Home and Away's Guestbook



6th August 2018

Survey Section, SHAPE
We can rest assured that NATO allies did not have access to TS/SCI. Perhaps the USDEL as a U.S. government entity did have access. The CINC in Panama, and all the CINCs, have an assigned POLAD, Political Advisor, that has the rank and standing of ambassador. I recall seeing teletypes from a high level in NATO that used the RW**** routing indicator. We received these but could not send teletypes to these RW**** routing indicators. I've never seen these routing indicators in the listings on the internet. This is strictly a communications mystery that would only interest those working in communications centers. There are many stories germane to operations and handling of messages that would only interest people with a similar background.
5th August 2018

Survey Section, SHAPE
Bob, There was a special comms area in HQ NATO/OTAN. These were reading files available to the promotable to Flag and General ranks and those already Flag/General rank. They were disguised in the phone book as Survey Section, SHAPE. When assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona I met someone who worked there. The only officers with access were either American or British. The other Allies were not entrusted with access. The office got phone calls asking to survey a parking lot or such and were told the office did not do that kind of work. LOL
6th August 2018

Survey Section
We had a similar section at the USDEL to the NATO Military Committee. Every day they would share the black book with the Ambassador, DCM, Defense Advisor and Deputy Defense Advisor...all flag level. Everything was Top Secret/SCI so I never saw anything as my clearance was only Top Secret/COSMIC for NATO.
5th August 2018

Enjoyed your business and travel log and photos of your visit to Italy. Our family and I lived in Pinetamare, a one half hour drive north north west of Naples, Italy from 1/77 to 1/80. My duty station was at Bagnoli at Allied Forces South. I worked as shift supervisor in the NATO communications center (RXFEAA/RXFEAD) in the tunnel near Bldg. L. As you know, NATO/OTAN is a whole 'nother world. Great food and places to see in and around Naples. Pizza, mozzarella made with water buffalo milk, blood oranges, croquettes, and gelato come to mind. See re buffalo milk: https://www.cheese.com/mozzarella-di-bufala/ . We came to Naples with two children and left with five. Stepson Sy came to live with us in Washington, DC area and our daughter Amy was born in Virginia. Stepson Thanit and Sapun came from Thailand in 1978, and our son Jeremy was born there in 1977. All the babies born to American-Thai couples were males. This was attributed to the sulfur bearing stone surrounding Mount Vesuvius. One known attribute is that this material kept the cockroaches away. Northeast of Naples is an alternate war headquarters inside a mountain. This was similar in concept to Cheyenne Mountain but less sophisticated, about a one hour bus ride. Proto was manned during war games such as CIMEX/WINTEX. See: https://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/proto-former-nato-allied-forces-europe-southern-europe-afsouth-underground-hq/view/google/ . I'm probably the only person to works comms at both CINCSOUTHs. First, for the CINC (Admirals Turner and Shear) in Naples, and for the CINC in Panama (Generals Nutting and Gorman). I saw misrouted messages at each. One I remember is a man overboard from a US Navy ship transiting the Panama Canal that was sent to Naples, Italy; and an incident in Naples that was sent to Panama.
6th August 2018

Italy: NATO Infrastructure Committees Visit
I enjoy reading your reminiscences. If you read my blogs you will eventually red about my visit to AFSOUTH in Oct 1994, followed by Pompeii, Positano, and Capri. I will be walking the Via Francigena pilgrim trail from Tuscany to Rome with my son the second half of Sep this year and revisiting this area. Having our Thailand and DoD experience in common, I think you will find most of my blogs to be of interest. Please continue to comment.
5th August 2018

Panama City, Fort Clayton, Quarry Heights, and environs in Panama
Bob, that is quite a whirlwind tour. Yes, we lived on Fort Clayton 1981-84. We enjoyed my off-duty times as well as one could since I was a walking dead zombie much of the time. We fished in Lake Gamboa, a few miles north of Fort Clayton. Lake Gamboa had a split railroad and automobile bridge. I recall driving the family in our Dodge van to the automobile bridge where you waited for a green light to proceed on the one lane road across. Good fishing for peacock bass. One trip at Lake Gamboa the van wouldn't start. The Guardia Nacional gave us a jump start. We also went to a hotel casino in Panama City where my wife played blackjack and I would play the slots for pocket change and a big more. Local markets had a great selection of fruits, veggies, and meats, esp. seafood. Oldest son Sy went to Balboa High School, played football; youngest son Jeremy went to kindergarten and 1st grade. I worked the NARC (Non-Automatic Relay Center) in Corozal which was a part of the store and forward AUTODIN message switching era; and later at the CINCSOUTH communications center at Quarry Heights. We changed the keycards in the secure phone at the residence of General Nutting and later General Gorman. Our facility was an R/Y facility handling front channel and back channel messages using our DCT 9000, Model 40 teletypes, and older teletypes. We processed daily about 2,000 messages. This included making copies, a full box of 12 reams of photocopy paper per day. I worked 12 hour shifts as a shift supervisor. My wife didn't drive so I took our five children to their medical, eye, dental and other appts. That is why I was always a walking zombie. LOL We supported the ongoing exercises in Honduras which were in preparation for an invasion of Nicaragua. Family enjoyed the fishing, catching crabs in wire mesh traps, collecting mangoes/other fruits, and enjoying the tropical climate that was much like Thailand. Back to commo: We supported the British in the Falklands War in 1982. I saw the Atlantic Conveyor pass north thru the Panama Canal. This commercial ship was modified to be a helicopter carrier. The Argentinians sank it with an Exocet missing. Oh, sleeping on planes is next to impossible for me. Those 30 hours getting from Thailand to the U.S. and the return are hard on me. Our last trip to the U.S. in 2014: On our return to Thailand in August we were stopped at a military road block with one policeman in charge. He thought I was drunk! He asked for cookies from America. My wife explained that we had cookies in one of our many bags. My wife's girlfriend traveled with us so we had six bags/suitcases and our carry ons. We live in a benevolent dictatorship where the Thais have little democracy.
4th August 2018

Re: Communication sites in Thailand
Thank you for your reply, Bob. There have been a string or rather a waterfall of threads on the Facebook group, All Thailand, Laos, & Cambodia Signal Sites. I copied and pasted your comments to that group today. You were certainly early to Thailand with your parents. I'm sure that William Harrell and others will comments on the relay station along the road to Pakchong. I was stationed at Phu Mu Signal Site near Mukdahan from 8/73 to 1/74. Philco-Ford took over the O&M of the IWCS building and the shots into Laos and elsewhere inside Thailand. I had been at Camp Samae San 1/73 to 8/73 before my in-country PCS to Phu Mu Signal Site. I had worked as a Cryptomaterial Specialist and volunteered to 'poke' type teletype messages. There is a bit of synchronicity in your picking the subject line, "Communications Sites in Thailand". I had prepared an email many years ago where I attempted to list most of the sites in Thailand, and I used that very subject line. That reminds me that I need to update and send that one out again. That is not me, that is, I'm not the ham radio buff you knew who worked for Philco-Ford. My Army career from 1970-1990, was either fixed station teletype/punched or Hollerith card/magnetic tape and then operational testing of tactical communications system such as tropo. Yes, my Thai wife of 45 years and I moved to Thailand in 2008. We are pretty much homebodies and get few visitors. You are welcome to visit with us when you have the time. Some of our adult children and g/children have visited us here. We have five adult children and 12 g/children. I hope to read all of your blogs in the near future. I'm easily distracted on the internet these days. LOL
3rd August 2018

Communications sites at Jones Park, Camp Friendship, and Korat RTAFB
QUOTE Philco/Ford to survey the top of Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, and after I graduated at the OICC/Thailand soils lab. After college I would return to build the road to the top of the mountain and the radar station. UNQUOTE Bob, where was this radar station located or perhaps it was a microwave relay? We are trying to find a communications site in the Korat RTAFB area that was manned by Philco-Ford personnel. Terry W. Colvin ( a few miles south of Hua Hin ) P.S.: So far no dengue fever!
3rd August 2018

Communication sites in Thailand
The radar station is on top of Doi Inthanon, southwest of Chiang Mai. It was completed in Dec 1975. Subsequent blogs tell about my time there. I lived in Korat from 1959-1964 and 1965-1966. I knew one Philco-Ford employee who was installing microwave stations. He was a ham radio buff, and got me interested. I think he also had a new Ford Fairlane. On New Years we toured the Khmer ruins at Phi Mai. That wouldn't be you, would it?! As for the location of the microwave station near Korat, when I visited that area in 2007, I believe there was a relay station west of Korat on the Friendship Highway towards Pakchong, as you approach the mountains and near the large lake/reservoir on the north side of the highway. Are you retired near Hua Hin...I loved to vacation there...you must have read my blog about that trip. I also blogged about my visit with my kids to Thailand in 2007, including Hua Hin. I hope you read those blogs, too, and comment!
30th June 2018

Beautiful Canyon Scenery
Wow, what stunning scenery! A very long day trip indeed, but the views must have made it worthwhile. It seems very true that we often travel faraway, but rarely visit what is close to us. Glad you were able to make the visit :)
24th June 2018

Laguna Beach and Orange County
Wow, looks like a wonderful part of California. I've never been there, but it seems to have a lot of attractions and wonderful views! The Mariners Church experience must indeed have been different to what the name suggests!
20th June 2018

I figured it out!
Bob...I figured out how to follow you on my own! Big atta girl for me! You have certainly led an exciting life full of travel. John and I look forward to sharing your coming adventures. Pat and John Smallman (DWLPtravelkids)
20th June 2018

Not WW1
Flying over the hump in WWII not WWI
21st June 2018

Thanks for spotting the error...
I'll fix it. And thanks for reading my travelblogs.
27th May 2018

Beauty close to home
Glad you found time to explore the Gunnison area. It is always great seeing the beauty in which you live daily. Thanks for taking us along.
22nd May 2018

So much to do in So Cal
I'm glad Will has landed in a wonderful place. I'm glad you got to meet his girlfriend. Love the view from breakfast. I lived in Orange County for 10 months last year and they do have homeless and vagrants.... they just hide them better. But yes it is the land of McMansion and Ferraris. Hopefully, Linda can go with you next time.
20th May 2018

sounds like it was a great change of plans
It is always great when a plan goes awry and another plan takes its place. Glad the weather cooperated for you. Enjoyed the photos of the canyon. I liked the idea of being in CO and starting out with a thai meal - sorry that the dog ate your dinner portion - hope that the thai agreed with your dog! Once we finish with our sailing we have to get back to visiting the parks in the US as we have many more to see.
20th May 2018

Plan B...
our dog didn't get sick eating the Thai food; thankfully! The owner and cook of this remote Thai restaurant was a professor who met an American professor who was on exchange with her university. They were married, and he returned to Harvard. They would spend the summers on his ranch near Salida CO. He passed away after a few years so she moved permanently to the ranch and opened the restaurant. Visiting our national parks is a wonderful plan with an RV replacing your sailboat! But my guess is that this will be several years from now. My guess is that you will continue to follow the coast line around the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Aegean Seas!
17th May 2018
Curicante National Recreation Area

Curicante National Recreation Area
Great to see you discovering new parks in your own Colorado. Beautiful picture Bob.
18th May 2018
Curicante National Recreation Area

Thanks!
Colorado is really filled with a wide variety of parks.
17th May 2018
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Looks like an amazing place
Looks like I too would enjoy a visit there. Thanks for writing about it. If you hadn't I wouldn't have known about it /Ake
18th May 2018
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

And I still owe you a blog about Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
That will be coming shortly. On Monday I'm having a refresh training for being an Interpretive Ranger and on Thursday and Friday I'm receiving training in Paleontology.
16th May 2018

Adding to the list!
Oh I forgot to login, yes I am a member of Travelblog and love blogging. In fact next week I’ll be starting a new one for my upcoming trip to Scotland. Thanks for the info about the cruise, sounds amazing! I will for sure put it on the list of future travel plans. We stopped by at Florissant Fossil Beds on the drive home from Colorado a few years back, same trip as Black Canyon in fact. I look forward to volunteering at the National Parks as well when we retire, hoping to be relocating outside of Olympic :)

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