Manzaralı Station 1962 - 1964


Raymond Bigelow

2003-2013 by Author

Contact the Author

I was recruited from the Pentagon by a CWO at Manzaralı Station as a basketball player.  This CWO also recruited top football players, who won the Med Championships.  The CWO recruited so many excellent basketball players we had an 'A' and a 'B' team.  We won the Med Championship, as well as the European Championships.  We had two basketball All-Americans on our Manzareli team.  Major William Devanney was our Coach - he was a tough mentor.

Until I ran across Merhaba-USMilitary, I hadn't thought about my service in Turkey in 40 years.  I will have to put some thought into some stories.  Most are basketball related.

I enjoyed all the stories on this site, especially the ones by Roy Des Ruisseaux.  (Click here to visit Roy's website.)  He has some great stories.  In fact, his story of the.."American Hero" and Pvt. Kimble (which was not his real name).  The Army did not know what to do with this guy, so they bunked him with me for several months prior to him being banished from Society on a deserted island where he had to provide for himself (somewhat like the movie Papillon of convicted felon and fugitive Henri Chamere).  Roy only hit the tip of the iceberg with ..'Kimble's'..illegal activities in Turkey.  The US Army would not discharge him otherwise he would have been put to death by the Turks.  Our Chaplain & Coach, Major Devanney, visited him on that deserted Island once per month, as per the agreement with the Turkish Government, to see how he was getting along & brought him cartons of cigs.

Since I was the only jock in Det-66 and I was only one of four cryptographers on the base, it caused some problems with my Commanding Officer.  Since I was one of four crypto specialists, he found it disconcerting that I could just take off to play basketball.  He called me into his office once & was really chewing me out, when he received a phone call from the Commanding General of TUSLOG.  He immediately stood up & saluted..that was so funny!  The General chewed his butt out for not letting me go on the European tour of all Army & Air Force Bases in Europe.  Since the team was the General's idea in the first place & it created so much 'Good Will' with the local Turks & European Countries.

In fact, the General let us use his military jet aircraft to use while on the European Tour, where we also played each European countries Olympic team.  I made the All Star team along with another member of the squad and we represented the Armed Forces in the tryouts in Japan for the 1964 Olympic team.  Neither of us made the team, but another member of our basketball squad made the 1964 Olympic team in Track & Field.

  When I got back to Manzareli Station 10 weeks later, we had a new CO & 1st Sgt.