Ron started with Denver Field Party as a truck driver taking survey crews to work and back to the field camp and was later promoted to Party Chief, Assistant Chief Recon, and finally Chief Recon. He volunteered in 1963 (at age of 22) for 3 years and separated from the Army in Sept. 1966. 

 Being a draftee and spending my first 9 months in the Army in Fort Wood, I only had 15 months to put in at the mission.  It took the Army that long to figure out what use (if any) I could be to them.
  Ended up at the MM in early Jan. of 66 I believe.  It took SGT. Farrell a few months to figure out what use I could be to the MM too.  I pretty much spent most of my off time with Patty Blue or Mr. Bud.  Started out in supply by the motor pool and ended up as a radio operator in HQ building.  Kept screwing up in my off time and SGT. Farrell kept threatening to send me to the field.  Well, after talking to all those different field parties on the radio and finding out what life was like out there, I kept up with my "Unruly Ways" and he finally threw me into the "Briar Patch".  I replaced SP/5 Henry Finkbonner (not Finkbottom) as radio operator for Denver Party.  Tented up with John Saffery and Steve Joseph.  Had a dog at the mission, a female German Shepherd that I brought to the field with me and her and Pepper, Denver's big Black Lab, got along fine.
  I believe we had 2 weeks RR at HQ for every 6 weeks in the field.  I only went in for RR once.  Why would anyone want to leave heaven?  6 days on duty with Sundays off.  Did a lot of hunting and exploring.  I went out with the crews as often as I could.  I was real good with a shovel.  Always took a 3/4 ton on re-con with Mr. Huffine and if we happened to stop in at Drifter Party and take some of their money at Black Jack, so much the better.  He became a GrandPa while I was out there.  My dog Lady snuck into his tent one night and left 6 puppies under his cot.  Didn't bother him a bit.  I think they all died from the heat except for two of them and I can't remember which party took them.
  Lt. Orlin buzzing the camp in the pay chopper and filling our tents up with dust before he landed.
  Making a camp move and spending a couple of days out side a village on the river and playing water games with every little kid in the village.
  Driving up to an Ethi out post close to the Somali border while on re-con and having them point every gun in the place at us and then open the gates and wheel a little cannon out aimed right at us.  Ended up spending the night there and the Ethi CO put on a dinner for us.  Annisette by the water glass full to wash it down.
  3 of us hunting pigs one day and spotting 7 black dots about 1/4 of a mile away along side a sand dune.  We crossed over the dune and walked to about where we figured they would be and then ran up to the top of the dune to shoot down at them.  WRONG! No pigs, but 7 LIONS.  Never turned around and moved so fast in my life.
  Two poor Somalis with two donkeys full of shower shoes walking too close to our camp one day.  Running a couple of 3/4 tons out with our Ethi platoon and taking them "prisoner"  They let one go to bring his village chief back to prove who they were.  The other one was tied to a tree over night and some how had broken his arm and cut his face all up by morning.  When the other one didn't return they had one of our beavers fly him to an Ethi Army camp where he was executed.
  Going to the JFK bar and spending a little time with those tattooed girls.
  Not paying and running like hell across a mud field with Bill Whiteside, while 20 screaming people tried to catch us.  Good thing it was dark.
  Standing out side Flop lines barracks at midnight with John Saffery and singing "Let Me Call You Flopline".  {thanks for not killing us, guys)
  SGT. Schopal throwing a knife at me in the EM club as I was going out the door.  I heard it hit as I closed the door and when I looked back in it was still quivering at head height.  He was a good shot, just a little slow on the draw.  He was getting out of a Land Rover a couple of weeks later and a car ran into the driver's door and took his foot off at the ankle.  Sometimes those hexes work.  I remember SGT. Farrell being mad at me cuz I wouldn't press charges.  
  I remember standing my last formation on the day I was heading home.  SGT. Farrell had me standing on my tip toes as he was trying to lift me off the ground by my necktie.  He said he would ban me from re-enlistment and was thinking of holding me over for a congressional investigation all because of some little thing I did on my last night in Addis.  Little to me, big to him.  I was 100% wrong but 22 years old not caring about anything but getting home.
  Funny, when you are that age 2 years seems like a lifetime and when I first got over there I didn't really think I would make it back home again anyway and I lived accordingly.
  Met a lot of good people over there.  Some dedicated and some just like me, just putting in my time.  If there was the least little chance that I could have stayed right in Denver party for another year I would have extended.  Through the years as I think back at my time over there I regret not showing those dedicated people the respect they deserved.  Maybe I'll see some of them at the reunion and make my amends.

Thanks for furnishing a great site.  Hope to see a lot of old faces in 09. 


Jim Tatro

SP4 Miles Thornton -- June 1967 - July 1968 

CWO Huffine -- Party Chief  1966-1967

Denver Party Lifeline-1967

That is me with the beer and the hat, Mike Taber in the white shirt -- I do not remember who the 3rd fellow was.  He rotated in just before Mike and I left.

Bernie Larson  1967 - 1968 

(photo as of yet unavailable)

Name unknown

SP4 Richard Spink  1967-1968

Chit Chew (also Lady?) named for chewing up L'American Club Chits.

82D20 Topographic Surveyor Specialist

SP4 Michael Tabar    June 67 - June 68 

Michael Tabar was with Denver Field Party June 67 - June 68, worked the Ogaden Desert, and (after) Denver worked TDY from Dire Dawa. 

​LT. Bill Schoonmaker    Jan 1968 - July 1969​

SP5 Henry Finkbonner NCOIC  Radio Operator   1966 - 1967 

(photo as of yet unavailable)


SP4  Jay A. Kemp   â€‹

SP5 Ron (Ski) Kuklovsky  1964 - 1966

Miles Thornton doing a rain dance.

My rank while in Ethiopia was E-4, and my MOS was a computer, but for the entire time I was in the Army, before and after Ethiopia, I only worked as a surveyor.  That is an interesting story in itself, which I won't go into now, however I must say that I did actually do computer work for 4 months or so after Sgt. Harris showed up and eventually got around to looking up what my MOS really was.  He remembered me from the States, where I was surveying.  The last time I saw him, just before I went to the Mapping Mission, he was going to retire and I recall wishing him good luck.  Then months later he turns up in Ethiopia and it all any rate, 3 years in the Army and I only computed for those few months. 

SP4  Stephen C. Woolery    1967 - 1968   82D20 Topographic Surveyor


SPC Jim Tatro    Jan 1966 - May 1967

SP4 Clint Crockett  
(photo as of yet unavailable) 

Hello to everyone that served in the Mapping Mission. I arrived in Addis Ababa on a Friday in Jan. 1967. Being young and curious I went down town Saturday with a group of guys to get a first-hand view. We came back to the Mapping Mission to find that the L American Club was destroyed by fire. The following Monday I was put on a C47 airplane and sent to the field, Denver Party. CWO Huffine was the Party Chief at that time, and SP5 Finkbonner was the NCOIC. In July 1967 I got sick and was sent back to Addis Ababa. I ran the Mess Hall for SSG Bellville. I took care of the KP fund, ordering rations and teaching the Ethiopian cooks how to cook edible food and not necessarily going by the Army RECIPES. My specialty was making pastries that were consider the best by everyone in the Mapping Mission. I departed the Mapping Mission in July 1968 and retired in 1985 as CWO-2. 

Steve Joseph   (Rhatte Phinque)   Topographic Surveyor 

(photo as of yet unavailable)

Group Photo from 1967 from Steve Woolery's collection sent in by Jay Kemp. 


Some Members of Denver Field Party

Edward S. Janka    Sept 1965 - Jan 1967

(photo as of yet unavailable)

SPC Jim Tatro started out in Supply and then transferred to Denver Field Party.


John Safrey  Topographic Surveyor  

(photo as of yet unavailable)

I completed my topographic training at Ft. Belvoir in May of '65. From there our whole class was placed in a holding Co. and did assigned work for the base including working in the bakery, moving furniture, putting pills in boxes at the hospital and any other work assigned by a Sgt. Grubb. Our group left Ft. Belvoir and flew to Wheeles Air Forces base the last Sunday in October. Then sometime in the middle of November of' '65 we arrived in Addis. Some of the fellows in our group were Don Felty, Dave Beatty , John Saffery (from NYC and at the time never drove a car). There were more but I can not remember them.
After arriving in Addis, I helped to resupply people at Lekemti (West of Addis) in early December. From there, three of us were assigned to help three civilians (one of the civilians was Bob Gauger) (Army Map Service) do survey work using the stars. We went to Gondar in  January of '66, then to Asmara in late February. Finally to Dessie in March. We completed our work in 8 days mostly using choppers. Our small party then broke up in the middle of March of '66. I am looking at a road map of Ethiopia (Mobil) that I used to try to keep track of where I went. It then looks like I went to the south west part of Ethiopia and did some Hiran work. Then East to Dire Dawa. At Jig jigga (SE of Dira Dawa) we picked up a large truck convey with a military escort and went almost to the Somalia border. Sometime in September of 1966 I joined the Denver Party . I was Denver party the rest of my stay.

Bill writes:

Early in 69, we sent Denver Party into the Ogaden Desert.  The Ethiopian Army insisted on sending a platoon with Denver for protection so I was asked to command Denver Party as a counterpart to the Ethiopian LT.  Great experience in the desert. 

Water Detail - Denver Party (This was our drinking water).

SP4 William Simmons    1967-1968 - Topographic Surveyor Denver Field Party 

Danny Schnure    Nov 1965 - 1967

SP5 John W. Swan   May 1967 -  May 1968   82D20

Denver Party from Left to Right are: 

Ron Kosinski, Jay Kemp, Miles Thornton (front reclining) Bernie Larson, and Steve Woolery.

Gary Olsen   1965

(photo as of yet unavailable)

I don't have names for the G.I. or the dogs.