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It was the first Monday in June, 1967 when my students and I became aware from our playing field that many fighter planes were flying NORTH across the Mediterranean Sea instead of south into their training area in the desert. By noon we got the word about the Six Day-War as it became known: The Arab-Israeli War. This war was actually fought from June 5-6 until June 10th. (more…)
While teaching in the Palatine, Illinois school district, a position as a physical education teacher at Wheelus Air Base in Libya for the 1966-67 school year was offered to me. I accepted and arrived at Wheelus AB amidst a “ghibli”, a sandstorm off the desert, and my sponsors told me not to touch anything as it was terribly hot. My sponsors got me settled into the BOQ closest to the Mediterranean Sea, about 3 blocks away. It was one of several BOQs where teachers were housed. (more…)
My mom was apparently willing to take a chance in order to travel. Growing up in Detroit, she chose to go to college (history major) in upstate NY, and when she returned she got her Masters in special education from the University of Michigan, with an emphasis on the elementary level. After teaching in Detroit, she applied to become a DoD teacher. In 1954, her first assignment was Camp McGill Dependent School in Japan. (more…)
While in Tripoli, Libya, Air Force personnel and their dependents lived in Wheelus Air Force Base housing for the most part, but the families of men who worked for the State Department and some of its agencies, or for oil companies searching for black gold, lived in many different areas of Tripoli from Garden City to Georgimpopoli, a coastal area on the western edges of the city. Our school bus, one of many that picked up American children all over the city, traveled down Sciarra Ben Asciur on its eight-mile journey to the base. I still have a very tattered mimeographed copy of my school bus route. It did help me identify my old home on Google Earth. (more…)
I arrived in Tripoli, Libya from MacGuire AFB on or about August 24, 1956. Aboard the plane were several other personnel newly assigned to the base. We were flying a MATS four-engine plane.
We were assigned to the male bachelor quarters for none of us had families with us. My family could only come after I established quarters off the base and that took some time. They finally arrived just before X-mas and the AF band was at the dock to greet them. My family came by ship. (more…)
The period of 1954 through 1956 will only include two years of my sojourn with the Dependent School system, and will only include Air Force Schools.
In 1953, I was Supt. of Schools in Rockford, Washington and my High School Principal, Ray Reistad, had applied for a position with the Air Force Dependents Schools in Europe, and had received notice to appear for interview with Mr. Robinson (to be referred to as Robie from here on). A position with the Dependent School System sounded good to me, and I asked Ray about the possibility of my also getting an interview with Robie. Ray and I found a telephone number on the application form and called. I was also given permission to come for an interview. We talked with Robie and later received notification that both of our names had been put on an alternate list. (more…)
Life begins at 40″ was not the lure which prompted me to ask the St. Louis Board of Education for a “Leave of Absence” in mid-term from my top-pay position as a 19-year-veteran earning $5000.00 yearly. Rather it inspired me to attempt a whole new way of life when the death of my mother severed filial ties, even though it meant nearly a $1,000.00 cut in salary. (I figured transportation and lodging, less income tax would make up the difference.)
Having decided to go, I had to research, “Where is Tripoli?” since all I knew was the song, “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli” and the library didn’t yield much more information! I received instructions to bring “lots of formals and swim clothes,” which meant a frenetic shopping spree in mid-winter since it was January when I received confirmation of my acceptance. (more…)
WHEELUS FIELD – TRIPOLI, LIBYA 1954 – 55 ERA OF KING IDRIS
Almost didn’t make it to Wheelus Field. Two times my Visa for Libya expired before I could leave the U.S. I had to take a train across the United States. The train ride was necessary because of an airline strike. In Washington, D.C. I had to go to the British Embassy to get my third visa. Then another train ride to Springfield, Mass. where we caught the plane to Wheelus.
The Military Transport Service provided our plane which was not plush. We had a Navy crew with sailors for stewards. They even charged us 85 cents for our box lunches. We crossed the Atlantic and had a two-hour stop at the Azores. Then on to Wheelus where we landed at 3:45 A.M. An hour later we were taken to our BOQ. Our rooms were quite a shock. Two people to a room, no hooks, towel racks, lamps, just an iron cot with a thin mattress. Needless to say I was ready to get some sleep at 5:00 A.M. An hour later I was awakened by an unrecognizable sound. It was a donkey serenade. (more…)