|April 2007||Spring Issue||Volume 7 - Number 1|
Welcome to the spring issue of a Newsletter dedicated to the CANDOERs (Communicators AND Others Enjoying Retirement). This newsletter will be distributed quarterly. New issues will be posted on the Web for viewing on or about, January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15.
The CANDOER Web site and newsletter may be viewed by going to the following URI: www.candoer.org
The success of this newsletter depends on you. I need contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with others? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of our former colleagues? If you do, send it to me at the following e-mail address:
or to my snail-mail address:
Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: (301) 283-6549
Please, NO handwritten submissions.
This newsletter is available free on the Web to any and all who worked with or for members of DC, OC, IRM, IM, or LM.
This publication is available on the Web only.
None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright, unless otherwise noted. If you wish to print the newsletter and make copies to distribute to others, please feel free to do so.
The CANDOER News will be available in three formats: the first format will be as a web page; the second format will be as a PDF file; the third as a Microsoft Word document.
The PDF file (Adobe Acrobat) and Microsoft Word document will allow you to print the newsletter exactly as you would have it if it were mailed to you in a hard copy format.
If you are unable to read the PDF formatted newsletter, you can go to www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html and download the FREE reader. When installed on your computer, it will allow the automatic opening of the PDF file.
The following e-mail message was received from Jim Prosser:
I am just finishing reading a book written by a CIA Station Chief in the Congo. He was posted in Leopoldville for several years, including when I was there (1962-64) as communications officer. These were tumultuous times for everyone, especially the communicators.
The name of the book is:
Chief of Station, Congo
By Larry Devlin
It has just been published, so may not be in your local library yet, but is available online from www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com If you ever served in the Congo or Zaire, you'll find this fixating reading.
The author, an acquaintance of mine, presents his experiences very personally. In one chapter he takes time to thank the communicators, whose efforts were so vital in the successful execution of US policy in the Congo/Zaire. Here is a paragraph quoted from chapter 9:
"Communicating with our families was a problem during these early days. The post office had reopened, but mail took an eternity. The problem was partially solved by a group of American Embassy ham radio operators who established a regular watch over the single side band frequency used by the embassy. The radio, [known at the 'Bobcat' and 'Twilight' networks] an early acquisition from the American military [USAF], often was our only means of speedy and reliable contact with Washington. The station did not use it because it was insecure, but was fine for speaking to family and friends. The operators were truly a great bunch, patching us through by telephone when we gave them the number, and I talked regularly with my parents."
Obviously Devlin could not list the communicator's names, both State and TCU, but I attempt here to do just that, for they definitely did contribute to the success and morale of the mission and warrant the praise. I regret that I may have overlooked some, but my wife, Mary, helped me. We were quite a cohesive group based in Leopoldville, Brazzaville, Elizabethville, Stanleyville, and Bukavu.
Here are some mighty fine people I had the pleasure to work with, several no longer with us: Carl Bottleman, Walter Boyer, Fred Charlton, Jean Elliot, Donald Fisher, Brad Filzen, Paul Foster (RIP), Bob Foose, Joe Gaffey (RIP), Julio Gonzalez, Jim Hale, Bryon Hallman, Frank Hemingway, Jerry Herberg, Bob Hjort, Walt Hunter, Wally Kushner (RIP), Dick Leclerc, Vic Maffei, Bill Navratil (RIP), Dick Olson, Dave Parks, Clarence Pierce (RIP), Phil Rothin (RIP), Ernie Ruehle (RIP), Don Simmons, Jim Stauffer, Jim Tuten, Phyllis (Warchal) Grace, and Yvonne White.
Note: In the back issues of the CANDOER News now posted on this updated web site, there are at least four of them which contain articles I wrote about communications experiences in the Congo (messages, radio, pouches, and couriers). Unfortunately, without looking into all those back issues, I can't specify which ones. Happy hunting!
Spring has sprung! The grass has riz! I wonder where the birdies is?
This is my favorite time of the year. The temperatures are on the rise, the trees are putting on their spring clothes, the flowering trees and plants are in full bloom, there is more sunlight than darkness, and all the birds have returned from their winter homes back to their summer homes here in Southern Maryland.
The one-liners used in this issue were received from Willis E. Naeher, DASC Retired.
By the time you start reading this issue of the “CANDOER NEWS,” I will have moved the CANDOER Web site off of the free web space on GeoCities.com where they allowed me only 24k of content and 24 Megs of downloads per 24-hour period.
The web site has been moved to a paid provider, Go Daddy. I will be allowed 5 gig of content and 50 gig, per 24-hour period, of downloads.
This move accomplishes several things of which the most important are that I can now expand the web site to include more content and pictures and there will be NO advertisements.
With this move to Go Daddy, I have converted the CANDOER Newsletters that were published from November of 1997 through October 2001, to HTML and posted them on the CANDOER web site.
For you new members, in the 70 issues of the CANDOER News, you will find MANY stories from retirees telling about LBOC (Life Before OC); what telecommunications was like in the early days; and, life AOC (After OC).
I hope everyone enjoys reading those stories and the new stories that I hope to publish in future months and years.
I would like to take advantage of the return of this publication to thank all of you who responded to my plea for funds to help fund the paid web site. I have received a total of $440 as of the date of publication of this issue.
The first two years of hosting for the CANDOER web site came to $117.50. The normal charge for two years is $163.30, but because I had already registered two other domains, and Go Daddy is hosting both, they gave me a discount.
Because the domain of candoer.org was registered back in 1999 for a period of 10 years, the re registration will not be required again until August of 2009.
The money that you all have donated will fund the registration of the domain and the hosting of the web site for approximately five additional years, through 2014.
Again, THANK YOU!
Next quarter will start a three-part story, “The Diplomatic Telecommunications Service” a copywrited article by Bill Weatherford.
I am going to start this issue with a dedication to the memory of the many CANDOERs who have passed away since the Issue 70, October 2001.
Jim Engelhart -- October 2001
Joseph Fagan -- January 2002
George Jacobson -- February 2002
Rosemary Lutes -- May 2002
William (Bill) Markham -- June 2002
Maureen White -- July 2002
Eloise Buenting -- October 2002
Don Trebbe -- December 2002
Dan Fisher -- January 2003
Kelly Hearney -- February 2003
Graham Lobb -- February 2003
Grover 'Mac' McDowell -- March 2003
Jan Lybyer -- March 2003
Elden (Ray) Russell -- April 2003
Thelma Newton -- April 2003
Larry Corbett -- April 2003
Tom Murray -- April 2003
Sam Richardson -- April 2003
Harold Muroaka -- May 2003
Sam Carden -- August 2003
Bill Fanjoy -- August 2003
William Mason -- August 2003
James D. Hall -- August 2003
Virginia Bates -- September 2003
William Schroeder -- September 2003
Clarence Pierce -- September 2003
Jim Hall -- September 2003
Howard Sampsel -- October 2003
Norris Hammond -- October 2003
Earl Newton -- January 2004
Vince Lima -- January 2004
Arnold Wisner -- January 2004
Donald Goff -- March 2004
Ray Shankweiler -- April 2004
Kathy Minatre -- May 2004
Virginia Reynolds -- May 2004
Russ Ikegami -- May 2004
Len Kraske -- May 2004
Dorothy Bareford -- June 2004
Daniel Baith -- September 2004
Judy Dressel -- September 2004
John (Jack) Hagee -- September 2004
Calisto (Cal) Calisti -- October 2004
Joel Kleiman -- November 2004
Frances (Miki) Lovett -- December 2004
Lillian G. Alger -- December 2004
Thomas J. Warren -- December 2004
Mako Brendley -- December 2004
Kevin F. West -- January 2005
Rick Plotz -- January 2005
Doug Hosey -- January 2005
Bob LaPlante -- March 2005
Lily Davis -- May 2005
Paul Doumitt -- June 2005
Ed Watson -- July 2005
Lynn Stevens -- October 2005
Roger Casteele -- November 2005
Robert Richardson -- November 2005
Asie Gossett -- November 2005
Charles Grainger -- December 2005
Lou Humbel -- December 2005
Shirley Epstein -- January 2006
Geraldine Mosher -- January 2006
Neil Rudd -- February 2006
Kenneth Ferguson -- February 2006
Ollie Oliver, Jr. -- February 2006
Ed Cvetan -- March 2006
David Ferguson -- May 2006
Chuck Rambo -- June 2006
Robert Kile -- July 2006
Richard Stockman -- August 2006
Robert (Boomer) Fuller -- August 2006
Bud Parker -- September 2006
Don Spiker -- October 2006
Joseph Acquavella -- October 2006
Mary Peterson -- October 2006
Bob Zimmermann -- December 2006
Richard Clauselle -- December 2006
Tom Turley -- January 2007
George Der Koorkanian -- January 2007
Leo Penn -- January 2007
Percy Picard -- February 2007
Kevin Corcoran -- February 2007
The below poem was received from a good friend of mine from my days back in my home town of Waterford, PA. Walley Mahle is a graduate of Fort LeBoeuf High School, a 1996 inductee to the Fort LeBoeuf Wall of Fame, a stand-out quarterback at Syracuse University, former Green Bay Packer, and retired Fort LeBoeuf High School teacher and coach.
We have a steady core of people who continue to attend the CANDOER luncheons. The luncheons are still taking place on the second Tuesday of every month at the TGIFriday's on King Street in Arlington. Please, take time out of your busy schedules to attend a luncheon. Your spouses are also welcome. We have several spouses who regularly attend the luncheons.
Will and Doris Naeher spent the months of February, March and April in North Fort Myer, Florida.
On March 22, one of our oldest members, Gene Caruso, celebrated his 91st birthday. A belated birthday wish from all the CANDOERs to you Gene! May you live in good health to see many, many more!
For those of you who visit the web site often, you will notice a surge in the number of new members. On March 21, I gave Charles Christian permission to list the CANDOER web site with the criteria for becoming a member of the CANDOERs on the REFCOM web site. The requirements that were determined when we first started the CANDOERs allows people who worked with State Communicators to become members. That makes the communicators and technicians 'across the river' eligible. Welcome aboard!
In addition, I asked Mick Miller, Courier Association, to list the CANDOER Retirement Group on their web site and invited them to join our group and attend our luncheons.
In the early 1960's I was doing a three year tour at American Embassy Athens. One day I had a need to go to the Radio Relay Facility (RRF) that the Department had that worked that part of the Eastern Mediterranean. The station was located north of town about ten miles in a remote area that at the time was reached by only a small, curvy, hilly road. As I made my way I entered an area that was not inhabited and the road seemed like it was getting narrower. My American car was taking just about the entire paved road. Cresting a hill I noticed before me a valley with a dry river and bridge. On the other side there was an escarpment where the road went up in a cross back manner to the top. I then noticed a big black car coming down that hill. It was going at a rate of speed that was very dangerous in my opinion. I saw that we were going to meet at the narrow bridge and as I got to it I quickly turned off the road and stopped. At that moment I decided that I was really upset with the numerous foolish and deadly Greek drivers that I had to deal with daily. As this Mercedes zoomed across the bridge I put my hand out the window and gave the driver the famous Greek hand sign for "Go to the Devil," which was palm towards him with the fingers extended and was known as "Giving Five." It was also said to be a way of putting a curse on a person. As the car came off the bridge the driver put his whole upper body out of the window and gave me "Ten." Not only had I never been given "Ten" before, I was struck numb by the driver's great driving ability at that speed to do what he did. I was further numbed and also shocked to recognize the driver as King Paul of the Hellenes (Greece).
I realized as I just sat there what a foolish mistake I had just made. I forgot that the RRF was adjacent to the summer Royal Palace at Tatoi. With my recognizable big blue Plymouth with embassy plates on it I knew that my career was probably over. Even worse it was a horrible thing that I had just done to my wife and our two little girls. I reported the incident back at the embassy and was told that H.M. was not the type of person to take any action on a matter such as this. With massive relief and appreciation this proved true. Needless to say that in all the years after I never forgot my close call and always let any annoyances like that pass. It was a hard way to learn some T and D.
We experienced a beautiful trip to Slovenia in 2006! We flew from Skopje on January 1 via Adria Airways. Former President Ligorov, who was nearly killed in a 1995 assassination attempt, was on the flight with us, but he continued on to Paris after we disembarked in Ljubljana.
Ljubljana is certainly a world heritage city. There are lots of well-preserved buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. We stayed in the Grand Union Hotel, built in 1905, just a stone's throw from the old city center. Across the street was a 16th century Franciscan Church, with ornate interior and beautiful frescoes on the ceiling. The town square is small and surrounded by stately "turn of the century" buildings, including a beautiful Apothecary building and a Jugendstil building.
The university (the city has some 50,000 students out of its 280,000 inhabitants) is a palatial building in its own right, as is the old town hall. Ute and I walked up to the castle overlooking the city on our first night. The falling snow and gas lamps along the narrow cobblestone streets made us feel like we had been transported back into a Dickens story.
The next day we headed to the Postojnska Jama, one of the world's largest cave complexes. We rode a train into the interior, and were awed by the exquisite stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the excellent lighting. The Slovenes are clean and orderly, more Austrian than Balkan in attitude. Somewhat more reserved than their friendlier southern neighbors, but at least cordial.
On Tuesday we headed to magical Lake Bled, with its tiny island crowned by a beautiful church, and the 11th century castle perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. We hiked up to the castle, where I took lessons in how to bottle wine from a Franciscan monk in the castle wine cellar! After filling the bottle, I learned how to properly cork it using an old oak apparatus, and then how to seal it with wax. The result was a nicely bottled Pinot Blanc wine for 8 euros!
After enjoying the spectacular view of the lake below from the castle ramparts, we enjoyed a typical Slovenian lunch in the castle restaurant. The meats in Slovenia are especially good --- smoked hams, sausages, real bacon, sliced ham, etc. They also produce an exquisite dessert --- Gibanitza --- which is a mixture of bread pudding with poppy seeds and heavy creams inside. About 1500 calories per serving!
Wednesday had us driving to the Istrian coast, where we visited the beautiful ancient cities of Portoroz and Piran. Both cities resemble 16th century Italian fishing villages, and many of the inhabitants speak fluent Italian (there is also a sizeable Italian minority in the area). We enjoyed exploring the narrow cobblestone lanes winding throughout Piran and took in the refreshingly chilled sea air.
On the way back, we drove through some tiny mountain villages, their neat little well-lit houses, with wood smoke pouring out of the chimneys, looking like a scene from an Alpine painting.
That evening we ate at Ljubljana's only Japanese restaurant, "Sushi Mama's", which was a real treat. The head chef is Japanese, and we had excellent sushi, rice bowl, etc. Another night we ate at a "Mexican Cantina," where the food was Tex-Mex and the waitresses were blond Slovenkas!
Friday was our day for exploring the excellent museums of Ljubljana, and we enjoyed the superb National Gallery, with its collection of paintings by Slovene, Austrian, Italian, and Hungarian artists. Many of the pieces date back to the Habsburg Empire, or earlier. We also spent time walking through the snow covered Tivoli Gardens park, which is a key summertime and spring attraction for the Slovenes, with its well-kept trails winding through the woods. On Saturday, before leaving, Ute and I visited the open-air Saturdaymarket, where trades and craftsmen offered their wares at European prices!
Our trip back went smoothly, with the 1 hour and 7 minute flight being right on time. We'll definitely be heading back to Slovenia in the spring or summer for some hiking in the Julian Alps. Until then, as the Slovenes say, "adijo!"