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Wheelus Air base, Tripoli, Libya

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Wheelus Air base, Tripoli, Libya

A video about wheelus air base was located about seven miles due east of Tripoli, the capital of Libya, Wheelus Air Base was originally built by the Italian Air Force as Mellaha AB in 1923. Captured by the British 8th Army in January 1943 during its battles with Erwin Rommel’s Wehrmacht Afrika Korps, Mellaha was then used by the US Army Air Force (USAAF) as a base for B-17 and B-24 bomb missions to Italy and southern Germany.

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  1. Alfred Sullivan, September 24, 2009:

    I’m a Wheelus AFB alumnus from 1957-1959. I was attached to the Headquarters 17th AF unit as the supply officer and in the supply command. I came there in early 57 as a new 2nd Lt. straight out of ROTC (Ohio University) and spent my entire service years at Wheelus. My wife Lou and Dan joined me there in mid-1957. We lived off base for a year and in the Trailors on base the last year and a half or so. We enjoyed our time in Libya and learned a lot about the people and culture. It was a great experience.

  2. Phyllis KIng, November 5, 2009:

    WOW, I’m so glad to make contact with someone who was at Wheelus. I was a kid when my father was stationed there in the mid 50’s. I’d love to connect with others who were at Wheelus at that time.

  3. Arthur J. Phillips, December 21, 2009:

    I served 30 months at Wheelus AFB. Good duty, pretty base. We had F100’s assigned to 7272 ABW. I was a hydraulic shop supervisor on night side in the big hangar. I arrived there 1 sept 1958. A lot of fond memories.

  4. Bahrain, December 22, 2009:

    Do share any interesting stories you may have of that era.

  5. James Griggers, January 11, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelis AFB Libya from 1965 to 1967 with the K-9 section.

  6. Dutch Stouffer, February 18, 2010:

    While researching Libya, 1957,, came across your comments. I was at Ben Guerir AFB in Morocco, 1957 and 1958, opening up a brand new Radar site there. Real nice experience, and met an Army Corps of Engineer family from West Virginia, named Knapp.
    The good old days, fer sure! Email me at if you’d like.

  7. Anna Robey Mullins, March 13, 2010:

    My dad was stationed @ the WAFbase and drowned on Christmas day 1960. His name was Lewis Ward Robey. He was in the US Army and was a scuba diver. Mom said he retrieved bodies when planes went down or boats. I don’t know much more. My mom still won’t talk much about it. She was left to raise 5 kids. If anyone knows anything about my dad I would love to hear from you.

  8. Jodie Seaborn, March 23, 2010:

    I was TDY to Wheelus AFB base for 4 months back in 1963 and part of 1964. I was an Air Policeman. I was guarding a Navy A-3 and it was night time there when we heard of President Kennedy death. We went into full scale alert.

  9. Gergarish, March 28, 2010:

    I have been on Wheelus (now called Mitaga) as recently as Feb of this year. Can still see a lot of what I know are standard AF buildings and facilities from being on other AF bases.

  10. Donald A. Dayton, April 1, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelus AFB as a young 2nd Lt/1st Lt.. in 1952-53. My wife joined me there and we lived in downtown Tripoli a block from the King Idruss’s Palace. We had a great time at Wheelus and hated to leave.
    Anyone out there from 1403rd Maintenance & Supply Group? If so, do you remember Col. Sam Covington.

  11. Bob Rubel, April 2, 2010:

    Oct. 1954 till April of 1956. A long time ago, but I remember it vividly. I was an Aircraft Electrician with the 1603rd Fld. Maint. Sqdn. On occasion I would be loaned out to the 431 FIS. It was a memorable experience for a teenager. We traveled all around Libya as much as we could. Got to Garian, Leptis, Sabratha, Tunisa, Malta, etc. Enjoyed looking at the beautiful Italian girls that lived in Tripoli, and that was it, LOOK period. No fraternizing, what a shame. There were a couple of great Italian Restaurants in Tripoli where we would go twice a month. The Brit’s had a great beach club just west of Tripoli, but can’t remember the name of it. They had a great drink called a cooler it was half beer and half lemon and lime soda, many consumed. The scuba diving in the Med was great as well as sailing. I guess I could go on for a while remembering but I’ll call it quits for now. I am currently retired and live in South Carolina and I am 73, Three years ago my wife and I toured Egypt. Bob Rubel

  12. Bob Rubel, April 4, 2010:

    I’ll answer my own question about the Beach Club it was called the “Tripoli Beach Club” LOL, so I was close.

  13. Clyde Berryman, April 15, 2010:

    I grew up in Libya between 1960-69, attended the Oil Company School, and got to visit Wheelus AFB a few times…including being evacuated via Wheelus in 1967 by the US Air Force for which I will be forever grateful. What an impressive operation that was!

    I am researching the old Mellaha Grand Prix Circuit which was active in the 1930’s, much of it on the same ground as Wheelus AFB. I learned that the tall white concrete control tower was knocked down when they lengthened the runways at Wheelus. I am looking for photographs of the Mellaha circuit control tower, pit and structures and would welcome any photos or information which anyone might be able to provide. Many Thanks!

  14. Claire Olsovsky, April 26, 2010:

    I was born at Wheelus in 1962. My father is Sgt Alexander Olsovsky (deceased 2002). My mother is Nicoletta Marie and my siblings are Alexander Jr aka Zander (deceased 1988), Charles aka Chucky, and Judith aka Gigi. My mother was was co-den mother for the boy scouts. I believe mom and dad were great freinds with the Lanoska family.

  15. Simon Ashworth, April 29, 2010:

    In reply to Bob Rubel’s query of the British Club to the West Of Tripoli. It was called Picolo Capri and was in Giorgimpopli. It was run by the army and it had an officers side and other ranks side. Needless to say the officers had the better part of the beach.It had a jetty going out into the sea. It was great for diving off. I had my first driving lesson in the car park. Further West was The Golf Club. That had a great sandy beach and they sold the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. Even with a layer of sand. We used to stop off at a restaurant called ‘ Chicken on Wheels’. Very nice chicken and chips and Motta ice cream for afters. Nearer to Tripoli was the Beach Club. whilst being a small club it had the best beach. I seem to remember that the waves were great to try and surf on. If you wanted to make a day out at 24km west of Tripoli was a lovely little cove near an old tuna factory. Thanks for the memories.

  16. Bob Rubel, May 10, 2010:

    Simon, thank YOU for the memories. I do remember some of what you describe. I really did enjoy my time in Libya, and it does bring back fond memories. I think the one thing that upsets me most about the new regime in Libya is that the Italian community was sent packing, all 45,000 thousand of them. Apparently they lost everything. They were just given so much time to leave and that was it. I am assuming that this happened based on an article I read, can anyone confirm this?

  17. Bob Rubel, May 10, 2010:

    Open this to read a great short story about a teenage girl in Libya in the 50’s. Her dad was in the military. Her experiences where really great.

  18. ed driver, May 11, 2010:

    Found a box of old 35mm slides from when I was in the Air Force all over the middle east in 1957/58. I had forgotten what or where they were taken. One of them was outside the gate saying 7272 Air Force Wing allowing me to do a search. Now I know it was Wheelus, most likely in 1958.

  19. Lawrence Yannotti, May 12, 2010:

    Hi Bob Rubel , Well I was in the 431st from Oct 1st 1955 until March 1957 as an Aircraft Electrician also . I truly liked Libya for all of its Italian Heritage . I retired from the Air Force in 1991 as the Aeronautical Museum Director and had one of our Museum Aircraft on display painted with the 431 aircraft markings. I still have photos of it . It is now painted Basic silver with no Sq. marking . Ciao Bambino

  20. Bob Rubel, May 12, 2010:

    Hi Larry Yannotti, After seeing your entry I had to go find my Wheelus Yearbook and find some of the names that I marked off when I was there. When I was there I supported the Electronic Fuel Control System whose Tech-Rep was named, Last name, Estep. The guys I worked with while there were Paul, John, Bruce, who was a Staff Sargent, also Jim Sergiant was a Staff Sargent. Ramsey and Pag. LOL, mostly first names and nick names. Wow you had quite a long career. Was your Museum in Dayton Ohio.
    Bob rrubel AT

  21. Bob Rubel, May 12, 2010:

    Larry, I supported the Electronic Fuel Control System on the F-86D.

  22. Lawrence Yannotti, May 13, 2010:

    Bob, I Retired from the AF as a S/Msgt and the next Day I started my Career at the Hill Aerospace Museum in Utah retiring again as a GS-12 in 1991 .During this time I was able to recover over 30 Aircraft for the Air Force . I recently looked up traveling to Tripoli and the cost was over $2000. R/T from Florida . I visited Lepis Magnum and had a feeling that I was there B/4 . I would like to go back there and visit again .

  23. Stanley Sims, May 14, 2010:

    I just found this web site. My Step Father, Capt. Richard Ennis was assigned to AACS at Wheelus. I believe 1957-1960. He was there for 3 years. My mother and I joined him for the last two years. We lived off base for awhile then moved on base and lived in a trailer right behind the Officer’s Club. I went to school there, 4th and 5th grades if I remember correctly. I was the base “paper boy” and I remember going to the Saturday afternoon movies. I also remember a move “theater” on the beach that was open to the weather…in the rainy season it was moved into a hut. I have good and bad memories.

  24. Claire Olsovsky, May 15, 2010:

    Stan, your the first person who mentioned any bad memories. My family was stationed at Wheelus from Feb 1960 till Aug 1963. My mother has many warm memories, however she does have one chilling tale. Our landlord’s son Basheel, who used to babysit us, came over one day all smiles. He announced with glee that the town jeweler had been stoned to death; he was Jewish. When she started to cry he back peddled and said he was just kidding. It shocking to this day.

  25. Stanley Sims, May 18, 2010:

    I was approx. 10 years old. There was a U.S. owned Horse stable a mile or so off base. My parents bought me a horse…”Big Red” was his name. Anyway I rode my bike from our trailer, on base, to the stable. One day I was riding home when I was stopped/blocked by about 10 young local kids. I did not know what they were saying, but I knew I was in trouble. I got lucky and an adult was riding by and broke the group up and let me pass. I never told my parents about the trouble….but I never went back to the stable again. I had a few bad contacts with the local kids. After that I never left base again alone.
    I had many great times on base!

  26. Stanley Sims, May 18, 2010:

    It’s amazing to me I have found someone approx. my age who lived in Tripoli. I went to school on base there. We left sometime around 1960. We might of been classmates.

  27. Claire Olsovsky, May 20, 2010:

    Stan, I was born there. I only have the photos and an interesting passport. We arrived in February 1961 and left in August 1963. There is a web site on Facebook for children who went to school there and another site: that has a section for the lower grades. My brothers were in school there. I plan to post photos after I get them scanned in. My mom played softball and I have a team photo. Check out the site it’s fun.

  28. Robert Hoyle, May 23, 2010:

    I was sent on 9 weeks TDY to Wheelus from Rhein-Main in 1965 to install and convert the Base Supply System to the Univac 1050-II computer. Communication was a single channel radio. 10 weeks later a call notified me of an extension of TDY -TO ‘approx 720 days’ !!! The messenger then mentioned that my wife was on her way by civilian flight. Before the ‘67 war we living in Tripoli opposite the Black Prince’s Palace where the US Marines are buried [….to the shores of Tripoli!!]. My wife’s sister -2 year old and husband arrived one Thursday in 1967. Great night at the O Club. Monday the War started -Wednesday they all went by C130 to Spain–some holiday!!
    We still had Brit passports and my wife made her way to Malta where I recovered it-had the Libyan visas put in and she was the first female back on base. She had shopped in the UK on the way–mini-skirts were in fashion. One of her favorite stories is of an AP driver calling out ‘Thank you Ma’am’ as she cycled across base to the Beach Club. We were, together with another Brit wife the only married families aff base-but had moved to Suk El Juma-nearer base.
    We went on vacation in 1969 on a Saturday and the News on Monday yold us about Ghaddafi–we did not see Libya again.
    Forgot to mention. I was on TDY pay for 3 years!!! $11 a day in the 1960′ was a nice bonus!

  29. Charles F. Lesley, May 30, 2010:

    I was assinged to the 7272nd HQ Sq from Aug 68 to Nov 69. Worked in the Combat Wheels Data Collection Office in the Base Ops Bldg. Lot of fond memories. Spent a lot of time down town at the bowling alley and eating at te Chicken on the Wheels Resturant. I think I remember that name right. ived on the beach.

  30. Garry Tibbetts, July 1, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelus 1961-63. Attached to 58th Air Res. sqd. I have pics of my buds from then, but have had no contact. Have searched forever for said patch. Hoping for some feedback. Enjoy reading all your comments.

  31. Bahrain, July 2, 2010:

    @ Garry - if you can email us scanned copies of these pics, we can display them on this site for others to see and get back to you. ( directory AT )

  32. David, July 9, 2010:

    My father was stationed at Wheelus AB from 68 til Sept 69. We ended being one of the last families to leave. I can remember living in one of those small trailors, where my brother and I’s “bedroom” was actually in the hallway leading to my parents room.
    I do recall using the large antenia near our house as second base in the numerous baseball games we played. Also had a blast snorkeling in the Med.
    All in all, in was a great time!

  33. Bob Gilbert, July 10, 2010:

    As a 2LT in the Army Corps of Engineers, my first and only assignment (after schools at Ft. Belvoir) was to Wheelus AB. I arrived in April 1968 and left in November 1969. I had an office in the Wing HQ compound. There was myself, LTC Edward Buen, a civilian engineer Henri Nicolas, and a secretary. We were supervising construction of facilities for the Libyan AF. I had a TDY assignment for several months to a U.S. Coast Guard station at Matratin, near the Marble Arch. This was a LORAN C transmitting station, at which the Corps of Engineers was doing some work for the Coast Guard, including refurbishment of a 300 foot guyed tower. My wife-to-be joined me later on, and we were married in Tripoli by the mayor of the city, and at the base chapel. We lived off-base (special dispensation by the colonel commanding the Mediterranean Division of the C of E in Livorno, Italy, since at that time, AF personnel were prohibited from living off-base)f or a period of time, and then eventually got one of the fabulous trailers on the Med. beach. The posting here bring back a lot of memories. At the time, we were glad to go home, but it certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I surely would like to go back to see the place.

  34. Rayymond Herr, July 14, 2010:

    I was at Wheelus from Sept of 1965 to July of 1966. I had gone there twice before tdy from Bitburg Germany to work on the Nvigation gear of the F105s. The higher ups decided they needed someone as permanent party to be there so they sent me and one other persone from Spangdalem AFB and a cilvian tech rep. I loved the sunshine but I didnt care for the base very much after being in Germany.

  35. Renee Meeks Rivers, July 15, 2010:

    I was there with my father Sgt. Troy Meeks from 1965 - 1968. He worked at what they called the Big Hanger. Those were some of the best times in my childhood memories. My mom and I were there when they evacuated the civilians.

  36. Tom Luty, July 18, 2010:

    I was stationed in Wheelus 23 months from 1966 to 1967. As an airborne tow reel operator we hung dart targets on the F100’s and then flew targets from the F-4’s. Had some good times working in the base photo darkrooms and spending time at the riding club and their rodeos.

  37. Jon Hemp, July 18, 2010:

    For over 40 years I have tried to locate any of Wheelus ‘ 7272nd K9 Handlers that weathered the ‘67 conflict. James Griggers (entry #6 above) may be the closest I’ve ever been. If anyone knows how to get in touch with James, please help. June of ‘67 was better training for my stint in Vietnam than In Country Training in Texas. A recent inquiry with the HH43 Association produced a photo of 7272nd K9 teams deploying via 58th ARS Pedros - unbelievable.

  38. Carol Taylor, July 18, 2010:

    Claire: I was in church this morning and thought of your mother. I used to work with Mrs. O many years ago at JCPenney. I found a note I received from her that she sent in in 1993 and thought I would take a chance to “Google” her and found you. You are mentioned in the letter. She said you had left Reston and was teaching in EPA procedures. I would love to hear from you.

  39. Carol Taylor, July 18, 2010:

    Claire: I worked with your mother at J.C. Penney many, many years ago. I thought about her in church today that thought I woul risk “Googling” her and found you. I found a letter she had written me in 1993. In it she mentioned you had left Reston and was teaching EPA procedures in Washington state. I would love to hear from you!

  40. Jodie Seaborn, July 19, 2010:

    This is in regard to Jon Kemp inquiry about Wheelus K9 Handlers. I was an Air Policeman that was TDY to Wheelus AFB back in the fall of 1963 and spring of 1964. My friend Steve Luz has a website of former K9 Handlers My friend Don Jones who I was station with in the 832 Air Police Squadron at Cannon AFB stays in contact with a bunch of K9 Handlers and he has a website

    I would like to thank the People that is sponsoring this blog.

  41. Claire Olsovsky, July 21, 2010:

    Carol, mom turned 84 last month and is fabulous as ever. She was in VA last year to meet her great grandson Riley. If you call Carol Bridges she has her contact information.

  42. fred debros, July 25, 2010:

    itsamazing: most us people remember wheelus as a haqpy place….most
    climate, beach and absence of abject islamism, maybe
    so do i:

    we flew a mats c124 globemaster from geneva to djeddah s/a and had to refuel nin wheelus.
    we were loaded with a field hospital operating room to go to yemen.
    the pilots were all my age…19 and the weather was just perfect.

    we then went on via sahara, el frasher to khartoum where we spent all night swapping an engine to then hop over the red sea to djeddah.
    wheelus was like a vacation. everything you needed. that was in 63. fondest memory of my life. i truly believe all the memories documented here. what a peaceful world we lived in.
    compare that to baghram or any base in irak…hell!
    these were the glory times of the us presence….and guess what: this will be back some time. our reputation remains: we are the good guys in that whole mess.

    best regards

    fred debros
    i was shot to smithereens in yemen by osamma friends in 67…finished medical school and ended up faculty at harvard …. i love the us and tripolis/wheelus was a glorious spot.

  43. Bahrain, July 25, 2010:

    @ Fred - you should study Islam thoroughly before making judgements. Occupations always end in humiliation.

  44. kenneth warner, August 2, 2010:

    I was TDY at
    Wheelus AFB in 1967 with the Army 79th Engineer Battalion, Company B, from Ulm Germany. We were setting up housing for AF dependents, When the war broke the Army was assigned to secure the base at all the gates to the base..I remember I had a friend from Long Island NY who had another friend who with the Air force at the time..He live off base with his family. when the war broke out all the civilians were evacuated. He wanted to retrieve some of his personsal items from his house outside the base. So we went to help him. we were not a able to bring are weapons off the base.(we (army) had been given our weapons when this all happened). so we drove off base to retrieve his items..(we were in uniform at this. we came upon a stop sign and waited for the libyian army to pass by in a parade down the highway. as we followed the procession we were pelted with rocks by the crowd who was cheering their army from both sides of the highway when they noticed we were americans. then after retrieving his personal items we had to venture back the same way and by this time they were waiting for us as we were bombarded with rocks. very uncomfortable time for us. we thought for sure if the car stopped we would of been killed..needless to say we never stopped.

  45. Walter Kneibert, August 3, 2010:

    I too was stationed at Wheelus AFB , assigned to the hydraulic shop in the big hanger . I spent eighteen wonderful months there from 1962-1963 . During my tour I got to see Leptis Magna as well as going TDY to Bitburg , Germany and Moron AFB , outside of Sevilla , Spain . A group of us formed a band and played on base as well as in town , although that didn’t last but one night as the bar girls started to pay to much attention to us than the customers .We also entertained the towns people on their beach,which was fun . If anyone has any pictures of the F-100c with their tow targets attached , I would love to see them as I want to put a plastic F-100 model together , painted in the 7272 colors .

  46. Wendy Davidson, August 8, 2010:

    was in Tripoli was married there to cpl/Robert Davidson Royal Engineers british army i was Royal Signals myself we married on april 4th 1964. Our best man was Andras Borona Jnr who was stationed at Wheelus AFB also another friend at wedding was Chano Bravo would love to hear from them very fond memories of the base had many a great night out.

  47. Garry Tibbetts, August 10, 2010:

    I’m wondering if we are talking about the same Wheelus AFB?! Great, wonderful times? After 18 months I was very happy to be leaving. I feel for our troops in the mid-east region. You should share your good times with them. Doubtful.

  48. Robert E Naused, August 12, 2010:

    I went to Wheelus with 580th ARC from Mt. Home Idaho. It was 52 or 53. I went to Bergstrom Air force Base in TX. in 1954. I was glad to leave Wheelus. My memory of Wheelus is not so pleasant. We were not welcomed by the Arabs and it was dangerous to go to Tripoli. No milk till I came home. I am glad things got better. I did like to march for King Idress to bagpipes

  49. Al Sullivan, August 12, 2010:

    I was at Wheelus from early 1957 to Aug. 59 (see comment #1 above). My wife, Lou, worked as a Civil Service nurse at the base hospital during a portion of this time. Son Danny went to the 1st and 2nd grade at the Base school—57-58 & 58-59. We lived off base in Porto Benito area for about a year then moved to an on-base trailer for the last year. As a 2nd Lt. I bought my first car in Tripoli: a 1957 VW Beetle which I brought it back to the states when I came home. (Do any of you remember the turn signals on German made VWs?) When living off base I can remember driving through Sk il-Juma (Friday Market) each day going to and from the base. I had one unfortunate minor accident with a pedestrian and confrontation with the police there. I got off based on the testimony of a local—he worked for us on base and was riding with me.

    All three of us have almost all good memories of our times and friendships developed while at Wheelus.

  50. Garry Tibbetts, August 13, 2010:

    Maybe I was alittle cras on my previous comments about Tripoli. I guess I was never involved with on base festivities, which included family’s. Fifteen yrs after losing so many of our boys in the sandhills still bothered me. I’m glad most of you had good experiences there. No need to response. Thank you for listening.

  51. Allen hebert, August 14, 2010:

    Wheelus AFB from feb.1959 to de.1959…Det 1 86th FIS…Had a fantastic time as and 18 year old airman in sq supply…Went to the beach everyday and smoked my first cig at the SNAKE PIT on base with pitchers of cold beer…Maj weinard was the Squadron commander and my suppy officer was Lt.Reed…Sgt Lorber as my supply NCO…Had a VW truck for myself and did have mach nix turn signals which were hinged in the door post…Had sides of the truck which collapsed on hinges….Would not give up those memories for nothing..Sent to 513th FIS phalsbourg France in Dec 1959…PERFECT..Anyway Wheelus was a beautiful Base and a great learning experience..

  52. Bobby Beights, August 26, 2010:

    I was at wheelus from 1961 t0 1963. Iworked in the big hanger doing periodic maint. on f100 and the old B57. getting old now. I just have pictures in my head. I do know that I was on the board of governers for the airmans club. I do have acouple of pictures.

  53. Jerry Hicks, August 28, 2010:

    I was at wheelus from 63 to 65, 7272 USAF Hosp., working in the Air Evac section, bringing in patients to give birth, surgery, and other treatment from Turkey, (TUSLOG detachments), and Crete. If we couldn’t treat them then they would be flown to Germany. Tripoli was a pretty base with a lot of good people. It was a good experience, but was glad to get back to US. Came across my old copy of the base newspaper (Tripoli Trotter) which made me remember my days at Wheelus. Take care.

  54. Jim Muse, October 5, 2010:

    Was assigned to the 1950th AACS Sq at Wheelus Field from May 56 til Oct 57. Worked in Base Message Ctr and Base Operations Message Ctr. Was a Comm Center Spec and Crypto Ops Spec. Wheelus was a wonderful experience but was glad when my time was up. Rotated back to Havre AFS, MT (radar squadron) which was the best duty anyone could have. My opinion. I also recall the Suez situation which occurred while there. The entire base went on alert for that one. Anyone out there recall the unofficial base mascot which was a big dog named “Sgt Bruno”? He pretty well had the run of the base. As I recall he showed up just about every day for his popcorn at the base threatre. Also rode around the base on the shuttle bus and always sat behind the driver. That was “his seat”. Gentle pooch but no one challenged him on the bus seating arrangement.

  55. JOHN BARCALOW, October 24, 2010:

    I was stationed at wheelus in 68-69 7272nd supply liquid oxegon looking
    for anyone there at that time in usaf

  56. Stephan Brodsky, November 17, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from 1968-1969. I was a HH-3E mechanic with the 58TH ARRS. I remember spending a lot of my free time at the divers club which is where I learned to sucba dive.

  57. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 20, 2010:

    So good to read all this memories about Wheelus. I lived in Tripoli for 6 yrs. from June 66. My husband worked there as a civilian at the Liquid Fuels Maintenance Branch, 7272 Civil Engineering Sq. I worked briefly for the EES on base. Our two sons were born at this time. We lived outside the East Gate, nearby on an Italian Farm, named Castiglione. In June 1967 my first son would have been born at the WAB Hospital, but instead we were airlifted to an Air Base in Spain near Seville. It was the operation SAFE HAVEN where the Air Force evacuated all families and civilians to bases all over Europe because of the 6 day war in Israel. We were lucky we could return later on. The coup to overthrow the king was in Sept. 69 and the Libyans said:” Ghadafi won’t last long”. Well how wrong were they. It was a really sad affair as everybody left by mid 1970. My husband was asked to stay on the job, just with a new employer. We were offered one of the houses on base, which was really nice. We got some new neighbours, French people who came to work on base with the Mirage airplane, some Pakistanis (pilots) and Egyptians (pilots). Many of the houses stood empty, also the whole trailer area. Nobody lived there anymore and the area was quickly overgrown, like a ghost town. It was really depressing, because before we had many friends living there. The Castiglione Farm was also deserted, because the Italians were also thrown out. Of course there was no more such thing as an Officer or NCO Club were we could go to have some food and drinks, no more Commissary or AFEX to shop. It was pretty dull and in June 1972 we decided to pack up and go home.

  58. Bob Gilbert, November 20, 2010:

    Hello Angelika –

    Your post was most interesting, particularly since you were at Wheelus so much longer than the typical military assignment, and you saw the base under USA “management” and under the Libyans, and all of the contractors of various nationalities that the Libyans hired. Your comments about the “ghost town” atmosphere were intriguing, particularly since we had lived in one of those abandoned trailers on the Mediterranean.

  59. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 23, 2010:

    Hi Gilbert,

    Some years ago on Google Earth it was still possible to make out the foundations of the trailers, but today on GE you see only a sand blown wasteland. Also north of the housing area there is now a new four lane highway.
    From the Castiglione farm I used to walk to the beach near the trailer area with my two children in the pram. I walked through the East Gate past the Nomads Club. After June 1970 it was no more possible to use the beach on base as a woman. We went once to a beach outside the base, but it was impossible to be seen there in a bathing suit. Some Libyan ladies went swimming in a kind wide long dress. There were also many changes in town. All the street signs were changed into Arabic which made it very difficult to find an address.
    After June 1970 the Castiglione farm was also deserted. The Italian owners lost everything and had to leave. There were about 15 bungalows on the farm and mainly rented out to Americans and some other nationals who worked on Base.

  60. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 23, 2010:

    Hi Bob, sorry I wanted to say Bob not Gilbert your surname.

  61. Bob Rubel, November 23, 2010:

    Loved your write up describing Wheelus after we left. My first writeup here was in April. You mentioned some fascinating things, like the “Castiglione Farm” that must have been delightful. I was at Wheelus from the fall of 54′ till the fall of 56′.

  62. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 24, 2010:

    Hello Bob Rubel,

    Yes, indeed it was a wonderful time there, at the time the Americans run the base, but once they were gone, everything changed. Life was completely different then and dangerous as well. You had to watch what you were saying.

  63. Al Sullivan, November 26, 2010:

    Author: Al Sullivan (previous posts: #1 and # 50)
    I’m responding to Angelika Pawlitschek comments of 11/20/10. It was very interesting to hear about the ending phase of Wheelus AFB in 69/70. My wife and I had always wondered about the end-days of the King Idris regime and the beginning of the Ghadafi rule, from the Wheelus perspective. It was only logical the transition could not happen over night.

    We were there in the glory days of Wheelus—57 thru mid-59—and lived in the trailer area for the final year+ (Trailer 17-405). The east beach and open air theatre were only a few steps from our trailer and the three of us (Lou, son Danny and I) spent quite a bit of time at that beach. (I have a few scanned pictures of Wheelus scenes, including some of the beach and trailers, that I could share.)

    It seems to me that in those days there was a golf course not far east of East Gate. I can’t remember the Italian (Castiglione) Farm. Most of our activities were focused west of Wheelus and into Tripoli.

    That era of our lives left many fond memories. It expanded our horizons and gave us a more cosmopolitan perspective of the World—we came to Tripoli from the upper Ohio River region. At Wheelus we made many good friends, a few of which we still communicate with 50+ years later. My wife had one bad experience in Tripoli with a crazed house-boy—probably on drugs. Otherwise we developed a high regard for the local Arabs and Italians. (Angelika, I hadn’t realized that all the Italians were forced out by Ghadafi.)

  64. Robert Wood, November 26, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from 1969 to 1970. I left on May 24, 1970 and the base officially closed in June of ‘70. I was on the next to the last freedom birds going out.

  65. Bahrain, November 26, 2010:

    kindly email us all the pics you have and we can publish them here for every one to enjoy :)

  66. fred debros, November 27, 2010:

    you had to watch what you said….still do!
    someone took offense at my post earlier on….sheeeeesh. i am arabic speaker and i dont need to study islam to understand what it wants in the maghreb. ok make that arab islam.
    free peoples and democracies win…..historically, over any form of tyranny.
    what is sad is that all that plays out in physical nparadise. like wheelus. or if you been there: taif near mekka, or in the mountains of oman, in the gardens of saana/yemen. heck. would that happened in siberia or in the tundra. no. has to be in spain….
    oh well, we will be back and make wheelus a good place again, where everybody can have a good time.
    no need to study islam foor that to happen, just pursue happiness.

  67. fred debros, November 27, 2010:

    my post was 43 and someone, an anonymous dunce named bahrain objected to my remark of “abject islamism”….sheesh.
    not ready for primetime i guess, hopelessly confused.

  68. Bahrain, November 28, 2010:

    a big thanks to AL SULLIVAN for emailing us these pictures of Wheelus AFB
    Wheelus AFB 1959 Pics

  69. Bob Gilbert, November 28, 2010:

    Apparently, a user name and password are required to view photos. I don’t recall ever having established them for the Bahrain Blog. Will the blog administrator please comment on this? Thank you.

  70. Bahrain, November 28, 2010:

    @fred - I was simply stating that you should perhaps research Islam before passing judgements. If you’re so called western democracies were not fully engaged in keeping their puppet monarchs/ kings in power to rule and punish the muslim populations, perhaps we would not see the current models you despise so much.
    Lets keep the topic focused on Wheelus AFB here please. If you wish to discuss the problems with a religion nearly 2 Billion people follow and more and more in the west are reverting to, you can join one of the many Islamic discussion forums.

    @ Bob - try refreshing the page and check the larger pics once more as it should work OK now.

  71. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 30, 2010:

    Hello Al Sullivan,

    your photos make me feel very nostalgic. We also went to that beach near the main gate. It had this roof with tables and benches underneath and was called the Half-Way-House. On Sunday they played music there and the Beach Boys were very popular at the time. You could sit in the shade and enjoy a picnic under the roof. We also went many times into town for shopping, going to the museum, visiting friends in town etc., also to places like Garian, Sabratha, etc.
    The golf course east of the east gate was still there in 1972, but it did not look much like a golf course it was mainly sandy no green grass. The Castiglione farm was west of the east gate, just to the end of the road and then left, after 30 meters there was the entrance to the farm. The American children who lived on the farm waited there every morning for their school bus from base.
    Well – the Italians did occupy the country as colonist, so you can’t blame the Libyans if they wanted the Italians to leave and then all their properties were confiscated. There was one Italian he had his dead father exhumed and shipped to Sicily. The English also had Military Bases in Libya and had to leave in 1970. After the coup in 69 all American Military personal had to move on base and then only some Europeans lived on the farm. So half of the bungalows were vacant.
    In 66/67 I worked in an office at the EES Depot, it was near the commissary. We were an international group in our office. Also some Libyan Arabs worked there and we all got along very well – never had any problems. We are also still in contact with friends from that time. Before Wheelus my husband worked at Inçirlic AFB in Turkey and there we met people who later also worked on Wheelus.

  72. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 30, 2010:

    Hello Bob Rubel,

    Yes, indeed it was a wonderful time there, at the time the Americans run the base, but once they were gone, everything changed. Life was completely different then and dangerous as well. You had to watch what you were saying.

    Hello Robert Wood,
    My husband watched the last American plane take off from Wheelus. It was very emotional.

  73. Angelika Pawlitschek, November 30, 2010:

    Hi Fred Debros,
    …you had to watch what you said … It had nothing to do with Islam, only because the country was now a Military Regime. You had to watch what you said in the former East Germany or still today in Russia, Myanmar and many other places.

  74. Tom HarderI, December 7, 2010:

    I was stationed at Wheelus during 1958 and part of 1959 at the 6938th Radio Squadron Mobile. Using Google Earth I can see that the Hq building, our Operations Center and our barracks are still there.

    I remember the outdoor theater and saw many movies there. I spent most of my off duty hours at the beach which was about a 2 minute walk from my room in the barracks. I slso remember a dog that rode the base bus but I can’t remember his name. Many happy memories … really hated to leave. Anyone wish to contact me you can find me at tharder316 AT

  75. David J. Phillips, December 8, 2010:

    I was tdy to Wheelus from France for 61 days in 1958,1959 and 1960. I was with the 50th FBW/TFW and we were at Wheelus to transition from the F86H to the F100 in 1958. The other two trips were for gunnery. Spent my time there assigned to the “Fighter Town” barracks.
    I remember that old dog that rode the bus whenever he wanted to. The bus drivers would stop for him anywhere along the route to give him a ride. If I remember correctly, his name was “Sarge”. Someone had painted sargeant strips on his side. I enjoyed my three trips to Wheelus but but liked getting back to Toul,France.

  76. Airman 1st Class Billie Campbell, December 9, 2010:

    It is good to see that so many remember Tripoli Libya. I was stationed their during the up rising of the embassy that spread to Wheelus Air Base. There were several tragedies during that period of which we feared for our lives. Before I left for deployment the fellow airman told me I was headed for Bum F– Egypt. They were right. Please respond anyone who have reference to this time of events. Remember WE Own The Skies!

  77. Tom Harder, December 9, 2010:

    Hi David,

    The 6938th RSM where I was stationed was just around the corner from the 431st FIS. They had F100s while I was there.

    I have since found out that the dog’s name was Bruno. He would go from chow hall to chow hall to get sometime to eat and would always go to the base theater (Sahara) in the evening because they would always give him popcorn.

    Good hearing from you.

  78. Glenn Wooley, December 17, 2010:

    I and we all was stationed at Wheelus May 69 to May 70,one of the last freedom birds to leave. Remember the night of the coup.It was a holiday[Labor Day] and the base went on alert.Nobody could figure out what was going on until this Libyan patient in the hospital where I worked told us what had happened. A lot of good and bad memories about the base;the beach,the NCO club,the Sahara Theater etc.Would like to connect with anyone who was there at that time.I can be reached via E-mail or on Facebook.

  79. Raymond Ong, December 18, 2010:

    I was stationed with the 1950th Communications Squadron from July 1969 until May, 17, 1970. This was just weeks before base closing. Would like to hear from anyone connected to that base or squadron. I am on Facebook and e-mail.

  80. Simon Ashworth, December 20, 2010:

    Replying to Glenn Wooley’s message and his memories of the night of the coup; I was living in Tripoli at that time, my father worked for one of the British Banks. On the 1st Sept 1969 most of the Brits were enjoying the yearly cricket match at the old RAF Idris base. Had a great BBQ and party. I can remember everyone commenting on the fact that there seemed to be noone of any consequence from the government in the country. Remember that old King Idris was overseas having had an operation.

    We went home and around 04:00 I was awakened by the noise of trucks and a tank. Looking out of my window onto the street there was the army. I suppose due to my fathers position the next morning there was a soldier outside our front gate.

    Everybody had to abide with the curfew and no foreigners were allowded to go to work for around a week.

    They let foreign kids to leave I think around November time and Idris airport was full of RAF, French Airforce and German Airforce planed evacuating the children.

    Missing nearly two whole months of school was the best thing.

    Old Tripoli was great fun.

  81. David J. Phillips, December 20, 2010:

    In my earlier posting I said I stayed at the “Fighter Town” barracks during my three trips to Wheelus. I was wrong, I found a picture of the sign in front of the barracks that reads”Tiger Town” USAFE Weapons Center. There is a building behind the sign that reads “Dining Hall 3″. I also found a picture of an F-100, tail number 52721, loaded with a dart target on the taxi strip. There are a few other pictues but they are of 50th TFW personel and aircraft.
    Sorry for the error.

  82. Robert Carriveau, January 3, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus AFB 6-53 to 8-54, I was a crew chief on an F86 with the 431st FIS. I was on Google Earth and the barracks is still there and our hanger on the far end of the runway is still there.

  83. Jerry Hughes, January 3, 2011:

    Wheelus Feild Tripoli Libya Sept 54-Mar 56. I debarked off the MSTS ship Gen. R E Callen on the dock in Tropli (The same ship that returned my father from China in 1945) I was a newly minted A/2c E3 and 19 yo .Wow what wonders came to my American eyes and mind It was a whole new world. I was a Fire Fighter at Sampson AFB in NY .I was assigned to the crash station on the flight line as a handlineman on a O11A crash rescue truck.As Im 75 yo ill try to remember some names Ellis Ranson my twin form Sampson ,Sonny Webb also from Sampson S/Sgt Kevin Healy and his Wife Who were My best friends and mentors Oh yah and their kids who I baby sat. Sam Derikson,Benjman Howlloway .Ron Rice Ken Foster From Oregon where I now Live.M/Sgt Dodd the Milt Fire Chief,Frank Ramos ,While there I was promoted to A/1C and was crew chief of crash2 I had some great adventures learned Arabic and customs and Islam. I got to be friends with many locals .We had snow while I was there in 55 .We also had 136 on the runway and to be fully bunkered out.I lost all my arabic and Itlailan when I had my 2nd stroke in 2005 When I remember more Ill write more Jerry Hughes

  84. Bill Pettit, January 5, 2011:

    My father was assigned to Wheelus AFB in the mid-’50s. I was only 4-5 years old but remember quite a bit. The beach was fantastic, and there was a zoo and baseball field within walking distance. I loved hanging around with the Arabic people and drinking their strong tea. I think that experience at that age went far to instill an openness and fascination with other cultures that I retain to this day. I remember the locust swarms, and my mother yelling at me to get inside before they descended on us.

  85. George Camp [Bill], January 6, 2011:

    Just reading some of the com about coments Wheelus . I was an air policeman there may 55 till nov 56 I was in the 1603rd & 7272nd ap. I remember the snow in 55 also the grasshoppers[ Locust] blotting out the sun one morning also. Used to guard the 86ds on the ready hangers and pparking area . we used to go to a bombing range . Brings back a lot thinking about it.

  86. Jodie Seaborn, January 7, 2011:

    This comment is in regard to George Camp’s post. I also was an Air Policeman TDY to Wheelus AFB for four months back in the fall and winter of 1963-1964. I remember working the main gate and guarding the bomb dump. I was guarding a Navy A3 when President Kennedy was assassinated. George do you remember the Desk Sergeant desk was elevated at Air Police Headquarters?

  87. buzz stewart, January 9, 2011:

    I was in POL from Dec66 to june 68, they reduced tour to 15 mths. when I rotated. Not a good place to be 18 and single. If you liked sand and camels it was the place to be and I was not sad when I left. We refueled all the 48th, 20th and 401st TDY birds on the hydrants close to the 7272 hangers.My duty section was a Quonset hut. I was there when they evacuated everyone and barred Libyan workers from the base causing me to have to work on the garbage trucks.

  88. Jim Muse, January 9, 2011:

    Enjoy reading the comments from airmen who were at Wheelus in the mid to late 60s. I arrived there in Spring of 56 and departed in Fall of 57. Was assigned to the 1950th AACS Sq while there. Many changes took place while I was there. The ones I recall the most were the addition of The Oasis and The Mirage. Both were eating establishments. As I recall The Oasis was a snack bar near the base theatre and The Mirage was more of a restaurant. In the restaurant one ordered by circling the number of the item on a menu card. Pasteurized milk also came to Wheelus during that time. All we had was powdered milk before that time. That was a big hit with the troops. I agree with most of the comments. One cannot say Wheelus was not an interesting assignment but most of us were ready to depart when our time came. I still have vivid memories of Wheelus and remain friends with former airmen who were there.

  89. Allen Hebert, January 9, 2011:

    Short on memory…Was stationed at Wheelus from 02/59 to 12/09 with Detachment 1 of 86th FIS…For me it was a fantastic time..Was a 19 year old supply clerk for the squadron….TSGt Lorber was supply sgt and 1st Lt Reid was the Supply officer…Major Weinard was the Sq comander…I dont remember to much more than that…Anyone there who may remember those times can reach me at allencrlncjn AT

  90. Conley Winston Ford, January 10, 2011:

    Was stationed at Wheelus 1963-64 assigned to the 7272nd USAFE Hospital ..
    In addition to my military duties I worked part time driving a base taxi cab serving as a host at the Airmen Club.
    Have loads of war stories and a few photographs to share… Worked for Doctors Howard Temple and Florian T. (Irish) Szatalowicz… SMgt Molsted performing health/sanitary inspections of all base dining halls, commissary and all contract food serving establishments including remote of base sites.
    Assisted in the operation of small animal clinic and provided medical coverage for the Sentry Dog/Base Air Police.. Anyone that would like to share war stories. I can be reached at cfordcon AT

  91. Gary Green, January 22, 2011:

    58TH Air Rescue Sq. 63-65, HU-16’s, Wheelus, softball team. We won the USAFE championship in France but never received our trophies. Didn’t care for the powered eggs and milk. Many good friends who I would like to hear from. Liked the Brit club in town, nice beach. I made the most of the situation and was happy to leave.

  92. Ron Boyer 68-69, January 22, 2011:

    Was with the 58th air rescue until the HU 16’s were retired and sent stateside. then reassigned to McClellan AB in Calif. May many a trips to Italy and Malta on training missions whth the 58th. Also play soft ball on 58th team and won championship that year.

  93. lou mc murray, February 4, 2011:

    I keep reading about all the ‘HEAVY BOMBERS’ that were stationed at wheelus in the early 1950’s I was there from 1953-1955 I never saw a one…what’s the story?

  94. Jerry Hughes, February 5, 2011:

    Hi Lou
    The Heavy Bomers Were B 50R recon .I think they belonged to the 580 th at the Eastern end of the base by the 431 FIS
    Jerry Hughes

  95. Jim Muse, February 5, 2011:

    Those “B-29s” were actually “KB-50s” and did belong to the 580th Air Resupply Squadron. Check out the ARS web site for more information. While at Wheelus (May56 til Oct57) I also saw RB-66s and RB-57s while there. B-47s used to arrive during reflex missions. These A/C were not assigned to the base as far as I recall. I worked in Base Ops Comm for the last half of my 18 month assignment.

  96. Fred Hoffs, February 16, 2011:

    1957-1960—Dad was the Chief of Aircraft Maintenance. Went to 5,6 and 7th grade on the base…Played little league . One of the teams was sponsored by the 6938 Radio Squad :))…Came over on the Rose, and went home on a triple tail Connie…..Wheelus was a great assignment for a kid, but not so much for the single troops…Remember your first taste of Sterovita:((((

  97. Toni Martino, February 20, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus 1969 and 1970. I was in Crypto Comm. When Ghadafi overthrew King Idris(?), we went into lock down and I recall the Libyan military ringing the base with tanks and such. I recall that communication may have been cut off as me and a few others were designated for courier service to the US Embassy. We thought it comical that all we had were sidearms and a letter from Joseph Palmer, 2nd Ambassador to Libya in English and Arabic assuring our safe passage. We wondered aloud that if we came in harms way, should we go to the gun or just hold the letter up! Once things settled down some, we were back to wait and see. A few incidents sparked some concerns that things could escalate…I seem to recall a US school music teacher tried to smuggle a Jewish friend out of Libya, and may have been caught or the incident surfaced which further strained the relationship between Ghadafi and the US. Towards the end of the official US presence (April/May 1970), we had some incidental issues when Libyan soldiers starting moving on base as part of the transfer. Its been a while, but Russian transports may actually have landed at Wheelus about that time? Beyond all that, we did have opportunity to enjoy the beautiful waters of the Med, great times at the divers clb, and occasional trips to Tripoli (old town was great) and the ruins of Leptus Magna which were a once in a life time event. After that I moved on to operations in Vietnam and Washington DC and having survived a few harrowing experiences during my tour(s) of duty, I am forever thankful for all these experiences that has shaped my life and character for the last 38 years. To all those that serve or have served, you will always be in my thoughts as I salute you all. Toni Martino

  98. Valerie Emmer-Scott, February 20, 2011:

    My father (Charles Emmer, Jr.) was stationed at Wheelus AFB from 1963 to 1965, and I believe he was with the Air Rescue Squad. I was there during grades 1-3, and was the best place as a kid for growing up. I remember the Nomad Club, the NCO Club, and the beach on the Mediterranean. We also for the latter part of our time there, lived in a mobile home directly across from the Mediterranean Sea.

    We had lots of fun going to the base exchange, the movie theatre for the matinee, the Oasis, listening to music coming from The Nomad, etc. I still remember some of the Arabic language we learned in school. My sister and I took ballet, and our mother put us and other ballet students in our tutus on a float during a parade at Wheelus, with Miss Wheelus. Good memories of those times. We left Wheelus in 1965 for Griffiss AFB in Rome, NY.

  99. Thomas L. Dwyer Sgt, February 21, 2011:

    Stationed at Wheelus from Aug 68 - Nov 69. Locked out of Tripoli during the Gadaffi coup. Spent three glorious weeks in Dhjerba, Tunisia. When I
    left Country was friendly upon re-entry entirely new enviroment. Many funds and foggy memories at the Mirage, NCO and the Rod and Reel. Intoxicated for nearly 15 months. What a blast!

  100. Bob Rubel, February 21, 2011:

    How about that, it looks like Gaddafi is gone. The Libyans are about to get there country back. It might even go back to being a Constitutional Monarchy. King Idris’s Grand Sun is next in line. Wouldn’t that be interesting. King Idris prior to Gaddafi was very pro western.

  101. Vernon (chris) Keil, February 21, 2011:

    I was assigned to the Base Comm Center 1962-63. My AFSC was Comm Center/Crypto Specialist. Off base I played music with Art Petty and Andrew Jackson who were also stationed there. If you know of them I’d lovew to get in contact with them again. I remember great times at the Wha Dan (excuse spelling please) Supper Club, and those long afternoon naps at the “air-conditioned” Base Theater.

  102. Terry Markley (Lokken), February 22, 2011:

    My dad was stationed at Wheelus AB from 67-69 , Tom Lokken, i think he was in AFRTS at the time, even though i was only 6 yrs old I can still remember cookouts on the beach and the Nomad club. I was one of 5 kids, we lived off base in a small walled compound. Had many a disagreement with the local kids, which i can remember to this day.

  103. Barbara Lang, February 22, 2011:

    Our family was stationed at Wheelus AFB Libya from February 1960-1964 Air Police. For two years we lived in small village called Tajura about 5 miles from the back east gate. The last year of our tour, we moved to the small Italian farm where the Castiglione family lived. Their two daughters, Tina and Melina often babysat our two children. We started a square dancing club on base called “Tripoli Twirlers”. We had many good experiences while stationed in Libya. Nice to read the comments from other people who spent time at Wheelus.

  104. Len Destremps, February 22, 2011:

    I was stationed there 1/68 to 6/69. Iwas a Recip engine mechanic and worked on the C-47 C-54 and C-124 aircraft. I remember flying into Idris Airport on New years day 1968 and seeing goats along the runway and saying what have i got myself into.

    I had some great friends and enjoyed my time there. I saw all the sites, Leptis Magna Sabratha the Old City etc. I was facinated with the culture. I hope that they are successful in throwing out Ghadifi.

  105. Chuck Mull, February 22, 2011:

    Wheelus was my first Air Force assignment, as a 20-year-old A1C, from June 68 to Sept. 69; I was a journalist on the base newspaper, The Tripoli Trotter. While there, I wrote feature stories on Leptus Magna & Sabratha, Airmen of the Month (got a trip to La Palma, Majorca for that one) and even had a few stories published in Stars & Stripes with my byline. In February 69 I traveled to Wiesbaden, Germany, to accept an award the Trotter had won; turned 21 while there during Fasching. I interviewed Chappie James when he became the base commander, later to be the first Black 4-star general. Did a story on the Lady Be Good (does anyone remember the memorial with the bent propeller?). There was no English language press in Tripoli, so we had to fly twice a week to Malta to have the paper printed; we flew on an old C-47 and a C-54 that had a plaque showing it was the plane that took the Japanese Emperor to surrender in WWII. Toward the end of my assignment, I because the editor. I remember the snack joint on base that had some strange hamburgers that I grew to love, but longed for a Coke in a bottle instead of a can, which was all we had. I remember the movies changed five times a week and we never missed one. Every weekend was on the beach, and did I ever return home with a fantastic tan! I remember my roommate came in shouting there had been a military coup in Tripoli; AFRTS was immediately shut down because no one knew was was happening and the US didn’t want to offend whoever was in power; for 2 weeks we didn’t know what was going on. We finally learned what happened and business resumed as usual, with the Libyans taking over many duties on base; I remember going to Tripoli and seeing young men directing traffic with machine guns (Russian, I think). I was unlike alot on base who never left; I’d go to downtown Tripoli about every week; really enjoyed the food and experience of an old city. I’ll never forget my time and experiences there; it was a beautiful base in a beautiful location!

  106. Jodie Seaborn, February 22, 2011:

    I was TDY to Wheelus AFB for four months back in 1963-1964. I as in the Air Police Squadron.

    jodieseaborn AT

  107. John Brady, February 22, 2011:

    Wow, I am pleasantly supprised to read so many pleasant rememberances about Wheelus. Wheelus was my first assignment in 1966. It being my first trip away from home (Woodbury, NJ), In retrospect I found the time spent there fun, home-sick, maturing and most of all it helped me expand my perspective on how other cultures lived. I worked in the supply building operating the new UNIVAC 1050-II, installed by Robert Hoyle (posted , May 23, 2010). What an experience, looking back. I tell people about that and the think I am a computer pioneer.
    I worked with several civilians and was invited to thier homes for “coffee”, that almost killed me. Couldn’t sleep for days!! Toured the ruins around Tripoli, hung out with the Americans and Italian student/ gas crowd and found a whole new world. I thought the city was beautifull as well as ragged.
    Secure in some areas as well as dangerous in others. Of course at 19, didn’t pay much attention to the negative side. I am encouraged to see Ghadafi on his way out, but hope, for the common people of Libya, a beetter life

  108. John Brady, February 22, 2011:

    Oh, by the way. I enlisted on the buddy system with my High school buddy. He went to Hawii, I went to Libya!!

  109. Phyllis Moseley Wilson, February 22, 2011:

    For Terry Markley……My dad, Phil Moseley was Station Manager (AFRTS) 1964 & 1965, then we went to Germany, then went back to Libya in 66, 67 and 68. My mom, brothers and I were evacuated June 9, 1967 (my graduation night) to Germany then the States. We went back that same year I think in September or October and stayed until 1968. I worked all through HS for AAFES and returned to my job there. I remember your dad. My brother Rick and I have been cleaning out my parents house recently and found lots of pictures of the AFRTS group, including your dad. I spent part of my freshman year, all of my sophmore year and my senior year at Wheelus High School. I hung out at the Diver’s Club, the beach, the stables, the greasy spoon snack bar and the theatre. I belong to a group of Wheelus HS Alumni and we get together every three years….anyone who ever attended, not just a single year. Lots of fun.

  110. Mike Campbell, February 23, 2011:

    Hello everyone-My father was stationed at Wheelus for two years in the mid-late 50s. His name is Roger Campbell and had something to do with the base’s relations with the locals. I’m sorry I don’t have more info, but I sort of stumbled across this site while looking for some info relating to the base’s commanders during my Dad’s stay there. Dad is now 78 and retired, living in Maine. He has a wonderful collection of photos of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, as well as some of the locals and Tripoli.

  111. David Pollitt, 02-22-11, February 23, 2011:

    Just found this web sight. I was put on alert status for southeast asia in 1960 and sent tdy to wheelus. I was with the 81 tac fighter wing and went over with a squadren of f101c , 79th tfs from England. Spent 6 months, loved it, but the flight line was HOT. Love to read some of this stuff from long ago!!!

  112. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 23, 2011:

    Hi Barbara,

    you may have read my comments No. 58/60/72. I lived at the Castiglione Farm. I went to Melina’s wedding. I think it was in 1967 or 68. Still have a photo from the wedding. There was also a brother Alfio. He used to come to collect the rent. It’s sad; the Castiglione family lost everything when they had to leave the country. They went back to Sicily. Later on I heard Alfio married an American lady and moved to Texas. Tina was still single when they left the country in 1970. I also love to read all the comments about Wheelus, brings back a lot of memories. Who remembers “Banana Village”? It was a picnic area somewhere on base, can’t remember were it was exactly.

  113. Terry Markley (Lokken), February 23, 2011:

    For Phylliss Moseley…We were actually at Wheelus 65-67, being a military brat…sometimes the years get confusing. My dad often talked about your dad through out the years when he reminisced about his military life. He was someone that he had great respect for. I think we left early 67….i will have to rack my siblings brains to figure this all out….my oldest sister would have been probably 8 yrs old….when we left..

  114. Jan Dru Basehart, February 23, 2011:

    Thank you Angelika for your descriptions of the base after we left. We also lived in one of the trailers near the cliffs east of the airfield. 1961-1964 4th -5th Grade. I remember it fondly. My dad was a personnel NCO (T/Sgt Charles F. Basehart). He was also Mr. Magic who performed at the NCO Club for the kids after Sunday School. He even made an appearance on the afternoon cartoon program on TV. Hope the Libyan people can reclaim their country without much more bloodshed.

  115. Jan Dru Basehart, February 23, 2011:

    Mark and Jeff Taylor, Where are you?

  116. Jim Muse, February 23, 2011:

    At Wheelus, 1950th AACS Sq, from Spring of 56 til Fall of 57. Worked in Base Comm Ctr and Base Ops Comm Center. NCOIC at both ctrs was T/SGT Henry Lajoie from RI. Ran into him at Malmstrom AFB in Summer of 58. Lost track of him there. Understand he may have retrained into Radio Maintenance at Keesler. Been attempting to locate him. Anyone recall him?

  117. Tammy Lokken Clawson, February 23, 2011:

    For Phyliss Moseley - my sister told me about you posts and about finding pics of my Dad back in the Wheelus Days. I am hoping that you could make me some copies. I went to 2nd and 3rd grade there but remember quite a bit of that time. Would love to hear back from you. My email is caydensgrandma AT

  118. Karen (Schrah) twichell, February 23, 2011:

    Wow, it’s been great to read these memories of Wheelus AFB, my Dad and family was stationed there from 1963 - 65 Sgt John Schrah (My Dad) was a flight Mechanic but rigth now I cannot tell you the squardron he was with, Dad passed away in 2001. I have so many great memories of our life there even though I was very young. we lived off base but went to the beach on base to swim almost everyday in the summer. we went to school on base and taught the arabic kids near our home to play baseball!! Great times!!!

  119. Jerry Paich, February 23, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus in 1952 with the 102D Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron. The 102d was from Cape Cod National Guard activated and sent to Wheelus to install a Radar network. Our outfit never lived in any of the barracks. We lived in tents for 18 months. I have photos and other comments about Whellus and Tripoli, so if you are interrested get back to me. I enjoyed reading all of the comments.

  120. Jerry Paich, February 23, 2011:

    I hope this gets to the correct party.

  121. Jerry Paich, February 23, 2011:

    Waiting for a reply

  122. Ret Chief USAF L Gordon, February 23, 2011:

    I hear that F100s were taxied to the front gate with live ammo in 1970 to protect it from the coupe. Can anyone confirm that? I was to travel from Bentwaters to help close the base in 69 but never made it.

  123. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 23, 2011:

    Thanks, Sisty! Cool blog. It’s really great to see that so many people remember Tripoli/Wheelus as fondly as I do. Of course, we were kids who lived across the street from the Med, and what childhood is better than that? Of the places we’ve lived, it’s still my fave!

    Patti Kinder, where are you???

  124. jim davis, February 24, 2011:

    Did anyone know my aunt. She was Opal Gray Davis. Retired in the early 60s a major surgical nurse. Probably in Libya in the 50’s. Any info appreciated. Thanks

  125. David Moore, February 24, 2011:

    Libya in the news brought lots of memories of Wheelus from the time I was there with Armed Forces Radio and Television, October 1968 to January 1970. It was especially great for me, getting to do news on TV and shows on the radio. Remember Meg and Me, and Weekend ‘69? And of course the biggie, anchoring the first moon landing with Apollo 11 in July of 1969. I have several pictures of that, and other things around the base.

    And Chuck Mull from comment 106, I have in front of me a Tripoli Trotter newspaper from December 26, 1969 with a story about me and Robert Richardson leaving AFRTS, after leaving quite a mark, the writer said. Your name as an A1C feature writer is inside, but no article in that issue with your name on it.

    I also remember going into Tripoli often, and the sailing, and the great beach, and all the military and oil company people who owned horses and had events off base.

    Would be happy to send some pictures. Please post the email link.

  126. J.A. TABOR, February 25, 2011:

    Stationed in UK, 6 TDYs to Whellis from 61-64…. Weather great,Med coast great but lack of romatic encounters still leaves me with a bad taste of Libya in my mouth….

  127. Sherri (Overstreet) Williams, February 25, 2011:

    Wow, i was googling Chicken on wheels, as it is one of my favorite memories of my childhood in tripoli. My dad worked for Occidental and we were there from 1966 to 1969 when we had to leave due to revolution. I have memories of Going to the base and attending Oilfield Company School. I saw the post from Clyde Berryman and I’m glad someone else remebers how good Chicken on Wheel was! What memories!

  128. Dick Smith, February 25, 2011:

    I was sent to Wheelus in Aug 4 1961 and departed August 3 1964. I was and Optometrist at the base hospital and did most of the eye exams during that time We did most of the Libyan officials and pilots. Much different than now. We were free to come and go as we pleased. ( except the little farmer gardens next to the golf course) Went to leptis, Sabratha , Garian Gaddams. Any one see the lady of Garian painted on the wall of the supposed prison. We took a trip of about 500 k’s into the center to Sebha. and on toward Ghat till we got stuck in the sand. I also went to Brindisi, Aviano and Taranto Italy bases along with basesin Athens , Iraklion Crete Greece anf Adana Turkey to Examine Eyes. I made those trips on the air evac flights mentioned I meet some of the greatest people including the daughter of a SMS who eventually became my wife. She still is almost 50 years later. To chief Gordon Planes were taxied to the gates armed in 63 or 64 when a minor riot occurred down town. My wife was int the old city shopping when it occured. They hammered on the car but didn’t hurt her. The base knew the riot was coming but they did’t warn us ahead on purpose. Because they didn’t want to upset the Libyan’s.. Any one remember remember party’s on the beach and PING. PING was CLEAN garbage can of ice vodka gin and cans of fruit drink lemonade etc and one canned drink of grapefruit etc called PING. I remember a pilot named Bruno G FEB 24 2011 DICK SMITH

  129. David Moore, February 25, 2011:

    Did webmaster receive my submission of earlier this afternoon? I was with AFRTS at Wheelus from October 1968 to January 1970. Have some pictures too.

  130. Bob Rubenstein, February 25, 2011:

    I was in the 58TH Arrs from 1965 to 1967. Had a good time and saw a lot of Africa going TDY supporting the early space program. Spent a lot of time at the aero club. I was a recip engine mechanic.

  131. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 25, 2011:

    Dr. Smith - We must have been on the same plane coming home. Those are exactly the dates my daddy was stationed at Wheelus. Coming home, stopped in Paris for refueling, the plane lost landing gear on take-off and the pilot stopped the plane 50 ft. from the end of the runway, we got to slide down the emergency slide (I was 11 years old) and spent 3 days in Paree. Were you on that plane too????

  132. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 25, 2011:

    Dr. Smith - Sorry, my sister just informed me we left Wheelus on 5 Aug 64

  133. Chuck Mull, February 25, 2011:

    David, post 126, I’m surprised my name was still on the Tripoli Trotter personnel list; I left Wheelus in November; I guess they just didn’t bother changing it since it wasn’t going to be in existence much longer! We didn’t get to see much of AFRTS while I was there; we listened to the radio, but the TV was in the dayroom and not many in my barracks watched it alot. I remember listening to the moon landing and wishing I could have seen it live.

  134. Darrel Roy, February 25, 2011, February 25, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelusf from 65-67. I was a medic who worked in the labor and delivery section of the hospital. I had a great time there and had many Italian friends in Tripoli. I remember all the off base residents being told to get on base during the 6 day war. We all hung out at the Oasis and went to midnight movies. I played football for the hospital (Big Red). Really liked it there.

  135. Ray Buckman, February 26, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from Oct. 64 to Dec 65. Most of my time was spent at an outpost called EL Watia. Spelling is wrong I am sure. The outpost was 360 miles south in the dessert and the site was used for planes to practice shooting at targets.

  136. Chuck Mull, February 26, 2011:

    Ray, I did a feature story on the guys at El Outia; got there by helicopter (my 1st and only time in one); it was on the edge of the Sahara; a very remote assignment for the guys there, but did they ever eat good! When I landed they asked if I wanted breakfast (it was about 6 a.m.)…steak and eggs! I still have a 35mm film canister of Sahara sand!

  137. Stephan Brodsky, February 26, 2011:

    I am so enjoying reading everyone’s memories of Wheelus. I was stationed there from 69 to 70 as a HH-3E Jolly Green Giant mechanic with the 58th ARRS. We spent most of our free time at the beach, and diver club. I got the wort sunburn of my life there before I realizes how damn hot it got in the summer maybe a 130 degrees. I remember when Ghadafi over throwing King Idris. The 58 th ARRS was the first unit to leave only because we were relocating to the UK and became the 67 th ARRS. I would love to hear from anyone else from the 58th ARRS.

  138. Robert Carriveau, February 26, 2011:

    I was with the 431st in 53 & 54, and there was a radar station south of the base in the desert and at times our F86 would deliver mail to it. They would put the mail in a tube with a long red streamer on it and put the tupe in the speed brake well, our plane would fly over the base and open the speed break and drop the mail.

  139. Judy Meadows Damski, February 26, 2011:

    I was just a tot when we were stationed at Wheelus via MacDill in Tampa, FL, from 1960-62. My parents were Tom and Bobbie Meadows and 3 of my older siblings were there, Donna , Steve and Ron. I remember families Whitley and Ferguson. I have pix from when we were there, I need to get them out and maybe post some. I remember Santa came on a camel and once at the theater, they gave out little stuffed seals that squeaked when you squeezed them. I remember how to count to 10 in Arabic, say a few bad words, free cigaretts, friend and good morning, how are you! Pretty good for only being 3-5 y/old when we was there!

  140. Glen McCombs, February 26, 2011:

    Its great to see so many enjoyed their stay at wheelus. I was with the 623rd mac. Got there in late 1966 and went state side in late 1968. It was a great time exploring desert trails on my gelera motorcycle, friends in Giorgimpopoli and Garden City, dances at the shooting and fishing club, lunch at chicken on wheels and the oasis (hamburger cheeseburger malish), side trips to Malta, and steak at the hotel Uaddan, when available. I cant remember the barbers name at the Uaddan, but I do remember fast trips thru the streets of Tripoli in his Alfa romero giulia. Better hair cuts than on base.

  141. billie ray powell, February 26, 2011:

    I was station in that rathole from 1966 till 1967. I flew to Madrid, Spain with an airman by the last name of Pohl with the 58th Air Rescue. I was with the APO at that location(09231). I wish that some of the guys from the APO would contact me by email. I got extended for thirty eight days so I could do a tour in Vietnam with the Air Postal Service and served in the registry department at Tan Son Nhut AB in Saigon (96307).

  142. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 26, 2011:

    Funny how the kids remember Wheelus as a wonderland for kids, and the adults remember it as a rathole. My parents hated it. I loved it. I have a mason jar with a huge chunk of salt from the Med that I got when we visited the desalination plant. We helicoptered to Malta for Easter vacation. Malta has wonderful catacombs to visit.

  143. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 26, 2011:

    P.S. I also remember how to count to 10 and remember a number of Arabic words, but I also remember how to sing Libya’s national anthem (which I don’t do in public)!

  144. Judy Meadows Damski, February 27, 2011:

    To Billie Ray Powell: If you want to give me some names, I’ll try and locate the guys for you. tudemurdog @ (without spaces)

  145. Dick Smith, February 27, 2011:

    Donna Wouldn’t have been on either flight. We left by volks kombi bus on the floor drove to tunis ferried to sicily to toe of Italy to Austria to Switizerland Through Germany. France Luxemburg , Netherlands . Shipped old bus to new jersey. Then took train to England Collected our change of station flight to Newark. Got the VW and headed for Iowa. Stopped for Gas in D.C. The attendent noticed our Libyan license plate. He was from Tripoli going to College at G.W. We knew his uncle. We got home with $15.00 to our names.

  146. Dick Smith, February 27, 2011:

    That should have said mattress on the floor and —-

  147. Dick Smith, February 27, 2011:

    I might add, I collected $30 a week unemployment for me and an extra $ 3.00a week because I was married.

  148. Gary Green, February 27, 2011:

    64-65, 58th Air Rescue Sq. HU-16’s

    Hoping to find any info. on Monte Montoya, He married a girl who was with British Army,
    at the Wheelus NCO CLUB. I was his best man and would like to make contact.

  149. Donna (Basehart) Gray, February 27, 2011:

    Dr. Smith - Wow, that sounds like a lot more fun than our 3 days in Paree

  150. Simon, February 28, 2011:

    With regards to Glen McCombs’s memory. You mention ‘chicken on wheels’. WOW somebody else remembers it. We belonged to The Golf Club and after a long day’s swimming we used to go to CoW and sit on the roof of the restaurant and have a lovely dinner. Lovely chicken or pizzas. What I really remember is the Motta ice cream cakes.

    In Giorgimpopoli we also belonged to the British Officers Club at Picolo Capri. The beach was not as nice as The Golf Club. I remember ( 1966 or 1967) a flight of 3 or 4 planes flew along the coast and suddenly one of them went straight into the sea. The pilot had no chance to eject. Can anyone spread more light on this crash. We lived in Garden City and on Google Earth you can still see our old house.

    41 years later and it is nice to see the old flag flying in Libya again. It seems strange to see it.

    Thanks for the memories

  151. Jim Muse, February 28, 2011:

    Anyone out there recall Bruno, the shuttle bus riding dog? Always sat behind the driver. I think he commuted between the two chow halls during meal times. Liked his popcorn at the base theatre as well. I guess he was the unofficial base mascot..

  152. Jodie Seaborn, February 28, 2011:

    Bruno the dog. I remember reading about the dog on this blog. Post #55 and #78 talks about the dog.

  153. Jodie Seaborn, February 28, 2011:

    I pray that the people of Libya are able to survive this crisis. I just looked at the video of the pictures at the top of this page. I can barely remember the barracks and the chapel. It has been 47 years now.

  154. Jan Dru Basehart, March 1, 2011:

    Dr. Smith, yes I remember the lady of Garian painted on the wall of the supposed prison. My Dad said it was actually a map of the coastline. I’ll bet you did my eye exam too. Everytime I had a headache, my Mom would cart me off to the Optometrist.

  155. Les Lindstrom, March 1, 2011:

    I was a rookie A3C Air Policeman plucked from RAF Alconbury in the UK for duty with Det 1, 42nd Troop Carrier Squadron at Wheelus 57-58. Twenty of us secured the unit’s fenced site at east end of base (just beyond trailer park and outdoor theatre). Enjoyed renting “dirt bike sized) 2-wheelers at the nearest (Souk El Juma?) gate. I fondly remember Bruno riding the base shuttle bus to mess hall etc for handouts. I was present when he killed a small dog that had been hit by a jeep. Hard to believe such a gentle animal could do that but I’ve been told it was a mercy killing, not uncommon among canines. I dunno..

  156. Glen McCombs, March 1, 2011:

    Bruno must have been gone by the time I got there, but I do remember Ahab the camel tethered in a field near Homs road in the exact same spot the whole two years I was there.

  157. Bob Gilbert, March 2, 2011:

    TO: Les Lindstrom

    RE: ” I remember ( 1966 or 1967) a flight of 3 or 4 planes flew along the coast and suddenly one of them went straight into the sea. The pilot had no chance to eject. Can anyone spread more light on this crash. We lived in Garden City and on Google Earth you can still see our old house.”

    I was at Wheelus from 1968 through 1969. I was with the Army Corps of Engineers, building facilities for the Libyan AF. They had bought F5s — which were referred to as “sports cars” by the American pilots. It was a standing joke that the Libyans were, generally, terrible pilots, who had a habit of not being aware of which end was up. Therefore, sudden acceleration into what they thought was the wild blue yonder, sometimes resulted in a visit to the deep blue sea. So, I would speculate that you saw a wayward Libyan F5, a not altogether uncommon sight.

  158. Joe E. Donaldson, March 2, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus November 1950 thru April 1952. I was a Staff Sergent in the M&S (Maintenance & Supply) Squadron. Some of my service men in my Air Force Unit were named Col Fred O Easley, Maj Mascot, Sgt James Baagley, Sgt Marutz, Sgt James Sharp, Sgt Ralph Steward, Sgt Ben Craig, Sgt Joe Banker. This was during the Korean War. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the above, please email me. I am now 82 yrs. old and in very good health and married, living in Auburn, Indiana

  159. Lynn (Schreiber) Norris, March 2, 2011:

    I lived in Tripoli with my family from 1960-1964. My dad was a weapons instructor & jet pilot, training pilots rotating down from Europe. We lived in Giorgimpopli, near the British Officers Club. My sister, Jan, was in High School, I was 3 years younger. Dear friend, Fran Ferguson, directed me to this site and it’s been fun remembering some very good times. We used the time getting to know the people, culture, and opening our minds to the world…..made us lifelong travelers and expats. I also remember a plane going into the ocean in front of us; we were on the beach and my dad was flying that day as I remember. The pilot was never found. I think this may have happened more than once. I also remember the base movie, stables, riding in the surf, having our car surrounded by angry men pounding on the windows, the principle being beaten to death after his car hit a child then stopping to try and help. Somehow it never felt dangerous.
    I loved those years and it changed my thinking forever. So glad to have had the chance to live in Libya, see those incredible ruins, beaches, and cluture.
    Any other kids out there from those years? Becky Thompson? It would be fun to hear from others.

  160. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 2, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from July 1961 to Jan. 1963. My first assignment, I was 17 and A3c. I was a Aircraft Fire and Rescue Fireman( I worked O-10’s, O-11A’s, 750 pumpers, 550a’s, and tankers . I worked At all of the fire stations on base but mainly at the Flight line station. From there you could see the Italian farm across the south wall of the base and it’s many tall Lombardy trees lining it’s entry. Someone asked about the Banana Village, if I’m not mistaken, it was a picnic area near the east end of the runway along the inside perimeter road. Directly across from the F-105 hanger. I remember seeing photo’s of you guys in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s leaving in the tents, thanks for the barracks but where was the air conditioners. I remember all the eating places and the theater, Oasis, Clubs, beach, and the powdered milk plant ( when you got your milk it was in a waxed paper container, if you did not shake it well you would end up with mostly water with some with white flakes in the bottom. While I was there we had the Bay of Pigs problem, which effected everybody in the military everywhere. Then came the Congo airlift. I remember these because we had more flight line activity and stood by on the runway 24/7. Vietnam was getting more active so we had even more flight line activity.
    More reservist Fighter planes were coming over to practice at our target range in the desert. More planes meant more accidents, of course back then it was not seen on the nightly news broadcast in the States as now. Moscow Molly use to tell us when a runway light was out and where it was
    located. We celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the U. S. Air Force while I was there. I got to paint a 60 foot banner across the front gate, thanks the help of my fellow Firemen that pitched in to help and also the guys at the base canvas shop that built it.. I also worked as an Assistant Manager of the USO Club on base ( it was up near the Flag pole and Lady be Good monument). I taught Art there and once a week for a while I taught art on the Base TV station. There were great times and some bad times. There were Good Arabs and Bad Arabs. The assignment was classified as a semi-isolated, it was a dangerous place to be , as long as you remembered to keep your eyes open and didn’t put your self in a bad position , you would be ok. If you would like to see what the base looks like now, down load Google earth (get the free version)and when the globe comes up turn it to Libya and zoom in on the base. It takes a little bit of effort to locate it as the area has changed, Also all of the grassy areas along the runway have been filled in with what looks like huts. By the way when I was there we practiced blowing the base up every month. They kept telling us ,we were not leave Libya with a fully operational base( it was the largest in that end of the world at that time. It had approximately 6000 personnel). Thanks to all of you who have left Wheelus data. I have many more tells and some photos of that period.

  161. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 3, 2011:

    1961 to 1963 - A3C Fire Fighter - In addition to #161 I would like to add the following. Tripoli in the winter, the temperatures were 98f to 100f during the day and 17f at night . In the Summer they were 100f to 125f day and night.
    How many of you enjoyed the sand storms (Geblies…SP?). As for the planes crashing into the Sea. There were several while i was there, a Major flying an F-86 went down in the Med. a week before he was to return to the States. His body was found a week or two latter. There was one in a F-101 that bailed out over the flight line near the big hanger. His plane was headed out to the sea, about five or ten miles out it began to bank to the right and descend heading straight for the base housing area. luckily it crashed a couple of thousand feet off shore before reaching any housing.There were five F-105’s went down in the Desert in one week, all the pilots were ok. The standard procedure was, if you have to get out of your plane, point it into the desert and bail out. There were many other accidents but thats enough about that.
    We had constant fires in base housing ,caused by braided date palm fencing. I noticed there were board fencing in some later photos of base housing. While I was there the British showed up with several ships in the harbor and landed and marched to a location to build a Fort (Supposed uninvited, who knows)Oh yeah they bag piped it all the way. I think in 1962 the U. S. Navy’s seventh fleet sent three ships and one Aircraft carrier the USS Saratoga to R & R at Tripoli. Tripoli had not allowed the Navy to port there in quiet some time, because of the problems they caused the last time. 3500 sailors hit the beach, most at Wheelus AFB. I thought what could a bunch of little guys in white do to cause problems. Well a large group of Airmen were designated as Special Air police working with the SP’s, I ended up pulling that duty. After the little guys drink all they could hold they began to pass out everywhere , it looked like snow piled up everywhere. Most of them were just out to have a good time, a very few were bad and had to be locked up. By the end of their Liberty there was one sailor in jail for murder, five in the morgue, thirty-five in jail and several in the base hospital. There was a great little Italian restaurant outside the East gate ( back gate) it had dirt floors with lattice dividers and the spaghetti was great. One night I noticed a small black boy sleeping on the floor at the end of the bar. He was maybe five or six years old, he was being taught to clean tables, the owner was bragging about purchasing him at the downtown slave market. I will not tell you about the slave market it would scare you badly. The laundry that did most of the military clothing was also located near the East gate on the way to the Riding Stable. There was a pond that all the clothes were washed in, it was the color of fatigues and smelled bad. You uniforms would come back clean, starched , and ironed, and smelling like that pond. The Riding stable had a club lounge that had a live western band at night. One of the Aircraft crashes happened there during a horse show. the F-101 struck right in the middle of their big corral. Miraculously, no one was hurt , not even the horses. The pilot bailed out at the East end of the runway, about three-hundred feet up and survived . The East road that went past the Riding stable also went out to the base Bomb Dump, I want to say 20 or 30 miles but I really don’t remember. The Fire dept. had to send a tanker truck out to the bomb dump once a week to refill the water barrels in front of each bunker, I went there two or three times. I enjoyed the down town restaurants, most owned by Italians, so the food was Spaghetti, Ravioli, Chicken, Camel, all great. The British International NCO club was terrific. The Oil companies had built a neighbor hood of homes that looked like they were right on a street here in the United States. They were bricked with fire places and yards, drive ways, and maybe six blocks square . The thing that told you , you were not home were the Libyan guards that patrolled the streets. There was a big beautiful Restaurant with and open air dining on it’s roof top along the left side of the road going west out of Tripoli near the British NCO club. I never could remember it’s name. Thanks again to all of you who have posted.

  162. Dick Smith, March 4, 2011:

    Lynn Norris. That was probably the day (Sept 64)I drove away from Wheelus on PCS. Pilots were told to aim the plane over the Med and bail. No on land crashing. Several saw him bail. He was the 17th of 17 not found at that time

  163. Les Lindstrom, March 4, 2011:


  164. Ernest Green, March 4, 2011, March 4, 2011:

    My first assignment after technical school was at Wheelus from August 1958 to February 1960. As a personnel specialist (a glorified typist) one of my jobs was to make a once a month trip to Benghazi to receive financial changes from the detachment there (the 633 i think). The C47s would drop bizarrely when they hit the thermal drafts over the Sahara. At that time Benghazi still showed a lot of damage from WWII; people lived in the rubble in cave like structures. On at least one occasion I played golf on the nine hole course on base (it had sand greens) in the afternoon and at night was on an alert team lying in a golf course bunker in case rioters came over the old wall, which was ineffectually topped with broken glass set in concrete. Off duty I ran a laundry with a friend, we collected uniforms from airmen and took them downtown to be laundered. This led to having to leave base under hazardous conditions, once running a road block set up by the local populace. I ate often at a restaurant on base which I thought was called the Mirage, but have seen on mention of it on other posts. We also spent a lot of time at a downtown place called Cafe de la Posta. The place and time was both beautiful and scary, but as a small town Oklahoma boy changed my outlook forever. Thanks to everyone who has posted memories.

  165. Toni Martino, March 5, 2011:

    To Chief USAF L Gordon, February 23, 2011: you asked about the F100 parked at the gate…yes, I remember it clearly. It was on generator power and armed…just in case. I may even have a pic of it as well as the Libyan armored vehicle around the base. I don’t recall any exchange of fire though. When I made a courier run to the embassy, we had to set new routes each time to keep out of harms way. Did see some poor souls hung from telephone or light poles. Even in view of what finally happened..I enjoyed my stay at Wheelus. I used to hang out with another airman that had a Plymouth Barracuda shipped over. I don’t remember his name but that car always drew a crowd. I’ll have to look over the pics I took. Steady as she goes Chief!

  166. Donnie Greene, March 5, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus Air Base from June 1961 - Nov. 1962. Worked in base supply and delivered parts and other material to just about every area on the base.

  167. Bahrain, March 5, 2011:

    @ Les Lindstrom - any one wanting to display pics on this website can email them to directory @ ( without the spaces ). thanks!

  168. Ingmar Widén, March 8, 2011:

    I am a Swedish former UN-soldier who was stationed in the Xl. batallion at Gaza.
    In June 1961 we moved to Congo-Leopoldville via Wheelus Airbase, where we did stay for one or two days, waiting for airlift to Leo. I did notice the very modern airbase, with among other things airconditions inside houses, good food and at the end a nice bath in the Mediterrean.

  169. Ingmar Widén, March 9, 2011:

    Referring to Comment n:o 169
    To Leopoldville- N´Djili airport we went by Globmasters–big planes for transports and very skill Crew. Over Congo there became a furious Thunder and the navigation facilities got out of work. But the Crew made it by using Sextant. I hereby want to Thank the Crew for Your very good work!

  170. Larry Taylor, March 11, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from 1-65 to 9-66 and worked in personnel. If you reenlisted during that time, you came to me. I did all the reenlistments. I also worked as a projectionest at the Sahara theater in my spare time. Does anyone know what happened to the old cannon that was found on a shipwreck. I helped drag it to shore at the skin divers club but never found out how old it was.

  171. james (willy) williams, March 11, 2011:

    was stationed at Wheelus from 1952-1954 with the 580th ARC. I was a radio operator on one of our B29’s.we were a physc warfare outfit(highly secret)and had 12 B29’s,4 c119’s and 4 SA16’s assigned our outfit. We flew low level classified missions from wheelus.We were based on the East end of Wheelus in our own tent city and has high walls around our tent city topped with class fragments.There were guard gates to go thru to enter our highly classifed area and the personnel from wheelus main base could not enter without permission.Our aircraft were also parked in our own operations end of wheelus.We were housed in 11 man squad tents which we also erected ourselves when we got to libya. my stay in libya was not to bad and we had some good times in Tripoli. There was a nice bar called Blondies run by an Italian woman .Also there was a great club over by the mediteranean and I think it was called tahe Wadan club.
    Jim (willy) Williams

  172. Ronald Surratt, March 14, 2011:

    March 14th 2011

    I was stationed at Wheelus March 1967 thru Feb. 1970 When kadaffi kicked us out when he ousted the king with out a shot being fired, I was assigned to the 7272 field maintence sqdn, working out of the aero space ground equiptment under a T/sgt MCclelland.My family joined me Jan.1967 and we also lived in the huge trailer Park. That trailer measured out 41 foot counting the towbar and back bumper.. They were some beautiful memories for myself, Wife and kids those three years..

    Retired USAF: Ronald L. Surratt

  173. Dan DeBrase, March 15, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from June 1961 thru Dec 1962. I was assigned to the 1615th Support Squadron as an Air Freight Specialist. I loaded aircraft, worked fleet service and the Transport Control Center (TCC) in base ops. This was my first duty assignment and I have many fond memories of that assignment. There were some very good Italian eateries downtown. I remember the powered milk factory on base I think it was called Sterovita.

  174. Bob Rubel, March 17, 2011:

    Ronald Surratt, I was also with the 7272nd Field Maintanance Squadron. I was there from Sept. 1954 thru Mar. 1956, Aircraft Electrician.

  175. Lawrence Yannotti, March 17, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from Oct-1955-March 1957 assigned to the 431st FIS as and Aircraft Electrician also along with Warren C. Salisbury . An Alan Janes also an Electrician when to te 7272 Electric Shop after Graduation from Sheppard AFB TX Acft Electrical Repairman School . Good Duty and fine times …. Then.

  176. David H. Hunhoff, March 19, 2011:

    REply to Chief Gordon (FEb.23rd post): I was on temporary duty from England in Sept 1969 when Kadahfi did his coup. They woke us up at about 1am and sent all of the aircraft that wopuld fly out of hte country. The jet fighters that wouldn’t fly were jacked up at the base gates and pointed down the highways. That appeared to be all the big firepower we had as all I saw were air police with pistols and M16’s.

  177. HENRY HERRERA, March 19, 2011:


  178. Ronald Surratt, March 19, 2011:

    March 19th 2011

    I remember the starting of the coup we had men assigned to the air police squadron and were standing guard at the fence line carring unloaded m-16s, Several times the Arabs soldiers would come down the road heading right toward the gate with their Jeep carrying mounted machine guns blasting away at the sky as if they were going to break through the gate . About the time they got to the gate they would spin around and head back up the road to Tripoli laughing their heads off.. We never checked but I’m sure one or all the Guards had crapped their pants.
    Several times we had pipe bombs thrown over the back fence and exploding, other times the Arabs would throw century cactus over the back wall where we would wash our ground equipment. Luckly there was no people around at those times to get hit.

  179. jay r williams,sr, March 19, 2011:

    i was stationed at wheelus from april 1967 untill june of 1967 and lived int the trailers, with my wife and 3 kids and a dog , not bad as i remember , my wife and children was avaculated to spain for over a month etc,

  180. jay r williams,sr, March 19, 2011:

    need to correct the departure date to 1969

  181. Walt Brown, March 20, 2011:

    Two 60 day TDYs with 587 TMG from Sembach AFB ca. 1957. Once watched TM61’s launched - tremendous experience. Duty consisted of guarding a radar mast and related gear just south of a vineyard located smack at the edge of the arable coastal region. Lived at “Tent City” at the far end of the main runway. Off duty at dawn, hit the sack, and ears blasted all day by by “balls to the walls” as aircraft took off for wherever. Also, remember US Army helicopters conducting operations to survey the country for the first time ever, I guess.
    Most memorable: the night sky at the duty site, and the “old City”. The latter was at the same time fascinating and scary for a 20 year from small town US home.

  182. Robert T. Sullivan, March 20, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from March, 1967 through August, 1968 assigned to the 7272nd Armament & Electronics Squadron. It was great until the Arab-Israeli war of June, 1967. After that it was about like being in prison as we couldn’t leave the base. I have looked at the base on Google satellite and you can still recognize much of the infrastructure as it was then. As a 20 year old, it was a great adventure, but now I surely don’t care to return. I suppose the greatest feeling I’ve ever had or hope to have was when the wheels of that Trans Caribbean Airlines plane lifted off the runway and we veered over the Med to finally leave.

  183. Terry McGreevey, March 20, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from September 1958 to March 1960, 19 years old on my first duty assignment with the 58th Air Rescue Sq. Fascinating place, I remember the heat during the sand storms (ghiblis ?), the sight of water spouts off the ocean - one time I remember a wall blown down from one of those spouts hitting the base. Made many trips to Tripoli, seems like I remember the main street was called 24th December back in them days. Took me half my tour before I actually sat down with some locals and enjoyed a conversation over some very sweet, strong tea. A buddy was working on his old car downtown and I spent an afternoon with him and the garage employees. Remember the british petroleum workers who had a complete floor to themselves in a hotel downtown - sheltered some buddies and me one night when we missed curfew. Did some snorkel fishing off a 6-man raft in the ocean - great experience. Only thing lacking there was available women - some beautiful italian ladies but do not touch, but had a great squadron commander in LtCol Jack Knight who ferried us single guys out once in a while to Europe to relieve the pressure. Watched a documentary recently about the ‘Lady Be Good’ WW II bomber found in the desert in 1959 - annoyed my unit was not mentioned - we were involved. Hope things work out for the people over there under the current unsettled times.

  184. Ronald Surratt, March 20, 2011:

    Jay R. Williams sr. Tou were more and likly my neighbor next door in our trusty 41 foot luxury living Trailers, if you are the same Williams I know. LOL

  185. Russ Kovach, March 20, 2011:

    Arrived 580th Air Resupply Sqdn Nov ‘55 and served as crew member on B-29’s until the Squadron was deactivated in Oct. ‘56 . Was then transferred to 7272 Field Maint Sqdn where I worked in Engine Buildup.
    I Played on the base soccer team that was runner -up in the USAFE tournament held in Sealand England in 1955 .

  186. Alice Sandidge, March 20, 2011:

    I was stationed with my husband at WAB from 1960 to 1963. It was like going back in time abut 2,000 years when I arrived in the desert in Libya. My son and daughter were born there at Wheelus. I loved Tripoli and am sad to see what has happened to it in the years since. I have very fond memories of the base and the Libyan people. I worked at the base exchange for a man named Bashir Bakir–his brother, Munir, was in charge of the base newspaper. Does anyone have any info about them? We lived at Sciara ben Ashir on the main road going into downtown Tripoli. We never lived on base. I bought wonderful bread on the street everyday from the locals and had salami, hot german mustard and cheese for my breakfast.

  187. myra wandry, March 21, 2011:

    I had a baby in May 1959 at the hospital there. I flew over with one other girl and she had her baby that night and I was the only one waiting. I spent two weeks in the hospital. My husband stayed in athens, greece with our other daughter and maid. He flew to tripoli and we flew back together. Would love to hear from mother who had a baby on May 5, 1959

  188. myra wandry, March 21, 2011:

    correction: mother would have had her baby around April 24th as we went over 2 weeks early. I had plans to play lots of bridge and no one to play with. They put me on a hall by myself and I was scared to walk down that long hall at night. So they put me on the cancer ward and i was around people and we played cards. I walked on the base every day and thought it was a beautiful area. Did not meet any natives.

  189. Jim Muse, March 21, 2011:

    Was assigned to 1950th AACS Sq from April 56 until October 57. Worked in Base Msg Center and Base Ops Msg Center while there. CO at the time was John Forsman (Maj). Anyone out there in the squadron at that time? From there to Havre AFS, MT. Quite a transition.

  190. Bob Spendiff, March 21, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from 9-60 to 4-62.I was in the 1950th when it changed from AACS to AFCS. I was a control tower operator and can still picture the field and the ancient salt flats. We liked the beach,mini golf and the airmens club. There was nothing like the sight of the aircraft in the pattern when you were the A controller.When I left I went to northern Maine (Loring).What a change that was. 115 above to 30 below.

  191. Al Sullivan, March 21, 2011:

    To Alice Sandridge (comment 187). I loved your comment about the Libyan bread. I have a great picture of a bread vendor & stall in the old city taken in the late 50s. When I get home to Ohio (now in AZ) I’ll put it up on the site. My wife, son and I also loved our stay at Wheelus and enjoyed Libya and its people. We are saddened by the ongoing difficulties for the citizens. (previous comments: 1, 50 and 64)

  192. Armand De Luca, March 21, 2011:

    I flew with the US Navy and spent time stationed in Malta from 1954 -1957. We were based on a Royal Navy installation with limited facilities. So, we made frequent trips to Wheelus to shop in the PX..In 1956 I ordered my wife’s engagement ring and then had to sweat out the Suez Conflict not sure if I would be able to return to Libya to pick up the ring. Fortunately, I had no trouble.By the way, we were flying Lockheed P2V7 Neptune aircraft.

  193. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 22, 2011:

    To Bob Spendiff: I was at Wheelus during some of your duty. I worked at the
    Fire Station kind of across from the tower on the opposite side of the runway.
    We talked back and forth with the tower personnel during emergencies. During the Congo airlift we had a C-124 come in from the East end. The plane had been shot up when it left the Congo and the planes Engineer had collected all the metal banding (to make room for the evacuees on board) and tossed it out the top hatch of the plane. The banding flew back and wrapped around the vertical stabilizer and locked the rudder in one direction. The big c-124 bounced all the way down the run way, but no one got hurt. There was a F-86 that came in on the East end. He had been out to our Target & Bomb range and fired his cannon, he ducked the plane down after he fired, but then came back up to soon. The cannon projectile came through the back of his canopy and out the front. When he approached and was nearly down I could see the whole canopy was coated on the inside with his blood. My Crash truck was the first to get to him. When we helped him out of the cockpit ,you could see the projectile had broken the right side of his flight helmet and nicked his ear lobe. The vacuum in the cockpit had sucked all the blood out of a small scratch.
    Were you there when the Airmen’s club began the sale steak on the menu.. great steak.
    Me to, when my time was up I was assigned to K. I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan (northern Michigan) When I got there it was 40 below zero. The base became a S.A.C. base two months after I got there (it was ok)
    S. R. Kirkley (#161 & #162)

  194. Michaela Fujii-Rohrer, March 22, 2011:

    We were stationed there in 1964-1965. My Dad, (Army - Donald T. Fujii of Hanapepe Kauai) left shortly after settling us there to go to Korea. Adventures befell us when my wild and beautiful mother, Ingrid ,fell in love with an al Khalifa and he moved us all into his home. I was still going to school on base (2nd grade-If there is a teacher there who remembers a girl who could not spell her name “Michaela” and who wore high knee socks every day no matter the heat, that was me!) We had just moved from Germany and I was still speaking German and learning English and was known to all by my nick name, Cindy…so I didn’t even know that I was to sign my name as Michaela and the poor teacher went around with me on that.

    We moved off base to al Khalifa’s marble home somewhere and I was to take the city bus in to school. The first day of my journey I traveled with one eyed old Saad, the house servant to Khalifa and my only true friend in Libya-I loved him- and he rode next to me pointing out landmarks so I would find my way home that day. Unfortunately the landmarks he showed me were on the wrong side of the street…and on the way back I knew I was in trouble when one by one everyone got off the bus and suddenly it was just me. I sat in my seat, the last person on that bus. A little seven year old girl and the bus driver’s eyes were stealing terrified looks at me in the rear view mirror. I could just see his eyes…and they got more scared as the ride when on. I had been the only non Arab, the only child, the only girl on the bus. And now I was the only passenger. So, I rode the bus all the way to the bus station and avoided looking at the mirror.

    Since my German mother had JUST married Daddy Fujii, and I was only seven, I was not familiar with his name or rank. I barely knew my own last name, which had changed through adoption. PLUS, I spoke German, not English.

    I was a little Eurasian girl, leaning towards Chinese and not the German end of the mixed race, and I frankly think the old men at the bus station just didn’t know what to do with me. So, they let me walk away. At night in the dark, alone, seven years old. No idea what my address was or what my new daddy’s full name was.

    I was hungry. I had on a leather back satchel with my lunchbox and some books. The leather satchel had been a treasure from Germany. I wandered in the night in neighborhoods where everything was flat and surrounded by white washed cement walls. At one point some kids jumped over the walls and tore my leather bag off of me and took off. I don’t remember sleeping or resting. Just walking and crying and praying. The most frightening part of the ordeal was when 5 large and mangy looking wild dogs surrounded me. It seemed like hours that I suffered the stand off with them. I stood still as a statue and looked straight up at the sky while they growled and circled me…but I was convinced that the minute I made eye contact with one of them, they would pounce on me-so the whole time I just stared up at the sky till my neck hurt.

    It was the middle of the afternoon of the next days when I found it. A main road. And then, like angels gone on a spree, I heard a screaming of voices-Cindy Cindy Cindy!!!! and it was Saad and Mutti and my little brother and sister in al Khalifa’s silver car. And so I was found.

    al Khalifa was one of the soldiers who with Gadaffi overthrew King Idris and Gadaffi was often at the house which I later learned was known as the Libyan Officer’s Quarters. Gadaffi brought us pizzas and once, when I told him that I wanted a pet rabbit, I came home from school to find that he’d dug me a rabbit pit in the side yard and in it were 5 little bunny rabbits. It is difficult to understand what he has become…In my memory he was the nicest man, who cared enough about the wishes of a little 7 year old girl to dig a rabbit pit and fill it with bunnies for her.

    My Mutti passed away before I could ask many more questions about those days. When Daddy came home, we were whisked away and made our way to Hawaii after time in Fort Benning and a Texas base and a different life began. Imagine becoming a real American first in Tripoli…but that’s what happened to me. It’s where I learned English and the Pledge of Allegiance…but it’s also where I made one of the best friends a lost girl could have…an old Libyan with one eye lost in some war who would not give up driving until he found me when I was lost. When we were to leave Libya, I fought and cried and wouldn’t go until we’d found Saad so I could hug him good-bye. My best hours were with him when I’d came home from school and run to his little house with its sloped walls, cool in the hot day and he’d teach me English.

    With the news in Libya being what it is, I had to find something online about Wheelus as a sort of touchstone to others…I found this site and gobbled it up. Thank you for being here.

  195. Michaela Fujii-Rohrer, March 22, 2011:

    p.s. sorry this was so long…

  196. Robert Wood, March 22, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from Oct 69 to May 70. I was on the next to the last freedom bird out of there before we officially closed the base down on June 1 1970. During the last days of Wheelus, the few American personnel that were there were consolidated into two barracks near the post office. The rest of the base was occupied by Libyan and Egyptian troops (they were armed too). I would take the shuttle bus to work in Base Supply (Univac 1050-II Computer room) to the other side of the base and many times, I would be the only American on the bus. Needless to say, my time at Wheelus probably wasn’t as pleasant as others after the Oct 69 revolution by Qaddafi, but it was interesting to say the least.

  197. David H. Hunhoff, March 22, 2011:

    These are great memories. I was told Wheelus was the largest base (land wise) that the USAF had. Anybody recall the firing range for the F100 fighter jets? They put the jets on jacks and “sighted them in” on large targets. I took my turn at the target end putting up new targets after they got done shooting. While they were firing hte guns, we went down into the ground into some sort of bunker, climbing up and down on a small narrow circular staircase. I recall scrambling up the ladder to the cockpit to help our squadron commander who just landed from a training flight. He must have had a good flight as he laughed and told me the guns need adjusting, they shoot 3″ to the right. The best beer I ever drank was in downtown Tripoli. The brand name was BREDDA. Probably any beer would have tasted as good when it’s 100 deg. in the shade.

  198. Bob Spendiff, March 22, 2011:

    Shirley,I remember on a slow evening shift someone from your station would pick us up so we could raid your midnite ration table for cold cuts and bug juice (koolaid).Sometimes you only had WWII c or k rations.For my 20 months there I only saw 3 on site crashes.1 was an Army plane that ran out of fuel just short of the runway.Another was an f-100 whose right main wheel would not come down.The original pilot landed it pretty clean. the next day the test pilot tore up a lot of sand.The more I think of the place the more memories pop up.I turned 20 there now I’m headed for 70 here. Remember the chocolate milk was drinkable but I could never handle the white. We drank the koolaid instead. Wheelus tower,out

  199. Darrel Roy, February 25, 2011, March 22, 2011:

    does anyone remember a Libyian civilian who drove around tripoli? He must have been over 7 feet tall because he had to cut a hole in his car`s roof inorder for him to drive and get around. It was funny seeing him with his head sticking out as he drove. Alot of good times back then

  200. Donna (Basehart) Gray, March 22, 2011:

    Michaela - don’t worry about the lengthy post; I enjoyed reading it. What an experience that must have been, and what an exciting childhood you must have had.

  201. Glen McCombs, March 22, 2011:

    Michaela, Great story! You should write a book.

  202. Jim Breeyear, March 23, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus 58 to 59 attached to the 7272 Acft Gun Group, Guided missle section. We were receiving shipments of electronic equipment and doing checkouts. We had some launchers , nose cones, ground power , gnd to gnd communications epuip. Our compound was on the East side of the base about even with the end of the runway North of the salt flats. I also used to pal around with the fellas that ran the radio station AFRS 1585kcs on the dial. My assignment was to inventory and checkout the guidance vans. I first served at Udine , Italy 629th AC&W, then to Incerlik AFB, Adana Turkey, then to Wheelus and then to Keesler AFB Miss as instructor. Would like to hear from anyone that might know me or not. I have footage of one of the Matador blowing up on the launcher.

  203. Jim Breeyear, March 23, 2011:

    Does anyone remember Tigertown ??? Bore siting the F-100.
    I was standing on the roof of my communication van when two F-100s took off together. One caught fire in the rear area and he pulled the nose straight up after takeoff. Next thing I saw was a parachute and the 100 doing a hammerhead stall and heading straight down into the ground off base on the West end. I think there were injuries .

  204. Edwin Boess, March 23, 2011:

    I returned from Wheelus in November 1963 after a two-year assignment. I was in California on leave and heard the news that Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas my next assignment was at an airbase north of Dallas.
    I have many good memories of Wheelus and Libya. I worked at base supply office and worked with some Italians and third country nationals’ one in particular a German girl. She owned two horses and an old VW. One of the horses she bought from an Arab the other she bought from the Tripoli police. The horse killed one of the officers and hated all men. Guess which horse I had to ride? We drove that old VW from Wheelus to Tunis and back and slept out in the desert. I had a part time job as Theater manager and named the theater the “Sahara”. I don’t know if the name was changed after I rotated back to the states. The base commander had a rule that no one in fatigue uniform could enter the theater. I had a midnight movie scheduled every Saturday. The Air police shift change was around midnight and they had no time to change out of uniform. I reserved two rows in the back of the theater to accommodate them.
    I belonged to the Wheelus Rod and Gun club and still have the patch sewn on a baseball cap.
    During most of my military career, I was a German citizen traveling the world with a German passport and a green card. My father was in the German military and killed in Russia but his brother was stationed in Africa at a German base that became Wheelus. I saw many pictures from the time he was in Libya and I follow in his footsteps. I later served in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos and joint civilian life after eight years and nine months.

  205. William Macek, March 23, 2011:

    I served at Wheelus in 1964 and 1965, in the training command under Major George P. Arns and Lt. Col Susko. Coached little league Baseball, played football, and was very active in church activities. The Chapel stain glass windows and Lady-Be -Good Prop are at Wright Patterson AFB Museum, Dayton, OH. If anyone who served during this time period, please contact me and I encourage you to visit the Mesuem.

    Bill Macek

  206. swede, March 24, 2011:

    Just found this wonderful site. I’ll be back to read all the posts.

    I spent seven 45 day TDY’S at Wheelus AB over a three year period, 63-66.
    While stationed at Lakenheath England.

    PS..Never got used to the rotting kelp smell.

    Be back,


  207. Michaela Fujii-Rohrer, March 24, 2011:

    Thank you Donna and Glen. :)

  208. A2C Gordy Whitcomb Wheelus AFB, March 24, 2011:

    June 1963-January 1965
    Looking for anyone who was at Wheelus AFB 1963-65 in P.O.L. fuel supply - or just there at that time. I had a ‘63 Gilera 124 that kept my sanity, snorkeling especially east of the base where we had our main receiving tanks. I have lots of photos of Wheelus and Leptis Magna. We drank a lot of beer at the “Snake Pit”. Lots of memories — 3-day pass to Naples, 30-day leaves to London, etc., F-6 & R-2 refuelers, hydrants, bulk storage, mo-gas, storage site, rod & gun club and on and on. Did anyone have a Gilera 124 after 1965? It might have been mine!

  209. terry mcgreevey, March 24, 2011:

    To Jim Breeyear - I remember a F-100 flaming out in 1959 and hitting the little village of Sukajuma or was it Tajoura ? Quite a few casualties on the ground.

  210. Fred Kurtz, March 24, 2011:

    I guess with Libya being in the news these days it brings back a lot of memories. I was stationed at Wheelus AB from January ‘67 till August ‘68. I was with the 7272nd Supply Squadron. I knew Buzzy Stewart also….Hey Buzz…how ya doin, ya’ll? We were in the same barracks. I was in mobile refueling…worked many a night out on that old flightline.
    We had some great guys stationed there with us, Al Otten, Troy Agee and many, many others. I’ve lost track of most of them.
    After Libya I was stationed in Klamath Falls, Orgen, Kingsley Field….
    Hey Buz, remember our flight on that old C-121?

    Yeah, Libya was a great place to be FROM!!!

  211. Fred Kurtz - LaCrosse, WI., March 24, 2011:

    PS: I was also there during the so-called 6 Day War. All the tac fighter squadrons that were TDY booked out of there in a hurry. We were left with the base wing of tired old F-100’s and nothing to do. I remember being up all night at work playing crazy 8!
    I would certainly be interested in talking to anyone else who was there then. I’d like to know what happened to some of my old POL colleagues….

  212. David J. Phillips, March 24, 2011:

    Ref. Item #204
    Jim, I spent at least 61 days at Tigertown in 1958,59 and 60. During my three stays at Tigertown I spent a few hours in the concrete bunker marking targets on the bore site range.

  213. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 24, 2011:

    Attn: D. Phillips & J. Breeyear. Working in the Fire Dept. I use to bring a fire truck over to the Bore site range to stand by while they would fire the machine guns. The F-100’s were impressive, the F-86D was not bad, But the F-105 with it’s 50cal. Gatling gun was the king. I remember Tiger town.

  214. Glen McCombs, March 25, 2011:

    Refer to Gordy #209. I bought my 67 Gilera 125 new from the dealer in downtown Tripoli. I dont remember any other Gileras on base in 67 or 68. Nice bikes though. Not exactly a off road bike, but we still did a lot of desert trails. Have lots of bike trip pics somewhere.

  215. Glen McCombs, March 25, 2011:

    Correction; My friend Casey and I both purchased our Gileras at the same time from the dealer in Trpoli. So there were at least two on base at that time. Must be getting old!

  216. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 25, 2011:

    To David H. Hunhoff
    I remember the firing range. All traffic on the road was stopped when they pulled the planes across the road to the firing range.

  217. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 25, 2011:

    To Jim Breeyear
    Tigertown was near the Depot (EES warehouse) where I worked. Not far from the commissary.

  218. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 25, 2011:

    To Edwin Boess
    My husband and I worked on Base as third country nationals (from Germany) He worked at the Civil Engineering Sq. (see my comments No. 58/60/72) I think the German girl with 2 horses was Helgard. We were friends with her. She had a Canadian boyfriend, who was very jealous.
    The theater was still called SAHARA when we left Tripoli in 1972. There is a photo of it on GOOGLE EARTH.
    Before Wheelus we lived 4 yrs. in Adana/Turkey. My husband worked there at Incirlic AFB. I could not get a working permit from the Turkish Government, so I did some volunteer work for the American Red Cross in downtown Adana. We are Australians now and live in Queensland.
    Two weeks ago we have been visiting Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Da Nang, China Beach, Hoi An.

  219. Jodie Seaborn, March 25, 2011:

    Reply to Fred Kurtz - LaCrosse, WI., March 24, 2011

    I was TDY to Whellus for 4 months in the fall of 1963 to the spring of 1964. I was an Air Policeman. I remember the bakery on base. Sometimes we would get a whole loaf and eat it on the spot. I remember the powder milk in the milk cartons. It sure was real thick. I worked the main and back gates. The base theater was nice and cool. I was guarding a Navy A3 when President Kennedy was assassinated. The Libyan people were nice. We worked the gates with Libyan Guards.

    Jodie Seaborn, Menomonie, WI

  220. Robert Carriveau, March 26, 2011:

    Reply to Jodie. They must have improved the theather after I left there. I was with the 431st Fighter Sqdn. Our hanger was at the East end of the base.
    At that time the theather was not air conditioned, with 200 people in it without air and 110 outside you lost a little water by the time the show was over. When I got there in July 53 we lived in tents until april 54.

  221. Robert Carriveau, March 26, 2011:

    School kids seamed to like Tripoli, but young Airman didn’t As a A2/c there wasn’t much social life and I wasn’t a drinker so we went to the base theather 5 nights a week and to the English show in Tripoli one night a week.
    Our barracks was right across from the theather.

  222. Christa Childs, March 28, 2011:

    I was born at Wheelus in September of 1968 but unfortunately we had to leave when I was 18 months old so I wasn’t old enough to remember any of it! I have seen pictures of my family swimming in the Med but I have no memories of the base at all. If anyone has any pictures of the base I would appreciate seeing them! Whenever I go out of the states, I get the third degree by the airport security, have my luggage searched, you name it! LOL! Its REALLY going to be fun now with everything going on now!

  223. Bahrain, March 28, 2011:

    Bread Vendor Tripoli Old City
    Here is the picture of a bread vendor in Tripoli’s Old City taken in early 1959. (See my comment 192)
    added by Al Sullivan ( Wheelus AFB 56-59 )

  224. Ronald Surratt, March 28, 2011:

    Fred Kurtz: I was there in Libya 1967 to 1970 durning the big push to get us out of Libya by orders of Kadafi….Before you ate your bread you bought on base you did hold it up to the light right…I did one time and seen all the black spots of Bo-wevils cooked inside I quit looking and just ate it.. Lot Proteen…We bought pre-sweeten cereal , before we ate we added milk and let the worms settle to the top to scoop them off before we ate it..We went into the Commissary one day, the workers were spraying out-lawed DDT all through the flour and sugar Isles. There were dead bo.wevils and sugar worms laying dead on shelves plus the floor..we had recieved a warning six months prior not to use DDT any longer because it was bad for your health.. All in All it was an exciting place for a over seas tour….

  225. chet moy, March 28, 2011:

    With Libya in the news I thought I would go to the web and found this site. I was at Wheelus from July 68 to one week before Kadafi overthrew King Idris. I was assigned to Base Supply. I believe I was of assistance to Bob Gilbert in his quest to get married. I recall he encountered some red tape in getting the approval to be married and after figuring out the official said he lacked the appropriate approval, (the official stamp) for posting bans, I went back to my office got one of my ink stamps. We went back to the official and presented the paperwork. The official questioned the approval, so I slipped him several Libyan pounds which facilitated the approval. I really enjoyed the civil wedding ceremony. As I recall, the vows mandated the wife to go where the hubby goes, do what eh hubby says, basically obeys or else. I think Dan Milin was also present.

  226. Karen (Schrah) twichell, March 28, 2011:

    Yep I was there as a kid with my Dad and Mom and brothers from 62-65 and I remember the powdered milk nd the white Bread and having to hold it up to the light to see if there were Bowevils…When we came back stateside my dad would never eat white bread again LOL!!

  227. Donna (Basehart) Gray, March 28, 2011:

    Hey, Ron S, my sister and I, as well as a half dozen other kids, used to chase the DDT truck around the base, because it smelled so good. Somebody would yell, “Fog Man!” and we’d all start running after it. We’re pushing 60 now, my sister is a former smoker and I still smoke, and it’s a miracle we don’t have cancer!

  228. Bob Gilbert, March 28, 2011:

    Hey Chet Moy –

    It’s great to read your post. Indeed, I was reviewing and trying to organize some 35mm slides from the Wheelus days and found one with you, me, the bride (Julie) and Dan Milin (I think), standing outside the Tripoli municipal building, following the marriage ceremony in the mayor’s office. (I’ll try to post that picture.) I confess that I had forgotten the names, but they came back immediately upon reading them in your post. The “obey or else” part hasn’t worked out exactly as the mayor put it! I had forgotten about your contribution to greasing the matrimonial skids, so thanks, again! I do remember that some sort of stamp was required on my future wife’s visa application. No one could figure out what was required, so she went to the local post office in Atlanta and had a cancellation rubber stamp applied. It worked. Do you remember Bill Heaton (USAF — I bought his red Triumph TR3 for $125) and Dick Lewis (USA Transportation Corps) who worked at the Tripoli port, including during the good Colonel’s coup?

  229. Susie Spicer, March 28, 2011:

    Those of you reading this blog who were at Wheelus in the late ’50’s to early 60’s will enjoy the link below for ‘Wheelus Base Pictures 1959′ submitted by Al Sullivan.
    Here’s another website for pictures - stables, base map, etc.:

  230. Jim Muse, March 28, 2011:

    Check out this web site. Lots of information pertaining to Wheelus.

  231. Ralph Huitt, March 29, 2011:

    I was stationed at wheelus from june 1952 to dec 1963. M & s group. Commander Lc William a covington. Everyone I knew calle him smiling sam. Worked in commercial transportation for a 1lt Charles D Carson. I personally was not crazy about Wheelus.

  232. chet moy, March 30, 2011:

    Hey Bob Gilbert: Look forward to seeing that picture. My recollection of my 13 months in Wheelus were enjoyable except for the first week after arrival at Midnight in July 68 when I swear it was 95 degrees. and 95% humidity with palm fronds dripping. It was tough to get to sleep for a week. Not to mention waking up to a very large Cockroach crawling across my chest. While at Wheelus I learned to water ski, sailed a sunfish in a waterspout, visited Leptis Magna, Sobratha, and Azizzia as well as spending time downtown Tripoli and eating filets and spumoni ice cream at Giorandpopoli. One of the other thrilling events while in Libya
    was driving on roads that were only wide enough for one vehicle. Chicken was the rule of the road. The biggest and the oldest vehicles stayed on the road. I canit remember who had a car other that Dan Coursey staff judge advocate. I remember he lent me his car when he took leave to return to the States. Maybe Bob Eismen had a car. I remember, Art Baker the optomitrist, Cecil Keene the post master , Vernon Powers base supply . I recall Theron and Bonnie Royer who also lived in one of those trrailers, The name Bill Heaton does not ring a bell, but if you have a picture. Do you still have the TR3?

  233. Al Sullivan, March 30, 2011:

    To Alice Sandridge (Comment 187) See for a picture of that ‘wonderful bread’ you enjoyed while at Wheelus and living on the road to Tripoli.

  234. Steve Allen, March 30, 2011:

    I was assigned to Wheelus AB from Aug 1968 until Nov of 1969 as an Air Policeman with the 7272nd SPS Squadron. In the spring of 1969 a request was made for volunteers to be a Lifeguard (one person from each squadron) Because I was the only one in the SPS squadron that was certified as a Water Safety Instructor I was selected. That was GREAT duty. We had one day on and one day off and on our on days we would teach swimming lessons to dependents untl 11 AM and then were lifeguards from 12 PM until 5 PM. Wheelus had one of the best swimming pools (with a high diving board and one of the prettiest beaches around. We had a really good bunch of guys that all got along together. In fact every Friday night we would get together at the Lifeguard Shack and have a steak fry and inhale a few beverages. The lifeguard stint ended in mid-August and I was actually on the front gate on September 1st when Ghadafi over threw the King. Our Flight Sgt was bringing the interrupters downtown to Tripoli for an exchange and about a 1/4 mile down the highway I saw his tailights come on and he turned around. When he stopped at the gate he said I don’t know what is going on but the Libyan Army just told us to go back to base and stay there. We put up a cable across the entrance but about two hours later a Libyan tank drove right through it and parked in front of the Libyan Air Force jets so they could not leave. Col. Daniel (Chappy) James (he later became a General) who was then the base commander an order an F-100 to be parked at the main gate aimed down the highway.
    The Security Police worked 12 hour shifts from September 1st until I left in November. At the time I thought that this regime would probably be good for the country as the King was getting rich and a change in leadership would help the Libyan people. But as the years go on you see the Ghadafi sponsored terrorism and all of the country’s wealth. I do have some great black and white photos of Sabratha’s Roman ruins.
    One other thing that I didn’t see mentioned were the Friday night football games between squadrons - they were always fun.

  235. Jodie Seaborn, March 31, 2011:

    Attn: Steve Allen

    Back in 1963 there was this tall tale going around that a couple of Air Policemen were on patrol checking to see if the buildings were secure and locked. One of the Air Policeman was checking the door of the mortuary and the door was unlocked. The Air Policeman open the door and stepped inside and some one sitting in the dark said “we have been waiting for you.” The Air Policeman starting running back to Air Police Headquarters. He didn’t wait for the other Air Policeman in the patrol truck. As a former Air Policeman every where I was station at there were some tall taile.

    My question is to Steve Allen. Steve did you hear this same tall tale?

  236. Steve Allen, March 31, 2011:

    Hi Jodie - I had never been told that one! But we did go on building checks every night and occasionally we would find one open - thankfully it was never the morgue… I do remember people saying that if you were ever off the base driving a vehicle to not run over any livestock because if you did the Libyan civilan would sue the government for that particular livestock i.e. chicken, etc, and all the chickens that it would have the rest of their life. So killing a chicken could cost thousands of dollars. Not sure if it was true but I was always careful. Speaking of dead animals, I just now remembered the back gate and the shops set up immediately right outside of the base where shop keepers would sell tapestries, jewlery. and trinkets. In addition the Libyan meat cutter would butcher a camel and hang it with a meat hook in its throat. Whenever a civilan wanted some meat they would scrape off the flies and cut off a piece. They didn’t use any refridgeration. Oh those were the days. It was a great experience for me back then as I was only 19 and it showed me what the real world was like.

  237. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 31, 2011:

    attn: Steve Allen - In 1962 we were going to fill our gas tank on the Fire Trucks.
    All dept.s and group gas up early in the mornings at the Wheelus base motor pool. There were Fire Trucks, Air police vehicles, Flight line vehicles, and so on.
    A huge line of vehicles, waiting for their turn. All of a sudden, a couple of shots rang out. We jumped out of our truck and ran down to the gas pumps where the shots came from. There lay two Air policemen, they had been playing quick draw with each other and accidentally fired their guns. I think they were both merely wounded , I’m not sure because it got hushed up real quick.
    As for the back gate, I nearly took out some of the shops there , one afternoon. There was a brush fire just West of that gate, near the perimeter wall. I was driving a 550 pumper (similar to an Army 6x. I was on the inside road going East and had to do a 180 degree turn at that back gate to be going West on the outside road. As I went into the turn my Air assisted steering went out, I had to climb up on the dash to force the turn. My bumper creased the wall.

  238. Mary Kay Zimmer, April 1, 2011:

    Tonight I was talking with my father about his Air Force experience and suggested he try to reconnect with some of friends from then and since he doesn’t have a computer I am doing research to find some of them. He served from 52 to 56 but I’m not sure which years he was at Wheelus however he was in the 34th Radio Mobile. He remembers and would like to find a few friends that served with him. The names he gave are Laverd Scar or Schyler, Tom Casper and Marty Bromstein. He also remembered a Sgt. Nail. I may have some spellings wrong and if so I am sorry. If anyone by these names are out there or if someone knows some of these people can you let me know. His name is Bobby Joe Zimmer and he is from West Frankfort Illinois.
    It has been a pleasure to read all of these memories and I hope to hear back if you guys are out there. Thank you Mary Zimmer

  239. Ralph R Huitt, April 1, 2011:

    I was stationed aaaat wheelus from june 52 til dec 53. Worked in commercial transportation for a ilt Charles D Carson. Col covingtons name was William A Covington. Everyone I knew Called him smiling Sam. No eever saw him smile. He was shot a year or so after he returned to the states

  240. Steve Allen, April 1, 2011:

    Shirley Kirkley Jr. - Well the Air Police did have some cowboys that is for sure. Prior to being stationed at Wheelus I was at Beale AFB, Marysville Calif. and we guarded B-52’s with nuculear weapons loaded and on standby alert status. Two guards went to see a Clint Eastwood moving - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and decided that they needed to see who had the fastest draw. One guy won and the other guy was dead. Prior to removing the body from the restricted area, all of the aircraft had to be checked for bullet holes. It was a long night.
    As for the crease in the wall caused by your driving - it was still there in 1969 - I always wondered how that got there……. Just kidding I don’t remember seeing it but knowing about the Libyan peoples ambition it never got fixed!

  241. dennis slingerland, April 1, 2011:

    Was an air policeman stationed at Wheelus. Was there during the coup and was on the last flight to leave Libya.

  242. chet moy, April 1, 2011:

    to Steve Allen: I was at Wheelus between July 68 and late August 69. Do you recall a death as a result of an airman playing Russian Roulette.

  243. Steve Allen, April 1, 2011:

    Chet Moy - No I don’t recall the Russian roulette death - I do remember an airman trying to committ suicide by taking a bottle of asprin. The doctor told me that he would have probably lived but they pumped his stomach just to give him a lesson. And then there was an airman who attempted suicide while he was in the jail. I found him in his cell and he had slit his wrist with a razor blade. This guy was a medic who was in jail because he got drunk - obviously not much of a medic because he was still alive. The last I knew he was went to Germany for some mental testing. The only other major accident that I remember was an airman that was TDY from I beleve Lakenheath in England arrived and immediately dove into the Mediterrian sea. He hit his head on a rock and was paralysised - luckily we lifeguards did not extract him from the water and let him float with our assistance until the ambulance arrived. When they arrived we placed the gurney in the water directly below him and raised him up so that we didn’t cause any more damage to his spine. The Air Force immediately sent him to Germany for further treatment. I never heard what happened to him.

  244. Steve Allen, April 1, 2011:

    Dennis Singerland - If you were an Air Policeman you probaby remember the bar we had in our barracks. Damn I had a lot of fun there. We consumed a LOT of Schlitz Beer there and ate boiled eggs.

  245. dennis slingerland, April 1, 2011:

    I remember it well. Wheelus was my first assignment after tech school. I think I enjoyed my time there more than any other base. I remember it was hot but a dry heat and not at all unbearable. I liked working the gates with the libyan guards during ramadan. After sunset they would bring all sorts of food and warm bread out to break their fast.

  246. dennis slingerland, April 1, 2011:

    steve allen If you were a life guard maybe you remember one of my roomates, Roger opper from Pekin Illinois. He also had a sweet deal and one hell of a sun tan. The 12 hour shifts were brutal. Once they brought the augmentees from the other squadrons on board it was a lot less hectic.

  247. Steve Allen, April 2, 2011:

    Dennis Slingerland - I knew Roger Opper very well and in fact I think I was his roomate at one time too! I just looked at some of my old pictures and I have a few of Roger and me together. He was a nice guy - kind of quiet but fun to be with. Some of the other SPS guys that I hung out with was Marion (Ham) Hammonds, Ed (Pops) Towe, Terry Siegal, Chuck Zugalla, Lou Michalsky, George Ingalls, TSSgt Ernie Vaden was our Flight Chief. You are right though Dennis that was a great base and I had a lot of fun there. As for the Libyan guards they did share their food with us but they got pretty ornery during Rahmadan.

  248. dennis slingerland, April 2, 2011:

    steve allen I remember Pops towe a little black guy ,real decent man. I was on C flight with Tsgt frank irvin . I remember Julio vazguez, victor maldonado,calvin speed bill monroe,dave price and dave hartung.Was George Ingalls married to an Air forcr nurse? If so I remember him also.

  249. Ralph Huitt, April 3, 2011:

    To: Steve Allen: Hey Steve my name is Ralph Huitt,Seems we both had assignments at wheelus. I Wenr from to Beale in dec 1963. Not many troops there at that time. I liked Marysville and Yuba City.

  250. Steve Allen, April 3, 2011:

    Dennis Slingerland - I was also on “C” Flight (I cheated I had to go back to my picture to see what flight I was on) And “Pops” was a very nice guy. Most of the names I doidn’t recognice except for Victor Maldonado and Dave Hartung. And yes George Ingalls was a Sgt and married to an officer who was a nurse in the AF. Nice couple. In fact George bought a .44 mag pistol and we went out to shoot it and it damn near jumped out of my hand. So when the Dirty Harry movies came out (Harry carried a .44 Mag) I always thought about George Ingalls. Small world isn’t it? I would love to hear from those guys again -it was a good time in my life.

  251. Steve Allen, April 4, 2011:

    Ralph Huitt - I was stationed at Beale AFB in November 67 until July 68 and by the time I got there it was a pretty thriving base. Besides being a SAC base with B-52 and KC-135 we had the SR71 (Black Bird) Squadron. Being young at that time I guess I really didn’t know much difference as it was my first assignment out of boot camp. I do remember that is where I learned to smoke (which I no longer do) because if you didn’t, no one would come around to talk to you in the patrol car as we couldn’t smoke on the flight line unless you were in a vehicle. So the sector leaders would stop and let you sit in the car and let you smoke about once an hour. Otherwise we walked around a red line which was marked on the flight line in the restricted area for the B-52 for hours on end. It was not one of my better experiences in the USAF!

  252. dennis slingerland, April 4, 2011:

    steve allen Dave Harting was my roomie after Roger Opper and Vic Maldonado. One day we were working the east gate when a pickup truck was going to go out without being signed out. Dave ran out and stopped the vehicle and yelled “hey sarge where are you taking that truck”. Unfortunately the driver was Daniel “chappie” James the base commander. He gave Dave a royal reaming, but to his credit at a function a few days later he apologized and said he understood he was just doing his job.

  253. Steve Allen, April 4, 2011:

    Dennis Slingerland - I am not surprised about Chappie James apologizing. He was a really good officer and I got to know him fairly good on the front gate after the coup. Not that we were on first name basis but he recognized me and I had some deep respect for him and how he handled the entire uprising without backing down to the Libyans.

  254. Ronald Surratt, April 5, 2011:

    Steve Allen: Dennis Slingerland: I remember Chappie James, He replaced Col.White .We were in the dark to what was going on out side our gates and on our base with Col. White. Our Morale could never gotten any lower until Col. James arrived. Just about twice a week Col. James would gather us together and clue un in to what was happening, Then turn around and briefour dependants.. I think He was the greatest Base Commander I have ever had in my twenty some odd years in service.. I was glad to see he made four star general before he retired and died soon afterward.. Ronald Surratt

  255. Steve Allen, April 7, 2011:

    Ronald Surratt - You are right Ron, Chappie James was the best base commander that I served under too. Of course I only served 4 years but he was definitely a believer in communicating with his people. He was definitely very deserving of his 4 stars and it just goes to show that good things happen to good people.

  256. Ralph Huitt, April 7, 2011:

    iwas on wheelus from june 62 till dec . I worked with three guys I would like to contact. Sherman weesley Roose, from Fostoria, Ohio. John R Belcher, And Ellis O white. My Email is inzuju80 at

  257. William Macek, April 7, 2011:

    I served under Major George P. Arns in 1964 and 1965. Coached his son (Chip) in baseball and I played football for one of the teams. I was sorry to read that “Red” had passed on.

    Bill Macek

  258. Jodie Seaborn, April 8, 2011:

    Being TDY to Wheelus in 1963-1964 I don’t remember many of the fellow Air Policemen that I served with. There was AI/C Luis Espinoza, Dewey Fleming, Kent Clayton , Ed Smith and a kid named Harris who I served with from Cannon AFB New Mexico. There was an Air Policeman named Gates whos father was a Lt. Col in the 27 TFW at Cannon. I just remembered a kid named Foley.

    I put up pics of the 832 Air Police Squadron.
    ( posted here by webmaster - 832 Air Police Squadron Pics 1-6 )

    Please people keep posting. I look forward to your messages. When I read my email the Bahraindc Blog is the first email that I open.

  259. Jerry Booth, April 13, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from Feb. 1967 to Aug. 1968. I worked in Ward D at the hospital. I have recently gotten my collection of photos I took while I was there (on base and off base) cleaned up and in some resemblance of order (I didn’t have a 35mm camera, so I could only do so much). I created a blog and have put several photos on it. I wanted to see what kind of response I get to see if I should continue putting more on it. I have several dozen photos, so let me know if you would to see more.

  260. Steve Allen, April 13, 2011:

    Jerry Booth - I looked at your photos and they looked good. In fact I had forgotten the name of the theater and you reminded me of the street names being designated by letters. In addition I didn’t have pictures of the buildings on base so I am interested in seeing more if you have the time to input them into your blog. Thanks for the memories.

  261. dennis slingerland, April 13, 2011:

    jerry booth grat pictures. if you have more please post. the picture of the main gate brougt back memmories, spent many a day manning the gate. i remember the stir showing midnight cowboy caused when it ran at the sahara theater.

  262. Karen (Schrah) twichell, April 13, 2011:

    Jerry, thanks for posting the pictures, even though I was a child when my Dad was stationed as Wheelus I remember the Theater..we spent many days there during the summer. I remeber the front gate since we lived off base and came through that gate almost everyday and I remember the Hospital because I spent 1 week there with Hepatitis…wow was I sick!! any other pictures you have would be appreciated!

  263. Glen McCombs, April 13, 2011:

    Yes, Please put on more. I hope this will help me get out old photos too. Spent about two years there, and these pictures really brought back memories

  264. Tom Harder, April 13, 2011:

    Thank for posting the pictures Jerry. I had hundreds of pictures of Wheelus in the 1958-59 timeframe, however all of them didn’t make it home. I still have some that I will post when I get prints scanned.

  265. Jodie Seaborn, April 13, 2011:

    Thanks Jerry Booth and other people that post pictures. I spent a few hours manning that Main Gate. Wasn’t there a few shops outside the Main Gate. I purchased a 1964 Volkswagen and had it shipped to New Orleans.

  266. Jerry Booth, April 14, 2011:

    I put 35 more photos on my blog (
    Next will be photos I took off base. It will be a couple of days before I get them posted. After that, one more post of miscellaneous stuff (probably have you all thinking, why does this guy still have all this stuff ? - Good question, I don’t know ! But, I think you will still like it).

  267. Dan DeBrase, April 14, 2011:

    Those photos bring back a lot of memories. I was stationed there 1961-1962. I was looking at a picture of my room and noticed that I had a FIGMO calender hanging on the wall, I guess that was near the end of my tour. Looking back it was a pretty good duty station, but I didn’t think so at that time.

  268. Jim, April 14, 2011:

    Enjoyed looking at the photos as well. The one of the Airman’s club is interesting. I was assigned to the 1950th AACS Sq in 56 and 57. Our quarters was right across the street from the club. I believe the number was 700. It appears the photo of the club was taken from that building.

  269. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., April 15, 2011:

    To all the fellows and fellowettes of Wheelus and Tripoli, I have run across a web site that has hundreds of photos from Tripoli dating 1952 to 1970. The location is listed below. When you get to the location there are videos of the base and area, but if you will look to the left and near the top there is a bar that has several catagories. The far left one is “VIDEO”, the next one is “IMAGES”. Press “IMAGES”, and a bunch of photos will appear. Click on one that interest you and it will bring up a page of photos and dialog. to see them you have to close the inlarged image to see the ones behind it.
    I have down loaded over three hundred photos from there along with some great stories.,_Tripoli,_Libya

  270. Jerry Booth, April 16, 2011:

    The last batch of photos is on my blog (trek into Tripoli).
    Jim, you are close. My barracks was building 702 and 700 was between it and the club.
    As I mentioned previously, I have one more post to do; all kinds of miscellaneous stuff. I’ll try to have it out there by Monday evening.
    Glad to see folks enjoying the photos.

  271. Alyca Tanner, April 17, 2011:

    to: A2C Gordy Whitcomb - my father, Gordon “Chuck” Tanner was stationed at Wheelus until 3 months after I was born there in Jan 1964. I don’t know when my family arrived, but they were there in the time frame you referenced. Unfortunately, I don’t have much more information than that since he is somewhat cryptic when I ask questions about it. But if a Gilera 124 is a car or boat then chances are my dad knew about it :).
    My sister has many wonderful memories of Wheelus and Tripoli - and I was given disc copies of some gorgeous slides/pics that were take while they were there.

  272. Angelika Pawlitschek, April 17, 2011:

    To Jerry Booth,
    I loved to see your pictures. Many are looking very familiar to me. I bought a bicycle when I first arrived in Libya (July 66). For a few months my husband and I lived not far from the Main Gate. I rode my bike to the base, which must have been an unfamiliar sight to the locals, a female ridding a bike. The guys who drove by in their cars always cheered after me and to put the lid on the pot, the GIs at the gate liked to stop me to have a better look at my Wheelus ID card. It was very annoying, but soon we moved to the Castiglione Farm near the East Gate and I gave up cycling.

  273. Jerry Booth, April 19, 2011:

    I put the last of my Wheelus stuff on my blog (see #260 above). Hope you enjoy it, too.

  274. Lena Campbell, April 20, 2011:

    In response to post #106 by Chuck Mull, my uncle was a member of the holding force that was sent into Wheelus in Jan 1970 to see to it that all US military was removed. He recalls Col. Russell bringing a propeller from the Lady Be Good on the last flight out of Tripoli. He also recalls having been locked down for 2 months by the Libyans. He left in May 1970 and his flight was met in Frankfurt by more than 250 photographers. They were not allowed to speak to anyone and placed on buses and taken to the hospital where they were debriefed. Can you help with any info on this?

  275. Charles F. Nemejc, April 23, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus AFB from 1956 -1958 at the 431st FIS, after they (the 431st ) moved to Zaragosa Spain, I transfered to the F-100 squadron, Many, Many good memories from Tripoli, I was in the Mellaha sports car club and drove a red 1956 MGA I was # 7 in all of the races. Have many pictures of Tripoli and Wheelus if anyone wants some, Forgot alot of the names but do remember Dick Hugen, Dwight Thyarks, Pete Welch (civilian) “TINY” Iesen, Robin Olds, Jay Levy MD, plus many more. E-mail for pics. Nice to have found this site.

  276. Robert Buckelew, April 24, 2011:

    I am the youngest son of SSgt. John W. Buckelew. He was an air traffic controller and I spent some time with him in the control tower. Buck brought the whole family to Libya (three boys) from 1960-62. We lived off base, first on an olive orchard until we were flooded out and then on an orange orchard. Both were run by Italians. We drank shahee(?) hot sweet tea with the local Libyians and I remember buying loaves of bread that hung from ceiling of a small store near our house. Does anyone recall the place that jettied out like a pier where the sea water was brought from the Med to be dried for salt? We used to dive and swim off of that structure. Also, I can’t locate on google earth the roads with the wall that had broken glass concreted into their tops. Great memories of a different time and place.

  277. Carmen, April 24, 2011:

    Does anyone happened to have names (a list) something on the guys who on the 72ND72ND HOLDING FORCE in 1970 and served with Clye Ison. He is wanting to chat/talk with buddies/friends, etc…… He can be reached at (512) 295-6585, Buda, Texas

  278. Bob Spendiff, April 25, 2011:

    Robert,I was a friend of Buck’s and I remember your Mom and 3 boys.He was one of the NCOs that trained me.I was fresh out of school at Keesler and not yet 19 when I got there.The perimeter road that ran near the tower had a wall near it with broken glass on top.I looked down on it many times. Remember the view of the salt flats from the tower ? If you read all the postings on this site you’ll remember a lot. Your father was a great guy and I learned from him.I’m glad you wrote on the site,good memories. Bob Spendiff

  279. Kathie de Russy, April 25, 2011:

    My USAF father was stationed at Wheelus ‘57-’58. We lived in G’pop then on the base.
    The Wheelus “Uaddans” are still well connected. Check out, or the FB site for Wheelus.

  280. Bahrain, April 26, 2011:

    From Al Sulivan to Robert Buckelew - comment 277. (I think) this is the saltwater intake at the salt flats on Wheelus which you were talking about; taken in early 1959.

  281. John P Reiley, April 26, 2011:

    I was assigned to the 7272nd Trans sq. from 9/67 to 12/68.I volunteered for ‘Nam to get out of there and got my wish(went to Pleiku RVN 1/69).Remember lotsa TDY’s out to Al Utoia bombing range hauling obsolete vehicles out to be set up as targets.The road we took to convoy out there was built by the Romans–Half way point was an oasis called 7 wells. which actually had 6 and a german WW2 pillbox. The desert was a wired place to be at night.

  282. Agatina Castiglione, April 26, 2011:

    Hello, I am Agatina Castiglione, daughter of Alfio Castiglione of East Gate Farm in Tripoli, Libya. I currently reside in Austin, Tx. I visit Catania, Sicily regularely. I am collecting research from my family in Tripoli. I would be so grateful, of any who wish to share their experiences from the 50’s until the coup, in 1972. Regards, A.C

  283. Angelika Pawlitschek, April 27, 2011:

    Hello Agatina,
    my husband Ernst and I lived for 4 yrs.(66 to 70) on the Castiglione Farm (see my comments No. 58/60/72/113/219). During this time our two sons were born. It was a very sad time when we left in June 70, because we knew we would never see the Castiglione family again. Ghaddafi’s coup was September 1969 and the Base closed down in June 1970.

    After Wheelus closed in 1970 we came back to Tripoli from Germany. My husband was then employed by the Libyan Air Force. Of course we had to drive out to the farm and see what happened there. Your family had left and there were Arabs in the yard and we didn’t dare to enter the farm.

    We have fond memories of your father and his family. I also remember his parents, they were very fond of my babies, but unfortunately I could not communicate with them. They didn’t speak English like Alfio, Tina and Melina. Later on I heard from somebody that Alfio had married an American and moved to Texas.

    I have a photo from Melina’s wedding which I attended. Your father always brought us our mail. We were allowed to use his PO Box in Tripoli. Every Christmas he gave all his tenants an Italian panettone cake. Once Alfio just came back from a trip to Italy and he brought me some cherries, because I was pregnant with my fist child. We could not get any cherries in Tripoli.

    Still today my husband and I talk about these times and wonder what had happened to the Castigliones. The houses on the farm were pretty modest by today’s standard. But they were very sought after by Americans and Europeans because it was safe to live there and close to the Base. The farm was large and one could go for a nice walk around the farm. There were sheep and camels to the pleasure of the children.

    Is your father still alive and your aunts? If you have some questions you can write to my email addr. . My family and I live now in Australia.

    Regards Angelika.

  284. Agatina Castiglione, April 28, 2011:

    Angelika, Thank you so much for your response! I am happy to have found this Blog! I will send you a personal message, via e-mail. I look forward to sharing with you, my families story from the past 40 years. Regards, Agatina

  285. Nikki Leitch Beard, April 28, 2011:

    Glen, #216-did your friend Casey have any english girlfriend whilst he was at Wheelus?

  286. Glen McCombs, April 30, 2011:

    Nikki, Yes he did have a girl fiend, but right now I cant remember her name. I do remember he met with her and her family in Europe for skiing or touring. We thought, hmmm must be serious he’s meeting Mom and Dad. Did you know Casey or his girl friend or both?

  287. Nikki Leitch Beard, May 1, 2011:

    Glen, I did have a boyfriend called Casey. My father worked in the oil fields and we lived in Giorgimpopoli. Casey used to come visit at the weekends and to this day I have a photo of me and my parents on the rocks at Tripoli that Casey took. I was a junior at the base high school at the time. We never met up in Europe so I dont think it is the same Casey you knew.

  288. Glen McCombs, May 2, 2011:

    Nikki, Not giving up yet. Did he drive a motorcycle with a blue gas tank, and was he from Palm Springs, California?

  289. Nikki Leitch Beard, May 2, 2011:

    Glen, it was such a long time ago I can’t remember, will need to think somemore about that. One incident that happened that he may have told you was when we went to the British embassy for a function and as he sat down one one of the big soft cushions on the floor his pants split from front to back! We did manage to leave with his dignity intacti if not his pants. He also came to my junior prom at the OC.

  290. Glen McCombs, May 4, 2011:

    Nikki, Funny story. I wonder where he is now?

  291. Karen Walters Morgan, May 7, 2011:

    My brother was born at the Wheelus AFB hospital in August 1964 and I was born there in April 1966. My dad was stationed in Iraklion, Crete, Greece. they flew expectant mothers over to the nearest AFB hospital a couple of weeks before they were due from what I understand. So, I both my brother and I were there for about 10 days to 2 weeks after we were born and then we were all flown back to Greece. Does anyone have a picture of the hospital the way it looked in April 1966?

  292. Jerry Booth, May 8, 2011:

    In some of the comments above, I have included a blog of photos I took when I was stationed at Wheelus in ‘67 to ‘68 (see 260, 267 & 271 above).
    To the right of the first photo are the blog archives; click on ‘Wheelus Photos.’ The 4th one is a photo I took of the hospital.

  293. Karen Walters Morgan, May 10, 2011:

    Thank you, Jerry! In the picture I saw of the hospital I was born at it looked a lot different! The one I saw looked like a small ranch house with a fenced back yard with goats in it. Maybe it just looked smaller than it really was?

  294. Nikki Leitch Beard, May 12, 2011:

    Glen McCombs-have just found some photos of Casey and his surname was Cromwell. I have a picture of him at Yosemete with his car a red Jaguar XKE. Sound familiar?

  295. Glen McCombs, May 14, 2011:

    Nikki, That is the same Casey for sure. He had that XKE when we were stationed at Travis AFB in Cal. before coming to Wheelus. I have been looking for him for years now. Do you know where he is? Also would like to see the pictures. I have checked the net, but have come up empty. Where are you now?

  296. Nikki Leitch Beard, May 14, 2011:

    Glen, that is so amazing! I am living in England, a small village called Hordle which is between Bournemouth and Southampton on the south coast. Unfotunately I don’t know where Casey is but I spend time going through web sites to do with Wheelus and that is how I came across your post. My mum passed away eighteen months ago and I was going through my photos to find one to put in my lounge when I came across the one Casey had taken of us. Strange how things come together-finding the photos then reading your post. Are you on Facebook? I could copy the photos then publish them on there. If not I will find another way. Where are you?

  297. Glen McCombs, May 15, 2011:

    Nikki, found you on facebook. Sorry to hear about your Mom. With all that is going on in Libya I was also searching Wheelus web sites. I did find some others that were there at the same time. Seems so very long ago, but memories are coming back. I now live in the mountains of Arizona, USA. I would like to see the pictures of Casey, or others that you might like to share.

  298. ryan walker, May 15, 2011:

    While cleaning out my grandmother in-laws house, I found a beer stein that is inscribed: Officer’s Wives Club Golf Tournament Wheelus Field-Tripoli First Place Second FlightNov. 1953

    Any information?

  299. William Jackson, May 17, 2011:

    Does anyone remember the plane going down September/Oct/Nov of 1962? I believe he was out of the 7272nd’s Squadron 100’s, where are all the riggers out there.

  300. William Jackson, May 17, 2011:

    I believe his name was Lieutenant Redman.

  301. Ralph Huitt, May 19, 2011:

    Donald A Dayton: I was stationed at Wheelus From June 52 til dec 53. I was in M and s Group. Col Covingtons name was William a Covington. Everyone I knew called hin Smiling Sam Because no ever saw him smile. I thought he was a good commander. He was killed a year or so after he left wheelus. If you like contact me.MY e mail

  302. Al Folstrom, May 22, 2011:

    My last day Wheelus Air Base Libya, I was assigned to Wheelus in August of 1969 just before Qaddafi took control over the country. I was assigned to 7272 maintenance sq and the duties of training and supporting the Libya Air Force F5’;s. While there the Libya Air Force managed to crash 3 F5’s one made at 10,000 foot climb in the med, one pull 9 g’s on take off and crash do to nose wheel shimmy at 90 knots on take off roll and flipped over. On April of 1970 the Libya AF decided they no longer need American trainer and I was assigned to clean up detail making sure all assets were removed from building before turning over to the Libyan’s. I lift Wheelus on one of the last flight out on June 2nd 1970. I remember getting to Wheelus in 1969 being at very active base to being like a ghost town after the May 15th of 1970.

  303. Bob Gilbert, May 22, 2011:

    For Al Folstrom –

    I have posted before with some of my history at Wheelus (April 1968-Nov. 1969), so I won’t repeat all of that. Your comments about the LAF prompted me to mention that I was assigned to WAB by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We were overseeing the construction of facilities for the LAF, so you probably occupied/used some of them. I remember well the F5s, characterized by U.S. pilots as “sports cars.” I also remember the LAF’s reputation for doing rather nutting things with them — in some cases paying quite a price for doing so.

  304. Robert Wood, May 23, 2011:

    For Al Folstrom -
    I can also relate as to how Wheelus was a very active base and then gradually turned into a “Ghost Town”. I was there the about the same time as you, Oct 9th,1969 to May 24, 1970. I was on the next to the last plane out of there.

  305. a.serdynski (ski), May 30, 2011:

    was in wheelus from july 1968 to may 1970, work baseflight c54 there were two one c47 and 3a10 anyone outhere thanks

  306. Robert Hoyle, May 30, 2011:

    My original comment is 29. To John [Blog 108] I was paid a bunch by IBM to move to Tripoli working for IBM, then Beirut, then Kuwait-etc etc I am retired in Spain living by myself since Wenna died 5 years ago.
    To Chet Moy–when I went to work in Tripoli the Libyans neede a pile of references in Arabic and English –all with stamps. The ones I collected from Base Supply were great-One from a tech Sgt whose name I have forgotten was his English/Vietnamese stamp from 1964!! They happily accepted the paperwork.

    I can cope with 2 or 3 guests anytime and any wanderers who are ex-Wheelus are welcome–no charge except that since I am restricted to red wine–you pay for your own booze.
    When Wenna returned from the ‘67 war evacuation via Malta she was the only female for a while. I was asked to live off-base to get an idea of the local reactions=that was in Suk El Juma where you or someone from Base Supply had to find me [no phones of course] if the 1050 broke down. We always tried at that time to get invitations to the NCO Club because there was a small Brit. Group that played each evening. The girl singer had a 100% house full [except my wife] of lonely guys and when she sang ‘Those boots are made for walking’ followed by ‘I wanna go home’ I distinctly saw a tear or two!”!

  307. Robert Hoyle, May 30, 2011:

    A P.S to John Brady What was your Ski’s full name–the E7?

  308. Chuck Mull, May 30, 2011:

    a. Serdynski: I travelled in the C-54 (when I was lucky) and the C-47s twice each week to Malta; worked on the base newspaper which was printed in Malta; thanks to you, always had safe flights!

  309. Daniel Nagata, May 30, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus AFB, 1950 AACS, Site 6, Aug 59 thru Aug 61. If you ever went to Leptis Magna then you passed us on Homs road just after it hit the coast. We were the only building in sight & with antennas for miles. I remember: cigarette ration cards (Luckies $0.90 a carton) We traded them on the black market. Libyan Drivers lic (son of ……….). Fiies (person walking in front of you would have black sweat spot on his back, all flies. Any one else from Site 6? I am in touch with Boykin and Henning. Murphy, Kakuda, Tompkins are deceased.
    I am retired Aramco (Dhahran) and very familiar with Bahrain. Used to take family and spend weekend on Bahrain after construction of the causeway.

  310. Robert Hoyle, May 31, 2011:

    306 Daniel Nagata. From 1966 to 1969 my wife and I spent many days wandering on Site 6. At the beach level there was a Roman encampment. By following the line of waves and delving into holes in the rocks we excavated many bronze nails from [probably] wine barrels. Along the paths I picked up dozens of bronze coins-mostly sea worn. One day [Site 6 gone but the ‘No entry’ sign still there] weexcavated a mound that looked artificial–It turned out to be a Tepiderium. The domed roof had collapsed but a lot of the mosaics were visible attached to lumps of ‘concrete’. I went to the Curator of the Museum in Tripoli and showed them polaroids—He said they did not want anything ‘RUUM’ [foreign as opposed to Arab/Libyan!!!]. We took a part of the mosaics home which depicted a wonderful view of a quayside with a ship offshore. There was a Roman soldier in full uniform with spear saying goodbye to his wife and son!!! Some GI being sent to Tripolitania to gguard the grain for Rome!! Nothing changes!!
    Again I asked if the Museum wanted it –they said no. After the ‘67 War I found one of the Base Supply NCO’s who was going back to ZI with a lot of spare luggage allowance and gave it to him–About 3 by 4 feet in total! I hope that it is in some town museum in the US ofA.

  311. Robert Hoyle, May 31, 2011:

    Will someone please tell me how to post photos to this site

  312. Bahrain, May 31, 2011:

    @ R. Hoyle - please check your email and attach pics + text in reply mail. tnx!

  313. Bahrain, May 31, 2011:

    a big thanks to R. Hoyle for these pics.

    wheelus 1, wheelus 2, ghadames

  314. R.Hoyle, June 2, 2011:

    Looking at the Wheelus 1 photo of me on the Wheelus beach in 1966 made me realise TO MY HORROR that there are 45 year old retirees from the USAF who were not even born then!! There are bored E8’s and Colonels in Bahrain who are in that category. Warriors all -I salute you!

  315. Gerry Anderson, June 30, 2011:

    Visited this site for the first time today and was surprised to find the many pictures posted by Jerry Booth which brought back many memories. I was stationed at Wheelus from 1964 t0 1966 in the Hospital Squadron in Medical Administration primarily manning the appointment or registration desk. My memory has faded over the years but I remember Sgts. Courtney and Sirois and especially Sgt. Johnnie Johnson-all good people. Other names I recall are Bud Parmer, Jose Tijerina, Wes Wise, Buddy DeBord, Jim
    Esque, and Frank Boehm. My memories of Wheelus are good- any bad memories have faded away. Is there any appetite for a 7272 Hospital Squadron reunion. Now would probably be the time.

  316. Pamela Callaway Nicolas, July 5, 2011:

    I am the widow of Henri E. Nicolas who was with the COE out of MedDiv for many, many years all over the Middle East and Asia. We lost almost all of out photographs in a flood and are reaching out to those who may have known Henri for copies of their photos that may have included him…and for any stories that include him to pass on to his children and grandchildren(who never knew him). Thank you all so much…please respond directly by email to:

  317. Pamela Callaway Nicolas, July 28, 2011:

    Dear Bob Gilbert and Angelika Pawlitschek! Please contact me at I am looking for info & copies of pictures that include Henri Nicolas. Thanks VERY much! I and his three children would greatly appreciate it Henri passed away in 1982 from lung and throat cancers.

  318. Jim Voris, July 29, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus Sept 1959 to Sept 62 as a Photographer in the Base Photo Lab. I am currently writing my memoirs of this era and the funny things that happen to an Air Force Photographer - Wheelus was certainly among the funniest and the best memories. If anyone knows of any of the photographers during this time period I would love to connect with them. Especially Earl Dunnick or Joe Killkenny. PS: I shot all the dependent school kids portraits at the on-base school in 1960-61

  319. Karen Twichell, July 29, 2011:

    My Brother and I Just missed having our Picture taken by you by one year…we moved there in 62 left in 65

  320. Agatina Castiglione, July 30, 2011:

    Hello All, I am Lisa Castiglione, daughter of Alfio, at East Gate farm. My sister has created a Facebook page for us, if you like to visit. We have a lot of stories that we would love to share. If you care to join us on FB. “Eastgate- Castiglione Farm Tripoli, Libya. Can’t wait to hear from you all, God Bless. Lisa Castiglione- Austin, Texas U.S.A.

  321. Howard Tress, August 7, 2011:

    Hi All I was stationed at Wheelus from 1958 to late 1959 with the 633rd AC&W Sq. To Ernesr Green (165) The 633rd did have a detachment at Benghazi while I was there. I worked as a Intercep Control Tech (ICT) and on the movements desk. Was transfered from the 603rd AC&W from Kaisenslughten, Germany. Some remember the little prroblem in Tripoli Lebenon In 58, I went TDY there as an ICT at Incirlik AFB. When I got back to Tripoli my best friend Tom Kane got transfered out to the base, Base Ball team. Once my tour was up I went from the desert to northern Minnesota and who said the Air force doesn’t have a sense of humor? It was great reading all of your inputs about Wheelus. Take care and if anyone knows any of the guys at the 633rd tell them to drop a line as I’ll be check out the site again.

  322. Vernon (Chris) Keil, August 7, 2011:

    I was stationed with the 1950th Comm from 62-63 at the Comm/Relay centers (29151). During that time I had some great friends to include Don Hayward who was assigned to the LOX plant and Guy Jedney. I had great memories of my TDY assignments with Art Petty at the 5th Air Force Talent Shows. Also good times in Tripoli with Andrew L. Jackson Jr, and Clarence Carson when we played at the WaDan (sp) Supperclub. If anyone knows of their whereabouts please pass this on or let me know where I can find them.

  323. Ellsworth Briggs, August 14, 2011:

    So, Jerry Paich (#120) and I were there at the same time and in the same Squadron - the 102nd AC&W from New England 1952-53. I came down from Maine. Where did you come from Jerry?
    My main leisure activity was riding horses at the British stables in town with an occasional fox hunt on Sundays.
    We befriended an Arab Policeman and enjoyed an occasional dinner with his family that was wonderful. I bought my first camera at the PX and have many prints and slides of my time there. I also took a trip through Europe with a couple of buddies and have a slide tray of that which I plan to convert to disc some day.
    Anybody try to play golf on the sand course on base? What a hoot!

  324. Bahrain, August 14, 2011:

    ( by J. Paich )

    Well, Ellsworth. I enlisted in 1952 Chicago Illinois. Trained as a Radar Operator in Biloxi Mississippi then went to Cape Cod with the 102nd.
    Next to Tripoli. I brought my fencing foils and mask with me and began fencing in the Italian Club and was invited to participate in a Fencing tournament. I along with 19 other airmen went to Nouasseur Air Base (IATA: EVX, ICAO: LFOE) near Casablanca, French Morocco is a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. It was designed for B-36 and B-47 bombers). to do a little warehouse work.
    I volunteered to set up the Radar site near Misurata.
    What was your assignment with the 102nd?
    Here are a few photos. I have scanned all of the photos that I took in Africa with the Leica that I purchased in the Wheelus PX ( I still have it). I used Adobe Photoshop 7 to clean all the photos and slides then I burned them onto CDs. I am a member of the 102nd and if you are interested in joining the remaining 102nd members contact Hank Connors at:

    wheelus aerial view
    wheelus aerial view 2
    joe nunes on a date palm
    sgt. Jones & Jerry
    wheelus tents
    misurata radar site
    misurata radar site 2
    misurata radar site 3
    Aldo Forti & Jerry

  325. Bahrain, August 14, 2011:

    ( by E. Briggs )
    I joined the Air National Guard in So. Portland, Maine after high school in 1950 and went to radar operator school in Miss. too in the summer of 1951. We were activated that fall and joined a Rhode Island Unit in Cape Cod and became the 102nd. Did you participate in the “operation snow fall” thing up at Camp Drum, NY? What a bust that was!
    I was originally a screen writer at a radar outpost way off base near the old defunct Mussolini race track and then was transferred to motor pool where I became a truck driver.
    I went to one of those 102nd reunions in Rhode Island many years ago - not very much fun.

    Tripoli Golf
    Tent City

  326. Lynn (Schreiber) Norris, August 14, 2011:

    This blog popped up on my computer–I’d sent a message months ago. Some of the messages brought back more memories. Chuck Mull, Feb 22, 2011 mentioned interviewing General “Chappie” James. He had been to our house in Tripoli when my parents would bring the ‘rotaters’ over for dinner and maybe a trip to the British Club a few blocks away for a swim. General, Col at the time, came one Thanksgiving with lots of others and gave us a gift–each was asked to perform something. Many had been with USO, (Maggiloini was a name I remember) and it was a great night my sister, Jan, my mom and I will never forget. I remember so many of these kind guys, and we saw some of them later when my dad, Ralph Schreiber, was stationed back at Kirtland as test pilot.
    And, Judy Meadows Damski says she remembers a family named Ferguson….we knew Fran and Lonnie Ferguson well, if that’s the same family.
    Lastly, Jim Voris, July 2011 said he was a photographer during the time I was in Tripoli (60-64). Did he, by chance, take pictures of a school production of “A Mid Summer’s Nights Dream” put on in the ruins of Sabratha? If so, would love to hear from him. All my parents’ slides of that were ruined, as well as most of our slides of our time in Tripoli, so it would be great to know if I could get pictures. My sister was in the production, and the rumor at the time was that Life Magazine was there to photograph it as well, although I’ve never found any.
    So many good memories…as many have said.
    Lynn (Schreiber) Norris

  327. B. Pettit, August 14, 2011:

    My father Bruce Pettit was also a Radio Operator at Wheelus in ‘55-’56. Would any of you have known him? We lived in the trailer residences. I was 4-5 years old and loved it there, the beach, ball field, zoo. Not so much the locusts though. I have quite a few photos I’ll try to scan and post.

  328. A2C Gordy Whitcomb Wheelus AFB, August 14, 2011:

    I was in fuel supply @ Wheelus 63-65 any POL people frm then around?

  329. Bahrain, August 14, 2011:

    E. When asked where would I want to be stationed, I said Africa. That’s how I would up with the 102nd. I’ve gone to a few reunions and the only one that was a bust was the one in Vegas. Everyone went of to gamble. I don’t gamble. I’d like to see a few of your photos. Did you ever go to Lido beach?

  330. Bahrain, August 14, 2011:

    Lynn, Sorry, did not shoot the Mid Summers Night Dream Play We only did portraits of the kids.

    I wish there was an archive of the issues of the Tripoli Trotter, Anyone have issues?
    Jim Voris

  331. Bahrain, August 14, 2011:

    E, I did not make the”operation snow fall”.

  332. Bahrain, August 15, 2011:

    Thanks for the reply. I actually have a couple issues of the paper somewhere. And, you probably took my picture… The next year they combined all ‘European Theater’ schools into one huge yearbook

  333. Jim Voris, August 15, 2011:

    Lynn Any possibility of you scanning them (Tripoli Trotter) to a PDF file and sending them to my e-mail address I know it is only one chance in a million to get a copy of an issue with a story I’m looking for, but you are there about the right time. I have a shot of one of the HS girls I got to model that I will send you in return.
    Jim Voris

  334. Robert Hoyle, August 15, 2011:

    I noticed the comments regarding issues of the Tripoli Trotter. Would it be possible to create a folder to which other issues could be added if viewers of the blog had copies?

    Was it the Trotter or a Brit. paper in Tripoli that had the wonderful comment in the days following the Moon landing—An Imam said that the Fact that the TV [from Wheelus] showed Animals talking such as a Mouse and a horse called Ed proved that the whole thing was fictional and what is more -EVERYONE- knew that if a foot was placed on the Moon it would crash on the Earth!!!

  335. Bahrain, August 15, 2011:

    any suggestions, scanned files & attachments can be emailed to directory AT thanks!

  336. Bahrain, August 15, 2011:

    It will be a while before I can locate any and then try to scan and send… I’m gone for a couple of months. Certainly will try once I’m back. Sorry.
    Lynn Norris

  337. Bahrain, August 15, 2011:

    Robert Hoyle and Lynn
    You know that, somewhere in a dusty attic, someone that just can’t throw “stuff” away has a whole stack of Tripoli Trotter news papers. It really would be great if an archive could be setup of such treasures.
    Jim Voris

  338. Bahrain, August 15, 2011:

    we can set up such an archive if provided with scanned copies via email or if the actual paperwork is posted to us for scanning and uploading online.

  339. Donna (Basehart) Gray, August 15, 2011:

    Check with the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB for Tripoli Trotters; they have the stained glass window from the chapel

  340. Jim Voris, August 15, 2011:

    Never thought of that. They also have parts of the “Lady Be Good” and a great display with some of the photo’s us guys at the Base Photo Lab shot at the crash site. (There was a story in Life Mag. about the Lady Be Good with many of the photos as well) Interesting sidebar is they took one of the engines off and years later in tearing it down discovered a German machine-gun bullet had pierced the cylinder and was lodged inside. Prior to this discovery it was not known the “Lady” had been engaged in contact with any enemy fighters.

  341. Dan Dickinson, August 20, 2011:

    I served a 120 day TDY at Wheelus ending on 7 july 1963. I was a medic and worked in the OB unit of the 7272nd Hospital. Military wives nearing their delivery date were brought in from Turkey and Crete ( presumably from other places as well) and boarded until they delivered. Some of these ladies were surprised to learn that the OB unit was staffed almost entirely by men. We did have one nurse on each shift wo did as much as she could and otherwise just acted as a chaperone. The men did almost everything from the delivery room to the nursery.

    Off duty time there was little to do but I did enjoy outings to Leptis Magna and other sites.

  342. Don Leahy, August 20, 2011:

    Just found this web site and read many interesting stories about Wheelus. I was a part of the 431st when it was formed in Michagan. The squadron was flying F51s and within a short period started flying F86F jets. We were transfered to Wheelus in late June 1953 and I remained there until late 1954. There were few structures on the base. We lived in tents and our shops were in tents between the flight line and the Mediterianian Sea. I was part of the “Communications”team and had the privaledge of flying in the back seat of one of our T33s to experience first hand problems with equipment under G forces. They built baracks while I was there and Brunswick built a Bowling alley, without air conditioning, which I managed in the evenings. I developed a good friendship with an Arab who helped me hire Pin Setters from Tripoli. Our base bowling team was invited to participate in a turnament in Germany. I have many pictures of the ruins at Sabratha. SACs B 47 bombers came in and out while I was there. I saw my tent flooded when it rained and lived through days of sand storms. However, the 431st was the closest and best group of guys I have ever known. Yes we did have a small “brown” golf course.

  343. Bahrain, August 20, 2011:

    Dan Dickinson

    I was with the 102nd AC&W Radar outfit and lived in tents during my stay there in Wheelus. One night I was awakened, I had volunteered to donate blood and it was my turn. One of the pregnant ladies needed blood.

    Jerry Paich

  344. Bahrain, August 20, 2011:

    5 years later…1959….F86D”S….Wonderful times…New Barracks..Everything new…19 yrs old and time of my life as an adventure..Great memories of base…Det 1 86FIS…Supply ( Allen )

  345. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., August 20, 2011:

    Attention: Don Leahy
    Welcome to the site, I’m glad you found it. I was there at Wheelus from July 1961 to Jan. 1963. I worked as a Fire Fighter. In my off duty time I worked as an Assistant Manager for the U.S.O. Club. Which also housed the Bowling alley. This was up next to the Base Head Quarters building(on the west side) and just south of the base Hospital. Still no air conditioning that I can remember but it was always full of Bowlers . I remember seeing photos of all the tents at Wheelus, but they were gone by 1961.

  346. Mac Tipton, August 21, 2011:

    MAC Tipton 21 aug 2011
    I was stationed at wheelus ab from jan 1957 to jan 1958 assigned to the 633 ACW sqd ground radar maint I played on the sqd golf team Spent few months at Misrata and Ben gazhi radar sites Would like to hear from anyone during that time

  347. Jim Muse, August 22, 2011:

    To Mac Tipton: I was in the 1950th AC&W squadron during the time you were at Wheelus. I rotated to the ZI in October 57 to Havre AFS, MT. The first airmen I met there were airmen I knew by sight from Wheelus. They were in the 633rd AC&W. Nice to know there are so many former Wheelus airmen on the net.

  348. Rick Fulton, August 22, 2011:

    What a wonderful night. Am glad I lived to see this. I was a dog handler. Worked for SSgt Clarence Stokes. MSgt Marcus Crant was kennel master and Capt Karl Baumwell was squadron CO. 1962-1964.

  349. Robert Hoyle, August 22, 2011:

    When I left Libya in 1969 it was under odd circumstances.My wife had already returned home and I was living in Tripoli -with afriend from one of the Oil Companies. I was arranging the paperwork to get some Libyan £’s changed. An young Lt. in the Libyan police asked when I was leaving -I mentioned “about 10 days”. He suggested -without any reason given that I should go ” Tomorrow.” I managed it 2 days later and 2 more days later another young Lt [who quickly promoted himself to Colonel] took over the country. I have been glued to several News channels all night–but I also rememberd that my experiences were 42 years ago next month!!! We [me!] are getting old!

  350. Conley W. Ford, August 22, 2011:

    I was with the 7272nd USAFE Hospital and worked as a Veterinary Tech under Veterinary Doctor’s Howard G. Temple & Florian T.(Irish) Szatolwicz, NCOIC SMGT Molsted. Hospital Commander then was Colonel/Doctor Love. Some of my many duties consisted of operating Military Dependent’s/Small animal Clinic/Canine Dog Handling medical Services/Stray Dog Kennel Management/Performing on Base public Health & Food/Sanitary inspections on all base military/AFEX food service establishments base including Tripoli Port /Sage Sites. Provided limited Veterinary medical support service’s for King Idris at his Palace in Tobruck. During one of these group medical support services meetings with other 7272nd Hospital medical doctors. I met the King and a got involved in a direct conversation with him over “hot peppers.” Following our conversation over pepper’s and upon leaving the palace I was presented a jar of the Kings favorite Libyan Hot Peppers along with a framed Palace picture that hang on the wall that I had admired earlier. . Too earn extra monies I worked part time driving a contract Base Taxi (Volkswagon Bus) and as a Host in the Airmen’s club under club manager SSGT Henry. I have many fond memories both civilian/military friends. I can still recall the day I got my order’s and could brag that I was”FIGMO”. AIC Conley Winston Ford 1963-64.

  351. Jerry Paich, August 22, 2011:

    To Mac Tipton, if you want to see photos that I took of the Radar site near Misurata, let me know.

  352. R. Ong, August 22, 2011:

    David Moore,

    I think I have a picture of you from a TV monitor when you were broadcasting the news on Ch 12. I use to hang out the station with SSgt Page who maintained the equipment. I also have a picture of the control room personnel when you were there. I also have some air recordings from the radio. I wish I had not cut out the news headlines.


  353. Bill Abshire, August 23, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus from Sep 56 t0 Mar 58, with the 1615th Support Sq, (MATS). Would love to hear from anyone there during that time frame. Especially with the 1615th.

  354. Bahrain, August 24, 2011:

    To Bill Ashire
    I was assigned to the 1615th Support Squadron From June 1961 to Dec 1962. You are the first person on this blog that I have seen even mention this squadron. I worked in various sections during my stay from the Air Freight Terminal, Pax service, Space control, Fleet Service and TCC in Base Ops I have many fond memories of my time there. It would be nice to hear from others that were assigned to the 1615th. ( Daniel D. )

  355. Judy Moore, August 25, 2011:

    I am so glad to have come across this website!! My Parents and I were stationed at Wheelus AFB from Oct ‘61 til Oct ‘64. My Dad (he just passed away this past Feb)was CMSGT Archie L. Martin of the 7272nd AB Wing and was Line Chief, Top Enlisted person, Maintenance Supervisor for F100’s, 2 C54’s, 2 C47’s, 5 P33’s, 4 H21 Helicopters and supported combat fighters out of Europe. We lived on base across from what was then the Elementary School. I am one of the organizers of a reunion that we hold every 3 years for any ‘kid’ that went to school on base (there have also been some teachers and airmen that have attended) and would love to hear from anyone that was there! Please contact me for more information! Looking forward to hearing from you!

  356. Robert T. Sullivan, August 25, 2011:

    Maybe when the dust settles we can all go back for a reunion… or not.

  357. robert molnar, August 25, 2011:

    My father, Anthony (Tony) Molnar was in CES and stationed on Wheelus 1968 - 1970. I was in elemenatry school and during the summer helped care for the camels (Adam + Eve) and other animals in the school zoo. I remember when our principle disappeared… later finding out that he had smuggled a man out of libya to Malta, causing more anger with Kadafi.
    I have so many amazing memories of Libya.. we first lived in a small silver trailer across from the Mediterranean.. would walk to East Gate to catch the school bus and see the camel and goat meat hanging at the market. Movies at the Sahara and the other smaller theater (don’t remember name), the beach, etc. The teacher I remember most was 5th grade, Miss Dunn…
    I made a movie of the Christmas parade (Santa on a camel) I hope to find and post
    Would love to hear if anyone has similar memories

  358. Roma Jean Embry, August 26, 2011:

    My husband Richard Embry was stationed at Wheelus AFB from Dec. 67 until Dec. 69. The children and I came in June of 68. Richard was in charge of one of the shops on the flight line, he was a mechanic. Richard also coached softball and got to take the winning teams to Germany for a Eup. tournament. He also coached 1 of the 4 foot ball teams and also played when someone got hurt. Herman Arvin helped him coach both, and was our neighbor in the trailer section. When Richard talked to Chappy James about sports (which he was a fan and a great supporter) he made sure the guys got decent uniforms. When Col James came to Wheelus, I was the Sec. for the lady in charge of the Red Cross at the Hospital and we got to meet him as he got off the Plane. He jumped from the plane to the steps before they were up to the plane. (about 2 feet) He was 6 ft 6 and very impressive and very much a gentleman. Richard passed away in Oct. of 2008, and always remember the good times at Wheelus, we have remained in contact with several of the families. We even met one of his soft ball players at the golf course in Hisperia, Cal. where my brother Ron Bottom lived. I do have pictures and movies and am on FB.

  359. Gill Kilroy, August 27, 2011:

    I remember Wheelus very well. I was based at Idris with my parents - Dad was a flight sergeant. We would get taken to Wheelus as a treat and remember the lovely big and clean swimming pool. Ours at Idris had no filter so turned green after a week! Also the ‘Clubhouse’, or mess where we ate hamburgers and fries (an unknown quantity for Brits in those days. I’d have been around 11 -12 years old, so that would have been roughly 1959 -60. Reading some of your posts have brought back memories of sand storms, yes they were called Ghiblism and the drawing of the Lady?? I remember a lng drive up this completely remote hillside to this place and remember my Dad telling me her outline was liek the outline of the Libya coast. I have photos of it somewhere. Also of the pool area and outside the clubhouse/mess (in my best dress for a special occasion! Plus the usual photos of camels and arabs etc.

  360. Bill Abshire, August 29, 2011:

    Hi Daniel, I also worked all sections, but was the NCOIC of the intransit mail room. Msgt Scribner was the NCOIC of Transportation, Sgt Owens was the 1st Sgt. I have a few pictures of the barracks, and a couple others. Do you remember a Captain I.K.Dye? He was a ramp tramp.

  361. Bahrain, August 29, 2011:

    Hi Bill,
    I do not remember Captain Dye,we had a 1Lt Hoiberg and a Ssgt Logan working in Air Freight, Msgt Raymond J McConnell was the first shirt and a great guy. In TCC I worked for a Capt Dunn and Ltc Weir.If I remember correctly the Intransit mail room was a large cage inside the Air Freight bldg. I handled the mail and MATS pouches on a regular basis. I have a few pictures of my room in the barraks, I took hundreds of pictures, but I cannot locate them. Was there a Warrent Officer who worked in the oderly room by the name of Alton C. Newton when you were there? Daniel D.

  362. Don Stewart, August 29, 2011:

    Enjoyed reading a blast from the past. 1950th Comm Squadron 1967-1968. About the only good things were R&R to Malta and some friends in the local oil field community which made life bearable. My sincerest thanks to the Leakys for their hospitality.

  363. Les Anderson, August 31, 2011:

    Just dropped on this site by accident. I have read all the current blogs and can only assume most of the guys were looking at Tripoli through rose tinted glasses. I servedwith the British Royal Military Police (redcaps) from 1958 to 1960. Our Information post was situated near the harbour at the base of the Castle in Tripoli. We were the only troops allowed in the city after midnight there was a curfew. Dont any of you remember catching the last bus back to Wheelus at about 2350 hours, it left from outside the Military Police Post. On rare occasions the night patrol were invited back to your base. To us it was like entering Disneyworld !! You had fresh ice cold milk not the powdered rubbish we had. You had real eggs, not the powdered rubbish we had. You had air conditioning. We were station ed at Prinn Barracks and later Azzizia barracks. They were W.W.11 old Italian army barracks. our air conditioning was a fan some 60 feet in the roof !! Your Air Force Police were a credit to the U.S. They were always immaculate. Our duties at night were mainly patrolling the old city, clearing out the Brits from the Brothel area before the curfew. Although we were disliked, they told us the best thing they saw when involved in a brawl with the locals was the bright red on our caps, they then knew they were safe, even though they were locked up and taken back to barracks. Apart from the normal traffic police, the Libians had morality Police> The British married men were not allowed to hold hands with their wife whilst they walked the streets of Tripoli
    They also had their “secret police” who wore plain clothes, so you never knew you had hit one until his shirt opened up to reveal his revolver. We Brits found your military discipline to be very harsh. One of your guys was Court Martialled for using obscene language in front of one of your base nurses whilst waitin g for the last bus back to base. He received a large fine, 3 months in the stockade, and dishonourably discharged. All in all it was not a happy time in Tripoli, our food and conditions were primitive. The green green grass of home was most welcome after 2 years in that rat hole!!!

  364. Bahrain, September 1, 2011:

    Les, I was at Wheelus 1967-1968 and we had powdered eggs, no air conditioning or even fans, reconstituted powdered milk (stero-vita) which was disgusting (except for the chocolate).
    This was in the chow halls and enlisted barracks at least. I certainly agree with you that the whole place was not somewhere anybody wanted to be. The 1967 war happened right after I got there so we couldn’t even leave the base for a very long time. It was a lot like I imagine prison to be. No happy memories for me. ( R. Sullivan )

  365. Don Leahy, September 1, 2011:

    Attention: Shirley R. Kirkley Jr.
    Glad to hear that the tents were gone in 1961 and that the bowling alley was still there and in your good hands. I enjoyed the pictures you posted of the firefighters. We lost one of our jets on approach to the field trying to land a damaged plane. We did our own “guard duty” and therefore everyone, including the pilots, were on a first name basis. It was a very difficult time losing a member of the squadron.

  366. Carol Whitcomb, September 2, 2011:

    I was in fuel supply @ Wheelus 1963-1965 USAF WE had no fresh eggs or milk. It was r-constituted at the “Milk Plant” At least when I was there. The milk was very cold, white or chocolate
    If I hadn’t had a Gillera 124 mc and snorkel gear I woulda gone nuts. Maybe I did anyway

  367. Robert Hoyle, September 2, 2011:

    I was there from 1965 to 1968 then a year in Tripoli. My wife and I did not hide on base. There were Italian markets with fresh [I mean wring the neck of your chosen] chicken,fresh eggs, fish etc. Together with the food available on base we never felt deprived. Any weekend that there were not events on base we drove to places like Garyan, Sabratha, Laptis Magnus [the finest Roman city extant -IN THE WORLD]. We did meet wives who had been to Tripoli on their first weekend to take or buy photos -then the last weekend for a souvenier. There was SAFE beaches on base where kids could learn to swim and others to snorkel-watching squid, multi-colored fish and bathing in warm water all year. It was easy to get to Cairo or Athens.

    Some people were bored!

  368. Bahrain, September 2, 2011:


    I was stationed at Wheelus from April 1969 to Jan 1969 with the 58 ARRS then we moved to Woodbridge RAF prior to the closing of the base. I had some great times visiting down town Tripoli, Sabratha & Laptis Magna. Did a lot of swimming and learned to Scuba Dive. It was great until Gaddafi showed up. The food was not great, and we didn’t have AC in many places, but we had a good time. I visited Malta many time also.

    Stephan Brodsky

  369. Les Anderson, September 2, 2011:

    Les, I served an 18 month tour at Wheelus during 1958 –1959 with the 591st AF Band and found it tolerable. I pulled a lot of TDY in France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Greece and I think that kind of variety moderated my outlook on the assignment. Libya was Libya and another world altogether to me, but I enjoyed all of it. My fond memories of Tripoli and life as an A/2C are probably attributable to the softening effect of of the years that have passed. At least in part, anyway.
    Terry Wright

  370. Terry Wright, September 2, 2011:

    Les, I served an 18 month tour at Wheelus during 1958 –1959 with the 591st AF Band and found it tolerable. I pulled a lot of TDY in France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Greece and I think that kind of variety moderated my outlook on the assignment. Libya was Libya and another world altogether to me, but I enjoyed all of it. My fond memories of Tripoli and life as an A/2C are probably attributable to the softening effect of of the years that have passed. At least in part, anyway.
    Terry Wright
    ps — I hope I’ve got the format fixed, finally

  371. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., September 2, 2011:

    Dear Wheelus Alumni,
    I will apologize in advance for the long note, but I couldn’t resist.
    There was a lot of good things and bad things about Libya, just like anywhere
    you might go in the world. However if you got out alone , it was possible to be killed
    because you were an American. In June of 1961, an Airman was tossed out at the front gate.
    His private parts had been cutout and sewed to his tung. I’m guessing he bled to death.
    He probably Had approached a Arab or Italian woman down town. (I wont tell you what happen to the woman)
    Three of us were nearly killed downtown one night trying to run to catch the last bus
    to the base, a bunch of Arabs on 24 December street came after us with three foot swords.
    I was fighting a fire near the South wall of the base about midway along the Run way,
    One of the guys said there was someone shooting from the wall. I didn’t notice the two bullet
    Holes in the sleeve of my bunker coat until we got back to the Fire Station.
    However, not all the Arabs were bad. I was hit in the head with a fifteen pound brass
    Coupling one night during a building fire emergency. I was trying to get back on my truck , I was to
    Connect the fire hose to the truck and hydrant. The hose was flying off the back of the truck .
    Anyway, I was hit by one of the couplings ,it crushed my helmet and knocked me out.
    I came to at the base hospital, I was told that “Baldy” had picked me up and ran four blocks with me
    To the hospital. “ Baldy” was one of the Arabs that was part of our crew at the base station.
    I’m guessing he was in his late forties or early fifties. He was barely five feet tall, a very good little man.
    I told him I would get him anything with in my power to get him. All he wanted was some paper and colors. I was puzzled, I knew he lived in a hut with a clay floor, surely he needed more than that.
    “Baldy”, said it was a great gift for his little daughter, who loved to draw pictures. All I could think of was
    How they were so much like us.

    The British were a great bunch, I learned a lot from them. The military and Civilians. At the time I was at Wheelus(1961-1963), the Libyan Fire department was lead by a British man ( probably hired to make improvements to their fire service) he was a very good man. Our fire department assisted them many times and they to us.
    The MILK was processed at a plant near the front gate(near the hospital). When we got it at the fire Station it was in little wax coated card board containers. If you did not shake it very well you ended up drinking bad water with milk flakes in it.
    We got our chicken in a kind of milk can (like at a Dairy). The raw chickens were stacked inside and the container was filled with formaldehyde. A good Cook would boil the chicken to remove the formaldehyde, then Batter and fry it. But a Lazy cook would use it as it was, you do not want to know what it taste like.
    One of the best things that happened was when all of the clubs on base started to have fresh steaks available. I have no idea where they came from, but they were outstanding.
    The Flies, nearly ran me crazy , I never really got use to them crawling all over my face while I ate.
    They would go up your nose or in your mouth all the time. They could be seen cooked in bread and other foods. There was always six to ten crawling around on your face.
    An Epidemic, happened, I think it was in 1962. It only effected women and girls. I never knew what it was about. Women began to have boils or sores up and down their legs. It seemed to last about a month.

    There were many opportunities at Wheelus and some in Libya. There are many other stories about that area, but I have way used up to much space. Many of you have some great stories I am sure. I’ll be watching for you.
    Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr.

  372. Dan Dickinson, September 3, 2011:

    I dont know where anyone got the idea that we had fresh milk and eggs when I was at Wheelus. In 1963 our milk came from the “mechanical cow.”

    Though I ate in the hospital mess and the food may well have been a bit above the regular field mess it was not the best by any means. We were warned about the morality police and told that any affectionate display was taboo off the base, Except for a couple of excursions to Leptis Manga I remained very much on the base. I did have a co-worker who lived off base and a visit usually turned into an overnight stay because of the curfew. Driving off the base was a nightmarish ordeal since sheep, camels and etc had the right of way. I managed to have a good time, but I was glad that my stay was only for 120 days.

    As I previously noted, I was a medic and worked in the OB unit of the Hospital. In the 1960’s few American women were breast feeding but the pediatrician virtually required it of the new mothers. The lack of sanitation made breast feeding a necessity for the health of a newborn.

    The hospital was air conditioned, but our barraks were not. Several of us took to sleeping on the beach. Within minutes of sunup the temperature would be well above 100 F and then it would really get hot.

    Overall it was a truly unique experience and I’m glad that I was sent there but I have no desire to return.

  373. Terry McGreevey, September 3, 2011:

    Les - you were over in Libya during my tour (1958-60) - do you remember an incident where 4 GIs were chased by a mob down to your post by the old city ? I and my buddies had been walking up 24th December in the middle of the afternoon and an arab had been pestering one of the guys for some money and tore his sleeve. My buddy got mad and swung at him and before you know it, we were virtually surrounded by some angry people. We escaped down to your post and were relieved you let us in. Thanks old buddy. By the way, I don’t know where you got fresh milk and eggs from, maybe somebody’s private stock but I remember that lousy powered milk and eggs we were served, ugh - the only way I could drink that milk was if it was chocolate.

  374. Bob Rubenstein, September 3, 2011:

    Anyone remember TSGT Skiles assigned to 58thARRS. 1965-1967.

  375. Bobby Beights, September 3, 2011:

    I was at wheelus from about may 1960to 0ct 1962. i did not drink milk myself airmans club, which I was on the board of governers drinks was so cheap I drink mixed drinks and or beer. I went over for two years,but they cut our tour back to 18 months. I did not have a problem when I went down town. hell we walked all over the old city. maybe they thought i was an idiot and do not bother me or my friend. its been about 50 years now so most of it is a memory gone. I was in the 7272nd and worked in the big hanger. I remember going off base and buyingHong kong suits. I remember a guy who was on the board of governers with me and he worked in the fire dept.on base. was an old drinking buddy. maybe thats why I don,t remember to much of the bad stuff. I do remember the salt beds on base out close to run up area for the 100s.

  376. Carol Whitcomb, September 3, 2011:

    I was there 63 65 when driving to the Mo-gas storage area my truck got hit by a soccer ball size rock thrown over the south wall by some school boys. They would have spotters in the trees to call the shots, We couldnt keep glass in the windws of mo-gas storage they knocked them out with rocks. We were “Too rich” and they hated us even then. We had some Libyan soldiers at Bulk Storage to learn what we did. What a joke they spoke no english and we spoke no arabic. They sat there all day and ate any pencil erasers they could get thier hands on.??????? never did understand thatwOn Sat, Sep 3

  377. john serenci, September 4, 2011:

    with Libya getting so much press lately i thought i’d google Wheelus..and found this great site. my memories of my tour (2/1963-8/1964) in Libya were fond, but that may have been due to my young age at the time! i was assigned to the 7272 Hosp., got hepatitis when I was there -missed my R&R to Germany & the Bob Hope show that year, but Tuesday Weld visited my hosp. room! spent some good times at RAF Idris on the other side of Tripoli, many beach days, time with the nurses. my roommate Al Singewald & I bought the $150 ‘52 blue Ford-had it until I rotated to Andrews in ‘64. anyone remember the car? no one ever paid more or less than $150 for it & you sold it when you rotated. great memories of the Italians downtown, RAF guys & girls, Nedra Foster & her family from KS - Oasis Oil dependents. now that the dust is settling in Libya, may go for a visit someday! never forget the cool breezes coming in from the med (infrequent) lots of TDY guys from USAFE bases-remeber the UN guys going to the Congo, & Roman ruins.

  378. Bahrain, September 5, 2011:

    gordy whitcomb I was there 63-65, I went over and returned with a guy who worked at the hosp. on the way back he told me of all the parasites and other bad stuff he saw in the microscope at wheelus. Don’t remember his name but he found the guy who sold me the 124 gillera (the first of 16 mc’s I’ve had since) I’m 68 and have had a lifetime of dreams(less now though) of beig back at Wheelus and being madder than”>< ?:" that those {">?*&* wouldn’t leave me alone. My heart goes out to vets now who have been sent back and sent back to afganistan or Irac ( Carol Whitcomb )

  379. Robert Hoyle, September 5, 2011:

    Alternate views! The top Sgt. at Base Supply [65-68] had kids who kept goldfish in their house. They changed the water once a week and NEVER fed the fish–who did well on the stuff!! After the ‘67 war we lived in Suk El Juma and entertained regularily. Many asked if we used ‘Base’ water[ e.g. for the ice]–we lied and said YES -it came from the local well. NOT ONE PERSON ever got problems after our parties—although the Scotch or Bourbon in the water may have helped!

  380. Bill Abshire, September 5, 2011:

    Hi Daniel, sorry it took so long to get back to you, but yes the in-transit mail room was the back section of the freight warehouse, that’s where we kept the registered mail and MATS pouches under lock and key. I remember Lt Col Weir at TCC but do not remember the others, Msgt Owens was the first shirt and Lt Col Johnson was the CO. He was a short man and was married to short but very beautiful woman. The mail room resembled a Jail cell, with the bars stretching across from wall to wall in the back of the warehouse. If you remember there were also a set of coolers where we kept special cargo, i.e. medical supplies. So great talking to you. lets keep in touch.

  381. ronald, September 5, 2011:

    I was based at Wheelus from early 1955 to late 1956. I was in 7272 air base wing headquarters squardron. I worked at base finance as a finance and acccounting specialist in the military pay section. I still remember the beautiful beach on base. I also did some babysitting for some of the officers and nco in our office who lived on base. It was always nice to have a good home cooked meal. I also remember in 1956 when the Egytian gov. nationalalied the Suez canal. We were given Carbines and live ammunition and were brought to our foxholes along the perimeter and told to shoot to kill if anyone atempted to come over the wall. We ended up being on alert for two days. ( Ronald Bedard )

  382. Bahrain, September 5, 2011:

    Hi Bill’
    Ltc Weir eventually took over as the CO, and he was very easy to get along with. I wish that there were more like him. I have a few pictures in an album that show the outside of the freight warehouse and other views, if I can figure out how to scan them into my computer I will share them with you.
    It’s funny that I can have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday, But I remember my time at Wheelus like it was yesterday. I also can be reached at When I rotated from Wheelus I went to the hell hole of McGuire AFB NJ, I hated that assignment. I was discharged from there a few years later and after a five year civ break I joined the AF Reserve at Hanscom Field MA. stayed there for three years and when they moved to Westover AFB MA I got out for a few more years then joined the New Hampshire Air National Guard at Pease AFB and stayed with them until I retired in 2004. I worked in the Traffic Management Office as a full time ANG Techancian retiring as a Senior Master. I really enjoyed my long stay with the NHANG. ( Daniel Debrase )

  383. A2C Gordy Whitcomb Wheelus AFB, September 7, 2011:

    gordy whitcomb — I have many memories of those 18 mo at Wheelus (63-65) FLIES EVERY WHERE coackroches in the dining hall. Wonderful fried chicken until you bit into it and found the inside raw and cold. I didn’t eat chicken for 2 years after I got out. refuled planes in the sun. It was hot. I don’t know about you folks who worked in buildings but on the flightline it was HOT. Except for snorkeling and riding my Gillera MC Libya basically was an unpleasent time’ I have no doubt that had I not spent 4yrs in the AF I would have ended up in prison. I guess the time in Lybia probably helped me more than I want to admit. I’d love to find any refueling (POL) people frm that era. PS not only did I miss going to prison, but instead, spent the next 46 years as a,cop,deputy sheriff, probation officer and drug/alcohol/mentalhealth therapist Go Figure Now a Lay Baptist Minister, so, God Bless You All esp th vets

  384. Bahrain, September 10, 2011:

    A2C Gordy Whitcomb Wheelus AFB.

    I Jerome Paich was stationed in Wheelus 1953 with the 102nd AC&W to set up an early warning network. Our Sqdn lived the entire time in tents. We had those K-Rations from WW 2 and ate the chocolate and cooked the spam on the tent stoves. When we were building a mess hall in the Misurata area we did not have any windows so when the Ghibli blew in along with the sand we were grinding our food. The Saber Jets would drop the Gibli Wheelus paper on our site at Misurata. See photos.

    Italian farmner
    miniature golf course
    newspaper drop
    newspaper drop 2
    newspaper drop 3

  385. Robert Carriveau, September 10, 2011:

    Jerome, I was with the 431st in 53-54. That wa our F86’s that use to fly the Gibli to you. I believe after the first on they use to put it in a tube.

  386. Bahrain, September 11, 2011:

    Robert Carriveau, a few of the airman from our radar site near Misurata were in Tripoli when they met the Jet Pilots and asked them if they were the ones that dropped that newspaper. They said yes and our guys asked “how come you fly soooo slow”.
    When they got back to the site and told us what they said we all knew what would happen the next time the Sabers flew over. Suddenly they were over and not moving slow. One of the guys was on the top of one of our poles and nearly jumped off. Anyone who was outside dropped flat to the ground. That was why the Gibli was ripped. I have wanted to tell this story for so long to anyone associated with those pilots. I was in Wheelus when the siren went off. The Sabers were returning from a practice gunnery mission and one of the Sabers was having trouble and the pilot did not want to eject, as he made his left turn to land he went upside down. I was also in a 3/4 going to one of our Wheelus radar set ups when we missed the crash of a B-29 by 15 minutes. Our 3/4 was right in its path. The reason was that the engine that was replaced was missing one piston and the B-29 did not have enough [power. Here are some photos.

    B29 crash site
    wheelus aerial view
    saber jets
    radar site
    new barracks
    new barracks 2

  387. Bahrain, September 11, 2011:

    Fellow Wheelus Airmen .. (1963-64) Wheelus AFB
    Here is an official photo of our Wheelus AFB command leaders…You should be able to recognize and name each of them easily if you were PCS 1963-64 at Wheelus..
    7272 USAF Hosp/Barracks behind church/beside Airmen’s Club and next door to OSI office.
    Tuesday Weld a member of the Bob Hope Troupe Show visited with me late one night in my barracks..
    Have many more great stories/memories/photo’s of my days at Wheelus.. Barracks Poker games, riding club, gold course, divers club, local Tripoli Bars, Capitol Airline Stews, 64th US Army Engineers, 58th Air Rescue, British based personnel, Tripoli/US Army Port, Officer’s Club, NCO Club, Airmen’s Club..Off Base Church’s, Base Football/ Softball & Basketball team sports, Tripoli Fair, Base Open House for families & civilians, Dining Halls, Stervita Diaries, Hobby Shop, Mirage Restaurant, Oasis Restaurant/Grill, Post Office, Halfway House, Tiger Town, Sage Sites, Base Taxi Services, Hospital Emergency, Veterinary Small Animal Clinic, Commissary, Cold Storage, East Gate Shopping, Visiting King Idris & Family in Tobruck..
    As a Food & Public Health inspector I was very visible on base and often wore hospital whites on duty while driving an old cracker box WWII/Korean Ambulance provided by the hospital motor pool. Remember..Chlorine Wash and rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables was the order of the day…
    After military work hours I worked part time as a host in the Airmen’s Club and for a while drove a base taxi cab (Volkswagen Bus) transporting rotational base personnel to and from Tiger Town..
    The people both military/civilian that I worked & associated with at Wheelus made my tour a wonderful and fun experience..
    Anyone interested in sharing war stories/photo’s I can be reached at Cfordcon AT
    AIC Conley Ford -

    wheelus command leaders

  388. Robert Carriveau, September 11, 2011:

    Hey Gordon, Thanks for the pictures. The pictures of the barracks is the 431st my old squadron. I remember the 86 crash, the first on we lost Lt Ederington [ I believe that was his name] They were doing gunnery practice and his left wing hit the tow cable, he thought it was og. just pulled a little to the left. I looked on google earts and the satilate picture showes the Barracks and at the east end our hanger and the alert hanger. Quite interesting.

  389. Lawrence Yannotti, September 11, 2011:

    I was with the 431st from Oct 1955 until March 1957 . I will always remember the Beer Partys in the Alert Hanger every month filling the bottom of a jet engine can with ice and beer and deep 6en the first Shirt and Squardon Commander B/4 the Beer was almost gone in the ice water . Some good times.

  390. John Brady, September 11, 2011:

    RE: Robert Hoyle Post #308 5/30/2011
    Sorry for delay in responding, just noticed you question.
    There was an E7 named Massey. A stocky built red head who may have been in his 30’s. Funny how old he seemed at the time. Also had E9 named Leonard Sykes

  391. Bahrain, September 12, 2011:

    Robert Carriveau, reading the email from one of your buddies made my day after all these years to finally let someone know that I had witnessed the 431st in action and really appreciated the special delivery of the Gibli paper. Was the Gibli placed inside the side compartments?
    Jerome Paich

  392. Robert Carriveau, September 12, 2011:

    Bahran. The Gibli was placed in the speed brake well with a red streamer hanging out the door and when the pilot got to the drop zone he would pop the speed brakes. and delivery was made. I looked forward to the Gibli too. Every Sunday morning I would go to the U.S.O. club and read it with my coffee.

  393. Bahrain, September 12, 2011:

    Robert Carriveau, thats what I thought, the side brakes. After all these years I was able to reach out to someone that was with the 431 st. I had a friend that worked in the base photo lab and saw a photo of the pilot that lost his life trying to land that Saber, good looking young man and pretty brave attempting to land his plane. Do you have any photos of the 431 st, planes etc? I’d like to see them and I imagine others would also. Again thanks for responding.
    Jerome Paich

  394. Jim Voris, September 12, 2011:

    Robert Carriveau
    What was the name of the friend that worked in the Photo Lab. and what was the time period. I worked in the Photo Lab 1958 -62 and I would love to reach some of the guys. A/1c Jim Voris

  395. Jim Voris, September 12, 2011:

    Sorry, I guess it was Jerome Paich that had the friend in the Photo Lab.

  396. Bahrain, September 12, 2011:

    My friends name is Al Summers and he was there in 1953. ( J Paich )

  397. Jim Voris, September 12, 2011:

    The name is vaguely familiar. Do you happen to recall his rank? Did you keep in touch after Tripoli?
    Jim Voris

  398. Bahrain, September 12, 2011:

    I do keep in touch with him, here is his email address.grandpa73 AT ( J Paich )

  399. Jim Muse, September 12, 2011:

    Good to see you former airmen in the 431st are keeping in touch after all these years. I was assigned to the 1950th AACS Squadron from May of 56 to October of 57. We had a rather large squadron but I do not see many entries in here from former airmen in the 1950th. Last week, I did make contact with my former NCOIC at Wheelus. T/SGT Henry Lajoie was the NCOIC of Base Communications Center and Base Operations Comm Center. I worked for him at both places. Good luck in making contact with more members of your squadron. I do recall the 431st “Red Devil” squadron.

  400. Robert Carriveau, September 12, 2011:

    The 431st that was at Wheelus has a reunion every 2 years. The last one was this year in Green bay Wis. I missed that one but have been to a couple of them. It is great to see the old guys again. many years have passed since then. I don’t have many pictures, but I did take a lot of 16 MM movies.

  401. Howard Tress, September 12, 2011:

    Glad to hear that a lot of different squadrons keep in touch. I was at Wheelus 58-59 with the 633rd AC&W sq. We were in the barracks next to the small ice cream shop and across the street from the chapel. Has anyone heard from any of the 633rd? Do thay have reunions? If you know of any drop me a line @ atthct AT


    Have a good one.


  402. Hardy Hall, September 12, 2011:

    Great site and I have enjoyed. There from Jan. 61 to Jul. 62. 18 years old when I arrived and assigned to the Motor Pool. After 8-9 mo. went to the drivers school that required teaching and some accident investigation. That turned out well as it took me to a outside life as an Insurance Adjuster. Now retired. Recall the Congo Air lift as I drove a bus taking the men to and from the planes/ chow halls working 12 hour shifts. One of the men was a classmate from high school. A small rural NC school with maybe 150 in High School. 6 years later ran into another at a radar site in northern Thailand.
    Also drove for VP Johnson when he made a refueling stop at Wheelus. Wasn’t lucky enough to get to drive the daughters around but followed him in limo, I was with secret service men as he wasted a couple hours to refuel. Go secret service to take a photo shaking hands with LBJ at base commanders office that I still have. Recall a F100 crashing into golf course and the Thunderbirds doing daily practice in the winter, and a full show before they returned to Europe. Have since learned that they were canceled after the 61 season, the Europe team. I helped coached a little league baseball team. The tour was OK, the base was great for a family but as a single male it was terrible.Understand how why a lot of wives and dependents would have enjoyed it there. Chances of finding a girl was slim and none. Nothing off base and probable 25 dependent girls old enough to talk to and most of them forbidden from hanging with airmen.
    Guess all is well that ends well as it did lead me to a good life outside of the military. Still live in NC.
    Be glad to hear from anyone from back in those days.
    hardy505 AT

  403. Jim Voris, September 13, 2011:

    Hardy Hall,
    I was in Wheelus same time and assigned to Base Photo Lab as a photographer. Covered the LBJ visit. I tried to send you pictures to the address you gave hardy505 AT but the mail demon rejected that address.
    Jim Voris

  404. Bobby Beights, September 13, 2011:

    Hardy Hall I was at wheelus about the same time. I worked in the big hanger by the beach. I was on the board of governers for the Airmans club. i remember the air lift. time has faded alot for me. I am now 70 years old. you are correct it was a bad place for singles, but we made it some way

  405. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., September 13, 2011:

    Jim Voris, Hardy Hall, Bobby Beights:
    I was there at the same time. I don’t remember L.B.J’s visit. But I was in the middle of the Congo Air Lift. In the Fire Dept. we worked two hour shifts on the runway as the U.N. airplanes landed and took off.I think it lasted about two or three weeks. We were not allowed to leave the Runway Fire station except for line duty. We didn’t shave or change uniforms during that period. (PE..U)
    I remember when the Bay of Pigs thing hit the base. Everyone was questioned about any connection with Cuba. And the next day there was a big number of guys shipped back to the States.
    Do you remember the Commander having a Football Stadium built over near Tiger Town area(with overhead lights) We had football gear and uniforms. It worked good until they figured out how many guys were ending up in the hospital.
    All Fire Truck drivers were given International drivers training and tested at the runway fire station . I don’t remember if it was handled by our base personnel or Libyan. I just remember this 1-3/4 ton opal truck. it had a bed about four by four feet , It was like a cartoon.
    I’m glad you guys found the web site.

  406. Hardy Hall, September 13, 2011:

    Got the photo’s, thanks. We were at the same event as one of the other men that are in your photo’s is in my photo. Looks like you were inside at the commanders office but I had to stay outside, across from the flag. Your name sounds like I should know you but the photo doesn’t ring my bell. Sure our paths crosses some. Did you do photos of an offbase auto accident where 3-4 airmen were killed..borrowed a Sgt. car and think were drinking heavily.

    Bobby…Like you don’t remember like I once did. I am 69 now. Didn’t go to the Airman Club very ofter but lived right down the row. We made it and there was a lot of things to do but going to the beach and movies with you buddies gets old after a few months. Sure was glad to hear the tour was being cut from 24 mo. to 18. Got almost all of the 6 mo cut….thanks to whoever changed it.

  407. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    Do you guys remember a fella going around the Airmans Club with a Polaroid Camera selling pictures in little folders to guys having fun. Especially during the time of the Congo Uprising and all the Irish Troupes coming through playing their drinking games. Well I was that Photographer.
    A/1C Jim Voris

  408. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    i also worked in the big hanger was in supply liason worked under chief meeks,, i had my family there and it wasn’t to bad ,loved the beach etc,
    ( JD Williams )

  409. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    Author: Jim Voris, his name is Al Summer and here are some photos of him.

    Al Summers 1
    Al Summers 2
    Al Summers 3

  410. Hardy Hall, September 14, 2011:

    Jim, LBJ came thru in summer of 1961. I was a A3C at the time as you can see in photo. I had 3 secret service with me and talked about Wheelus being a 24 mo tour and it got changed to 18 mo. in Aug. 61. One of them was making notes of all we talked about. Remember they also got all about me, home info, parents ect. Have ofter wondered if what I said about tour length had any thing to do with it getting changed. If I recall correctly it was changed a couple months later. His daughters were on the trip as one of the other guys took them and LadyBird to the beach. One of the girls went wading in the Mediterranean. That made all of us envious of him as he got the girls.

    Based on some search, the airlift started in 60 but think they went every 6 months. Most of the time they were there for 2 hours, eat, refuel and left.

  411. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    God he looks vaguely familiar, but that was oh so long ago. Would love to get in touch and swap stories. Love the 4×5 graphic he’s holding.
    A/1C Jim Voris

  412. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    I was there from June 61 thru the end of 62. I do not remember the LBJ visit, but I was very much involved in the Congo Airlift working in Air Freight and Fleet Service I saw first hand some of the dumb things that the UN troops tried to do like cooking food in the cargo compartment of the C-124 that was transporting them. It was a very busy time, but I was just seventeen and didn’t mind the extra work. My barracks was just across from the big hangar. No one seems to mention that there were very good Italian restaurants downtown Trips and very easy on the wallet. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  413. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    Thank you for your pictures. I think that is Col Griffith the Base Commander directly behind LBJ (can hardly make out a uniform and part of a hat). as they are walking from chow hall. The Arab I think is the Black Prince or his security. If you find a better copy would love to get it.
    I kept trying to get extended on my tours. I was already there going on three years. Had a great house right on the Med on the other side of Tripoli from the Base. Lot of great parties there! I received notice that my extension was approved but a few months later got word I was picked for Instructor Duty at Lowry AFB in Denver Colorado. (Quite a climate difference between the oven of Libya and the freezer of Colorado!) I wanted to stay in Tripoli, but they said Instructor Duty was higher priority.
    Jim Voris

  414. Jim Voris, September 14, 2011:

    Ahhh yes, the Pietro Montez where a plate of Ravioli could feed 2 people and cost 35 piasters. It was an upstairs Restaurant but also had a street side table or two as I recall. My wife and I ate there often. First time we went there we made the mistake of each ordering a meal - a full meal. It was enough to feed a Squadron!
    Jim Voris

  415. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    A/1C Jim Voris
    Al Summers email address is
    God he looks vaguely familiar, but that was oh so long ago. Would love to get in touch and swap stories. Love the 4×5 graphic he’s holding.
    Jerome Paich

  416. Bahrain, September 14, 2011:

    A/1C Jim Voris
    Al Summers email address is grandpa73 AT
    God he looks vaguely familiar, but that was oh so long ago. Would love to get in touch and swap stories. Love the 4×5 graphic he’s holding.
    Jerome Paich

  417. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., September 14, 2011:

    When I got to Wheelus in July 1961, a lot of the guys were wearing silky basketball jackets with lettering and a graphic on the back, when off duty.
    The lettering said something like, ” Don’t tell me to go to Hell, I’ve already been there. Tripoli, Libya”. I was going to get one before I left but , The King demanded they stop acquiring them. And of course the Air Force complied.
    Does anyone remember that.

  418. Bahrain, September 15, 2011:

    Author: Jim Voris
    Jim, I would go to an out door restaurant in Tripoli and order a very large bottle of wine,
    soup and a plate of spaghetti, then hail a gerry, light up a cigar and head for Lido Beach
    where I would have a Gin and Cazoza then hit the Mediterranean for the rest of the afternoon.
    Jerome Paich

    Lido Beach
    Horse Cart

  419. Bahrain, September 15, 2011:

    They could be who you think. Just noticed the man in be background of my photo shaking hands appeared in atleast one or two you sent to me. They are small black/white photo’’s. Will see if I can find the original on shaking hands and let you know. The one at chow hall is scan of the original. My 35mm not equal to what you had. Looks like LBJ came to base in June-July 61 based on Daniel DeBrase post of today and I am sure it was before the tour cut was announced in Aug.

    Hard to remember 50 years ago. Hardy

  420. Bahrain, September 15, 2011:

    Yeah Jerome, Life was really tough back then. I guess it was what you made it. Some found it unbearable and couldn’t wait to get out of there. While a few others found it a fascinating place to explore, enjoy and discover the culture, people and cuisine of the country. I was in the latter group.
    Jim Voris

  421. Bahrain, September 15, 2011:

    Les Anderson,
    In 1953 I was invited to participate in a fencing tournament in the Italian Gambling Casino called the “Casino Uaddan” There were ten of us including officers from Wheelus and others who were citizens of Tripoli. The one that beat everyone was a British Sargent that taught fencing. After the tournament he put on a Saber demonstration with the prime Minister. Here is a photo of the British Corner house that I went to on the 2nd floor. Also the fencers. Jerome Paich

    British Corner House
    British Fencing Instructor

  422. Dick Smith, September 17, 2011:

    Boy what a bunch of wimps.. I was there 61-64. If hospital food was so bad why did so many try to sneak in and eat there? I was hospital mess officer by default. My discussion with the sargent in charge was,,” sargent take care of it” and he did. My wife and I lived off base. She and another wife weekly went to the old city market buying vegetables and othe items. We went to Tunisa, to sirte…. To Sebha and past to Beni Ulid ( that’s how it was spelled then any time. We enjoyed our selves. But yea I don’t want to go back now Dick Smith

  423. Bahrain, September 17, 2011:

    never ever seems to be any comments from the years of 67 thru 69 ,,, i was assigned to the maint lelison group the material maint supply thought it was a fairly good tour,,, course i had my family back etc,,, so that made it much better
    tsgt jay r williams

  424. Robert Wood, September 19, 2011:

    Yeah Ray, I noticed that too. It seems like most of the comments are from the 50’s and early 60’s. I was at Wheelus from 69 to 70. I worked in Supply. I think that back in the 50’s and early 60’s, it was a much better place than in the latter years before it was closed down.

  425. Bahrain, September 19, 2011:

    yes i think so too, i was there during the evacuation.My family was only there 3 days and left for spain , which i found out about a week later geeze,,, slept on the hanger floor for two weeks , i will never forget those days i’m 74 now and that has been several years ago huh
    jay r williams,sr tsgt

  426. Bahrain, September 19, 2011:

    from; a2c gordy whitcomb to dick smith Bunch of wimps oh? You went home to your family every night Mine was in Nebr Maybe they didn’t throw rocks at you also I didn’t have a sgt to tell “take care of it” I grew up alot in my 4 yrs in the AF thats for sure. We considered “Lifers” as the ones who probably couldn’t make it in the “real world” At 68 it surprises me how easy it is to still take offense to some officers arroganceAM

  427. billie ray powell, September 20, 2011:

    I was sent from APO NY 09123 in Germany to Wheelus AFB APO 09231 in 1966 to work in the postoffice. I left late in 1967 after serving only fifteen months instead of the eighteen months. I hated everyday of my duty at Wheelus. It was the worst time of my life. I ended up serving in Vietnam from Apr 68 to end of Mar 69 and I liked that duty better than Wheelus. I flew to Spain with a guy from 58th air rescue and his name was Michael Pohl. I cannot remember anyother names except James Cissel, Timothy Lacedo from the postoffice. I finished up my twenty in the USAR.

  428. Bob Rubel, September 21, 2011:

    My first stop at this site was in April of 2010 and over time I have read every entry. I do agree that the 50’s thru the mid 60’s seem to have been a quieter time with less political upheavel. My time was from late 54′ to early 56′ and I loved it. It was the adventure of a lifetime for an 18 year old. There wasn’t much I didn’t do or see. I lived through a Gibli and a snow storm. The Italian food in tripoli was fantastic. I made friends with some Brit’s, all in all I enjoyed my tour and it is always a topic of conversation if the occasion arises.

  429. Bahrain, September 21, 2011:

    yes i thought it was ok,,, course i never did find alot wrong with assignments,,, that was my job etc, spent over22 years in there loved the med ,,,i would swim every day ( JD Williams )

  430. Cindy Colony, October 1, 2011:

    I went to first and second grade at OCS in Tripoli, and I remember us going out to Wheelus for football games or to visit friends of my parents, Rick and Hazel Cameron. We had to evacuate for the Six Day War and must have left for good just ahead of Qaddafi’s coup.
    As far as being comfortable out and about, I remember my mom taking me downtown shopping with her to the souk frequently. In fact, she was down there one day when a Libyan friend came and asked her what on earth was she doing there, and that she should be at home. She asked him what his problem was, and he told her that the war had started. She went by my dad’s office, we headed home and packed and went to Wheelus to be airlifted out in a day or two.
    No, no air-conditioning–but I can remember going to school in Virginia and South Carolina and having no a/c until the mid 70’s. Nope, no phone, no good potato chips (they were green by the time they got there and tasted metallic)–but we went to Sabratha and Leptis Magnum, to see Our Lady of Garian, many things you would never be exposed to stateside (donkeys pulling carts with truck axles, camels downtown, women covered up with just one eye showing). Dad got a little Sea Snark fiberglass sailboat that he fixed up and we sailed out onto the blue, blue Mediterranean. We lived in Giorgenpopoli and had a view of the sea out our front gate. There were two trees in front of our house that we and all the neighbors protected from being cut down for firewood.

  431. Robert Hoyle, October 2, 2011:

    How nice to see memories of Libya and Wheelus from Cindy Colony that accord with those that we remember from the same period.
    The comment regarding the A/C in schools within the USA reminds us that
    some people,since the Waltons, lived happily without today’s luxuries. I retired to Spain 22 years ago and -GASP OF HORROR-live without paid TV, Credit Card, cell-phone and A/C. In addition our village fiestas include the kids dancing from midnight to 5 a.m without violence–8 to 18 year olds.
    ANYONE who spent more than a few weeks at Wheelus and never took the opportunity to visit Garian, Sabratha, Leptis Magnus or even the souk in Tripoli lived a sad life.

  432. Jim Voris, October 4, 2011:

    I have tried an exhaustive search to find an archive that may have the Issues of the “Tripoli Trotter” but apparently none exists. So if any reader has copies or parts of copies or cut out clips of articles from the Tripoli Trotter Base Newspapers, Please scan it and send it to me at and I will endever to start

  433. Jim Voris, October 4, 2011:

    Upps, it cut out there! I was saying I will attempt to set up an archive and give it to the folks at this site to share with all. Sounds like a fun project. I hope I am swamped with copies!
    Jim Voris

  434. Carl Redfern, October 9, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from 56 to late 58 I was 17 when I arrive. I was with the 431 fighter inceptor sqd mag. Willey was the co and and I think sgt. Blackstone was the first sgt. We had a couple of mascots one was a big dog and other a donkey called Saber. when the 431 left for Spain I transferred to the 7272nd support sqd. this was a long time ago and I am not sure about the name of 7272 but I would like to thank every one who wrote about being at Wheelus and the good old momories. I live most of my life in New England and retired here in Marathon, Florida and glad to be back with the plam trees. I am 73 now and still go to the Legion for a couple of beers a habit I pick up Wheelus.

  435. Charles F. Nemejc, October 10, 2011:

    I, also was with the 431st from 56-58 and when the 431st went to Spain I also went to the 7272nd with the F-100’s. I do remember you. I have some pics of the beer parties with the afterburner cases filled with beer and ice.
    I now live in Arizona and fish 3-4 days a week.
    You can e-mail me at cny AT if you want some pictures.
    I had the red MGA and raced it on the base during that time.
    Yes, Major Wille and Sgt Blackstone were there.

  436. Lawrence Yannotti, October 10, 2011:

    Four Thirsty First FIS ah yes . I also was with them from 55-57 as an Aircraft Electrician . I drove the Squardon Bus with the 431st as well as the Commanders Jeep that was always parked at the Barracks . I went over on my 18th birthday and never missed one of the Alert Hanger parties . Worked at the Base Theater and took many trips on the I & I tours to Greece and Italy . We made the good times out of the bad times that we could have had . I retired out of Hill AFB Utah in 1991 as a SMSGT on F-16 Over haul Depot .

  437. Ted Lowery, October 16, 2011:

    Came across this site by accident. I was stationed at Wheelus AB from July 67 to Nov 68 at the 7272 USAF Hosp. For a single person, this was not an ideal assignment. I did spend Thanksgiving 1967 in Tunis, Tunisa. I also “won” a three day pass to Malta. Spent alot of time at NCO club and on the beach.

  438. Carl Redfern, October 18, 2011:

    On the subject of Wheelus afb in tripoli during the years 1956 through1958 with the 431 fis and the 7272nd. Charles f. Nemejc I tried to e-mail you at the adrees you put in your comment and it would not send out. If you would send some pictures at my e-mail adress I would appreciate

  439. Charles Perkins, October 18, 2011:

    I was stationed at Wheelus 62-64 at the base hospital. I worked in surgery and central supply, also part time at the base theater. The last part of my tour surgery was over staffed and the ward was short so I worked there. There had been an amonia gas explosion at the milk reconstitution plant and a worker was burned I specialed him for a month or so and he recovered. Then the Kings “right hand man” was injured severely in an auto accident. I specialed him also. One day he was visited by his wife, King Idriss, his wife, the base commander, and the hospital commander. I also remember the president being killed, and the Bob Hope show.

  440. Lawrence Yannotti, October 18, 2011:

    Carl Redfern this is a reply to your your #441 Annoncement asking I believe for my E/M address concerning my time with the 431st . My address is . Hoping to hear from you .

  441. Dan Dickinson, October 19, 2011:

    Charles Perkins. While you were at Wheelus I Was there for a 120 day TDY. My Home base was Dyess AFB, Texas where I worked in the ER. While at Wheelus, I worked on the OB unit. I missed a lot of the things you mentioned. I did go with the Wheelus Boy Scout Troop to Leptis where we sifted a lot of sand. I got roped into that by virtue of the fact that I had an international drivers license and was qualified to drive the old Brill bus/Ambulance which the troop used that weekend to go to Leptis. You did point out an important fact, The Air Force hospital was the only medical facility in the country at that time. Few people can even immagine how truly primitive that country was then.

  442. Dan Dickinson, October 19, 2011:

    It is odd to note something truly unique about Wheelus. Whenever old servicemen get together they commonly exaggerate or outright lie to each other about their experiences. People who served at Wheelus commonly do the opposite, They diminish things in an attempt to make the story believable. I left wheelus on 6 july 1963 and I commonly remark that it was 105 degrees at the time I left. To make the story believable, I usually leave it at that. Among others that have been there I can point out that we boarded that plane at 0600. Someone who has never been there would not believe it could be so hot at that early hour.

  443. Bahrain, October 19, 2011:

    ( from Gordy Whitcomb ) I was in fuel supply 63-65 I flew over w/ a guy who was going to be in the lab @ the hosp He found a guy @ the Hosp who had a gillera mc for sale I bought it When I flew back to Charleston for release from active duty I sat next to him again He was astounded by all the parasites the Libyans had He told me he saw internal parasites that weren’t in the books in America I rember kneeling @ my bunk & crying and praying when Kennedy was killed If I rember right the base was on lock down I wish I could find anyone from fuel supply those years Also I was in one of the 1st rows @ the Bob Hope show. I wish I could find video of that show. I have lots of pictures of the base the gizzells @ AP HQ the base Leptis magna etc

  444. Bahrain, October 19, 2011:

    ( by Charles Perkins ) Just before I returned to the States we took a large group of Boy Scouts on what was to be a 50 mile hike in the Sahara. It was layed out by helicopter, or so I understood. They didn’t take into consideration going up and down sand dunes and following the coast of the Med. We were accompanied by a cracker box (ambulance) pulling a water wagon. There were three adults and a large number of kids. We got hit with a short Gibli, (sandstorm) that only lasted four hours or so. On the later part of the hike we came across some ruins that had been discovered a year or two before and the museum that had been built during that time. Roman statues ? perhaps Greek. After we continued our hike several of the kids showed me coins they had found while digging in the sand at the edge of the water, some were gold and looked brand new. We also came across a half burried sea mine from world war two, that had washed up on shore.

    In a world of blindmen, the one eyed man is king.

  445. Donna (Basehart) Gray, October 19, 2011:

    You guys who were there when we were (61-64) are giving me nostalgia. I was only10 yrs old at the time but I remember Leptis Magna and ghiblis and the Bob Hope show (we sat in the bleachers) and the USAF Thunderbirds flying over the Med and spending Easter week on Malta. Don’t any of you remember my daddy, T/Sgt Chuck Basehart in Personnel? All y’all NCO’s would have to have met him. He was “Mr Magic” at the NCO club every Sunday.

  446. Simon Ashworth, October 20, 2011:

    With regards to #444 Dan Dickinson and his ovservation that the Wheelus hospital was the only medical facility in the country at the time, I am afraid that he is mistaken. His memory is letting him down. On the road to Idris Airport the was the BMH. The British Military Hospital. It had beds for 600 people and was not only for military use but also british expats as well as other expats in emergency. The original gates still survive however the grounds have been converted into VIP flats. Since the demise of Colonel Gaddafi I would imagine that the flats have been burned to the ground.

  447. Simon Ashworth, October 20, 2011:

    With regards to #444, Dan Dickinson and his observation that the hospital on the base was the only one in the country. I’m afraid that his memory has let him down. On the road to Idris Airport there was situated the British Military Hospital. This was run by the British Military and had beds for up to 600 people. Whilst it was for the military, british expats could use it and in emergency other expats could as well. Within Tripoli itself there were two medical facilities. There was a hospital run by the Italians and a small facility run by a Maltese convent. For dental work there was a practice run by a Canadian. For the local population there was the main hospital near Erasheed Market. Whilst staffed by Libyans one of the chief doctors there was British. The old Brirish Military Hospital was converted into VIP apartments by Gadaffi though the old main gates and guard house still survived. Since the change of government I would imagine that the apartments have all been ‘torched’.

  448. Richard Smith, October 20, 2011:

    It has brought back so many memeories . I was stationed at Wheeleus 68-70. 7272. I waored in the power plants for the base. Saw lots of ruins and the beach was out of this world. We had many gatherings at Banana beach and watch the Lybian AF train with the their F5s. We got a new base commander Col. chappy Games. I worked for SMSGT Mimms. Have never got intough with any that I knew or wored with during this time. It was an experiecne there. When the king was over trhown the news in the states was not good and it took my wife 4 and a half days to get intouch with me. Had to be so careful as to what to say or would be cut off. I was resigned to Semour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro NC. I sent 22 years and retired in 1989. No

  449. R. Ong, October 21, 2011:

    Now that Khadaffy is gone hopefully peace will be retored and the country restored. Might we be be able to re-visit Wheelus again?

    R. Ong
    1950th Communications Sqdrn.
    July 1969 - May 1970

  450. Bahrain, October 22, 2011:

    Hi Donna,
    I don’t have my Wheelus Uddan here to look, but think I knew you in Tripoli. I was the same age and in Tripoli the same time. My name was Lynn Schreiber…does that ring a bell? Anyway, it really has been fun reading about Tripoli, esp. now that Khadafy (spelling seems different everywhere) is dead. While most of the posts are from service members, lots of the places bring up great memories. My father was Capt. Ralph Schreiber. Anyone remember him?
    Lynn Schreiber

  451. Tony Defero, October 25, 2011:

    Wow I was stationed there 2/69 and thrown out 2/70 went thru the take over down town and will always remember my life there. Labor day weekend we were staying with american oil workers families in there villas and worke up to go to market and everything was closed, we had no clue there was a take over in progress till we heard small arms fire. Were stuck at the villa untill they let us go back to base, via BBC radio, so like any young american kid we would sleep on the roof of the villa with karosen molentov cocktail to protect the american families from the army. So when we finnaly got back to base we were awarded with KP for being awol. I loved Tripoly when the King was in power romantic bars downtown with views of the Med. wow for a kid from New Jersey I kept asking where is Humphry Bogart

  452. Larry Lasater, October 28, 2011:

    Larry Lasater, October 27, 2011;

    I have just stumbled on your blog and was surprised to see some names of people that I worked with in the hospital. I was there from Sept 63-Mar 65 and worked in surgery at the base hospital. Gerry Anderson and Charles Perkins I remember well. Gerry you might be interested to know that I visited with Billy DeBord this past Feb. in Florida, Wes Wise is in Florida as well. I think that a reunion would be a great idea. I have lots of good memories of that time and place and the people that were part of the 7272nd Hospital.

  453. Harold (Billy) DeBord, October 28, 2011:

    Wheelus AB, 7272 USAF Hospital, June 1963 - November 1964
    Hi Gerry Anderson,
    I was Medical Administrative also, and knew the guys you mentioned in your blog. I live in Florida and so does Wes Wise. Larry “Hungry” Lasater lives in Blanchard, Ok and Bruce Baird lives in KY. Have been trying to find “Huey” Hughes who was a great softball player for “The Big Red”. Would like to hear from anyone who recognizes my name and who played for “The Big Red” football team in 1963 and 1964. Gerry, glad to read your blog and look forward to hearing from you. Billy DeBord (

  454. Mark Haile, October 29, 2011:

    Well, I finally hit the Holy Grail! I was born at Wheelus in 1956, and have been hoping to hear of what others have felt about the recent events, as well as their experiences in Tripoli. I have but a fraction of the photos my parents took, including Sabratha and Letis Magna.

    This feels almost like the scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind when Richard Dreyfuss finds that others shared his experiences. Any AF brats that have lived in civilian communities know what I mean… even my younger siblings –all born stateside– don’t have the same visceral feelings or experiences. From the start of the political upheavals through liberation of Tripoli and final declaration of the cessation of hostilities, there have been unexpected waves of emotions …the song on youtube that seemed to express it most was “Home” by Diana Ross from ‘The Wiz.’

    Thanks to all that shared their memories here.


    FYI –as most of you know, there is no exact translation to the Roman alphabet for many Arabic words, hence the many different spellings for that monster’s name.

  455. David Moore, October 29, 2011:

    Responding to Ray Ong from #355 and 452. Nice to hear from someone who remembers the radio and TV station AFRTS. In addition to broadcasting being great duty, I really enjoyed my time at Wheelus AFB. I had this idea of being a professional photographer so have many pictures of all around the area. One quick question Ray, do you remember the radio show we called Meg and Me? Meg was the wife of a pilot and we played music and talked about anything. I may even have some recordings of a few shows. Did you say you had pictures from the station? You can reach me directly at Living in the Dallas, Texas area now.

  456. Jim Muse, October 29, 2011:

    I recall the TV station at Wheelus as well as the radio station. One incident I recall was when another airman in the 1950th came in my room and announced that Patsy Cline was going to be on the Arthur Godfrey show. The other airman and I knew Patsy from the northern VA area where she was popular in the local clubs. The other airmen had no idea of who we were talking about or why we were so anxious to see her on the program. She sang a couple of songs and Godfrey made the statement that she would be a star some day. That propelled her career almost immediately. I was at Wheelus from April 56 til October 57. Most memories have faded but some are quite vivid. Still in touch with some former airmen from there. Just got in touch with my former NCOIC while there (CM/SGT Henry E. Lajoie retired). I was surprised he recalled me after all that time.

  457. Bahrain, November 1, 2011:

    ( Richard Smith ) I was in the 7272nd and worked in the power plants civil engineering. I was there during the over though of the King. I think it is ashamed that we have not been recognized due to what happened. No patches metals etc. I guess we were just forgotten.

  458. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., November 1, 2011:

    Attention Richard Smith: During the Congo Airlift, most of the base personnel worked 24/7 keeping up with the needs of people coming and going during the airlift. Very few received any commendations because they said it was our job.
    In the flight line fire station, we didn’t change clothes or shave for 2 or 3 weeks during that lift and pulled flight line watch 2 hours on 2 hours off for the same time and could not go back to our barracks until it was over. But hey I was making .25 cents an hour weren’t you.

  459. R. Ong, November 1, 2011:

    I remember the power plant crew. The plant was just behind our bulding and I remember on particular colorful master sargent. I wish I knew his name. I worked in the AFCS building near the post office and was stationed at Wheelus in 1969 to closing 1970.


  460. Bahrain, November 1, 2011:


  461. Bahrain, November 1, 2011:

    ( Richard Smith ) I still think there should have been something for our duty there. I worked 24/7 also at the power plants and also was on riot control duty and put at the furriest point of the base to watch the holy wall in case they tried to come over it. It sure was dark and scary at nite. I was out there for 12 hours at a time just me and Jesus.

  462. Doug Hunt, November 1, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from 1Sept.55 to 25Feb.57. I was with the 1603 M&S Supply. I worked at the Bomb Dump about 12 miles South of the Base. Major Burke was the C.O. and MSgt was the first Sgt. Then we got MSgt King as First Sgt. I was also part of Air Base Defence and did we say my my from 29 Oct. 56 Till just before Christmas 1956. I was in charge of machine guns on the West wall bu tent city and West of the Service Club. CWO Hale was in charge of Air Base Defence. He was also the band director. All in all if I could I would go back and visit. I was at worse bases. If you was there at this time and remender the Suez Riot. Please write back. GOD BLESS

  463. Robert Wood, November 2, 2011:

    Does anyone have any photos that they can upload? I was stationed at Wheelus form 69 to 70. I wish I would of taken more photos, but kept putting it off.

  464. Bahrain, November 2, 2011:

    ( Richard Smith ) I was there 68-70 and took lots of pictures but we had a house fire in 2001 and we lost everything but the PJS we had on. God has been good to us and have regained what we could form friends but not pics of Libya. I bought a super 8 camera at the BX but also lost those. I had movies of Christmas with Santa Clause riding a camel in the parade. I had movies of the Royal Libyans AF training to fly F5s at Banana Village on base. Lots of memories. Good and Bad

    I was stationed at Seymour Johnson AB Goldsboro NC and loved it there. I retired after 22 years and live in Johnson City Tennessee.

  465. Bahrain, November 2, 2011:

    ( Richard Smith ) @ comment 462
    Would that have been msgt Oslum, Tsgt Gearld Stinemeze or smsg Mims?

  466. Jordan Brown, November 8, 2011:

    Mary Kay Zimmer #239 - April, 2011. Mary there are a couple of sites that deal with USAFSS and its qroups such as the 38th RSM and its follow on the 6938th RSM/ 6938th SS. First, I would try MyFamily (dot) com, then go to USAFSS Roll Call section. You may need to set up an account, but they are free. Once you get to USAFSS Roll Call, you can post a new query on the News section. That should get you some answers from anyone that was stationed there, or knew him anywhere else,

  467. Bahrain, November 8, 2011:

    ( R. Smith ) I was there 68-70. sonny and Cher were preforming at the NCO club. they would walk by my barracks in the evening going to the club. Cher would say hi but Sonny would stop and talk and have a beer with us. I took several pics of them while they were preforming and would develop and print at the base photo lab. I didn’t keep them but gave all to a roommate who was sent back to Germany. Wish I had kept them. When all the mess started they were sent out and all we had then at the club was a music box and there were a few who started a country band. The last few months I was there were very touching due to the curfew. I hope your tour was good.

  468. Jim Voris, November 9, 2011:

    Hey R. Smith - were you a photographer assigned to the Base Photo Lab? Or did you know any of the guys there? I was a BPL photographer 59 to 63. Contact me at if so.

  469. Larry Lasater, November 9, 2011:

    Gerry Anderson #317 and Charles Perkins #442 contact me at

  470. Bruce Lowe, November 24, 2011:

    What a gem you folks have collectively created! Perhaps someone from my past will read of my entries here, and make contact with me.
    In April of 1965, after spending a month on leave at my home in Washington following my completion of Basic Training and Tech School in Texas, I boarded a flight to a place I had only heard of in a song of the U.S. Marine Corps (or “Corpse” for you Obama fans).
    As I left WA, it was drizzly and completely overcast - as usual - and when I arrived at Wheelus AB it must have been 100 degrees. The trip had been a long one and as the years have passed, much of my memory of details have faded…but, having an AFSC 64530, I was surprised to find myself assigned to the 7272nd A&E Squadron rather than the Supply Squadron.
    My roommate in the A&E barracks was another A3C by the name of Ted C. Peterson, whom I communicate with on occasion to this day. He was a 46130 (BB Stacker) and we both worked in the Missile Bldg at the east end of the runway. My time there was fairly short-lived because someone up the chain of command felt that the Munitions Supply function would be better located in the Bomb Dump…so off we went, all four of us; 1Lt Hondowicz, our TSgt NCOIC (his name escapes me at this moment), A3C Marty Lyons (from my Tech School class), and me. As I recall, we made the 7 or 8 mile trip each day from the barracks in the back of a deuce and a half (2-1/2 Ton truck), or if lucky, a 6-pack crew cab. But, I digress…some nights, Ted (who I always called Pete) would have to work in the Missile Bldg assembling AGM-12 missiles, and I would go with him to observe the process. In retrospect, it appears that even at that early time in my AF career, I did not like the job I’d been assigned to. Pete would allow me to help him sometimes because the components of the Bullpup missile were fairly large and heavy. This did not happen often, but it was a thrill to actually see the end product as it went together. Otherwise, all I got to do was fill out paperwork to order the bombs and bullets that the fighter jocks expended out on the bombing range.
    Pete and I would go to midnight chow for the great breakfast omelets that this tall black guy behind the grill would make. It seems to me it was at a dining hall that was located on the east side of the north/south tarmac…my memory of this is fuzzy. Pete and I hung out together so much of the time, our 1st Shirt, SMSgt Adams once asked of us during one of his many room inspections, if Pete and I were brothers. Sgt Adams just didn’t understand that after a rather rocky beginning where Pete and I had nearly come to blows, I developed a great respect for him as a friend. I not only introduced him to his local girlfriend, Janny, there at Wheelus, but later back State-side to his wife, Suzie, now married nearly 45 years!
    My greatest regret from that era and locale is that I did not take more pictures, and have more awareness of my surroundings…both people and places.
    During a lunch break one day in the Fall of ‘65 a few of us from the Missile Bldg were waiting out behind the barracks for whomever was to drive the truck back to work. I noticed a couple of the guys acting quite oddly attentive to something across the street. When I walked to the rear of the truck to see what they had been looking at, I saw this delightful young lady sitting in the open window of the High School. The two guys were wasting time running their mouths to one another, so I walked over and introduced myself. This lovely girl was Ingrid Barlow, eldest daughter of MSgt Frank Barlow the NCOIC of the Transportation Squadron’s Motor Pool if I remember correctly. That chance meeting was the beginning of the end of my relating with others…for the next year it was basically Ingrid and me, and Pete and Janny. As a side note, I’ve looked at the Wheelus High School website for the years of ‘65 and ‘66 but did not find Ingrid’s name listed. She was 16 when we met, and 17 when I left on re-assignment, so I would have expected to see her name in one of those class years. Perhaps one of the bloggers here attended classes with her….?
    I have now rambled on far longer than I ever thought possible, and have only touched the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
    Fights happened there, respect developed there, tragedy occured there, and love consumed there, but all of that will have to wait for another missive at another time.
    If anyone who reads this remembers those of whom I spoke, and would like to communicate with me directly, my email is atfirearms AT hotmail. com.
    Thank you all for what you do here, and sharing the memories, some of which I too recall.
    Bruce R. Lowe, SMSgt (Ret.)
    24 yrs, 1 mo as AFSC 242X0
    Disaster Preparedness

  471. Bruce Lowe, November 24, 2011:

    And, by the way, I extend a sincere wish to all of you here, all of the brave and loyal military members, veterans, and their families…HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Be safe, be well, and bless you all.

  472. Bob Gilbert, November 25, 2011:

    To: SMSgt. Lowe –

    I’m a “fan” of no politician, but what the heck is this supposed to mean?: “‘Corpse’ for you Obama fans.” Your account of Wheelus experiences was tainted by your apparent desire to, at the outset, separate “us” from “them.” What is the relevance to this blog of any Wheelus alumni views about any of the many crooks in Washington, DC? Your need to interject political commentary in this blog is off-putting and divisive.

  473. Jerry Booth, November 27, 2011:

    Robert Wood
    Let me try this again. I have put out 2 responses to your request, but I don’t know where they went.
    So, if this is posted, look at #260 above. I have put out a blog with the photos I took while I was there. You should be able to download as many as you want.

  474. Joe Paich, November 27, 2011:

    I would like to contact Jerry Booth, I was stationed at Wheelus in 1953. I too have photos of that time taken with a Leica.

  475. Gail Heaton Bensten, November 28, 2011:

    I am so glad to have found this site. Would love to try to find old friends from our days at Wheelus…my son recently found several thousand slides we took in Libya and Europe…have been scanning and downloading them. These pics and the recent events in Libya brought back many awesome memories of our time spent there-1967-1969. Military life was hard at times but it was an awesome life…when we found out we were going to Libya….I said…where the heck is that??? Due to the June ‘67 war I would be staying in Charleston until we could get base housing. It was a great life! Great parties, the Med, skeet shooting, sailing, shopping in the Suk, traveling. I also remember living in the trailers newly set up on the beach. We were always having either a water shortaage so we couldn’t wash our cars. Power shortages so we couldn’t run our trailer air conditioners unless the spouse was 6 mos pregnant. I remember someone would sneak around at night and if you were running your air conditioner it would be reported back to the commander…lol. Also, pregnant women would get water brought in from the desert because the local water was too salty. Reconstituted milk….danish eggs…tv broadcasts for only about 4 hours a day…no phone…the base commander checking schoolgirls’ dresses to make sure they weren’t too short…friends and I sitting outside our trailers on VERY hot days using the hose to cool ourselves…and on one particular HOT day finding in our trailer burst champagne bottles and melted candles. We were able to curtail our assignment and left in Jul ‘69 instead of October ‘69. I was pregnant and would have had to fly to Germany two weeks before my due date (after the 67 war, they never had personnel to deliver babies again at Wheelus), but my son was 3 weeks early…he would have been born in Libya just days before the take-over. Rumors were that off-base housing was going to once again be allowed….but then just weeks later Gaddafi took over. Did anyone who was there from 67 know/remember John/Great who had a dog named Brutus, Dana Johannes, Bob/Liz Johnson (worked for an oil company), the English band and BJ (female) was the singer.
    Bob Gilbert, you and I communicated several years ago….I see where you commented about buying our TR3…hope you are doing well…
    I am going to post some pics on flickr and maybe someone out there can help with identifying these people….I was always terrible with names!

  476. Gail Heaton Bensten, November 28, 2011:

    Oops…meant to say John/Greta….for the life of me I cannot remember their last name!

  477. Gail Heaton Bensten, November 28, 2011:

    just a few of the many slides I have scanned and loaded to my computer…

  478. Robert Wood, November 28, 2011:

    Jerry, I received your blog via e-mail about the photos (#260). Hey, those are some fine shots of the the base and downtown. Memories came back to me pretty fast when I saw the photos of the barracks. My barracks was right behind the Base Chapel and it looked as if you took the picture right outside the door with the back of the Chapel in view. Again thanks for uploading these, they are priceless. Robert

  479. Bahrain, November 28, 2011:

    I love your comments. I was there 68-Feburary 70. I was like you. My first assignment from tech school was Offit NB. I worked in power production and was stationed about 45 miles from Offit in a little town called Elkcorn and we lived in Freemont NB. I was there about 6 months when the orders came in Lybya and I said where the heck is that. I worked in Civil Engineering 7272 Wing. Lived in the barracks next to the chow hall. I worked in the power plants that supplied the base and housing. It was pretty tough and ruff at times but the area was beautiful and I loved the med. I was there when Sonny and Cher were preforming at the NCO club. When Gaddafi came in things got hectic. We worked 24/7 plus I was on riot control and was put out at the holly wall at nite to guard it. I got out on the second freedom bird to the states. Got stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB Goldsboro NC. We love it there but with my career I was sent all over but did spend 22 years and then retired in 1989. Yes a lot of memories. Hope to heard back from you.

    In Him

    Richard Smith

  480. Bahrain, November 28, 2011:


  481. Gail Heaton Bensten, November 28, 2011:

    We had no children, but one on the way. I saw someone’s comment that he was a child while there and he and his brother shared a space with bunk beds…we used that space as a dining room…lol. I can remember we thought those with a trailer and a add-on were living high! We also shipped our dog back…We lived in one of the last trailers at the end of the ones right on the Med. We hired a Libyan to make a flower bed in our yard. He planted beautiful flowers, but within about 2 days they all died. We investigated and found he had taken flowers from soneone else’s garden…broken the stems off and planted them in ours. We sent our clothes to the base laundry because no one had washers…then several of our neighbors got together and ordered a washing machine. We put it on a wooden platform outside between two of the trailers and had a cover made for it at the base tent/parachute shop. It was great and we had a lot of envious friends! I also remember my husband got a reprimand from either the wing or base commander for drinking out of a beer bottle instead of a glass at the O Club and for ‘wiping’ his mouth on the tablecloth! Must have been a wild night! When they came to pack our things, there were like 10 men. They made a line and just passed everything outside to the ones wrapping and then into the boxes. They also brought along one man who did nothing but cook. He had a large coffee can and used that with charcoal for his ‘grill’…he made shaye(sp) and mussels…he went out into the water and scraped the mussles off the rocks and came back and cooked them…he offered us samples…and of course it was rude to decline…I remember when I first arrived my husband and his buddies had made friends with a Libyan who was somehow connected to royal family…he liked to party and was building a new villa in Tripoli….he invited us many times there but once it was completed…no more parties…We also had a very dear friend…Nick Capurso. He was Italian and lived in Tripoli…he also liked to have international parties. Just days before we left he was to take us to dinner, he never showed up. No one EVER heard from him again. I wonder if he had a heads up on the coup and left or he was killed. I am going to upload some pics to my flickr…for those of you who were there 67-69 (70)…do you recognize anyone. Bob Gilbert - in some of the pics are Dick and Sue Lewis…also another Army buddy of theirs…tall with glasses…did you know him? Ted/Sally Gooding? Jim Ridings - he was a Warrant Officer… and we must have left before Sonny and Cher were there…do ot remember that! But we were really good friends with the English band…sorry for the length…but once you start…it is hard to end!

  482. Bahrain, November 28, 2011:

    ( @ comment 483 ) Did you by any chance know Sgt Jerry Steinmetz, Smsgt Mims, Ssgt Tom Lawton. They were great friends of mine. We would go to their house and eat cook out and go bowling all the time. I have not heard form any that I worked with or knew while there. ( R. Smith )

  483. Bahrain, November 29, 2011:

    The longer the better. It has been so log ago that what you write brings back so many memories. Some good and some bad. So many things were done. One stole a donkey and rode it into the officers club. Yep he went to the brig for a few days. No it wasn’t me. We stayed on the beach alot. During the real I mean real hot months, we worked during the nights and off and on the beach during the day and tried to get some rest. When I came home in February and got off the plain my wife kept looking for me and then I walked up to her and said I’m home! She didn’t recognize me because I was so dark and the only part of me that was white was where I wore my swim trunks. I went TDY to Spain for training and I love it there. Good water and food. Well enough for now. Take care and please write back.

    Richard Smith

  484. Ellsworth briggs, November 30, 2011:

    This is my second entry after discovering this wonderful Blog.

    I was there in 1952-1953 with 102nd AC&W Squadron along with Jerry Paitch - a contribitor to this blog. We were mostly Air National Guard guys from Maine and Rhode Island.

    We set up a site well south of Tripoli in the desert and on the way there we past by a Mussolini built big old race track with concrete canti-levered roof. Does any body else remember this in their stay at Wheelus?

    We also did a lot of horse back riding with the British, including so-called fox hunts in the desert. They used a “drag”, since there were apparently no foxes in Lybia
    The highlight of my stay there was a 20 day excursion through Europe in May of 1953 with three of my buddies and I have an 80 slide tray that I will convert to disc soon.

    Many thanks to Ms Benson for her photos.

  485. Bahrain, November 30, 2011:

    Richard I was at Wheelus 63-65, BUT, I was a cop in Fremont ne 65-67. Maybe we Met ????? Also you were at Elkhorn ne not Elkcorn. POL was in the barreks just East of the chow hall on the East side of the base. I lived my life in Fremont Ne and stll have my office open there 2 days a week Did you meet any cops while you lived there? Gordy Whitcomb

  486. Bahrain, November 30, 2011:

    i remember seeing that race tract,,, i was there in 1967 throught 1969 ( JD Williams )

  487. Bahrain, November 30, 2011:

    Yes we may have because I did talk to a few. About where I was it really was in a corn field. It was a communications site and you really couldn’t see it till you were upon it. It was good duty. When we first got to Fremont we got an apartment in a old house and we lived up stares. It sure was hot and no AC. We lived there for a month and my wife got a job and so we moved to 1200 North L Street apartments which had AC. $90.00 a month. The person who took care of the apartments was Rev. Joe Bedford. A wonderful person. I would help him on my days off with the apartments. He would bring us vegetables from their garden and put them at our door. I worked at the site 24 hours on and 48 off. It was a SAC site with lots of security.

    We were really scraped for money so we would go to Offit once a month to the commissary. We would walk down town Fremont get a ice cream and went to the movies one time. We were there about 6 months and I got my orders. I left Fremont in October of 68.

    Hope to hear back


  488. Glen McCombs, November 30, 2011:

    Thanks for the pictures Gail. Checked your pictures out at flickr. Best pictures I have seen of those old trailers. More please!

  489. Bahrain, December 2, 2011:

    The race track with the large concrete grandstand which you talk about is undoubtedly Mellaha where the Tripoli Grand Prix auto race was held from 1933-40. Attached are a few photos of a 1/43 scale diorama which I made of the starting grid area and race control tower. I lived in Libya between 1960-69 (oil company dependent). I am looking for anyone who may have some photos of the old Mellaha structures before they were eventually all torn down.

    Clyde Berryman

  490. A2C Gordy Whitcomb Wheelus AFB, December 4, 2011:

    to richard smith I have numerous pictures of wheelus 63-65 I’d enjoy phone conversation if you wish when in fremont 1200 N L st was 4 blocks from my mom’s home You probably had Ice creme at Zestos Military & Broad

  491. Jim Voris, December 5, 2011:

    To Clyde Berryman - I have some of the racetrack (B&W) during a horse race and some of the stands with people. Send me your address to I was stationed at Wheelus as an AF Photographer 59 to 63. (I had an off base business and shot a lot of portraits of Oil people and dependance. If you have any old family portraits with the stamp “Chai-Mark Studio” I or my partner shot it. Jim Voris

  492. Ellsworth briggs, December 6, 2011:

    Thank you Clyde Berryman. I wikipediated Mellaha Lake Race Track and got a lot of info.
    Turns out Mussolini did not build it as was rumored while I was at Wheelus.

    I was surprised to find that when we got there in 1952 the country was only recently reorganized into a constitutional monarchy under King Idris.

    They sure had a rough time while Italy ruled!

    Ellsworth Briggs

  493. John Brito, December 7, 2011:

    My first Air Force assignment (1967 - 1968). Assigned to Supply SQ. I played soccer for the base team and town team coached by Ghadafi. I have/had a picture of King Idris presenting me the the league MVP trophy in late 67 or early 68. I also coached the Wheelus High School soccer team (1967 -1968) that beat the base team (me).
    I have fond memories of Lybia.

  494. Bahrain, December 8, 2011:

    Hello John Brito. I was there 68-70. I was in CE and we made sure the base had power with the two power plants on base. We would go to the field and watch the soccer games. I only saw King Idris one time. I was working at the power plant and they were bring him down the street (car) going to the air field where he would fly to the other capital.

    I brought back with me to the states several folders of stamps and money that had IN THE NAME OF KING IDRIS on them but our home was broke into and all was stolen and never recovered. The stamps and money had never been touched and I would say worth something.

    Richard Smith

  495. Bahrain, December 10, 2011:

    to John Brito: what area of base supply were you assigned?

  496. jim matulis, December 10, 2011:

    serves fr 61-63,acct & fin @ amexco bldg next to terminal…dont remember anything air conditioned…sand on everything all the time…everyone i knew was happy to leave….most knew to the hour the time of their departure….while there….remember a fighter crashing directly into thecenter of the coral at the riding stables…the occasional dar, t mis-landing…enjoyed hearing those bursts of cannon fire when the a/c guns were being sighted,usually lasting all night…kept everyone awake….remember nato troops comming thru during the congo uprising….remember the world expo too….the US tried to amaze with their space program….the Russian exhibit showed the crowd on TV & won them boss brought over his new `vette..dont know if he ever shifted beyond 2nd gear…our cashier had this new red buick convertable…thats the last place Id bring anything nice

  497. Kent Knapp, December 10, 2011:

    I was born at Wheelus July 54. Dad was B-29 mechanic. Mom flew over in a Connie from PA, just to have me. Didn’t live there long, dad got selected OCS that year. Later flew F-86, F-102 (EDF 5070 DSE) 60-63, F-105D 68-69 Takhli and Korat, and made it home. Anyone know him and want to chat, sure he would like to hear from you.

  498. Bahrain, December 10, 2011:

    To Jim Matulis,
    I was stationed there 1961-62, 1615th Support Squadron. I worked in the Air Terminal (air conditioned) & Air Freight Terminal which was behind the bldg that I think you worked in. I was only seventeen when I arrived and everything was an adventure for me. We did put in long hours for the Congo Airlift, but I didn’t mind. When my tour was up I was glad to leave, but looking back now it didn’t seem too bad.

  499. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., December 10, 2011:

    to: jim matulis
    you mentioned several things that I recall. I was there ‘61 to ‘63. The plane that crashed into the Corral at the riding club. I was a Fire Fighter on that crash.
    It was a fully loaded F-101, just taking off on the East end of the field. He lost power or stalled, he managed to get above 300 feet, and ejected as the plane was rolling over. His parachute just barely saved him. When we approached the crash site , the F-101 had created a hole in the East side of the main arena. The two engines were still roaring and jerking in the hole, the fire had died down some. It blew away most of the board fence on that side. They found the nose gear hanging in a date tree half a mile away. We filled the hole with foam and the engines began to settle down.
    The bomb personnel were running all around the site trying to account for all the weapons that were on board. The head guy came up to me and said they could not find one of the bombs. After we secured the fire, we backed the truck up and found the lost bomb.
    That day there was a horse show going on at the riding club and there was a lot of people at the event. No one got hurt, not people, Pilot, or horses.
    Do you remember the Russian Jets flying along the runway every day.
    Sorry for bending your ear.
    Merry Christmas All

  500. Bahrain, December 13, 2011:

    You musta been busy at wheelus…liked to go up to the 2nd floor at Amexco bldg,overlooked the air terminal & ramp….on monday morning,liked to check out the damage done over the weekend…usually something neat happened….had heard about Russian flts..never bothered about `em….was there during the cuban mix-up…was bumped off flt at the end of my tour…Kennedys 707 was there but wasnt allowed on on account I wasnt on leave yey….spent additional week there but was rewarded with atrip back on Capitol airlines Connie….there were about eight ofus & about 8 coprses…..had all the room & food I wanted…seeing news fr Libya I have to admit the changes from `61 to date are huge….the population seem more demanding & less passive than when I served there…gottago ( JAMES MATULIS )

  501. John Brito, December 15, 2011:

    I worked in War Readiness Spare Kits (WRSK) section. I’ll post King Idris’ picture when I find it.

  502. Bahrain, December 15, 2011:

    I worked in OB, But returned to the states in july of ‘63. I don’t know anything of the trip you mentioned but I was in on an unauthorized trip of my own. The Hospital had an old Brill Bus Ambulance. I “borrowed” it and took the Boy Scouts to Leptis for a day. ( Dan Dickinson )

  503. Garry Grau, December 29, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus from Dec. 1959 thru July 1962 and was in Base Supply - Hi-Value section. I was A1C. Had a great time there, and a lot of free time. Had a good boss.

  504. Cindy Colony, December 29, 2011:

    To Gail Heaton Benson– I remember we had/took care of a dog called Brutus for a while, supposedly a sheperd/collie cross. Great dog, lots of hair. Don’t know where he came from, an oil company or Wheelus family. My mother, Hazel, was in charge of dog procurement. This would be from ‘67-’69 time frame. I saw your photos and was tickled to see the family is in SC these days–so is my mother, with more dogs than ever!

  505. Bahrain, December 29, 2011:

    I know this will sound horrible but we had two beautiful puppies at the power plant. The (our) colonel (Fries)Said we couldn’t keep them. We made a fence for them and we all took care of them at the plant. He made us get rid of them so we took them out to one of the outer markers and left them with a guard sedic. Well one weekend I was on call and had to go out to the site and this was where the puppies were. I took a guy with me Steve Reeder but he had had a few drinks. When we got to the site to check out the problem the puppies were gone. I asked the guard about them. He had killed them and ate them. Steve was so mad and had to much to drink that he go his M16 and was going to kill the guard. I had to take it away form him before he did and also killed me. I hated it also but there was nothing I could do about it. We were on their soil.

    Retired Richard Smith

  506. jon, December 29, 2011:

    was the guard a Libyan Muslim?
    it’s strange coz muslims don’t eat dog

  507. Bahrain, December 29, 2011:

    I am not sure but he said he thought we had brought them to him for food. I guess they moved him to some other post because I never saw him again. I was afraid that Steve was going to go back to him and he (guard) must have told someone about it or he just wanted to change. ( R Smith )

  508. Ray Buckman, December 29, 2011:

    I was at Wheelus AB in 1965. I had a chance to go to El Watia. i know the spelling is wrong but it is the small site south in the desert where the jet planes shot at targets.
    Some one posted that guards were eating the puppies. The guards out there in the desert feed them, petted them and then ate them. There were 26 of us out there are we all wanted to kill the puppy eaters. I was hoping the snakes would get them.

  509. jon, December 29, 2011:

    would be interesting to find out a bit more about this “puppy eating” story. It may have been a myth only because dog is considered an unclean animal in Islamic traditions and even touching the animal is discouraged, let alone eating its meat.

  510. Ray Buckman, December 30, 2011:

    We had a dog that got tied up with a wild male. Our dog had puppies at that outpost that I can not spell. We gave the puppies to the guards that want them. The guard at the front post [played with that puppy because I saw it there. A couple of months later I asked the guard where the puppy was and he said he ate it. I ask “Little Mo” another guard if that was true and he claimed it was. I don’t think he lied. But the puppies were never seen again.

  511. Ray Buckman, December 30, 2011:

    I did look the eating of dogs by Arabs and did find that they do not eat dogs. Not sure why we were told that they did eat them.
    Does anyone know how to spell the outpost south in the desert that the planes practiced dropping bombs and shooting at targets?

  512. Donna (Basehart) Gray, December 30, 2011:

    EWWWW! Please - enough about dog-eating! A lot of Muslims didn’t stick to the faith until bin Laden got weird. Some Jews eat pork too. A lot of Catholics eat meat on Fridays too. Those sadiks would eat ANYTHING!

  513. Ray Ong, December 30, 2011:

    Ray Buckman,
    The bombing range is El Uotia. I still have the 7272 Flying Training Wing Pamphlet when I was assigned there in July 1969.

  514. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    I have removed my subscription due to the TOTAL lack of moderation. This site has become SIVK by allowing
    the continual nonsense to be distributed regarding Muslims eating dogs –the sam persons who perpetuate
    these lies have no problem with using Google or other sites to asseratin facts. Some of them -able to read-
    could even have used their libraries for the truth.
    I am sorry to leave the site but I am old enough to remember the anti-semitism of Hitler and his gang!! ( R Hoyle )

  515. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    @ R Hoyle - this website does not promote fascism in any way or form. People are allowed to express their opinions and the readers can make their own minds up.
    Muslims do not eat dog meat.. this is a fact. The guards mentioned in the story could have been from anywhere.

  516. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    when i was there , we found a yellow poodle cute little thing,,,,gave her about 1′2 dozen baths and she turned out white,,, brought her home with us,,, had to teach her english,,, took a while ha ha
    jay r willisms sr tsgt retired

  517. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    Folks I was at Wheelus 59-61, in the Old City of Tripoli there were skinned dogs hanging in front of shops, for display and I saw several sold. Bunches of dogs, some body was eating them. ( Arthur Phillips )

  518. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    Your very right it is your opinion but what about all the other comments about them killing and eating animals (dogs) ( R. Smith )

  519. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    dog meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, hence the comments have been allowed.
    comments with direct attacks on religion/ beliefs will not be approved. ( ADMIN )

  520. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    ( @ R. HOYLE ) GOOD FOR YOU! The real truth hurts Doesn’t it. Good bye. ( R. Smith )

  521. Terry McGreevey, December 30, 2011:

    Good grief, give it a rest about dogs. This site is used for hopfully making contacts with old friends, exchanging memories and experiences. Let’s use it for that purpose. During my 18 month tour that started back in 1958, I found Libya to be a fascinating country, an opportunity to observe a culture I probably would never have had the chance to see if it was not for my air force tour. There were distasteful moments, some dangerous, but in my few intimate meetings with the locals, I found them friendly and just as curious about me as I was of them. For a then 19 year old, it was an education and an eye opener for me that broadened my values and a developing tolerance for other cultures previously alien to my upbringing.

  522. Bahrain, December 30, 2011:

    Well said Terry

    Thomas Dwyer
    President & CFO USA / UK

  523. Harold (Billy) DeBord, December 30, 2011:

    Would appreciate information from anyone who remembers “Huey” who was with 7272 USAF Hospital “Big Red” softball team in 1963-1964. Trying to get in touch with him but lack full name and current location. Recall he was from New York and his name was Thomas Hughes. Thanks in advance. My name is Billy DeBord and email is

  524. Al Sullivan, December 30, 2011:

    Terry McGreevey. Your comments are right on! I was at Wheelus 57-59 and it made an impression on me (and my wife & son) for a lifetime. I thank the Air Force for the opportunity. Strange as it may seem, experiencing that very different—and somewhat backward—culture reinforced my transition to Progressivism. As you said it was a fantastic education and an eye opener. We lived off base for about half of our tour and, with one exception, had a very pleasant interaction with the locals.

  525. Ellsworth briggs, December 31, 2011:

    Let me join those who commended you Jerry.
    I too had very warm experiences during my stay at Wheelus in ‘52-53. We befriended a Lybian Policeman who invited us to his house for dinner once. We sat on cushions on the floor and ate with our fingers out of a huge bowl of delicious foods.
    We also had encounters with “nomads” traveling the desert with their camels (I doubt that’s what they called themselves) when we set up a radar station out in the desert. They were very friendly and always shared their delicious hot sweet tea with peanuts as we “conversed” using sign language. I described my scorpion sting, drawing a picture in the sand and they laughed derisiveley.
    Do any of you remember the loud celebrations echoing from the City after sundown during Ramadan?

    We even rode our bikes into the forbidden “Old City” without incident once.

    Yes, it was a memorable year in Tripoli.

    Ellsworth Briggs, 102nd AC&W Squadron

  526. Bahrain, December 31, 2011:

    Let’s get back to our stories of every day life at Wheelus, and drop the dog crap. ( Gary Green )

  527. Terry McGreevey, December 31, 2011:

    One of my more pleasant memories that I alluded to in a previous comment was sharing some tea with the arab mechanics at a garage down in Tripoli where a friend of mine was having work done on an old car - remember how everyone used to sell their cars, if they owned one, to incoming troops before they rotated - there were some classics exchanged ! I also a remember a trip to Garian (spelling ?) when we came across an old man leading his camel down the road - after some haggling, three of us were able to mount the camel for the price of half a pack of cigarettes to get a photo op. The old man got quite a kick out of us clinging onto the camel. Nasty tempered characters those camels ! Memories that never fade.

  528. Bahrain, January 2, 2012:

    A great comment. I also shared tea with some of them and boy is it sweet. I know it is for energy. I was there for two Christmas. I went to the Christmas parade which was Santa riding a camel coming in the East Gate. I made super 8 movies of it but over the years it has been lost. I watched them trying to hold the camel and it was kicking and spiting. It was a sight to see. Sonny and Cher were there performing at the club. Sonny would stop at our barracks and talk for awhile but Cher would go on to the club. Really did enjoy them. ( Richard Smith )

  529. Bahrain, January 2, 2012:



  530. Bahrain, January 2, 2012:

    gordy whitcomb
    I was in fuel supply 7272 63-65 I”m looking for the guy who came over with me and went back with me . He worked in th lab at the hospital June 63 to Jan 65

  531. Bahrain, January 3, 2012:

    Sorry I am not that person. I was only Airman first class when I got there but was a Sargent when I left in 1970. I was stationed in North Carolina at Seymour Johnson AB. I retired in 1989 and now live in Johnson City Tennessee. I worked for the State of Tennessee Environment and Conservation for 16.5 years and retired in 2009.

    I am originally from Chattanooga Tennessee

    Retired TSGT Richard Smith

  532. Bahrain, January 3, 2012:

    I was stationed at the Finance Office from Aug 68 - Sep 69. Loved those bars - Rood and Reel, Gun Club and the Airmans Club. Still can’t believe the Golf - sand greens and lunch at the Mirage. I was locked out of Libya during the coup. Idris out and ghafdafi in - I was labled a Political Refuge by the time it got to my Mother she was telling all the home folks I was a prisoner of war. Good Times - Good Memories.

    Thomas Dwyer
    President & CFO USA / UK
    WorldNet-Shipping USA Inc.
    6-10 Nassau Avenue
    Inwood New York 11096

    Tel: 516-371-1800
    Fax: 516-371-3508

  533. Bahrain, January 3, 2012:

    When the over through was started all our mail was stoped coming in and out so my wife was worried because of all the news media here in the states. It took her 4 days to get through to me. It was hard to talk to her because it was being monitored. It was bad and scary during that time but with what the news was here it sounded like a full scale war.

    I have to say it was so beautiful there because of no smog. Most beautiful skies I had ever seen. It was nice to come home to the states and my wife.


  534. Bahrain, January 4, 2012:

    @ comment (534 ) - well thanks any way appreciate
    jay r williams

  535. Conley W. Ford, January 7, 2012:

    john serenci, September 4, 2011 - John I remember your car. A1C Conley Winston Ford Veterinary Tech 7272nd USAF Hospital WAFB 1963 64. I’m sure we rresided in the same hospital personnel barracks.. A co-worker of mine SSgt John Saugsted also contracted Hepetatis during this time..
    Conley Ford

  536. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 9, 2012:


  537. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 9, 2012:


  538. Ray Buckman, January 9, 2012:

    I ran the power plant at El Uotia for most of 1965. Great place for snakes.
    When I was there we did not have to wear uniforms. Requirements were a hat, boots and sun glasses.

  539. Bahrain, January 9, 2012:

    I worked at the ones on base. Did you know tsgt Stinemez, Msgt Oslome or Smsgt Mims? Also Tom Lawton or berry can’t remember last name.

    Richard smith

  540. Ray Buckman, January 9, 2012:

    Bill Self was a civilian. Sgt Disarmo (sp). Airman Tom Brown, Charlies Morrison.

  541. Bahrain, January 9, 2012:

    1968 - 1969

    Anbody know TSGT Sergeant from Texas. Worked at the bombing site

  542. jack edwards, January 11, 2012:

    I was at wheelus 57 to58 with 633d ac&w worked in radar site power plant. I’m trying to locate my nco sgt Tom Hulsey.lost track when I tdyed to bengasi.thanks. great site.

  543. Ray Buckman, January 11, 2012:

    To Jack Edwards–I spent 2 month in a little site a couple hundred miles east of Wheelus AB. We were closing the site up. I worked in the Power Plant. I believe it was a site for “Homing beacon” for planes to give them directions.
    It was a great little site with a gym. The beach was very close and we spent a lot of time there.

  544. Bahrain, January 11, 2012:

    To Jack: I worked at the main power plants 68-70. My barracks was close to the med. and next to the chow hall. We spent a lot I mean a lot of time on the beach just trying to stay cool. ( R. Smith )

  545. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 12, 2012:

    one of the best memories i have of being at wheelus is i got the chance to meet the late col. daniel chappie james. col. james was our base wing commander and a great fighter pilot. i commend him highly for the way he handle the crisis with quaddfi and his courage and leadership in the transition of wheelus. col. james went on to become a four star general before his career was over and i personally appreaciate the opportunity to have served under his command. he was indeed a great patroit and a great american. TOMMIE DAVIS

  546. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 12, 2012:


  547. Russ Kovach, January 13, 2012:

    To #384 Ronald Betard….yours is one of the very few postings of the time of my tour at Wheelus (Nov.’55–Apr.’57)
    Remember well taking my carbine to Mass at the Base theatre.

  548. Jim Muse, January 13, 2012:

    Ref last posting. I was in the 1950th AACS Sq from April 56 to October 57. As you, I don’t see many postings here from the mid 50s. I vividly recall the Suez Canal incident. I was working in the Base Operations Comm Center at the time.

  549. Bahrain, January 13, 2012:

    When I was stationed at Wheelus AFB King Idris was overthrown. That weekend I was on an American Express trip with civilians to Djerba, Tunisa. It was Labor Day weekend 1969. Upon return we learned about the coup and were held in a resort for three weeks. Real painful stuff - drinking, dancing with sophisticated European Women. Would love to hear from anyone who was there. Commanding Office was a 1st Lieutenant. ( TD )

  550. Kay Murphy, January 13, 2012:

    I was so happy to find this this site! My husband was stationed at Wheelus May 68 to a

    a week before the coup in 69. He passed away in September, but he would have liked

    reading these postings. He worked on the autopilot systems of the planes. He got to

    Wheelus 2 weeks after we were married and I arrived in August. We lived on the

    Costiglione farm off of the East Gate. We lived next to their home and next to the diesel

    engine that supplied the electricity for the villas. Every evening the engine would stop

    Alfio would walk by to restart the engine and come by and have a drink and talk. We

    had a lemon tree out our window! Camels, cacti, date trees, olive trees, and an orange

    tree. I have so many wonderful memories and stories! Even the jets flying over and

    the Mosque’s loudspeaker bring back good memories. The bakery we drove to get hot

    bread (2 loaves for one and a half pennies each!) and by the time we got home one was

    gone. The Souk, December Street, the Roman ruins, the beaches, horse back riding,

    movies, the NCO Club (best and biggest South African rock lobster I have ever seen-

    could not finish it),and he wasn’t in Nam and we were together! We met some great

    people there also, The Eldridges, the Clarks, the Whites, and Wolfgang, Siggy, and Eric.

    I do remember the flag they were suppose the fly so no one would go in the water when

    they dumped sewage and someone forgot to put out the flag! The hospital was packed!

    Including my husband, a neighbor, and her 2 year old son! Calls home at Christmas–

    5 min each—-over——-short wave radio. Christmas trees arrived two weeks late via

    boat. When they landed on the moon, my husband borrowed a tv to try and watch, but

    I had a better view of the moon sitting on a bench in a common area of the farm looking

    up thinking my family at home is watching this right now too. I would wish

    everyone a place like that to spend their 1st year together in.

  551. Al Sullivan, January 14, 2012:

    Ref. Comment #551 by Jim Muse. Jim for some reason your name rings a bell. I arrived at Wheelus in Mar 57—about a year after you—and stayed until Aug. 59. Were you a Rotc guy or an Ohio U. grad? Maybe i met you at Rotc Summer camp—Biloxi, Mississippi—summer of 1955? And again you many be a different guy. In any event, you are right; there are not too many postings from the mid to late 50s. However, keep in mind that anybody who was there at that time would be at least 75 or older. My other comments on this site are #’s 1, 50, 64, 192, 224.

    Also, I want to compliment Kay Murphy, #553, for her beautiful and touching commentary on Wheelus and the local culture. Sorry about your loss Kay but I’m sure those Costiglione farm memories are precious to you. My wife accompanied me to Wheelus and it was a ‘perception’ changing experience for the both of us. We remember those days fondly.

  552. Bahrain, January 14, 2012:

    well said,,, my wife 3 childrenand i was there 67 through july 69 just got away in time before all the trouble started,,etc, we too enjoyed the tour,, med etc,
    jay r williams,sr tsgt retired usaf

  553. Jim Muse, January 14, 2012:

    Ref: Comment 554 (Al Sullivan). Not the Jim Muse you were asking about. I was an enlisted troop (Teletype/Crypto) operations while at Wheelus Field/AB. The name was changed from Field to AB while we were there. Rotated to Havre AFS, Havre, MT (AC&W Sq). Now retired from federal service. You are so right. I suppose there are not too many of us Tripoli troops from the mid 50s around these days. Thanks to the internet and sites such as this I do remain in touch with some of them today. Hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for your service.

  554. Doug Hunt, January 14, 2012:

    Ref: 556
    Jim you are so right about not many of us around from the mid 50s. I was also there when it was changed from WHeelus Field To Wheelus AB. I reported in 1 Sept. 1955. I was with the 1603rd M&S Group and then it went to 7272nd Supply Sq. My job was Ammo. I worked at the Bomb Dump about 12 miles South of the Base. All in All it was not bad duty. I was at worse Bases. Left Wheelus 25 Feb. 1957. I do enjoy this site and hope I might get in touch with someone I knew at Wheelus. GOD BLESS.

  555. Jim Muse, January 14, 2012:

    Ref 557 Doug: Your email brought back some memories. I can recall working the midnight shift in Base Operations and hearing the machine guns firing. At least we thought they were machines gun. I thought they were just bore sighting the guns on the F-86s that were based there. I also recall going up in the tower and watching the sun come up over the desert. That was quite a sight! I still think about my days at Wheelus quite often. Due to the mirace of the internet I got in contact with my NCOIC while I was there. Oddly enough he now lives in Leesburg, FL and I live in Leesburg, VA. Quite a coincidense wouldn’t you say? Wheelus AB, an interesting place to be when one is 18 and 19.

  556. Jodie Seaborn, January 14, 2012:

    This is in regard to Doug Hunt 557 post.

    Doug I some times worked at the Bomb Dump south of Wheelus. I was a guard in the tower manning a 30 caliber Browning Automatic Rifle. I was an Air Policeman stationed at Wheelus for for months back in 1963 and part of 1964.

  557. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 14, 2012:

    there was a sgt. at wheelus who i believe worked at the base recreation office his name was sgt. hockaday in 1968-69 and i remember that he use to officiate football games on friday and saturday nights at yankee stadium. with all the trouble going on in the country at the time you could always count on good old american football on the weekends it was something we looked forward to. whatever team you rooted for the blazers, falcons, rams, or big red it was always a topic on monday morning in the chow halls before we all went to work.

  558. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., January 14, 2012:

    Ref: #556 Jim Muse: I was not part of your time period, I didn’t get to Wheelus until July 1961. However here is some input on why more guys in your time and mine are not hooking up to the internet. Most guys in our age groups don’t do computers. If they were in a technical field back then they just won’t touch a computer.
    I have a friend in his 90’s that is great with his computers, however he was a bomber pilot in WWII thru Vietnam. But he was not a Wheelus guy.
    FYI- I noticed while looking at Wheelus on Googleearth, the Airmens club did not seem to be there anymore. Did we blow it up years ago?
    Keep’um Flying,
    Shirley Kirkley

  559. Roma Jean Embry, January 15, 2012:

    Yes, Tommy Davis I do remember Sgt. Hockaday, he was African American and very bow legged. Please read comment #361. Richard also went to Germany with Football team to a tournament, we had good time at Wheelus.
    I am not sure which team he coached also there was a Lt. that helped coach but have no idea what his name was.

  560. Bahrain, January 15, 2012:

    Ref: Jim Muse
    I also worked in Base Ops 1962 in the TCC section (MATS). We worked 12 hour shifts rotating days to nights. There were some hairy incidents during the day shift of aircraft coming in with no landing gear or just one wheel up, we had a birds eye view of the incidents. In retrospect is was not all that bad of a tour. I was only seventeen when I arrived in June of 61. It was a whole new world to me. I was assigned to the 1615th Support Squadron. I have been on this site for quite a while, but have not had any contact with any former friends stationed there. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  561. Jim Muse, January 15, 2012:
    Check out the URL above. For those who haven’t seen it, I think they will enjoy it. I recall TCC/MATS very well. Walked by that building every day on my way to Base Ops. Used to stop in every once in a while to chat with the airmen there.

  562. Robert Carriveau, January 15, 2012:

    Hi Shirley. I think you right. I was with the 431st from 53 to 54 and there isn’t many of us left now or not on computers, I’m 79 now and still going. The guys from the 431st have a reunion every 2 years and there is about 30 attend. Idid not like Tripoli, there wasn’t much to do there, I was not a beer drinker so went to the movies 5 nights a week. For the first 9 months we lived in tents as our barracks was not built yet. There was no air condition any were on the base. The movies was a good place to sweat off pounds it needed.

  563. Doug Hunt, January 15, 2012:

    Ref Jodie #559
    It was nice to hear from some one that knew about the Bomb Dump. When I was there we pulled our own guard duty in the daytime and then the K-9 came and took over. I knew one of the handler. His name was A/1c Wilson. When you was at Wheelus did they still have the M-20 tanks? The reason I ask is the fact I helped pull them from Port. They was in bad shape when they came. But when the Motor Pool got done with then they looked new. The put the Air Police stripe on them. As I remember we pulled 4 of them back. They came in handy with the Suez Canal Riot. That is another story of my time at Wheelus. Have a good day. God Bless.

    Doug Hunt

  564. Bahrain, January 15, 2012:

    NOTE: pics submitted by some users can be viewed here

  565. Lynn (Schreiber) Norris, January 15, 2012:

    Thanks to Jim Muse for the fun youtube of Tripoli. I was just a kid-1960-1964- but my dad, Capt. Ralph Schreiber flew those jets shown in the photos. Also remember a very fun evening at our house with Col. “Chappie” James……A great time to be in Tripoli.

  566. Bahrain, January 15, 2012:

    Thanks for the photo, I remember them putting the paper in the speed break door at times. ( Robert Carriveau )

  567. Bahrain, January 15, 2012:

    sorry for your loss. I was there 68-69 during the bad times. When I work at the power plant close tot he bakery you could smell the fresh bread and get so hungry. One of us would slip to the bakery and they would give us a loaf of warm fresh bread and it was all eaten.

    About the villa where the diesel engine was to supply power to the villa. It was 50 cycles so had to have converters to up it to 60 htz. We would be visiting at Tom Lawton’s house and the power would go off. I worked on it several times to get it running and back on line. It was a mess. When the coup started I didn’t get off base to much. We did slip off one time and went down town in a jeep but got shot at so we returned real fast to the base. Lots of memories there some good and some bad.

    Richard retired tsgt. Tennessee

  568. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 16, 2012:

    mrs embry,first of all iam sorry to hear of your loss iam sure your husband was a fine airman. its really good to know that someone knew a person that i knew while i was at wheelus. i was stationed at the gunnery range el uotia, i never really knew how far we were from base but was told 200 miles into the desert we probally was closer to the tunisan border than to whellus. one of the things i remember about traveling out to the range was if we flew west down the cost line we turned inland at sabrath a beautiful old city.we flew in a c-47 along with our supplies, and if we needed to get to base we could catch a ride on the rescue helicopter that came out every day the range was open. col.tisdale flew the c-47 most of the trips out to el uotia and if the c-47 wasent going out we reported to tatical division and they would arrange a flight for us. oh by the way we had ac and very good chow.

  569. Bud Trill, January 16, 2012:

    I was stationed at Wheelus Field in ‘54-’55 and was assigned to the 1603rd Hq Sq and worked across the street at the 1603rd ABGp Hqs, with a great bunch of characters, which was right in front of the Airmen’s Mess. My good friend Doug Hunt just told me today about this site. Doug and I both love to reminisce about our times at Wheelus. I would love to know what ever happened to my friend Miss Lily Fezzani who lived in Tripoli. Great memories.

  570. Jim Muse, January 16, 2012:

    How many people recall “Bruno”, the big dog that used to ride the shuttle bus in order to get from one side of the base to the other. As I recall, he always sat directly behind the driver. Used to have lunch at one chow hall and then catch the shuttle to the chow hall on the other side of the base. I guess he received two meals that way. I suppose he was the unofficial base mascot? Used to see him every where on the base.

  571. Jodie Seaborn, January 16, 2012:

    Replying to Doug Hunt: Doug I don’t recall any tanks when I was at Wheelus. I was TDY from the States. One thing that I remembered was how well everyone got alone.

  572. Ray Buckman, January 16, 2012:

    @TOMMIE DAVIS–what year were you at the gunnery range at el uotia? I ran the power plant most of 1965. I like the duty. A/C and beer. No hassle duty.

  573. Charles F. Nemejc, January 16, 2012:

    When and where are the 431st reunions, I was there from 56-58…

  574. Doug Hunt, January 16, 2012:

    Ref: 558
    Jim I think what you heard with machine gun fire was the Base Weapons test firing weapons. After 29 Oct. 1956 till around Christmas 1956 it could have Air Base Defense when the Base was under Attack by the locals. I was part of Air Base Defense. So I know about about what went on as I was in the middle of it. You was right about it was quite a place for someone who just turned 18. Yes quite a place. God Bless.

    Doug Hunt

  575. Robert Carriveau, January 16, 2012:

    Charles the reunion so far has been the original 431st that was at Selfridge Field Mi. and went to Tripoli as a unit. The last reunion was in Wis. The next one will be in 2013, but I don’t know where yet as I missed that one. Send me a email and I can send you a roster of the men that attended.

  576. Doug Hunt, January 16, 2012:

    Dose anyone remember M/Sgt. Forrest King? He was First Shirt of the 7272nd. Supply Sq. He was a real good First Sgt. I left 25 Feb. 1957 and he was still there. I think he was the best First Sgt. I ever had. He was real fair and if you had a problem he would do everything he could to help you. I think this is a great site for us old goats that was at Wheelus in the cold war and we can go back. God Bless and God Bless our great country and our troops all over the world.

    Doug Hunt

  577. Bahrain, January 16, 2012:

    In 1958 we had F100’s and we had a test firing range for a/c guns I believe it was west of the jet engine test cell. We had to put a/c on jacks and retract wheels so guns could fire. I spent several hours jacking.

  578. terry mcgreevey, January 16, 2012:

    To aj phillips - do you remember a F-100 (I think it was an F-100) that was practicing takeoffs and landings when he lost control and crashed into a hanger back in 1958 ? Also, we had one flame out and hit into the village of sukajuma during my tour.

  579. Jim Voris, January 16, 2012:

    I have been following your conversations and had to add in that I was filling my cars gas tank at the on base filling station (What was gas then? 18 cents a gallon on base and half a Libyan Pound per liter off base?) anyway,… I recal the F-100 had fire shooting out the side of the aircraft and saw the pilot punch out. The wind brought him back over the base and he landed a block away. I think that was the one that came down in Sukajuma. I was a Base Lab photographer but wasn’t assigned to cover photographing the crash site .

  580. Bahrain, January 16, 2012:

    Terry, I can’t say I remember this one,but I got there dec 1958, had to serve 30months then. I saw several crashes while there but the one I remember the most was when Thunderbirds crashed on take off, killing 4 pilots, I don’t think controller a/c was involved. They were taking off in quad formation when one flamed out and knocked out the rest. I had to go out and help clean up crashsite, gruesome mess. We had a few helicopters lost. some landed in drink. What duration where you at Wheelus? One other memorable moment was we were performing p/e on F100 and had cycled landing gear and removed jacks, I pulled the position control c/b and emergency lowering cable to open wheel well doors, as soon as I pulled the door the nose gear folded up, my friend Leo Dugas was installing safety pins and the nose of the a/c nearly hit him, but he jumped back and cleared the a/c. The landing gear handle had shorted micro-switch in handle. according the air force lab. Does any one remember the 1952mercury that sat behind nco club it was pink and white. It was not running. I purchased it and fixed the engine, we had a lot of fun with it, got in trouble a few times on base. I read all of the post on this site not many folks during my tenure on here yet. I can remember we used to have to launch a/c carrying tool bag one hand and carbine M2 . also had to guard the fuel amd ammo/bomb dump. I enjoyed my 30 months there good duty, got to visit around europe, for a east texas red neck it was a life changing time. ( Arthur Phillips )

  581. Bahrain, January 16, 2012:

    a new website dedicated to WHEELUS. easier to upload pics, submit articles etc.

  582. terry mcgreevey, January 16, 2012:

    I was there with you at practically the same time - I arrived in September 1958 - just before they extended the tour from 18 months - left in March 1960. I may have confused the crash in Sukajuma with the one you described - seems I remember a number of people killed. I was assigned to the 58th Air Rescue Sq, we had SA-16s (flying boats), C-54s and H-19 helicopters. Seems like I am describing ancient history !! Those Sa-16s had to be the loudest aircraft to fly in - one of our aircraft landed in the sea to rescue some fishermen and was unable to takeoff, so the pilot taxied the aircraft to shore in nearby Tunisia. My very first entry on this website I mentioned the finding of the ‘Lady Be Good’ WW II bomber out in the desert - our unit flew out to verify the location after some BP people came across it and I was miffed with a documentary shown recently on the History channel about the finding and all the credit went to a GI survey party from Germany and no mention about us. Do you remember the story about the ‘Lady Be Good’ bomber ?

  583. Bahrain, January 16, 2012:

    I was there in 1968 and I guess the high points of my Air Force career as fire control tech were the times the F-100s were jacked up at the firing range. Occasionally I would be in the cockpit zeroing the gunsight and the weapons guys would get me to fire the 20 mil cannons to check their boresighting efforts. Would put in ear plugs, close the canopy and when given the thumbs, I’d cut loose. What a blast !!! Think there were 10 rounds in each cannon. Only took a sec to fire all 40 rounds. ( R. Sullivan )

  584. Jim Voris, January 16, 2012:

    Please send me your e-mail address and I will send you the portions of my book titled “Helluva Ride” that dealt with my time at Wheelus as an AF Photographer. Some of the Lady Be Good pic’s and all the diary photostats used in Life Mag were my shots - same with the display at the AF Museum in Dayton Ohio.(no credit of course - Official AF Photo was the credits) I agree with you about the stories. Either MY mind is crazy, or whatever, but there hasn’t been a real story about the AF involvement in the LBG. I went to the site with Gen Spicer (One hell of a fine General) and I havent found any fully authentic accounts of the LBG. One book showed the LBG with one of it’s engines removed and claimed it was a photo by the oil company discoverers. It was many trips down before they removed that engine. My book also has a story about the Air Rescue Squadron you might find deliriously funny. My e-mail address is

  585. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 17, 2012:

    ray buckman- i was at el uotia in 1969 and i also worked in the power plant. you are right about duty being relaxed my buddy and i played basketball every evening in the hot sun and ill never forget the sand storms that blew for days. lots of creepie crawling things to deal with too and we also had some dogs who just showed up and never left they were all our pets we gave them all names but i just cant recall the names its been a while lol. we were all pretty close and you got a chance to learn a lot out there. one thing that stand out in my memory is we use to go swimming in a large above ground salt water tank that we used for fire fighting, salt water that far out in the desert wow. tommie davis

  586. Bahrain, January 17, 2012:

    One of the props from the Lady Be Good was at the 7272 Headquarters and I have a picture of me standing with it. I took the family to Washington DC (1988) and to the air museum and it was there , so I told the kids about it. History ( R. Smith )

  587. Bahrain, January 17, 2012:

    I was in the big hangar(hydraulic shop), and yes I remember when 2 RF101’s were sent out from
    Wheelus to photograph the B24 liberator(Lady B Good)(BP spotted it) our 101’s were back on base less than 45 min. We could not wait for lab to develop pictures. I never got to go out to the site, but worked on C130’s that went out there. One particular time I was working on the brakes while crew chief ran engines, anti-skid malfunctioned and torque was pretty high on engines, it took off and headed toward air terminal, chief finally turned a/c and chopped torque, I finally got cannon plug reinstalled and the chief was standing tall on the rudder pedals and brakes locked up immediately. Throwed me into crew ladder. Air dome captain went beserk. He chewed on our butts for 30 min. We had good folks while I was there. SMSGT Marshall was in charge of hydraulic section, Shop was Tsgt Bonneywell, Tsgt Lawary was quiet a character. We had a staff Sgt. that came over (cross trained from Air Police to hydraulic) His wife and daughter later came over and they lived in town. Every weekend we would go down to old tripoli saturday evening and get 5gal. bucket of shrimp and several cold beers and go to his house and have a blast. I believe we paid 2 dollars(script)for shrimp. ( Arthur Phillips )

  588. Bahrain, January 17, 2012:

    Was anyone out at el uotia when the B66 bomber was trying to make lab runs and stalled out and went thru mess hall killed several folks? Also does anyone remember the full bird that would fly the1 b47 by himself, he would set fuel switches in rear seat and then fly-off. ( Arthur Phillips )

  589. Bahrain, January 17, 2012:

    ATTN: Tommie Davis - I was there in 68-69 played football and worked in the Finance Bldg by the runway. Sgt Tom Dwyer

  590. Ray Buckman, January 17, 2012:

    @TOMMIE DAVIS. We did not have a place to swim in 1965. I ran the power plant and could only do so much in that building. So I use to help change the targets that the jet shot at. I believe we even scored them before sending them out.
    Many snakes were killed by the guards during the night hours. The snakes came to the warmth of the compound. I caught a “sand cobra” out by one of the secret buildings. The guards killed it when I put it in a barrel to watch. “Little Mo” did not like snakes. It was a great place to work as in 1965 we did not have to wear a uniform. We were required to wear three things. Hat, sun glasses and boots.
    Also in 1965 a Fighter Jet went down after completing a “Victory 3 roll out”. I think that is what they called it when dropping a bomb by the target. The Jet went straight down in the desert.
    Early in 1965 they brought out many junk cars and trucks to practice shoot at. We put together one car from many and ran it around the desert. It was a great year of duty. No women but still OK.

  591. terry mcgreevey, January 17, 2012:

    To Jim Voris. I’ll send you an e-mail - can’t wait to read what you have. Talking about hilarious stories about my unit - I remember one time when we were on some kind of an alert and one of our eccentric mechanics named appropiately ‘combat’ Kelly (a Korean war vet) was on guard duty out on the flightline and our admin officer decided on his own to sneak out to see if he could catch anyone sleeping - well, Kelly, fired a volley over his head that scared the poor captain out of his wits !!! Seems I remember they didn’t issue any live ammo to anyone after that.

  592. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 17, 2012:

    Tom Dwyer….So nice to hear from someone who played football at the same time that i did at whellus. if you were in headquarters sq.then i guess we were teammates . if so iam sorry i dont remember your name i kinda remember guys by the position they played thank you for leaving the comment nice of you to do that. Tommie Davis

  593. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 17, 2012:

    I would love to communicate with anyone who might have pictures or film of some of the football games played at wheelus especially during 1969 season or any other season for that matter.

  594. Angelika Pawlitschek, January 17, 2012:

    To Kay Murphy,
    Hi Kay,

    I am so sorry to hear you just lost your husband, someone to share the memories of that time.
    I loved to read about your memories from the Castiglione Farm. I lived there at the same time (see my comments No. 58/60/72/113/219/273/284. I didn’t know you, but I did know Wolfgang, Siggy and Eric, also Marty, Pat and Gregory Clark. Those little boys played with my son. At the time of the September Coup in 69 I also had a 3 month old baby. We lived at the first house on the right at the entrance to the farm. From there I used to walk to the base with my children in the pram.

    Alfio’s daughter wrote comment No. 283. I did not know he moved to Texas and had a family there. Do you remember Alfio’s Italian Christmas Cakes he distributed to all of his tenants at Christmas time? Many times I went with Tina or Melina to this bakery to buy that tasty bread. Our house was connected to the city power. The water from Alfio’s well was not drinkable. It had sulphur in it from the hot spring outside the East Gate. My husband got all the drinking water from Base and even the bathwater for the newborn.

  595. Bahrain, January 17, 2012:

    My uncle Clyde Ison was one of the men on the holding crew responsible for bringing the propeller home. He was on the last flight out of Tripoli with Chappy (?). He has only recently started talking about it. He was there Jan - May 1970 and was forcibly housed. ( Lena Campbell )

  596. Jim Voris, January 17, 2012:

    to Terry McGreevey: Got the email and sent the portions relating to Wheelus and time in Libya. If you get a kick out it you might like the whole book “Helluva Ride” which is able to get at I tried to send the whole book but it exceeds the 20 meg max file requirement.

  597. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 17, 2012:

    mr. ray buckman…. we were told that a cobra had been caught at el uotia some time before we got there. our one and only air policeman tsgt. gaither spotted a rather large snake behind my work station diesel plant and alerted the rest of us. when i got there i saw something that i had never seen before and to this day has not seen again. this long snake had elevated itself up off the ground about half its body length. the the guys ran got their cameras started taking pictures the snake retreated into my work station the diesel plant. i was handed a long aluminium pole with a loop on one end and i was able to slip the loop around the snakes head and pull it out the exause shutter. one of the libyan guards who could speak some english told us that the snake was one of the most dangerous that we would find there. i believe he said it was a crait that may not be the correct spelling of the word….Tommie Davis

  598. R. Ong, January 17, 2012:

    Really enjoy reading all about Wheelus. Makes me feel young again. I flew out on the Freedom Bird in mid May 1970. Still trying to locate SSgt Harry Page of AFRTS and SSgt Wesley Burt. MSgt Claudius Johnson, SSgt McGahee, TSgt Puckett, and Col. Nagel were also in the 1950th Comm Squadron.

  599. Ray Buckman, January 17, 2012:

    @Tommie Davis. I only saw two different kinks of snakes in the desert. The “Horned Viper” (most common) and the one they called the “Sand Cobra”. I wish I had taken pictures but the guards killed it before I could get my camera.
    We were told by the guards that many Horned Vipers were killed on the site. Mostly at night.
    Many big spiders and scorpions.
    But it was still good duty and the beer was cold.

  600. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 18, 2012:

    Ray Buckman….you are correct when you say the snakes came into the compound at night. usually if we saw the dogs two or three together in a corner of the compound and they seem disturbed most of the time there was a snake involved. one thing that i noticed was that the guards when they were off duty use to walk around even into the desert with just sandals on.

  601. Bahrain, January 18, 2012:

    hi jay williams here
    does any one remember a fellow by the name of sonny rivers he was in the 1950th com sq

  602. Jim Muse, January 18, 2012:

    Ref 604 Jay Williams: What time frame are we referring to? I was in the 1950th from April 56 until October 57. We were an AACS squadron at the time. Do you know what section Airman Rivers worked?

  603. Bahrain, January 19, 2012:

    i was at wheelus 1967 through july of 69 during the evacuation , i remember sonny find our wifes etc,,, all i remember , he was in the 1950th boy i remember the whole base was full of cars,,, i spent about 3 weeks on the big hanger floor no where else to sleepmmmm ,got down to stew in the mess hall,,, and the class 6 store was dry .. ( JD Williams )

  604. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 19, 2012:

    Mr Arthur Phillips…. i dont know the year youre talking about that the bomber crashed at the range. i was there in 1969 we were told that there had been some crashes there before 69 and people lost their lives. the one incident that i remember was that a pilot had a problem with the canopy on his aircraft and he had to make an emergency landing out there. he engaged the runway barrier and landed safely and caught a ride on the rescue helicopter going in. the plane sat on the end of the runway for a few days until some guys came out and worked on it. TommieDavis

  605. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 19, 2012:

    Ray Buckman….one incident that i remember that was kinda funny after it was over was a libyan civilian drove a little volkwagen onto the range when the range was still open and parked his car right behind one of the large targets. i guess he was gonna just get some rest or maybe take a nap. he must have had a praying grandmother because one of the guys working in one of the towers spotted him and got him off the range just before the aircraft started firing at the targets again. Tommie Davis

  606. Bahrain, January 19, 2012:

    Tommie it had to have been late 1959-early60, I did not witness the B66 crash, but we sent personnel and equipment to bring it to base. At that time I was assisting in aircraft crash&reclamation, we had psp matting laid down behind the big hangar(fenced in) we had several aircraft an helicopters fenced in. The crash investigators came from Germany to examine reckage, several folks were killed mostly civilians working on B66 LAB systems. Don’t know or remember haw many. ( Arthur Phillips )

  607. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 19, 2012:

    Thanks mr phillips for your comments. you help me understand more about the history of whellus and el uotia…Tommie Davis

  608. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 20, 2012:

    For the ones of you that are history buffs that has some ties to whellus. It is obvious to me that from some of the comments i’ve read that you have a very extensive knowledge and memory of whellus. For the ones of you that love airplanes and flying and who has followed the evolution of aircraft and the united states air force. There is a movie that starts today entitled “RED TAILS”. Red tails is the story of an all black unit of pilots that flew escorts for bombers in europe during world war II. Sources say that the unit never lost a bomber during their escorts because of their daring and flying skills. these men were tuskegee airmen. the significance of that point is that four star general, General Daniel “CHAPPIE ” James who was a great fighter pilot himself and the base wing commander at whellus in 1969 until the base closed was also a tuskegee airman. Tommie Davis

  609. Craig Emert, January 20, 2012:

    Hello. I was a firefighter at Wheelus AB from 3/69 to 4/70. Occasionally, we delivered water in a tanker truck to the bombing range. Overall, I have good memories of the assignment. The revolution cut my 15 month tenure a few months short.

  610. Bahrain, January 21, 2012:

    I will go see “Red Tails”. I remember when Chappie James came to the base. I like him and what he has to say. I would go to banana village to watch the Lybians train to fly in their Mirage fighters. It wasn’t a bad duty till the trouble started, because of all the things we had to do. Golfing , horse back riding and ofcourse swimming in the beautiful Med.

    Richard Smith retired

  611. Allen Hebert, January 21, 2012:

    So much hype about REDTAILS i would have to get PAID to go see it….History is being re-written again by Holly-Wood…Over Europe they never lost an airplane which was great but then that was after the Luffwaff was down to boys with no training flying…Its just the hype thats killing me…None of the Redtails are aces even with no skilled German fighters ….Hype and rewrite just does not hack it….Again very good escort and took care of buisness but lets be honest about when this happened….

  612. Allen Hebert, January 21, 2012:

    Detachment 1 86 FIS…..February 1959 to December 1959….Again in 1961 for TDY with the 496th FIS out of HAHN Germany….Great times….I blogged prior on the beginning of this site # 52 and # 90…Very interesting chats…..I thought it was fantastic duty….Dont know how anyone went into the old city as it was restricted for us….The city yes but Old City nope…..If anyone recognizes the squadrons and know or remember anything especially the Detachment 1 with F86D aircraft help me recall names if you can…Like Sq Co Major Weinard i believe….Airman Schurbert….Airman Lincoln..TSGT Lorber….1st Lt Parr…Airman Fernandez..

  613. Russ Kovach, January 21, 2012:

    My tour Nov.’55–Apr.’57. Was in 580th Air Resupply Sqdn on the far eastern part of the base. Had to ride 6bys back and forth to main base. I have visited the OLD CITY where I purchased beautiful small rugs of which I still have. 580th was disbanded in 1956.Don’t see many notes from my era…. have they all passed ??? Where are you ???

  614. Bud Trill, January 21, 2012:

    Allen Hebert
    In 1954 and ‘55 you were allowed to go into the “Old City”. The only restriction was that you were supposed to be out by sundown. No problem as long as you didn’t get caught. We also could go into any establishment (movie theatre, etc.) and meet a girl but you couldn’t be caught with them on the street.

  615. jim matulis, January 21, 2012:

    In `61/62
    the only off limits posted on all the B.Bs were the whore houses…everything else was on….and of course,no uniforms in town

  616. Bahrain, January 22, 2012:

    2 TDY’s 1957/58 with 587 TMG out of Sembach AFB. At the time the AF hired Arab nationals (the one I worked with was from Tunisia) to assist with security, believe it or not. He and I shared his pot of tea about 2400, my cigarettes at 0400. He spoke no more English than I did Arabic, but we could marginally communicate in German. Foolishly, perhaps, I got him to take me into the Old City to buy my mother a set of small carved ivory animals. The only rule I know of was that I should check in with the Brits at the old fort, and they would look for me the following day if I didn’t come back out.
    That day turned out to be the anniversary of something important (return to independence after WWII???). While we were in the old city a gawd-awful noisy parade came screaming and yelling down the street in our direction. “My” Arab dragged me into a store to get off the street. The ship-keeper rolled down the bars over his windows, and, golly gee, talk about feeling terrified. Twenty year old kid from small town USA!! Anyway, the crowd passed by, the shopkeeper reopened his shop and we proceeded on our way. After bargaining for a few minutes a Libyan pound or so got me twenty of the little figurines I wanted to buy. Needless to say “my” Arab’s ration of cigarettes doubled. I still have those carvings. ( Walt Brown )

  617. Allen Hebert, January 22, 2012:

    Again….I could not go into the Old City and i imagine maybe it was the Sq. Co who possibly put out the restriction….We were allowed the City but were told to stay away and not enter the Old City Gates….Only allowed to go with 4 or more people together….Again since it looks like most people on this site were allowed to enter i could not…I did buy things on the open market with script that was issued…Rugs and Ivory which i still have….I did not have any problems and to this day wonder why we were restricted as a unit….Possible prior troubles and the Commander of the Squadron did not want a repeat…Anyway the time in Wheelus was great and no regrets…ARH

  618. terry mcgreevey, January 22, 2012:

    Seems I remember there was a curfew where you had to get off the streets by midnight (1958-9) - the big danger was the roving bands of wild dogs down in Tripoli - heard about them but never encountered any - but why take chances !!
    For Tommy Smith regarding Chappie James. He was a member of the Tuskegee airmen but didn’t see any combat in WW II. He made his name during the Korean War as a fighter ace. I got a consec to RAF Alconbury in England after my Libyan tour and subsequently got transferred to RAF Bentwaters (1962) where then Colonel James was the Operations Officer for the 81st TFW. Heard him giving a speech one time while I was stationed there - pretty inspirational.

  619. terry mcgreevey, January 22, 2012:

    Oops - meant my last message for Tommy Davis not Tommy Smith ! Sorry.

  620. Jim Voris, January 22, 2012:

    I was there 1958-61 as a Base Photo Lab Photographer. I went into the Old City many times and even got a piece of tail from an Egyptian Belly Dancer from the Orient Bar in her Hotel in the Old City (about 3:00 AM -after she got off work) She was worried but I foolishly wasnt afraid. After wife came over we even took my infant daughter into the Old City and shopped. I never had a problem so the tails being told are totally foreign to me.

  621. Allen Hebert, January 22, 2012:

    I guess as a photographer you were all knowing….I simple stated My Exceptions to the rule….As stated i dont know why…My Squadron maybe….We were the ragbags of the Base and did a lot of Hell-Raising…I dont know why….I just did not breach the commanders wish…I could state other things but may offend someone as to why i believe we could not go..It happened cant change the why at this stage of my life…The base was wonderful..The people were wonderful…What else can i say about MY time in Wheelus…Was a great time for a barely 18 year old…Would do it all over again…Wish i could say i went and could have gone to the Old City…I cant…

  622. Bahrain, January 22, 2012:

    I was stationed there in 1961-62 and the Old City was off limits. I was with the 1615th Support Sqd. and as best that I can remember it was a base wide restriction. ( Daniel Debrase )

  623. Marge Amerud, January 22, 2012:

    I was “evacuated” from Wheelus in 1970. They were getting us all out of there anyway they could. Thus, since I was a few months pregnant, they flew my husband
    and I out on a medical plane. The revolution began in August 1969 on my honeymoon and some Arab friends came and got us out of our hotel to bring us to safety. Tripoli was a beautiful city and the history, the people, the customs were fascinating. I truly loved my experience there.

  624. Allen Hebert, January 22, 2012:

    Thank You Daniel debrase…I thought maybe my memory was completly shot…Thanks…Whether it was Base wide or Squadron it was for me restricted….Was Permant Party 02/59 to 12/59 Det 1 86 FIS F86D aircraft…Then again TDY with 496th FIS out of Hahn AFB Germany for a one month in 1961..Gunnery tour with the Danish Air Force as a team shootout…..The beer was by the barrel full…Matter of fact i now recall that one of the Danish Crew Chiefs was sucked up the dogpecker and the fire dept just came and washed the left-overs away…Then the beer was cut-off for a few days with a lot of do and donts in run-ups when working on the a/c…dang i just remember this story or incident for the first time in years…Help anyone??

  625. Donna (Basehart) Gray, January 22, 2012:

    I was there as a kid (11 years old when we left in 1964) with my sister and parents from 61-64, and I remember going to the Old City with the family for shopping and dinner. Had cous-cous for the first time and have loved it ver since. Still have a few pictures and souveniers. I have a Mickey Mouse comic book in Arabic.

  626. Bud Trill, January 22, 2012:

    Allen Hebert
    Why are you apologizing for being obedient to your commanders wishes or orders as such. Being in subjection to your superiors is an admiral trait whether in the military or not.

  627. Bud Trill, January 22, 2012:

    Should have checked my spelling first. admirable

  628. terry mcgreevey, January 22, 2012:

    Talking about belly dancers - a group of us young troops used to go and watch them - sitting on small stools in the night club and totally fascinated. What was more fascinating was the european ‘B’ girls that sat in booths - who looked more and more appealing the longer you spent on your tour - and one night my buddies and I put enough money together to buy the mandatory bottle of champagne you had to have to join the girls in the booth. After our initial heightening of expectations, the girls polished off the champagne quicker than superman leaping a tall building and we returned disgruntled and poorer back to the stools. Another adventurous story from my desert tour.

  629. Charles F. Nemejc, January 22, 2012:

    Stationed at Wheelus with the 431st FIS 56-58, Went ot the “old city” many times, Had brass and copper plates made as I sat there watching them pound them out, The Arabs would make any design you wanted, Drank and ate in the old city, never had a problem, Excellent tea, I would got with Ronald Gower, also from the 431st, any one remember him, He went home after about a year. He was from Los Angeles.
    I still have a ticket from the cabaret that had the belly dancers down town and the black cat bar, Excellent beer, Remeber the green lantern resturant, Again Excellent food,and wine…We should post pictures of ourselfs so we can remeber who we are talking to. I remember some name but canot picture them…I think most have passed since the 50s… Handmade boots, shoes and suits, I brought home alot of priceless objects but most was lost in a house fire in the 60s, I do have alot of pictures,

  630. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 23, 2012:

    Mr Mcgreevey… Your comment is correct and well recieved in the regard that Gen. chappie James did not see combat in europe during ww II. I believe he was a flight instructor at tuskegee institute at that time. The point that i wanted to make regarding the tuskegee airmen is this. The legacy of the airman and their accomplishments transcends world war II. Gen. James simply carried on a tradition of excellence that had already been established by the tuskegee airman. Thats evident by his performance in both korea and vietnam. Thank you very much sir. Tommie Davis

    that fact

  631. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 23, 2012:

    In my openion it appears to me that there are some that believe the tuskegee airmen “Red Tails” was involved in a watered down version of the war in europe. If it was possible to speak to some of the flight crews that flew bombers you probally would get a different perspective. As far as hollywood is concerned the first knowledge i ever had of a metal of honor winner was from a movie about Sgt Alvin York a wwI hero. That movie served as a history lession for me. Sgt. York was a great american and is held in high esteem and regard in part because his story was allowed to be toid thru a movie. P.S. During president George Bush,s adminstration he presented the Tuskegee Airmen as a unit the congressional gold metal for their galantry.

  632. Bahrain, January 23, 2012:

    One of the funniest things I saw was right after I got there in 68 I took a tour down town to the camel market. I saw a camel put into a small truck and it had a doze or more ropes tying it down to the bed. When he left the truck almost turned over and the camel was just bullring. I laugh so hard that I was told to stop because it was a disgrace to them. I took many pictures and did most of the printing on base. I bought many tapestry’s and rugs and all kinds of things and sent most home. I got several sheets of untouched stamps and money that had in the name of King Idres. Our home was broke into and all was stolen. Should have put them in a safe deposit box. In 2001 our home caught on fire and we lost everything except our lives because God woke me up and I got my family out.

    TSGT Richard smith Retired

  633. Bahrain, January 23, 2012:

    please upload any pics via the “upload images” link shown on the right on this page ( ). We can then share the same pics on this site. Thanks!

  634. Marge Amerud, January 23, 2012:

    Loving this site, bringing back lots of memories. I was there from July 1968 where I watched the moon walking and listened to the Arabs say it was a Hollywood stunt, thru Feb 1969 when we had to leave. Saw lots of Clint Eastwood spahetti movies for 25 cents. Col Chappie James got the spouses all together after the coup to calm everyone down and to ask us to refrain from hoarding milk and gas. He was a wonderful leader and we were sadden when he died. We had lots of Libyan, Egyptian and Italian friends and felt very safe living off base. Once had to cook a large fish for an Arab friend and leave the head on as the eye was a delicacy. I still have three beautiful tapestries purchased with cigarettes and two large bowls purchased from some oil families that were leaving. The base “bakery” baked my sheet wedding cake…thank you very much! We had to get married by the mayor of Tripoli who I’m afraid was not mayor long as Gadhaffi took over on our honeymoon. Then, a wedding on base by a priest from Malta. Thank you to all the GI’s who felt sorry for us being a long ways from home and helped us have a terrific reception! My husband had made friends with a soldier from Missouri who had a VW bug and he took us exploring everywhere…bless him! I would not trade my time there at all, and wish we could have stayed longer. My husband was a plumber in the Air Force. We went from Libya to Nevada, one desert to another. I can’t think of more opposite towns than Tripoli and Las Vegas, though. Thanks everyone for all the sharing!

  635. Marge Amerud, January 23, 2012:

    oh my, got the years wrong….July 1969 to Feb 1970. Sorry!

  636. Bahrain, January 23, 2012:

    I went TDY to Spain for a couple of weeks and love it. It was cold and there was snow. The cool was nice. I met a guy that was on his second tour of Spain so he had a VW and spoke their language very well. After our training school we would go down town. We would park the VW and take a taxi to town. Driving was scary there. We were walking on one of the streets when two walked by and he says do you know who that was. Ofcourse I said no well it was Doris Day and Jack Palance. Madrid was beautiful made me feel like I was in Chicago. They were so nice. He took me to a place in the ole part of town. It was a underground steak house. Best meal I had had in a year. We drank a hole picture of sangria and I didn’t know it was wine so when we started to leave I was very woozy. I had some great times and it was so beautiful with no smog. At nite you could see billions and billions of stars. The harvest moon would make you appreciate our God’s beautiful and wonderful handy work. ( Richard Smith )

  637. Bob Gilbert, January 23, 2012:

    This is for Marge Amerud:

    1. Are you sure that it was not Feb. 1970, not 1969, when you “had to leave?” The coup during which Muammar al-Qaddafi overthrew King Idris was in Sept. 1969.

    2. I was stationed at Wheelus with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from June 1968 through November 1969. My wife and I were also married by the mayor of Tripoli, and by an Air Force chaplain on the Base, so we share that distinction. We had a nice reception, and got the traditional post-wedding Corps of Engineers’ ride on a bulldozer around the streets of Wheelus.

    3. We also lived off base for a period of time, until a trailer on the Mediterranean became available. We had a villa in a village outside what I believe was called the East Gate. I cannot remember the name of the village. I thought it was Tajura, but it seems that is a location on the scale of a city — a much larger place.

    3. We were not very active socially. But, a Frenchman who worked in our office was. His name was Henri Nicholas. Did you by chance know him? His widow has posted a couple of times on this blog.

    4. The other person in our office was LTC Ed Buen, whose wife’s name was Marge. Perhaps you encountered them? I think that the Buens had a VW Bug convertible.

  638. Allen Hebert, January 23, 2012:

    Now i am confused….we went a lot of times to the Black Cat Bar…It was an Italian establishment….It was not in the Old City…Now i know i have lost my mind as i see that someone else said it was in the old City behing the Gates…Wow…I f i am wrong then i should have been court martialed for going there as we were Not allowed to enter the Old City Gates…I apologize …I must be retarded or to old to remember…Sorry….Red Tails are not as what is considered correct history…look at the time frame and please be honest as they are perceived….Time frame is the key….when they escorted Bombers…hell half the German Air Force was blown out of the sky when they were escorting…Would i be glad for the escort…ABSOLUTELY..ITS JUST THE over the top so said bravory which EVERY Pilot was brave…PERIOD….

  639. Donna (Basehart) Gray, January 24, 2012:

    Marge - that wouldn’t happen to have been Fr. Abela who married you, would it?

  640. Marge Amerud, January 24, 2012:

    Thanks, Bob, for the correction. It’s weird, I wrote the correct dates on another post right afterwards and it was there, but now is gone. My husband got there Jan of 1969 and I arrived in July of 1969. We left together in Feb of 1970 as I posted on #625. We got married by the mayor on August 26. You must have a lovely marriage certificate like mine, half in English and half in Arabic. The guy with the VW’s name was Don Cates. We must have lived in the same area as you, I’m not sure. We shared a three bedroom villa with Rocco (Rocky) Pollicino Jr and his wife Leigh. We were one street over from the market. Towards the end of our stay we were made to move on base and live with Ron Gathier in a trailer after his family went back to the states. He had been a wonderful friend to us right from the start. Darn, I didn’t get the bulldozer ride, but did ride from Tripoli to the villa by horse and carriage. And did get pulled from my honeymoon at a hotel overlooking the prince’s palace because of the coup, which I had posted as Aug and was the beginning of Sept. We had always wished we could gave gone back.

  641. Marge Amerud, January 24, 2012:

    This is so weird, now my date corrections are back on #637.

  642. ali,borawi, January 24, 2012:

    hi all,
    I am living just across the street from the early 1950s the base was extended from the smaller Italian to about 2 miles long one. they took my granfather farm and other neighbours. sarrounded by a 2.5 m high the 50s drunk soldiers used to go out of base. once beating up my uncle. later on in 60s was only libyan plice ridding horses garded the base from outside. there was a lot of hate only due to u. s. help to isrel against egept (arabo). in 64 demos in 67 curviews + demos. every sunday 4 f-4 break sound bariers carry something like roocket from away released over base attached to one plane by wire. handfull of people from our village worked on base . they brought to village nude mags. not allowed by our law then. imagine a base like country into a country. now, old people who lived since 50s around the base went deaf due to jet engines. I remember kids go up over surrounding buildings in 1960s to watch take off and landing of f4 f100 c130 f5 . I saw a collide of 2 planes as taking off maybe f100. there was a corner for libya’s airforce f104 f105.
    some were renting houses off base from locals. in general, Americans are nice. I just wanted to share with you something from a diferent angle. I felt some of you look at locals as naive or sub humans. feel sorry for that view.

  643. ali,borawi, January 24, 2012:

    Libya now free from Qaddafi dictatorship. thank God . thanks to libya’s people scrifices. thanks to France England U.S. and NATO. and others for all the help. Time is different. hope better future for our kids. still live next to the base for me is reality I helped secure the base over the revolution days in 2011. for you nice memories. Not bad .

  644. ali,borawi, January 24, 2012:

    there was a golf and rodio on the east side by the beach off-base. we used to watch from outside fence. the used to burn some garbbage in side. really bother locals. empty beer bottles like a hill in a rented lot off-base SE.
    there was a tv station on base before even libya had one. some programs in Arabic mainly libaneese songs. used to watch some amer. combat movies in 60s. black and white. we even watched landing on moon on libya tv july 1969.

  645. Bahrain, January 24, 2012:

    God bless the good people of Libya. Will never forget the life lesions from wheelus. 7272 hdq ( Tom Dwyer - 68-69 )

  646. Bahrain, January 24, 2012:

    Loved the sand greens. Put for the groove left by previous groove. Tell “sadik” not to rake. If I remember right golf course near Mirage. ( T Dwyer )

  647. Jim Muse, January 24, 2012:

    The Mirage. Wasn’t that the restaurant where one ordered by number? Every menu item was accompanied by a number and the customer simply wrote down the number of the item when they ordered. Also, wasn’t there an ice cream shop on the main drag called the “Oasis”. I recall the Mirage and Oasis coming to the base when I was stationed there from 4/56 until 10/57. AACS (Always At Coffee Shop) plus a couple of more colorful definitions.

  648. terry mcgreevey, January 24, 2012:

    To Jim Muse. Got a laugh over your comment about AACS (always at coffee shop) - my next assignment after Wheelus was with the 1266th AACS Sq in England and a fellow worker always answered the phone ‘Acres and Acres’ (of Cow S**t), the bracketed part not always spoken but insinuated. The ‘Mirage’ - seems like that was the place on base where they fixed some decent chili - always remember the flies joining in drinking my coffee - they would settle on the lip of the cup and you would wave them away and they would re-settle just as you take a sip.

  649. Marge Amerud, January 24, 2012:

    Donna, sorry I don’t remember the Priests name. My “legal” marriage was with the mayor and I don’t have any paperwork for the religious one. They were three days apart which was nice because if my husband forgot our anniversary, he had three days to redeem himself!

  650. Al Sullivan, January 24, 2012:

    I want to applaud Ali Borawi for his comments in # 645, 646 and 647. There is a tendency for us to only consider circumstances from our own experience and perspective. It is a good ‘wake up call’ to hear and ponder about how things were perceived from the ‘other side of the fence’.

    I would also second Tom Dwyer’s (#648) “God bless the good people of Libya”. Al Sullivan, Hq 17th AF, Wheelus AFB, 57—59.

  651. Bahrain, January 24, 2012:

    Thank you Mr. Ali Borawi for you comments. I was at Wheelus 1967-1968. While I am sure some of us as Americans can be a difficult group to tolerate at times, please consider that most of us were very young when we were in your country. I was barely 20. We were far from home and our families in a place very different from what we were accustomed to, doing things most of us wouldn’t otherwise have been doing were it not for manditory military service. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed my stay at Wheelus for a variety of reasons, but I did find it facinating and count it among the biggest adventures of my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been there. I occasionally view the now Mitaga Int. Airport on Google satellite and remember something different every time. I wish you and Libya a better future and also hope that the government that emerges from the recent revolution will be one that is tolerant and welcoming to outsiders, especially Americans. I would like to visit again as a tourist before my days are up. ( R Sullivan )

  652. Marge Amerud, January 24, 2012:

    Ali Borawi: in 1969 we made friends in Libya who lived near the East Gate market by the name of Sharif with an Egyptian wife named Sanai and 2 year old daughter Heba. Sharif fell asleep at the wheel and died while driving back from Egypt and he had many presents for us in his car. 40 some years later, I still feel grief over his loss. I know this is a long shot, but would love to know what happened to the family. At the time, Sanai was allowed to go back to Egypt, but she would have had to leave her daughter with Sharif’s family.

  653. Jim Muse, January 24, 2012:

    Queston. Does anyone out there recall any B-36s or B-52s at Wheelus Field (Air Base)? I recall B-47s, RB57s, and RB-66s. Of course we had KB-50s (B-29s) there as well. I do not recall any B-36s or B-52s landing there while I was there from Apr56 until Oct57. Just curious …

  654. Ellsworth briggs, January 24, 2012:

    Hi Terry McGreevey,

    I wonder if you have read #195, Michaela Fuji-Rohrer’s entry?

    it is a stunning entry

    Again, thank you for trying to keep this site clean and free of prejudice.

    Ellsworth Briggs, 102nd AC&W ‘52=53

  655. R. Ong, January 24, 2012:

    Now that Libya is free I hope that we can all return for a visit. Wheelus was my second overseas tour and although it was not my choice I really had a memorable tour. I remember Col. Chappie James very well and thank goodness he was our base commander at the time. I have many pictures of the base and would like to be able to see it again. This is a great site for sharing all our Wheelus years.


  656. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 25, 2012:

    Tom Dwyer….Are you still playing golf ? its a great game i played my first round while at whellus and thought all courses had sand greens lol. tell me Tom what position did you play in football and did you play for the blazers ? so far i havent found anyone but you who played there. i would love to find teammates i actualy remember quite a few of them and their names and position they played. if youre still on the links play well. Tommie Davis

  657. Angelika Pawlitschek, January 25, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi:
    Good to read your comments. I hope your country will be peaceful and prosperous for all the people in the future. There was so much suffering going on in the last year. I remember Tripoli as a beautiful city and the birthplace of my second son. What became of the Italian farm at the East Gate, just behind the row of shops? Maybe you can let us know who lives in the houses on the base now. Have the houses been sold to people?

  658. Bahrain, January 25, 2012:

    Marge - Very heart warming story. Would be wonderful to hear positive results from your inquiry. Go Ali Go.
    Author Tom Dwyer 1968-69

  659. ali,borawi, January 25, 2012:

    Thank you for the comments on what I wrote. the neighbours of the base are are now in tens of thousans. as population grew over the last 40 years. and the base is stretched from souk elguma to tajura. I just try to input some pieces to infos about the area. does anyone remember “faawaar” which is a hot water stream by the east gate. used as health pool. and next to it was a meat shop. and some small markets.
    I would like to add that the tension was part of the cold war and the uneven sided of the west nations in the mideast conflect. must remember thet egypt accused the base of beeing participating directly in 6-day-war. remember Naser?
    wheelus is part of our memories too. nice memories at most. It made me love aviation. I also feel attached to you all since we shared indirectly some events.
    you know I think most of the people of your country were more conservative and zealot in 50s than in (60s ) when became more open & less conservative.
    Finally Libya is very peacefull. and Iam sure you are welocome at any time to visit or stay. You are part of our history.

  660. ali,borawi, January 25, 2012:

    some houses are now occupied by people working for the base. some of them are now not part of the base any more. north of the base is a civilian highway linking tajura directly to tripoli.

  661. ali,borawi, January 25, 2012:

    a lady wrote about a libyan planting flower trees without roots. It is still done in Libya. branches take time to have new roots. was not cheating.
    About pupies, may be the guy was not trutful since he thought you would ask him to bring them back. No we do not eat dogs (forbidden by Islam too). Yes meat comes from sheep cow camel goat, birds.

  662. ali,borawi, January 25, 2012:

    to 200 the tall man’s name was “NashNoosh”

  663. Angelika Pawlitschek, January 25, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi: I remember the faawaar (hot spring), but I did not go near it, because only men used it. My husband told me it is a health bath. On Google Earth you can see this new highway along the coast on base. Would be difficult to go swimming there today, because of crossing the highway.

  664. ali,borawi, January 25, 2012:

    afterward they build over the hot bath they had one day a week for women .low traffic highway. the beach in 60s was clean. but neglected by qdafi to became full of waste. thank god libya free. things getting better.

  665. Bahrain, January 25, 2012:

    For Tommie Davis: I arrived in August 68 and played football, the team I can’t remember. 1st Sgt Tom’s was our coach. I was interested in playing Defensive End . Shortly into our preseason I was injured putting an end to my football career at Wheelus. I was buddied up with 3 guys Chuck who played Wide Receiver - very fast skinny guy who worked in base inteligience as a writer. A Japanese guy, name escapes me - I believe he played Linebacker and Ed who was a clown and always got in trouble, good skills though Running Back - his job was working as a Parachute Packer, God help us. He worked for a Lt Schidle.

    Anyway, yes I still play golf and forty years later I still can’t break a 90. Love to hear more Tom Dwyer

  666. terry mcgreevey, January 25, 2012:

    For Ellsworth Briggs - thanks for referring comment # 195 - hadn’t read the comment before and what an experience that young girl went through. So I guess my reference to the wild dog packs was correct - I doubt seriously if I had been as brave as she was in that dangerous predicament.

  667. Russ Kovach, January 25, 2012:

    To Jim Muse #656…..I was in 580th Air Resupply Sqdn Nov.’55 until it disbanded in ‘56. We had SA-16’s , C-119’s and B-29’s . (No b-50’s)
    Base protection was 86-D’s. When Sqdn disbanded , the 29’s went back to the states. I ended up in 7272 Fld Maint Engine Buildup. Mades S/Sgt the day before my 21’st birthday . Back to states Apr. ‘57.

  668. Jim Muse, January 25, 2012:

    Ref 670 Russ Kovach: I see you arrived at Wheelus just before I did in the spring of 56. I do recall the 580th ARS being at Wheelus. I would wager most people thought it was an Air Rescue Squadron but, in handling classified message traffic I knew otherwise. You people in the 580th had an interesting mission. Years later I met a retired LtCol who flew the B-29s at Wheelus. He had retired as a briefing officer at the NMCC (Pentagon). He was there at the same time we were. All I recall was he went back to ND, his home state. He was surprised I knew about the 580th ARS. He also told me about the “John” hole and the “Jane” hole. Interesting times at Wheelus in those days. I turned 19 and 20 at Wheelus Completed NCO Prep School at Malmstrom AFB at 20 years of age. Was promised S/SGT if I reupped but we know how that goes. Am from northern Virgina so I pretty well knew I could obtain federal employment with my background. Thanks to the USAF, I did that very thing and am now retired. Thanks for your response…

  669. Bahrain, January 25, 2012:

    To Jim Muse

    After my tour there,68-70 and 22 years I retired in 1989 live in Tennessee. Yes I got lots of training with the Air Force. I got a job with the State with Environment and Conservation and after 16.5 years with them I retired from that position also. ( Richard Smith )

  670. terry mcgreevey, January 25, 2012:

    For Jim Muse - interesting piece about the 580th ARS - since the 58th Air Rescue Sq (my old unit) was also at Wheelus at the same time and was often abbreviated to 58th ARS - any amusing stories of miscommunication along the lines of the old WW II slang SNAFU ?

  671. Jim Muse, January 25, 2012:

    Ref 673 Terry McGreevey: I’m sure there were a lots of folks on the base that thought the 58th ARS and the 580th were the same outfit. If they didn’t work around the aircraft or handle traffic pertaining to the aircraft they really wouldn’t know the difference. As I recall, both squadrons operated SA-16s at the time. We all know what SNAFU represents, later in the Viet Nam conflict FUBAR became the slang phrase of fashion. I’m sure there were others to include Golf Foxtrot. These “words” easily became part of the military vernacular. My license plate on my Wrangler is TASFUIA. That is a personal one that originated in Stalag 1 during WWII. Can you figure it out?

  672. Stepan Brodsky, January 25, 2012:


    I was with the 58th ARRS at Wheelus from March 1969 thru Jan 1970. The the unit moved to Woodbridge RAF and became the 67th ARRS.

  673. Bud Trill, January 25, 2012:

    Jim Muse:
    Two questions. When you were in the 1950th was your Sq. CO a Maj. John H. Foresman? Did you happen to know a Tech. Sgt. Gene Foe?

  674. Bud Trill, January 25, 2012:

    The 580th Air Resupply Group:

    The following info on the 580th ARS Gp. is from page 16 of the Wheelus Field pictorial record book for the 1603rd Air Transport Wing in Tripoli, Libya commanded by Colonel Rollen H. Anthis B/C circa ‘54

    The 580th ARS Gp. has the big job of controlling the varied functions of the two large units, the Air resupply Sq. and the AMA Sq. The control is maintained very proficiently by the Gp. commander, Col. G. E. Noakes. Under his direction the flying crews and the other aerial technicians are kept at top efficiency to enable them to fulfill their mission of supply by air. Most of the members of this hard working Gp. were here at Wheelus Field in the old days of tents and huts. The hardships of tent life, salty water, field kitchens and mess kits, along with countless Ghiblis and scorpions did a lot for shaping the fine spirit that is found throughout the outfit today. In any outfit there is always and endless amount of paperwork, filing and general administration to be done. In this, the 580th is no exception.

  675. Ray Ong, January 25, 2012:


    I enjoy reading your comments. Shortly after I arrived Qdafi took charge and I did not get to mingle much with the locals except for those employed on base. I do have a few photos around Tripoli and hope to return for a re-visit.


  676. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 26, 2012:

    Tom Dwyer….Tom i didtn play until fall 1969. in september when the rumbling began (coup) i was at el uotia the gunnery range. for our safety they took some of us to whellus and thats when i found out that headquarters squadron had a football team the waddan blazers. and you are correct sgt. Toms the first sgt. was the coach asst. coach chew chew walker and their was a coach whoes name i cant recall was a army officer. Tom we share some of the same things. our first names, our love of golf, and the fact that we both got injured playing football at whellus lol i spent some time in the hospital there. i played my first round of golf one saturday morning , played a football game that night, and derose that monday . oh by the way we beat the falcons ” 28 to 28″that night. Whatever you are doing now Tom make sure youre having a good time doing it. Tommie Davis

  677. Bahrain, January 26, 2012:

    New Pics added here ( page 34 onwards )

  678. terry mcgreevey, January 26, 2012:

    For Stepan Brodsky. I preceded you at the 58th by a decade. I enjoyed my tour with the outfit and I guess I was there during the ‘quiet years’ whereas you faced, like many other contributors on this site, the upheaval in Libya. The only crisis that happened during my tour was the trouble in the then-named Belgium Congo but that was just as I was leaving (March 60). I think the 58th moved most of their operational activities in 1960 down there after I left. I was at Bentwaters in 62-3 - the sister base to Woodbridge, so we saw similar o/s locations.

  679. ali borawi, January 26, 2012:

    Hi all,
    Does anybody remember rhe car race in august by the eastern fence, ordinary cars and drivers. was funny.
    can any specialist explain the f4 linked by a string on its right wing to a fake rocket then dropped on the base southern area.

  680. terry mcgreevey, January 26, 2012:

    To Jim Muse. TASFUIA ? Hmmm, maybe figured out the last four letters, however, don’t want to print them (I’m well versed in the hilarious GI barroom humor). Another saying also springs to mind - usually said with a big smile - was FIGMO.

  681. Jim Muse, January 26, 2012:

    Ref 676 Bud Trill. Our CO was indeed MAJ John H. Foresman. Our first sergent was a M/SGT O’Keefe. First used to wear his class A’s with brogans and little cap with the colorful name. I always thought that was tacky. Funny what one recalls after all those years. The name T/SGT Gene Foe is familiar but I can’t put a section or a face to it. What section were you assigned? As I recall, my OIC was a CPT Rollins? Sad to say, I read John H. Foreman’s obit in the Wash Post several years ago. He was the middle east representative for one of the government contractors. I just made contact with my former NCOIC at Wheelus. He was a T/SGT at the time and is now a retired CM/SGT. You may recall him. His name is Henry E. Lajoie.

  682. Jim Muse, January 26, 2012:

    Ref 683 Terry Mcgreevey: First three letters are “Things Are So”. Originated at Stalag Luft I during WWII. One of the guards there was raised from a young boy in this country. He went back to Germany just before the war and was drafted into the Luftwaffe. He was assigned to the camp because of his English skills. During the last days of the conflict one of the POWs asked him what it was like outside the wire. His reply was TASFUIA. This was a word none of the POWs were familiar with so he explained it to him. Sad ending to the story. He was killed by one of the former POWs in a little town close to the camp immediately following hostilities. Google Stalag Luft 1. The story is in there. One of my deceased friends was a retired LtCol. He was shot down by flak while flying a B-17 and subsequently sent to Luft 1. He told me the story before I read it in the web site.

  683. Hardy Hall, January 26, 2012:

    Photo # 37, Looking for help on where was I? Think I was about 100 miles east of the base but thats all I can recall. Thanks for any comment here or at the photo site.

  684. Hardy Hall, January 26, 2012:

    Photo # 38 is the Transportation Little League team of 1961. I was the coach for team on left side of photo…..made by Base Photo Lab…..

  685. Jim Voris, January 26, 2012:

    Where are the photo’s referred to? How can I see them?

  686. Bahrain, January 26, 2012:

    New Pics added here ( page 34 onwards )

  687. terry mcgreevey, January 26, 2012:

    To Jim Muse. Done some googling and have read numerous stories from the Stalag Luft 1 website - as yet, not come across the article you mentioned but I will be returning to the site. I am somewhat of a WW II history buff and always been in awe of that ‘greatest generation’. Being assigned to an unit such as the 58th Air Rescue at Wheelus in the late fifties, our unit was generously sprinkled with many WW II vets; my commander LTCol Jack Knight piloted over the Burma Hump and I remember the NCOIC of our paramedic contingent had jumped with 82nd airborne on D-Day. Our paramedics, different from the present day job description, were trained medics who earned their parachute badges. I was privileged to be in the same outfit with them and the many guys who served during the Berlin Airlift and the Korean war - it was truly an education.

  688. Doug Hunt, January 26, 2012:

    Is there anyone who work AMMO from 1955- 1957? at the Bomb Dump would like to hear from you.

  689. Jim Muse, January 26, 2012:

    Ref 690 Terry McGreevey …
    Once web site comes up, scroll down to Heinrich Haslob. He was known as “Henry The Butcher” because his father owned a butcher shop in this country. A downed pilot remembered him from this country.

  690. Bahrain, January 27, 2012:

    To Tommie Davis…..

    By chance did you know a guy by name of Sergeant Sergeant. His name was right out of “Mash!” I was away with his family and 40 other American on what was to be a weekend in Djerba, Tunisa “Labor day 1969. The rest is history “Coup” we were locked out of Libya for nearly a month. When we were finally allowed to return we came back to a different country. 40 Years later all good memories. ( T Dwyer )

  691. terry mcgreevey, January 27, 2012:

    To Jim Muse. Thanks for your directions, I finally did read the story about Heinrich Haslob - another sad and tragic event from the war.

  692. Bahrain, January 27, 2012:

    When the coup started me and some others had gone out the East Gate to a friend’s to BBQ and just have fun. That night we started back to the gate and saw some shadows and got concerned and then heard shots fired. We spent the night in the olive trees. Got to the gate the next morning and got escorted to our compound where we were suited up for riot control training and then placed at points to guard the base. Boy what fun! It really gets dark there and everything that moved would make the hair stand up on your neck. Glad to get out of there the second freedom bird in February.

    Richard Smith, retired USAF

  693. Bahrain, January 27, 2012:

    Shortly after I arrived at Wheelus in March, 1967, my roommate in the 7272 A&E Squadron asked me to go downtown with him to buy a small motorcycle. We had a friend drop us off and we were to ride the motorcycle back to the base. Little did I know that my friend had never ridden a motorcycle, much less driven one. While he and the shop owner were off teaching him how to drive it, I was left alone on the narrow street where the shop was. Lots of Libyans were passing by looking at me. At that tender age(20), I actually had the insight to think to my self that I was the one who was different and everybody else here was the same. A very humbling feeling. I have always remembered that experience and have been particularly sensitive to the feelings of people new to our country. Anyway, when we left going back to the base, we got into a crowded traffic circle somewhere and kept going around and around trying to get out. People were yelling at us, and gesturing in, I’m sure, very uncomplimentary ways and a policeman was chasing after us. We finally took the first exit we could get into and fled. Very funny now but at the time, not so much. ( Robert Sullivan )

  694. Khan, January 27, 2012:

    @ comment 696 - this story reminds me of what my uncle used to say who came to settle in the UK in the 1970’s.
    My uncle hadn’t passed his driving test in the UK but felt confident in still driving into the city centre. His famous words that the whole family still remembers were ” hey man.. why is it that all the other drivers seem to horn at me.. you don’t see me horning at anyone do you? ”
    He was in the habit of cutting from one lane to the other without indicating :)

  695. Vernon (Chris) Keil, January 27, 2012:

    I was stationed at the 1950th Comm and Relay Centers 62-63. Does any one remember several good friends I made while I was there? They were:
    Art Petty, Andrew L. Jackson Jr & wife Aubrey, Clarence Carson, Guy Jedney, and Don Hayward. Jackson was a baker and Hayward and Jedney worked at the LOX plant. If anyone knows there whereabouts I’d love to get in contact with them.

  696. James Alexander, January 27, 2012:

    My dad and our family were there from 69 till the base was closed. My Dad (James R(Dick) Alexander) was one of two instructor pilots stationed at Wheelus. I was just in 4th and 5th grade while I was there. Still have lots of memories. Especially the stadium where occasional football games were played and swimming in the Med.

  697. Angelika Pawlitschek, January 28, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi # 682
    My husband and I remember the race. On that day our neighbour Marty Clark went home from Base (home was the Castiglione Farm near the East Gate). He did not know about the race and suddenly he was surrounded by speeding cars, who tried to overtake him, but Marty wouldn’t give in, he just sped up and went along, since he could not turn left to enter the farm. Some km further on he found a place to exit and turn the car around to drive back. At the time we thought this was very funny.
    Ali my husband asks: “Do you know Ahmed Sugani a colleague; he worked with my husband and lived near the East Gate?

  698. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    Hi all,
    History. King Idriss was very old, the change was comming, Libya was oil rich. cold war years. the base lease was about to expire anyway. A lot of people in Libya believe the U. S . made Quddafi commit a coup .
    Any comments or info?

  699. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    also people believe for that reason Quddafi was killed after being captured so that all the secrets die with him.

  700. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    also the king of saudi arabia abdulla, in a summit told Quddafi on tv : we know who brought you to power.

  701. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    Under the Italians the base name was Melaha. the area called Melaha in Arabic the place of making salt (melh). a lot of locals used to cycle through the base to the area of the salt inside the base for work.

  702. Bahrain, January 28, 2012:

    Attn: Richard Smith

    Great story . As a 20 year old I was too stupid to know we were in a dangerous situation. Where did you work?

    Tom Dwyer

  703. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    Hi all,
    to 311 . Anybody has some pieces of ancient history should contact libyan natl museum . it belongs to all humanities. search net.
    under Qudafi there was a lot of neglegence of those romans stuff.

  704. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    to 336. Alot of pepole in America do not believe in walking on the moon. there was a backup plan from nasa in a fake trip movie done in engalnd in case of failure to reach the Moon just to save face.

  705. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    to 374 Kirkley jr.
    because of one sided help from your country to Isrel in mideast conflict. people look at you as occupiers and enemy that was around the time of suez conf. and 76 war.
    as approching an Arab woman, all should have been told before deployed of the local custom. for libyans honor deserves dying for. during gulf war America learned the lessons and informed its troops of local norms.
    not a matter of rich and poor.

  706. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    to sullivans 359
    Sure soon you will be able to arrange group trips and even visit inside and around the base. welcome friends.

  707. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    to Carol Whitcomb 379
    because of one sided help from your country to Isrel in mideast conflict. people look at you as occupiers and enemy that was around the time of suez conf. and 67 war.
    believe me it was not money issue rich or not.
    As to having “some Libyan soldiers at Bulk Storage to learn” from you and “what a joke they spoke no english and we spoke no arabic”. and “They sat there all day and ate any pencil erasers they could get thier hands on.??????? never did understand that…”
    Is is shameful info. :in 2 years you learned not even few word of arabic. Although alot of libyans are around. not plaming you . but shold get a translator. or let them go. shameful attitude. I know they came to you to teach them. what a bad teachers.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  708. ali borawi, January 28, 2012:

    H Angelika ,
    really funny situation indeed.

    the name may be surgani , there is a big family by that name. I live on south of the base. but I know alot of ahmeds how old?… when we go to the sea we pass by that area. that area called werioma. between base fence (runway)and hot stream.
    good day Angelika.

  709. Khan, January 28, 2012:

    @ 705 - I was 21 when I got there. I worked in the 7272 civil engineering the power plants. The barracks I liven in was next to the chow hall on the side of the med. How about you? ( Richard Smith )

  710. Donna (Basehart) Gray, January 28, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi - I understand your feelings completely. We in America want people to learn English. I was there as a military dependent 61-64; 3rd through 5th grades. We lived off base for the 1st half and on base the 2nd half. We lived in the trailers and I felt sorry for those who had houses because it was like a long camping trip and we had the Med across the street from our home. I can still count to 10 in Arabic, and my sister and I (who are now 58 and 59 y/o) can still sing Libya’s National Anthem! “Yabiladi…” Would you translate it for me? Re-visiting Libya as an adult is one of my desires.

  711. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 29, 2012:

    Tom Dwyer…i did not know a sgt. by that name.he didtn have to do anything to get promoted did he,lol made a trip to down town tripoli after coup not a walk in the park . first time seeing ak -47s up close and personal and being carried by teenagers. Tommie Davis

  712. ali borawi, January 29, 2012:

    to donna gray. Arabic is very easy since from one verb you derive all other related words as adjective,adverb etc. with very little changes.
    Yabiladi : my country (talking to her like when you say my son for attention)
    bijihadi: with my struggle
    wajihadi : and patience in hard times (like in fighting)
    edfaee : push away
    kayda: bad intentions and deeds
    alaady : of the enemies
    wal awadi : and of bad secumistances (any other hard time)
    wa aslamy: be safe (by me)
    toola almada : for ever
    inna nahno : we indeed
    elfida : the sacrifise (means our soles are a sacrifice for your safety)

    still there is more paragraphs.

    say hi to your sister : that is alsalmu alaykum.

  713. ali borawi, January 29, 2012:

    Donna : you welcome any time.

  714. ali borawi, January 29, 2012:

    Hi all
    It is nice to have you visit Libya. In recent years I see a lot of visiting groups from England and Germay and U.S in downtown Tripoli. They mainly targer the desert area by buses.
    To benefit the most of such a visit and of what you paid for, I believe one should prepare through reading some area history, culture, arabic , relegion (Islam) I mean real Islam of peace not of (ben laedin) . Islam is against killing inocent people. and it came for all humanity. it recognises jesus and moses and mohamed as prohets and messengers of god.peace be uppon all of them.
    see you soon in and around the Wheelus Air Base.

  715. ali borawi, January 29, 2012:

    to Bahrain
    since you were here in those 2 years . do you remember the colide of the 2 F4s on take off from the east end of runway? I beleive no fatality. any explanation to 682 F4 and rocket.”

  716. Angelika Pawlitschek, January 29, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi # 711
    Hello Ali, of course the name is Surgani. I made a spelling mistake. This Ahmed S. must be today between 75 and 80 yrs. old. My husband worked with him from April 66 till the Base closed down in June 70.

  717. Donna (Basehart) Gray, January 29, 2012:

    Ali - Thank you! A salaam alakum - is that right? My sister is sitting here with me right now, and she remembers more Arabic than I do. While she was doing her homework, I hid mine in my toybox and wnt down to play in the Med! Our mother is very old and needs help. My sister lives 2500 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia. Maybe after my mother is gone, I will have the chance to visit you and my beloved Tripoli.

  718. Marge Amerud, January 29, 2012:

    I’m loving these memories you are all helping to bring back. I found a “card” (piece of paper made into a card) with the following names on it. It was from a hilarious box of gag gifts the 7272 CES Plumbing Shop gave us for our wedding in Tripoli. If any of you read this, thanks so much for adding to our wedding enjoyment! T/Sgt Nicholson, S/Sgt Van Horn, Sgt Moeller, Sgt Morris, A/1C Pollicino, A/1C Hammond, A/1C Munoz, T/Sgt Buttler, S/Sgt DeNeal, A/1C Head, A/1C Hollingsworth, Sgt Burns, A/1C Jaggers, Sgt Buzzard, Mr Molnar.

  719. Bahrain, January 30, 2012:

    Is it not true that there are only 200 words in the Arabic language it is just the way you pronounce the words for their meaning. I had 9 and 2 Italians who worked with me, so I did learn some but that has been years ago so have lost most of it. Not used much in the US

    Richard Smith

  720. J.K. (Skip) Meneely, January 30, 2012:

    wow ! I just finished reading all of the blogs from people who had served at Wheelus from 1952 on. A real lesson in history !I myself was with the 34th radio squadron and arrived in feb.l953.2 We were quartered in tents for the first month or two –boy it was cold! I am 82 now,but my memory is still pretty good and would like to hear fromanyone who might have been there during those years. We were finally sent to the 3 story cinder block barracks pictured. I have many stories to tell about the twoodd yeARS I SPENT THERE -THE FOOTBALL games, learning to play golf, the base track & field team, and many more. I recall a few names–ROY SILVERVISITED HIM ABOUT 13 years ago, FRANK RYKEN, ANd cliff johnson( we traveled to Kitzbuel, Austria where I met my first wife.) during my stay at Wheelus. Hope to hear from someone in the 34th.

  721. jim matulis, January 31, 2012:

    I served at the other Wheelus….everyone there knew the exact minute they could leave…..where the haircuts at the base barber were done with fire…where I could spend my day off during alerts in the weeds guarding a wall with a carbine with more sand on it than on the beach(OSAT)…And the strike….spent my 1st month on kp while the locals hammered out a new labor agreement…got to see life in the middle ages…..unfortunately,Gaddafy came along,sent the westerneers packing & brought Libya into the 20th century…..the standard of livingwas the highest in north… africa..huge agriculture improvements ,education & medicine……..everything was working….I guess they just got tired of a good thing & decided it was best to get back in the wests yoke….looks like their futures behind them now …too bad!

  722. Bahrain, January 31, 2012:

    Will never forget the start of the 1967 war. The morning of June 5, 1967, I had just finished the required annual physical fitness test and walked to the west end of the barracks(7272 A&E) to try to cool off. Think I was on the 3rd floor fire escape. I looked up to the main gate and saw two fire trucks nose to nose blocking both sides of the entrance. I thought this was odd. Looked down the Mellaha (sp?) highway towards Tripoli and saw a long line of Libyan military vehicles coming toward the base. They turned to the right just as they got almost to the gate. As we had not been told anything was amiss, I was perplexed to say the least. The officials kept us in the dark for a long time. No mention on radio or TV. I had only been there 3 months and the resulting confinement to base for most of the rest of my tour really ruined what could have been an interesting experience. In a day or so the tarmac was covered with civilian planes. The civilians were put up in our barracks. I slept in the shop on some horse hair packing for a while. We had to do KP as the Libyan workers didn’t show or weren’t allowed on base. The spagetti got pretty thin after a while. One day they got a group of us out and were going to make us guards. Took old WWII carbines out of barrels, cleaned off the cosmolene(sp?) and had to shoot to qualify. First two wouldn’t work. They were going to give us 3 cartriges if we were on guard and couldn’t shoot unless an officer was there to ok it. We were obviously flying recon somewhere as a special group of F-4 s with cameras showed up and stayed a while flying missions regularly. The Air Policemen seemed rather scared as we would listen to them on radio at night and I can’t blame them under the circumstances. The “battle plan” as we were told was to retreat to the beach toward the base commander’s house in the event of some incident. ( Robert Sullivan )

  723. TOMMIE DAVIS, January 31, 2012:

    Craig Emert…..In your travels between whellus and the bombing range how far would you say that trip was one way? and how was the roads and did you ever encounter any problems from locals while making the trip out or back to the base? Tommie Davis

  724. Bahrain, January 31, 2012:

    I remember the ride to be 45 minutes on a fairly OK road. Bomb depot and base

    Thomas Dwyer

  725. Hardy Hall, January 31, 2012:

    I was there in 61-62 and it was 40 Miles of bad road, after you turned off of the highway. The road was mostly of rock ect. and you couldn’t drive over 15-20 MPH on that road. Don’t recall how far from base to that turn off. A rule got passed in 62, had to take a pickup or larger vehicle because of this road.

  726. Hardy Hall, February 1, 2012:

    I was in the motor pool and we had trucks taking supplies out 2-3 times a week and don’t ever recall any trouble with locals on the trips. The road shook a lot of vehicles apart was the real problem. I went once and that was enough for me.

  727. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 1, 2012:

    Tom… I was refering to el uotia the bombing range not the bomb depot. i know that a driver came out every day to bring water for drinking and showers but when the coup started our water supply was cut off. no showers no shaving only drinking water and for brushing teeth. we had some fresh water in a tank on the back of a fire truck and thats what we used for washing up. Tommie Davis

  728. Bahrain, February 1, 2012:

    to ali bowari Obviously you werenever in a military unit at age 19 half the world away nfrom home. I was. I was not in a position to “get a translator” as you said. No was I in a position to “let them go” As for me having a shameful attitude I don’t think so. I learned “Buc chees gi ? and Kafalic sadeek” I lived and recreated on base {63-65) I had no need nor desire to learn arabic. What I needed was to dodge the rocks the school boys threw at us over the back wall and replace th windowqs they broke at Mo-gas storage. By the way were the Libyan soldiers sent to fuel supply so starved as to cause them to eat all the erasers off the pencils? I saw it with my own eyes. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  729. Bahrain, February 1, 2012:

    new pics added
    wheelus 1
    wheelus 2

  730. Gordy Whitcomb, February 1, 2012:

    To: Ali Borowi
    A memory from Wheelus AFB Dec. 1964
    We had a local “house boy” to clean the barracks, lhallways and latrines. He was probably in his late 20s,never seemed too friendly, was somewhat sullen, and I never believed he did a very good job. I believed he was “wealthy” from the things the GIs threw away, which he got.
    When I got rid of all the clothes, shoes, etc., I was not taking back to the states I cut them up before I threw them away. The next Sunday morning I was asleep on the top bunk in our room. I woke up to my roommate beating on the floor and cussing. He had rolled over, looked down, and saw a scorpion on my flip flops (shower clogs). The scorpion had its legs pulled off. Prior to this no one had ever seen a scorpion in the barracks let alone one with no legs. I always suspected the house boy was getting his revenge. All my items were marked so he knew it whose stuff it was.
    This was all 48 years ago, so, as we were taught then, malish sadeek malish. I hope God blesses all Libyans with a kind fruitful life. I sure miss the fresh navel oranges as big as grapefruits.

  731. Bahrain, February 1, 2012:

    Jerry Paich
    I was with the AC&W Radar Sqdn.sent to Wheelus to set up a radar station. I was with the 14 airmen near Misurata constructing one of the Radar sites. The water that was used to bath with and not drink was pumped from a well inhabited by hundreds of matting frogs located in the small town of Crispi. The town had no power, electricity. Some of the airmen and I went to a dance there and a huge lantern supplied the light inside. My time during my stay in 1953 was great. One of the airmen from Honolulu climbed up a date tree and cut a date stalk for me that I hung over my cot. I would pluck a date or two whenever I wanted to.

  732. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 2, 2012:

    To Robert Sullivan # 725
    I never forget this date 5 June 67. It was my first day at home since resigning from my job due to expecting my first child. I was cooking in my kitchen, when I heard a commotion. Through my window I saw a military truck inside the East Gate Farm. Women and children with suitcases and bags got on the back of the truck and drove off. I thought this is very strange. Later I heard from my neighbours, that they had thought I was still at work as usual. An hour later my husband came home and said: ”Quick, pack up some cloth and get the passports, we have to go on Base, there is a war with the Israelis.” My husband had trouble to get off Base since everybody had to stay on Base, but he said I have to go and get my pregnant wife. There were many families already assembled on Base. We all had to register and got a number and were put up in some barracks. They told us the soldiers had to sleep in tents. Civilian planes and military aircrafts started to arrive and we were told if our number comes up we will be evacuated. All military dependents had to leave Tripoli and all the civilians, third national citizens who were employed by the Air Force from Europe. I said I don’t go anywhere; my baby is due on the 12th. But there was no choice, after a few days on Base we were put on a C130 and off we went to Moron AFB in Spain. One couldn’t choose where to go. The civilian planes flew directly to the States and military planes flew to US AFB all over Europe. For us it would have been best if we had been able to catch a flight to Germany, since our hometown was in Germany. But now it was Spain and I had the flight of my life. Never had I seen an aircraft like this from the inside and for sure it was nothing like your comfortable jetliner. The pilot demanded there be a nurse on board otherwise he could not take me along and luckily there was a nurse amongst the evacuees. The GIs had to free up some space in the middle of the plane, just in case my labour started. But I said: “No way will I have my baby there with all the women and children around me. I will hold on till we arrive in Spain.” It was a huge undertaking since also people working for the oil companies and even tourist were airlifted. We had much admiration how very well everything was organized by the Air Force. You can say with military precision and today I like to say a big THANKYOU to all the soldiers for their efforts. 7 hrs later we arrived at Moron AFB and again we occupied the barracks and the poor chaps had to move out and sleep somewhere else. Civilian jets from the USA arrived now daily and flew the Americans out to the States. On the 15th I had a healthy son – no harm done with the flight on the C130. From then on the civilian employees could go back to their jobs in Tripoli and we dependents were flow out to our home countries in Europe. When my husband came back to the farm after 2 weeks away, he found rotten food in the pots on the stove as I was cooking at the time we left and he had to throw out all the pots. After 3 month in Germany I could go back to Tripoli. The whole undertaking had the code name SAVE HAVEN. I am not sure how many people were evacuated, but I heard about 10000 persons. Most of the military dependents did not come back, since their time in Libya would have been over anyhow soon.

  733. ali borawi, February 2, 2012:

    to jim matulis -724,
    what brought Libya to 20th century oil money. not qaddafi. in 52 gov had ony 4 million dollars out of renting airbases . oil in 60s became in commercial quantities. qaddafi did no good to Libya . Libya became so behind comared to other oil states like oman uae qatar . read what amnesty say read what freedom of press orgs say . qaddafi knew nothing but blood shed and destruction.

  734. Bahrain, February 2, 2012:

    I had a house boy also to clean our room. One day I had to go to headquarters and my barracks was on my way so I stopped and went to my room and when I started to put the key in the door it was ajar so I pushed it open and there stood the house boy at my locker trying to open it so I reported him and all they did was transfer him to another barracks. Talking about things. One morning I woke up with a hedge hog in bed with me. The guys down on the other end of the barracks had rabbits in their rooms. We had a lizard in our room to help keep the fly population down. Took him up to the bar and the guys feed him vodka by a spoon and he got real drunk and died. Yes all kinds of things were in our room and every where else. You had to be careful where you went, walked and sit. So glad to leave and come back to the states. It sure was an experience never to forget.

    Richard Smith Retired USAF

  735. ali borawi, February 2, 2012:

    first of all eating erasers - as you know - may not be of except of being bored by the situation. since you couldnt communicate with them should report that to supervisor instead of wasting time doing nothing but chewing your pencils.
    I said before Americans are nice oeople but that doesnt mean every single american is so. alot of Americans looked down at Libyans. But believe it or not most of Libyans are of high quality honor respectful helpful courageous even if they are hungry or poor. As to rock throwing, they looked at the base as an enemy compound helping isreel againt arab.

  736. ali borawi, February 2, 2012:

    Hi Angelika ,
    Regarding June 5th 1967,
    Inside you saw civilians were being evacuated.
    outside the base walls, what local libyan people saw?
    airplanes taking off (unusual base activity) they didnt see what inside them). they saw tens of trips every day. bleive me, in years after that, I heard people swore that 35 planes took off the base in the morning of june 5. they thought going to help Isreal aginst egypt. the problem was local people not informed as should. may be out of uncountablity. it was military era. That what was fueling hateed.
    I dont hate you people I am just trying to give the picture and the story from the other hill. nothing personal.

  737. Bud Trill, February 2, 2012:

    A question for ali borawi. Since mankind is all of God’s creation, have you ever considered the ridiculousness of the ongoing hatred that the Arab has had for thousands of years for his half brother the Israeli or Jew as you prefer? I am quite sure you realize that Isaac and Ishmael were half brothers. Just think of the needless bloodshed for thousands of years for no reason other than pure unadulterated hatred.

  738. Bahrain, February 2, 2012:

    Most of us appreciate your comments and information Mr. Borawi. We respect your opinions and perceptions even though some of us may disagree with some of them. It is interesting to hear the “other side” of events we witnessed then and read about now. I admire your english skills. If only I could speak Arabic so well. ( Robert Sullivan )

  739. Bob Gilbert, February 2, 2012:

    This is a reaction to Mr.Bud Trill’s post.

    If I were an Arab (It seems –because of your biblical “history” reference — you are using that term to be synonymous with “Muslim,” although they are not), if I were Ali Borawi, I would be insulted by your question. It evidences a considerable degree of ignorance, American jingoism and Judeo-Christian group-think.

    Perhaps you have never heard of the Crusades? Perhaps you don’t know that the Italians (including Jewish Italians) occupied Libya, often brutally, for 37 years. Perhaps you are not aware of the fact that after decades of British occupation, Palestine was partitioned in 1947 to establish the Jewish state. Perhaps you are not aware that Israel has, since that time, embarked on a campaign to seize prime Palestinian territory (via “settlements”), and to isolate the remaining Arab communities with limited-access roads and ugly walls. Perhaps you are not aware that the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated piece of land in world, that has been impoverished by Israel essentially cutting off access to outside. And, on and on. These crimes are not easily forgotten, and have fueled generations of animosity and distrust. Your reference to unverifiable biblical “history” are inconsequential, notwithstanding the fact that many religiously-inclined people chose to believe those stories.

    Now, this is not to say that blame should not also be laid at the doorstep of the Arab (and Muslim) world for the terrible conflicts in the Middle East. But, Mr. Trill, your question is loaded with the inference that the source of the conflicts historically, and currently, lies solely with the Arabs and Muslims. It would be much more accurate to blame, as classes, rabid religionists of all stripes, and the self-aggrandizing politicians and autocrats everywhere that thrive on stirring up nationalist sentiment and fervor. These two groups, along with the businesses which profit from endless conflict, death and chaos, should be the subject of your inquiry. Your question, indeed, reflects the face of the “Ugly American.”

  740. Bahrain, February 2, 2012:

    While I respect your comments, let’s please leave this religious/historical/political stuff for some other place. I enjoy this blog and would hate to see it devolve into a forum for such unfixable/ devisive issues. ( Robert Sullivan )

  741. Marge Amerud, February 2, 2012:

    Thank you Robert, I was truly enjoying this site but latley, haven’t even wanted to read the posts. It sickens me to think of people eating erasers and not being given food, to cut up clothing before putting it in the trash etc. The Libyans and Egyptian people that befriended us shared their food with us, gave us great info on places to see and protected us during the coup. Simply put, there are good and bad people everywhere. Can anyone tell me….was there a small market area and villas on the west side of the base? I think we lived in a villa between Tripoli and Wheelus but everyone keeps saying the East side. After 40 some years, I could be comletely confused though!

  742. Doug Hunt, February 2, 2012:

    In reply to post 744. Marge you are right about the small villas and so on just out of the West Gate. It was called Suajuma if I spelled right. I was at Wheelus 1Sept. 1955 To 25 Feb. 1957. It was there then as I drove though it a lot of times. This is a real great site for us old war horses. GOD BLESS.

  743. Robert Carriveau, February 2, 2012:

    To Marge, You are right. I was with the 431st 53-54.and half way between the base and Tripoli there was a market place { not sure of the spelling] called Suk-a Guma Kind of a farmers market every Thursday. Not sure if I would eat any meat hanging out side the slauter house, it was covered in flies.

  744. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 3, 2012:

    To Marge Amerud # 744
    There were 3 outside gates at the Base. The main gate was west - to the east there was the gate leading into Tajura – there was a gate to the south, but it was very seldom open. I can’t remember any shops near the main gate, but at the east gate there was a little market place and many Americans lived in villas in Tajura. Hello Mr. Ali Borawi you might be able to answer the question about the shops?

  745. Bahrain, February 3, 2012:

    I totally concur with Robert Sullivan’s position

    Thomas Dwyer

  746. Doug Hunt, February 3, 2012:

    Ref 746 Robert you are so right about the town out of the West Gate and you remember how to spell it that is more than I did, AS far as Three Gates there was three gates. You had the West Gate (main gate) the East Gate that went to the Bomb Dump and you had a third gate called the crash gate. There was an Arab guard there 24/7. I only remember using this gate one time. This site is so nice it sure brings back things I forgot about. The GOOD and the BAD. God Bless.
    Doug Hunt

  747. Bahrain, February 3, 2012:

    Google maps spells it Suq al Juma’a. Suk meaning market or something similar. ( Robert Sullivan )

  748. Tom Harder, February 3, 2012:

    To Bob Gilbert …


    Now can we all get back to the discussion of our service at Wheelus AFB?

  749. Bahrain, February 3, 2012:

    Author: Tom Dwyer 68 -69.

    Anybody aware of Gomer Greenslate AFC from Kentucky. How about Maria - Irish Singer who sang in the NCO club for three months. Upon my return back to NY, from the service “my sister introduced to a friend from Irish Airlines and you guessed it was Maria. Also what is the story about Rocky Marciano visiting Wheelus AFB.

  750. Bahrain, February 4, 2012:

    I have noticed several people were asking about “The Suk“. This is an old postcard of the village. I thought you would like to add it to the blog.
    Jim Muse

  751. Bob R, February 4, 2012:

    On google Earth all that is there today that refures back to my time 54′ to 56′ is
    ” Suq Al Juma’a Rd” leading out from where the “West Gate” was. Always went through there on our way into Tripoli. And thank you Mr. Ali Borawi for your insite into our past and for your candid view from your side of the fence so to speak. I was hoping that some day we would have a visitor here like you. Please keep up with your comments they are very interesting.

  752. ali borawi, February 5, 2012:

    Hi angilika and other friends
    Thank you for the comments that respond to what I mentioned.
    Souk means market & juma means friday. so it is Friday-Market because the main activity at that market is on fridays. That area which is streatched from the jurisdiction of the city of tripoli to the beginning of tajura is called Souk eljuma.even the base is located in this to tripoli there is Tripoli the city and the greater tripoli which isreaches to lipts magna and khomas to the east.
    As to the gates from the western you can go to the city or go alittle to the south and get to the souk eljuma. On fridays you find a market for fresh vegitables and fruits another for animals another for grains and others all held in the open.
    on any other day you find small shops for meat and other stuff and necesities (for locals).
    As to hanging meat outside it was done to dry the meat of the blood so it does not spoil and last longer. there were no fregs. another reason at that time few people could read, so it was to tell people that “yes we have meat here to sell”. people still do it, it is now like a tradition.
    As to flies , the time of fall (autumn) and early summer due to warm climate and humidity good environment for flies to flurish. people too poor to facilitate then DDT ( poison causing cancer,later baned even in USA), So you may choose between flies and DDT.
    there is a forth small gate west of the main eastern gate right behind the easten three big hangers. leads to the area of fir trucks.

  753. ali borawi, February 5, 2012:

    Hi again , especially to people who lived off base ,:
    does any of you remeber the fire works at the occasion of prophet Mohamed’s birth day (lunar calendar It has nothng to do with relegion just tradition comes from Italian era). A lot of it everywhere .

  754. ali borawi, February 5, 2012:

    To Bud Trill, Hello
    As a muslim I do not hate Jews nor christians. Although as muslims we believe all prophets mouses,jesus,isac,ismail,jacob…. etc are only massengers of God and mohamed was the last one and the seal of prophets,and to be safe on the day of judgement one needs to believe and follow what the last prophet said about God. Islam respects Every human being. and calls for not to force others to follow Islam. Jews throughout history felt safe under Islamic ruling (as in spain). The recent conflict over palestine (since 1917 belfore declaration) has been due to Isrealis taking the land of local inhabitants (arabs) to build settlements of mostly euoropean jews. Alot of jews do not agree with the idea and deeds of zionesm. the solution is to have one democratic state for all jews and arabs in one united country called Palestine.

  755. ali borawi, February 5, 2012:

    I wonder no body mentioned the other military area named “Bir Usta milad” It was another facility under wheelus airbase . located about three miles south of the eastern main runway. was it a bomb storage? Does any body remember it. surounded by farms.

  756. Bud Trill, February 5, 2012:

    Dear ali borawi,
    I was surprised to read your, unexpected, personal response to my post and would love to have a dialog with you on the subject but since receiving such a stern admonishment from your “attorney” previously on here, I will have to forgo the thought of doing so. It would be nice to converse by some other medium so that others, not involved, would not experience an affront to the conversation. Maybe someday. Thank you anyway.

  757. Bud Trill, February 5, 2012:

    Pardon me, there I go again, dialogue.

  758. Jeanine Bryan, February 6, 2012:

    Will there be another methods to become connected to your web page not having opting-in towards the RSS? I am uncertain the reason nonetheless I can’t get this RSS loaded within my own viewer on the other hand I can find this from the Chrom.

  759. Bahrain, February 6, 2012:

    users can tick the ( subscribe to comments box ) for future email notifications when new comments are posted. Thanks!

  760. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 6, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi # 755
    Thank you for letting us know about the souk eljouma. My husband and I often went shopping for fresh produce at the market in Tripoli not far from the Post Office. We also did buy some groceries at supermarkets in Tripoli. Things we could not find at the commissary on base, like sweet German butter.

  761. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 6, 2012:

    Ref # 757 Hello Ali,
    I don’t want to go into politics since this is the side we reminiscent about Wheelus AFB only, but I do agree it’s about time for the world to find a solution for the Palestinian people.

  762. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 6, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi # 758
    My husband remembers there was a munition storing facility off base. The soldiers often drove there.

  763. Bahrain, February 6, 2012:

    Hi Angelika,
    I can clearly remember being pretty much forbidden from eating fresh fruits/ produce grown by the local farmers because they used “night soil” (human waste) for nitrogen fertilizer. Did you ever know of anyone having a problem with this? I especially wanted to try the various types of melons but never did due to the warning. Two of us would get a clean cardboard box with one standing under a date tree holding the box. The other would throw rocks at the ripe date cluster while the one under the tree would try to catch the dates before they hit the ground and try to avoid the rock. They were delicious. I found an apricot tree on the south side of the Airmans club and helped myself many times. Also found a lime tree in an enclosed area where I could reach in and pick limes. ( Robert Sullivan )

  764. Charles F. Nemejc, February 6, 2012:

    I was married when stationed at Wheelus and shopped at the SUKS but always washed and soaked all fruits and vegetables with a solution of bleach and water (forgot the dilution rate), All fruits and vegetables were excellent in taste, The small watermellons were great, Sometimes had a snail in the lettuce, The dates and pomegranets were the best. The fresh baked bread and sweet butter were the best from a shop a block from our apartment. GOOD TIMES….

  765. Marge Amerud, February 6, 2012:

    Oh, yes, the BREAD…..we too shopped at a small market a block from our villa. Hard choice when we were so “poor”, to get the pocket pancake shape bread, or the fat loaf bread….baked fresh every day. The fruits were terrific. We never did anything except wash them normally. Stayed away from the meat, except in downtown Tripoli we had beef from a spit that went round and round that was excellent. Also had camel hamburger at a resturant, must have been fine as I don’t remember the taste! Had to weed out bugs when I used flour, but small price to pay for the other delicious treats we had there. Our Egyptian neighbor whose Villa adjoined ours, invited us to a turkey stuffed with fresh fruits and nuts…also excellent!
    Thanks for the memory Charles F. Nemejc, I think of the bread often.

  766. Susan Johnson, February 7, 2012:

    I just found this site, and am trying to find some information about my father. He was a geologist with Esso (Standard Oil) from late 1956 to December 1957 when he died in a plane crash in the Sahara desert. We lived west of Tripoli in a large house close to the Mediterranean. We (sisters) attended school at Wheelus and I remember going to school on a bus with armed guards. His name was Joseph Johnson. Does anyone remember anything like this? We left Tripoli immediately for the states.

  767. ali borawi, February 7, 2012:

    to Robert Sullivan , hello
    No! (Human waste) was not used for eatable produce. It is even forbidden by relegious orders. and I am a witness for that. They use only animal (sheep & cows) waste and not right away (but a year after removed and collected).
    Yes they used(human waste) only for tobacco plantation. Planting tobacco was really a very hard job. But people who plant it made a lot of money. It was a strict and controled by a goveronment agency. They used to come over to those farmers and check the tobacco plantation area (measured) and after it was was cut and dried the farmers have to sell it to that agency (by weight). And big fines if sold to others. of course people can keep some under the table to sell for chewing and sniffing (expensive).
    I hope you dont hate me for making alot of corrections.

  768. ali borawi, February 7, 2012:

    Hi Angelika,
    I hope you still feel ok about those vegitables and fruits you ate a long time ago after what I cleared to Robert Sullivan .see 769. If you come to Libya now you will never find the same taste in those vegitables ,that is due to the goveronment imported seeds from europe and America that produce more at the cost of original taste (engineered). At your time here if someone cut a tomato or a green pepper inside a house , another would smell it outside. now adays just look good but no tase just like plastic. the same for water millons (by the way my grandfather was a farmer).

  769. ali borawi, February 7, 2012:

    The area around the base was famouse for watermellons and pomegranets besides corn (roasted cones). and what we call (hindi) a wild fruit has a lot of throns (like needles). very sweet

  770. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 7, 2012:

    To # 766
    Hi Robert,
    Didn’t know about the “human” fertilizer at the time, but I soaked all fresh fruits and vegetables in MILTON. MILTON came from the UK and was diluted with water and used to sterilize baby bottles. We never had any problems with stomach bugs. The fresh dates were really delicious. Later when my husband worked for the Libyan Air Force and we moved to a house on base, we had a date palm in our garden and dates galore. I remember a German lady, she used to make jam out of dates – a bit too sweet for my taste. The water melons were also very nice to eat - chilled on a hot day and of course the freshly baked bread. You could smell it already before you came to the bakery. My husband had a spear gun and caught a lot of fish in the sea.

  771. Charles F. Nemejc, February 7, 2012:

    They did not use human fertilizer, It was fact that the farmers did urinate or deficate in the fields (night soil) As did the animals… Cant walk back to the house or barn… We have all seen people relieve themselves outside… I lived in Saudi Arabia for years and this was common in the remote areas also as it is our country.

    I had camel only a few times in Tripoli, But in Saudi Arabia, I would buy camel more than beef and only Belguim Beef…Camel was excelent, in flavor and was very healthy, I wish we could purchase Camel here and be sold in our stores.. Nothing like a good camel stew….

  772. John Doyle, February 7, 2012:

    I was stationed in the ARMY at Wheelus AFB surveying the Sahara. my unit
    was the 64th Eng BN, we spent most of our time in the Desert. Outside the back gate there was an Italian restaurant, and a cleaning business, got my fatigues
    done there. I am still friends with several former “Desert troops”.

  773. Bahrain, February 7, 2012:

    Thanks Ali for the information on the human waste fertilizer. Makes me sad that I didn’t eat the fruit and produce anyway. It always looked so good compared to what we were served in the chow hall. Use of human waste “night soil” was very common for a long time, even in Europe. Lots of people know about “honey pots” and “honey wagons” used to collect and transport the fertilizer. It is still used in many countries around the world. ( Robert Sullivan )

  774. ali borawi, February 8, 2012:

    Hi robert,
    For relegious reasons muslims do not eat pork unlike euorpe. eating Blood is also forbidden that is why they keep meat hanged for a while after slauthering. the same with human waste. even in the case of tobacco. they put about a ratio of 1 waste to 500 liters of water in a big water collecting pool usually close to a water well . irregate tobacco plants field only one time. As to animal waste. it is not mixed with water ,rather it spread dry over the field to be planted then plowed ,after two weeks they plow it again to get rid of any weeds. after that they divide the field into small sections 2×2 yards to make it easy to irregate. then they plant tomatos or peppers or millons etc.. these plants take months to produce vegitables. they never put animal waste direct to plants (it may kill the plants)

    in gerneral if human waste touches one’s clothes ,one may not perform prayers nor entering a mosque until it thorolly cleaned.

  775. ali borawi, February 8, 2012:

    I wonder none of you mentioned anything about eating fish in Tripoli and no body mentioned “soq elhut” means fish market. There was two next to the seaport and one in downtown Tripoli close to a school. Is that because fish is not common on american tables?

  776. ali borawi, February 8, 2012:

    the best pizza I ever ate was in down Tripoli (Italian restaurant). I still remember the tase. Cant find such a pizza now. Mayb be if I visit Italy. Hi Angelika. what do you think about fish and pizza?
    By the way say hi to husband.

  777. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 8, 2012:

    To # 771
    Hi Ali,
    You are right it is the same all over the world. Fruits and vegetables from the markets don’t taste as good as they used to. I get better results from my garden, but they might not look as good as the ones you buy. We have the wild cactus here too and call the fruit “Prickly Pear”. My husband sometimes went off base in his lunch time and bought the roasted corn cobbs. They taste very nice. About the human fertilizer they still use it in China today and I remember it was still used in Germany after the war. We didn’t buy any fish in Tripoli, because my husband did catch a lot of fish with a spear gun. It was his hobby to go snorkelling. Yes, Ali I like pizza occasionally, but make it myself. For a quick pizza I use the flat Lebanese bread which we can buy here at the shops and just put the toppings on it and heat it in the oven. Ali, regards from my husband. He doesn’t like to use the computer, because he can’t type.

  778. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 8, 2012:

    To Charles F. Nemejc # 774
    Hi Charles,
    I never tried camel meat, because when I was young I was very fussy. I would try it today if I had a chance. You should go into business with the Australian Government. We have thousands of camels running wild in the outback and they are doing a lot of environmental damage. The Australians want to get rid of the camels. So they could be exported to the US if there were a demand. They can’t be exported to the Middle East, because they buy only live stock, like sheep. It is very difficult to catch these wild camels and ship them live, but they could be killed here and frozen and shipped to other countries. How about that?

  779. Charles F. Nemejc, February 8, 2012:

    To Angelika: Yes I read that Australia has a problem with camels, We also did in the early 1900s here in Arizona but they were all removed due to the damage they did, now we only have a huge problem with wild burros…Shipping frozen camel from Australia would be costly and alot of people would be stand off on the Camel. Maybe some day. Your idea sounds good… Maybe if I was younger, I would venture in the camel export business.. I think it would be profitable here in the States. Regards…….

  780. terry mcgreevey, February 8, 2012:

    To Angelika. Just curious - where in Australia do you now live ? My older brother moved to Australia with his family back in 1962 and settled in Adelaide. I visited him in 1989 and thoroughly enjoyed my stay - very friendly people in ‘down under’.

  781. Bahrain, February 8, 2012:

    suk al jumma pic added

  782. Glen McCombs, February 8, 2012:

    To Ali We never went to the fish market, because we bought fish from fishermen along the mellaha hwy between Wheelus and Tripoli. Best squid (calamari) I have had to date.

  783. Bahrain, February 8, 2012:

    Hi Glen,
    When at Wheelus, I used to fish off the rocks close to the main gate. Caught quite a few nice fish that looked kind of like grouper. I would scrape small round shellfish off the rocks and use the flesh for bait. I worked in the kitchen of the Airman’s and NCO Clubs after work and would give the fish to the Libyans who also worked there. They seemed really glad to get them so I assume they were good to eat. ( Robert Sullivan )

  784. Bahrain, February 8, 2012:

    I would fish off the area where the salt came in. I was fishing there one time and didn’t have a sinker so I used my Seiko watch. Never caught any fish but it was fun. I was snorkeling one time and saw a fish so I took a deep breath and went after it. I didn’t get it because Steve was there shaking his head so I went up and that is when he said that fish would have got me and that it was poisonest. It was long and brown. Have no telling what it was. ( Richard Smith )

  785. Glen McCombs, February 8, 2012:

    To Richard Smith: Seiko watch? Expensive bait.

  786. Bahrain, February 8, 2012:

    True but it was all I had at the time. It was a good one keep it for many years after that till we had a house fire in 2001 and we lost everything but the PJS we had on. I lost all the stuff and things I had got in Libya. So sad but have our lives and God to thank for waking me up. ( Richard Smith )

  787. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 9, 2012:

    To Terry Mcgreevey # 783
    My husband got a job with a Swiss Company in Sydney, so we moved there in 87. When my husband retired 11 yrs ago we moved to a small coastal town in Queensland, north of Brisbane. We like it here, nice people and not overpopulated like Europe.

  788. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 9, 2012:

    # 784
    That’s a very pretty old postcard of the SUK EL GIUMA.

  789. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 9, 2012:

    To Charles F. Nemejc # 782
    When I traveled through Arizona in 2010 I saw those burros in a place called Oatman. They were quite cute, but probably a pest now.

  790. ali borawi, February 9, 2012:

    To richard Smith, Hi
    “the area where the salt came in”
    Alot of our neighbors used to work in salt collecting in that area. They used to ride bicycles. entering to base through that fourth gate mentioned above.

  791. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    It seems to me from reading these blogs, there were a number of categories of experiences at Wheelus or groups with similar experiences.
    1. Dependants, spouses and children of NCOs and officers who generally had a grand adventure at Wheelus.
    2. NCOs and officers who chose to be in Libya 3 years with their families rather than 18 months without them. This group went home to their wives and children almost every night.
    3. Career senior airman and NCOs and officers who elected to not bring their families to Libya for 3 years and were separated from their loved ones for 18 months.
    4. The single enlisted men, usually on their first enlistment, who lived in un-airconditioned barracks, 3 guys to a room, ate 3 meals a day in a consolidated mess attempting to keep flies out of their food and not eat roaches that could be found in some of the food, and wash it down with very cold powdered milk (white or chocolate), thank you! The powdered eggs were tolerable and the SOS was one of the best meals they had.
    I was one of the later. In the daytime we were on the flight line refueling planes. And it was hot! At night we were in the snack bar which was air conditioned, getting drunk on very cheap beer. On weekends there was snorkeling, and in my case, riding my 124 Gillera MC. Tourist sights visited were: the Camel Market downtown, Arch of Marcus Arelius in Tripoli, the old city, and Leptis Magna, none however after dark. My friend, Joel Litski, dated a Jewish girl in Tripoli. Her uncle was nearly beaten to death with shovels while returning home to their compound one night after work. Lots of memories from that 18 months out of my 69 years. Some were good, some bad and some just plain ugly. I really loved the US of A when I returned after my 18 month tour. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  792. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    I and a friend were out in one of the little Sunfish? sailboats and hooked something really big. It was pulling us and the boat towards Italy so we cut the line. Must have been a whopper. ( Robert Sullivan )

  793. terry mcgreevey, February 9, 2012:

    To Carol Whitcomb. You summed up things pretty well - I also was a young airman on his first enlistment - SOS, I hate to admit it, but I loved that stuff for breakfast - first meal I ever had at Lackland the day I arrived for basic training. Other memories - leaving Charleston AFB on a C-121 on my journey to Wheelus - we stopped over in the Azores for three days - had engine problems - must have experienced every change in weather while we were there and then finally the landing in Libya to be greeted with a blast of hot desert air. Funny how things like that still seem so recent and in my case that was over 53 years ago !

  794. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    Author: Gordy Whitcomb
    To: Terry McGreevey
    A summer day of 1963, left Charleston AFB at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. Blew an engine on takeoff on a “super Connie”. From the Bahamas, the Azores, then Nuesuer in French Moracco, finally Wheelus. We left Tuesday morning and arrived Wednesday night. I remember walking out the door of the plane and thinking “wow, it’s hot” and “this place smells bad”. I checkled at the sign that said “Keep Wheelus clean” and right below it a sign that said “Latrines” with an arrow. “Hmmm, this may be a strange place,” I thought. I didn’t understand why, as we got off the plant, there were people taking pictures of us. 18 months later I was there taking pictures of the people getting off my “freedom bird” that had come to take me home.
    I’m still looking for anyone who was in Wheelus 1963-65.

  795. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    I was there 18 months and they made me stay an extra 2 weeks because of the over take. I left in February 1970. Got stationed at Seymour Johnson AB in Goldsboro NC. I loved it there. We had 4 to our rooms in that hot sweaty barracks with lots of sand in the room that almost made it impossible to keep clean. I do remember one time for lunch they had steaks and the lines at the mess hall was so long lunch was over before some of us got one. It seemed we had something over noodles every day and when I got home I didn’t eat any kind of noodles for a long time. This is funny. When I got back to the states and arrived in Knoxville Tn. My wife and Mother-in -law were watching for me to get off the plane. Well I was so dark they didn’t recognize me till I got right up to them. See it was so hot there in Libya that we worked at night and sleep on the beach during the day. Get hot wake up jump in the Med to cool off and go back and lay on the beach to get a few winks and go do it all over again.

    The bar in our barracks ran out of beer. Well when it did come in (Budweiser) the cans were rusty and had a date of 1959 on them. They must have been floating in the med for a long time because it was 1969.

    Some of the memories are so clear that I will never forget them Some good and bad.

    Richard Smith Retired USAF

  796. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    Sorry I was there 68-70. I remember the flight there. It was in October 68. Left Fort Dicks in NJ. flew to Frankfurt Germany where we stoped for something. They wouldn’t let us off the plane but when the door was opened there was snow on the ground and cold. Well we took off and next stop was Libya. It was 0100 and I was in dress blues (wool) then. It was so hot that the sweat was rolling down my face and we sat in the marshaling area for over two hours while they called our names and assigned us to our squadrons. I am like you. What kind of a place have they sent me to. Can’t drink the water due to so much salt that causes problems till maybe you get use to it. I was lonely because I had only been married 6 months and scared.

    Richard Smith

  797. Bahrain, February 9, 2012:

    ( @ 793 ) I remember that. They rode bicycles everywhere ans some had scooters. One that worked for me was a Turk. Esi and he rode a scooter and could speak pretty good English. He was a friend. and also 2 Italians that also worked for me at the power plants. Spirier would bring food from home to us. The best pizza ever and then on Friday’s they would cook noodles with either beef or camel and hot but so good. I like the sedeli sandwiches tuna on bread and very very hot. They grew halopinas (peppers)around the main power plant and before I left to come home I could pull one off and eat it with out it brothering me. Their tea Shae was good but so sweet but it was for energy. ( Richard Smith )

  798. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., February 9, 2012:

    Attn: Carol Whitcomb # 794
    I couldn’t tell when you were at Wheelus, but your my age. Wheelus was my first assignment after Fire Fighter School. I was there from July 1961 to Jan. 1963. You mentioned fueling planes on the Flight line. I was standing by with my crew and Fire Truck , while the refuel personnel were fueling a group of F-101’s
    across from the Flight Terminal. The guy was up on the wing fueling the first jet in a line of ten or twelve . Just as he bent down to pull the fuel nozzle . a Zippo lighter fail out of one of his top pockets. It bounced off the wing and when it hit the pavement below , it flipped open and struck. The whole area around that jet and three more lit up. We saved the airman but he did get some burns. Three F-101’s were a loss.
    I think it happened in 1962. Do you remember any thing about that?
    Shirley Kirkley

  799. Larry Lasater, February 10, 2012:

    Attn: Gordy Whitcomb #797
    Posting numbers 317, 442, 455, and 456 were all left by people that were at Wheelus during the 63-65 time frame. I was there Sept. 63 to Mar 65. All of the aforementioned postings were left by 7272 Hospital personnel.

  800. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 10, 2012:

    To Carol Whitcomb # 794
    Hi Carol, in the 60ties there was also a 5. group working on base, the TCC (Third Country Citizens). These people from all over Europe and Turkey were employed by the US Air Force and most stayed till the end. The jobs were well paid and came with all the privileges, shopping on base, free hospital and dental and free flights to other bases within Europe. Single people could live at the BOQ on base and married ones had to rent houses off base. Also some civilian Americans worked on base. No doubt we had the time of our live. Cheap shopping, nice houses, close to the beach, interesting city and country side. It was like a big long holiday if you came from a cold country like the UK or Germany. Very nice if you had small children; they could play outside almost the whole year around. We didn’t mind the heat, because it was dry heat – well there were some terrible days a year and I didn’t like the Ghibblies, but otherwise we loved our time in Libya and would have stayed on forever.

  801. Bahrain, February 10, 2012:

    To Shirley Kirkley jr Author Gordy whitcomb I know memories get fuzzy but I was in refuieling 1961-1965. 63-65 was in Wheelus. As I remember 101’s refueled from a single point systerm not over the wing as you describe. The drop tanks on all of the planes I refueled were, however, over the wing refueling that is with a hand squeezed nozzle. I refueled rf 101,s all the time I was in the states (Shaw AFB SC) YOU CLAMPED A TWO HANDED NOZZLE ON TO A FITTING ERGO SINGLE POINT REFUELING) ALL THSE CAPITOLS ARE AN ERROR. i DOPN’T TYPE AS WELL AS I BS Well finally got it out of caps!!!!!!!!!! Also our job was to hand the creww chief the nozzel with clean dry fuel available for th plane. So the guy who got burned would have been a crew member for that 101 ( Carol Whitcomb )

  802. Bahrain, February 10, 2012:

    I was there from June 1961 to Dec 1962. I worked in the Air Terminal and do not remember that incident. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  803. Bahrain, February 10, 2012:

    new pic added Wheelus Airman’s Club

  804. Bahrain, February 10, 2012:

    to Larry Lasater In 63 I flew over with a young airman who was to work in the Hosp lab I didn’t see him much over there he was in the hosp & I was in POL (Fuel supply) In 65 we flew back together He had some good stories of the various bugs he saw in the microscope. He was astounded at the parasites the locals had. Flying over with him and flying back he seemed a really nice kid. He was the one who found a MC for sale for me that I bought. That MC was the 1st of 16 that I have had. The 1sts are always the best. Wish I knew his name From Gordy Whitcomb

  805. Bahrain, February 10, 2012:

    To Angelika Pawlitschek From Gordy Whitcomb As my wife says I guess Idont knoweverything nor do I type well. I had no contacts with any TCC folks 1963-65 except Rasariuo Fiella an Italian from Tripoli who worked for Esso and rode a Vespa to work in Fuel Supply every day. One day I asked him if Italian was a hard language to learn. He said “Oh no no I Have a little 3yr old daughter and she speaks it very well” One of my “Happy memories” of Wheelus. The only people from Europe I met were some Danish and some W German soldiers, no civilians but as a single low ranking Airman there was probably lots of stuff going on @ the base I didn’t know about esp if it involved Officers,they didn’t live in my world.

  806. Larry Lasater, February 10, 2012:

    To Gordy Whitcomb, I can’t recall by name the people I knew that were assigned to the Lab but I’m sure I know who you are talking about. I was assigned to surgery and spent most of my duty hours back in the Surgical Suite as opposed to being out in main part of the hospital. It sounds as if we have something in common besides Wheelus…I ride as well and enjoy MCing around the US. I’ll check with some of the others to see if they can come up with a name for you.

  807. Ray Ong, February 11, 2012:

    A lot of memorable moments at Wheelus was had by all of us. I was a single airman on my second tour. At first I hated it but I really grew to enjoy that tour. It also could be the fact that we were so young then. I flew into Idriss Airport from my last duty ststion but flew out on the Freedom Bird from Wheelus in mid May 1970. I also liked SOS but wouldn’t admit it at the time!


  808. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 11, 2012:

    To Gordy Whitcomb # 808
    Ha, ha, ha this is a good one, the Italian saying his 3 yrs old speaks well Italian. Never mind your typing; my husband doesn’t even try to type.
    We did mix with all kind of American Military Personnel, since we were allowed to go into the NCO and Officer’s Club. My husband sometimes invited young Airmen who worked with him to the house for a barbeque or dinner. They did enjoy visiting off base and they also liked to baby-sit and stay overnight. On the Castiglione Farm we also had married Airmen and NCOs living. There was a lot entertaining going on. I can understand the poor young chaps who lived in the barracks and had to eat at the Mess hall 18 month could be a very long time away from family and friends.

  809. Bahrain, February 11, 2012:

    to Larry Lasater from Gordy Whitcomb That Gillera 124 helped save my sanity @ Wheelus Do you ever tour through Nebr. I live on gravel roads so gave up MC’s but every spring that twitch in my right wrist returns ( Carol Whitcomb )

  810. Bahrain, February 11, 2012:

    New Pic added - Fishing in Tripoli 1966

  811. Bahrain, February 11, 2012:

    to Angelika Pawlischek From Gordy Whitcomb I was poor (but no poorer than my Pards) I lived in the barreks (with my buddies) , I ate in the chow hall (as we all did) and I was away from home and loved ones, However, I wasn’t drafted I Enlisted, I chose to be in th USAF, Had I not gone in the AF after high school I probably would have ended mup in prison. I was on the wrong pathway of life. I owe so much to the AF’s contribution to me growing up past being a n 18 yr old juvenile delinquent. I look back on my life from 69 and see, cop deputy sheriff, juvenile officer, probation officer and 29 yrs alcohol, drug, and mental health counselor and see I never would have walked that road without the lessons learned in the Air Force. Some of those lessons were learned in Lybia. It was a MAJOR experiance in my life. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  812. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 12, 2012:

    To Cordy Whitcomb # 814
    Maybe the time in Libya did many of the young GIs good. It widened their horizon to see a different world. It certainly did give my husband and me a different perspective when we first left our home country in 1961 at the age of 26 and 19 to live in Turkey. My husband worked there at the Incirlic USAF base. Once I arrived there, the first thing I wanted to do jump on a plane and go straight back home, because it was a completely different world. I was narrow minded and had to learn to be more tolerant of other people’s habits.

  813. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 12, 2012:

    I did upload many photos from Tripoli today. It was hard work. To get all the pics smaller I had to find it out first.

  814. Bahrain, February 12, 2012:

    @ 816 - thanks for the pics, they will be visible online soon and we will add the links on this page.

  815. Bahrain, February 12, 2012:


    You say you flew out on the Freedom Bird in May 1970. My uncle Clyde Ison is looking for others who flew out on that flight. He doesn’t use the internet and lives in Austin, TX but would love to hear from someone who remembers what happened from Jan to May of 1970.

    Lena Campbell

  816. Bahrain, February 12, 2012:

    to Angelika Pawlitschek from Gordy Whitcomb Your absolutely right that 18 months @ Wheelul was a major part of my transition from a smart aleck adolescent to adult hood. All my life I have carried memories of that time. When you grow up in small town midwest USA you don’t even suspect what real poverty can be. One time some W German soldiers came in the messhall @ Wheelus I remember thinking they looked more American than a lot of the GI’s I served with. That was because there were only two nationalities of kids in my home town in Neb, German Luthern and German catholic. The Air force gave me an education beyond words and Wheelus was a MAJOR part of that. For that I’ll always be grateful.

  817. Bahrain, February 12, 2012:

    @ 816 - all the pics should now be visible on this link - page 41 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  818. Ray Ong, February 12, 2012:

    Lena Campbell,

    In January and early February base closure activities were still light. I still had time to go out to Leptis Magna and other places to enjoy some of the sites. We sstill had some base recreational activities to enjoy. Then as we got closer to June, base closure activites started to ramp up. Many base recreation activites started to close as well as military activites.

    I remember a lot of C-141 flew in during the months before I left. I will attempt to place some pictures on this site. The C-141 were loaded with equipment and materials from base closeure activities. I remember the mess halls closing down and we had to eat at the NCO Club or the Mirage for our meals. Had really good food at the NCO Club. I remember also that we had longer shifts and many times I would just settle down at my work site on a cot while my co-worker and I shared the shift.

    Just about the time for me to fly home, the unfortunate incident at Kent State took place. I cannot remember if we still had AFRTS-TV 12 by that time or not but we followed the new on AFRS or the Stars and Stripes.

    When the Freedom Bird came we had to go to the MAC Terminal early in the morning. We also had our luggage inspected by Libyan Customs before we could board. Our flight was on Trans Carribean Airways as I recall. We flew up to Rhine-Main, Germany before we contiued on to McGuire. Our flight was in the afternoon and we just chased the sun West to McGuire AFB.

    Wheelus base closure was completed in June.


  819. Robert Wood, February 13, 2012:

    Lena, I was on that flight in May of ‘70. I think it was on May 24th and I remember that it was the next to the last Freedom Bird going out. I think the base was officially closed on Jun 1st of ‘70. When I left, there were only maybe a few hundred military left there. We were all consolidated into 2 dorms next to the post office and across the street from the Chapel and NCO Club. The Libyans had control of most of the base. Anyway, that I think we flew out in the morning that day and landed in Frankfort Germany. It was a smooth flight on a lovely spring day. Needless to say, everybody was pretty happy.

  820. Bahrain, February 13, 2012:

    Hi My first duty station was Offut but I was stationed in Elkhorne Corn field and we lived in Freemont.

    Richard Smith Retired USAF

  821. Bahrain, February 13, 2012:

    new pics added - page 56 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  822. Hardy Hall, February 13, 2012:

    To Angelika Pawlitschek, Thanks for the post on photo #37, I was there in 61-62 and could not think of where I was. Hardy Hall

  823. Bahrain, February 13, 2012:

    new pic added - pages 58 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  824. Bahrain, February 14, 2012:

    @ 822 - Was Chappy on that flight? My uncle says Chappy was on his flight. ( Lena Campbell )

  825. Bahrain, February 14, 2012:

    new pics added - page 63 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  826. R. Ong, February 14, 2012:


    Col. Chappie James was promoted to Brigadier General and was relieved of his command on March 25, 1970. He left shortly for Washington DC. This information is from “The Life and Times of Daniel James, Jr.” by J. Alfred Phelps.

    Ray Ong

  827. Bahrain, February 14, 2012:

    does anyoneremember th gazells in the pen by AP hdqtrs? They were so little , legs no bigger around than your thumb era 1964 ( Carol Whitcomb )

  828. Bahrain, February 14, 2012:

    Don’t know if Mr. Phelps has that correct but I’ll ask my uncle again. He wasn’t sent to Libya until Jan of 1970 and was sent as part of the holding force and was on special assignment related to the Lady B Good and other important pieces of equip. His orders were to disassemble and return to US or destroy. The last two months he was there he was forced to remain in the housing near the post office and was often taken out and lined up with others where they were threatened with guns. His name again was Clyde Ison. He told me that the day they flew out they were not told anything and the plane landed and they were hustled aboard and given strict orders not to speak while boarding or after boarding. He remembers there being 3 nuns or women in berkas on the flight.

    Lena Campbell

  829. Bud Trill, February 14, 2012:

    Carol Whitcomb, I think I have a picture of the animal that your are referencing that was in the base zoo. I wonder how I could mail it to you to see if it is what you are talking about.

  830. Bud Trill, February 14, 2012:

    I can honestly say in all my years of pasta eating, and it’s been a lot and shows it, I can remember a restaurant that was upstairs on the second floor in a building in Tripoli that I consumed the best spaghetti that I have ever tasted in my life. I loved the topping that you could get of olive oil, garlic and anchovies. I couldn’t remember where it was located or the name either. My grandma came from Italy and I ran with Italians from Queens to Chicago etc and none could duplicate it. I have to admit that there seemed to be an arua about being at Wheelus Field and Tripoli that you can’t and don’t want to forget your time there and would even like to return. You wouldn’t believe the extreme effort I put into trying to leave the place only wishing to go back. I did get a layover there to see some old friends on my way back to the ZI from Diyarbakir. Couldn’t leave the base though.

  831. Bud Trill, February 14, 2012:

    Since my friend told me about this site I have been reminiscing and going through all my Wheelus, Tripoli memorabilia and just ran across my tailors card from Tripoli where I had my clothes made. He was a very nice gentleman and very good Tailor. One button rolls were in back in 1954 and he made me one in light blue wool. I had a Tux made there and a white tux jacket also.

    High Class Tailors
    16-18, Galleria De Bono
    Telephone 1223

  832. Ray Buckman, February 14, 2012:

    when we were in the desert we hunted the gazelle and the cooked them. Just like deer. found out later that if we got caught we would still be in jail. I was there in late 1964 and most of 1965. I worked in the Power Plant.

  833. Woodrow, February 14, 2012:

    Ray Ong - I left Wheelus in May of ‘70 and was stationed at RAF Mildenhall England. After 2 years (1972), I came back to the states and was stationed at Scott AFB, Ill. General James was the MAC Commander at this time.

  834. ali borawi, February 15, 2012:

    Hi all,
    Here is a site for old Libyan songs.

    and another for Quran:

    and another for Libya history

    and another about Libya relegion (Islam)

  835. Bahrain, February 15, 2012:

    more pics added - pages 64 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  836. Bahrain, February 15, 2012:

    TO BUD Trill 1964 I never sw a base zoo. This was a maybe 50×50 pen behind the AP Hdgtrs I have pictures from there If you were there 63-65 let me know and we can connect direct. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  837. Bahrain, February 15, 2012:

    new pic added ( wheelus gallery )

  838. Gordy Whitcomb, February 15, 2012:

    to Ray Buckman from Gordy Whitcomb What did you hunt gazzels wth ? Also did you get any fuel delivered by POL? I was there 63-Jan 65 Where were your barrecks? If you hunted did you belong to the Gun club on base?

  839. Bahrain, February 15, 2012:

    When I was in Libya and Turkey I had the good fortune to be entertained occasionally with USO style shows made up of Europeans. Here are pictures of one group that appeared at Wheelus Field during my duty there. Bud Trill (Wheelus Field 1954-55)
    ( wheelus gallery )

  840. R. Ong, February 15, 2012:


    Your station assignments was like mine in reverse. I came from England (S. Ruislip) to Wheelus in June 1969 and left Wheelus on May 15, 1970 to McGuire AFB. It is too bad I don’t have the passenger manifest on that Freedom Bird out of Wheelus.


  841. Bahrain, February 15, 2012:

    new pics added ( wheelus gallery )

  842. Conley W. Ford, February 15, 2012:

    As a matter of record 1963-64 … the Wheelus AFB Veterinary Clinic/Food Inspection Office was located across the drive from Cold Food Storage.. Along side the Vet Clinic were five quarantine kennel cages for holding stray dogs picked up on base by the Air Police. Stray dogs were held for ten days and if not claimed or adopted during this period then they were put to sleep and disposed of by the Air Police. I often feed and cared for these animals. The housing & care for Sentry/Patrol dogs was managed by the Air Police who did an excellent job.
    AIC Conley Ford Vet Tech 7272nd USAFE Hosp 1963-64

  843. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 16, 2012:

    does anyone remember a guy from south carolina who worked in the power plant at wheelus named john savage or a guy from new york named sears both at wheelus in 1969-70 tommie davis

  844. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 16, 2012:

    john savage and i was stationed at nellis afb when we got orders to go to wheelus in the fall of 1968. we worked the same shop and savage had a new car since he lived in south carolina and i in the central part of the usa we traveled together to my home town and he continued on to his home state. we flew to wheelus on the same flight and when we arrived i was sent to el uotia and he was assigned to the power plant at the base. i saw him a coupla times when i would come to the base every now and then but lost contact because the tour of duty at el uotia was one year and the tour at wheelus was 18 months. i have often wondered where he ended up after wheelus. ill always remember our trek across the country together two young airman headed to our first overseas duty assignment mr john savage i hope all is well with you….. tommie davis

  845. ali borawi, February 16, 2012:

    Can anybody verify the story that some machine gun storage on the base was looted by locals as they were trying to send them to Algeria to help the Algerian revolution against the french forces. (between 55 and 62)

  846. Woodrow, February 16, 2012:

    Ray - Yeah, when I left Wheelus and went to Mildenhall, it was a welcome site. Couldn’t get over how green everything was after being at Wheelus. I guess coming to Wheelus from England was a real treat for you !

  847. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 16, 2012:

    i was at wheelus from december 68 until november 69 and never had a opportunity to go to the airman’s club. the club was closed when i got there and closed when i left. is there any reason or explanation for the place being closed during that period of time….tommie davis

  848. Allen Hebert, February 16, 2012:

    Would someone please tell me how to upload pictures and a/c of Wheelus in 1959..i hae many to share..

  849. Ray Ong, February 17, 2012:

    The green English countryside really causght my eyes when I went there from California. I did not like leaving England but when I arrived in Wheelus it reminded me of the California weather and beaches.


  850. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 17, 2012:

    To Ali Borawi # 837
    Hi Ali,
    these websites are all very interesting.

  851. Bahrain, February 17, 2012:

    I jumped a c130 and landed at Mildenhall and saw thousands of English Bobbies and APs. I wondered what is going on and they said President Nixon is coming in and if you stay on base you have to stay in Blues. Well I didn’t and went to BAQ, changed into civilian clothes and went to the NCO club were I got a ride to London. I hoped a TWA to the states and came home for about 8 days before heading back to Libya. It was a trip and almost got shot when I got back because I got a ride and they went to the Libyan Royal Air force sited and it was real scary. I was told not to say a word so I didn’t.

    Richard Smith USAF Retired

  852. Bahrain, February 17, 2012:

    I don’t remember John savage but do SGT Sears. I worked with him in the plant. I was there 68-70.
    Richard Smith USAF Retired

  853. Bahrain, February 17, 2012:

    Hi Tommie,
    I was there at the time it was closed (’67-’68) and the reason I was given was that it was due to racial incidents. Having been there, I was not supprised. Lost my part-time job washing dishes in the kitchen as a result of the closing.

  854. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 18, 2012:

    Richard Smith… sgt sears and i went tdy to weisbaden to generator school in the early part of 69. i didtn see him very much after then because it was back to the desert and el uotia for me. if my memory serve me correctly we might have left on the same flight coming back to the usa.

  855. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 18, 2012:

    This response is for the person who left the comment at 856 thank you for the information. iam sure you have gone on and have done many wonderful things in your career after leaving the airmans club at wheelus. …Tommie Davis

  856. Lawrence Guinn, February 18, 2012:

    Hi to everyone just stumbled on to this site, brings back a lot of memories, i was stationed there october 56 to july 57 worked in base communications, i think a guy named Jim broke me in on the switchboard, was assigned to 7272nd operations sq. enjoyed my time there learned a lot, made friends with some of the british soldiers there, transferred to morocco in july 57 to radar site in atlas mountains, i am starting to remember more just reading every one’s postings.

  857. Bahrain, February 18, 2012:

    new pics added - pages 74 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  858. Jim Muse, February 18, 2012:

    Ref 859: Lawrence Guinn. Was the switchboard located in the same building as the Base Comm Center? I worked in the Comm Center from Apr56 til Nov56 before I was moved to Base Ops Comm Ctr. I recall a switchboard down the hallway from the Base Comm Ctr but we didn’t have any thing to do with it. I thought mostly civilians worked in there. The base locator desk was in the same building. She was an English lady named Sybil as I recall. As one entered the building she was right inside the door on the right. The entrance to the Comm Center was straight ahead and the switchboard was down the hallway to the left. Same building? I learned to operate a small switchboard as it was located in the comm center at Havre AFS, my assignment following 1950th AACS Sq at Wheelus. I’m talking about the building which was across the street from the “O” club. /jrm//

  859. Conley W. Ford, February 18, 2012:

    AIC Conley Ford - Worked part time 1963-64 as a Host at the Wheelus AFB Airmen’s Club. See photo of Conley at front desk of club greeting members..

  860. Bahrain, February 19, 2012:

    Thanks Tommie,
    Actually, I’ve had a good life. Being at Wheelus was a great experience for someone so young and dumb as I was. Made me see the world through bigger eyes. I have much to be thankful for. Haven’t had to wash dishes anymore unless my wife made me. LOL !! God bless . By the way, I am Robert Sullivan in Tuscaloosa, Al. I was in the 7272 Armament and /Electronics Squadron.

  861. Ray Ong, February 19, 2012:

    Ref 861 Jim Muse:

    I just uploaded a picture of the AFCS building. This is where I was located.


  862. Lawrence Guinn, February 19, 2012:

    to Jim Muse: i have a picture of the base comm bldg and also a picture of the airman that broke me in on the switchboard, i think every thing was in the same bldg. i can email the pictures to see if it is familiar let me know where to send photo,s glad to find some one there at the same time as i was, thanks

  863. Bahrain, February 20, 2012:

    ddddddddditto to the post about Wheelus opening ones eyes ( Carol Whitcomb )

  864. Jim Muse, February 20, 2012:

    Ref 865: Lawrence Guinn .. Would like to see the pictures of the base comm bldg. We probably knew some of the same people. I just made contact with former T/SGT Henry Lajoie who was the NCOIC of Base Message Center when I arrived there in April of 56. He late became my NCOIC at Base Operations Comm Center. Email me at Perhaps we can exhange some names which are familiar to us. //jrm//

  865. Bahrain, February 20, 2012:

    new pics added - page 82 onwards ( wheelus gallery )

  866. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 21, 2012:

    Robert…it good to know that you are having a good life thats always nice to hear. i was a young guy myself when i got to wheelus and i learn a lot about life. i believe that we were very blessed to have col. chappie james in charge of wheelus at that very difficult peroid of time. he served as a mentor and role model for many people including myself i had a chance to see him after he left wheelus when he came to my home town to visit a university campus. i can identify with you robert in saying that wheelus was an experence that ill never forget. ps. hope that your home town has fully recovered from the tornados of last spring. Tommie Davis

  867. Bahrain, February 21, 2012:

    Tonnie Davis do you have any ideal where or what about SGT Spears? Did you know SMSGT Mims or MSGT Stinemetz. Tom Lawton. or any others. It was an experience there one I will never forget. I had a dream awhile back that seem so true to life. I was sent back there and all was so clear to me. Scary and then scary. I left on the second Freedom Bird back to the States. Got Stationed at Seymour Johnson AB in Goldsboro NC. Love it there but was sent every where I retired in 1989 just before the Gulf War Outbreak. I live in Johnson City Tn. and plan staying here till God calls me home. How about you? ( Richard Smith )

  868. TOMMIE DAVIS, February 21, 2012:

    Richard Smith…. no richard i dont know what happen to sgt spears never made contact after leaving wheelus and i dont remember any of the other gentlemen you mentioned. after being stationed out there in the desert “el uotia” for a year and then getting an assignment to go to minot north dakota 786 radar squadron (south base) i was thinking i might have done something wrong and was being but i have always tried to make the best out of any situation i was put in. you know the story lemons lemonaid. i did one 4 year tour of duty and returned to my home town pine bluff arkansas. Tommie Davis

  869. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., February 21, 2012:

    To: Tommie Davis, I know about the think your being punished thing. I was at Wheelus in 1961 to 63. When I left it was 120 degrees on the flight line. My new station was K.I.Sawyer AFB (SAC) near Marquette, Michigan on Lake Superior. It was -40 degrees when I got off the bus, and I was still 25 miles from the isolated base. I was in 505 uniform (the khaki with bush jacket.
    Shirley Kirkley

  870. Jerry Booth, February 22, 2012:

    I put a post out here in April (see #260) and put on it a blog address with photos from when I was at Wheelus in ‘67 and ‘68. There have been over 600 new posts since than, and I wasn’t sure if some of you had not read all 600 and missed mine.

  871. Bahrain, February 22, 2012:

    Your right every time I was relocated it was in the west Midwest and I wanted in the South like Florida. Like I said the best tour I had in the States was NC. I was back from Wheelus about 3 weeks and I was in charge of our Shop in Civil Eng Sq. I got tdy orders to California and I got out of it due to being gone for so long but the next one got me and the next and the next and so on. I crossed trained to NDI and spent 12 weeks at Chanute in Ill. Came back to my new job in Field Maint. Sq. I was there about 3 months and TDY orders to Thiland for 6 months. I started to process and received a call from Headquarters saying PCS orders had just come in for Forbs AB in Topeka Kansas. The Air Force was something but I choose it and now that it is over I am glad I did. I had 22 years and retired in 1989. I got a big envelope from Headquarters of the Air Force telling me to be read if called for the Gulf War but I never got called. Thank God I was to old to go back to the desert ( Richard Smith )

  872. terry mcgreevey, February 22, 2012:

    To Shirley Kirtley - You brought up something I still recoil in horror remembering - those durn infernal bush jackets they issued in the late fifties - I refused to wear those off-base. Whoever designed or approved those for USAF must have been a big fan of Johnny Weismuller and his ‘Jungle Jim’ movies.

  873. Bud Trill, February 22, 2012:

    Jerry Booth, I just looked at your pics you mentioned and enjoyed them a lot. You’re like me in the respect that you seem to save souvenirs like I do. My wife says I’m a pack rat. I have a copy of all of my orders, of course I only did 4 years. I imagine that there were quite a few changes at Wheelus from my time there and yours.

  874. Bahrain, February 22, 2012:

    To terry mcgreevey from gordy Whitcomb I thought bush jackets were cool, (61-65) but then maybe I really was a fan of Johnny Weismiller,jungle jim & all that. What was AWFUL in 61 was the sage green (Grey) fatiques caps and field jackets. BAGGY I believe they were adaptred in commeration of the 100th annv of the ciil war thus they were grey. I would love to find a set now for my collection. ALSO does anybodey have a Short timers pin for sale? Ours @ Wheelus was red & blue with a statue of liberty on it I gave mine to my roommate when I rotated back Darn.wish I Had it now! God bless all you guys & gals who were @ Wheelus (or any where else for that matter)

  875. terry mcgreevey, February 22, 2012:

    To Gordy W. I was skinny as a rail back when I was at Wheelus and that bush jacket just didn’t fit right - but, I agree with you about the gray fatigues - another poor choice of that era. My favorite uniform was the ‘Ike’ jacket but I guess the Kennedy administration didn’t want any reminders of good old Ike and phased it out in the early sixties.

  876. Allen Hebert, February 22, 2012:

    Posted pictures from 1959 ..The Numbers 74 to 80 and again numbers 87 to 94 When stationed with DET 1 86 FIS..Feb 1959 to Dec 1959 then disbanded and then assigned to 513 FIS Phalsbourg France…Then disbanded again in 1961 and sent to 496 FIS Hahn AFB Germany.Left Hahn Feb 1962.Last 9 months of a 4 year Enlistment (Feb 1962 to Nov 1962) ended up at Shepard AFB Texas….17 Years old to 21…..Best Years of my life….No Regrets

  877. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., February 22, 2012:

    Most of the Airmen in the early 1960’s did not like the 505 uniform, especially the Bush jacket. The 505 had replaced the khaki uniform from the Army Air force connection. Most of the office personnel wore the short sleeve shirt and the trousers on base. The strange thing is , I still have my Bush jacket.
    The Grey fatigues were being issued in 1961 when I went through Lackland. A year later it was hard to replace them and locally it was approved to wear mixed colors. After a while all fatigues were Army drab green.
    A month before my four years was up I was forced to buy the new light weight blue class A uniform.
    I was at a SAC base and they were constantly doing inspections. That’s tough when your paid $52.00 a month. I think the uniform was $45.00.
    Wheelus was great. We needed a base that big in that location at the time it was there. We did an enormous amount of good for the World during those years no matter what others may say.
    Shirley Kirkley

  878. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., February 22, 2012:

    P.S. The last six months I was at Wheelus(1962) I wore a yellow short timers ribbon . Some of the NCOIC’s would get you if they spotted the ribbon in your top pocket on your fatigues or anywhere else. I never saw a professionally made short timers pin.
    Shirley Kirkley

  879. R. Ong, February 22, 2012:

    I have some Wheelus AFRS sound bits that I recorded during the waning days of Wheelus Radio. Mostly of Sgt John Hodges as DJ and some transcriptions from AFRS. I don’t know if it is possible to post on this site. If anyone knows if this is possible let me know. I was hoping to have some sound bits of Sgt David Moore but I didn’t catch it on tape.


  880. Angelika Pawlitschek, February 23, 2012:

    To Jerry Booth # 260 and 873
    Hi Jerry, great photos from long ago. I was there from June 66 to June 72. Looking at your pictures brings back many fond memories. Went often to the hospital during my pregnancy (baby born June 67). I have the same menu card for Thanksgiving at the hospital, but from 1966. It has the same front cover. Can’t remember if I went there for dinner. Also still have some notes of the Military $. The first 6 weeks we lived off the main gate. I had a pushbike then and remember each time I rode to the base the guys at the main gate stopped me to have a look at my ID. They knew me by the time, but just for the fun of it I had to stop. I wish I would have taken more photos around Wheelus and downtown. Had a look at all your pictures last April, but just did not comment and I think so did many of the ex-wheelus people.

  881. Simon Ashworth, February 23, 2012:

    In reply to Bud Trill’s comment #833. I think that the restaurant he remembers was down the Via December 24. It was half way down on the left hand side next to the British bank ‘Barclays Bank DCO. It was a very small restaurant. Whilst I do not remember the spaghetti, their pizzas where the best ever. They had a real wood burning pizza oven on the ground floor. On cold winter days I am sure it was the warmest place in Tripoli. I hope this ‘jogs’ the memory.

  882. Bahrain, February 23, 2012:

    I have mine and love it. I also have a cigarette lighter with Wheelus AB Tripoli Libya on it. They are in my safe deposit box at the bank.

    Richard Smith, Tennessee

  883. Bahrain, February 23, 2012:

    I was there in 61 & 62 and we used the ribbon from a bottle of CC (Canadian Club) wrapped around any regular ribbon. Yellow & Black. ( Daniel Debrase )

  884. Bahrain, February 23, 2012:

    I have one and love it. I got it at the BX there on base.

    Richard Smith

  885. Bahrain, February 23, 2012:

    @ 880 - You are so true that we did a Justice there. I think it should still be because of where it was located.

    Richard Smith

  886. Terry Wright, February 23, 2012:

    To Jerry Booth: ichecked out the pictures and the shot of Casino Uaddan is great. I had scrounged up a couple of shots from Wickipedia (wichimedia?) to use on a book cover, but I wish I’d had yous. See
    Terry wright

  887. Terry Wright, February 23, 2012:

    I was at Wheelus in 1958-1959 for one of the “hardship” 18 month tours. As I said in an earlier post I did a lot of TDY trips in Europe which broke up the slow, HOT pace of life in Libya. Bur I really did enjoy the tour, after two and a half years in extreme south Texas. So my note to Jerry Booth should be viewed in that sort of context. Libya was new and different for me and it was anexperience for a 19 year old kid who’d never left the quiet confines of the Southron States. And without further equivocation, I ENJOYED IT>

  888. Bahrain, February 24, 2012:

    I also have a cigarette lighter from Wheelus, it has a camel and palm tree etched on it. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  889. Bahrain, February 24, 2012:

    Mine doesn’t have that but says Wheelus NCO Club. It was a gift from SMSGT Mims on my promotion to SGT.

    Richard Smith

  890. Larry Lasater, February 24, 2012:

    A question for Conley Ford #862. Who was the airman that worked at the Airmans Club that would occasionally sing at the club? I remember him singing a song that I think was titled “On The Street Where You Live”. As I recall he did a pretty good job.

  891. Bahrain, February 25, 2012:

    Jerry Paich
    I was with the 102nd AC&W Sqdn 1953 and all the Airmen were given a Monopol cigarette lighter when we left for the USA. Look for the photos of it in the Wheelus Gallery

  892. Jim Muse, February 25, 2012:

    Ref 894: Monopol cigarette lighter. I haven’t heard that term for years! I still have one from my Wheelus and smoking days. They were manufactured in Germany weren’t they? As I recall, they never missed a flick.

  893. Gordy Whitcomb, March 5, 2012:

    Have we all said all there is to say about the heat the flies the food the mede snorklin fishin beer drinkin @ good ole Wheelus? No blogs since2/25/12 ?

  894. Jim Muse, March 5, 2012:

    Ref above: As you, I was wondering what happened to the activity on the blog. Will have to dig up some more photos, circa 56/57, and put them on there. Maybe that can dig up some comments. That will get things started again.

  895. Terry McGreevey, March 5, 2012:

    Okay, does anyone recall the name of a British army post that was way out in the desert (it was so far out from civilization, I thought we were heading to Fort Zinderneuf from an old Gary Cooper movie, Beau Geste) ? Can’t even recall any town where it was near. Anyway, back in 1959, someone organized a base soccer team and we went out there to play the local garrison team. I think the whole garrison turned out to watch the ‘Yanks’ get a bloody good hiding - which we did, something like 8-0. Only about half of us were GIs, the rest of the team was mainly german nationals who worked at Wheelus. The great thing was our hosts were extremely friendly and fed us after the game - I never uttered another gripe about Wheelus after seeing the conditions our brit allies tolerated out there in ‘no-where’ land.

  896. Conley W. Ford, March 5, 2012:

    Ref #893… Larry Lasater.. As I recall my co-host worker & who often sang at the Airmen’s Club first name was Charles from NY/NJ area.. The club manager (1963-64) was SSGT Henry and the head host bouncer was an AIC Banks. Banks. Henry & Banks are black and were great to work for… Homesick Airmen,drinking,gambling, lack of women and coupled with racial issues often resulted in fist fights in front of the club after closing hours..

  897. Russ Kovach, March 5, 2012:

    My tour 11/55–4/57. We had a pretty good soccer team during my tour and in Dec. ‘55 we were runner-up in the USAFE tournament held at SEALAND AFB England.
    Here is roster if any one knows these guys.

    Norm Eaise 7272 FDSVCRON
    Ron Aquilina ” ‘
    Don Lancaster 5th APORON
    Chas Kerns 431St FITINCEPTRON
    David Goddard 7272OPRON
    Russ Kovach 580th ARESUPPRON
    William Unger ” ”
    Fred Merana 6934th RADRON (m)
    Billie Hickey ” ”
    James D Reed 633D AC&WRON
    Gabor PAPP 7272 APRON
    Robert J Brown ” ”
    Fred Sidon HQRONSEC 7272ABGRU
    Wm Francis 7281st TRANSTERDET (Army)

    We played the English many times and never won.We would go to their base and after the game they took us to the NAFFI( similar to Airmans Club) and fed us.When they came to our base , we took them to the chow hall and they were in 7th heaven.Loved our food. Remember one English outfit was called REME which was Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
    Other outfits had large tanks. We got along well with the English
    See my other postings 186,550,616 and670.

  898. Russ Kovach, March 5, 2012:

    Tripoli Trotter had pictures of our team with the base commander if anyone has acces to those issues.
    Commander was Col. Wm J. Cain,Jr.

  899. Terry McGreevey, March 5, 2012:

    To Russ Kovach - your info surprises me, I thought we were the first GI soccer team organized at Wheelus (1959). Good to hear you did so well. I was stationed in England after my Wheelus tour and played with Alconbury (briefly) and then Bentwaters. We often played the RAF teams near our base while in England and never won - close at times but no cigar. You mentioned british tank units, I think that unit out in the desert where we went was a tank outfit.

  900. Bob Gilbert, March 5, 2012:

    RE: Terry McGreevey’s comment on remote places in Libya

    There was a U.S. Coast Guard station at Matratin, Libya. (some nice photos at the bottom of the page)

    This was about 1/2 of the way between Tripoli and Bengazi. It was a LORAN transmitting station. There were about 50 or so Coasties stationed there. It was really remote. It was very near the formerly famous “Marble Arch” which Col. Gaddafy destroyed.

    I was in the Mediterranean Division of the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Wheelus. I did TDY time at Matratin overseeing various projects including rehabilitation of a 600 foot tall transmitting tower. I climbed that thing almost every day while the project was underway. That was a workout.

    This article describes the work at Wheelus and Matratin by the Mediterranean Division, including work at the Marble Arch airfield: link

    There was evidence of WWII everywhere around in the desert, particularly facilities and debris left behind by the Germans and Italians.

    An error in that article is mention of equipping the Libyan AF with “modern” aircraft as a part of the “Peace Desert” (ha, ha!) project. The aircraft type mentioned is the F-105. It was, in fact, the F-5.

  901. Bahrain, March 7, 2012:

    The British Tank Regiment was the 6th R.T.R. (Royal Tank Regiment) they were stationed
    at Kassala Barracks out in the desert. They had a hell of Job working in over 100 degrees,
    The chocks on their tank transporters weighed nearly a ton, imagine manually moving them
    in that temperature !!! ( Les Anderson )

  902. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 7, 2012:

    Yea! I thought everyone gave up on the site to.
    When I was there in 1961 there was a Nazi motor pool full of tanks, and other motorized equipment with the Swastika on them. The place was located on the big highway from the base along the harbor just before you get down town on the left. You had to look quick, all you could see was through a twelve foot Constantina wire gate. Mostly you would notice the bullet and canon holes in the masonry walls on each side of the gate.
    Also, on the East side of Tripoli along the coast road was a so called Sun bathing house for Mussolini. It was an igloo shaped building with a opening
    in the roof. There was a stone walkway that went out to the structure in the Mediterranean. The structure had a lot of bullet holes in it. I think it was just before you get to the British NCO club. I’ve got a picture of it , I’ll post it tomorrow.
    Shirley Kirkley

  903. Bahrain, March 7, 2012:

    So glad the blog is back up

    Richard Smith

  904. Gordy Whitcomb, March 7, 2012:

    To pretty much everybody
    From Gordy Whitcomb
    Jan 1,1965 was avery memorable day for me. I awoke on the 2nd floor of the 7272 supron barrecks, 1/2 ablock from the snack bar (Snake Pit) on the east end of Wheelus. I was going home in 8 days to be discharged after 4 yrs in the AF, but, best of all I was GOING HOME.
    New Years eve, the night beforhad been a particularly raucus drunken celebration yhrough out the barrecks, regardless of the rule, no alcohol in the barrecks, the beer, whiskey and what ever flowed freely.
    That morning as I walked to the latrines I found a fellow airman wearing only a towel coming up the stairway from the 1st floor.
    “What you doin?”
    “Shhhh don’t tell anybody.”
    “It was awful. I fell asleep in the shower last night and just woke up laying in the water. I noticed that not only did he only have just towel on but he did look shriveled up like hands just out of the dish water.
    But thats not the woerst part. I was embarassed about being passed out in the showere so I tried to just sneak down to my room with out anyone seeing me. I got to my room and my roommate had the door locked. First I tapped, then knocked then finally beat on the door to wake up my roommate. Finally, the door flew open and some big black guy says’what the %&$#(& do youwant?’ Oh crap I was on the wrong floor. I slept the night in the latrine on the wrong floor. Don’t tell anybody.”
    Well now it’s 46 yrs later and I’m tellin everybody,but, I don’t remember his name so I guess it’s ok.
    I hope this “Wheelus Memory” brings a chuckle to other old guys who were once in a grand adventure as a young single airman at Wheelus.
    PS Ialmost completly quit alcochol after becoming a cop in 1965 and have been an alcohol/drug counselor since 1983.

  905. jim matulis, March 7, 2012:

    in `61 went R&R to Rome/Napoli….the connie was flown by thebase commander…does anyone remember if this was Trumans AF1….the columbine….it was sure maintained like it was…everything on it shined

  906. Bahrain, March 8, 2012:

    So many things happened while I was there 68-70. My room mate Jessie Dudly got drunk and stole the wing commander’s car and we went for a ride in it around base till got caught. I was lucky but Jessie spent 3 days in the brig. I could go on and on but don’t really need to. I have often wondered what ever happened to Jessy. I pray he straighten up ans stated living for the Lord. ( Richard Smith )

  907. David Phillips, March 8, 2012:

    I have a few pictures that were taken during my TDY’s to Wheelus from Toul- Rosieres AB, France. Pictures taken sometime during 1958,1959 and 1960. Just need to figure out how to post them.

  908. Bahrain, March 9, 2012:

    new pic added ( Jerry P Tripoli )

  909. Bob R, March 10, 2012:

    #909 Richard.
    Jessie Dudley age 73 lives in Providence Rhode Island it that happens to be what you would think would be his correct age. He is the only one with that name in that age bracket.

  910. Bahrain, March 11, 2012:

    Not sure Bob if it is because he was younger than me and I am 65. If it is I sure didn’t know that. Thanks so much. Jessie was from Alabama, short and light hair.

    I guess if we could get intouch with him maybe it could be confirmed.


  911. Bob R, March 11, 2012:

    Richard, I love trying to find people, its a hobby of mine, I have been doing my family history off and on for about 20 years. So when some one mentions a name that is not to common and wonders where they are bells go off in my head. LOL, I found about 3 Jessie Dudley’s in that age bracket so if you had a clue as to what part of the country he came from that would help. And if you can’t remember that’s fine, its just fun looking.
    I was at Wheelus from 54′ to 56′, it was more layed back in the early years and a lot of fun.

  912. Bud Trill (Wheelus Field '54-'55), March 11, 2012:

    Bob R, what was your AFSC and what sq. were you in?

  913. Tom Harder, March 11, 2012:

    Bob R.
    Family history also a hobby of mine. Wheelus was still fun at least through 1959 when I left after extending my tour to England. I was in the 6938th RSM on the east side of the base.

  914. Bahrain, March 12, 2012:

    @ 914 - Jessie was from Alabama and we called him Alabama. He was at Travis when he was sent over to wheelus. Jessie was in the 7272 civil eng squadron alone with me. He worked in the carpenter shop. He made us a great poker table for our room. I worked in the power plants. I was a electrical pover production tech. ( Richard Smith )

  915. Bob R, March 12, 2012:

    915 Bud Trill, 42350 and I don’t know how the hell I remembered that Number. Air Craft electrician, 7272nd Fld. Maint. Sqdrn. Worked on all the base assigned aircraft which were mostly C-47s, Air Rescues Sea Planes. And on occasion I would be loaned out to the 431st FIS. working the electronic fuel control system on the F-86D. I am originally from Massachusetts and am now retired in South Carolina.

  916. Bob R, March 12, 2012:

    917 Richard. There are only 2 Jessie Dudley’s in Alabama and only one in that age bracket and he lives in Tuscaloosa and operates off a cell phone only. hard to find that way. In US Search I found that he has a big family with one member named Euclid Dudley who lives in Tuscaloosa and the phone number is 205-366-1052. When I think I have found someone I know I take a deep breath and call, sometimes I was right and sometimes I was wrong. But after the fact I was alway’s glad that I made the call. I have connected with a lot of old friends that way. I connected with my Wheelus room mate 50 years later. I remembered his name and what state he was from. There is also a Jessie Dudley from Ala. that was born in 1949 and died in 2011 so you never know.

  917. Bahrain, March 12, 2012:

    I FOUND ONE I FOUND ONE!!!!! I”ve been looking for years for the Blue & Red Shorttimers pin as worn in the picture of me Dec 64 @ Wheelus Found it @ a milirtary shopw in Ne this weekend No one I talked to knew what I was describing but I found one this AM When the day comes and I’m in a box I want the pin on the lid. It says “Short timer Giong Home” Till I had it in my hand for the 1st time since 65 I realized how true those words still are. God bless you all till we “Get Home”
    From Gordy Whitcomb To All

  918. Mark Kinsey, March 14, 2012:

    Did at least three 90 day TDY’s from Spangdahlem Germany between 67-69. Was a big deal for us crew chiefs of Phantoms (F-4D). We always came back with stories, suntans, puzzle rings and lots of carpet. Spent many a great time, though restictive, at that base. When I tell people now that I was stationed in Libya, they think I’m nuts. Nice to read all this and reminisce. . . thanks all.

  919. Bill Crooks, March 15, 2012:

    Good morning all. My first time of this websight. I was stationed at Wheelus Air Base from Mar 1963 until Sept 1964 (18 months) I was a member of the 1950th Comm Sqd. I worked at Wheelus airways. Long range aircraft control. I joined the Air Force at 17 years old, and arrived at Wheelus after tech school at Keesler AFB at the age of 18. My roommate was a man called David Johns, and a good friend was Jeffery K. Winters who is now deceased. If any of you remember any of us, please let me know. Thanks

  920. Bahrain, March 15, 2012:

    Welcome Bill. Sorry I was there from 1968 - 1969. ( T. Dwyer )

  921. Jim Muse, March 15, 2012:

    Ref 922: Bill Crooks. Good to see more of the 1950th AACS (AFCS) troops showing up. I was in the 1950th from April 56 until October of 57. Worked TTY/Crypto ops at Base Message Center and Base Operations Msg Ctr. Looking for more Comm troops to show up on the blog. Welcome on board.

  922. Mohamed ali, March 15, 2012:

    i am retired Libyan colonel i joined Libyan air force in the binning of 1970
    at that time Americans still there the air base was clean and very good we were to-gather with the american until 11/05/1970

  923. Mark Kinsey, March 15, 2012:

    It’s nice to just know others that knew of Wheelus Air Base, since most don’t understand. Though only with TDY’s us (Phantom Phixers) crew chiefs from the 49th Tac Ftr Wng enjoyed the time there. All of us were with the 8 TFS Black Sheep. Anybody out there know any of the sheep???

  924. Bahrain, March 16, 2012:

    to Bill Crooks Welcome From a2c gordy whitcomb 63-65 Wheelus Did you have any contact with us Fuel guys? We were there at the same time. In the 50’s my mother”s brother was the Ex O of Keesler Col Joesph Hunker. He was a pilot at Schofield barracks Dec 7th 1941. He retired in the 1950’s from Keesler. If you ever saw a red & creme 124 Gillera MC cruisin about Wheelus it was me. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  925. Bill Crooks, March 16, 2012:

    To: Gordy Whitcomb. Thanks for the note. I’m sure I noticed your motorcycle since I’m a bike nut. I’ve not been without a motorcycle for 57 years. My friend Jeff and I would go to Tripoli and rent them. Remember on Nov 22, 1963. I got off work at airways, went to the chowhall for dinner, then some friends and I went to the base movie house. The movie was Elvis Presly in Viva Las Vegas. In the middle of the movie they stopped it and someone went up on the stag and told us the President had been killed. We were told to return to our duty stations, and we were on alert. I think they put every aircraft in Europe in the air that night. I think I sat on the circut for the next 12 hours controlling aircraft. WHAT A NIGHT. Its nice talking with others who were there.

  926. Bahrain, March 16, 2012:

    What President? What year were you there? I was TDY to Terijon Mildred Spain sitting in the club and ordered a steak dinner and there was to be a belly dancer so about the time my dinner came they announced that President Eisenhower had died so they shut the club down. I hadn’t had a good steak dinner in months because they didn’t happen to ofter at Wheelus. This was February-March 1969

    Richard Smith

  927. Bill Crooks, March 16, 2012:

    The president was JFK. I was at Wheelus from March 1963 till Sept 1964 (18 months)

  928. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., March 16, 2012:

    To: Bill Crooks, I had left Wheelus for my new assignment at K. I. Sawyer AFB Michigan when JFK was killed. We had a transistor radio hooked up to metal steam pipes and was listening to a Dallas station when that happened. Everyone got a little nervous but it was nothing like the Bay of Pigs thing. I was at Wheelus when that happened.
    Shirley Kirkley

  929. Bahrain, March 16, 2012:

    Thank you Mohamad Ali for your comments. Hope you and your family are well after all the troubles there. I was at Wheelus 1967-1969. Yours is a facinating country. Wish you well in the future. It’s good to understand things from a Libyan prospective, so others and myself may have questions for you. ( Robert Sullivan )

  930. Bahrain, March 16, 2012:

    I was in High school when they announced his death. I guess your just a little bit older than me. I an 65.5. I didn’t join the Air Force till I was 21. When I got out of High School I went to college. I never had an ambition to become an officer, but did spent 22 years in.

    Richard Smith

  931. Larry Lasater, March 16, 2012:

    I was stationed on a SAC Base in Oklahoma during the Cuban Missle Crisis and was at Wheelus when JFK was asassinated. I was pulling CQ that day and remember it was pretty hectic trying to contact everyone and recall them to duty. I was assigned to the 7272 Hospital and our squadron orderly room was in our barracks. I can remember that we had an armory (weapons) room in the barracks and a beat-up M1 carbine and no bullets with which to guard things. Both of those occurences were a bit stressful for this young, at that time, airman. What a deal!

  932. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 17, 2012:

    Everybody who was an adult at the time of JFK’s assassination still remembers that time. I do and I am not an American.

  933. Terry McGreevey, March 17, 2012:

    I’m with Angelika - how can the date Nov 22nd, 1963, be anything but a neon light reminder of JFK’s assassination to anyone around at that time. I was in Sacramento, California, just getting ready to eat some lunch when the news came from Dallas.

  934. Donna (Basehart) Gray, March 17, 2012:

    I was 10 yrs old; my sister and I were supposed to be in bed in our bunks in the base housing trailer because my parents had friends over. The daughter of one of the other couples called (our 4-digit phone number) and my sister answered the phone; Carol was screaming that JFK had been shot, so my sister told the adults, and then we were allowed to join the adults in the living room and watch the tv with them. I’m 58 now and my sister and I remember it vividly.

  935. Bahrain, March 18, 2012:

    Terry McGreevy, I was at McClelland AFB, that day and five months later was in the 58TH
    Air Rescue Sq. at Wheelus. ( Gary Green )

  936. Bahrain, March 18, 2012:

    To Angilika From Gordy Whitcomb During the cuban crises I was @ Shaw AFB SC pulling guard dutry 12 hrs on 12 hrs off. Every truck that came down the flight might be the one that stopped & said “get in its over” it never was till the day after thanksgiving. I was @ Wheelus when Kennedy was killed. I remember being scared and kneeling @ my bunk praying (I believe there were some tears also). Likewise during all alerts, guard duty (As auxillary air police) we had worn out m1 carbines with no ammo.

  937. Terry McGreevey, March 18, 2012:

    To Gary Green - I was stationed at Mather at the time. Used to go over to McClellan quite often - had several buddies in the Comm Squadron over there that I had been stationed with in England. It’s a small world, you being assigned later to my old unit at Wheelus.

  938. Conley W. Ford, March 18, 2012:

    To Larry Lasater.. I recall your last remarks… what floor in the hospital barracks did you reside? .. I was on the second.. my private room was the second door on the left from the entrance door at he end of the building facing the Airmens Club..I recall only once that I had to pull barracks CQ night duty.. checking the gun room was one of the routine duties.. My house boy name was HaShu.. He cleaned my room and made my bed for a carton of Lucky Strikes a week.
    I often played poker with some of the guy’s on the first floor…
    I was having a drink in a Tripoli Bar when I first heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.
    Conley Ford 1963-64

  939. Fred Cornelison, March 18, 2012:

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s blog! I was stationed at Wheelus AFB during the six day war and one of the oil workers came in to the Rod and Gun Club where I worked at night. He came up to me and said I sure would like to have a cold beer but I don’t have any money because all I got out of the desert was what I had on. I gave him $5 and he said when I return I will bring you something. About six months later he came into the Rod and Gun Club with a large petrified log for me. CMsgt Kunkle wanted a piece and I told him no way but for some reason Kunkle let the log roll off my desk and it broke into two pieces. So Kunkle ended up with a piece of my petrified log. I still have the petrified log sitting on my front porch in Georgia. I was base fuel superintendent at Wheelus for over three years and left there in Juy 69. Would love to hear from any one who was int he POL at the time.

  940. Gary Green, March 19, 2012:

    To Terry McGreevey,
    Joined the Force on the buddy system, with Bill Kondora, who went to
    Mather AFB, when I went to McClelland, He was in phone maintenance,
    so I go to Wheelus then he went to Bermuda,so much for the buddy system.

  941. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 19, 2012:

    To No 939 Gordy Whitcomb
    Yes Gordy, there are certain incidents we remember our whole live; where we have been that particular day and heard these news. One of this unbelievable incident was 9/11. Today I still wonder who really did kill JFK?

  942. Bahrain, March 19, 2012:

    To Bill Crooks from Gordy Whitcomb Thanks for the response The gillera was #1 of 16 but since I live 10 miles from town (mostly gravel) I don’t have one now also the deer are lot’s thicker now

  943. Bill Crooks, March 19, 2012:

    To Gordy Whitcomb. I’m 67, and still ride my Harley all the time weather permitting. Does anyone out there remember when the Bob Hope USO tour came to Wheelus in 1964. We couldn’t wait for it to arrive. When it did, GUESS WHO HAD CQ DUTY??? Thats right, ME. Never saw a thing. I quess I opened a can of worms when I recalled Nov 22, 1963. But, I’m glad to see how many people out there remember it as vividly as I do. Wheelus Air Base was a huge part of my life. At 18, I didn’t realize it but as I’ve grown older I look back and understand now thats where I grew into a man and left my teenage years behind me. I look at the kids today, and can’t believe what I see. Other than our young men and women in uniform today, I can’t figure out where our young peoples values are. GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS.

  944. Terry McGreevey, March 19, 2012:

    To Gary Green - I left the 58th ARSq in March 1960 so I guess there was a 3 or 4 year gap between our tours and I seriously doubt any of the guys I was stationed with were still there when you arrived. Had some wild guys in that unit , my room-mate Bob Shelton, a flight engineer, extended his tour to 30 months and he slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow - figured that too much sun got to his head. Good guy though. Two other guys were shipped back to the states for ‘messing around’ with some young Italian ladies and were reassigned ‘for the good of the service’. Did they still maintain the SA-16s, H-19 helicopters and C-54s while you were there? That was my first duty assignment and I really enjoyed the close knit family atmosphere we had in the unit.

  945. Larry Lasater, March 19, 2012:

    To Conley Ford; My room was on the third floor at the end closest to the base swimming pool. I had a couple of different roommates while I was there, I think Richard Golden was the first, he worked in the pharmacy. One of the guys I worked with in surgery was the last, his name was Dennis Denter. I played double deck pinochle most of the time, there was a card game going on somewhere all the time. We would play well into the night and then go to the hospital for midnite chow. I have some pics of the Bob Hope USO show, I’d almost forgotten about that.

  946. Donna (Basehart) Gray, March 19, 2012:

    Yes, Gordy, we were there for Bob Hope; it was right after his eye surgery. Awesome memories

  947. Conley W. Ford, March 20, 2012:

    To Larry Lasater….Double deck pinochle was the game…. I recall George ? and Frank ? who lived in our barracks… they operated the hospital motor pool and drove the air evac bus.. they were also big pinochle players.. Bill Runion was a hospital diet cook and golfer….Ed McCann and Irish guy worked in the pharmacy and loved vodka…I also have some photo’s of the Bob Hope show and fond memories of Tuesday Weld… You recall a nurse by the name of Beverly Bump and Doctor’s Cherry & Carpenter?
    Conley Ford 1963-64

  948. Bahrain, March 20, 2012:

    Didn’t get to see Bob Hope there but he was a Lackland when I was in basic 1967.
    Sonny and Cher were at Wheelus so got to see them and as they perform at the club. Sonny would stop at our barracks and have a beer with us but Cher wouldn’t and I could understand why with a bunch of &*&(( GIs.

    Richard Smith

  949. larry lasater, March 20, 2012:

    To Conley Ford..Yes I remember Dr Cherry. I have a pic of he and I in the surgical suite during a procedure and I do remember nurse Bump but I don’t remember any specifics about her. Capt. Fertig was my OIC and I came over with Major Zirkle she was one of the anethetists. After active duty I joined the active reserves and flew air evac with the 937th AME out of Tinker AFB in Okla., during one of my two week training exercises I flew with one of the nurses that had been at Wheelus, a Capt Williams I think,
    not sure about her name. Some time I will share a story about a “Charter” fishing trip we took while at Wheelus, kind of humorous and typical GI stuff.
    Larry Lasater 1963-65

  950. R. Ong, March 20, 2012:

    What memories we all have. I remember JFK assasination vividly. I was a freshman in college. I grew up near Beale AFB just north of Sacramento, CA. I knew where Mather, McCellan AFB, Travis and the now closed Hamilton AFB are located. These were the bases that I had hoped to be stationed when I joined the Air Force but that did not happen. Instead I volunteered for overseas during the height of the Vietnam War and was stationed in England (1969th Comm Squadron) and later the 1950th Comm Squadron at Wheelus, (1969-1970). Had some very vivid memories about that Wheelus.


  951. Paula Hilton, March 21, 2012:

    To Donna Basehart (Post 104, 132, 228)… My Dad was stationed at Wheelus, and my mom, sister and I were there the same time you were there, from 1961 to 1964. We were on the same plane that had the blowouts when it landed in France. I recall being bussed to a hotel, and having what they called a “continental breakfast” and being amazed at eating cheese and luncheon meats in the morning! I am turning 57 this year, so may not have been in any classes with you or your sisters. My sister is 3 years younger. I do want to respond to what you said in 228 - chasing the “Fog Man.” I remember that too. My Mom says she made us come in whenever they were out, and she probably did - most of the time. But 5 years ago I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called Leiyomyosarcoma. They don’t know what causes this cancer, but one “theory” has to do with overexposure to pesticides. My story has a happy ending - the tumor was removed, along with some of my leg, but with a muscle flap in place I have almost full functionality. But your comment about not getting cancer sort of jumped out at me - get in touch if you want more information about this and I can tell you what to watch for. Anyway! My memories of Wheelus are minimal but happy. My Dad took us everywhere - every Sunday we’d hop in the car and off we’d go for a drive to see the sites. I remember massive amounts of butterflies certain times of the year, our house boy when we lived off-base, riding a camel, the mediterranean… lots more. I wonder if we knew each other?

  952. Paula Hilton, March 21, 2012:

    To Donna Basehart - Also wanted to mention my sister and I also learned the Tripoli National Anthom. We both remember the first part and the last part - Tripoli, Tripoli, Tripoli! :)

  953. TOMMIE DAVIS, March 21, 2012:

    i was sitting in my afternoon civic class when our teacher returned from the office with the news that the president had been shot. it was something that i could not comprehend. a very sad day i never thought i would live to see the day a u.s. president would be assassinated. little did i know in 1968 my 2nd year in the air force our nation lost two of our leaders martin luther king jr. and robert kennedy in april and june of that year. i arrived at wheelus a few days before christmas 1968…….tommie davis

  954. Angelika Pawlitschek, March 22, 2012:

    To Fred Cornelison No. 942
    I write on behalf of my husband Ernie (Ernst) Pawlitschek. He remembers you; also that you had a job at the Gun Club. Ernie worked at the Civil Engineering (POL Shop) Liquid Fuel System Maintenance from April 66 till it closed down in 1970. His boss was John Reed, a civilian employee. Colleagues were M/Sgt. Ralph Smith, Staff Sgt. Kometler, Sgt. Hackins. Ernie still has a letter of recommendations signed by Cyrus B. Gittings, Chief, Fuels Management Branch. He might have been your boss.

  955. Bahrain, March 22, 2012:

    to everybody from Gordy Whitcomb Does anyone know where I could get a copy of the tapes of Bob Hope’s christmas show @ Wheelus?????? I believe they were aired the next year. I’m not sure if he was there in 63 or 64. I think his show was broadcast back “in the world” in 65 but I’m not sure.

  956. Bahrain, March 22, 2012:

    To Fred Cornelison From Gordy Whitcomb Yes Yes I was in POL Wheelus 63-65. Bulk Storage Truck Refueling Hydrants went out on the tanker by army J boat from tripoli Harbor to check the produjcts before they shipped them to the receiving tanks Lots o snorkl,ing out by the local cemetary east of the base. Memories memories My 124 Gillera I have had many dreams of being back oveer there always Madder than *(&)##@ that “They” won”t leave me alone even after I got old & got a Masters. I never have a uniform to wear. Always mad @”Them” My heart goes out to the GI’s who are getting sent back and sent back to combat now. I only did One tour in that part of the world and no one shot @ me (Only threw rocks) and yet stillI occasionaly dream about being sent back once again. Good or bad Wheelus has stuck with me ever since my tour. God bless all who read Bahrain Blog regardless of their name for God or the language they were raised to speak.

  957. Bahrain, March 22, 2012:

    I was TDY to Wheelus from Toul-Rosieres AB in France in 1958,1959 and 1960 and have alot of fond memories.
    New pics added - pages 96 & 97( WHEELUS GALLERY ).
    David Phillips

  958. Bahrain, March 22, 2012:

    During my 18 months with the 102nd AC&W sqdn. in 1953. I took a Gary to Lido beach , drank gin and cazoza and smoked cigars then a dip in the Med. Anyone else ever been to Lido beach?
    Jerry Paich Radar Operator

  959. Charles F. Nemejc, March 22, 2012:

    Lido Beach…WOW…Drank, ate, ECT………56-58… Good diving and fishing.
    Ever been to the BLACK CAT in town, Good local beer…Also the Green Lantern for dinner, best Italian food ever….

  960. Marge Amerud, March 22, 2012:

    I donnot remember their names, but i went to the beach off of the base plus a public beach with some Libyan and Egyptian friends. As the women were putting long sleeved shirts on as protection from the sun they laughed at me and said, “you are trying to get darker and we are trying to get lighter!”. I had a terrific time there as a spouse. We made a lot of friends who taught us a lot. I still get awestruck thinking of tge time i walked on a floor mosaic someone laid out two tousand years ago.

  961. Jim Muse, March 22, 2012:

    Ref: 962/ Black Cat in Tripoli. I think I recall that place. Back in an alley? The operator was an Italian lady named Maria. She eventually relocated to Syracuse, NY or lad relatives there. Had a parrot in the place? Is that it or am I thinking of some other favorite haunt at the time. I was at Wheelus 56 and 57. 1950th AACS Squadron.

  962. Allen Hebert, March 22, 2012:

    Wow….Yes i have…..Black Cat was the bar and it was owned by Italians…It was Not in the Old City ….Dont remember the Green lantern but do remember the Cat and the beer was Warm…Quick Drunk…I have pictures posted on Wheelus Gallery and includes the beach…(Lido)…..Perfect…18 years old and still think about Wheelus…Would do it all over again….Det 1 86th FIS..02/1959 to 12/1959 permanent party Wheelus and TDY from Hahn Germany (496th FIS) in 1961 for Gunnery to Wheelus…

  963. Lawrence Guinn, March 22, 2012:

    Reference 962/964/965 the Black Cat bar really brings back some memories, that was a fun place to go, 18 years old learned lot during that time, will always remember my time at Wheelus as being a great part of my life i was there 1956-1957 assigned to the 7272nd operations sq.

  964. Donna (Basehart) Gray, March 23, 2012:

    To Paula Hilton: Sorry, I don’t recognize the name, but we were there the same time. That’s so wild about you being on the same plane with us coming home. I love it. Do you remember Mr. Magic who did the magic shows at the NCO Club on Sundays after church? That was my dad. Did you live on base? We lived off base the first 18 mos. and on base the last 18 mos. My 3rd grade teacher was Ms. Smith; 4th grade was Miss McKenna, who married and became Mrs. Issa; 5th grade was Mrs. Sigfried. She was married to a pilot, and that’s all she talked about. We called her Mrs. Sickfreak. Hid all my homework in my toybox and spent every day across the street at the beach. Just doesn’t get any better than that. I’d love to see it again. I’m 58 now; my sister will be 60 in May.

  965. Charles F. Nemejc, March 23, 2012:

    Thanks Jim Muse for bring back MARIA’S name who owned or ran the Black Cat bar.
    Spent many good times there, Might have drank with you. as I was there in 56-58. with the 431st FIS. Had a red MGA and later painted Brititsh racing red and white. Had it shipped home and drove it for a few years and traded it in when I got stationed at Minot AFB . To cold for a “rag top”.. Living in Arizona. and at age 76…
    Cheers to all…

  966. Bahrain, March 23, 2012:

    New Pics added - Pages 98 onwards ( WHEELUS GALLERY )

  967. Lawrence Yannotti, March 24, 2012:

    Charles F. Nemejc
    I was with the 431 from Oct - 1955 to March 1957 in the A/c Electrical Shop .
    What Section were you in durning that time frame .

  968. Charles F. Nemejc, March 24, 2012:

    To Lawrence Yanotti, We spoke before a few months ago… I was a crew chief on the F-86 “D” s… and also worker in the hanger to do periodic inspections on the “D”s… I remember you….AH the good old days… Now I’m the crew chief of my boat and fish 4-5 days a week…Nice hearing from you again… Remember the flight chief M/sgt Felix Napolitano, T/sgt Art Litel,

  969. Bob Rubel, March 24, 2012:

    #970 Larry, did you ever work Electronic Fuel Control on the 86Ds? Tech Rep was Estep I think.

  970. Jerry Hicks, March 25, 2012:

    Ref Colonel Mohamed Ali (retired), #925. The first Royal Libyan AF pilot to fly solo in a jet aircraft was a 26 year old Lt. Muftah el Sharef, from Tokra , Libya. He soloed at Wheelus in Nov or Dec of 1964. Thought you may have served with him at some point in your career.

  971. Lawrence Yannotti, March 26, 2012:

    No I didn’t work the EFC on the F86’s . and I do remember Mr Estep . I did volunteer to drive the Squadron FOUR-THIRSTY-FIRST Blue Bus until my Rotation out to Travis AFB and then worked for Transocean Airlines on Wake Island for several years . My friends at Wheelus were Warren C Salisbury, James Tank and Robert Artherton who was the Bouncer at the NCO Club . Did you go thru Sampson AFB NY for Basic ?

  972. Bob R, March 27, 2012:

    I did go through Sampson for basic. I was in Flt. 3020 January of 1954 and from there to Chanute Field in Illinois. A couple of weeks leave and then directly to Wheelus. After Wheelus I went ot Walker AFB in Roswell New Mexico and then an early out in Nov. of 57.

  973. William Macek (Ret. Capt), March 30, 2012:

    I was stationed at Wheelus in 1964/65. Worked in the Training Group for Major George P. Arns (Red) and LTC Susko. I am searching for pictures of the C-54 that we flew King Idris and the American Ambassor on. It had the red, white, and blue prop tips. Can’t remember the tail number. The other C-54 was 0544. Would also like any football pictures for fall of 1964. We won the championship - can’t remember our team name but we wore dark blue/white/red jerseys.

  974. Bahrain, March 31, 2012:

    to capt Macek (ret) from A2c Gordy Whitcomb I Have no Info on the plane but if it flew out of Wheelus Me or one of my “pards” in POL refuled it. Iwas there July 63 to Jan 65. Disch A2c Jan 65

  975. Jerry Hicks, April 1, 2012:

    Capt Macek (ret), you played for the “Group Blue Blazers”. You wore #80. Your head coach was MSGT John Parks. I played for the hospital team (Big Red), your beat us 20-19, that gave your team a one game lead over us, and you were able to keep that lead for the rest of season, giving you the base championship rotating trophy and hospital getting the runner-up trophy. I have a lot of fond memories of my time at Wheelus and the people I served with. Football, basketball and softball was a lot of fun.

  976. Larry Lasater, April 1, 2012:

    To Jerry Hicks; Jerry as I recall Coach Waters was somewhat disappointed over that loss to say the least. Do you remember the airman that played with the Big Red but was assigned to Post Office?

  977. Jerry Hicks, April 1, 2012:

    Larry Lasater, that was Marvin Smith, like you he played guard. Also had a guy named Ed Steiner at tackle from PO. Yes, coach Waters was really ticked off. We were tied at half, we scored then they scored to tie again in 3rd quarter. We then went up 19-12 until end of game when Group scored and went for 2 on extra point try. Their QB, Byron Lenerose, scored on a keeper around left end. That sealed it at 20-19, Good game for each side. Group had players from Air Police and transportation on their team.

  978. Larry Lasater, April 1, 2012:

    Jerry Hicks, that’s tremendous recall, you don’t happen to have that game on video do you….o-o-ops guess we weren’t into video back in the day huh! I remember Marvin as a great guy and a pretty decent player. I have vauge recollection of a game that didn’t get played as scheduled because of rain and a too wet field. I don’t remember it ever being wet too many times.

  979. Donna (Basehart) Gray, April 1, 2012:

    Do any of you football players remember a game where at half-time all the baton-twirlers formed up in the shape of a rocket and then the fire batons lit up at the end and we rocketd off the field? I was a 10-year-old baton twirler at the time. Really wanted to do the fire batons but they wouldn’t let me. :(

  980. William Macek (Ret. Capt), April 2, 2012:


    When at Wheelus in 64&65 I was an E-2. Rotated back to the States in July 1965 - a year later was sent to Vietnam. When I got out in 1967, used the GI Bill and graduated from the U. of Dayton. Was later Commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserves.

    You sure have a better memory than me or some good records. I was shocked when you responded and gave me my team name and number. Do you by chance have any pictures?
    It is great to read all of the comments.


  981. Jerry Hicks, April 3, 2012:

    Bill, the info came from a 1964 football program that lists each team and the players for that team, along with their uniform number, position and weight. I was rummaging through my attic and found this along with some “Tripoli Trotters” that I had kept. Had forgotten that I had them. I don’t have any pictures. The photos in Trotter were taken by A3C F.R. Johns, the papers photographer. He may have kept some. Hard to believe that was almost 48 years ago. Have a great day. Jerry Hicks

  982. Jim Voris, April 4, 2012:

    To Jerry Hicks
    You don’t happen to know if the photographer was assigned to the Base Photo Lab do you. If so, do you know how to reach him. (You were after me I was there 58-61 as Base Photographer) Contact

  983. Bahrain, April 6, 2012:

    Audio Files added ( Wheelus Radio )

  984. Robert Wood, April 7, 2012:

    Ray, what time frame were these audio files from? Hey, thanks for posting.

  985. Ray Ong, April 7, 2012:

    These audio files were from April 1970. Just before I returneded stateside and before I had to ship my gear back. I have about 6 hours worth of Wheelus AFRS audio. But like a dummy I did not record the news which would have mde it more valuable. The things we cannot foresee when we are young.


  986. Robert Wood, April 9, 2012:

    Ray, I left in May ‘70, so this is during my time there. Again, thank for posting.

  987. Bahrain, April 10, 2012:

    I shiped back in February 1970. I had so many pictures that I did at the photo lab of so many things and Sonny and Cher but I didn’t bring them home with me. I just was glad to get out of there alive. ( Richard Smith )

  988. R. Ong, April 10, 2012:

    Robert Wood,
    Comment 989

    I was in the 1950 Comm Sqdrn. I think I flew out on May 15 Friday to McGuire, AFB. We might have been on the same plane?


  989. Jim Muse, April 11, 2012:

    Ref 991, R. Ong: I was in the 1950th AACS Squadron in 56 and 57 and worked in Base Comm Center and Base Ops Comm Center. What was your work assignment when you were there?

  990. Jerry Hicks, April 11, 2012:

    Jim Vores, The Photographers name was listed under the photo in Tripoli Trotter. I assume he was base photographer. I don’t know him or how to contact him. Jerry H.

  991. Jim Voris, April 11, 2012:

    Jerry Hicks, Thanks. Apparently you didn’t know him. I wonder if there is anyone out there in the ether that does?
    Jim Voris

  992. Robert Wood, April 12, 2012:

    Ray (comment 991), you know it’s been so long, I’am really not 100% positive, but I believe I left on May 24th. I remember at the time, everyone was saying that we were the next to the last flight out. I think the last flight was maybe June 1st, because that was when Gadaffi wanted us totally out of there. I remember that the last few weeks before June 1st, everyone on base was consolidated into two barracks next to the post office and across the street from the Chapel, so there wasn’t to many of us left. Did you fly out before that happened?


  993. Fred Kurtz, April 12, 2012:

    Fred Cornelison…..
    Hey Fred, I remember you. You were my boss there at Wheelus. I was mobile refueling. I worked for Al Otten, John Stanely, Troy Agee and others. While I did not know you very well we were at Wheelus at the same time. I was there Jan 1967 to August of ‘68. After Wheelus I went to Kingsley Field, Org and my E-8 was smsgt Resnick…he asked me if I knew you!!
    I had to extend at Wheelus, the tour was cut to 15 months and while I had 15 months in my wife to be had our wedding all planned so I extended til August. I was on every freedom bird manifest EXCEPT the one I was supposed to be on!! Got that straightened out thankfully…..Nice to see your name Fred. Hope you are doing well.

  994. Ray Ong, April 12, 2012:

    Comment 995. I kind of remember crashing out at work during the last few days. As I recall the barracks were kind of bare. I kind of believe we had cots in the office and the mess halls were closed. I remember eating at the NCO club a lot.


  995. Ray Ong, April 12, 2012:

    Jim Muse
    Comment 992

    I was in the building AFCS Maintenance. My time was June 1969 to May 15, 1970. So I came to Wheelus way after your time. My job was to monitor all the 1950th Communications Maintenance status and issues for the squadron commander as well as to report to Torrejon AFB, Spain. We provided communications links to other bases in the region.


  996. Bahrain, April 13, 2012:

    To Fred Cornelison From A2c gordy whitcomb 63-65 Wheelus POL You mentioned mobile refueling. Were you in POL? 61-65 I was @ Shaw AFB SC and Wheelus. I Know that was before your time but not a lot. We may have known some of the same folks. ( Carol Whitcomb )

  997. Gordy Whitcomb, April 13, 2012:

    To: Fred Kurtz
    I may have send this not previously to the wrong Fred. To Fred Kurtz From A2c gordy whitcomb 63-65 Wheelus POL You mentioned mobile refueling. Were you in POL? 61-65 I was @ Shaw AFB SC and Wheelus. I Know that was before your time but not a lot. We may have known some of the same folks.

  998. Fangs Out, April 13, 2012:

    I was 18 when stationed at Wheels. Newby parachute digger. My roomy was being sent home for selling portable runway to locals . But while working at the motor pool he was involved in recovery of the Lady Be Good he had many articles from recovery and gave a few to me. When I got stateside gave them to WW 2 Vet. uncle . He’s passed on , articles also. In Sept. Or Oct.1962 Lt. Redman punched out of Super Saber or Thunder Chief would like to Thank him for the 5th of whiskey. Thanks Guys & Gals for good & bad memories .

  999. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    This is to all that worked in the power plants 68-70.
    Retired: Richard smith

  1000. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    Mr. Ray Ong,

    My uncle Clyde Ison who arrived in Jan. 70 and left May 70 wants to know if you remember him. Your name is one of few he remembers.

    Lena Campbell

  1001. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:


    My uncle Clyde Ison asked if you remember him with the 7272. He arrived in Jan 70 and left in May 70. He remembers being “consolidated” as you put it.

    Lena Campbell

  1002. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    Hi Gordy,

    Yes, I was in POL….I was there from Jan ‘67 to August of ‘68. I worked for ssgt Al Otten when I first arrived and then it was Troy Agee, John Stanley and others. I was there during the 6 day war. Wheelus was a great place to leave!!

    From Wheelus I went to Oregon, Kingsley Field….man, what a bunch of uptight yahoo’s they were! Especially a ssgt by the name of Sammy Green…

    Good hearing from you.


  1003. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    Hey Gordy,

    I’m attaching a picture that was taken at Wheelus. Looking at the picture from left to right: Al Fox, Me, and Buzz Stewart…we were all in POL and we were going home on leave. That C121 in the background came in and said they had 48 open seats all the way back to New Jeresy…We all going home anyway, this just made it a little cheaper. But man was it a slow flight!!

  1004. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    Fred Kutz,

    Good to hear from you. Have you heard from Al Otten? I was also stationed with him in Germany as well.

    Fred Cornelison

  1005. Ray Buckman, April 14, 2012:

    I worked in all the power plants from September 1964 to December 1965.
    First on base and then to the very little base east of Wheelus. Only spent 4 months there and then to the range south of Wheelus. Some great times.

  1006. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    to Fred C & Fred K None of the names you mentioned are familiar but it was after I left in Jan 65 HOW ABOUT THE f-6’s and R 2′S Recently I saw a documentry on WW2 it looked like they were usinf F 6’s. We were just getting R 2’s when I left Shaw SC in 63 to go to Wheelus Lots of memories of POL @ Wheelus A2c Gordy Whitcomb

  1007. Bahrain, April 14, 2012:

    Hi Fred,
    No I have not heard from Al or any of the guys I served with at Wheelus….in fact, I have lost track of all the guys I served with during my time with the air force…its too bad….

  1008. R. Ong, April 14, 2012:

    Lena Campbell,
    Comment 1003

    I am terrible with names but I will post a picture of me at the base on this site. Your Uncle Clyde Ison worked in the Power Plant?


  1009. Bahrain, April 15, 2012:

    new pic added ( 1950th Comm Sqdn )

  1010. Robert Wood, April 15, 2012:

    Comment 1004 Lena Campbell.
    No Lena, I don’t recall knowing your Uncle, but then it has been many years. Do you know where he worked? I worked in Base Supply. Yeah, we probably lived in the same barracks during the last few months at Wheelus. We might of been on the same plane when we left. I left on May 24th.


  1011. Ray Ong, April 15, 2012:

    Lena Campbell,

    Here is a picture of me outside of the office where I had worked. See link in comment 1012. pic


  1012. Bahrain, April 16, 2012:


    I’m looking for my uncle’s papers. I’ve mislaid them. He was on the “holding crew” possibly. He said he was on the flight out with “Chappy.” He lives in TX and I’m in KY and he won’t get on a computer.

    Lena Campbell

  1013. Bahrain, April 16, 2012:


    I would have to ask him. He was on what was called the holding crew. As I said he was sent in Jan and left in May. His assignment was to destroy US property that could not be transported so that no one could get it. I’ve mislaid his papers and he’s in TX and I’m in KY (where he was originally from) and he won’t get on the computer.

    Lena Campbell

  1014. Bahrain, April 16, 2012:

    I sent your photo to my uncle’s daughter to print and take to him. Hopefully, he’ll get back with me soon. ( Lena Campbell )

  1015. Dick Smith, April 22, 2012:

    To Conley Ford. I was in the hospital 61 - 64 as optometrist. In 63 I got married and we rented an apartment off base. We bought most of the furniture from a veterinarian who was heading back home. I’m about 98% sure it was Dr Temple. My memory, however has a Dr. Cada as hospital commander. We left In August 64 and it seems like Cada was there forever, Maybe a Dr Love replaced him. I remember Dr. Temple talking about most of his job being food ect. safety. knew him about a year or so. Dick Smith ( Note 129)

  1016. Conley W. Ford, April 22, 2012:

    To Dick Smith..
    You are correct Dr. Temple was in the process of transfer when I arrived at Wheelus.. His replacement was Dr. Florian T. “Irish” Szatalowicz. Dr. Love at that time was the hospital commander and his secretary was Alice Lasiter.. Most of our veterinary efforts were related to food inspection and food service sanitary /public health inspections. Although we did operate a weekly small animal clinic out of our office along with providing regular veterinary service’s supporting the base air police canine program.. Occasionally we were called to the palace in Tobruck to treat some of King Idris animals. To of my fellow associate’s at that time were SSgt Saugsted & SMsgt Molsted. Dr. Szatalowicz was a great boss to work for and I recently corresponded with him at his home in Missouri. I helped SSgt Saugsted sell his furniture to a local civilian before his departure.

  1017. Conley W. Ford, April 22, 2012:

    To Dick Smith.
    I think Dr. Harold G. Temple was a University of Georgia graduate.

  1018. Don Paul, April 24, 2012:

    At Wheelus 1954 & 1955. Was base comm. Tele installer. Back when the military did it’s own thing. Nice tour.

  1019. Jerry Hicks, May 23, 2012:

    To all you vets. have a safe and great Memorial Day. Keep the troops in your thoughts and prayers.

  1020. Bob R, May 24, 2012:

    Thanks Jerry and the same to you.

  1021. Bahrain, May 25, 2012:

    To all veterans that served this great country and especially Wheelus alumini thank you for your service and may God bless everyone of you. ( James Phillips )

  1022. Bahrain, May 26, 2012:

    To All: I agree totally - WE Served. It is hard to believe it has been almost 50 years (64-65 for me) - would like to hear more from people in those years - but, I appreciate hearing from all. Hope we are here on earth for many more years. Thank all of you for serving as well.


  1023. Bahrain, May 26, 2012:

    Thank you and God bless. America Will Stand!! ( Richard Smith )

  1024. Bahrain, May 27, 2012:

    To Bill I was there 63-65 Fuel supply. What did you do? Gordy Whitcomb

  1025. Bahrain, May 27, 2012:

    I was with Training - worked in the compound area. Also a crew member on the C-54’s - Pilots were Arns, Susko. The fancy C-54, had red/white/blue prop tips was one of General Eisenhower’s. So, you probably fueled us a few times. I also played on football in 64 - we won the championship. Nice to hear from you. I currently live in Dayton, OH.


  1026. TOMMIE DAVIS, May 28, 2012:

    Happy and safe memorial day holiday to all…….Tommie Davis

  1027. Bahrain, May 28, 2012:

    to Bill from gordy God bless & watch over you and give youmany happy days.

  1028. Lawrence Guinn, May 28, 2012:

    To Wheelus alumni and all veterans God Bless and have a great Memorial Day.

  1029. John Connaly, May 29, 2012:

    Ref. 310: Daniel Nagata, I was with AACS at wheelus from 1957-1958 and we visited both sites to install and/or repair the Rhombic antennas, set telephone poles, etc. Ate chow at both sites-food was better than the mess at Wheelus. I believe the sites were called Site 6 and site 16, not sure.

  1030. ron york, May 31, 2012:

    was based at Wheelus 1965/67;assigned to HH-43B Helicoptors,local base rescue.Spent some time at El Watia in a Rescue capicity.2 of our pilots were Major Fallows,and Captian Paul McComb(deceased in 2011) Was friends with Tom Cox,High School Coach,Sally Hopkins,Linda DeFelice and Brenda Nesbitt.SMS Terrell was my boss,one of the greatest guys ever,was also stationed at McChord AFB,him.We had a mixed breed dog named PEDRO,after aircraft call signs,he truly love to fly with us,think Cpt McComb took him to the states with him.The crowd i ran with lots of oil workers office types,and some personnel with RAF Idris.Dated Wendi Locke,her dad was a Warrant Officer in the RAF The band at the NCO Club was the Dublineers,from Ireland,husband and wife team Paul and Paula.The Drifters appeared at our club,standing room only.Another function at our club was our annual ockoberfest.In 1966 attended a British Social Function with the Locke Family,been to lots of social functions in my life,but nothing like this,The Brits know how to throw a party.Of all of my career assignments,i enjoyed Wheelus more than any other.I was on leave when the 1967 war broke out,visiting The DeFelice Family,Her Dad Colonial DeFelice PX Commander,had me put back to duty to help him with The Base Service Station.It was a dangerous times at Wheelus,no one was sure what the next day would bring.I was really sad when the AF and The RAF had to leave.Wheelus was a beautiful installion .and always going on to make the tour very interesting.Ron York US Army Retired.

  1031. Bahrain, May 31, 2012:

    Hey Ron: I was there 68-70. Times did get bad and was glad to leave on the Freedom Bird. While I was there Sonny and Cher performed at the club. Sonny would stop at our barracks and talk and have a beer with us. I just wish I had all the pictures I took of them but gave to a friend of mine who was sent to Germany. I came home to NC. It was quit an experience at Wheelus but so hot.

    Richard Smith Retired USAF

  1032. Ray Ong, May 31, 2012:

    Richard Smith, Comment 1034

    We might have met but then again Wheelus was pretty large. I was there from June ‘69 to May ‘70. I was in the AFCS building near the P.O. Had a good time if not exciting time at Wheelus.

  1033. Bahrain, May 31, 2012:

    Thanks for the email. Didn’t get to party like you did, but I did enjoy duty there. I agree it was one of the best bases I was stationed. Was with, I believe 1950 th AACS I & M Sqdn. Was always on tdy all over europe and the mid-east. barracks was the second row by the airmen’s club. played golf on sandy greens by the runway. later moved on the other side next to the Red devil Fighter Sqdn. rotated back to the states to 632 AC&W sqdn in N. Car. Left the AF in 62 and went to the Army and to Vietnam 68-69. Was discharged in nov 69-went to work at NASA in Houston as an engineer on the Space shuttle, stayed there until last year when I retired. ( J. Connaly )

  1034. Ken Krugman, May 31, 2012:

    I was a Radio Operator with the Army and was at Wheelus from June 1961 to December 1962. I spent most of my time in the field and the rest at Wheelus. The Army was located way at the far end of the base (I think it was the east end but not sure). We were always jealous of the Air Force because they had the best sleeping quarters. We ate in the Air Force Mess Hall and food was good. I loved flying out to the field in a C-47 as it seemed they could land anywhere. Also took a hop to Europe on a C-130. After that I had to go back out to the field on an Army Otter loaded with more people then it should. Big difference. While I made great friends at Wheelus it was too far from home and I couldn’t get back fast enough.

  1035. Bahrain, June 1, 2012:

    More that likely we did run across each other. I worked at the power plants. Jessie Dudly was my room mate. He worked in the carpenter shop. We all would end up at the club or the bar in the barracks. I did play some golf on base and off. Sandy greens how about that. I loved the beach and the med. I spent two Christmas’s there. ( Richard Smith )

  1036. Bahrain, June 1, 2012:

    to ken krugman from a2c gordy whitcomb I was in fuel supply 63-65 never saw us army troops on base. Likewise the supply sq was at the east end the chow hall was right behind (W) of our barracks. Remember the snack bar (Snake pit) on the east end? We were about 1/2 block S of it. One day some foreign troops came in the messhall I remember thinking they looked more American than my buddies in the barracks. Turns out they were W German Army troops. When you grow up in West Point nebr with grandma Hunker and the neighbors are Kindshews Knobbes Hunkes Strautmanns etc the German kids looked more home town than GIs from around th USA
    Because I would come back to be didcharged I too was ever so anxious to get out of Libya. Recently I found another Shorttimers pin as we had @ Wheelus I put it back on the same fatigue cap I wore one on @ Wheelus. It is a pin with the statue of liberty on it and says “Shorttimer-goin Home” I told my wife I want it on the casket when I “GO Home” next time.

  1037. Ken Krugman, June 1, 2012:

    to Gordy Whitcomb, there’s a website and if you go there and click on the Libya-64th Engr tab you will see where we were on the base. We were just at the east gate. There was a great little hamburger place with an outdoor patio that was right at the beach which was just about two blocks down from us. I don’t think there was more then three hundred of us. Was the Chow Hall North of the Salt Flats? We started our short timers calender at 90 days and those 90 days seemed like a 100 years.

  1038. Bahrain, June 2, 2012:

    What we got alot of was Navy coming in and getting drunk and laying all over the base. Made some friends with them and also some others from the oil fields. I did visit the smake pit the one in the base and off lots. It was an experience but was glad to get home.

    So much had changed. The key to start the car was on the steering wheel. Kids in schools started dressing bad and all kinds of stuff h ad changed.

    Richard Smith Retired USAF

  1039. William Crooks Jr., June 14, 2012:

    If anyone out there is interested, look what I found on Ebay. A Wheelus patch. Go to and type in item #360407611819

  1040. Charles F. Nemejc, June 15, 2012:

    Just purchased the patch, not many left … Also have patch from the Wheelus school system. Thanks William for the information

  1041. Donna (Basehart) Gray, June 15, 2012:

    Thanks, William Crooks, Jr., wherever you are!! My sister just bought me the patch for my Patriot Guard vest! She rocks (and so do you). I’m so jazzed. (I don’t do ebay, but my sister is a techno-wizard.)

  1042. Bahrain, June 15, 2012:

    I think I just purchased the last one, there were ten. Thank you so much, my husband died in an accident 1-1/2 years ago and the slogan “gone but not forgotten” means everything. I will proudly display it with his flag. ( Marge Amerud )

  1043. Bob R, June 19, 2012:

    That was increased to 17 and I just got one and there are 3 left. Great Patch, Bill Crooks, thank you very much, I never knew one existed this is great. Where is everyone, this site has really slowed down or are we getting that old and have lost interest with our past, LOL.

  1044. Terry McGreevey, June 20, 2012:

    You might be right Bob L about getting older but it seems we all have ran out of new stories - hopefully it’s just a pause. Anyway, just curious - my tour was in the late 50’s and my geography/history is a little hazy - what did Ghadafi do with Wheelus after our exit ? Is it now the Tripoli International Airport or a Libyan military base ? I do remember there was a civilian airport in place when I was stationed there. Anybody enlighten me on what happened to Wheelus ?

  1045. Bahrain, June 20, 2012:

    I was stationed at Wheelus 61-63 with the 1950th Comm, Comm Center and Relay Station (29151/29150). King Idress was still in charge at that time. If you go to Google Earth you can scan present-time Tripoli and it looks to me like Wheelus Field is now a commercial airport from overhead. Everything between what we knew as the City Limits and the Main Gate is all urbanized now. Chris Keil

  1046. Tom Harder, June 20, 2012:

    @ Terry McGreevey:
    The old Wheelus AFB is not Mitiga International Airport and is viewable on Google Earth. I was stationed there in 1958-59 (18 month tour) with the 6938th Radio Squadron Mobile. We were on the far eastern side of the base and our HQ building, barracks and Op Center are still visible on Google Earth. Instead of the 2 lane road from the main part of the base over to the east side, there is now a 4 lane interstate-type highway alone the coast. Before it became an airport I believe Ghadafi turned it over to the Russians for a time. Someone else on this blog may be able to confirm that. It was good to hear from someone who was there around the same time as I was.

  1047. Charles F. Nemejc, June 20, 2012:

    Recieved my patch yesterday, VERY NICE…Thanks for letting everyone know.

  1048. Jim Muse, June 20, 2012:

    Ref 1048 Chris Keil … I am a former member of the 1950th as well. From there from May of 56 until October of 57. Worked in Base Comm and Base Ops Comm.
    Do you recall an airman (Charles Bagwell)? He was there about the same time you were. Also a comm type and in the 1950th. I sent him the URL for this site. Maybe he will get in touch with you. You may already be aware of this but bring up Tripoli, Libya in Google Earth and scroll a little to the east. You will able to see what was the air base. Most of the troop quarters have been razed but many of the utility buildings remain standing. Military aircraft parked on the ramp as well. Regards, Jim Muse

  1049. Allen Hebert, June 20, 2012:

    Could someone post a picture of the patch as i may have mine somewhere and i have pictures posted of 1959 in Det 1 86th FIW…02/1959 to 12/1959 and TDY from 496th FIS Hahn AFB in 1961 to Wheelus for Gunnery…

  1050. Terry McGreevey, June 20, 2012:

    Great feedback guys - looked at Earth Google and kinda figured out where the base was situated. My hazy memory of the place was when you came from Tripoli you traveled through Sukajuma (?) - was it Tajoura on the eastern side ? Anyway, one memory that stays vivid is the morning wake-up call from the donkeys - they could get loud and ornery - my tour was from Sept 58 to Mar 60.

  1051. Bahrain, June 21, 2012:

    I don’t know about anybody else but my 18mo there 63-65 resulted in a lifetime of dreams of being sent back there. At least now at 6 9 I’m not so angry in the dreams anymore. As per the patch I can’t remember any Wheelus patch but I have photos of me loading my Hold Baggage box wearing a short timers pin. I was eatatic to find one at a military show in Neb. I,ve told the wife I wanted tihave it on my casket. “Short timer goin home” I’m gonna use that in my next guest sermon at church in July. HOPE TO SEE ALL MY OLD PARDS AFTER “GOIN HOME’. A2C Gordy Whitcomb POL 61-65 Shaw AFB Wheelus AFB

  1052. William Crooks Jr., June 21, 2012:

    I’m trying to attach a picture of the patch I found on Ebay. You can go to Ebay and type in USAF Base Patch Wheelus Air Base and it should come up. This is not a base patch from the period, but an after market one. It was made by a retired Air Force Air Traffic controller. Its just a great memory patch. Sorry, I can’t figure out how to attach a picture.

  1053. Bahrain, June 21, 2012:

    pic added here USAF Base Patch

  1054. Bahrain, June 21, 2012:

    I was with the 431st at Wheelus 1953-54 is there anyone out there that was there at that time.
    It was a great time but glad to leave in oct. 54 ( Robert Carriveau )

  1055. Bud Trill, June 21, 2012:

    (Robert Carriveau)
    Although I wasn’t a part of the 431st. FIS the Red Devils commanding officer was Maj. Robert C. Allen bna “Stud” when I was there in ‘54 and ‘55.

  1056. Bahrain, June 21, 2012:

    I have never seen that patch before, but I ordered one of the last two. I have a unique patch for the 1615th Support Squadron to which I was assigned at Wheelus AB from 1961-62. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  1057. Alyca Tanner, June 21, 2012:

    I just purchased the last patch from Ebay. My father was stationed with the 7272nd from 63-64 and I was born at the base hospital. I keep trying to get him to talk to me about Wheelus, but he doesn’t say much - so I’ve been listening in here :). My older sister remembers that we lived off base in a villa of some kind, and I have some spectacular photos.

    To Donna (Basehart) Gray - thank you for your service with the Patriot Guard. My eldest nephew was killed in Afghanistan a year ago and your group was at the funeral standing guard before, during and after the service on a blazing hot day in Sacramento - what an incredible group of people. Their presence made such a difference.

    Can’t wait to get the patch… haven’t decided if I should keep it or give it to dad :)

  1058. Bob R, June 21, 2012:

    Just google “The Years Of Wheelus” and you will get a great short article on the history of Wheelus. It is written by Walter J. Boyne. There are some interesting high lites.

  1059. Jerry Hicks, June 21, 2012:

    Ref 1047 (Tony McGreevey) When base was closed by Quaddafi 6-11-70, he renamed it UQBA BIN NAFI AB, he then let the Russians station their troops there. Go to http://www/ The years at Wheelus. It’s got the entire history of Wheelus, from 1923, when the Italians built it, to Quaddafi’s takeover. The article was written Jan 08. The base was then called MITGA AIRPORT. Old Wheelus, (along with numerous other sites), was bombed by our planes in 1986, when Pres. Reagan sent 100 AF and Navy aircraft to get Quaddafi’s attention after the Berlin nightclub incident involving our troops. Check it out, its an interesting article about an interesting place that was part of my life during 64 and 65.

  1060. Donna (Basehart) Gray, June 22, 2012:

    Alyca - it’s an honor to escort our fallen heroes on their last ride. My sister rides with the PGR in Atlanta. Give your dad the patch and you can have it when he’s gone. Unless, of course, you decide to join the PGR. Then you have to get a leather vest and cover it with patches, in which case you have to keep it. There is a funeral today for a soldier in Yuciapa, CA, where the Westboro idiots are threatening to protest and there has been a huge call-out for people to line the streets holding flags. I participated in his Angel Flight (when his remains were returned to his family) and did another one last week and have taken too much time off work for PGR stuff lately, so I’m afraid to ask again, but I’m sure it will be a beautiful show of support for his family.

  1061. Terry McGreevey, June 22, 2012:

    Thanks for the tip about reading that short history on Wheelus in the airforce-magazine website. Pretty absorbing article and I found myself reliving some episodes of my experiences there in the late fifties. Of course, I remember well the heat, the sand storms, the poverty of the people and the discovery of oil that coincided with my tour. That relatively safe period enabled me to travel freely and enjoy the wonders of a country I otherwise would never have visited. Worth reading.

  1062. Bob Gilbert, June 22, 2012:

    Thanks to Bob R. and Jerry Hicks for the alerting us to the “The Years of Wheelus” article. It was very well written — not unexpected, since the author was a former director of the National Air and Space Museum.

  1063. Bahrain, June 23, 2012:

    to Alyca Tanner from G Whitcomb I was there when your dad was. What did he do? I was in fuel supply.

  1064. Alyca Tanner, June 24, 2012:

    to G Whitcomb: Not really sure what he did for the 7272nd - I know that later in his career he was a radar technician (we spent 66-68 in the outback of Australia). He told me that he didn’t always have much to do at Wheelus so they used him as a pilot to fly Libyan Air Force over the sea to look for downed aircraft and ships - apparently he once flew a young captain named Khadafi (something dad mentioned offhand a few years back). I’ve been trying to get him to look at the blog here, but he doesn’t seem to want to.

    to: Donna Gray - I hope the Westboro morons didn’t show to that funeral. They also threatened to protest at my nephew’s burial, I almost would have enjoyed the chance to get in their faces! You’re right that I should give the patch to my dad, so it will be a late Father’s Day gift :).

  1065. Bahrain, June 28, 2012:

    to alyca tanner from g whitcomb If your dad “flew” as opposed to “flew with” If he was a piolet he woul have been an officer. Idon’t believe that officers would have been a radar technician???? In the USAF of th 60’s officers and enlisted men pretty much lived in different worlds If he flew, was a piolet he prbably appreciated us in fuel supply filling his plane with clean, dry fuel soit would’t crash

  1066. Alyca Tanner, June 28, 2012:

    to G. Whitcomb:as far as I know, my father was never an officer (he retired as a Chief Master Sergeant a few years ago). He did not fly with the USAF, but he did fly outside jobs (or at least that’s what I understand) with a civilian pilot’s license. He is rather closed mouth about Wheelus so I’m sure there’s something I’m missing. I’m not entirely sure what his real job was with the 7272nd, I only know that he had been trained as a radar tech and Wheelus was his 2nd overseas post - he spent 2 years in Korea in 57/58 according to my state department paperwork, but he absolutely refuses to talk about that. I wish I could get him to open up about Wheelus more - and I keep trying to get him to at least read this site, but he’s doesn’t seem to want to. Since we left when I was a baby I have no memories of tripoli, so this blog has been wonderful for me.
    My mom had never been out of the U.S. when they moved to Tripoli with my sister - mom was excited and planned a trip to Europe with some other ladies at Wheelus, then she found out she was pregnant with me and had to scrap the whole trip :(.
    I still feel kinda bad about that…
    I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July - thank you all so much for your service, it is more appreciated than most of you know!

  1067. Bahrain, June 29, 2012:

    I don’t understand why he want talk about his tour. I was there 68-70 when all the mess started and it was bad. I have some good memories and some not so good. I sometimes have dreams about my tour there and my wife will wake me up and say what are you talking about. The dreams sometimes were and are so real it seemed as though I was still going there or was already there.

    Richard Smith USAF Retired.

  1068. Alyca Tanner, June 29, 2012:

    to:Richard Smith - I hope they aren’t bad dreams…

    I don’t understand either why he’s closed up about Wheelus, but that’s not unusual for him. My mom did say that there was a lot of tension there right after President Kennedy was killed. Dad also said that after he had met Khadafi, he just had a bad feeling and wanted to get his family out of there as quickly as possible.
    I really enjoy reading this site to get a better understanding of what went on there.
    to: G Whitcomb - I asked dad about the Gilera you posted about a while back, and after he pointed out to me that it was a motorcycle (I had no clue :) ), he said that he knew all about it. I wish my mom were around to ask questions - she always answered them good, bad, or otherwise…

  1069. Bahrain, June 30, 2012:

    to Alyca Tanner from Gordy Whitcomb Sorry about the misspellings in the last E Mail. I’m not an idiot I just don”t always proof read till after I hit send. Bad idea I likewise do not understand your father’s reluctance to talk with you about Wheelus or anything else for that matter. What you know is that your father was at Wheelus and he doesn’t want to talk about it. OK I’m 69 I did some things I’m not proud of. But I make no assumptions about your father. I’m sure he has his reasons even if no on else knows what they are. God bless him for serving his country and dealing with whatever he is dealing with. Through out my life I have dreamed of being sent back to Lybia and I was only there 18 mo long long ago. If your father retired then he was undoubtly many places with both good and bad memories. My father abandon us when I was 3 You have a father with some misteries maybe but you have him. Best blessings to both of you..

  1070. Bahrain, June 30, 2012:

    I was there with the 58th ARRS from 69 to 70. I don’t remember it being that bad.

    Stephan Brodsky

  1071. Bob Carriveau, June 30, 2012:

    I was at Wheelus 53 54 I don’t remember it being so bad. The worst thing was the heat and we stayed in tents for 9 months. You had to remake your bed almost every night to shake the sand out. On weekends you couldn’t stay in the tent during the day as it was too hot.
    Our squadron went over at one time so to rotate us it was spread over 4 months, I was lucky I returned to the stated after 17 months.

  1072. John Connaly, June 30, 2012:

    I too, did not see it being that bad there-but I did not have a family there to worry about either. I was at Wheelus from 57-59 , 18 yrs old and since this was my first time to be outside the USA, found Tripoli to be interesting place and I enjoyed it there. I have to admit that I went TDY alot and total time at Wheelus was probably about 4 months out of my 18 mos tour.

  1073. Bahrain, June 30, 2012:

    to All from G Whitcomb this kinda proves what I have told clients. We see what we look for. I went to Libya looking for a chance to meet girls. Didn’t happen except on 3day passes to Naples and two leaves to England. So I was disapointed. There was lots of: sand, flies, flowers, snorkling, riding my 1st motorcycle, beer, getting drunk regularly, heat, some very stupid superiors, and some of the greatest friends I have ever had. I had some fellow airman that I served with that I will never forget. We really were like brothers, then, sadly, after discharge it all slides away and one is left with memories and dreams. My lifelong authority “problem” probably contributed to the anger in the dreams of Wheelus, however, the wonderful, though short, friendships are the positives I keep from the USAF. Had I not been in the AF 1961-65 I probably would have ended up in prison as an inmate instead of a correctional officer.

  1074. Jim Voris, June 30, 2012:

    I just had 8 years in AF. I would say my 3 years at Wheelus were the best (58-61) for experience and growth. I turned 21 there, made A/1c and was able to bring wife and new daughter over. We lived on the sea, beautiful villa on the other side of Tripoli from the Base. Most every night I went snorkeling after work (Base Photo Lab). Would shoot Grouper and had fresh fish many night. My house was always the “party” place. Booze was so cheap at the Class 6 Store, I’d supply the liquor bring your own mix. I think I recall that gas on base (near the front gate) was 18 or 23 cents a gallon (anyone that wants to correct that it would be appreciated) As a photographer I was in and out of the Base Commanders office a lot and friends with many of the officers. In my book (Helluva Ride) I tell many stories about my tour in Libya and take a lot of pot shots at myself and my stupidity. If anyone is interested in reading it I will send you a free PDF file of the whole book if you send me your e-mail address to or if you want a paper copy check the website Thanks for serving.

  1075. Allen Hebert, June 30, 2012:

    Feb 1959 to Dec 1959..Perfect 18 Year Old Climate for Beer-Smokes-Beach-Air Club-Diving Club—Sand Box Golf and Perfect Laid Back Detachment ..Det 1 86th FIW..Then Phalbourg France 513th FIS…Tdy Wheelus one month in 1960 for Gunnery…Then 496th FIS Hahn AfB Germany 1961 to 1962 and one month TDY to Wheelus for Gunnery…Now how is that for a Air Force Tour…Only Bad part was returning to the States as an instructor at Witchita Falls Texas on a Training Base…Boooo…Would not give up ANY of those days….Instructive and learned a lot..GOOD OLD DAYS and Memories Galore….ARH..Pictures posted on this site a while back…Great Birds and Guys…

  1076. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., June 30, 2012:

    To G. Whitcomb I was in the AF from 1961 to 1965. I was at Wheelus from June 1961 to Jan. 1963. The AF was good to me. There was a large number of Superiors still in the AF from WWII a good many were alcoholics and very mean, they did not make life easy. There were lots of buddies trying to survive together. There were two guys I worked with in the fire dept. No matter how bad the fire was they were right there with you . but off duty they were bad, they had a 1949 Dodge two door coupe, both doors were caved in ,I did know why until I rode to town with them. Going down the road they would swing into people and animals on the road side and hit them with the doors. I could not get them to stop, they were crazy. They went back to the States at the same time . one was killed the day they arrived at the base at Charleston, he was trying to rob a bank in town. The other was arrested trying to rob a store further inland, after a shoot out.
    They were great at the job the AF gave them , but bad at life. Of course most of us were making .25 cents an hour, these new soldiers start out at $11.75 dollars per hour. What happen to GOD and Country.
    GOD Bless all of you.

  1077. Ray Ong, June 30, 2012:

    Overall my stay at Wheelus was a good experience. Something that I will always remember. Kind of slow at first but very exciting times from September 1969 to the time I left in May 1970. I was probably too young to know what the real ramifications of all the activity that was happening on base at the time. Read about some of the near “battle tensions” later when I got out. But I had good buddies there and my stay was overall a good experience.

    Ray Ong

  1078. Bahrain, June 30, 2012:

    My reply would mirror yours except my 3 Day passes were to Paris, and Tunis. I served in the same years, and after a brief time out did 32 more years in the ANG retiring in 2004. I would be nice to see what the place looks like now. ( Daniel DeBrase )

  1079. Garry Grau, June 30, 2012:

    I was at Wheelus from Dec. ‘59 thru July ‘62 and had a great time. No problems at all and made a lot of friends there. Great memories. I was in Base Supply; Hi-Valu section.
    Sure would like to go back to see what it is like now… but I would be disappointed I expect.

  1080. Jim Muse, June 30, 2012:

    Wheelus from Apr56 til Oct 57. Really had no problems with being there. Like anything else it was what you made it. I knew airmen who never went off the base the time they were there. Never really understood that. All they wanted to talk about was “back home”. If they felt that way, why did they leave in the first place? Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to leave when my time was up and I guess was the situation with most of the troops there. I was just on my way to another adventure in my view. Rotated to Havre AFS, MT where another adventure definitely began. Life’s a mountain, not a beach.

  1081. Bahrain, July 1, 2012:

    I went to Tech School at Shepard AB Witchita Falls for electrical Power Production. Went to Offut SAC Headquarters but was station at a radar site in Elkcorn NB and we lived in Fremont NB till I was sent to Wheelus in 68.

    Richard Smith USAF Retired

  1082. Bahrain, July 2, 2012:

    to Richard Smith from g whitcomb Richard I told you before it is ElkHORN Not ElkCORN Just teasing frm previous messages you only lived a few blocks fom my mom in Fremont We do have lots’o corn though here in Neb. You know your a rural Nebraskan if: You believe empty cartridge cases are appropriate driveway fill, You drive to town to find rain puddles on concrete streets to drive through to get the mud off the bottom of the pickup, You everstart a conversation about when your neighbor started to plant or harvest his corn If you evercare about the price of corn ref buying some to burn in your pellet/corn stove to heat the house If you or your neighor saw a moutain lion or if your major social event of the week is a trip to take the trash to the compactor on Sat morning. If any of these things describe your life your probably a rural nebraskan esp if you refuse any social occasions, weddings or funerals if the Cornhuskers are playing.

  1083. Bahrain, July 2, 2012:

    Thanks for the correction. I understand that Omaha has taken in Elkhorn and it has really built up.

    Good tp hear from you

    Richard Smith

  1084. Bahrain, July 2, 2012:

    to Richard Smith from G Whitcomb Did you know a Bill Davis when you were at Elkhorn? I met him years later when he was a Deputy Sheriff and I a Juvenile Officer He said he got drunk while at the Elkhorn Site and messed up an ORI inspection. In return the commander got him olrders for Nam. When he rotated back he went right back to Elkhorn till discharge Nice guy but drank a lot

  1085. Bahrain, July 2, 2012:

    To G Whitcomb: No I don’t recall him. Did you know a McFarland? The cook while I was there (Pete) was also working in Omaha as a cook at one of the big restaurants. One nite while I was on duty the gate bell keep going off and boy was it storming. Went to the gate with AP on duty and it was Pete. He was drunk as a skunk. We let him in and later that nite he got hungry and went to the kitchen to cook something and feel face down on the grill. Burnt him pretty bad and after that I never saw him again. Also I ran around with a guy name Reynolds.

  1086. Bahrain, July 4, 2012:

    to Richard Smith from g whitcomb In later years shot muzzleloaders with a Bill Reynolds, big guy, believe he is a AF vet but don’t know if he was at Elkhorn site but probably Offut AFB

  1087. Bahrain, July 4, 2012:

    to G Whitcomb: Sorry but the Reynolds I knew was from Chattanooga Tn and was tall but very thin.

    R. Smith

  1088. Bud Trill, July 4, 2012:

    Is there anyone on here that served at Smoky Hill (Schilling) AFB, Salina KS in the 310lth BombWg in ‘56 or ‘57?

  1089. John Connaly, July 4, 2012:

    When I arrived at Wheelus in 1957, I was assigned to an AACS I&M Sqdn, that was later changed to a GEEIA I&E sqdn. Does anyone happen to know the unit numbers for these sqdn’s? Barracks was next to the local AACS sqdn which was across the street from the airmen’s club.

  1090. RogerThies, July 4, 2012:

    I was in the US Army Corp of Eng stationed out of Tripoli, Libya in 1958 to 1959. We ran a topographical survey team from Tunis to Egypt. I wonder if there is anyone out there that also was envolved in this?

  1091. BILL JACKSON, July 5, 2012:

    Shalom joyous 4 th of july and peace to all vets

  1092. Jim Muse, July 5, 2012:

    Ref 1092 John Connaly — For some reason 1815th rings a bell for the AACS I&M Squadron. I was in the 1950th AACS Squadron during your tenure there. Just picked out 1815th from the ether. Is that correct?

  1093. Ken Krugman, July 5, 2012:

    To: RogerThies
    I was with US Army, Libya, June 1960 to December 1962. Radio Operator with Climax Field Party and also spent time at HQ, WAB. If you google Ethiopia -64th Eng and click on the Libya section you will see lots of photos and information.

  1094. John Connaly, July 5, 2012:

    Thanks for responding Jim. It jogged my meomory a little I can vaguely recall something like 1884th or 1894th. I played tennis there (court was near the barracks) with a guy from 1950th AACS-he worked GCA or something like that-can’t remember his name

  1095. John Connaly, July 5, 2012:

    roger, I with the AACS at wheelus and we installed an antenna on the Army Tropo side late ‘57 or early ‘58-ate in you mess hall during the installation. Can’t remember if the antenna was for the Army are for some other unit.

  1096. Roger Thies, July 5, 2012:

    To: Ken Krugman
    Ken, I also was with Climax Field Party but left there in November 1959. I made contact yesterday with a couple of guys I knew there using the same Ethiopia-64th web site. I don’t know why I did it but I googled US Army Eng survey and found the site. Thanks for your response.

  1097. Pamela Callaway Nicolas, July 5, 2012:

    Hello, All!
    Still searching for any one who knew Henri E. Nicolas, French civilian working with USACE in & near Wheelus. Is Bob Gilbert still out there??? Looking for information and photos!!! Thanks so much,
    Pam Nicolas

  1098. RogerThies, July 5, 2012:

    To: Ken Krugman
    Correction. I was with the Classic team. My memory must be slipping.

  1099. Bob Gilbert, July 5, 2012:

    To: Ken Krugman

    RE: “Ethiopia 64th Eng.” I searched and couldn’t find it. Will you please provide a link? I was at WAB with the Army Corps of Engineers in 1968 and 1969. We were building facilities for the Libyan AF. I also did work at a U. S. Coast Guard station at Matratin, Libya,(near Marble Arch) which was about one-half way between Tripoli and Benghazi.

  1100. Ken Krugman, July 6, 2012:

    To Bob Gilbert: The website is
    I remember the Coast Guard Station as we would stop off there on our way out into the desert. Their radio call sign was NCI-6. We traded paper back books with them

  1101. Doug Bonstead, July 6, 2012:

    I was there between Sept. 1966 and May 1967, 7272nd CES as a firefighter. I loved the beach and the Carling black label beer.

  1102. Bob Gilbert, July 6, 2012:

    To: Ken Krugman

    Thanks for the link to the 64th Engineers. It looks like a lot of really interesting information there — worthy of spending some time on it. After finishing work at the engineer school at Ft. Belvoir in 1968, my orders were initially to report to Ethiopia. But, before I left, they were changed to Libya. That is really quite interesting that you visited LORAN Station Matratin and traded books with the fellows there. I lived at the coast guard station for about six months, overseeing a Turkish contractor hired to rehabilitate the 600 foot high transmission tower. I got a lot of exercise climbing up and down that thing every day. Here’s a link with history and photos that will probably bring back some memories for you, including Marble Arch, which Gaddafi ordered be destroyed, since it had been built by the former Italian occupiers of Libya.

  1103. Bob Gilbert, July 6, 2012:

    Hello to Pam Nicolas –

    Yes, I’m still “out there.” As before, I invite you to write or call me re Henri —; 803-649-4543. I have looked, but, so far, have come up with no photos of Henri.

  1104. Ken Krugman, July 6, 2012:

    To: Bob Gilbert
    Thank you for the photo’s as they brought back memories. I have a photo that was taken under the Arch of our convoy coming back from the desert. We were jealous of the Coast Guard Station compared to how we lived but I’m sure the isolated duty could wear on you just like ours wore on us.

  1105. Bahrain, July 7, 2012:

    to all from a2c g whitcomb I went out on my deck today in Eastern Neb and it was 102 Believe me it did breing back memories of re-fueling 100s on the flight line at Wheelus 63-64 If it wasn’t for the med & snorkling I don’t know how we did it I guess some people had airconditioned duty stations we used lots of fans. How did we sleep when it was that hot???

  1106. Bob Carriveau, July 7, 2012:

    yesterday is was 96 here in Michigan, and I too wondered how did we stand it at 100 on the blacktop flight line. Working on F86’s with the 431st. Of course I was only 20 then. Fans didn’t do any good because they just blew hot air. Thank goodness it cooled off an night.

  1107. Charles F. Nemejc, July 7, 2012:

    HUMIDITY is the key word, Here in Arizona It was 118 on my patio yesterday, but the humidity was 8%. Dry Heat.. and bearable… Yes I remember the tarmac and working on the F86Ds with the 431st, But as you stated we were in our 20s, and excited to see the world and new cultures… Excellent expierence for any 20 year old . Good times and a beer or 2 after work at our beer shack..MEMORIES

  1108. terry mcgreevey, July 7, 2012:

    The last few days here in Virginia brought back memories of Wheelus - lost power last friday for five days - but as I remember the barracks were those stone block buildings and coupled with the desert cool nights, you could sleep pretty good without a/c. Daytime, well, I sympathize with you guys who worked the flight line.

  1109. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., July 7, 2012:

    To: Whitcomb and Carriveau: And everyone that worked on the Flight line.
    Remember when the temperature at Wheelus was 105 to 110 degrees on the Flight Line it would be 115 to 120 or more. The way the barracks were made it was difficult to get any air circulation. i would lay in my bunk and the next morning my bunk was like a bath tub. All of that plus those darn flies were crawling all over my face inside or outside. But then I remember how hard it must have been for you guys that had to live in the tents in the 1950’s. Even with all the hard ships it was a great adventure for you guys.
    A2c S. Kirkley

  1110. Vernon (Chris) Keil, July 7, 2012:

    I was with the 1950th Comm 62-63. My barracks was the one closest to the Airman’s Club. I can remember the sweltering nights sitting on the patio at the Airman’s Club watching the show groups that entertained there.
    And I especially remember those hot afternoons going to the base theatre so that I could get 1-2 hours of air-conditioned sleep before going in for night shift duty at the comm center.

  1111. Bahrain, July 7, 2012:

    My father, william Mcgourty, recived the Air medal for his participation in a sea rescue of a downed tropical airways dc 3 during the last week of august 1952 32 passengers were rescued. his sa-16 crew was stationed at wheelus. as the 60th anniverery approaches i cannot find the exact date and details Can anyone help?
    Thank you

    ( John Mcgourty )

  1112. Bahrain, July 7, 2012:

    My technique for going to sleep was to put a small green fan I had at the foot of my bed, get wet in the shower and then run and get into bed without drying off. If I didn’t go to sleep before I dried off, it was back to the shower. I think being 20 years old had a lot to do with being able to get by back then. ( Robert Sullivan )

  1113. Bahrain, July 7, 2012:

    Yes it is hot here in Tennessee. Temps range form 91-102, and it is hard to get use to but in Libya it was like this all the time and them at nite it would cool off. All we had in our room was a fan and when the storms rolled in the room was filled with sand and you could get it in your mouth. The hottest I saw it there was 128!. Durning the hottest months we worked at nite and then stayed on the med during the day. Lay a blanket down on the sand and sleep till the heat would wake you then get in the med and cool off and then go back to the beach to sleep. I worked in the power plants so you know how hot it gets in there. We would work for about 30 min. and then take a break.

    R Smith

  1114. Jim Muse, July 7, 2012:

    Ref 1113 Vernon (Chris) Keil. I worked in the Base Comm Center for the first half of my tour at Wheelus before being transferred the Comm Ctr in Base Operations. Your note brought back memories of the base theatre and getting some A/C before the midnight shift. I live in northern VA as well so know what you are saying about the heat. It does remind one of Wheelus… //jrm//

  1115. terry mcgreevey, July 7, 2012:

    To John McGourty - you might Google commercial aircraft crashes and access that allows you to check by year, airline etc on any crash occurring around the world. I checked based on the info you showed and nothing is listed during the time you mentioned - maybe you have the year wrong. Anyway, I was assigned to the 58th ARS in 1958, some years after your dad and during my time I don’t remember the incident. Give it a look on wikipedia.
    I must have only remembered the winter times concerning the Libyan weather at night - I do remember well working in my section and we had only fans to keep us cool - our squadron commander allowed us to remove our shirts when it got really hot - like when them durn sand storms would blow up and you had sand in your eyes, teeth and stuck in the sweat down your back - and those miserable flies….

  1116. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., July 7, 2012:

    In the winter in Libya during the day was about 90 to 100 degrees, during the night the temperature would drop down to the teens. But in the Spring & Summer the day time temperatures were 100 to 120 degrees and at night it would chill down to a frostie 90 to 100 degrees.
    It was more comfortable sleeping in the bunker room of the Fire Station on the flight line than the barracks. Except for the nine gillion mosquitoes coming in front the Kings Salt Flat Swamp.
    Shirley Kirkley

  1117. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    I spent a lot of time in the theatre also. I lost a lot of weight and sleep there. ( Richard Smith )

  1118. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    About beer. While I was there they ran out of beer. When it did come in the can (real METAL cans OF BUD) they were rusty and the date was 1959. Must have washed to shore of the med. They were still good. ( Richard Smith )

  1119. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    Sorry to intrude on the Wheelus site. I was in the Bitish Royal Military Police, stationed at Azzizia Barracks > Our
    Information Post was near the Castle where you boys used to catch the bus back to Wheelus. Ours barracks
    were First Worls War 2 Italian> Our air conditioning was a slow moving fan some 60 foot in the air> We all
    kept a reptile in a branch of eucalyptus tree nailed over our beds to catch the bloody mozzies. We regularly
    had to visit Wheelus ,cos some of your boys got into a bit of trouble which we had to sort out. They were
    always pleased to see our red caps when we went into the bars. Compared to our quarters, it was like visiting
    Disneyworld. You had fresh eggs and milk, not the powdered stuff. !!!! Looking back on it 58-60 it made a man
    out of a boy. I have visited many of your States in the past few years. Love Tenessee what beautiful people
    you are. Cracker Barrell Rules. ( Les Andersen )

  1120. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    To all from A2C G Whitcomb As much as I like to whine about Lybia I have to admit the spring of 64 a staff sgt from supply sq headquarters barrack rotated back and sold us a 5,000btu Air conditioner. The 1st sgt let us put it in the window just as long as we didn’t permanantly alter anything. $150 which was $50 a piece for the rhree of us. Every time one rotated out the new roomate paid the other 2 $25 a piece. Honestly, it ran constant we slept under 2 wool blnkets. If we wrapped the drapes around it we could coo a 6 pak in about a 1/2 hr Oh ya it was against rules to have beer in the barracks. Obviously we were the favorite place for the POL bay guys to hang out with. Maybe Wheelus was cooler (no pun intended) than I usually wish to admit. I do miss some really great friends from those days. God bless you all.

  1121. Jim Muse, July 8, 2012:

    Ref Wheelus Weather: If my memory is correct it actually snowed one early morning during the winter of 56 - 57 at Wheelus. Just a light flurry but it was actually snow! As I recall I was on my way to the mess hall prior to working the day shift. It was definitely field jacket temperatures that early morning. Anyone else recall that or is my mind playing tricks on me?

  1122. terry mcgreevey, July 8, 2012:

    To Les Anderson - Les, I was there when you served in Libya - you must have wandered into ‘officer’s country’ on your visits to Wheelus because us lowly enlisted types NEVER had fresh milk/eggs to my recollection - just the powdered stuff - dam white milk had a gagging taste to it - only could drink the chocolate milk.

  1123. Allen Hebert, July 8, 2012:

    To Anderson:::I dont know about any fresh stuff…Had powdered eggs,powdered spuds,powdered milk and those lousy flies flying around the fried chicken and in the Arab Boys eyes who were serving the food…That was feb 59 to feb 60….Drank the milk can empty when we rotated to France in Dec 59…The Brits were our Guardians going into the City and They knocked the Locals on their asses as us poor little American boys got harressed all the time…Company of four into the City..Thank you Brits because it was our fault if we stirred up trouble..Pain in the kind to the locals..I survived and would not change a thing…

  1124. Bill Crooks Jr., July 8, 2012:

    You guys are really taking me back about the heat at Wheelus. I left Charlston AFB in March of 1963, and there was snow on the ground. I remember standing in the doorway of the aircraft I went over on in my winter blues. I almost couldn’t breath because of the heat. I also was in the 1950th Comm Sqd, and worked at the comm center in airways. I was a radio operator and controlled long range aircraft. Because of the equipment, our duty section had AC. A note to Less Anderson. I don’t know where you got all this fresh food. We had powdered milk and eggs. If we had real eggs, it said on the side of the crate they were in (Fresh frozen 1944) I saw this while pulling KP. Love reading this blog, it sure brings back memories. Thanks guys.

  1125. Allen Hebert, July 8, 2012:

    Crooks:: Left CHS on C-121 in Feb of 1959 IN DRESS BLUES to Land in Tripoli in 122 Degree weather..But hey at 18 and seeing the world no problem.

  1126. terry mcgreevey, July 8, 2012:

    Had to tip my hat to the Brit MP’s - as I alluded to in an old blog - me and a couple of buddies were strolling up December 24th Street and were being harrassed by an arab who ended up tearing a buddy’s shirt sleeve -his retaliation brought other arabs out of the woodwork and soon a mob was chasing us down the street. We took shelter in that building the Brit MPs maintained in the square - saved our asses.

  1127. terry mcgreevey, July 8, 2012:

    To Richard Smith - re the beer - seems I remember that there was abundance of cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon on hand in the Airman’s Club - for years after I left Wheelus, seeing PBR always brought back the memories. About the Airman’s Club - seems I remember they had it sectioned off where U-21s had to do their drinking in a small room while older troops could go into the main part to listen to the occasional visiting band and order liquor if they wanted. Well at least in the late fifties it was that way.

  1128. Jim Voris, July 8, 2012:

    In 1959 we had a Maj who was our new Squadron Commander. Sorry I forget his name. Our barracks was next to the chow hall. The new Sq. CO said in a Commanders Call that he didn’t want any of his men getting into trouble in Tripoli so despite the AF commandment that there shall be no booze in the barracks he said “You can have a bar in your room so long as it was neat and tidy. Stay home and drink, not in town!” He had periodical inspections and by God he was true to his word! He even complimented our bar in one inspection. I think it was because we had the bottles aligned by height with labels squared away. Did anyone else have this experience?

  1129. terry mcgreevey, July 8, 2012:

    To Jim V - wish we did have a bar in the dayroom - would have complimented the endless games of double-deck pinochle played there - loved that game but haven’t played it since. We did have one enterprising guy that made some home made liquor and one overindulger went temporary blind from drinking it !

  1130. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    Allen I may have been on your flight, I was assigned to 7272 air support as a hydraulic mechanic, working on F100s. I don’t remember our barracks # but it was across from the mess hall and next to female officers barracks. Duty assignment was for 30months. We got to go to europe and england several times a year. I came out of the cotton patch 18 and bullet proof (HA) enjoyed the area. I went to tech school at Chanute afb. I worked night side in the big hangar. I may have to get my wife to get the dates straight but we were in the area at same time. What was your duty assignment?? email ajphillips66 AT

    ( Arthur Phillips )

  1131. Bahrain, July 8, 2012:

    do not understand this fresh eggs and milk. All I ever had was powdered milk and eggs. The only time we ever had fresh eggs and milk was when C-130, would bring in fresh stuff for the officers mess. Working on flight line, we did procure some groceries. I had some good friends living downtown and I would take groceries to town and have a feast. I did try to get used to the powered milk ice cream. The airmans club had either 5 or 10cent beer on wednesday night???????I don’t remember being separate rooms for different ages. ( Arthur Phillips )

  1132. Charles F. Nemejc, July 8, 2012:

    To Jim Vorhis:
    That was Major Willie, Yes I also had our booze in our barracks (room) Also had a electric coffee pot and small refrigerator to keep the beer cold. Our first Sargent was M/sgt. Phillip Blackstone, He drove a Jaguar 4 door sedan. Things were different in the mid 50s… 40oz bottle of Canadian club was only a few bucks at the class 6 store on base. Why drink water?

  1133. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., July 8, 2012:

    Snow at Wheelus: in 1961 or 62, I can’t remember if it was winter or not but was hot. Out of a clear blue sky snow flakes began to fall. They looked to be as big as a half-dollar, and would melt when reaching to ground. Most of the Libyans that worked on base dropped to their knees and prayed to God. The base radio station said a freak snow storm had blow over the Alps to north Africa.
    Fresh Eggs: Most of the time we would get powdered eggs which were acceptable , if cooked properly. However, at the chow hall at the flight line Fire Station occasionally we would chicken eggs in a shell. Unfortunately they would come packed in something like a dairy milk can, stacked to the top and the can filled with formaldehyde as was also done with chickens. Also if you cracked an egg an dumped it straight into the hot skillet and it had a green baby chick in it[ which happen often] the stench would ruin breakfast for everyone else. The firemen sometimes had to cook their on breakfast on Sunday mornings because the cook might be wasted from the night before . The chicken had to be boiled then fried so as to get most of the formaldehyde taste out of it. but the skin was like leather.
    Shirley Kirkley

  1134. Anita Rickli (Buschkamp), July 8, 2012:

    Looking for ANY info for dates Sept 1959 or Sept 1960 at Wheelus AFB. My father was guarding a bldg and was attacked, sent to hospital in Germany and discharged as disabled w/ at TBI. He had a K9 “Egon” so I think he was an MP? with the 7272nd something. I’m sorry, not so familiar with all the lingo. It was so long ago. My mother has been taking care of him for the last 50 yrs. It’s been very difficult. We’re looking for info as to what actually happened for closure and to heal. What happened to Egon? My father doesn’t remember anything except being attacked, waking up in an airplane for a moment then in the hospital- it was one in Germany. Does anyone know him? John Buschkamp. Does anyone know any incident during that time? It was in September either 1959 or 1960- one of those… I do not have the details at this moment. Reaching a dead end in search of Tripoli Trotter issues that may have info. ANY help from anyone is GREATLY appreciated!!! God Bless!

  1135. Allen Hebert, July 9, 2012:

    Voris the Major may have been Major Weinard…Look at my pictures posted for Sq Picnic in 1959 and he is the one with the big Chefs hat>>Great Guy.Had beer in the barracks and i posted this way back on this site…But could NOT go to Old City and did not allow less than 4 out together in town…Did not need it…All the food,beer,cigs,The Med,air-club,horses etc.etc.that .a young 18 yr old could need…RR every 45 days and my best one was to Munich to Oct Fest…LOL…..Cairo and Lisbon were others on my favorite list of RR stops…Wine women and song….Best times ever,Of course culture with all others…Yeah right..

  1136. Bahrain, July 9, 2012:

    Hello, I found your blog area- SO many to read! I’m looking for ANY information re: the dates in Subject field, of events/incidents, etc. for the month of Sept 1959 or Sept 1960.
    My father served during this time at WAFB and was severely injured- a TBI. John Buschkamp. Sent to hospital in germany and discharged as disabled. I think he was in the 7272nd as an MP. He had a K9, “Egon.” He was guarding some building at night. Has no idea what happened except the he was attacked in the dark.
    My mother I are looking for info as closure for us to heal. I’d greatly appreciate ANY info to guide me as to what happened. It’s been a difficult 50 years.
    Thank you, Anita

  1137. Bahrain, July 9, 2012:

    FROM G WHITCOMB TO MR ANDERSON from England. You probably have no idea how respected the ‘Brits” stationed in Tripoli were. No gi I knew didn’t hold them in awe because if the locals messed with them they retaliated. I have no Idea if that was true but it was the base scuttlebutt DO NOT mess with the Brits, and we didn’t want to anyway cuzz they were in the same fix we were in the service and far from home. Compatriates so to speak, besides, how could soeone named “whitcomb” be negative to the English?

  1138. Bahrain, July 9, 2012:

    to Terry Mcgreevey: It was the barracks that ran out. There was pbr in the clubs. I was 21 when I got to Wheelus. It was ht in the barracks will let me change that it was hot everywhere. Did you ever go to the camel market downtown. That was an experience. The flies were really bad. I bet if know we ate lots of them. pugh! ( R. Smith )

    @ 1131 - I lived in the barracks next to the chow hall on the med side. We could have drink in our rooms. Yes we kept it neat as we could.

    Our squadron for CE’s was Msgt Hensley. Our commander was Lt Col. Fries.

    While I was there 68-70 it did snow some and the Lybians’ went crazy.

    @ 1122 - Les Anderson I have to say thanks because I am from (Chattanooga) Tennessee. I live in the Eastern of the state next to North Carolina and Virginia. Johnson City which is next to Bristol Race way.

    Robert Sullivan: We had a fan but only blew hot air. Many times I would get up in the middle of the nite go down to the showers and get cooled off I was 21.

  1139. terry mcgreevey, July 9, 2012:

    Some of you guys have a remarkable memory for details, such as, where your barracks was in relation to the Airman’s Club and Chow Hall. I have racked my brain trying to remember the location of my barracks (58th Air Rescue) and cannot recall anything. Anybody stationed there from 58 to 60, can you halp me ?
    Anyway, one humerous event I do remember about the barracks was when the General who the overall head of Air Rescue Service decided to take a world tour reviewing the ARS units prior to his retirement. We had just been issued the new ‘Hollywood’ mattresses for our bunks and when the General came in to inspect us (I was in the first room he inspected), he playfully bounced up and down on the bunk remarking how comfortable they were - he had, I understand, a planeload of booze on his personal plane and stayed pretty well lubricated. Hell of a way to say goodbye to the troops.

  1140. John Connaly, July 9, 2012:

    I hear what your saying about the British MP’s. I recall that you went to Tripoli in groups of 3-4. One instance that I remember about being downtown was when the arabs chase me and my two buddies thruogh the streets. We made our way the the British MP post near the wall of the old city and where we also would catch the bus back to base. This one instance we made it to the bus, jumped aboard-no driver, the arabs proceeded to rock the bus until the British MPs came to our rescue. They saved our bacon that night. The arabs were afraid of th Brit’s, but not of us.

    Don’t recall powder eggs & milk-thought we had pretty good chow. Of course all this was my first time away from home and only 18 and everything looked good to a farm boy. Left home went to Lackland, then to Chanute (AACS I & M) and then to WAFB ‘57-59.

  1141. Shirley R. Kirkley, Jr., July 9, 2012:

    To Terry McGreevey: The Air Rescue group planes and helicopters were parked on the southwest side of the big hanger as I recall [’61-’63]
    It would have been prudent to place you guys in one of the barracks closest to that area. Just west of the parked rescue planes was a chain link fence and next to that was a street running north to the shore road and south to the water tower. Starting at the water tower and going north up that street there were three, three story barracks.The first barracks was a BOQ or Temporary Housing. The week you were head home you usualy had to move to there. Also at the far south end of that barracks and across the street was the Base Post Office. Beyond those three barrks north was the chow hall and on the far end of that was a Sqd. HQ. next there were three more three story barracks. the first one next to the chow hall was mine. It housed Fire Fighters. There may have been Cooks on the bottom floor. The third barracks up had a large Barber Shop in the middle bottom floor on the north side of it. I thought every body got a hair cut there. I don’t remember who was housed there. the next five barracks were “L” shaped and I think they were two story. These reached all the way to the shore road. The first or second of those barracks housed Civilian personnel (School Teachers, etc). The last two on the base map are designated as the Base Laundry. I don’t remember that . I hope that helps.
    Shirley Kirkley

  1142. Bob R, July 9, 2012:

    #1124 Jim Muse
    Jim I was there in the winter of 56′ / 57′ and I do remember the snow. When we went out early in the morning there was a coating of white fluff about 2″ deep but it didn’t last long but certainly a rare sight for Wheelus. I’m reading here how bad it was to go to town in the later years. When I was there in 55′, 56′ and 57′ it was a lot different, we never really had problems in town.

  1143. Bob Carriveau, July 9, 2012:

    When I was at Wheelus we heard there was a resort town 80 miles to the East, [ Can’t remember the name]that a lot of Italians came to visit with a lot of girls.
    You know how rumors can spread at a base. One Sat. 6 of us got on our Vespa scooters with a blanker a jerry can with 3 gal of gas and a rope in case someone broke down. When we got there there was nothing but a run down town. We meet some Brits and ask if there was a hotel around, they told us there was but didn’t recommend it as we may not wake up in the morning. They saw our blankets ans told us our best bet was to go out of town and sleep outside. It was now 6 o-clock so we got something to eat and headed out. Every time we stopped someone would come over to us so we didn’t want to sleep there. We couldn’t make it back to the base before curfew witch was 12 o-clock At that time if you came thru the gate after 12 you lost a stripe. WE found a spot in the desert where there was no houses so we pulled behind a sand dune and sleep for the night. As hot as it get during the day it gets that cold at night.
    One guy spilled his scooter and sprained his wrist and couldn’t squeeze the clutch. but if it was pulled in he could hold it. So every time we stopped we would have to squeeze the clutch and put it in 3red gear, two of us would push him to get his speed up then he could let out the clutch.
    So that is one experience we had at Wheelus. Hot but good memories.

  1144. Don o'Dey, July 10, 2012:

    Was stationed @ WAFB part of 1961 having been transfered there from Ramstein AFB Germany. What a hole was beyound myself the day my plane back to the ZI lifted off. Worked in the liquid oxygen plant.

  1145. Bahrain, July 10, 2012:

    Thanks for your comments John re British MP,s I can only think of the main reason that the Arabs were scared of us
    was firstly, your USAAF Police had no presence in the City and did not come into contact with them. Second, was
    the fact that they knew that if hurt any of you or our boys, they were :attended to: in the Police Post. They were then
    handed over to the Civil Police next door. You could hear their screams coming through the thick stone walls so you
    knew they were being :attended to: once more !!!! The old adage was true, that if you gave an Arab a small amount
    of authority it went to his head. and he treated his own like dirt. I always found you boys were perfect gentlemen. I
    only had one occasion where a certain individual ran against the norm . I cautioned his for using obscene language
    in front of one of your female nurses who was catching the last bus to Wheelus. He declined to take my advice and
    was arrested. The result for him was a Court Marshall where I had to give evidence. For this minor offence he was
    dishonourably disharged, fined one months salary, and one month in the stockade !!!!! No wonder you boys never
    caused trouble !! ( Les Andersen )

  1146. terry mcgreevey, July 10, 2012:

    To Shirley Kirkley - Thanks for your detailed blog about where I might find the barracks the 58th ARS was billeted. I printed off your blog and I have a map of Wheelus to review. After I wrote my comments, I do remember a ‘landmark’ close to the barracks. There was an outdoor basketball court right along side our barracks - can’t remember if that was the only one on base - but if it was, that might pinpoint its location. I know the 58th was moved sometime in 1960 after I left (March) because of the crisis in the Congo and then returned to Wheelus the following year. Not sure if the troops ended back in the same barracks location.

  1147. Jim Muse, July 10, 2012:

    Ref 1148 Les Anderson. Thanks for you comments concerning the behavior of our American airmen. That particular airman with the obscene language in front of the nurse received his just rewards. Nurses in the USAF are commissioned officers so that type of behavior was not to be tolerated. We didn’t need people such as that in our ranks in the first place. I have chatted many times with your troops at the MP site in Tripoli while waiting for the bus back to the base. Thanks for your service to your country and taking care of our troops who needed it. //jrm//

  1148. Jim Muse, July 10, 2012:

    ref 1144: Refresh my memory. I recall the barber shop as being in close proximity to the Airman’s Club which was right across the street from the 1950th AACS Squadron. Haircuts were .25 at the time. There were 2 or 3 Libyans in the back of the building that shined shoes as well. I think they charged .10 a pair and maybe .15 for boots. We found out if we slipped them a couple of American cigarettes that would suffice. Love this blog. It is bringing back memories that have been deep in the recess of this old brain. Used to go into the Aiman’s Club every morning for breakfast following a midnight shift.