May 1955 - Feb 1956
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John Bross' Duty Stations:
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Dec 1954-Mar1955 Hellinikon Airport, Athens, Greece
Apr 1955 Wheelus Field, Tripoli, Libya
May 1955-Feb 1956 TUSLOG Site 9, Diyarbakir, Turkey
Mar 1956 Leave taken- Traveled through Europe on way home to States
The name of our base was TUSLOG Site 9, later Diyarbakir Air Station, later Pirinēlik. We knew it simply as Site 9. When we first arrived at Diyarbakir, they were still constructing the Site and we, probably thirty or forty of us, lived at the Turkish Air Force Base, just west of Diyarbakir, in Quonset huts and tents. This Air Base also served as the Diyarbakir commercial airport. That area now houses a fine modern airport, surrounded by a rapidly growing city. After a few weeks at the Turkish Air Base, we moved 15 miles west to our new, mostly completed, Site. We had a total of approximately 65 men but were in the planning stages of a major enlargement when I left.
I was a 2nd Lt., along with Lt. Bob Smick, Lt. Len Meyer, and our C.O. Col Frances Baker, a great man to work for. That was the extent of our officer group. All three of the others were replaced before I left for home. My official title was Installations Engineer, but since we had only three junior officers, we divided up all the other jobs that required an officer to sign. Our function was to provide support to the small contingent of Air Force and General Electric personnel who operated the radar equipment behind a security fence, which was off limits to us.
While I was stationed in Athens, I became acquainted with a few Air Force people returning home through Athens from Turkey. They told of the opportunity for servicemen leaving Turkey who had a car there and were able to sell it at a very good price because Turks were not allowed to import cars in other ways. This seemed like a good idea to me. I ordered my 1955 Buick Special from a dealer in Athens and had it shipped to Istanbul and drove it across Turkey, through Ankara and Adana, to Diyarbakir.
By the time I was ready to go home, we were no longer permitted to sell our cars. I ended up driving back to Istanbul to have the car shipped home. When I did leave Turkey in early March of 1956, I took some leave time and traveled through Europe on my way home.
I really enjoyed my time in Turkey and have been back two times with my wife Joan, in 2001 and 2005. We have met some very nice and interesting people on both trips. We even went to Diyarbakir in 2005 and went to see our old Site 9, which is now a Turkish Army base. It was of course not recognizable, much larger, and approached by a very nice blacktop highway, rather than the gravel road of 1955.
I was in Istanbul two times for a total of perhaps 8 days. I stayed at the newly opened Istanbul Hilton. I was in Ankara several times on Air Force business for maybe a total of 20 days. I stayed at two different hotels, one was in the Ulus district below the Fortress of Ankara, the other in the Sıhhıye area, right across the Ankara Cinema Theater.
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