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İncirlik Air Base February, 1963 to September, 1964

By Stan Fader

2003-2014 by Author

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İncirlik AB, was my first permanent base assignment and my first and last overseas base. Just months earlier I had graduated from the Air Police Officer Course (8121) and completed OTS, both at Lackland AFB and Medina Base, adjacent to Lackland.

There on my orders was the word USAFE. Visions of April in Paris came to mind until someone rudely pointed out that Eastern Turkey was part of USAFE.

 

Ankara, 1963

The trip from New York's Idyllwild Airport (renamed JFK) on PanAm and THY took over twenty hours via Paris, Rome, Istanbul, and Ankara. I was met upon evening arrival by my fellow Air Police officers, Capt. James Winton and 1 Lt. Forrest (Gene) Hinson. I recall being driven rapidly through a noisy city full of unfamiliar odors and more horses, burros, and other four legged creatures than I had ever seen outside of a zoo or racetrack in the States.

I became the Detachment 114 junior officer with base police responsibilities and command. Winton and Hinson focused on the aircraft and weapons security concerns. For me it meant having my own dedicated 24 x 7 Turkish interpreter and performing liaison with the local constabulary and police. This ultimately produced dividends every time I was able to gain the freedom of another airman or civilian worker from the throes of Turkish arrest.

Several events, even after all these years, are still memorable:

  1.  
    Ashtray from the
    AGBA Hotel in Adana
    Bob Hope and his entourage of performers visited the base over a two-day period. This confirmed to all of us that we were indeed in a remote location. I had the responsibility of protecting Hope and the lovely show ladies.
  2. For a brief period Turkey and Cypress initiated hostile actions against each other. I was on assignment in Izmir at the time; it took me days to return, rather than the normal hours. In İskenderun harbor I could see several diesel powered Turkish submarines growling and belching their way in and out of port.
  3. Every mile driven between the base and Adana was an accident waiting to happen. There were carts, esheks, and people on the roadways who assumed that they always had the right-of-way. No reflectors, no driving lights, always care-free.
  4. My joy was a "borrowed" jeep from the motor pool. I spotted it one day sitting forlorn in a corner amidst trash. Seems it was destined for that very trash pile. It started and ran so I made it my patrol vehicle. I never did get it over 35 mph, but no matter, it was the perfect get-around base jeep. Top down, windshield down, hot wind in my face.
  5. Coming off a flight form Peshawar one day we took into custody an airman who was traveling unescorted back to the states to serve a prison sentence for some misdemeanor type offense. I ran a two cell jail and he stayed there two days until the next flight out to the States - door unlocked. We treated him well with proper food and clean uniforms. My APs took him to the flight line. Two days later I'm driving my trash Jeep and I see the "prisoner" walking near the base theater.
     
    Placed at İncirlik by the Turkish community
    So back to the jail. My orders were to take him to the flight line and watch him board the aircraft and watch it depart. I guess we treated him too well.
  6. For July 4th we decided to host an All-American style barbecue and picnic and invited hundreds of Turkish military and civilians to our event. My APs we dressed as cowboys with badges that read "COP". Little did we know at the time that COP meant trash. Our guests must have thought that we had a keep-it-clean obsession.
  7. While I was in Adana one evening word spread that all US military had to return to base ASAP. I, along with a group of folks, were picked up by one of the blue buses and returned to base where we learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated. There was a strange calm about the news. There were no live TV broadcasts here and only limited radio news from the BBC. We knew that we couldn't control events. We were always a target, just minutes from launch time of deadly Soviet missiles located in Batumi off the Black Sea.


MORE PHOTOS

Click any photo to enlarge

Base Movie Theater; Posters. Left "13" (?); Right "Tarzan" (?)

 

Gas Station Just Outside Main Gate / 1956? Pontiac

Base Police Shift Change & Headquarters Building

 

PEOPLE I REMEMBER:

DET # 114

Capt. Paul Fisher
SMSgt Raul Trevino
MSgt Norman Johnson
]MSgt Robert Elrick
MSgt John Marchi
TSgt George Ivestor
TSgt Frank Miksinski
TSgt Robert Cusick, Jr.
TSgt Ben Hayes, Jr.
SSgt James Aveni
SSgt James Lowry
SSgt Fred Mays, Jr.

DET #10

1 Lt Dale Johnson
1 Lt Philip Curd {Legal)
1 Lt Thomas Taylor

DET #16

Thomas McKittrick, Jr.

DET #60 (ARMY

1 Lt Dewayne Loomis