Larry Stevens 1964-1966
on the edge of escarpment near Fitche
Bill Wallette, Ralph Molinar and I arrived at Wheelus AFB Tripoli, Libya - July 1964. We received isolated duty physicals, a drivers test in a deuce and a half, and a 300 dollar civilian clothing allowance. After about a month in Libya we flew commercial to Addis Abba via Benghazi and Athens Greece where Bill and I suffered through a long layover.
Arriving in Addis Bill Wallette was immediately sent to the field, Dakota I believe, Joe Lyons and I were assigned to HQ working on classifying city plans of Addis under SP 5 Lasardi. After completing the city plans, Lasardi arranged for a Huey flight to see if I could follow a series of 9"x9" aerial photos without getting either lost or air sick.
Somehow I passed, but I needed a flight physical at Kagnew Station Asmara, six hundred miles and three days of convoy riding in the center seat of a ¾ ton. Truck. The Motor Pool Sgt. did all the driving. Later Joe Lyons and I were assigned to Drifter Party doing field classification. The first Drifter Party camp was near Fitche, north of Addis. We were working the photos by ground using 3/4-ton truck, waiting for the helicopters to arrive to get the mountain areas that were impassable by vehicle. The first flight one of the Hueys crashed, on take-off. (See enclosed photos). Fortunately no one was injured.
After setting up camp Sgt Sims gave Hoddy Gardner and me the detail of water supply. It was two collapsible rubber open top 500 gal tubs. We filled them from the nearby stream using a gas powered pump with a burlap bag tied over in intake hose for a filter (see photo of Drifter Camp at Fitche) Cattle used the same stream, as did the local people. We had powdered chlorine and a simple testing device. We were told to add chlorine to the maximum test color just to be on the safe side. Most of the party tried to drink as little water as possible. The water made the coffee taste terrible, even for Army coffee. I think it even had a laxative effect, as cases of the GI's seemed common. Later Drifter field parties hauled water form HQ in Addis with a water trailer behind a duce and a half. I made several water runs from Nakemti to Addis until Bill Wallette showed up and ran a real water purification unit. mounted on a trailer. At first I had some doubts about drinking the water Wallette made, but it turned out to be slightly better quality than the water we had in Fitche.
Ron Dolecki and I worked together at Fitche. I recall the morning we encountered a large mob of screaming and extremely agitated people running towards our truck. After a few tense moments it was learned that a women had just been bludgeoned to death and they wanted to use our truck to take her body back to her village. Ron Dolecki writes about this event in detail, as well as the nude woman in the road we encountered some months later. Several of us were there. I think at the time, after seeing she was alive and breathing, we left in a hurry, thinking it could be a set up for an ambush. Years later I think Dolecki may have had it right, some sort off punishment. It was strange, not a person to be seen anywhere.
Joe Lyons taking a photo of 03 Romeo
001 Asmara-Addis Road
Their mother made me wait and dressed them up before I could take their picture
Joe Lyons on the running board
Hopti pulling on winch cable (Stuck Again)
Street scene in Addis 1964
Drifter Camp at Tendaho
Unbelievable dust Drifter Camp Tendaho
Outside Dessie, Asmara-Addis road
Vultures found a dead animal carcass
Hoddy Gardner & Larry Stevens after riding all day in the back of a deuce & half.
Farfi the Drifter Mascot at Fitche
Hoddy Gardner & Larry Stevens after riding all day in the back of a deuce & half
Stevens fording a stream
Ron Dolecki off duty
"We're not stuck yet"
Dolecki drives, Kaffer & interrupter push
Mapping Mission Motor Pool-Liddetta Air Port, Addis Ababa.
Tisissat Falls, Beginning of the Blue Nile
Tisissat Falls & Lake Tana
Woman of some importance, note how horse is decorated
Convoy to Asmara 1964-65
John Kaffer failed his driving lesson
Kaffer was driving, Hammack was injured, and later P.J. Wright named him Bones
Street Scene in Addis 1964-65. Woman carrying water in the traditional manner.
Sgt. Sims, Mueller, Quist & interrupter push.
Typical scene during the rainy season in Ethiopia.
Bill Wallette surveys the country
Asmara -Massawa railroad
Stevens & shoe shine boys at barracks in Addis 1964
Wild Boar shot by Mr. Birk and others near the Mitchell Cotts Tendaho cotton plantation.
Wild boar brought into camp by UH-1
Volcano south of Addis near Lake Langano
First Drifter field camp near Fitche
Larry Price breaking camp at Fitche
Bad day at Drifter Camp, 02 Romeo crashes on take-off, everyone walks away
Crashed - surveyors and equipment on board
Back to Addis for repairs.
Dolecki digs out, somehow we are stuck un this small irrigation ditch
Typical field classification scene.
Italian tank (4 cyl. Fiat Powered) reminder of the Ethiopian-Italian war prior to WWII