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> Amerikan askeri oldum ve Iskenderunde 1967 ve 68 oturdum...
mesaj 25-03-2008 - 21:04
İleti #1

Grup: üye
İleti: 1
Katılım: 25-03-2008 - 20:46
Üye No: 3,036
isim: Ed
meslek: avocat
İskenderun'da mezun olduğunuz okul adı ve mezuniyet tarihi: yok

Amerikan askeri oldum ve Iskenderunde 1967 ve 68 oturdumki. Benim Turkce simdi 40 senlerden once iyi degil. Ingilizi icin yasdim bu senede. En iyi arkqadaslar oldum ve onlarde yasdim buarsi Ingilizci icinde. Lutfen eger Ingilizci anlayorum yas bana, 40 sene eskidan belki beniom arkadaslar simdi orda degil ama belki cok var ve siler ben gutereceksiniz. Amerikan askerihanesi ne adresi oldu ozaman? Bes yol plajde oldu Antakya yolde ozamn.


Ed Roberts

After having had a voluntary statement to go to Southeast Asia on file for the entirety of my 18 months of duty at Barksdale AFB, I received orders to be transferred to TUSLOG Detachment 181 in Iskenderun, Turkey. In the Ankara Airport on the way in we were greeted by an earthquake measured at 7.1 on the Richter scale. Those who knew what was happening when the building shook and luggage skated across the floor, ran from the building. The rest of us sat there not knowing what to do until it was over. I arrived in Iskenderun in the middle of the night on July 21st of 1967 having flown a third of the way around the world and then down the country to Adana where I was met and transported by Air Force personnel.. I missed the hoja’s midnight call to prayer that first night as we were traveling through the country side between Adana and Iskenderun. I never missed it again, though, through blackouts based upon concern over Greek/Turkish relationships on Cyprus (we could see the lights of Cyprus at night from our barracks atop the warehouse), storms, floods the call always came.

I was a telecommunications/crypto operator. Det 181 provided radio transmitted teletype communications and crypto in support of the mission of the Army’s TUSLOG 33-3 (I believe) a water port terminal with port supervision operations and transport/warehouse facilities in the town of Iskenderun.

Our facility was a walled warehouse facility with the main (and only) gate opening onto what I believe today is Ibrahim Karaoglanoglu Cadessi (also highway D817) but was then not known to me by a street name but was the main highway thoroughfare passing through Iskenderun to the south and into Syria and the Middle East. The neighbors told me it was the only highway that ran from Europe to Saudi Arabia. Thousands of Moslem pilgrims passed that way on the road to Mecca and Medina.

The Army unit’s commander was a Lt. Col and they had another officer, several NCOs and enlisted personnel and employed perhaps 8 or 10 Turkish civilians. I will endeavor later to name several of those Turkish personnel in hopes that readers who were also there will remember them. They were permanent, USAF and the Army were temporary. Our USAF contingent included a radio maintenance person and two telecom/crypto operators. The station was open 8am to 5pm but could open anytime by just running the signal up on the radio gear and putting the TTY equipment online. It operated in a barracks room/office atop the warehouse facility. All personnel had barracks uygunsuz kelime along both sides of a single corridor. They were single uygunsuz kelime, though the Army guys did double up during ingress/egress of personnel. When I arrived, I was a Sgt (buck Sgt at that) and my unit commander was TSgt Bailey. His tour ended in a couple of months after my arrival and his replacement didn’t arrive for about two months thereafter. I was the unit commander temporarily. Our radio maintenance guy was also there making a normal compliment of 3 USAF personnel in telecom. There was also a USAF guy assigned there whose duty was to manage the scheduling and housing of frozen cargo in freeze lockers.

We had a chow hall – we funded it from our separate rations allowance. It included a Turkish cook who spoke fair English, two maids who spoke little English and a young boy named Ramazon about 7 years old who was our shoe shine boy. Ramazon was exceptionally well cared for in that place. His clothing and school was funded by American personnel.

Midway along the corridor of our barracks facility was a door that lead out onto the flat roof of the warehouses. Some of the guys had put together a weight lifting facility on the roof. One Army guy was a competitive power lifter and spent a lot of time working out there. The roof had a knee high wall running around it. At the back of the roof – adjacent to the window of my room – on the 2nd day I was there - I approached that edge of the roof and looked down into the yard of the family that lived right behind – the wall around their yard was partly our wall at the back of the warehouse. I waved to the children in the yard. They said something which I didn’t understand (I later discovered that they had a passing acquaintance with Sgt. David Teague of the Army contingent and had known some of the American personnel over several years). I spoke no Turkish on that 2nd day and they spoke virtually no English. The next day I returned after duty to sit on the wall and begin learning about them. They had 12 children alive there and the mother was well along in another pregnancy at the time. We made motions and said our own language’s words. They pointed to the mother and said “anne” and to the father and said “babba”. I got that. I made a sign with my fingers on the palm of the other hand like walking. They said “yurumek” – the infinitive form of the verb meaning to walk. It went rapidly from there. I learned from them and from the Turkish folks who worked with us. Within a few weeks, I was speaking regularly in long and complicated conversations with that Turkish family Their last name is Dengiz and the father was an “arabaci” or horse drawn coach driver. I can still remember all the names of those children. Let me run them down here. Semir (the oldest son about 25 then), Semire (the oldest daughter who was married and had a daughter but came around everyday), Bedriye (daughter who was married and had a son), Bedir (18 or so a male), Vahid (15 male), Vahide (about 14 female), Ferid (12 boy) , Feride (11 girl), Selma (6 girl), Selwa (4 girl) and Suheyla (1 girl). For some reason I cannot recall the name of the baby subsequently born into that family while I was there. The last one made 12 live children out of 21 pregnancies in that woman’s life. They taught me Turkish. There were weekends when I was totally immersed in Turkish/Arab culture and language of the area and during which I spoke not a word of English. Though I might not have been invisible to the Turks of the neighborhood, during those times, I m absolutely sure no American could have found me. I wore Arab clothing, spoke Turkish with an Arabic accent and went about among the Turks as they did. They taught me the customs and cultural behavior. They taught me the openness of loving what you have. I spoke Turkish well enough to be certified, later in my tour as fluent by the US DOD. They were Arabs by birth, Hatay Province having only become part of Turkey at the end of the British Protectorate of Syria in 1939.

In 1967, everyone in Iskenderun over 28 years of age had been born in Syria only to have their town and the entire province of Hatay become part of Turkey in 1939. Turkish was the official language, Arabic was the mother tongue for most folks there at that time. Though there were Orthodox Christians and Catholics in the town, and I came to know several of them, the vast majority of the populace was Alevi Muslims (not Sunni, not Shia’a). I learned a bit of Arabic, but not much. My appearance was convincing however as I looked more like the neighbors than most of the neighbors and spoke Turkish with the Arabic accent since I learned Turkish from the folks around me who were Arabs by birth and native Arabic speakers.

One evening, the mother of the family asked me if I would walk across to the other side of our compound across the roof and tell Vahide and Feride who were window shopping across the street from our front gate to come home. I was pleased to and walked to the other side of the roof. Upon seeing them in the street I called out to them in Arabic “Vahide, Feride emme kal tai lahone” – well that’s the phonetic for what I said. It means “Wahide and Feride, momma said come home”. Upon their arrival home I was still talking to the family on the wall and the girls were all giggles and chatters telling me that the folks asked if I was their brother. Apparently – perhaps they were flattering me - my appearance and pronunciation of the Arabic words was such that the folks in the street not only didn’t know I was American but thought I was their Arabs brother. I did look like him.

Among the Turks/Arabs who worked with us at the facility were Albul Hamid Sabaoglu (a beautiful name meaning “Slave of God Hamid Son of the Morning”) (affectionately known as “Red’ due to his red hair).
”Red” was the most profane person in three languages I have ever known, Naim Koc, Ali Dipsakaci, Oktay Yaygili – who became my dear friend, Jimal ______. Mehmet_______.

We were told – and the traffic passing showed evidence - that the highway was then the single highway that ran from Europe down into Saudi Arabia and was the preferred bus and truck route for Moslem Pilgrims who must meet their duty of a pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime. Twice in my tour there I saw the masses of pilgrims with chartered buses piled high with their luggage passing – surely thousands of them.

Everyday, the highway carried major truck traffic. There is no telling how much an enterprising Turk can load on a truck. They loaded them back then to the point of turning the trucks over. They loaded them with everything from household baggage and people to heads of cabbage and everything in between. You can stack empty tin 5 gallon petrol cans close to 20 feet high on top of a Mercedes diesel truck with “Masalla” painted decoratively above the windshield. Dumb American, in my early days there I though that was the manufacturer of the truck body. One day I asked “nerede bu Masalla kamyon fabrikasi?” where is this Masalla truck factory? Laughter reined down. “Masalla” means in Arabic “God is generous or good to me”. It is transliterated into Turkish with the same use. It was on every truck.

Most of our American personnel preferred not to venture quite so aggressively into the town and countryside as I did. Then, I had determined to learn the language and see everything I could, participate as much as possible and learn. I made an appearance – scored the first basket – in a game with the city team against a team from American University from Beruit. It was played on an outdoor court in a nice park. I was in regular attendance at the first season of Iskenderunspor’s move into professional soccer at the 3rd division level.

When I use the term “we” in this context, I m almost always talking about my Turkish friends and I. We went out together. I dated some modern Turkish women. I could talk to them – amazing. They were just like folks think of women in America. They did not all wear their heads covered and if they did, not all of them wore veils and black clothing. We went to nice places in the town and along the fabulous seashore. It was a rocky shore then but fabulous water and weather. We bought fresh seafood off the boats in the harbour. I could easily have lived like a king, but chose not to be quite so apparently tourist. I made – wages, separate rations and pay for operating the PX for a while – about $400 per month. The average Turk did well to make that in a year. In the villages and among those not in the “upper crust” of Hatay’s social scene my income would have gone a long way. I chose for it not to.

Oh, there was need from time to time. Selma Dengiz – the 6 year old girl in my “Turkish family” – suffered a very bad laceration on the bottom of her foot. The family – without medical resources nor money – bandaged it. She played and walked mostly barefoot. The wound was looking bad. With her parents’ permission, I took her in a carriage to the Hasta Hane (literally “sick house”) which passed for a hospital there in those days to have a doctor attend to her in the emergency facility. It wasn’t much then – windows open and insects around illness – but the doctor there did clean, close properly and bandage the wound. I paid cash. Selma clung round my neck as I carried her the whole time and thanked me. That was early in the fall of 1967. When I left in summer of 68, Selma was the first to shed a tear. I was the second. It was a 15 way tie for 3rd.

This is, perhaps, more detail about the interaction of one American Air Force Sgt. with the local Turkish neighbors than is found in other narrative at this site. My interaction, however, was principally with the folks of Iskenderun. It was a remote site with a normal party of 4 Air Force and 10 Army personnel. Every American who was there when I arrived left before I did and Every one who came after me was still there when I left. The constant that I was with every day of my time there were the Turkish personnel who worked there and the Turkish neighbors who became my friends and “Turkish family”. They were what was different from my other Air Force assignments. I will write another installment on this assignment – or as many as the site can abide at their invitation.
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mesaj 25-03-2008 - 21:04
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Katılım: 1 Dakika önce

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mesaj 26-04-2008 - 12:38
İleti #2

Grup: üye
İleti: 10
Katılım: 19-04-2007 - 15:49
Nereden: 657'liyim :(
Üye No: 899
isim: alge
meslek: serbest
İskenderun'da mezun olduğunuz okul adı ve mezuniyet tarihi: Ticaret Lisesi - 82/83

Hi Ed,

First, sorry for my bad English.

I read and tried to understand fully meaning with beatiful words (also turkish) about Iskenderun via below link;#entry23505

I was a baby in your duty times in Iskenderun but I born in 1966 in another city of Turkiye (you know "Turkey" also mean "an animal" so a lot of Turks do not like "Turkey" name. They prefer "Turkiye" name, you can include me among them) I'm from Iskenderun.

You're retired anymore, aren't you? Have you ever visited Iskenderun after you left? If not, you can't imagine 1967-68's Iskenderun now. Let me try you to link some Iskenderun photographs below:

You can click and see a lot of photographs of today's Iskenderun

Some historical photographs in:

City map of Iskenderun:


I'm so glad to hear you good things, especially about our Turk/Arab people's hostage and also you and your team's beneficences.

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mesaj 14-02-2009 - 21:30
İleti #3

Grup: üye
İleti: 3
Katılım: 29-07-2008 - 03:57
Üye No: 3,572
isim: alaattin sungu
meslek: otel
İskenderun'da mezun olduğunuz okul adı ve mezuniyet tarihi: Namik Kemal Ilkokulu

hello your message appears very friendly I was born and raised in Iskenderun had very good friend his father worked in Adana Incirlik base his name was MEL HILBERT who lived and passed away in late eighties I just wondered if you knew hin
my name is Alaaddin al the best if you wish to send message my e mail is
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mesaj 18-03-2012 - 21:52
İleti #4


@Ed Roberts:

Mr. Roberts, I was born in Iskenderun in 1964 and lived there til 1970. We had many christian arabs as neighbours and they were very friendly to us. As a child I was seeing the US people walkin around Iskenderun and I was mostly impressed with their clothes, because of the "easy feelin" look and they were soooo relaxed. I'm a very liberal guy and I think this has also something to do with the international feel in Iskenderun - arbs, armenians, christians, americans etc.

Thanks for sharing your memories with us.
Best regards
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-Zahit Uckun-
mesaj 22-11-2017 - 12:31
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Dear Mr. Robert, my name is Zahit Uckun, i am olso from Iskenderun, but sinse 1963 i am living in Berlin it was very good and fine what you about Iskenderun and the people wrote. i know two name from this people what you wrote. Naim Koc 8he died many years ago ,Ali dip Sakaci he is okey 84 years old i saw him two years ago i have cominacation whit his brother he send many greetings to you i hope you understand my bad englisch language (because no more practice) and you are glad whit this information have anice day my e-mail zahit.uckun
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