Lenora (Lee) Nagel
My first assignment was in 1961 to Toul Rossiere Air Base, France. It was in the Alsace-Lorraine area. While I was there the Berlin Wall went up. We had to move out of our quarters to make room for the National Guard from St. Louis.
Every weekend we traveled. That summer I camped with a group of people from the British Commonwealth. I was the only American with others from New Zealand,Australia, and South Africa.
My next assignment was Bitburg, Germany. The farmers were still planting their crops as in days of old, mostly by hand. The fields were small and machinery was not practical to use. I taught first grade in the basement of the housing area. The classrooms were small and crowded.
I then spent three years at Ramstein Air Base. We traveled a lot of weekends and always went to the Oktoberfest in Munich. There were wine festivals as well, and we were out among the natives as much as possible. I received a transfer to the Pacific, and spent two years at Johnson Air Base, Yokota, Japan.
Japan was an interesting assignment. We had to learn to travel without signs in English. To go to Tokyo, we looked for the colored train that would take us back and forth, and counted the stops to know when we got off to then get on the subway. The people were still wearing the typical Japanese clothes. We traveled mostly by train and learned to get around fairly well. We climbed Mt. Fuji right after arriving and got lost coming down the mountain. We were able to get back when we heard a Japanese man mention a city near our base. He helped us.
On to Iceland with many different experiences in the Land of the Midnight Sun. I had asked for Bermuda and received Iceland – what a contrast. After a year, I was assigned to Bermuda where I spent 13 years, with a break of one year in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba between my 5th and 6th year.
Finally I was able to go to England. The chance came in the second semester of my 13th year in Bermuda. So off I went to Bentwaters/Woodbridge Air Bases. There I had a hard time finding housing. I stayed in the BOQ, then in a pub in Woodbridge town, and then in the BOQ apartments in Marlesham Heath. I finally found a lovely new cottage in Wickham Market where I lived for the next 5 years.
My final destination was Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. I taught one year at a Marine school, and my final year at Bob Hope Primary School. I retired to Tampa, Florida in August 1990.
Prepared by Lenora (Lee) Nagel, 2002
Lee was born in Lawton, N.D. to August and Augusta Nagel, the fourth of their four children. She spent several years in the Women’s Air Corps, stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. She graduated from Mayville State Teachers College in 1960 with a degree in elementary education and taught in North Dakota until joining DoDDS in 1961. She taught elementary grades K – 6 and, after receiving a MA in Special Education from the University of North Dakota in 1973, also worked with LD students in the elementary grades.
Lee retired to Tampa to be close to her remaining family – but not to sit in a rocking chair. She became very active with serveral groups including the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, Manhattan Avenue United Methodist Church in Tampa, and her Winward Lakes commiunity. She maintained friendships with people with whom she had worked and with children she had taught.
Lee passed away February 21, 2010. Her mission was to touch hearts and she did that.
(submitted by Barbara Regalis)