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Randolph "Randy" S. Mitchell


Karamursel, Turkey

Det 28

1963 - 1965

2015 by Author

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I was stationed at Karamursel Air Station late 63 thru May 65.  But I was a marine stationed with the Navy.  I had an interesting experience while there.  Directly across the street to the entrance of the base was a hill.  One snowy day I decided to go over the hill to take pictures.  On the other side was just fields no structures of any kind and once you descended, you were completely isolated not normally anything to think about, except I was soon surrounded by a pack of wild dogs as in a circle with no way anyone could have heard me if I had screamed for help.  I just slowly, slowly, slowly started edging back the way I had come and for some reason they allowed that.  Needless to say I never again went over the hill.

The "Hill"

Once I missed the ferry from Istanbul to Yalova and spent the night underneath the Galata bridge.  An American speaking no Turkish being amongst those that find themselves living under bridges is, to say the least, not that pleasant an experience.  The next morning the first ferry was the local so there were two stops before reaching Yalova.  I remember this because the combination of not eating and being cold had me shaking.  At the first stop I went into a restaurant and ordered a bottle of white wine.  I took one sip and left the rest it wouldn't go down.

Galata Bridge Ferry (Doesn't it look lovely under there?)


Any of you who came through Istanbul probably remember the little stand on the Galata Bridge Ferry Dock that sold hot dogs and sodas (and other snacks).  You probably also remember Coca Cola in Turkey was called Kola Koka.  I learned over time that the water used to cook the hot dogs was never changed.  As it got lower they just added more water.  (Can you imagine what a test of that water would find?)  I walked up to the stand one day and ordered 4 hot dogs and 2 Kokes.  The attendant at the stand started looking all-around me to see who else was going to eat this big order just me.

Galata Bridge

I frequently would buy a fish sandwich from one of the boats tied up at the ferry dock.

Fish Boat at Ferry Dock

I was introduced to a local gal by the USO for the Marine Corps Birthday she was Italian living in Turkey where her parents worked at the Austrian Embassy (got to go to a really neat ball there).  She spoke 5 languages and taught French at the local girls high school.  She became my companion for the next 18 months.  One night we went to the Black Sea to a restaurant overlooking the sea.  To start the dinner the waiter brought to the table 2 large carpenter trays filled with very large plates of appetizers, all fresh from the sea, that had been cooked in the sun on the roof of the restaurant.  The appetizers were delicious.

Claudia La Candela - My Companion
Black Sea Beach

Does anyone know the three in the picture below?  I owe the one in the middle the biggest thank you in the world.  While living together in the same dorm for many moons, he introduced me to Jazz a lifelong enjoyment.  He could also draw the most detailed porn comics one would ever see.  His individual picture is below at "Our Vacation Car".

My Dorm Mates

Those three and I took a weeks vacation and drove down to Izmir (Smyrna), Ephesus, and saw Bergama (Pergamum) on the way down.  The first night we left late, I was driving, the road was dirt, and the last thing you wanted was a car in front of you.  So as we headed into the mountains a car came up behind us.  I drove a little faster and so did they.  So I drove even faster on this dirt road, in the dark, on a road I had never been on with zero markings of any kind.  Common sense prevailed and I slowed down to let the car pass us.  It was a cop car.  Hmmmm.  (Pictures of Izmir, Ephesus, and Bergama at the bottom of this page.)  Comment on the Ataturk Statue picture:  When taking the picture of the memorial, I was accosted by three teenage boys who felt I was dishonoring Ataturk (by photographing the memorial?).  It took many many Cok iyi, Cok iyu, and Cok iyi, before they backed off and accepted that I had good intentions.  While we were in Izmir we went to the Turkish American Expo which had just opened.  One week later the Russian Pavilion was blown up in an act of terrorism.  In Ephesus, went to the top of the amphitheater and could easily hear a normal conversation on the floor.  Came across the chapel where supposedly Mary attended (pictures near the bottom of page).  Had to pay the nun $1 to take her picture.  (Note from Ed.:  The "chapel" is actually a shrine built over the ruins of the house where Mary lived.  The structure is a church that dates to the seventh century, and was restored in 1951.  The church was supposedly built on top of the house in which the Virgin Mary lived.  Some claim the stone structure is actually the house of Mary, while others say the structure was built over the original house.)

Our Vacation Car - (Note
the windshield, half glass,
half plastic.)

I once took a tour of the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul.  I was fully into my picture taking activities by this point and I was beyond ticked off upon learning no picture taking was allowed in the museum.  So, to assuage my "temper", I double clicked with my mouth as often as I could, each time causing the guards to inspect the group yet again to pinpoint the scofflaw picture taker.

For about 9 months I was assigned to the DF site.  You would be given a frequency and every time the bell on the teletype rung you were supposed to take a reading (location).  So, one night this happened but the reading, which normally wouldn't change at all, or at the most very little was changing rapidly over great distances.  This went on for hours.  I later found out they were playing a practical joke on me by having me track a satellite.

Four bunks to a room in the barracks a table between the bunks.  A good spit shine requires alcohol.  Sitting at the table which had a pretty Turkish rug across it, I finished my shoes, had leftover alcohol, no easy way to dispose of it, so decided to burn it.  Unfortunately, a glass ashtray takes very little heat to break it, which allowed burning alcohol to spread out over the rug.  Now I have a roaring fire and and a really big problem on my hands.  A fire extinguisher in the hall got the fire out but the SGT on duty watch saw my activities.  Boy did I owe him big time to not report it.

One of the un-sung really good guys was the local Turks that keep the buildings maintained and clean.  Ours was Sollie.  (Or was it Hasan?)

Our "House Boy"


The Bear and I

Drivers License - Front
Drivers License - Back
Letter from Turkish Friends
Turkish Guards (Askeris)

Det 28 Log - Page 2
Det 28 Log - Page 3
Det 28 Log - Page 5
Det 28 Log - Page 6

Det 28 Log - Page 8
Det 28 Log - Page 9

Turkish Citizen
Traffic Cop

Flag Ceremony
Bob Hope USO Show
USMC 189th BDay-8Nov1963

USMC 189th BDay-8 Nov 1963
Jim Pianovi
Pat & Jerry Christman
Frank Woody & Family

Frank Woody & Wife
Barry Reed
Ferry Boat to Istanbul

Ships in Harbor in Instanbul
Karakoy Fish Market (Istanbul)
Yalova Street Scene

Yalova Street Scene (Araba)
Yalova Beach
Yalova Parade

Izmir, 1st Cordon
Ataturk Statue in Izmir
Ephesus (Near Izmir)

Ephesus (Mary's Shrine)
Ephesus (Mary's Shrine)
Bergama (Near Izmir)

Camels in Bergama

(Note from Ed.:  The above photos are just some samples from Randy's many albums at his website.  You can view hundred of his photos by clicking here (unfortunately, it seems that the link to Randy's photos is no longer valid.  If Randy sees this, please give us a new link.)  At the top of his main page are categories of photos and under the categories are sub-categories.  If you view Randy's photos and recognize yourself, please contact me and let me know the names of the files, your names, family members, etc.  Also, if you would like to join us at Merhaba-USMili@comcast.netown "Story" and photos, you can contact me here.  ENJOY!)