I remember. Dad still has pictures probably faded by now but I am sure he would love to meet you by way of email and mayby send you a few scanned ones. He is in his seventies. Here is his email address wesleyhowell "at" sbcglobal "dot" net.
take care and thanks for the memories
Wesley Napoleon Howell Jr

Guerry Eaton 55-57

Please add me to the e-mail list: Guerry Eaton 55-57

John Eady Simmons Jr. 73

Hello Rick,
Can you add this to your Kagnew Veterans emails?

I was in Hawaii in 1973. I worked at the Satellite Tracking Station there. The Navy asked for volunteers to go to Asmara to work at that tracking station. As usual the Navy made promises of choice of duty for those that volunteered. Believe it or not I was not satisfied with the duty on Oahu. And I thought that this would be a good experience and they did promise choice of duty after that assignment. So I volunteered to go to Asmara.

After a period of leave at home in Georgia, I flew to New York and then on to Paris and Athens in Greece. I was told that the flights on to Asmara would be delayed several days. This left me in a pickle. I did not have much money with me. I met a Chief Petty Officer who was also going to Asmara. I can not remember his name now. But he loaned me some money and we stayed at a facility there in Athens for Americans. My memory fails me now exactly where this was. I had an opportunity to see some of Athens including the Acropolis. When the flight was available I left and flew to Asmara via Cairo, Egypt and Jedda, Saudi Arabia.

I arrived in Asmara and was taken to Kagnew Station. I was berthed in the barracks there for the enlisted men. While there I met several of the Army personnel that were still there. They were great guys to hang out with and soon some others that I knew personally arrived. I was trained to work on the SatCom equipment in New Jersey at Ft. Monmouth. The classes at Ft. Monmouth for the Satellite facility were small and included Navy and Army personnel. Some of the Navy personnel in my class soon arrived in Asmara as well. These included John Sverre from Pennsylvania who was in my class. Later Dave Scott arrived. Dave was from West Virginia. Others that I remember working with were Jim Newland and Wayne Davenport.

I found it very interesting there at NavComSta Asmara and to be in a forgeign country. The culture was quite different and of course the languages as well. I have memories of my time there. They worked us hard at the SatCom facility especially during the Mideast War of 73. I do not know if others from NavComSta or Kagnew know much of the Satellite Tracking facility but we had an antenna structure that had a 40 foot diameter parabolic reflector that was mounted on a pedestal about 20 or 30 feet high with a metal grate catwalk about 15 feet off the ground for maintenance access. The antenna was covered with a geodesic dome that was Army green. Our Satellite antenna structure sustained major malfunctions during the most critical time of communications during the 73 war.

This required us to work very long and exhausting hours. One of the 40 hp motors that operated the antenna in azimuth and elevation sustained complete failure but we could not stop the com link to effect repair. I remember very vividly what we had to do. We used a hand crank for the antenna structure to position the antenna in following the movements of the satellite. To accomplish this we would take shifts about every 4 hours and climb the antenna structure to the catwalk and sit there and crank the antenna with instructions by headset from the command trailer. Somehow we managed it and completed our mission. I also bear a scar on one of my thighs from that catwalk. I was cut by a piece of metal on the catwalk once during some work being done on the antenna.

I have many other memories of the time there and the people I worked with and had fun with. I was an ET or electronics technician. I have other experiences that I remember in particular a very funny one that occured at the SatCom facility. I will send another email for you on that one. With regards to all those that served at Kagnew and NavComSta.
John Eady Simmons Jr.
Maryville, Tennessee