Karamürsel Dependent School, originally a kindergarten through ninth grade school, was located on Karamürsel Air Station, just outside the village of Karamürsel, Turkey. The Station was located on the Sea of Marmara and was originally built by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. The USAF opened the Station in 1957 in support of the 6933rd Radio Group Mobile communications operations. The Air Force mission was the “elephant” cage listening station which monitored what was being communicated 24/7 behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
The Karamürsel Dependent School became a K–12 school for the 1966-67 school year. The K–12 school was separated into two buildings adjacent to each other at the edge of housing. A couple of Quonset huts were used for the kindergarten. The base gymnasium accommodated all the high school physical education classes.
For the 1970-71 there were three to four classes per grade level in the elementary school, with an enrollment of almost 700 students, and the high school had about 300 students. The school staff numbered about fifty.
The school had a large dormitory which housed students from Mediterranean schools and other areas that didn’t have high schools. During the 1970-71 school year there were students from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Somali, Iran, Jordan, Rhodes, Adana, Uganda, Greece, Crete, Cyprus, and Bahrain.
The high school students had a full sports schedule and played Ankara, Izmir, and, eventually, Incirlik. Long bus rides were the normal means of transport. The trip from Karamürsel to Incirlik was normally broken up with an overnight stay in Ankara. Occasionally, the Air Force at Karamürsel and Incirlik allowed athletes to fly on their “training” missions.
The first yearbook for the school was published for the 1968-69 school year and was The Minaret. The school newspaper was The Kougar. Other titles for the newspaper were Cok Yok and Kougar Krier. The school mascot was the Kougars. The school colors were black and gold.
The first graduates for the high school were in 1971.
By the 1973-74 school year, several activities in addition to sports were available to students. These included National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, Student Council, Host Nation Club, Girls’ Glee Club, Chorus, and Band. The school also participated in the first Project Bold program that was held in Antalya.
The sports teams had a successful program, including an undefeated football season using the Wishbone Offense, an undefeated basketball team, the best year ever for cross country, and the wrestling team’s third straight Turkey League title and USDESEA Small Schools Champs. The school also had its first females on the tennis team.
When the dormitories closed at the end of the 1973-74 school year, the enrollment in the high school decreased dramatically. It went from 275 to 175 students.
Women’s sports were added in the 1974-75 school year. Girls participated in cross country, basketball, and volleyball. The girls’ basketball team was undefeated. The boys’ football and basketball teams won their conferences.
By the 1976-77 school year, the total school enrollment was less than 425 with about 180 students in grades seven through twelve. That year the school had an Archeological Club and girls’ gymnastics team for the first time.
The administrators in the seventies included Richard Bushman, Joseph Newberry, Dr. Joel Kuhne, Jim Cain, David Gangsei, La Rue Hoppock, Marcia Johnson, Dottie Mohr, and Darrell Posch.
The school was closed in 1978.
Information from Gary Flannery, former educator, school yearbooks and DoD Dependent Schools Information Guides