Deacon Ray Allor
© 1997-2011 by Author
I completed over 20 years active duty with the USAF Security Service (USAFSS- now Air Intelligence Agency) and retired on April 1, 1969 (you cannot imagine how long ago that was). Your web site has brought many memories to mind and my wife, Mary (who was with me for 1 year of my two year tour) will put together our thoughts and memories for your review and publication as you see fit. You may edit at will.
In June 1957, I received orders for assignment to Tuslog Det 3 (then in Ankara) and to depart Charleston AFB, SC on July 4, 1957. We departed with a full load of GI’s and our trip included a few days visit each at the Azores and at Wheelus AFB, Libya. From there we proceeded directly to Ankara, Turkey. However, upon reporting in to the Hq, Tuslog, I find that my unit had moved while I was enroute. After waiting a couple of days for transport, I was finally able to catch a ride with the “mail” truck headed to KARAMURSEL. The Turkish roads in those days were anything but paved highways. The trip in the back of the truck was hot, dusty, bumpy, etc. and, although KARAMURSEL was just a wide spot in the road it was a happy sight after that trip.
The base activity was frantic and had the appearance of frenzy. Its then name of “mudsite” was easily recognized. Fortunately, our standard USAFSS “mobile operations” set up was already in place; moving style vans for immediate operations and communications set up, fixed antenna field, and large tents for other operations. So, we were able to continue the mission without any loss of time while the contractors completed construction of the various operations buildings. We were collocated with the Det 28 US Navy Security Group unit. It took a bit of learning on all our parts, Navy and Air Force, but be managed quite well and, basically, we became a well coordinated “combined” unit for many operational activities.
Since I was a senior NCO, I was assigned quarters in one of the wings of the new Administration Building. It was great not to have to move into the old Quonset huts or a tent; but, everything has a down side and my room was just down the hall from the office of the Commanding Officer and the First Sergeant.
Those who know of the USAFSS activities then and now; know all that I could tell about our mission in Turkey. Those who do not know will have to find other unclassified sites for that information. So, I will simply present various trivia and, perhaps, worthy items of interest about out personal experiences. These will be in no order except as we remember them now. It seems each mention I make, Mary has another similar memory or a difference outlook of my memory.
With Mary and our girls (at that time four daughters ages 6 years to 6 months; final tally at retirement was six daughters and three sons) in San Antonio, Texas; it didn’t take long for me to figure out that an unaccompanied tour was not a desirable situation for us. But, our mission was such that I was working pretty much around the clock for the first six months and no time to contemplate how to get Personnel to change my status to “accompanied”. As it turned out, Providence stepped in. That is, with my working situation as it was, I was not a regular mail correspondent (remember, no email in those days). My wife, took serious exception to that and sent me a letter which clearly indicated that I may soon be a divorced husband. Having worked in Personnel during various assignments, I was aware of the “hardship” regulations. So, I drafted a letter to my CO, referencing the proper regulations and attached my wife’s letter to it. In short time, on February 6, 1958 (seven months then in Turkey), I was given orders to return to the Zone of Interior (United States) for a 30 day Morale Leave for the purpose of convincing my wife to return to Turkey with me. This I did and, by the grace of God, she agreed (we have now been married for over 54 years).
So, we completed all of the necessary paperwork for her, the girls and all of our possessions and we were on our way. Except that I had to return via McGuire AFB, New Jersey and they were leaving from Charleston. As it turned out, I was delayed in Germany for two weeks and barely got to Turkey before they arrived. In those days, we had our own 6900 Security Wing aircraft which flew services for us between our European and Mid East units. Mary and the girls caught the next Wing aircraft after my arrival which barely gave me two weeks to find a place to live. They came in at Yesilkoy Airport (near Istanbul). Since they were flying military air, they did not have to go through Turkish customs. We simply picked them up at the aircraft and drove, via the car ferry over the Bosphurus, directly to our new home at: Goztepe Kadir Aga, Sokak #2/1, Kadiköoy (Old Istanbul) Turkey.
There are two Kadiköys in northwestern Turkey. One, directly across the Bosphorus from Istanbul, and the other is about 75 miles southeast near the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles.
I will try to site the location of our home which was in a Turkish summer home area known as “Kadiköy” which was an extension of Old Istanbul (that is the Asian side of the Bosphurus with Istanbul on the European side). Looking at the Sea of Marmara, KARAMURSEL and Yalova are on the South shore, Izmit is to the Eastern shore and Kadikoy is then on the Northern shore near Istanbul. Due to the need for off base dependent housing, it was necessary for the military to find more housing then was available in Yalova. The search identified the Kadikoy area and in order to provide some services to our dependents, the Security Service leased a rather large multi-room building which was directly on the beach. We all used this building as a community center with certain military needs met as well. Also, and of prime importance, was the assignment of a Medical Technician with proficiency up to emergency appendectomy. During our time, “Doc” was an experienced medic of African-American tradition who was loved and trusted by all. In fact, his prompt diagnoses and actions, probably saved the lives of two of our girls. Due to the sanitation system, it was necessary to treat and/or boil all water used for drinking, brushing teeth, and cooking. Well, our two middle girls decided that they would fill the nursing bottles for their dolls from the regular tap water but then proceeded to drink it themselves. Both came down with hepatitis and after Doc examined them, he promptly shipped them across the Sea of Marmara to the base hospital for treatment. Much to the chagrin of the nurses, the girls were cured much earlier than the time doctor required them to stay for observation. Needless to say, a good time was had by many but not by all (these girls were ages 2 and 3 at that time). ((Perhaps Captain Dawn Pate remembers?))
DAWN PATE RESPONDS:Deacon, there were only 3 of us nurses while I was there. Capt. Lynn
Hilton, who married an american civilain while she was there. Si Volensky. And then Lt. Mary Genderski.
I do not remember taking care of a single child while I was there. Mary and Lynn were both skilled nurses, and I'm sure both would have loved taking care of children. I can't check with either of the ladies, for Lynn has developed dementia, and I've lost complete track of Mary. I'm so sorry! It could be that the children came after I left.
I did help deliver a baby, but that was all of those while I was there.
We sent the others to Ankara. I will say here, that I returned home
early to bring my mother home. She had developed a medical condition
that needed some stateside attention. So I wasn't at KARAMURSEL for a full tour.
I hope this clears up our "little band of nurses. I really can't imagine how that could have happened.
Now at that time, all USAFSS personnel were required to have Top Secret security clearances. One catch in the system was that marriage to a foreign national was automatic suspension of that clearance and, therefore, unable to perform assigned duties. Well, at that time, we had about eight men, who had married Turkish girls and needed jobs; so to speak. USAFSS, in their wise wisdom, assigned these men to our community center which we called the “Orderly Room”. Note they all lived in Kadikoy area with their wives but also had single quarters assigned on the base for military emergencies. Up to this point, my room mate on base was the senior NCO in charge of the center. His name was Jim Newman and we became good friends. My downstairs neighbor was a young airman named Frank and his Turkish wife; Handon. Jim’s crew had multiple assigned tasking which was primarily directed for the care, comfort, and safety of all of the dependents in the area. And, since all of their wives were Turkish nationals, we had ample number of volunteer translators.
Living in this area and working on KARAMURSEL required a certain amount of stamina. Normal transportation was to drive our privately owned vehicles (POV) about 40 miles to a parking area along the coast. At which point, we trekked down a fairly steep cliff-side to the water line and boarded a fishing boat, converted with benches for passengers, which took us across the sea to the base (about another half hour or so; calm seas permitting). In the evening, we did the return bit and all total we were enroute about four hours each day. If weather was bad in the morning and we couldn’t embark, then it was the long drive around the Eastern shore which added some 40 plus minutes to the trip. If we were already on KARAMURSEL and the weather was bad (our POVs being on the North shore), we stayed in our emergency billets with no way to notify our family. Occasionally, either bad weather or a special mission lasted for several days and we remained on base. By this time, notification was gotten out to the “Orderly Room” by radio and they notified each of our wives. However, all in all, it was very well organized and we knew that Jim and his crew would look out for our families.
Limited base exchange and commissary service was available in the Kahan Building in Istanbul which, of course, was more of an expedition than a drive to the grocery store. These trips were usually limited to twice monthly and timing; dependent on the unpredictable weather over the Bosphurus. The Navy also had a “commissary” at their Golcuk station and welcomed us to shop when in the neighborhood (about 70 miles from our home).
For my oldest girl (then age 6), it was an exciting time as she got to tell everyone that she lived in Asia and went to school each day in Europe. One of Jim’s crew drove them in a school bus over to Istanbul via the car ferry each day. Because of the unpredictability of the weather over the Bosphurus, each of the children were assigned to an American military family living in the Istanbul area. During this bad weather they stayed with their “second” family; sometimes for a couple of days. Needless to say, that we had some very worried mothers when the husband was stranded on KARAMURSEL and their children in Instanbul.
Mary, had a significant experience with the Muslim culture: The sister of our downstairs neighbor, was about 14 years old, very shy, spoke very little English, and assisted my wife each day with the care of the children. After some months, they were fairly comfortable with each other and between the little English that Rayhan knew and the little Turkish that Mary knew, they communicated fairly well; except on this one occasion. Ramadan celebration was coming up and Rayhan was attempting to tell the story to Mary. She did well with the fasting, feasting, and the lambs; but, her explanation of Abraham and his son left much to be understood. Mary’s understanding of her story was that Rayhan’s father was going to kill her brother as some sort of sacrifice. No one else was at home and Mary was in a panic; keeping in mind that we did not have telephone service. When I finely got home that evening, we went downstairs to talk with Handan to find out what was going on. After some laughter, Handan explained the celebration of Ramadan to Mary and that her father would be sacrificing a lamb and not his son.
We also had a significant experience with the Turkish laws regarding the birth of children while living in Turkey. We had some good friends who had a baby boy while stationed with us. It seems that Turkish law at that time did not permit the exit of male children born in Turkey regardless of nationality. There was a good bit of communications between our people, military and consulate, and the Turkish powers to be. It was at this time that I had received my transfer orders and we were being reassigned to Frankfurt, Germany. Since we were staying within the Command, we would be shipping out on our own Wing aircraft and would not be required to clear customs. It was decided that if the situation for the Graham’s child could not be resolved before we left, we would carry him to Germany with us as one of our own. It got down to the wire and we were packing up his stuff with ours when they got word from the American consulate that the situation had been resolved and the boy would leave with his family.
The trivia is endless and I have taken much of your reading time. Perhaps from time-to-time we will drop off a few notes. This has been a pleasure to reminisce after some 45 years and we thank you all for giving us this opportunity. May the good Lord bless and keep you and His face shine upon you.