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Manzaralı Station, Early 1960s

Phil Kelly

2003-2011 by Author

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Aerial view of Manzaralı station east to west view

In the spring of 1963 or 1964, I can't remember after so many years, one of the friends I had in HQ Co., Phil Rivaldo, the PBX operator who was quite a card, and I decided to take a hike and see some of the countryside on foot. We went to supply and checked out "half-shelters" (one half of a two man tent) and some c-rats for food and left on foot using the road to the west away from Ankara and into the unknown. We were dressed in our fatigues and boots as I recall, probably not a good idea in a foreign country that only tolerated us, but just the same, we were on an "adventure".

After several hours of walking, we left the road and walked up a hill away from any habitation and pitched our tent, joining the two halves into one and settled in, eating some rations and waiting for darkness to go to sleep. Well, we fell asleep alright, but sometime during the night it began to rain. It rained like it does there in the Spring: torrents of water! And we started getting wet. Even though we were up on a hill, water was collecting around us and seeping into the tent and our bedding. To make matters worse, we began to hear something like tinkling bells, voices and dogs barking. It was pitch dark, still raining, and we could only surmise that a herd of sheep was passing directly through our campsite, further muddying up our forlorn little area. Cold, wet, discouraged, and sleepless for the rest of the night, Phil and I grumbled and waited for dawn to survey what kind of mess we had to content with. When it was light enough to see, we got out of our wet environment into a quagmire of mud and sheep dung. There was one bright spot: the rain had stopped and the sun was out!

Everything we had was now heavier by double because of the rain-soaked conditions. We packed up everything, walked, bent over with the load back down to the road and without even looking at one another, started for Site 23, back to warm food, a dry bunk, and "home". We realized with the added weight that it might take us two days to get back, but after an hour or two, a horse drawn cart with a family headed for Ankara gave us a ride to Cerkezouk (sp) just a mile or two from the gate. We were properly thankful, gave them some C-rat candy and ciggies and walked back to our home on the hill.

The guards at the gate had a good laugh when they saw us coming up the hill. I found Phil Rivaldo on the internet last year, just doing a people search and talked with him on the phone for a bit. It's hard to believe that he and I, just 20 year olds at the time, are now nearly to retirement age. My memories are not all that clear about all of my time there, I probably drank too much and missed out on some traveling I should have done, but I have enough fond recollections and a few pictures:

PHOTOS

Haci Muratli: This pic was taken by me of the village located east of site 23 and hidden from view. It was just a short walk and I made friends with some of the villagers through a janitor named Veratin, who cleaned HQ.

Vet's Day 63-1: There was a parade on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1963. These guys are in front of HQ with the Provost Marshall's office to the left and rear. Only 11 days later our President Kennedy was shot and we did this parade again for the loss of our Commander-in-Chief.

Sp4Kelly: This is the only one I have of myself from that time.

PICTURES ANYBODY???

I would appreciate pictures of this ilk and time period, sent to my contact address above or below. I'll trade, too! I do have a few more.


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