June 6-8, 1991: Incirlik and an Outing Down the Coast

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Thu 6 Jun

The camp is a tent city on the north side of the base just off the residential area. It's quite nice, very casual (no hat, no salutes in the area) and has a nice recreation tent and shower point. It looks a bit like Dodge City with its wood sidewalks. They used a lot of wood here!

In the morning we went to chow, then headquarters and the PX. I cashed another check for $100. In the afternoon I took a nap. It's warm here but not nearly as bad as Silopi. Later on most of our crew went to town, but I couldn't because all my civilian clothes were in the bag I left behind in Silopi. I hiked up to the MAC terminal to leave a message for COL Miller, who's flying in from Diyarbakir, then ate supper and revisited the PX. The mess hall and the PX are about half a mile from the tents, about a 10-minute walk. Most of our company arrived by bus about 1800. The last group got in about 2130. They were delayed by flat tires, and were annoyed to find that most everyone had gone off to party. They were not happy campers at this point. Much to my surprise, the 431st and 418th also arrived; I thought they would be a few days behind us.

Fri 7 Jun

A day off. In the morning I walked to the mess hall, then went to sign my evaluation report. I spent some time reading, then visited the Turkish Exchange on post. After lunch I bought 83,000 lira ($20) at Finance and went to town. My original plan was to go into Adana, but outside the main gate I ran into SSG Poh, COL Miller and LTC Christopherson and went with them to "rip-off alley", the strip of shops just outside the base. The press is more diplomatic and simply calls it "the Alley". The shops are actually very nice and within a few minutes I had spent $42, almost all my cash. I decided it wasn't safe to be off post.

The current word is we have a mission number and take-off time, Monday at 0750. The 431st and 418th will be going along with us. The chaplain is organizing a trip to the sea tomorrow. I signed up for it.

Sat 8 Jun

We had formation at 0800, then the tour group went to the rec center to board buses for the trip to the beach. It's about an hour and a half trip. Adana seemed mostly modern and nondescript. Tarsus was wall-to-wall slum; no wonder St. Paul left! Mersin is the cleanest and most modern town along the route. For some reason all the banks in Turkey have warehouses along the road here. West of Mersin there is lots of construction along the coast. There are many mosques going up. They are all modern but beautifully done in traditional styles.

The beach area is called Kizkale (Maiden's Castle) or popularly "The Castle by the Sea". There is one old castle on shore just east of the beach, a second one about a quarter mile offshore on a small island. Legend has it that some ruler had a princess who was cursed to die from snakebite, so he built her a castle on the island to keep her safe. Of course a snake got over there anyway. The castles look medieval: Byzantine or Crusader. I found a Greek inscription on a stone in the shore castle.

Late in the day a fishing boat put out and circled his purse net. I don't know if they were doing it as a demonstration, or whether they expected to catch anything. At any rate, they didn't catch much. We left about 1700 and got back to base about 2000. My cash situation is critical. I was down to $1, 1000 lira and 2 Saudi Riyals before I managed to cash a $20 traveller's check at the Shopette.

Intelligence warns of increased PKK (Kurdish Communist Party) activity ahead. The base will be restricted starting Monday, and there will be no unofficial trips to Adana. We're leaving just in time.

It was muggy all day but by sunset it was cool enough to run. This was my first run since Kuwait.

Unlike some shots, this one is correctly exposed. The darkness is the shadow of the castle on the water.

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Created January 10, 2000; Last Update 11 June 2020

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