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Misguided Hatred

February 17, 2002--Recent life threatening e mails have prompted me to write the following missive:

I realize that to some Eritrean National's who were not adults in Asmara during the 1960's, the 4THUSASAFS-Kagnew Station web site may appear to be extremely offensive. It is not intended to be that way. The stories on this site, many of them obscene, are recollections of young men growing into manhood in a place far from home. GI's that were stationed overseas in many other countries could have told the same or similar stories, only about a different place and at a different time. The raping and pillaging of the local population by the US Military simply did not exist in Asmara during the 1960's.

Although we were in the United States Military, the units stationed at Kagnew Station were non-combative units. The only time, during my 18-month tour of duty, that I carried a weapon was while on guard duty at the Operations Site (Tract C), walking the perimeter between the fences. Even then, my weapon was not loaded-we carried the ammo clip in our pocket. Our weapons for the most part were antiquated M1 Carbines with their sights totally out of alignment. We were not exactly a combat ready force!

What is not mentioned on this web site; is that during the course of the years that United States citizens inhabited Kagnew Station, all the good that was done by American GI's to help the Eritrean people. That is not the premise of the 4THUSASAFS-web site. The purpose of this site is to reunite people that served at Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea, and to give them a forum where they can tell humorous stories about their time spent there. I worked on several beneficial projects in rural Eritrea and taught World Geography to Eritrean 5th and 6th graders. Many others did a lot more than I had to aid the Eritrean people during their tour of duty at Kagnew Station. You will find no mention of these facts elsewhere on this site. If you desire to read more about the Goodie-Two-Shoes things that we accomplished go to the Kagnew Station Homepage.

The aid (economic in nature) that was given to Ethiopia by the United States Government was not for the purpose of building Military forces to crush the ELF. As far as I know no armaments were given to Ethiopia and no military advisors were sent to train Ethiopian troops during the 1960's. The ELF was a thorn in Haile Salassie's side but he took no major military action against them while I was stationed in Eritrea. The limited Ethiopian military action that took place was to keep the Asmara to Massawa Road free to travel. The fact that the Ethiopian Military committed atrocities against the ELF was well known to us. We were appalled, but as members of the United States Military Forces we were required to remain apolitical.

While stationed at Kagnew, I as well as many others, became friends with many Eritrean Nationals. We both sympathized and empathized with their desire for independence. Freedom from oppression and "liberty for all" is what we American's were taught throughout our school years and the concept of another human being oppressed, for whatever reason, is alien to our thinking process.

During the last conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, I sent several letters to my congressmen (at the urging of the Eritrean Embassy-they send me frequent updates) in support of Eritrea. I also urged and encouraged other Kagnew Vets to take the same action. I am for a conflict free Eritrea and would someday enjoy revisiting the place where I grew into adulthood.