Captain Dawn Pate
© 2003-2011 by Author
Dawn recently celebrated birthday 83! Congratulations to one of the great Air Force Medical Officers who helped keep us healthy!
Ed and I left from Charleston, South Carolina, and went first to Bermuda where we ran into not only the best man at our wedding, but the Colonel who gave me away at the March Air Force Base ceremony. After visiting with them, we took off for Tripoli, Libya.
We stayed in Tripoli about five days waiting for transportation and they very kindly gave us guest quarters. No one ever knew what to do with our Officer-NCO combination! I had a high school classmate living in Tripoli, who worked for an oil company, and he entertained us royally while there, so that helped. While there, we met the TUSLOG fellow who took care of deaths. His name was "Digger". He was really worried when he saw Ed, and begged him to stay healthy. Ed was/is (we're now divorced, by the way) 6 feet 6inches tall. Digger said he couldn't fit him into any box he had!
We finally got transportation, and so went to Athens, stopping there for a few days, and then we parted. They sent me to Ankara and Ed to Istanbul. Lordy! I got there, and had no Turkish money! A very nice Turkish gentleman paid my way into Ankara, and I repaid him in dollars. I quickly found out I wasn't supposed to be there, but should have ended up at Mainsite (Karamursel). So I flew to Istanbul. Lo and behold, found Ed trying to get a flight to Ankara to see me for the weekend. What a mixup!
I finally arrived at Mainsite, Karamursel, at last, on Monday, and no quarters were available of course. I Stayed at the Termal Hotel until we found a house among the "gypsies" in Yalova. We later moved to a house closer to the beach. Father Mossey was a good friend to all of the nurses. Dave Seppala was in the dispensary with us. I remember him well. Dr. Deon was our CO at the dispensary. I knew him and his wife well. We had three or four doctors. Gene Welch was one of them. I didn't know the Navy guy though: Capt. Doug Rhinehardt and his wife and two little kids came the first Christmas we were there. They had lost all their luggage with the Christmas presents in it. That's another story.
There were many funny stories while there. Our first house had no running water. I had to go down the hill and wait with my bucket until the water came on. Ed couldn't help me, for the Turkish men sent their women to do that. Finally after many nights of carrying water up the hill, I yelled at him to come down there and get that water. I wasn't going to carry another bucket!! I said it in such a tone (and words) that those Turkish women stood up and cheered me on! Ed came in a hurry, but said I was going to get us killed! They all called me the ufak doktor (little doctor or "assistant doctor") in Yalova. I was advised by Smokey Joe to use ufak doktor not because of my size, as I am tall, but to differentiate me from the regular doktor.
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