Veterans Day Program - 1965
By Bill Altman SSG. ISA and Adrian Cronauer SSgt, USAF
[Received from BIll Altman in August 1965.]
Bill's Tour in Asmara, Eritrea
Wow David, so many memories. In fact so many that I assembled a series of photo and memory albums for my children and friends. The album covering the Asmara Eritrea period includes about 70 pages of photos and text. I’m sure we have many more people on this list with more interesting stories to relate Than mine. But one remains strong...I had graduated from the army information school in Dec. 1958 with the 703 MOS. After a couple of months at Ft. Hood, TX. One day my NCOIC at the PAO told me to report to personnel. He said I had orders. At personnel they handed me a stack of orders and told me I need to apply for a passport and complete a new security clearance form. I asked Where I was going. The clerk Initially said he wasn’t sure and pointed to the orders. “I’ve never seen this on Orders before,” he said. I followed his finger, it said 4th USASA fld. Sta., Asmara, Eritrea. I went to the post library to find a world map that revealed where it was located. I had never heard of the US Amy Security Agency. ?In my imagination I wondered if the barracks there would have a thatched roof, whether I would see lions in the wild (no but I did see wild baboons) My plane landed in Asmara a week after my 19 th birthday. I spent the next two years working as a DJ and newscaster at KANU radio/TV. Incidentally it was the Army’s first TV station. Thanks for asking.
[From BIll Altman's Message on "Who here served FIRST with AFRS anywhere?"]
[NB: The following is from a message from Bill dated July 29, 2016 and
explains a little of what he was doing between tours to Vietnam.]
Dear Mr. Hanan, Just a note to say hello and tell you how much I am looking forward to our visit to Ft. Bragg in late September. I know you have been in contact with Dick Ellis in Raleigh. Dick and I both worked in the XVIII Abn. Corps/Ft. Bragg PAO in the 60"s. I was the NCOIC of the Radio/TV branch from 1966-1969, left to attend Infantry OCS at Benning. After graduating, I returned to the XVIII Abn Corps' PAO in late 69 as a 2nd Lt. and was assigned as the editor of the Paraglide newspaper. I returned to Vietnam in 1970. I remember SMG Tony Garcia and also Mr. Mike Shutack who gave me my first officer efficiency report. Dick Ellis was part of our radio/TV branch crew before he was assigned to AFVN. We both have fond memories of our Ft. Bragg duties and are looking forward to returning. Thanks for your help with our AFVN group's tour of Ft. Bragg.
A couple of photos from Bill's days at Fort Bragg. Click Here
Story about Colonel Melanson
I would like to add my thanks and appreciation for the excellent work by our web masters for their reorganization of the personnel roaster. Great Job!!! Also thanks to the sender of this message who mentioned LTC Melanson. That message stirred some memories for me. When he was a full Colonel and PAO for the Military District of Washington, I worked for Ed Melanson during my first of two assignments there. In January of 1973, we coordinated media coverage of the State Funeral for former President Lyndon Johnson. Col. Melanson assigned me press area responsibility for The casket Transfer point on Constitution Ave. in front of the White House on Jan. 24 and the Memorial service at the National City Christian Church on Jan 25. We provided an army flat bed trailer for the press at the casket transfer point and restricted their movement once the transfer began. Despite their excellent,elevated view, one of the TV network teams started to move off the trailer during the transfer, to get another camera angle I stopped them. They became angry and warned me that "no lowly Lieutenant was going tell them what they could not do". They also said their boss would call my boss. I called Col. Melanson to tell him to expect an irate call. He told me not to worry and just keep doing my job. Sure enough when I got back to our office later that day, Col. Melanson said some senior network exec. had called to complain about me. He told the network guy that Whatever I said to the coverage team may has well come from Col. Melanson's own mouth and that if he had a problem with that he was welcome to call our Commanding General. Colonel Melanson pined my captain bars on me on March 20, 1973 and I continued working for him until he retired. He was one of the best PAO's I worked for. Thanks for the reminder. Bill Altman AFRS news 1965
[Received from BIll Altman in December 2019.]
[NB: And this is a reponse to the above from Dick Ellis.]
Hey Bill.... They don't have Mess Halls anymore... They don't have WAC's any more... (Remember I dated the WAC Exec. Officer when I was a PFC and she was a 1st Lt.? ) The commanding general and I went to the same Masonic Lodge (Spring Lake) at night and I delivered the Paraglide to his office by day! He saw me in the hall one day as a PFC and said..."Hey Dick, come in my office a few minutes I want to chat with you." I thought his staff would wet their pants....
I have also asked Frank if we could stop by and put some flowers on Martha Raye's grave on post. I interviewed her 4 or 5 times on AFVN-TV. By the way Frank... Bill Altman was my boss at Bragg and I can't tell you how great he was to a young draftee that had been in the US Army two months!! We are all excited to meet you soon!
When he sent these PDF files, Bill wrote:
I'm sending this because there seems to be confusion about Bob Di Rogge (or Bob Di Roggi). Ron Says he can't remember what Bob Di Roggi looks like. I have attached two pages from a photo album I made for my daughter about my year (1965) as a AFVN broadcaster in Vietnam. Both of the pages include photos of Bob Diroggi (Bob Di Rogge) who was the "Destination Noon" DJ and he followed Don Busser the "Dawn Buster" in the mornings. I apologize if the scanning quality is poor but I completed these quickly in order to help Ron and uncle Bob remember what Bob Di Roggi looked like in 1965. In one of these pages Bob is wearing our 1965 civilian clothes uniform that Ron should remember well.
Individual Photo Albums & Stories
Ernest T. "Bill" Altman, SSG, USA
Engineer, Saigon (65-66)