Burch, Leslie A.: My Introduction to the Overseas Dependent Schools in 1960

(The beginning of an improbable career)

I became aware of the DoD schools in the 1950s during my military tour in Stuttgart, Germany. I noted that there were many school-aged dependents on the Kaserne, and I was curious about their education, so I asked a married colleague who lived in family housing about their schooling. From him I learned that many locations in Germany had schools, and that many teachers were recruited from the US. Before my tour was over, I knew enough about the dependent schools to be interested in working in one for a couple of years.


Burch, Leslie A.: Anakara Dorm: Spring 1961

On the last three-day weekend of the school year, we decided to take the dormies on a camping trip to Cappadocia and the Göreme Valley. Our plan was to leave early Saturday morning, because it would take at least five hours to get there. We planned to camp in the cave-like homes that early dwellers had carved out of the porous tufa formations created at some time in geologic history by volcanic action. Among early dwellers from the 2nd century A.D. were Christians who lived there through the Crusades. Moslem rulers actually encouraged Christians living in the Mediterranean coastal settlements to move inland or perish during ensuing wars with crusading armies from Europe.


Jansen, Reni: Izmir, Turkey

Memories of Izmir

I have more memories packed into my short senior year in Izmir than I have of my 3 previous years. To be fair to me, I went to 4 different high schools, as some other of my classmates probably did.

I loved the school. The teachers were all very cool as I remember. Mr. Gahan, who taught English and SS, was a hoot. He would call the girls Miss, then their last name, and the boys Master, then last name. Imagine the giggles that erupted every time he called on Master Bates (Richard Bates)!!! Now, fully grown, I’m pretty sure he was just a mischievous person. He kept us entertained! (more…)

Page, Larry: Izmir, Turkey

It was with some trepidation that I received the news my family was going to Izmir, Turkey. It was late 1976, and my mom and I had immigrated to California from the Philippines only a couple of years before. We lived in San Francisco until my mom married my step-dad, who was a Staff Sgt in the Air Force at the time. I was just beginning to be comfortable living stateside and getting accustomed to meeting new friends at school in Vacaville, near Travis AFB in Fairfield, so the prospect of moving overseas was quite daunting. Nevertheless, the Air Force had spoken—the naturalization process for my mom and myself was accelerated, and before I knew it, March 1977 had arrived and we were off in our family station wagon on the I-80.


Burdette-Dragoo, Anita: Inçirlik AFB, Adana: 1971-72

When I arrived at Inçirlik AFB in 1971, the elementary students met in a regular school building, but the junior high, which consisted of grade 7-8-9, met in about a dozen quonset huts on the periphery of a large grassy field, while grades 10-11-12 students boarded at Karamursal near Istanbul, returning to their parents at holidays. 

Those quonsets were primitive compared to DoDDS school quonsets elsewhere, such as Pacific Middle in Okinawa. The curvature of the building began at ground level, so we lost considerable stand-up space around the outer walls. Many of the floor tiles were cracked so I pulled grass from time to time and I would hear the scurry of mice when I opened the door in the morning.  The quonsets were heated with coal oil furnaces which we teachers lit on chilly days, igniting a wad of paper jabbed onto a wire coat hanger with a match, then inserting it into the furnace. 


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