Karamursel, Turkey

       I was one of those lucky few that got orders to Tuslog Det 28, Karamursel, Turkey in 1957 and had no idea where in the world it was located. I left Bremerhaven, Germany on May 15, 1957 thinking that in a very short time I would be in Karamursel, Turkey, where ever that was. That just wasn't in the cards. Three of us got orders, Charles M.Sanders, Daniel A.Davis III, and Richard R.Wilt and we were on our way home, back to the states for a short leave.

       I spent 15 days leave at my home in West Virginia and then reported back to the Naval Receiving Station, Brooklyn, NY. Here we spent nearly a month. I worked in the snack bar and was on Courier duty. I made two trips a day from the Receiving Station in Brooklyn to 90 Church Street in Manhattan. I carried everything from just papers to sometimes large amounts of cash to be taken to 90 Church Street disbursing office. I traveled by bus and subway, had a briefcase handcuffed to my wrist and carried a side arm. Can you imaging getting on a subway in Brooklyn today in that situation. You sure wouldn't last very long. After doing this for nearly a month, the navy decided to give me some travel time and send me to Charleston, SC. Here I rejoined Sanders and Davis and we picked up at least one other by the name of Charles Morris. We spent a couple of days there and then we were off to the Azores. From the Azores we flew to the Air Forces Base in Morocco, where we spent a few more days. From Morocco we then proceeded to fly to Rome, Italy where we got to spend a few more days. Lots of site seeing and party time. From Rome we were off to Tripoli, Libya for a couple more days where we found out how the Arabs lived in that part of the world. Not to well as I can remember.

       After our short stint in Tripoli, we were off for more liberty and party time in Athens, Greece. We spend 5 days in Athens. By this time we were all running out of money, which always seems to be the case for a sailor. We talked the Airforces in giving us a little advance so we could at least eat, since there were no on base eating facilities in Athens. After our stay in Athens, it was off on a medivac plane to Ankara, Turkey. It was a good thing I kept a little money back because when we got to Ankara, we found out, no place to eat or sleep. The Airforce didn't feed us but they did furnish us a place to sleep. By this time we had grown from our original three when we left Germany to fourteen.

       It took the Airforces three days to figure out just what to do with us. On the third day, they got us up very early and put us on a Turkish bus with a driver that spoke no English and had no idea where he was going. All he knew was head west and we would eventually run into water. At least he knew the Navy and water go together.

       We traveled all day, mostly in areas where roads did not even exist. The only place there was a paved road was when we came upon a village or small town, and the paved road ran from just one side of the village to the other. After what seems to be longer than it really was we came to the city of Izmit and there the driver found out where Golcuk was located and they told him that was where the US Navy was located. During our trip from Ankara we had lived on watermelon (KARPUZ)and bread (EKMEK) which we did scrape enough Turkish money together to buy. We traded American cigarettes for water (SU), so at least we didn't starve.

       When we finally arrived at Golcuk, we learned we were in the wrong place but at least they knew where we were supposed to go, another ten miles to good old Main Site. We arrived at Main Site, Tuslog Det 28, Karamursel, Turkey on August 1, 1957. We had only been traveling for two months and 15 days. Of course you had to buy your meals from the construction company in a civilian chow hall, and the only drinking water we had was in large tanks parked outside the barracks, which didn't even have beds.

       Things got better within the week, the chow hall went over to the Airforce and the food wasn't to bad and we slowly got beds to sleep in and a few lockers for our clothes. Things did improve quickly and shortly the place became very livable, or until it started to get cold and the rains started and Main Site became Mud Site. The only place you can stand in mud to yours knees and dust blows in your eyes.

       The next thing was trying to get operations set up so we could go to work. The "R" branchers started working shortly after we got there. It took the "O" branchers another three months to get there division running but the "T" branchers didn't have anywhere to work for nearly six months. Only a few things went wrong. First our Communication Officer was taken prisoner by the Turkish Army because he was working at night and didn't have his uniform on, while standing on top of a pile of old wooden packing crates. Next, we had a Warrant Officer and a Chief try sailing a boat from Golcuk to Yalova and capsized it. The Warrant Officer swam to shore and we spent the next 24 hours searching the shore line looking for the chief's body. Luckily he stayed with the capsized sailboat and was picked up by a Turkish fisherman 10 miles at sea.

       Only one more memoral thing happened, and that was when the Turkish Soldier (ASKER)boarded a bus returning troops from Yalova and shot up the bus. At least no one got hurt.

       We did accomplish one good thing during the last six months of 1957. Neal Burg came up with the idea and several of us worked and got a radio station on for everyone to listen to on Christmas Day. It didn't last to long. We were radiating and were heard off the base so Neal pulled the plug on New Years Day. After more work and some money from the Airforce, everything finally worked out and KTUS went on in 1958 and became affiliated with the Armedforces Network. Operations started to become organized and as far as work went, TUSLOG Det. 28 finally became a pretty good place to work. I stayed one year to the day, being transfered to Cheltenham MD on August 1, 1958.

       I have received several messages regarding my account of the journey to Karamursel, and things that happened during the next year at Mainsite. As Paul Harvey always said , "Here is the rest of the story". If not the rest, its a little more.

       I was one of eighteen or so that came in from Wahiawa, Hawaii. As best as I can remember we followed a similar route working our way to Mainsite. I stayed in Brooklyn for about a month, then to Charleston, SC for a flight to Tripoli. We were stuck in the transit huts for three weeks before catching the Medical flight to Ankara. Again we stayed in Ankara for about a week. We picked up some Airforce personell there.

       Kenny Paugh and I were the only navy to make the trip and the infamous bus trip to Karamursel. We didn't have anything to eat from sunrise until we arrived at Mainsite. All we had was some chewing gum. I remember when we checked in at the MAA office they gave us a screw driver, and a adjustable wrench, pointed us to the old runway where supplies were stored and told us to go get a couple racks, and on a second trip we got lockers and anything else we could find that we could use. This was the first week of September, 1957.

About the sailboat;

       After the sailboat capsized and was found at sea it was towed back to Mainsite. Larry Cushman "O" brancher, Dalton Porter "R" brancher, John Slagle "I" brancher, myself and a couple other guys chipped in and bought the boat. We were all skin-divers and needed a boat since we had brought our gear from Hawaii. After buying the boat we had the seams recalked, removed the center board, cut out the after transom so we could hang a motor on it and away we went. The little marina by the ferry landing that the base had, would let us check out a 10 horsepower Merc, and gave us a couple tanks of gas for nothing at the beginning but in the end I think they did start charging us 10 or 15 cents a gallon. We did a lot of diving off that boat, all the way down to Karamursel and across the bay along the other side.
Willy Pardue

Other great sites

American Military in Turkey


Weather in Yalova

The Boys in Turkey

Just across from Istanbul, on Ismit Bay is the spot,
We do our work in this land that God forgot.
Down with the snakes and lizzards, down with the men in blue.
Right in the middle of nowhere, a million miles from you.
We work, we sweat, is more than a man can stand.
We're supposed to, we,re sailors, just defenders of our land.
We,re men of the Navy, earning our measly two and half bucks a day.
Living with our memories, longing for our gals,
Hoping that while we are gone they have not married our pals.
All the time we are away we are thinking of things we have missed.
"Do not let the Navy get you and for God's sake, don't enlist!"
Nobody knows we are alive and nobody gives a damn,
So write to your friends in the Navy, say a word to the boss over there.
But if he is in Turkey, just kneel and say a word of prayer.
But, when the pearly gates come into these sailor's view,
Our frowns will turn to smiles for now the joke is on you.
For once inside, you will hear St. Peter yell,
"Fallout, you guys from Turkey, you have served your time in hell."

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