TUSLOG Detachment 36, Izmir, Turkey* - 1963-1964

Jimmy F. Lane

© 2003-2011 by Author

*Jimmy Lane was officially assigned to TUSLOG Detachment 36, which would have placed him in Cigli/Izmir Turkey, however due to his assignment he traveled throughout the country and so we've created a special category for just such instances: "Various Sites in Turkey." Read his story and you'll get an idea of what his job entailed and why he was so busy traveling!

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I was in the U.S. Air Force, assigned to a detachment officially known as the Fourth Epidemiology Flight. We were headquartered in the Eski Hastane (Old Hospital) at Otuz Dokuz (39) Mustafa Bey in Izmir.

When I first arrived in Izmir I stayed at the Atlas Oteli for about three weeks until I got into the Bank Apartments. At left is the hotel receipt from April 16, 1963 through April 30, 1963. It sure was expensive. At that time, at an exchange rate of 10 to 1, it cost me $1.50 per day for the room. If I had breakfast served room service it cost me another $0.23 per day. This total bill was 261 lira and 19 kuruş or $26.20. I had the opportunity to return to Turkey in 2001 on a cruise and know that the economy has changed drastically. Most people in Turkey don't know what a kuruş (koo-ROOSH) is or was. I still have some that I brought home. The photo at right was taken as our plane was entering Izmir's air space. At the bottom of the shoreline is Ataturk Circle, and the circular area surrounded by trees is the Izmir Cultural Park.


I ran across this certificate of participation that was given to all members of the Fourth Epi who participated in the surveys. The shield on the left is the 16th Air Force and the one on the right is our shield and if you can't read it, it says Find, Study, and Prevent. The blackened out encampments were the ones I participated in.


Above was our home away from headquarters in Izmir. This camp was set up in Konya in May, 1963. We had four of these 20-man squad tents and over time we became fairly proficient in setting up campsites. We could have everything up and operating within about 30 minutes. We got so good at it that we were asked to put on a demonstration in Izmir, at one of the soccer fields, for one of the Army Generals and his staff. I think he was impressed. There were twelve of us setting up and we did it in 26 minutes! The General kept trying to count how many us there were and told our CO that there had to be at least 25. After we finished we had to stand formation so he could actually count heads. He then came and shook our hands and told us we could teach the Army a thing or two about setting up a camp. Of course on our encampments we would set up and tear down the camp every week or so. Everyone had a job and everyone did it. Shown is the officers tent at this camp. You'll notice the nice comfy beds, all alike and we each had one. You might also notice Smitty our cook out the left end of the tent. Behind him is our water trailer and in front of him is one of our trucks.

This was our chow hall in Konya. From left to right in the photo is Sali our interpreter, Me, A1C Fennster, SSGT Nettles, A3C Aschleman, Durmus a driver at that time, SSGT Brown, SSGT Hastings, A2C Smith our cook, and A3C Mahr. Note the Castro head gear we wore then. We all look pretty ragged. Must have been the evening meal. You might also note the full combat boots and bloused pants. We were one of the few Air Force units authorized to blouse at that time but it was necessary due to the nature of our job. Off to the left in the photo you will notice one of the gas fired heaters in a garbage can full of water that was used to wash our mess kits that you see everyone carrying. There were three of these set up with one for wash and the other two set up for rinse.

The picture above, taken at one of our camps in Antalya, Turkey, will give you a better idea of how to wash mess kits and how the system was set up. From left to right in the photo is, behind the left pipe, Lt Col Anderson, frontmost is A3C Coffin, then TSGT Norfleet, Me behind the third pipe, A3C Mahr, SSGT Storie, and SSGT Poole. A couple of our vehicles can be seen at right in the rear. Again note the Fidel Castro hats.


When I arrived in April, 1963 the Flight consisted of 31 personnel. 30 were medical personnel and 1 was a topography draftsman. Of these 30, six were officers and the other 25 were enlisted. I arrived as an Airman Third Class fresh out of preventive medicine school and was soon promoted to A2C. Our Commander was Lt. Col. George R. Anderson, an MD. Our executive officer was Maj. Clarence B. Kirk, JR who was also an MD who soon rotated back to the states and was replaced by Maj. Robert D. Metcalf.

Personally, I worked for a prince of a man, Maj. Wesley R. Nowell, an entomologist who had been a B-17 bomber pilot during WWII. We also had a biologist, a veterinarian, and a water resource engineer in the flight. We were affectionately know as the Bug Boys by most other military units in Izmir. When at Headquarters in Izmir, we single members of the flight lived in what was known as the Bank Apartments. The residents of the building were mostly military personnel, and while the facility had no chow hall, even though we were Airmen Third Class we were allowed to join the Non-Commissioned Officers Club and could eat there or at the U.S. operated cafeteria downtown. Everyone was also issued USAFE ration cards to purchase tobacco items, class VI, and "CTS" (coffee/cocoa, tea, and solubles) through the Air Force Exchange (AFEX).

The mission of TUSLOG Detachment 36 was to perform Epidemiological Surveys all across Turkey. This was accomplished by a series of eight encampments, lasting 30 to 45 days at a time, between late 1962 through 1964. I had the opportunity of being involved in five of those encampments. It is not hard to figure out why we were doing what we did: During these surveys we collected insects, took water samples, took blood samples from animals at slaughter houses, took blood samples from people, and checked local food supplies, while our draftsman was drawing a topography map of the area being surveyed. The purpose of these studies was to determine what diseases were prevalent in an area, and whether they were insect-borne, animal-borne, human-borne, or water-borne and what would be needed to neutralize each. In other words we were looking forward to the growing possibility that the U.S., if required to put combat troops into a particular area of Turkey, could be properly equipped and immunized beforehand or during the first few weeks, which would prevent losses due to sickness and dysentery. The topogs (topographic surveys) would also afford them a good idea of where to set up which type of defenses, where water supplies were available and terrain obstacles needing to be overcome. After each of these encampments a formal report entitled "The U.S. Logistics Group Detachment 36 Epidemiology Report" would be sent to the Pentagon for their use.

The encampments began in August 1962 and covered the provinces of Edirne, Kirklareli, and Tekirdag. In September, 1962, the province of Mugla was surveyed. In April, 1963, it was Adana, and Mersin. In May and June, 1963, we surveyed Antalya, Konya, and Kayseri. August, 1963, we traveled to Erzurum, Kars, Trabzon, and Samsun. During September, 1963, we surveyed Balikesir & Çanakkale provinces. April and May, 1964, we were on the road again to Gaziantep, Urfa, Mardin, Bitlis, Siirt, Diyarbakir, and Van. The last encampment was in July, 1964, as we visited the provinces of Eskişehir, Kutahya, Afyon, & Uşak. I think in my 18 months in Turkey I was in nearly every province as some of our other duties included performing medical surveys at Defense Early Warning (DEW) sites all over the country, as well as to the west in Greece.

Our transportation included seven crew cab International pick-ups, five of which were half-tons and two were three-quarter ton 4-wheel drives. We also had a 2-½ ton Ford dumptruck, a 5-ton International dump, a 500 gallon water trailer and a 600 gallon gasoline trailer. Each person in the Detachment was licensed and certified to drive any of these vehicles even though we were all medical personnel.

Our accommodations consisted of four 20-man squad tents, one for the officers, one for the enlisted personnel, and two for all of our portable lab equipment. We also had 2 prams (octagonal tents) one of which was used as a cook tent and the other as a spare, and sometimes for officers. By the way, on these encampments we did have a cook, A2C Smith who was borrowed from Cigli Air Force Base near Izmir, and we also had a Turkish interpretor named Sali Salgun. Smitty did a decent cooking job considering most of the time our meals consisted of 5 in 1 "C" rations. I think we cleaned out the old rations stock at Cigli Air Force Base as some of the rations had been packed and dated 1942! Each case of rations was enough to feed a man three meals a day for five days or five men three meals a day for one day. It wouldn't have been too bad were it not that we only had around two or three different menus in all the cases that we used!

As I think of details, I'll try to send more later...perhaps I'll remember more of our time at some of the encampments - like the pet Russian bear the guys at Erzurum had!

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