Main Page: The American Military in Turkey at @comcast.net9;                            

Incidents in Trabzon

Don Eddy

2013-2014 by Author

Contact the Author

[From Webmaster of this site.  I received the following from Don Eddy on 4 Dec 2013.  Formatting it just as Don sent it.]


(This is from Don.)
Good website for Turkey deployments.

I was a linguist, crypto person, and semi-official photographer during Oct 58 to Sep 59 at Trabzon.

In summer 1959, with a couple other guys, we were snorkeling at the "American" beach when two guys threw in a grenade leaving us under water with no use of our muscles; just to rise to the surface.  No one killed, fortunately, and the two guys I did see way down the beach running like hell.

An additional incident shortly after this one was being fired at while riding in a sixXby with several others.  We were thankful for the steel tail-gate.

I have been trying for two years to document these incidents, but to no avail.  Not even buddies could I locate for buddy letters.  Now I'm thinking maybe there might be some base documents in the CO's files.  I cannot even recall or find his name.  I have photos of him (in archives in Colorado) but don't know how to find any records.  All of this to support PTSD claim.

Do you have any suggestions for further searching?  I did not see a single name on the website I recognized.

I do have some BW photos from Trabzon on my Communicating Images website.  (Go to Don's "Communicating Images" website to see Don's Trabzon photos.  [From Webmaster:  Some really great B&W photos of Trabzon, actually some of the best I've seen of that town.  Just wish I could have files for larger photos, and without the watermarks, so I could post them here for all to see.]


Don Eddy
PO Box 2411
Monterey, CA 93942-2411
1-831-224-0313 cell

MAJOR WEB SITE:  Communicating Images
B&W PORTRAITS:  Don Eddy Photography
BOOK DESIGN/PUBLISH:  Monterey Publishing
Blog:  Second Image Cafe
MEMBER:  Editorial Photographers
Flickr:  Don Eddy's Photos

(From Webmaster of this site:  As I receive additional information from Don, and information from others, I will add such information here as I receive it.)

(From Don, 07 Dec 2013:)

Hi George,

Many thanks for your comments and questions. They are mine as well.

I have great difficulty returning calls (almost never) and emails (much better).

I live on SS and a small VA disability in a small motorhome, take meds for bi-polar, and have a support German Shepherd that keeps me out of bed!

I will try hard to answer your questions this coming week.

I have spoken of the incident to several veterans here at the VA Clinic since Feb 2011 including my psychiatrist, who I believe, suggested it might have been a terrorist incident.  That's the first time I heard that possibility since 1959.  That's the reason I am trying to get any info possible.

More later.

[I, webmaster, replied to the above and informed Don that the Commander at Trabzon at the time was a Major Irving.  Don sent the following in reply:]

(From Don, 09 Dec 2013:)


Major Irving? Maybe . . . doesn't ring a gong, only a small bell, but could be.  I have photos of him in my archives, which are in another State.

Over the weekend names have come to me, men I worked with some even from training:

Dave Kostecki;
Waco (nickname, but was excellent trick chief from Waco, TX);
Royce Comer;
James Crawford (Ohio);
Capt. Perez (Ops Officer but totally ignorant of operations!);
Wickersham (cannot recall first name);
Bob Price (chess partner);
Kuntsler (cannot recall first name) who had a horse in a downtown stable as did I;
Frank Alzado (or close to this) (transferred from Germany to get back to the ZI earlier, which was a dumb move!).

Most were in radio intercept (203X1).  Most lived in town for nearly a year until forced to move to the new facilities.  Within a month of that move we all shipped out.  Unbelievable mud hole!  Dining was good, as was the new ice cream place.  But segregation stunk.  Enlisted from NCOs.  Morale went out the window, that's why most of us who had houses in town kept them.  Drinking increased a lot.


[I asked Don what he had meant originally when he said, "...a linguist, crypto person, and semi-official photographer."]

(From Don, 09 Dec 2013:)

20351 for less than one week on the job.  (I was not good at putting down what I was hearing.)

Because I could type, I moved into the section that put the intercepts together for transmission to . . .

I did some work with the crypto and Elint folks who seemed to have problems from time to time.

And work in code breaking for mapping aircraft and radar training of the Soviets to help our people visualize what they were doing.  This enormously cut down TWX and GBL.  Much better data recognition.

Another item was that I was good at time tracking telemetry.

Last couple of months all photography for the CO and PR with local military and politicians.

[I emailed Don and told him that I had found another person who had a horse downtown.  Ron Harmon, who was there from Mar 1958 to Mar 1959.]

(From Don, 10 Dec 2013:)

Nope, no bells; however, I think Harmon has a photo on your website of his horse, which I believe looks a lot like the one my friend Kuntsler had!

Frank Alzado (above) is wrong name on my part.  It's Frank Apadoca.  The one from Germany.


[I, webmaster, finally heard back from someone who was stationed at Trabzon at approximately the same time that Don was there.  The respondent was Lew Culkin, and following is what he had to say about the two incidents to which Don refers.]

(From Lew Culkin, 13 Dec 2013:)

Dear George,

Good to hear from you.

Yes I remember both of the incidents you mentioned in your email, but somewhat differently.  I was not present at either of the events and only got it by scuttlebutt after the events happened.

The swimming incident as I recall being told:  Some of the guys went swimming and some local Turks were fishing using dynamite.  Whether our guys were stunned or not I do not recall.

As for the shooting incident as I recall being told:  It was not a 6x but a weapons carrier.  The radio maintenance guy took the weapons carrier to the radio site on the Boztepe down the road toward the mosque (about a mile).  It was night and dark.  On his way back to the site he saw car headlights coming down the road toward him.  He caught a glimpse of someone waving out the passenger side window and it was a gun.  He laid down across the seat and kept steering straight and the guy shot several rounds thru the windshield.  Our guy was not hurt.  I did not see the weapons carrier.

Don't know if this gives you what you are looking for.

Lew Culkin

[You can contact me, the webmaster/owner, of this website, here.  Would appreciate hearing from ANYONE who has any information on the two referenced incidents, specifically if anyone can corroborate either of the stories.  Thanks, George Durman.]

Photo Memories
Click Photos to Enlarge

Road coming from the West along the southern edge of the Black Sea at the western city limits.

Men gather at this small park on a bluff above the Black Sea to chat and have tea.

This little girl was as surprised to see us as we were to see her as we came down a set of steps from a small park area.

There were children all about the outskirts of Trabzon along these dirt lanes.

Typical street in the city that leads to the downtown area.  No sidewalks until downtown.

Typical alleyways all over the central city area.  Most houses are walled with remote door openers next to the street.  Beyond the walls are couryards leading to the main house.

Many small grocery stores located throughout the city.  Owners always very friendly with visiting Americans.  The older two boys in the center could be found a often at the American headquarters building.

These two boys were trying to get a kite to fly but there was no wind.

These boys were asking for empty beer and soda pop cans.  The turks would solder handles onto them and sell them for cups.

A common sight throughout Trabzon.  This fellow was traveling past my hotel window one noon hour.

Downtown had several good hotels and numerous shoe shine men.  It may be that the boys were not allowed along this wall.

Mother and daughter on their way home.  American facilty near completion in the background.

Lots of excellent shoe-shine boys travel from house to house.  They were getting about 25 Kuruş (Kurush), or about two and a half cents per pair.  Their polishes and brushes were of the finest quality rarely seen the U.S.

Teenagers and older males always dressed nicely with suit jackets and mostly rubber shoes that looked like leather.  Some did have leather ones.  These older boys shooed the little ones away.

Small pottery shop in an open market.  Man resting after having some tea.

This woman with her loaded horse was not happy with having her picture taken as she quickly began throwing rocks at the photographer.

Maid to Americans.  Normal monthly cost was about $35, the same amount as the rent for a house.

Neighbors next door.  A maid to Americans with her daughter.

The beginning of a series of "The Man in the Window".  The building and those who hung out around it, was across the street from the American military headquarters.  Many local men were employeed as drivers and workers.

Trabzon is noted throughout Turkey for its excellent bread; however, if not eaten in a single day, it would become hard as a rock.  In addition there were almost always small red mites in each loaf.

Several Turkish employees of the U.S., mostly drivers, and friends just hanging around, outside the grocery store.

Next to the grocery store are convenient steps and boxes to sit upon.

Photographing from inside a tailor shop as people walk by.  Man looking up is the shop owner inspecting the door.

Photographing from inside a tailor shop as people walk by.

Photographing from inside a tailor shop as people walk by.

Photographing from inside a tailor shop as people walk by.  This boy appears to have only one leg.

Open market place.  American facility on top of the Boztepe Mountain in the background.

Teenagers and older males always dressed nicely with suit jackets and mostly rubber shoes that looked like leather.  Wherever Americans went, especially if they had a camera, the boys would gather around, some standing at attention to have their pictures taken.

A Christian Church of the Byzantine era.  It was converted to a mosque, and later it became a museum.  It has a significant history.

Woman working in the garden outside as viewed from inside a house.  At the time it was taken it was quite difficult to photograph women out-of-doors.

Neighbors next door.  A maid to Americans with her daughter and daughter's friend.