The Turk Compound
W e l c o m e
to 16th Turkish Company
Welcome Welcome sign on road to compound Greetings!
Photo by SP4 Julio Martinez, monsoon 1965
16th Turkish Company Offices
The Fifteenth Turkish Company
The Fifteenth Turkish Company was replaced with the 16th during
the Monsoon Season of 1965. While Turkish soldiers were not
quartered at the BLV, the 15th Turk Company liaison officer was
located at the BLV Brigade Headquarters so that the Turkish unit for
this website, is considered part of the BLV.
U. N. Troops
As U.N. Troops, we were sent to Camp Amahie to welcome the 16th
and make their zero week as comfortable as possible. I was detailed
to stand guard duty at this mysterious and taboo compound for seven
days. I had heard all kinds of wild stories about the Turkish soldiers.
Needless to say I was overwhelmed, as I had only once entered the
compound by G.I. bus.
This is all I thought I would ever get to see of Camp Amahie when I once entered
this taboo compound by GI Bus.
The Bus Route
The G.I. bus route from Camp Beard by Yongjugol made a stop at
Camp Amahie on its way to the last outpost at Camp Blue Lancer
Valley. Once I saw Turks sporting a game by kicking/rolling a ball
with their feet from one ground net to another. This game added to
the mystique of these Far West Asians. Another time I met a Turk on
the bus that conversed with me in Spanish.
Upon our arrival at Camp Amahie we were glad to jump off the
sweltering deuce-and-a-half’s. We were about ten GI’s and as many
KATUSA’s who were met by huge crowds of serious faced soldiers
with as many pairs of eyes on us. These soldiers from Far West Asia
sported different uniforms with as different facial features. At first we
all seriously eyed each another but with soldierly yet brotherly
curiosity. Within seconds we all cracked up laughing, smilingly
merged, and shook hands, and patted one another on the back. Many
small luxuries such as cigarettes were handed to them. I fished out
my camera, jumped on a rise and shouted for their attention. I
snapped as many shots in their group disorganization as I dared.
Some of them wrestled, stopped and posed for our cameras. Others
horse played jumping piggyback on one another for a picture all the
while amused and in good spirits. We would communicate with
signals, shouts, and gestures. PFC Ray who spoke German, found a
senior ranking Turk who shared the same language. Interpretations
took too long so we all just continued our frolicking and merriment.
The only commanders were sergeants in both armies so we were all
disordered. Suddenly a sedan drove up and a Turkish officer got off
and called them to order. They all came to formation, and after the
officer left the sergeants somewhat lost control again so that the
camaraderie continued. These soldiers were as young and as full of
life and mischief as anyone of us—we truly were fellow warriors.
OUR WELCOMING COMMITTEE Note Officer's sedan
Becoming better acquainted once their officer left. Note fence poles in background
A leisure moment Our fellowship continued
Third Platoon attempt at formation
Second Platoon was strike
Distant First Platoon in better formation
The 16th Company arrived in Korea cold turkey without fanfare or
ceremony, and without the benefit of an overlapping indoctrination by
their countrymen. Newly arrived at Camp Amahie, their only
association with Turkey was the previously quartered camp and
discarded clothing remnants of their former comrades in arms. These
buck privates, probably fresh from basic training (sound familiar?),
underwent the same culture shock as we did initially, but without
fellow troops to “lifer” them. Their only reception was from a few
American GI’s who accessed their domain. These GI’s were their first
military encounter—clear across a continent so far away from home—
who familiarized them with the new overwhelming military duties on
this Far East soil. It isn’t surprising then, of their full-hearted
fellowship with fellow warriors.
PFC Ray converses with Turk Senior Private in German
As you remember, the incessant Monsoon rains made guard duty
totally uncomfortable. Our sergeants assigned us guard walks and
shifts. We all slept in an open building on a bare concrete floor in our
wet fatigues without bunks or accustomed comforts. The ponchos
hardly afforded any protection. The KATUSAS instantly and
indifferently slept anywhere and everywhere, even over one another.
Suffice it to say we spent a miserable week.
A Monsoon Lull with Free Reign
One day when I knew that their officers were away and the Turks were
confined to quarters, I roamed all over the compound. It was a
privileged experience as no one, NO ONE, I know of, had ever had that
opportunity. Some Turks came to their hooch doors as I passed by, but
would not exit. I remember they were only wearing drawers and
T-Shirts probably shunning the humidity and most all were nonchalantly
lying on their bunks. I guess they were bearing the unaccustomed
humidity contrary to their desert homeland. Only their houseboys were
outside cleaning equipment and occupied in menial tasks.
Unknowingly, I took full advantage of this rare moment in time. I
always carried my camera because I new there were photographic
adventures awaiting me everywhere. And this one turned out to be a
chance of a lifetime. I photographed everything and anything I could
find of interest.
Northeastern sector of Camp Amahie. Note the Mosque and the Motor Pool.
Tuned in to Radio Tomahawk. Note houseboys at door and the Quonsets joined with a
Discarded clothing of redeployed soldiers greeted the Sixteenth. Note the Star
and Crescent Moon and Ursa Major patches.
The Ursa Major Constellation Check out the ammo pouch,
atropine serrette, canteen, and M14.
Here ends my adventure of a lifetime with the Turks from Far West Asia
where for one week I served guard duty at their camp in Far East Asia,
I happened to see two well-behaved Turks at the E.M. Club following
post-reflagging ceremonies on One July Sixty-five.
One day while on the BLV road I flagged and boarded a Turkish
ambulance headed for the main gate. It was maybe a World War II panel-
type van that had seen far better days. It was chocolate brown in color
with a red cross on a white circle on the panel and seemed to have been
more of a relic from a Word War II junkyard. I boarded the van, which I
observed was used more as a transport rather than an ambulance. I was
kneeling as there were no seats and I could see the road between the
slats of the worn floorboards. I considered myself fortunate that I could
not be seen as I was leaving the BLV without having signed out at the
Orderly Room but with my pass in my pocket. At the gate the driver
added “One Ame-ti-kan sole-jur” to his declaration. I immediately poked
my head from the driver’s window and declared that I had my pass. The
guard took one glance, recognized me as the Orderly Room clerk and
without a word, waved the truck on. I nervously chuckled as I exited the
BLV early in the day on pass without permission.
SP4 Julio Martinez
PFC's Marvin Garcia, Julio Martinez, and Pak Bok Dong
One evening a few Turk soldiers visited the BLV. They looked me
up and gestured about the photographs. I motioned them over to my
hooch where they viewed them. They mentioned where they were in
the photos, and it never occurred to me that they wanted copies. I
have since regretted not parting with pictures that I could easily have
duplicated at the photo lab.
AND NO, AS BOSOM BUDDIES THAT WE WERE, MARVIN AND I ARE
NOT HOLDING HANDS!!!
Your photos are welcome; please feel free to present your
pictures with commentary—SP4 Julio Martinez.
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Fifteenth Turkish Company
Commentary: Duty at Camp Amahie. In veteran's own words,
Greetings, Brother Julio, My assignment was to set up a long-wire antenna and/or whatever
else might be needed so the Turks could listen to Radio Ankara as often as possible and as
clearly as possible.
The Turk C.O. assigned to me was an English-speaking Turk named Mustafa. With his
help, under my direction, his comrades got the antenna up, and oriented it properly. It worked
like a charm. I stayed a few days and they could listen to Radio Ankara and a couple of other
Turkish short save broadcast stations for several hours every evening from shortly after
While I was there, I absolutely knew Mustafa and his mates were speaking the truth when
they said they would die to the last man before they would let any harm come to me while I
was their guest. They taught me the First General Order of the Turkish Army: "Upon the
approach of the enemy I will give the alarm, then return to my post and fight until I am killed
or the enemy is repulsed." And as I think you know brother, they lived up to that also.—Joe