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Brenda R. Bench (Honeycutt) '64-'69

Hi! I was recearching Asmara for an Italian class I am teaching at Cameron University here in Lawton, Oklahoma, when I tripped across your website. I couldn't believe it! I though people had long since forgotten the name of Kagnew Station. I think I'm still in a state of shock! I browsed around the site, and actually found some old (oops, that word's no longer allowed in my vocabulary!) or let's say former classmates of mine. I fired off one email so fast, I'm afraid I left friction burns on my new monitor.

I would like to be added to your list of Asmara Alumni. My name is Brenda R. (Bench) Honeycutt. I arrived in Asmara with my father, Lee O. Bench Jr., he was stationed at Gura and I think at track A (Navy), in 1964. I graduated from Asmara American High School in June 1967. Later that same year, in November, I was married to Billy J. Honeycutt, who had arrived in Asmara in December 1966. Bill worked for the Chaplin's Office in the Post Chapel for awhile, then transferred to the Dependent's school as a Supply Sergeant. He was with ASA. We stayed in Asmara until May, 1969.

I noticed that you will be adding "soon" a special spot for all us military brats. I want to thank you. Most people don't quite understand how disconnected most of us feel, having our high school taken away from us. We can't go back to visit, we can't walk the halls and hear the sounds of our memories come alive, we can't even call up old friends and talk of days gone by. Most of us don't know where our friends are. We can't get together every 5 or 10 years, or even 20 or 25 years for a high school reunion. Where could we meet, how could we contact the people, who could come? I, for one, appreciate you going the extra mile for us. Thank you.

Also from Brenda:

Thanks for maintaining the site for us. You can't imagine how disconnected most of us feel when everybody around us flaunts their high school reunions in our faces. But, hopefully, next summer....we will have one of our own. Because there were so few of us, we are including quite a few years in our search. It looks like we have ended up finding people mostly from the years 65-69. To be honest, I don't think we could have found the people we have if not for the Kagnew site. We have even found our High School English teacher, Mr. Waterstreet! It has been a real hoot.....

By the way, we just found Odell "Joe" Jackson in Houston, TX!!! Could you please note that on your page as a success story! This just proves once again that what you are doing is truely beneficial.

Thanks! Take care, Brenda

Rand Rueter '70-'72, Arabic 98G/04B

I was at Kagnew from 1970 to 1972. Arabic 98G/04B Played music at the Oasis with John Critchfield, Archie Setzer, George McLaughlin, Jeff Miller, and a lot of others. Helped set-up the Asmara Pop festival. Brought home a 1950 Matchless. Have lived in Monterey since coming back stateside and have owned a computer integration company for the last twenty. Still play music and have played at the last few Monterey Blues Festivals. Have some pictures of the crowds (including Stillson, Falco, Bledsoe, Junior and others) inside the Oasis and the usual scenic stuff, plus some horse trip pictures from the "Wild Bunch". I'll get them scanned. This page is great, my kid finally gets a look at some of the background.

Mike Richards '72-'73

Imagine my surprise at finding this web treat. I served at the hospital in Kagnew from Dec 0f 72 until June of 73. I was a speedy four in the clinical lab along with an E-6 by the name of Paul Roberts who is currently living in Texas. This was during the time that the Navy took over the medical operations from the Army. I also put time in as medic on duty at the hotel in Massawa. Tough job! When I wasn't water skiing I actually saw a few patients. I will never forget the NCO club Bingo nights nor the radio station 'The Rock of East Africa'. And how about all those wonderful bars downtown like the Wig Wam? I would love to hear from anyone that was assigned to the hospital during that wonderful time or anyone who for that matter can remember me. Thanks for a great page.

Frank Pitzi '61-'63

my name is frank pitzi i served at kagnew from 61-63 .... i would love to get in touch with some old friends from that era.....can you add me to the roster email address is:

i am trying to find peter.raynolds who served with me at the above dates....i almost found him a year ago when someone told me he stayed in the asa and went to okinawa 63-65??? ...any help ??

thanks for setting up this page....i will browse thru it tonight....

my best to you all..

Kinfe Manna

My name is Kinfe Manna. I am from Asmara, Eritrea. I lived in Asmara until 1977. I lived close to Kagnew station.

Our family became good friends with a young American Soldier around 1971-72. The soldiers name was Scott Shaw. At that time he was probably around 22 years old. And I was about 11 or 12 years old. He was a great guy; and I have always wondered if someday I would meet him.

In any case is there anyway that I could find out where he is?

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Charles (Ray) Boswell '63-'65 Guard Co

I thank the page for the pic of the front gate. i stood there many days waving cars and other things on the post. just like the day a steer (i think) decided he wanted to come on the post. I decided it had the proper pass.

thanks for the page. just found it a couple months ago. will be sending some pics later, including one of the rodeo.

Don Hayes '67-'68

I was just given the link to your page from a message on PlanetAll...I was stationed there from Jan. '67 to July '68 an 05K at Tract C from PFC to SP/5...I am going to do some digging and if I can come up with a few pics, I'll post them on my server and fwd you the URL's...I have been enjoying the page, and am about to give it some further looking over...But wanted to get this off now...

Thanks a lot and keep up the well appreciated work...

Suzanne Dupont (Rutledge) '65-'68

My brother, Michael Dupont recently found this information on Kagnew Station and relayed it to me. My father Dr. Albert A. Dupont was stationed in Asmara from 1965 to 1968. I was born in Asmara in February 1968. It has been so interesting to read about Kagnew Station. My family moved back to the states when I was three months old. The stories I have heard about my place of birth have been limited. It is great to learn about the history and the present status of Kagnew Station. Please add my name to your Kagnew Station Roster.
Suzanne Dupont Rutledge

Tom McCrea '67-'68

Today is a very special day, I found your site. I have been a member of the Asmara Alumni Assoc. for several years, but did not know of this site.
While searching the "" for information on doing business in Eritrea I happened to notice "Kagnew". What a suprise! There I found the e-mail address of my classmate/workmate Mike Doran. ("maddog" to us at the page) We have not seen each other since Dec. 69.
As stated by Mike, we attended the PAT course at Ft. Devens after completing 05H40 training. We arrived on Jan. 7, 1967 and departed in Dec. 68. In Jan. and Feb. of '68 I had the pleasure of being one of the last two Americans to go through the Morse Search & Development training at Bletchley, England.
I have many fond memories of Asmara and hope to be able to visit there someday soon. Keep up the good work. I'll look forward to finding many old friends as they learn of your site and make their addresses known.
Thanks! Tom McCrea

John Hirsh '66-'70

Hi Rick,
I am happy to meet you for the first time. (Gosh sakes, I only used to speak four letter words in the Army.) I have so much I want to put on the web.
"My name is John Hirsh. I lived at Kagnew Station Company B, Delta Trick from 1966 to 1970. I was a 72b20 in the Communications Center at Tract C. For a while I wrote Company B Concourse for a lieutenant."
"I attended a dinner in downtown Asmara with John M. Haynes (who now lives in Panama City, Florida). It was hosted by John (Jumbo) Richardson. That was followed by a Gherry Cart ride which reminded me of something out of the chariot ride out of the movie with Charlton Heston in Ben Hur. I spoke with Dave Marcos and Jumbo recently. Jumbo, I mean, John said he remembered my story in the Kagnew Gazelle. He also said he used to have many such dinners."
"In 1967, I borrowed a VW Kombi and traveled around Eritrea with Jack (John J.) Lapseritis (who lives in Tucson, AZ). We got as far east as Harrar and Dire Dawa. The Kombi disintegrated on the eastern rode between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Neither of us knew anything about preventive maintenance. So we had to be towed."
"I got a job in Milwaukee Public Radio between 1972 to 1976. One piece about a farmer losing part of his farm went nationally. A fellow from Winona, Minnesota named John (who was in the Comm Center) called WUWM Radio (where I worked). I went to visit he and his wife there. I forgot John's last name."
"In 1967 there were five people in our Comm Center whose names were John. If someone said 'Hey, John" all would respond. If all of us went DOWNTOWN the street boys would also say "Hey, John."
"I later got a job at The Milwaukee Journal writing Suburban News. In January, 1990, I was watching David Letterman when I had a really terrible headache. It turned out I was having a massive stroke ((the speech area turned into mush)). But I recovered."
"Right now, I'm looking for Joe York and Gary McGoey. Joe was in Company A. Gary in Company B."
"When I was in the Army, a lot of people talked about getting out of it. But Eritrea was a lot of fun. And I wish I had taken more opportunities to use the University of Maryland to go to Kenya and take courses in Anthropology, Geology or Geography. I wish a lot of people had. For example, I wanted to write a monograph on some small group in Eritrea."
"I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but it's easiest to get to me at I'm going to be dropping Netcom as my provider."
I looked at the web page and notice other guys have done some writing. I would like to write about how I got in the army. It's not a laff riot but it's funny.
I actually noticed the web page months ago. After searching for months into two basements, I found film from Eritrea. A place called Editran in Milwaukee, Wisconsin put it together. Then a couple of weeks ago John M. Haynes, who was also in Company B, using Four11 or something and called me.
I notice there's a page for people who are missing. I will add to it when I get a chance.
Since then I've sent out some copies of the Video which includes Dave Marcos and Haile Sellassie. I've sent tapes to Haynes and David Postle. I'm also going to send out copies to Dave Marcos and Jumbo Richardson. I'll have to ask Editran the best way at the least expensive: QuickTime, RealVideo or whatever. Then we could run "Sugar, Sugar" under it.
You know, this has been a lot of fun.

Jim (USN Ret.) & Barbara Blair '59-'61

Jim (USN retired) and Barbara Blair Mar '59 to Sep '61. We have 2 daughters that were born over there. NavCommUnit3, Electronics Tech. that worked at the old transmitter site. We still keep in touch with Bill and Belle Tanner, Jack and Wilma Myers, Joe and Sandy Dauster, Vince Swanson. We also see Ralph Pelletier who was over there '66 to '69.
We live in Cypress, CA not far from Knotts Berry Farm and DisneyLand.

Fred Huff '58-'59

I arrived Kagnew Station, January 1958. M/Sgt with Initial assignment as Mess Steward.
Helped open the R&R hotels at Keren and Massawa. Ran the Top 5 Club in early 1959, then transferred to Post Signal Office as NCOIC.
Still keep in touch with many of the old gang from that era.
Alternate email

Laurent C. Lafond '52-'53

I was at Kagnew Station when the Navy presence was referred to as "Naval Communication Unit 3". Teletype Maintenance, and sometimes Point to Point CW with Ceylon, the Philipines, and anywhere else they needed it/me.
Checked in October of 1952, and alas and alack, was transerred on December, 1953. It was a very enjoyable tour - quite possibly one of the best during my 23 years of Naval Service.
Was RM2 to the best of my recollection, and single. Lived in the barracks on Station. Used to commute via Weapons Carrier that was always driven by the Leading ET, or the XO, whose names escape me.
My address is 150 Knollwood Circle, N. Kingstown, RI, (401) 884-7872.
I would like to meet some of the troops that were there at the time.
Thanks, Laurent

Mike Whelpley '61-'63, '68-'71

(This is a combination of excerpts from 2 messages from Mike)

Hi Rick:
I was in Asmara in 61-63 and again from 68-71, we enjoyed it both times...
The first time I worked in the Motor pool as a tractor Driver that was from 61-63 and then returned as an 05H in 68-70 also was in Shemya, and with the 175th in Vietnam and the 409th in Augsburg and retired in 1977 after that went with the State of NH as a police Officer and retired from there in 1995.
You have a great page here and could think of no improvements that could be made. I guess we would all like to see more pictures, I have a few around but not many of people If I can be of any help to you , please let me know.
I now live in Titusville Florida, just outside of the Kennedy space Center.
Have a good day.
Thanks for being there and will check in often.

Thomas F. O'Meara, III '63-'65

I was stationed from May 1963 thru September 1965 at Kagnew Station. Still have my Gazelle patch. Wear it on one of my cycle jackets, no one has ever recognized it. We must be a small fraternity. I've got a few photos. I'll learn how to scan them and get 'em to you. Some are of a theatre group we formed in '64 called the OFF OFF BROADWAY PLAYERS. We performed in an old Italian theatre on the grounds of the Capishun Monastary.

Joseph E. DuJardin '70-'72

Arrived in Kagnew 1970. Spent first year as Asst. Operations Officer (Site C, OIC) and 2nd year as CO, Headquarters Company. Left 1972 to return to Vietnam (2nd tour). Was also President of Kagnew Rod & Gun Club and went on several good hunts with the great NCO's from that club. Wife and I were able to get to Keren once, before the rebels closed the road and also made several trips to Massawa Rest Center - both by car and then by chopper after the rebels closed that road. Asmara was one of the best tours we had in the service. We miss it!

Peter G. Silvani '59-'62

I was stationed at Asmara, Eritrea during Jun 1959 until Dec 1962. I was a Teleman First Class in the Navy, and when I first arrived in Asmara we had only 35 Navy personnel. Our station at the time was at Radio Marina and later on we moved to Kagnew Station. I married an Italian girl from Asmara named Miriam and was the first Naval personnel to get married over there. Would like to get in touch with anyone that was station at the Navcommunit at that time.

Mel Sundin'73-'74

I got wind of the website from Roland Richter and thought I might toss my name into the ring. I was the OIC of AFRTS Asmara from 73-74. I was the first (and only) Navy OIC, since we packed up and left in a relative hurry in 74... I was a LTJG (O-2) at the time. I have since retired as a Commander (O-5). My active-duty Navy wife is about ready to retire also--we have no idea where we'll live.

I have leads on several of the Navy folks who worked with me, and I will try to contact them for the roster. You guys are doing a terrific job. I remain proud of my time served in Eritrea. Take care.

Jack Hannigan '59-'62

Thought their might be a little interest in the Old Ham Radio Station ET2US [59-62] located at Tract A. I was the Secretary. The only other people I can remember was Chuck Ham, Ed Snow and Mark. Ed was in the Signal Reasearch Unit [Weather] located next to the Post Signal Supply. Chuck and Mark were 058's from Tract C. Chuck went to OCS from Asmara.

As I recall the story. The original call sign MI2US, Eritrea assigned to the American Consulate. It was changed to ET2US before I got there. Some of the early American Hams had their own calls with the MI and the ET prefix. The callsign ET2US was assigned for the use of the American hams after their personnel calls were cancelled by the Ethiopian Government. Some of the local Italians also had MI and ET2 calls and were very active until the Ethiopian Government closed them down.

We operated all band, AM, SSB, and CW. Had a pair of 250th's in the final for the SSB rig, ran a kw on 10 and 20 meters SSB. There was a MARS Station next door that had a BC 610. We had a three element rotary beam, a cubical quad and some other antenna for use during the ARRL HAM FEST and for the WAZ Awards.

I spent many an evening working MP4BBW Ian in Baharain; HZ1AB, USAF Daharan Airbase, VQ3RF Robbie in Kenya, ST2AR in Sudan, DL4RF in Germany and SV1AE Scorates in Greece. Quite a roundtable every night just waiting for the DXer to come up on frequency for a short QSO's. We worked a lot of Eastern Block Hams when I was there. The Russians in Addes Abeba had an ET3___ call and monitored us continually.

We had a Ham trip to Djubouti in 1961. The Ham club took a duece and a half and a generator for filed operation during the WWDX Contest. They had quite a few contact there using ET2US/ Portable. I stayed on the hill with a couple of other hams running ET2US.

Well so much for memories of my tour in Asmara.

Are there anyother hams out there that operated at ET2US? I understand that the call was later changed to ET3US. I have not operated since I moved from Illionis in the 60's. My US Calls were W1BXG, W4GVM, and W9LLM. Also operated in Korea in 57-58 out of the 321st HQ Mars Station at Camp Red Cloud.

Ever Vigilante
Jack Hannigan

James L. Wright '67-'70

My name is James L. Wright. This is a miracle. I never thought I would ever hear of Kagnew Station again. My wife Sue and I plus two children, Tracy and Norris, were stationed at Kagnew from 1967 to 1970. I was assigned to STRATCOM and worked at Gura. My primary MOS was satellite Gnd Sta Rpmn and my secondary was Microwave Repairman. My boss was MSG Ted Cummings, STRATCOM Cdr was LTC Higgs, and can't forget Special Forces type - 1SG Cooper.

We lived at Tract E housing area. We definitely remember the drought. My wife learned a valuable lesson about survival, being from New York and all. Can't forget the good old times at the "club." The best darn military club I have ever seen. Casino night, happy hour, special imported entertainment, gone forever. Before I get too long winded, I would like to say Hey to some long lost friends and fellow Kagnew vets, wherever your are! Clifford & Gracie Moore; Ed & Louise Thomas (Enjoyed Ed's Jazz show on AFRTS); Mike Hollis; the Elmendorfs' USAF' Mr. Apkarian, elementary school principal; Jim & Nebbie Freese (Nebbie played the slots like she owned them).

I could go on for days talking about Kagnew Station. I'm going to research my closets. Got a lot of stuff packed away. I am sure I still have some Gazelle newspapers, photos, Kagnew Station guide, etc. that I can contribute to the cause.

I retired from Uncle Sam's Army in 1987 as E9, currently living in Virginia. Work as Force Protection Specialist, Ft. Monroe, VA. (757) 727-2851 DSN: 680-2851.

Hope to hear from someone, anybody. Keep up the excellent work. Great great praise for the creator(s) and maintainer's of this wonderful site. God bless!

Stan Jakubik '72

I left Kagnew in November 72. The Navy was moving in during 73, I believe, to take over control of the station. When we were there, it was quite peaceful but I recall that some Kagnew personnel were kidnapped and held for a period of time after Haile's downfall. It was sad to listen to the account of famine and war centered around Asmara.

Since I was a draftee and not "command sponsored", my wife and I first lived in an apartment in town and had many Ethiopian friends. We were able to keep in touch with some of them during 73 but lost all contact in 74. Still to this date we do not know their fate

After a month or so in the apartment,we later shared a house with another couple, Kathy and John Allen, and with two bachelors, Tim Willard and John Bedwell (Military wasn't too keen on that idea but we were all reasonably broke and shared expenses). We also had two Ethiopian women and a child living in the maid's quarters behind the house. We initially hired one of the women, Ghidai Solai, as a housekeeper but she ultimately became more friend than employee. Her father, a coptic priest, eventually became our all important "gateguard". Ghidai had a friend, Herite, who was living with her son on the rooftop of our original apartment. The friend's husband was a Saudi and was out of the country. The owner of the apartment building would beat her on occasion (just for sport I company commander 1LT Ed Taylor (from Texas I believe) managed to put a stop to that) so when we moved to a bigger house we asked them to join us as well. Herite was an educated woman, a teacher, but was not allowed to teach. Her son, Mesphun, was about four or five years old and was a joy. Jan and I were able to learn about and live in a culture totally foreign to what most Americans knew. Jan was a home economics teacher at home and enjoyed Herite and Ghidai's attempts to teach her how to ferment Ethiopian bread and cook traditional dishes. We traveled with Ghidai to her parents home in a village outside of Asmara. Ghidai was the first child in her family to survive. Apparently she was the seventh birth to her mother who then went on to have more children. Her mother was in her forties but looked more like a woman in her seventies.

The day-to-day situation for our Ethiopian friends and their families back in the villages outside Asmara gave us a very different perspective on life when we returned to the "world".

After release from the Army I returned to the position I held prior to the draft at William Paterson College in New Jersey. Left NJ in 1979 for Maryland. Was most recently Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at University of Maryland Baltimore County. I now work for the University System of Maryland Headquarters as the project director, designing and implementing student information systems.

Thanks for making the effort to keep us all informed about our own histories. Will keep checking the site.