Lighting Party July 4, 1961
The last camp of Lighting Field party, Topo Training Team, Iran.
L-R - Bob Hayes, Lt. Kavay and Sgt Bucky Harris.
We had more vehicle accidents and were more often sick than in Libya.
Lt. Kavay of the Iranian Army at far right.
Information and photos provided by Jim Kirschenman who was previously in Italy with Ebony Forest, and in Libya with Cloudy and Clumsy Field Parties.
In early April, 1961, twelve of us (mostly old Clumsy hands), as well as assorted choppers and trucks boarded three C124 Globemasters and headed to Tehran. As Clumsy was flying out of Wheelus AB to Athens I was reminded of the popular song 'The Merry Minuet' (they're rioting in Africa, there's strife in Iran) and I looked, in vane, as we flew over the Gulf of Sirte for signs of the Otter that crashed.
On January 4, 1960 a 329th Engineer U-1A Otter aircraft #55-2974 flying in a flight of three from Wheelus AFB in Tripoli enroute to Bengazi crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Sirte, during a storm. The crew of 1 with 9 passengers were killed and the aircraft never found. The pilot and passengers (all members of field survey crews) were:
1LT Walter Jefferson Jr. [Pilot]
2LT Graydon W. Goss
PFC Albert L. Callais
SP5 Donald R. Fletcher
SP4 Henry A. Harvey
SP4 George W. Hightower
PFC Stephen T. Novak
SP4 William C. Riley
SFC Kenneth E. Spaulding
PFC Henry J. Weyer Jr
The PFC's were recently of the 30th and I knew them both, especially Stan Novak
Lighting Field Party 1961 - 1963
The medic had to wash out the inside of the water trailer with chlorine and in the process became temporarily ill. Some of us took to collecting water from supplies we thought better than others, much to the consternation of the OIC. Beer became even more so the drink of choice.
However, we had good relations with the Gendarmes. They visited often to view the Playboy Centerfolds we posted in the James way.
We found that we did not like 3rd order levels either, especially after having done 1st order in Libya. We performed rather miserably at first--we broke one section by 300 feet, having dropped a mile.
After a few days in Athens, Lighting Field Party arrived in Tehran on April, 15, 1961. Our mission was to perform 3rd order levels in an area west of Isfahan We had no training mission, as had previously been the case with survey operations in Iran. Our party would be known as Lighting (call India 2 Lima) with area of operations west of Isfahan in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains near Golpayegan, Daran, and the valley of the river which flows through Isfahan.
I believe we were the first survey party to live in tents. I'm not sure of that, but I believe other parties lived in rented housing in towns near their operations.
LIGHTING FIELD PARTY
Back Row L-R
Sp5 Kirschenman, Murphy, Muldowney (Medic), David Duncan, Lt. Duble, Ken Kildroy, Bill Bell, DeFilipio, Hahn (look at his hat-- ahead of his time! ! !), SFC Harris (Bucky), Fitzpatrick and Burke.
Kneeling L-R -- Lt Kavay of the Iranian Army and Hank Campbell (Cook).
We had trouble with the locals as well. On one occasion while reconning through a narrow steep sided valley, a little girl asked Lt Kavay, our Iranian army liaison, what we were doing. Lt said, oh, we are going to build a dam. Next day the ridges were lined with armed men. Someone then stole Bill Bells jacket. It was found by the Gendarmes. They brought the man to the survey line, tied him to our truck and told Bill to whip him. Bill threw the whip to the ground saying, in his Texas drawl, "I am not going to whip that man."
We found, unbelievably, that obtaining quality water in Iran was more difficult than in Libya. In Libya, water we could trust was available in Benghazi, or at British installations in Tobruk or El Adam, perhaps a short two day, maybe a weeks drive. In Iran there was no telling what the water quality was where ever it was found. David Duncan and Bill Bell were medical-evacuated due to water born bacteria.
U1-A (de Havilland Otter) with U.S. Army (Olive Drab) colors, unlike the Red and White colors of aircraft later assigned to the U.S Army Corp of Engineers-Topographic Surveys.
Clumsy (now Lighting) in Iran.