|Issue 42||June 1999||Volume 4 - Number 7|
Welcome to the CANDOER News. Suggestions as to what you would like to see in the CANDOER are welcome. 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, will be published, unedited. Material may be submitted on a 3.5" floppy disk (disk will be returned) using WordPerfect Version 6.1 or earlier (if it contains graphics), on a plain sheet of paper (if it has no graphics) or via e-mail. The deadline for submitting material is no later than the 25th of each month. Material received after that date will be published in the next issue of the CANDOER, space allowing. Please, restrict articles/submissions to two single spaced, typed pages. No hand written submissions, please.
The snail-mail address for submissions or letters to the editor is:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
Publisher/Editor CANDOER News
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Negotiations were difficult. I was reassigned to the Deputy Assistant's position and Stu Branch became the Chief of the Communications Center, and later, the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative. XEOS finally gave us a ball park figure + or - 10%. This priced the system at about $3 million. I went to Congress to request funds. One Congressman asked me to provide the figures and how we "could do the job another way." We extrapolated a cost using offset presses meeting the capacity of the ARCS. The funds were granted. We needed the system urgently, but XEOS was reluctant. I knew they needed our contract in order to put them into the laser printer business in a visible way. Finally, at my urging, John Thomas, then Assistant Secretary for Administration, called the President of XEOS to advise him that he was sending his representatives to meet with him, with full authority to obligate the Department and he wanted XEOS to have personnel with similar authority to meet with them. We departed for Pasadena, California, with the Department's Contracting Officer, Jerry John.
Editors note: Jerry is a member in good standing of the CANDOERs.
After an all day meeting to scrub through the contract, I asked for an adjournment for the day. They wanted to know what our price was. I said I would give them a nonnegotiable price and showed them a copy of my testimony at the Congressional budget hearing. I told them that if it was not acceptable, it would be necessary for me to Congress and ask for more money. The hazard in that was, Congress could deny the request. Another problem was, the next budget cycle was nearly 18 months away.
After over night agonizing, they asked that we come back after lunch. Denton Allen, XEOS Project Chief, had a home with a pool, so we went to his house to relax and to have a catered lunch. At about 2:00 p.m., the phone rang and we were told that the XEOS personnel were now ready to meet. After more discussion, until dinner time, I told them we had reservations on the "red eye" back to Washington for that night. We went to dinner and the XEOS President asked me to meet with him privately. He told me that they had no experience with TEMPEST standards and were not familiar with ACP 127 protocols. I told him that if we went to contract, I would send a TEMPEST expert to work with his engineers and, since lasers were involved, I was confident that the system would meet the standards. I also said I would send a programmer to reside in their company, to assist them in the programming problems. This was acceptable to him and we were in contract.
Jerry John told me later that it was the weirdest negotiating session he ever attended. The success of the contract was largely attributed to Denton Allen, who made many frustrating trips in shuttle negotiating to Washington, with various offers. He became the ARCS XEOS program manager.
On one occasion, when we went to XEOS for demonstrations of the system, we discovered that one of their maintenance men was Bill Norton, who had been one of the ITT maintenance men on the ATS. I knew then that the ARCS was in good hands. Bill was well experienced with the Department's communications center and the ATS, and I knew that he would be a great asset to XEOS. Later Bill was assigned to the Department, where he headed up the XEOS maintenance crew.
This was truly pioneering at the edge of technology. The system was very successful and met all elements of the contract specifications.
The system required the Department to change many ways on how they dealt with telegrams. For example, it was no longer possible to distinguish outgoing telegrams from incoming telegrams by the color of the paper. This gave some people, in the Bureaus, a problem and I received many complaints. I told them that the outgoing telegram logo included the word "Outgoing" in bold letters at the top of the telegram. If they missed that, the next clue was in the preamble which said "From the Department of State." If they missed that, all outgoing telegrams contained the name of the Secretary of State at the end. If these clues were not satisfactory, I didn't think color would matter.
I also received complaints about telegrams being printed in columns. Whenever I received such complaints, I would cut portions of the Wall Street Journal or Time Magazine out and attach them to the reply, which in essence said, "if you can read your magazines or newspaper in columns, I did not understand why you could not read telegrams in that mode." I received full support from my boss. Soon the complaints stopped.
Later, the system was accepted by most of the Executive Agencies, including CIA, Army, Navy, and Air Force. In addition, the Department installed the system in several Embassies (the systems were called EMBARCS). Within the Department, several systems were installed in the Bureau message centers (the systems were called REARCS).
A controversial law that reduces the spousal Social Security benefit for thousands of federal employees, as well as other Americans, would be reformed under a bill (HR-1217) recently introduced by Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. The legislation, which has the support of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, would eliminate the so-called Government Pension Offset for anyone whose combined monthly government annuity and spousal Social Security benefit is $1200 or less, says NARFE. Any amount over the $1200 threshold would be subject to the current two-thirds reduction. The bill also would index the threshold amount to inflation and ensure that no one would receive less than under current law.
The Government Pension Offset catches many of those subject to it off guard. Here's an example of how the law works, according to the National Association of Retired Federal Employees: Mary, a widow, retires from her government job with a gross monthly annuity of $600. She is eligible for a Social Security widow's benefit of $850. She has not worked under Social Security long enough to qualify for a benefit based on her own work record. The $850 widow's benefit is reduced by two-thirds of the $600 annuity, or $400. Her widow's benefit is therefore $450 instead of $850.
Please note. There are now two (2) pages of E-mail addresses. I had been using a smaller font and less spacing between lines in an attempt to keep the addresses all on one page. This is no longer possible. When I added the three newest CANDOERs, I had to shrink the font to eight points in order to keep it all on one page. This action made the font too small to read, even with my glasses on (I heard your sight is the third thing to go.). So, I returned to a 11-point font and normal spacing. These actions should allow another 80 or so members' E-mail address. It is still one printed page that can be removed from the CANDOER, but several E-mail addresses will be on the back of the printed page.
One Saturday afternoon, while posted in Moscow in 1972, I took the metro downtown to the Lenin Library. Strolling the nearby broad sidewalks, I came upon some vendors of old books.
Browsing through one of the tables, the vendor apparently spotted me for being a foreigner and picked up one and waved it at me saying, "English!"
My curiosity was piqued, so I took it and found that it was a well used and marked, first printing (1936) copy of Dale Carnegie's famous book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I paid the vendor the modest sum she requested and departed happily with a book of which I had heard so much, but had actually never read.
Back at the apartment, I read it once, and have reread it a number of times since. I learned a lot from it which turned out to be an invaluable tool in fostering relationships with people. It still is today.
I have a habit of writing my name on the inside cover page to indicate ownership. When I opened the book to do this, I found the inscribed name and address of apparently the original owner. It was placed on a colorful and cute paper sticker glued inside the cover which said: "If this book should chance to roam, wrap it up and send it home, to," and signed "Margaret Hagerty, 1345 Harvey Street, Green Bay, Wisc."
As I also come from Green Bay, I was really amazed. The thought ran through my mind, "How did this book ever get over here and where has it been since 1936?" It's a mystery which will remain so.
Many years passed and I eventually retired back to Green Bay late in 1990.
One day while writing an article for a newspaper, I needed to quote Dale Carnegie and pulled the book off the shelf. In the interim of almost 20 years, I had completely forgotten about the identification label of the apparent original owner!
Reaching for the telephone directory, I looked to see if, on the outside chance, there might be a Margaret Hagerty listed. Wow! Pay dirt! There was a listing for William & Margaret Hagerty, but the street was different. I just had to call and find out.
An elderly woman's voice answered, "Hello."
"Madame, are you Margaret Hagerty?" I inquired.
"Yes, who did you say you were?" she replied.
"My name is Jim Prosser, and I recently moved back to Green Bay after an absence of 40 years in the Foreign Service. I believe I have a book of yours. Did you at one time live at 1345 Harvey Street?"
"Yes, I did," she replied hesitatingly, "but that was just after William and I were married in 1935. Now, what's this about you having a book belonging to me? I'm not missing any books. Who did you say you are?"
I repeated my name and then explained I had her personally signed copy of Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
Adding, "Would you mind if I came by after lunch this afternoon to return it to you? You'll be astonished at what I have to tell you about where and how I obtained it."
She said, "Yes, I did have that book, but I gave it away a very long time ago, and don't even remember to whom I gave it. But please come over. I'd like to see it and hear your account."
She and her husband, both then in their late '80s, met and welcomed me. When I showed her the book and described how I obtained it, and where in the world it has been subsequently, she threw up her hands in amazement and said, "I can't believe this! I remember this book so well. Look how all my markings are still on the pages throughout, and there are many more from others! I'm so glad, for it has been helpful not only to myself, but obviously to quite a few others. And now it ends up back here in my house after so many years! This will be a real treasure and conversation piece now."
At our parting, she was most exuberant in her appreciation for it, and we both agreed, "If only this book could tell us the real story of its complete existence and where it has been."
The following was received from my brother-in-law, Ed Tregaskis.
There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.
But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records. She put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners ... he is a joy to be around." His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken." Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class."
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.
On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teachers' pets." A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer, the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see. There was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
The following people were in attendance at the May luncheon in Rockville: Susan Armbruster, Ralph and Dolores Crain, Bob Catlin, Paul Del Giudice, Barry Leonard, Will Naeher, Jim and Mary Prosser, and Don Stewart.
First, it was great to see Jim and Mary again. I would like to thank them for taking time out of their travels to have lunch and visit with us. Second, two of the attendees were first timers, Susan Armbruster and Dolores Crain. A big CANDOER WELCOME to you both. Here's hoping you find the time to attend many, many more luncheons.
It is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of Hugh Hudkins on May 14 of a heart attack. Hugh was a longtime member of the Foreign Service who retired in April of 1983.
A card has been sent to Janie in the name of the CANDOERs and a donation has been sent to the American Heart Association in Hugh's memory.
For the period of April 30 through May 3, I had the honor of participating in a Spring Golf Outing at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, organized by Tom Paolozzi. Thirty-two of us gathered for four days of golf and comraderie. Tom has been organizing this outing for several years and every year he seems to be able to out do the previous year's event. Thank you, Tom.
A great time was had by the following attendees: Bob Alexander, Al Algoso, Jerry Bailey, Carmen Bevacqua, Bill Bies, Gary Bobbitt, Stu Branch, Del Bullis, Bob Caffrey, Mike Caffrey, Bill Callihan, Bob Catlin, Roy Donahue, Sam Fennell, Dick Hoffer, Hal Hutson, Dave Jacks, Ron Johnston, Joe Lea, Ken French, Rudy McVicker, Frank Meyers, Larry Miller, Tom Paolozzi, Brad Rosendahl, Mike Russell, May Russell, Tom Schuh, Rus Senia, Tom Thounhurst, Jack Torok, and George Younts.
While attending the Spring Golf Outing, two more retirees joined the ranks of the CANDOERs, they were Brad Rosendahl and Hal Hutson. Their bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section and their E-mail addresses on the last page of this and future issues.
On May 3, I received an E-mail message from Jim Prosser furnishing Pete Lacock's E-mail address. I sent Pete my normal canned infogram about the CANDOERs and invited him to join. Pete's E-mail address may be found on the last page of this and future issues.
On May 4, I received a letter from Don Norton. Don is now a member in good standing. His bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section and his E-mail address on the last page of this and future issues.
Don reported, "We just returned from UK and a classic British wedding, complete with "monkey suits" and crossed swords, speeches by the groom's father, best man, and the groom. What a lot of fun. It was like a "roast." We drove all over in a rented vehicle via Auto Europe using the Internet connection. The rate was good and we drove about 1200 miles in two weeks. Petrol prices are out of this world. To fill a 13-gallon tank, 30 pounds sterling or about $45. We did not go to London, just the Andover and SW England area. However, we did take a day trip to France on the "le Shuttle" and enjoyed a nice French luncheon in Boulogne, saw a Canadian cemetery, and visited Dunkirk and back to the UK, all in one day. That is the only way to cross over the channel ... 35 minutes. Nice to be back home, however.
Glad to see so many new members coming out of the bush. I always thought there should be some simple way to locate old comrades. We might even establish a "time share" or home swap business, which would give our colleagues an opportunity to see different parts of the good old U.S.A. Think about it?
On May 5, I received a note from Lyle Rosdahl. Lyle asked me to, "Please pass along my regards to all."
In addition, Swain reported he had an auction and sold all his household goods and then sold his house. He is presently living in his new motor home and is going to start traveling the country. He has a mail forwarding service and will keep his E-mail service so he can keep in contact with all his colleagues and friends.
On May 14, I received an E-mail from Paul Del Giudice. He informed me that he ran into Hank Reavey at CostCo and in their conversation Hank indicated he wanted information about the CANDOERs. I sent Hank my normal canned letter.
On May 15, I received another E-mail from Paul Del Giudice informing me of the death of Hugh Hudkins. Paul received the information from Charlie Hoffman. Further information may be found earlier in this issue.
In addition, Paul informed me that Charlie Hoffman's area code has changed from 717 to 570. His full telephone number may be found in the Pen and Ink section of this issue.
In a telephone conversation with Margaret Shaw, on May 16, I learned that Grant had been hospitalized on Tuesday, May 11, and had triple bypass surgery on Thursday, May 13. As you read this, Grant is at home recuperating.
On May 18, in response to my infogram of May 14, I received a letter, check, and Personal Data Form from Hank Reavey. Hank is now a member of the CANDOERs. His bio may be found in the Pen and Ink section and his E-mail address on the last page of this and future issues.
On May 24, I received the following from Marcia Melnick, addressed to all of the CANDOERs:
Dear Members of the CANDOERs,
My heart felt thanks to you for your gift to the American Cancer Society. Since this gift bears Ed's name, you have honored his memory.
Thank you for all your caring,
Today, I suspect most in American have forgotten James Thurber, author, illustrator, humorist, and man of letters, which appeared for many years in The New Yorker magazine!
He came from Ohio and attended Ohio State University; then in 1918 was sent by the Department of State as a Code Clerk to the American Embassy in Paris, in the time after the Armistice and the start of the Treaty of Versailles.
Jim was to assist Colonel Edward House, President Wilson's Chief Delegate to the Paris Peace Talks. But when he appeared in Paris, with several other clerks, it was found out that Col. House had sent a telegram asking for Code Books, but it was garbled and he got new Foreign Service Clerks.
The U.S. Delegation was stationed in the Hotel Crillion near Place de la Concorde, where Madam Defarge had calmly knitted names of those to be executed in the French Revolution.
But Jim Thurber already was a casualty from his youth, when an accident, caused by his brother, cost him the use of an eye. This was especially troublesome as a Code Clerk obtaining five-letter code groups from a code book similar to the War Department Code Book, then used by drafting officers to cut the cost of cables sent commercially.
Thurber and his group were soon at work encoding and decoding State telegrams. In their spare time, they enjoyed the delights, girls, restaurants, and life, after four brutal years of war.
The group who arrived, including Thurber, were physical wrecks, who had escaped the draft but became available to State for Embassy staff.
A biography, Thurber, by Burton Bernstein, tells in brief about the Paris period in Jim's early life. En route, his baggage was lost, including a shipment of Hershey bars. One wonders what condition they were in when received? But before the arrival, he ate in a pension to save money on his meager salary, and sometimes in the Army mess at the Crillion, obviously not a Four Star dining place as it became.
William G. Shape was Ambassador, having replaced the legendary Myron T. Herrick, noted for his friendship displayed to the French. Both men came from Ohio, where Charles Thurber, Jim's father, had some political pull.
In fact, Charles Thurber had backed Herrick in a 1916 run for the Senate from the Buckeye State.
Soon Jim Thurber was questioning both the past and present Ambassador, a trend which he continued the rest of his life through his letters and articles in numerous publications.
Jim Thurber had arrived after the Armistice, but Paris still enjoyed a period of joy, lots of girls, and many MP's enforcing General John J. Pershing's rigid discipline of the times.
Coming from a small town in the Midwest, he could have fit the words of the periods big song hit: "How you gonna keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paris!"
He visited nearby battlefields, especially Verdun, which he wrote about in letters home to family and friends.
The Paris art museums attracted him, but once he wrote home, "I think I've seen enough of Paris."
At the same time, other soldiers still in France were hoping to go.
While at the Embassy, a young girl from back home named Charme Seeds, who was in his college but he did not know, stopped at his office. Soon they became acquainted. Miss Seeds was a Red Cross volunteer.
In a letter home, a U.S. Military burial in the Sersnes military cemetery, left an impression which always stuck on his mind. The service and the playing of Taps captured his patriotic character.
By now, he was writing about the future and how difficult it would be to leave Paris. Finally, he returned home in February 1920.
I read Thurber's articles and enjoyed his drawings. Then, one time in New York with wife Roberta, we visited Costello's bar on Third Avenue, were the owner Tim Costello was still alive. We sat in a booth; on a plaster board wall there were drawings by James Thurber. When Costello's closed, the drawings disappeared, but maybe they will turn up at some auction.
One time Jim returned to Paris with his wife. He attempted to trace some of his French girl friends, but they were in the States or had returned to a province of France.
Epilogue: The writer and his family were assigned to Paris from 1962-67. We were joined at post by a new baby girl-Jennifer, born in the American Hospital. Our son, attended English, French and American schools. Roberta was busy with Jennifer, who grew up as a child being pushed on the Champs Elysee or in Luxembourg Gardens.
My tour was hectic at times, but Paris, as a city, offered a lot in spare time.
James Thurber went blind. Still, wrote and managed to turn out his drawings. He left an important place in writing books and articles for The New Yorker and plays for radio and Hollywood.
One of the scariest situations I ever experienced happened one morning on my way to work in Tel Aviv. Assigned to the late shift that day (10:00 a.m. to possibly midnight or beyond), I drove through an industrial area north of the city, which from my house was a shortcut. On this particular morning, however, near the front entrance to an industrial plant, traffic had come to a halt. There was excitement in the immediate area. Several people appeared to have just completed an inspection of a 55-gallon container which was in the opposite lane of the street I was on, just a few car lengths ahead of me! People were running away from the container and shouting in Hebrew and motioning to everyone to clear the area.
I was in a fairly new station wagon and unable to drive forward or backward; there was literally not a foot between my car and the other two. I admit my decision to try to maneuver out of the situation was not among my best inspired but I resolved to make one brief attempt anyway. In the few seconds it took to assess the situation and make my decision, the driver of the vehicle in front of me rammed the vehicle in front of him, got some room and did a U-turn, taking him within a few feet of the container. People were running and yelling all over the place but I had focused on one thing: getting the hell out of there in my car. Fortunately, with the space vacated by the driver in front of me, I made a U-turn and shot away from the scene.
I heard no explosion and doubt there was a bomb in that instance; certainly nothing had been reported on the radio or in the paper though that didn't necessarily mean much in Israel. Bombs were almost a weekly occurrence somewhere in that ravaged land, so there was ample reason for everyone on the scene to be excited when it looked like a bomb had been placed in their midst. I do remember deciding not to tell my wife about the incident for there was no reason to give her a fright and, most assuredly, I had learned my lesson.
The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) came into being in 1980 as Egypt and Israel sought peace. With the United States as the third party to the MFO, an international group was formed. The objective was for Israel to give up the Sinai Desert, which separated the two countries. The MFO would patrol the area, observe, and assure that forces and armaments would not exceed those agreed upon to preserve each countries' security.
The State Department started to assemble a cadre to support the newly appointed MFO Director General Ray Hunt, a retired Foreign Service Officer. He was a Middle East hand and was respected by both Egypt and Israel. Vic Dikeos was his Deputy. Austin McHale became the Chief Fiscal Officer. People from other U.S. agencies, such as AID, USIA, and a group of U.S. military, such as Signal Corps and helicopter pilots joined the group. I joined as Communications Officer.
We had temporary office space in Alexandria and the various personnel began their work. One of the first orders of business was to find a headquarters in some neutral country. While this was being pursued, an advance group traveled to the Sinai to ascertain what forces were needed, where they would locate the camps, and how communications would be established.
In the company of Israel military, who at that moment controlled the Sinai, a group of us surveyed the area. Over a course of several days of exploration, the DG made his decisions. One camp would be in the north, adjacent to Gaza, and looking to the Mediterranean Sea. A second camp, in the South at Sharm el Sheik, faced the Red Sea. The U.S. Army would establish their forces in the North camp and another country would take up the South camp, not immediately identified as to what country that would be. One area remained isolated and in dispute for a very long time as to ownership and was more or less international pending resolution.
The French would supply cargo planes in support of both camps, the British would be the Headquarters company, and the Dutch would provide the military police and the communications personnel at both the North and the South.
The initial trust into the desert was quite an exciting venture. First, the desert is not the hot boiling place one would imagine. It could be very cold. Further, you had to be very conscious of the wadis. Wadis were small areas that had vegetation which was there because they were basins of flash floods. As we journeyed through the desert selecting sights, we had to be extremely careful of the wadis which would suddenly hit you and you would drop into the indenture, without warning. The desert is not a friendly place. We also had to be very careful of the hundreds of mines that had been laid during previous military conflicts between the two countries. Although the mined areas were supposedly marked, the movement of desert sands also moved the mines. (Our first and immediately following sojourns were without incident, but in later years some of the forces suffered some problems and injuries from the mines.)
When we located areas where we would establish VHF relay points, we would mark the area with wooden stakes. On our next visit the stakes would be gone. The Bedouins of the desert value wood. Although you would travel miles and miles and never see anyone, all of a sudden there would appear a boy, a woman, a donkey, or several Bedouins, as though by magic. They would be gone just as quickly. On occasion, we went off on helicopters and would land on hilltops. On more than one occasion, we had to be ordered back into the craft because of high winds and the decision of the crew chief that it was dangerous.
Two things stick in my mind about the desert. First, you had to be out of the area before dark, and second, when you looked up into the sky, you saw billions of stars that take your breath away.
Rome was identified as the headquarters. I called my old colleague Bob Lucas and asked him to be my deputy and assist me in preparing a SOP. He decided in the first minutes of my call to say yes, lets go. I also contacted two former communicators from the U.S. Mission to the U.N., whom had worked for me there. They were Joe Magliocco and Ben Cobisi. They signed up for 90-days TDY.
In Rome I searched for Italian communicators. Joe and Ben would help me get our station started and help in their training, while Bob was still in Alexandria, organizing our other tasks. I recruited one Italian Navy trained fellow, two from the Marconi School in Rome, and two others from airline communications experience. Collectively they turned out to be a fine group, that is, once we got them geared to follow procedures, as written.
As we got further along in the process, our biggest headache in trying for a discipline network, was the Dutch military, who for your information, is unionized and pretty freewheeling. Eventually, with some prompting for discipline, things worked out.
I failed to mention that some of the observers came from the Diplomatic Couriers, who had military experience and were skilled in identifying armaments, aircraft, and other observer tasks. They wore orange jump suits.
The camps were build under an E Systems contract. That is a story in itself and best left to logistics and engineer personnel who brought that into being.
History shows that the MFO is one of the most successful operation of its kind and the fact that you never have occasion to read about them attests to that success.
One tragic event took away much of the joy of the adventure. It happened one evening as the DG Ray Hunt was returning to his home. A terrorist attack upon his person occurred with gunfire ripping through the rear of his armored car. He was killed instantly. We mourned our leader. We were left with profound sadness from such a heinous crime, where a life is taken for no reason, other than gangsters being on the loose.
The following bit of humor was forwarded to me by Tom Warren.
Odd Signs From England.
Sign in a Laundromat: AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT
Sign in a London department store: BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS
Sign in an office: WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN
Sign outside a farm: HORSE MANURE 50p PER PRE-PACKED BAG 20p DO-IT-YOURSELF.
Sign in an office: AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD.
Sign on a church door: THIS IS THE GATE OF HEAVEN. ENTER YE ALL BY THIS DOOR. (THIS DOOR IS KEPT LOCKED BECAUSE OF THE DRAFT. PLEASE USE SIDE DOOR.)
English sign in a German cafe: MOTHERS, PLEASE WASH YOUR HANS BEFORE EATING.
Sign outside a secondhand shop: WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?
Sign outside a new town hall which was to be opened by the Prince of Wales: THE TOWN HALL IS CLOSED UNTIL OPENING. IT WILL REMAIN CLOSED AFTER BEING OPENED. OPEN TOMORROW.
Sign outside a photographer's studio: OUT TO LUNCH: IF NOT BACK BY FIVE, OUT FOR DINNER ALSO.
Sign seen at the side of a Sussex road: SLOW CATTLE CROSSING. NO OVERTAKING FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS.
Sign outside a disco: SMARTS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE DISCO IN TOWN. EVERYONE WELCOME.
Sign warning of quicksand: QUICKSAND. ANY PERSON PASSING THIS POINT WILL BE DROWNED. BY ORDER OF THE DISTRICT COUNCIL.
Notice sent to residents of a Whiltshire parish: DUE TO INCREASING PROBLEMS WITH LETTER LOUTS AND VANDALS WE MUST ASK ANYONE WITH RELATIVES BURIED IN THE GRAVEYARD TO DO THEIR BEST TO KEEP THEM IN ORDER.
Notice in a dry cleaner's window: ANYONE LEAVING THEIR GARMENTS HERE FOR MORE THAN 30 DAYS WILL BE DISPOSED OF.
Sign on motorway garage: PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE NEAR OUR PETROL PUMPS. YOUR LIFE MAY NOT BE WORTH MUCH BUT OUR PETROL IS.
Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS.
Sign spotted in a safari park: ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR.
Sign seen during a conference: FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE FIRST FLOOR.
Notice posted in a field: THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.
Message on a leaflet: IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS.
Sign on a repair shop door: WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK).
Sign at Norfolk farm gate: BEWARE! I SHOOT EVERY TENTH TRESPASSER AND THE NINTH ONE HAS JUST LEFT.
In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes...when you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "good night, sleep tight" came from.
The term "the whole 9 yards" came from W.W.II fighter pilots in the Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet before being loaded into the fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole 9 yards".
The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle, GP.
It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year's supply of footballs.
Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1.
On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year....so BE CAREFUL!!
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 YEARS ago that for a month after a couple's wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all of the mead he could drink. Mead is honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the honeymoon".
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's".
Many YEARS ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.
Editors Note: The following is an article that was originally published in The SUN, (Spouses' Underground Newsletter), Winter 1999, Volume VIII, Number I. The author is President of the Ankara International Computer Users Group (AICUG) and a technophile.
With permission of the author, this article is furnished as another of those "how to" articles, courtesy of your Friendly Neighborhood Publisher/Editor. End Editors Note.
I get asked a lot of questions about the Internet. The most popular ones are about E-mail. It can be confusing and frustrating, especially when it doesn't come.
There are several ways that we can do E-mail and lots of great tools to help us. In this article, I'll explain four common types of tools and recommend a strategy for guaranteeing that the mail gets through, no matter where you go in the world.
1. ISP Based E-Mail
When you get and account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), they give you an E-mail account. Accessing your E-mail from this account is the fastest way to get your E-mail because that E-mail account is on a computer right in your town. To get the E-mail from that computer to you requires that you connect/dial your ISP, and download it. This is great if you're always in the same place. The problem arises when you leave town on a trip or move to another place in the world. Accessing an ISP based E-mail account from another place in the world is possible but it's not the best way to do it.
2. Web-Based E-Mail
Web-based E-mail doesn't use a mail tool. (Outlook Express or Inbox...). It uses your web browser instead. (Netscape or Internet Explorer...). You can connect to www.yahoo.com or www.iname.com or www.hotmail.com or www.rocketmail.com via the web and sign up for a free web-based E-mail account. The server (computer) where your web-based E-mail account is set up will probably be in the States. One of the benefits of web-based E-mail is that it can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world. You can enter any net cafe and go to www.hotmail.com and read your mail. All you need is a browser, your account name, and your password. Web-based E-mail is slow, though. To read web-based mail from overseas, you have to connect to your ISP and they in turn have to connect to their provider and so on, until it finally gets to the server where your mail is stored. It isn't too bad if you're in the States. If you imagine the Internet as a hub and spoke system, you'll see how being in the States (hub), communicating with any point will be better then if you're on the rim (stationed abroad).
3. Mail-to-Web Mail Tool
If you don't have a web-based E-mail account and you're on a long trip and want to check your E-mail, it can be a harsh world. You can ask a friend to change the settings in their mail tool to go looking for your mail server in the country were your ISP is located. Ugh! You can also use their browser or a browser in any convenient net cafe and do it the easy way. I only know of one such service but www.mail2web.com has come in very handy for me. To check ISP E-mail from the web, browse to www.mail2web.com, type in your server name, your account name, and your password. The server name is the part of your E-mail address that comes after the @ sign. If you take the example of firstname.lastname@example.org, channel is the username and marketweb.net.tr is the server. The only other thing you need to remember is your E-mail password.
4. Distribution Service
www.bigfoot.com is a mail processing service. They can scan your mail for viruses, remove junk mail for you and perform a plethora of other services. Most importantly, you can get a permanent, free, E-mail address that will never have to be changed. Bigfoot is a very important element in my E-mail system.
Recommendation: All the services listed here are free except for your local ISP.
1. Get an ISP E-mail account. Check this account when you're in town.
2. Get a Web based E-mail account. Check this account when you're out of town.
3. Get a Bigfoot account. Give this account name to all your friends. You'll never have to ask them to change your address again.
4. Tell Bigfoot to distribute E-mail that they receive to both your E-mail accounts. You@hotmail.com and You@yourISP.com.
5. On your E-mail tool at home, change your address, the one people see when they get mail from you, to the Bigfoot address. This way, to all the world you'll appear to be at bigfoot.com. They will only send to one place: You@bigfoot.com.
6. Another valuable feature of this system is portability. When you move to Botswana, or wherever, you can read your web-based E-mail until you get a regular ISP set up at your new location. When you get an ISP based E-mail account in your new location, you can go to the Bigfoot site and change your distribution setting to reflect your new account, and cancel distribution to your old ISP account. (Distribution should continue to your web-based E-mail account).
The whole thing can be set up in less than and hour and provides fast local access to your E-mail from your local ISP, as well as the ability to smoothly make the transition to new locations and temporary access via web-based E-mail for short trips.
Happy E-mailing, Channel Sanderson, email@example.com.
When Jack Coffey was DAS, he was required to appear before the House of Representatives Budget Committee, chaired by John Rooney of New York, to request funds for the following year. During Jack's testimony, Mr. Rooney asked him how many copies of State telegrams were being reproduced. Jack said he did not have that information but would provide it for the record. During the discussion, Mr. Rooney asked that he provide the information for a "typical day," like maybe a Friday.
When Jack returned to his office, he told me to immediately set up a statistical section to gather the information needed. This task was assigned to the Traffic Research section. Statistics were gathered. We were providing an average of more than 150 copies of each telegram to the many recipients in the diplomatic community. Of course, there is no "typical day" in communications. Universally, fewer telegram and perhaps other types of correspondence are sent on Monday than on Friday. The data was collected and sent for the record to the Budget Committee. The requirement continued for several years. Congressman Rooney did not realize that he was receiving statistics, not for a typical day, but for a typical Friday. He believed somehow, that telegram distribution was indicative of waste and the DAS should take action to reduce it. He did not know that this was beyond the authority of the DAS. So each DAS, each year, had to report on this item and receive a scolding from Rooney. Unfortunately, one year the fatal day fell during a crisis when the traffic count was very high and Rooney blew his top. I believe it was during Bill Goodman's regime this happened.
After activation of the ATS, many recipients, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, CIA, and others began receiving their telegrams electronically, plus they were making their own distribution copies. This reduced the number of copies the Department was reproducing drastically. When it was my turn to appear before the Committee, our statistics showed great improvement. I remember Rooney's remarks after my testimony, "At last the Department has a DAS who knows how to reduce telegraphic traffic. " The requirement for these statistics was dropped.
You win a few and lose a few.