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Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement
Issue 7July 1996Volume 1 - Number 7

Welcome to Issue 7 of the CANDOER NEWS. I welcome suggestions as to what you would like to see in the News. I will publish, unedited, letters to the editor, articles consisting of general information, feature articles, G-rated jokes, or poems, written/submitted by retirees or OC/IM employees past or present. Any contribution may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (it will be returned), using WordPerfect 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics) or on a plain sheet of white paper (if it has no graphics). Deadline for submitting material is the first day of each month. Articles/submissions given to me at a luncheon will be published in the next issue of the News. Please restrict articles/submissions to no more than two (2) single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.

My mailing address for contributions or letters to the editor is:

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062


A picnic has been scheduled for the CANDOER Luncheon Group and DO/CC (formerly OC/T). It will take place on Saturday, July 13, 1996. You and your immediate family are invited to attend. It will be held at Fort Washington Park in Fort Washington, Maryland. The start time is noon. The park closes at dark. There will be a $10 charge, regardless of how many members of your immediate family attend with you

It is also asked that you bring a dish of some kind, e.g., potato salad, a cake, coleslaw, etc. (Put your name on the dish if you want it returned.) All non-alcohol drinks, (we have an alcohol permit, but you must furnish your own), hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., will be furnished as part of your $10 donation. You may want to bring your own plastic eating utensils and plates. In addition to the picnic fee, there will be a $4 charge, per car, to enter the park, payable to the Park Service at the gate.



If you are coming from Virginia, take the beltway (95/495) to Maryland Exit 2 (The exit immediately after the Woodrow Wilson Bridge) toward Indian Head (Route 210 South/Indian Head Highway).


If you are coming from the Maryland side on the Beltway (95/495), take Exit 3A toward Indian Head (Route 210 South/Indian Head Highway)


Go approximately 4.6 miles to Fort Washington Road. There is an EXXON Station on the right. Turn right, onto Fort Washington Road, and go approximately 3.5 miles to the park entrance. Fort Washington Road ends at the park. After paying the entrance fee ($4), take a left, immediately after the guard booth, and follow the road, as it bends around to the right, about four hundred yards to Picnic area "A" (on your right). It is the first right just after you pass the Battery Meigs (which will be on your left), and is well marked



I am going to use bit of the News to make a plea. In your conversations with your fellow OC/IMers, inform them of our luncheon group and invite them to attend. I wish to reiterate what I had stated in an earlier issue of the News, there are NO membership dues to join the CANDOER Luncheon Group. You only have to have worked for OC/IM or presently work for IM. We invite GS, FS, Wage Board, FES, SES, male, female, white, African American, Hispanic, Native American, etc., in other words, IF YOU EVER WORKED FOR OC/IM YOU ARE INVITED. If you wish to receive a copy of the CANDOER News via U.S. Mail I ask for a donation of at least $7 to pay for the cost of materials used and postage. You do not have to pay to receive the news. Everyone who attends a luncheon receives a copy

I maintain a data base of over 120 names, addresses and telephone numbers of present and former OC/IMers that is releasable to anyone, including non-members, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT TO BE USED TO SOLICIT THE PEOPLE FOR SELLING SOMETHING. Some people have asked that certain information not be released. When I print the list this information is NOT provided to anyone. I always honor requests for CONFIDENTIALITY


A History
- 1890 to PRESENT

The year 1890 ended with a surplus in the federal budget. It was decided to use some of this surplus money for coastal defense. Between April 1891 and September 1902 fortifications guarding the river approaches were built and existing ones strengthened. Gun batteries were erected at Fort Hunt across the river in Virginia. Fort Washington became the headquarters for these installations. Work continued the next year with the building of the mine casemate and Battery B, later renamed Decatur

In 1896 the two gun magazines and the gun mounts in the ravelin of the old fort and two magazines were completed. On July 12, 1897, Fort Washington was garrisoned by Company A, 4th U.S. Artillery, the first permanent garrison since 1872

In April 1898 the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor and the United States became engaged in the Spanish-American War. Up to this time work on the entire coastal defense system had been slow and only a few of the gun batteries were completed. Work began immediately so that any possible attack by Spanish warships could be met. Two of the 15-inch Rodman cannon in the ravelin were dismounted and a concrete battery was built for rapid-fire guns. Electricity and telephones were installed in the batteries, and the 10-inch gun planned for firing at the experimental battery was placed on a farbette carriage near Battery Humphreys. A mine field was also laid down in the Potomac, the only time this has ever been done. Finally, four National Guard companies of the 15th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment were stationed at Fort Washington

On July 3, 1898, the U.S. Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet at Santiago, Cuba, and for all practical purposes the Spanish-American War was over. The mines were removed from the Potomac River. Later that year the 10-inch gun mounted near Battery Humphreys was moved to a new mount to test a wood and iron parapet that had been built shortly before the outbreak of war. In June 1899, what became known as the Algiers test was conducted by firing one of these guns into a parapet designed by the Secretary of War. The results of the test concluded that concrete provided a more effective barrier against rifled artillery than any other design then available to engineers

In July 1899 Batteries Dectur, Emory, Humphreys and White were officially turned over to the artillery commander of the fort. Although in the hands of the artillery since their construction, they had been the property of the engineers

During World War I, the two guns of Battery Dectur were removed and shipped to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where they were shipped to Europe for use in France. Fort Washington was garrisoned by the District of Columbia Coast Artillery, and a number of military units were organized at the post. Fort Washington was also used as a staging area for troops going overseas

From June 1922 to June 1939 the 3rd Battalion 12th Infantry occupied the fort. The fort's primary function was as a city garrison for Washington. Its soldiers participated in a variety of state occasions -- parades, ceremonies, and funerals -- throughout these years. In 1939, the 3rd Battalion moved to Fort Myer, Virginia. That same year the fort was transferred to the Department of the Interior and a Civilian Conservation Corps barracks was built

After the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, the Nation rushed to turn from peacetime activities to meeting the demands of wartime events. Already existing facilities were pressed into service, and Fort Washington was returned to the Department of War for use during World War II. During this period further expansion of the post took pace with construction of additional buildings to house students and to provide support services for training miliary personnel. The Adjutant General's School moved to Fort Washington in January 1942. It trained Army officers in administration and personnel classification duties. The school turned out 300 trained officers every 60 days. Part of the Adjutant General's School was and Officer Candidate School that graduated 25 men in the first class and thereafter turned out 20 new officers every three months

Toward the end of the war, the Veterans Administration used part of the area and other buildings as public housing. In 1946 the fort once again reverted to the Department of the Interior. Many of the buildings from the interwar period were removed. Since that time it has been a public park commemorating the long history of coastal fortifications and serving as a recreational area for history buffs, naturalists, and other park visitors

The life of a Civil War-era soldier is portrayed through Fort Washington's many living history programs. On weekends park interpreters, dressed in authentic U.S. Army uniforms, recreate the life of a 19th-century military garrison. They load and fire muzzle-loading weapons and cannon, talk about the everyday life of enlisted men and officers in their respective quarters on the parade grounds, and conduct the ceremonies of military life. They also discuss the difference between smooth-bore and rifled artillery and explain the significance that rifled artillery had for Fort Washington. These living history programs take place only at specific times. For a schedule of these events you may call (301) 763-4600


The following is in memory of relatives, close friends, and associates of CANDOERs who have passed away recently. They will be missed by one and all.

The World Without You

Imagine a world where no music was playing; Then think of a church with nobody praying; If you've ever looked up at a sky without any blue; Then you've seen a picture of this world without you

Have you walked in a garden where nothing was growing; Or stood by a river where nothing was flowing; If you've seen a red rose unkissed by the dew; Then you've seen a picture of this world without you

Can you picture heaven with no angels singing; Or a choir Sunday morning with no church bells ringing; If you have watched as a child's heart breaks in to; Then you've seen a picture of this world without you

Author: George Jones


The June luncheon was held at TGIFriday's in Alexandria. In attendance were: Bob Campopiano, Ralph Crain, Jim Carter, Bob Catlin, Paul Del Giudice, Harry Laury, Mel Maples, Babe Martin, Tom Paolozzi, Nate Reynolds and Val Taylor

Death of William (Bill) Naeher

Suddenly, on June 2, 1996, at his home in Vienna, VA., of a massive heart attack. Bill, loving husband of Christie W. Naeher for fifteen years; beloved father of Katie and Evan Naeher; son of Willis and Doris Naeher; brother of Mary Naeher Wade; also survived by a wide circle of family and friends

A viewing was held at the Everly Funeral Home, 10565 Main Street, Vienna, VA., on Tuesday June 4 from 7 to 9 p.m

Memorial Services were held at the Fairfax Presbyterian Church, 10723 Main Street, Fairfax, VA on Wednesday June 5 at 11 a.m

The family requests memorial contributions to the Residential Youth Services, 2701 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria, VA 22302 or the Homeless Committee c/o Fairfax Presbyterian Church


In the name of the CANDOER Luncheon Group we have donated $50 to the American Heart Association and an addition $25 was donated to The Homeless Committee of the Fairfax Presbyterian Church.


I still have not received information on the following OC/IMer:

Tom McCay


Tom Warren called me with information on Robbie Robinson and Cal Calisti. I then called Robbie at work. He is now working at SA-10 for DS. He said he is doing well. He and Tom both reported that Cal Calisti just got out of the hospital after suffering a heart attack

I then called and talked for about 10 minutes to Cal and obtained his mailing address and telephone number. Cal said he is doing fine, but is not allowed to drive, at the present time, so will be unable to attend a luncheon until our August luncheon at Friday's. Cal indicated he would be glad to hear from old friends

I called and talked with Stu Branch for several minutes on June 2. He and Sharon had just returned from New Zealand and Australia and were trying to get settled back in. He said both were doing well and enjoying retirement

In the mail on Saturday, June 15, I received a completed CANDOER Personal Data Form from Paul Nugnes. I called Paul and talked with him for a few minutes. He is working part-time for Man-Tech in Virginia and is doing well. He reported that he may be moving to Miami, but it is not definite. He said he would try to make one or more of our luncheons, schedule allowing. He asked that his address and telephone number be published in the News

On Sunday, June 16, I talked for a few minutes with Tom Couch. Tom=s last day was Friday, June 21. From June 24-28 he attended the retirement seminar. On July 1 he started the job search program and will retire effective September 30, 1996. Tom said he is going to stay in the area and will join us at our luncheons after he retires, schedule allowing

On Wednesday, June 19, after having lunch at the Roma with Will Naeher and Paul Del Giudice, I stopped in at the Department of State and spent about 20 minutes talking to Art Freeman. Art started part-time work on Monday, June 17, in the newly established Office of the CIO (see CANDOER News, Volume 1 - Number 5, pages 9-10). He will be working for approximately seven weeks on a special project. Art is doing well and is enjoying retirement

On Wednesday evening, June 19, a retirement party was held for Art Crowfoot at DO/CC. It was like old home week for many of us who attended. Besides the employees of DO/CC the following CANDOERs attended: Jim and Jeanette Carter, Bob Catlin, Don Denault, Charlie Ditmeyer, George Johnson and wife, Harry Laury, Mel Maples, Babe Martin, Millie and Bill Muchoney, Joe Pado, Ben Perry, Don and Delores Stewart, Val Taylor, Norris Watts, and George Wilcox. Art=s last day to work was June 20th. He attended the retirement seminar the week of June 24-28 and entered the job search program on July 1. His official day of retirement is September 30, 1996. After retirement Art plans to stay in the area


Growing up in Nebraska

by Joe Lea

The Story - Chapter III

The telephone system for the nearest small town and the nearby farms was privately owned by a local family. I will not identify the town at this time, as some of this family still lives around those parts. The head of this family was in his 80's by the time I entered the Army and left Nebraska for good and he was still climbing poles. In fact, he was THE lineman. As mentioned before, the town was small, a population less than 200, and the surrounding farms were fairly large, hence the phone system covered a lot of miles but with not a great number of customers. Businesses, residences, farms---they were all on one directory, one piece of heavy paper (or perhaps light cardboard), probably no more than 50 subscribers

As an economy measure, Mr. Owner seldom installed a new pole; instead when a pole rotted off just below ground level, he dug a new hole beside the original and lowered what was left of the pole into the new hole. As a result, some of the lines out in the countryside were not very high off the ground

All the phones were the old hand-cranked, hang-on-the-wall type; one good crank got you in touch with the central office and a voice said "number please", plugged you in to the proper line, gave it a ring. The voice, male or female, was simply known as "Central", and things were quite informal. With so few subscribers, Central and most callers, knew everyone's number. When "Central" said "number please" the caller often simply said "get me Jake Smith, please."

The "Central" who worked at night had sleeping facilities, as there had to be someone there in case an emergency existed. I doubt that his/her sleep was very often interrupted

Now before you get the idea that our phone system was primitive, well, we even had such modern conveniences as call forwarding before most of you ever heard of such a thing. It worked this way: my father might ring Central and say "ring Jake Smith, please." Now Central was on the second floor of one of the towns two grocery stores and he or she could see the entire block which passed for a business section. Central might say "Jake isn't home because I saw him go into the drug store just now; I'll ring there." That was our version of CALL FORWARDING

On another occasion, two people might be having a phone conversation of trivial chit-chat when Central would break in saying that "so-and-so wants to talk to you and they say its important." Now I would say that was CALL WAITING


The Day The Embassy Burned

by Will Naeher

It was about 8 p.m. on a Friday night. I was at home eating dinner. The phone rang. It was the CWO. "I just want to let you know that we received an nclassified message on the TELEX advising us the Embassy in Moscow was on fire and the communications center was unusable. They were sending from the USIA office down the street," he reported

I told the CWO to advise the Operations Center in the event that they did not know, to patch me to the Regional Courier Office in Frankfort, Germany, and after that, to patch me to the Regional Communications Officer (RCO) in Bonn, Germany

Within minutes the Courier Office was on the line. I asked them if they could make emergency arrangements with an approved airline to receive and ship classified communications equipment together with a technician to Moscow and advise me of the ETA and Flight number. Their reply was that they had been waiting for may call. They gave me a Lufthansa flight number and an ETA in Moscow, presuming that the equipment could arrive in time from Bonn

The CWO then connected me to Sam Spector, the RCO in Bonn, who said he also had been awaiting my call. They had the appropriate equipment loaded and a technician ready to go. The equipment included one-time tapes connecting to Washington, as well as Bonn, so that in the event the circuit to Washington gave them difficulty, Bonn could be used as a relay

I then called the CWO and asked he contact Moscow with the Lufthansa Flight number and ETA and requested they arrange with the Soviets for permission for the Embassy truck to enter the Tarmac to receive the equipment

The equipment arrived safely and was quickly installed

The cause of the fire was apparently in the antiquated Embassy electrical system. It also seems that Secretary Kissinger had visited the Embassy and was appalled at the overcrowded conditions and the appearance of the interior of the Embassy. He directed that wood paneling be installed to the interior walls and that the trim be painted wherever possible. This created a fire hazard!

Since we first occupied the Embassy, additional equipment had been shipped and installed from time-to-time by different organizations and the electrical system was badly out of phase and over loaded. The wiring was also very old. I recall that on one occasion, during a visit to Moscow, I noticed the fuse panels were uncomfortably warm and it seemed that unless corrective action was taken a fire was inevitable

I went to the Communications Center on Saturday morning to monitor the progress. At about noon we began exchanging tests with the Embassy and very soon after went to traffic. I advised Ben Read, who was the Department's Executive Officer, and told him that classified messages were again being exchanged with Moscow. About an hour later I received a call from Ben who told me that Ambassador Toon was on the radio with the press saying that the Embassy was severely damaged and that it would be several weeks before suitable classified communications could be reactivated. In the meantime couriers to Helsinki and other neighboring countries would be used as well as messengers to friendly Embassies in Moscow. We again tested the circuit - it was 5 by 5. Apparently no one had told the Ambassador the circuit had been activated

Several years later I met Ambassador Toon on a shuttle to New York. In reminiscing about the event, I asked him about the great job the communicators had done in rapidly restoring the circuit. He told me, half jokingly--that I had not really done him any favors. He said, "before you restored that damned circuit I was in charge. After the circuit was restored, Washington took over and I was spending all my time answering silly questions from Washington."



by James Prosser

Shortly after arriving at my first Foreign Service post, Saigon in then French Indo-China, Vietnam was given independence and a military International Control Commission (ICC) (with monthly rotating chairmanship of Canada, Poland & India) was set up with Headquarters in Saigon and an office in Hanoi. They initially had no communications and depended on the new AmEmbassy Saigon to furnish 'signals' for them via our CW radio circuit to AmConsul Hanoi

One day the Indian commissioner, General Desai, had arrived in Hanoi from Saigon. Instead of sending an official message, he had our communicator (Joe Kozlowski) send a short service message to the ICC in Saigon:


Upon receipt in Saigon, Thelma Dionne called the message over to the ICC Headquarters. They were perplexed as the general and all ICC personnel were without families and asked us to get a clarification. So we did

The following reply came back from Hanoi:



See you next month.
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