Page 9

15 September 1998

Mike Richards '72-'73

Dear Folks;

Imagine my surprise at finding this web treat. I served at the hospital in Kagnew from Dec of 72 until June of 73. I was a speedy four in the clinical lab along with an E-6 by the name of Paul Roberts who is currently living in Texas. This was during the time that the Navy took over the medical operations from the Army. I also put time in as medic on duty at the hotel in Massawa. Tough job! When I wasn't water skiing I actually saw a few patients. I will never forget the NCO club Bingo nights nor the radio station 'The Rock of East Africa'. And how about all those wonderful bars downtown like the Wig Wam? I would love to hear from anyone that was assigned to the hospital during that wonderful time or anyone who for that matter can remember me.

Thanks for a great page.

Bill Prout '64-'66


My name is Bill Prout, and arrived at Kagnew in December 1964. I left in June 1966.

I just reviewed an E-Mail from Tommy Tolbert, who served during the same stretch of time. For Tommy: I remember Wayne Withrow very well; he was from Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is about 100 miles from Richmond. I was a 723 (comm spec) and worked behind the coded door. I remember several other 058's and 059's who were regular party animals from C Trick. Some of these guys were Danny Flynn, Joe Long, Howie Vann, and others I cannot remember. Some of the comm center guys were Glen Coburn, "Tubby Tuttle," "Mary Jane" Melton, and Jerry Lowe. I was saddled with the nickname "Patty," and it followed me to all duty stations.

I have many pleasant memories of this tour, and I could spend hours recollecting. I would be interested in any reunion updates, especially the Norther Virginia group that appears to have an annual reunion.

Rick (and other dedicated to the legacy of Kagnew), keep up the excellent work.

Charles R. (Chuck) Johnson '68-'69

Hi Rick,

My name is Charles R. (Chuck) Johnson. Please add me to the Kagnew pages. My home address is 789 Musago Run, Lake Mary, FL 32746-2251. I'd love to hear from anyone that worked in the Comm Center during that time.

I couldn't believe I happened upon this site. It brought all the memories flooding back. I was stationed at Kagnew from April '68 to November '69. I was in the Communications Center at Tract "C" as a 72B20 and then 72B40. Also did some time at Stonehouse. I got hooked on motorcycle riding while there. Rode a 350cc Ducati single. Even remember the plate number (255). Still have a bunch of pictures that I'll get scanned and send when you're ready.

I'm still riding motorcycles (Harleys). The years have been kind to me. I have three beautiful daughters (two married, one left at home). The interest that the computers at Stonehouse generated have provided me with a wonderful career.

I'm still in touch with two other guys (they don't have email) and as soon as I can call them and get their specifics, I'll add them too. They are Bruce Meitzler (Chicago) and David Mellem (Mineral Wells, TX).

Thanks for a great site and resurrecting the memories!

Luther A. "Smitty" Smith '64-'67

Hey Rick!
I already have my info in the Kagnew Pages: 64 to 67. Nice to see some of the people I knew at Kagnew. I worked In Operations, for about a year, and transferred to the hospital. NCOIC of Patient Admin. Gordon T. Simpson was CO. Col Richard Helfrich, MD was Hospital Commander. I Knew Dr. Dupont, What a great Man.

Does anyone remember the Folk Singers "The Four Phalanges"? Made up of Medical Doctors, and Enlisted. What a group! The Guard Company, and Medics, combined in sports. I remember Big Tex from Guard Company, My Wife Ironed his Uniform for Inspection one night at 11 PM. We were a close group of people, and just like a family.

My wife and I loved all our friends, and Co-workers. Nice to see this page, and keep up the good work. I retired in 79, went on to work in Civilian Hospital, Retired again, 2 years ago. Very Happy. Great Grand Pa. PrettySoon.
Thanks again. Luther A. Smith (Smitty)

Bill Smith '69-'70

(I sent a note to Bill talking about the Oasis. Bill was a manager there. Here's his reply.)

Rick--- You only thought it was iced tea. It was really the natural color of the water (well almost!).

How about nickle Pabst and free old Milwaukee on 'poor mans' nights.

Do you remember the Italian bands that we had at the Oasis?? I was friends with some of them and spent many a night at downtown Italian parties.

I handled the coin counts at the slots. The way it worked was I had a key and the duty officer had a key. I would call and arrange for the duty officer to come and we would open the bandits and count. I also weighed (yes weighed) the alcohol bottles every night to determine how much cash the bars should have taken in. I oversaw the casino table games as well.

Waiters were pretty neat. Amazing how they were able to memorize orders with rarely a mistake. Can you imagine that at a place at home?? Names of some waiters---Shorty, Cascius, Mohammed, Kelly (the head waiter who I have heard is alive and well) Charlie, and I think the one you referred to was called Smiley.

I remember George Allen and after seeing your picture I believe I remember you. Damn-it's been a long time-we must be getting old! My kids are both more than 4 years older than I was when I left Asmara!!

Thanks for sending the picture. I'll send more memories later. Bill

Linda Bolesta Born Eritrea '68

I would like to say I think your page is wonderful. I was born in Eritrea in '68 my father (Dennis Bolesta) was stationed there and he met my mother (Italia) there. He passed away 14 years ago which was before I became interested in learning about him as a person. My mother doesn't really like to talk about home too much. Although she has talked about The Oasis Club which she used to frequent. Which, in reading the homepage stories, many people frequented. So it's been nice to see pictures and read stories about my birthplace.

Also, my mother used to have two best friends there that came to see me in the hospital, which she hasn't talked to since they all parted ways in Asmara. One is Lucia I don't know her last name. She is Eritrean and I believe she now lives in the States. She is also my Godmother. The other friend was Norman, I also don't know his last name. He was stationed at Kagnew and has a wife and I think a daughter about my age. I think he lived in California. I would like to hear from them if they read your page or anyone that knew my parents.

Again I would like to tell you how much I enjoy this page. I can tell you have put a lot of hard work into it.
Linda Bolesta

Nick Olguin '60-'61

I was stationed at Kagnew from 1960 to 1961 with the U.S. Army Communications Agency---I think it was called---later becoming USASTRATCOM. I was a Sgt. E5 shift supervisor at the transmitter plant and spent 18 months there.

Spent ten years in the Army ('56 - '66), then went on to work for the Voice of America for 25 years, followed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for five. Retired in 1995 and live in Jonah, Texas---about 25 NE of Austin.

Blew my mind to find Kagnew's homepage. Read about the conflict 'tween Eritrea and Ethiopia this morning in a Reuters blurb and decided to search for Kagnew. Wotta pleasant surprise. Many thanks to you and those others who have put so much effort into a wonderful website. Terrific!

God bless.
Nick Olguin

Dallas Platt '59-'60

I was stationed at Kagnew Station in 1959-60, attached to the MP's (Sgt. E5), and assigned to Massawa for the last year. It was the best duty ever! The only time I really worked was when the Navy arrived, and them I worked with the Shore Patrol, as a liaison between them and the local police. Lots of photos; if I can dig them out, I'll scan them and send them off.

Some of my fondest memories are of Eritrea, and the friends I made there. By the way, I neglected to mention that I am now living in Oregon, about 25 miles south of Portland. I "retired" last year, after a long career with Portland State University.

Tom Miller '60-'62

Thanks Rick, the way that the site is growing, and the work you guys have done is nothing short of spectacular !! McHenry is about 55 miles NW of Chicago, just south of Lake Geneva, Wi., in the "lakes area".

Just an aside, I recently got together with one of the guys from my time @ KS while out in Portland, Ore. on business. Been going out there for years, he's been in that area for years, but it was the page that got us reconnected.

I was the Pres. of the Oasis Clus Board of Governors, during a period after the mini golf course opened. We also had a major booze sale because we had too much scotch on hand and the new base CO was a Burbon drinker. Never saw so many people convert to scotch so quickly as when we sold scotch for $ 18 a case. Or the time that the base ran out of cigarettes, and all smokers were walking around looking like Ernie Kovacs. Or the time that the Daharan USAF base closed, and KS was dropped from the movie rotation schedule and we ended up with several different Steve Reeves movies for close to a month. He makes Arnold Schwartzenegger look like Laurence Olivier !!!!

Rachelle Turner

My name is Rachelle Turner and I am one of the two daughters of CWIII Jeff D. Turner. My father was stationed at Kagnew Station from April '68 to July '70. He married my mother Senaiet Woldemariam, a native of Asmara, Eritrea. I came across your page and was very impressed. I automatically knew that my father would be overjoyed to see the information you publish as well as get in touch with some of his old buddies. He was an E5 in Stratcom, Kagnew Station, Tract B. Please post his information as a part of your site. I am sure once I pass your e-mail address to him he will write regularly.

He worked for a nuclear arms plant for 27 years and 2 years ago he started his own business. He now owns a Graphic Arts and Design Studio. His focus here lately has been on designing and producing specialized t-shirts, caps, banners, etc for different customers. He would love the opportunity to design something for either the Kagnew Station pages or things that fellow Stracom members would like done. He has been very successful and takes pleasure in sharing his experience and knowledge.

Please forward me any information about reunions for those members that served during his same time. Right now he and my mother currently live in Amarillo, Texas but would very much welcome the chance to reunite with old friends.

Thanks so much for your site and various information pieces. I was very impressed although I know very little about Kagnew Station, my parents were stationed home just months before I was born. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

Rachelle R. Turner

Fred Whissel '69-'71

Can't believe I have never come across this before! Not on your roster, but I served at the field station 1969-71, edited the Kagnew Gazelle (and have copy of every issue during that period). With secondary MOS as photographer -- earned at Kagnew -- I have bunches of b&w and color photos of Kagnew, Asmara, Gondar, Mekale, Axum, etc. Also was lead trumpet in the Combined Services Band. Many fond memories of service. Still in contact with many of the guys (Bronson Davis, Tom Horton, Mike Graves, Charles Krumbein, Joe DiVeglia). Just talked by phone with Maj. A.T. Brainerd, who was up here visiting Yellowstone (we have lived in Jackson Hole for past 14 years, own and operate an audio video store -- web site . Will be interested in browsing your pages, perhaps contributing.

Jack Fuehring '72-'73

Excerpts from 2 of Jack's notes.

Hi, My name is Jack Fuehring. I was stationed at Kagnew from January '72 to January of '73. I was an MP assigned to STRATCOM, and rode dirt bikes at the track past "Tit Hill". Please add me and my E-Mail to the roster.

I live in Massena, New York. Since I saw your page I've been busy remembering some of the things that happened to me while I was in Africa. Dirt bikes were a big part of my life there. I've still got a motorcycle. Every once in awhile it feels like I'm back on the Massawa flats again. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Thanks, Jack

Dick Nimons '68-'69

Thanks Rick, this is great. Just a little about me. I was stationed at Kagnew Station from 68-69. My wife Judy came over in Oct. We lived near the soccer stadium. I was in the navy at the time it was my last tour duty. We went to Keren a lot and had a big Thanksgiving dinner for all of my section there must have been at least 30 guys there. Great time. Used to go horse back riding from the back gate. Would love to hear from any Navy people over there the same time we were. I still have many items from over there. My wife even has a doll from there. Well, thanks a lot and keep up the good work.

Sharon Bon Durant (Adler)

Dear Rick,
Last month I e-mailed you about my parents Robert and Arline Bon Durant . Here are some notes my dad gave to me, maybe they will help.

When my dad first arrived he was the post photographer and was with 4th US Army. This was about 1964. His MOS was frozen he could not get any so he changed to supply and was in Ethiopia until 1967. Some of his close friends 1. Harold Woodward, also known as "Woody", had a band that was to play at the club. 2. Sgt. Major Smith, Grady and June was with stat. comm (might be STRATCOM?). He wanted to know if you have any information on Don Hunizker, he worked in the photo lab... Sgt. Denmer (spelling) ?

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Sharon (Bon Durant ) Adler

Tom Leiterman '68-'70

My friend Randy Rowley turned me on to your home page. Thanks for setting it up. I've enjoyed reading about peoples lives at Kagnew Station, 30 and more years ago.

Like most of you my memories of those two years are also two of the best of my life. It truly was an adventure. I was married then to Judy Leiterman and we lived just off of Airport Road about a mile from the Tract C or back gate. I lived next door to my landlord and in a duplex that had an American couple from New Hampshire or Massachusetts, I don't remember their names.

I worked at Tract C, (an O5K20). My last 18 months I was on days as a keypunch operator, a job that allowed me and the guys that I worked with to take the long coffee-break to an art form. It was not unusual for us to be in the canteen from the time it opened until almost lunch. There were 4 of us to do a job that one guy could do in 2 hours. Jack Voigt and Ron Harris were two of the guys that I worked with there. We had keypunch contested just to pass the time.

On Haile Sellasie Avernue there was a cafe that was either the Royal or the Victoria. From what I read it's still there. They made the best Cappucino in the known universe. It was the first that I ever had and didn't know until after I left that I would never be able to duplicate it. The Froth was so dense that the raw sugar crystals would just sit on the top. They would bring you a plate of pastries, you ate what you wanted and they would refill it and put it one the next table charging you only for what you ate. Many hours friends and I would sit and smoke and drink cappucino at the cafe. My favorite restuarant was Mengetis in the Hotel Italia which seems to be the Hotel Keren today. Mengetis was memorable for many reasons not the least of which were the pink walls with white terra cotta trim. On Sunday they had Rum Cake for desert. If was free with dinner and it was wonderful! You couldn't buy it any other time and it was only offered on Sunday. It became a great motivater for going out on Sunday evening.

Life was good in Asmara in the late 60's for us and like many of you I didn't realize at the time how good it was, especially against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.
T. G. Leiterman
(608) 273-5369

John "Jack" Hannigan '59-'62

HI Rick and all ASMARA Alumni,

Rick your KAGNEW Pages have really grown and thanks for all the effort.

I want to say hello to all the STONEHOUSE Memebers. I was stationed in Asmara in 59-62. Later worked as a Civilian at VHFS, where STONEHOUSE I was developed. I worked as the Government Contractors Representative at Radiation Florida and accepted most of the comm gear for Asmara. I loved the Parabolic Antenna portion of the System. It was not easy to accept those items. I also worked on STONEHOUSE II with E-SYSTEMS.

Also, one of the 1960-62 alumni mentioned the six-month extension of Pres. Kennedy because of the Beirut situation back then. The Marines stormed the beaches to protect the Americans in Lebanon.

I cannot forget our pastime was ET2US on Radio Marina. We talked with all countries and quite a few were behind the IRON CURTAIN at that time.

Anyone from 59-62, remember the fires in YEMEN {North YEMEN today}? We sent a medical team to help in that crisis.

We had a Hawaiian named ABRAHAM {can't remember his last name, it contained over 20 letters}. He was routed halfway around the world so he get to KAGNEW because the Military thought he was a Jew and would not route him through an Arabic Country.

I noticed the Memorial Page for Decesased. When I was in ASMARA, a person died at the Post Swimming Pool. Maybe some of the Alumini can remember that. They stored his remains in the Commissary Freezer until the US Goverment Undertaker arrived. He should probably be added to this Memorial Page Rick.

Also, I believe that a couple of ladies were either wounded or killed on a hunting trip. Beleive they were NAVY Personnel. Some of the BIG GAME HUNTERS might remember that.

Another sad occassion, SP5 Fred Tobias and his wife lost a child while over there. The child was buried in the Italian Cemetery.

Will close now and keep up the good work. There are a lot of Alumni out here and each of us have fond memories of our unique group and serving on top of the mountain.

Anyone out there remember the Ballila Car Races at the STONEHOUSE Site before it was STONEHOUSE?

I was SUPPLY SGT at Tract C, and I had C Rats from WWII in the Kitchen area. Had .50m cal machine guns and no ammo. A lot of memories.
ever vigilant, Jack