I joined the United States Air Force during the Korean War and was shipped to Wheelus Air Force Base in Tripoli, Libya in 1954. I was only 18.
My assignment–radio communications–required a cryptographic clearance. At the time, Tripoli was divided in two sections—the old part of the city was Arabic and the new Italian. It was a completely different world to me since I was brought up in New York City.
Poverty was rampant, but the experience that I derived from this tour, rich. I remember seeing the German gun emplacements for their huge artillery, the immense heat, the constantly blowing sand, the locust invasion, and the guarding of the very first Matador missiles.
I was only there a few months, but I returned a much different human being.
At my house in Mountain View, I was looking through some boxes and found this old picture of me with a Libyan woman at the time. That took me back in times. Also, this upheaval taking thus prompted me to write a bit about it. Libya is a much different place today.