Author: Frank Maio
When last I wrote, we had just arrived in Turkey and off-loaded the C-124. It was hot,
Nighttime at Incirlik, Turkey
very hot, and, after we completed putting up the OPS hut, we stripped down to bathing suits and brogans, to work inside. The next phase of our lives was about to begin.
The First Night
That night, after our arrival and having unloaded the equipment, we found ourselves near the Turkish Military Fuel Supply, which was just down the road. Having been given the
Camp at Incirlik, Turkey
first watch over the equipment; that would be one guard as we were inside the perimeter of the base. It was terribly hot that night, I knew it was night because my watch said it was, but in all reality it was almost as bright as normal daylight. A jeep went up and down the road putting me in a ready mode, but it never stopped. At about 10 pm the jeep came back and stopped. This bullish Turkish Army type jumped out and introduced himself by telling me that we were sharing the area and that he had a guard at the fuel depot. I noticed a baseball bat in the back of the jeep and I asked what it was used for, he said that if he found a guard asleep on his post or not doing what they were told, he beat them with it. Now I am thinking that I do not want him driving by finding me asleep.
He left after that and I referred myself to checking my carbine for some reason. Pulled the clip out and test fired it, nothing. So looking around and seeing no one, I started field
Welcome to Turkey
stripping the weapon, going as fast as I could, for I knew that it would be my neck if I were found out. Luckily, no one came and I got it back together, when I heard this voice, “Hey, Joe, Hey Joe, OK, OK”, coming up the road was the guard from the dump, flicking his fingers in a lighting a match mode. I figured he could not smoke on his post, so I told him OK, he put a cigarette in his mouth and came towards me. I reached for my lighter in my pants pocket at the same time setting the Carbine down on the box that I had used to field strip it on. Had the bolt action pulled back and locked, or so I thought, the second the weapon hit the box the bolt action came out and snapped shut making this awful noise as it fell into position. Looking up, the poor guy must have thought I was going to shoot him and he was gone in seconds. Walked out a ways and found his cigarette there on the ground. Did not broadcast that right away. I laughed, but it really was not that funny. The shift being over, I went back to the Quonset to sleep, but it was so hot, no way.
U2 Before It Was an Irish Rock Band
Out bright and early the next morning, putting down flooring and cable in the floor for the Operations shack; the task was accomplished on the first day. Next day it was working
inside this oven setting up the radar gear and plotting boards. We were being pushed
Moscow Moscow broadcasts from Radio Moscow
because we were told that a squadron of F-84’s were to arrive very soon and they needed our setup operating on arrival. Every hour we had to fall out for water breaks and salt tablets. The maintenance guys were busy in the hot sun putting up the antennas and radio hookups, we had accomplished our duties and were free to wait on the incoming aircraft. Though as we sat around listening to ‘Moscow Molly’ that night we found our “top secret” move was already known in Russia. Like Tokyo Rose, ‘Moscow Molly’ is pure propaganda as she welcomes us by unit number, personnel number and “we know that the U2 will be arriving soon” and she finished off by telling the base support staff that the third run way light on the left of a particular number was not working. So much for a surprise, but we grunts really did not know anything about impacts, our job was to just do it. (more…)