|1971-73, Tract F and Gura. I just stumbled on this site and the
happy memories flooded in. Although I didn't realize it at the time; those were
the times of my life. I brought my Guzzi back home (mailed 80% through the APO)
and reassembled it, but when the recession hit and I was two house payments
behind, I had to sell it (running) for the amount of those two late
payments..., $360. God I loved that bike- I will never forgive
Lynn Judy (the American Consulate to Tanzania's daughter) and I romped all over the country on that bike, and we funded those careless weeks with black marketed whiskey and ciggs. She was a really special person and in my naivate of youth, I let her go.
On the first threat to Gura we got the messege that a force of armed men with unknown intentions were approaching our transmitter site. It was the start of the weekend and it was at the end of the day- we could expect no help. When we told the outer perimiter Ethiopian Guards they immediately all took to the hills WITH our weapons, so we had to break into the armory and gather what we could (I grabbed the M-60 and climbed the power plant roof, most of the rest were handed sawed off shotguns! No one showed up (TG)- including the guards. Second threat to Gura- I was at Kagnew and early in the morning they rousted us resting Gura rats and threw us on the 20 passenger bus unarmed. I have no idea what we were supposed to do when we got there, but we were young and dumb and thought of it as an exciting interlude. I was the last person to board and Charlie Decker showed up in the highly modified Fiat coupe' he had just won the Ethiopian Grand Prix in, and said, "Come with me- its faster and safer." Charlie rolled the car off the edge at the 24K hairpin turn, and my only memory of the accident was that everything happened in slow motion. Charlie turned to me and said, "I'm sorry". And, I replied to him, "You've killed us, we can't survive this." as the scenery rolled from mountain to sky, to mountain to sky in-front of us. Any way, I was knocked on impact and Charlie pulled me out of the wreck and carried me back up. When I was discharged in the Brooklyn Navy Yards a year later they declared me to be a 30% DAV, but I argued with them that I completely re-habilitated myself and I didn't want any compensation. Finally they re-declared me as a 10 point vet with 0% disability in-case I ever needed to have work done when I got older. Luckily I never got older. ;-)
Weird story, I drove a friend's white Land Rover with the steering wheel in the center. It was a very rare 1946 version that was supposed to also function as a tractor for farming. He LOVED that Rover and I had to drive it ever so carefully. Recently I was viewing an on-line travelouge where the photographer was traveling through a remote battlefield and there was that beautiful old Rover all stitched up with machine gun bullet holes. I gasped when I saw it. I can only hope my local friend had it stolen from him when the army came foraging through. Weird feeling though.
Someday, if I ever get the money, I want to revisit Asmara and Massawa again. And, when I do I will try and find another Guzzi to bring back home with me- this time to keep forever. Things need to get better over there first- I heard the current government is really brutal and its all but a police state. Shame of it is they were heading in the right direction after they won their independence.
Hey, any one remenber us Gura Rats buying a hyena kit/pup/baby/whatever its called? We thought it would make a cool pet, until it got older and bit the s__t out of Jay Fullerton's arm. Hee hee. Its name was Mad Dog.
Gotta go, Ciao4Now,