Nicaea, Turkey and other Adventures of 46 years ago!

I was working at Sears Roebuck as a salesman about 10 am one day when the assistant manager called me to his office.  He said a guy just came back from two years in the army.  He had my job when he left and he wanted it back.  So, he said he would pay me until lunchtime that day.  I don’t believe that I thanked him for the two-hour notice.  My dad died in 1957, when I was sixteen, and mine was the only income for my mother and me.

So, I went to the post office and joined the Air Force.  The recruiter said I had to go to Roanoke for more test and a physical and the government would pay my way there and back to Danville.  I said no, I want to go on to Texas.  On January 19, 1961, I went alone on a bus to Roanoke for a night in a hotel on the government. 

The next morning I heard a lot on the radio about the new president taking his oath on the same day I would take mine.  Every one seemed to be excited about John F. Kennedy being president.  Well, the weather was so bad that the promised airplane couldn’t come in and go out, so they stuck us on a train.  They told me I had the highest test score, so I got long strings of meal tickets, train tickets, and even Pullman car tickets for a bed at night.  These six guys really looked up to me, since if they lost me, they lost their food and transportation.  The most appreciative guy was the only Black with us.  He was always friendly and happy.  He thanked me all the way to San Antonio and especially when we arrived. He told me what a great job I did getting the guys to Texas.  I can’t remember his last name, but he was from Danville.  I came across his basic training photograph not long ago:
Airman Basic Rose from a Lackland Air Force Base picture machine Feb. 1961.  
Well, the train went up north to Cincinnati.  We had a long lay over in the big fancy train station.  The next stop was St. Louis.  We had an even longer stop there.  It was snowing and all I had was a light white sport coat, but we walked out and found the USO.  We spent a nice time there and boy was I cold. 
We spent eight weeks at Lackland in San Antonio.  Then they put me on a bus to San Angelo, Texas where Goodfellow Air Force Base is located.  They gave me the job I was promised.  Another of our Danville group named Barton was promised an interesting technical job and they made him a cook.  I was trained for six months in secret things.  If I told you, I would have to shoot you as the old spy saying goes.  I completed my training as a Radio Intercept Analyst Specialist.  That kind of lets the secret out of the bag.  I might now say that we were listening to the Russians. 

After a long leave in Danville, my brothers-in-law took me to New Jersey to catch a plane.  For some reason we didn’t get on the Air Force plane.  They bused us on to Idlewild Airport (which later became Kennedy).  I was given tickets to Frankfort Germany on Pan American Airlines.  I seemed to be the only military person on the flight.  I spent about five days at Rhein-Main Air Base there, and then put on another Pan American 707 jet liner to Istanbul.  From there a Turkish Airlines small plane took me to across the Sea of Marmara to an airstrip east of Yalova, Turkey.  Karamursel Air Force Base was east of there a few miles from the small village of the same name. 




A week or so after I arrived at Karamursel, Richard Rowland from Danville showed up.  After a push by a congressman, we were allowed to leave on the same plane on June 14, 1963.  We took a lay-over in Rome, Italy and toured the city later that day.  On the 15th we took a flight to New York and on to Washington, D.C.  We took a train to Danville.

While at Karamursel we were fortunate to have a chaplain who loved history and going places.  He often organized day trips to historic places.  We once visited Nicaea where the well-known Nicene Creed was written in the fourth century AD.  This ancient city was founded in the fourth century BC by one of Alexander the Great’s commanders.

These are the mountains south where the road led to Nicaea (now Iznik) from Yalova.




The old city of Nicaea had a double set of walls for protection.  The location is show of the church of Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia) where the Nicene Creed was written.  Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom in Greek and is not a saint.  The lake is a big one.  I believe it is about 15 miles long and over 200 feet deep in places. 




An old coin from Nicaea shows the walls

Here I am at Nicaea, comparing facial expressions with an old Roman carving.

 This marble statue is 5 ½ inches tall.  It came from a small shop in nearby Bursa.  On the neck and on the left side opposite the knee are Christian crosses: Here I am at age 21 in 1962 in a courtyard of the Sergalio Palace in Istanbul. The museum here contains the jewelry collection of real cut stones collected by the sultans for 600 years. In the left background is the large Mosque of the Sultan Suleyman (1549-1557).  Note the tree on my left.   Here I am again 31 years later near the same spot in June of 1993.  What is 21 and 31? An that was 15 years ago. The tree has jumped to my right side and has grown and widened, sort of like I have.  Nancye and I took a tour of Turkey the spring after I retired in October 1992. See blog index at:

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