Wednesday, December 29, 2010

AFKN story from Monte Jones

Late one night, a couple of the boys smoked too much weed and drank too much beer and afterward searched for something to do to shatter the boredom. One of the boys from Engineering ran a few possibilities through his muddled brain and mentally tied together a McDonald’s Golden Arches flag he has recently brought back to AFKN when returning from leave in the US, with the network commanding officer’s name – Army Lt. Col. Malcom McDonald. That was it! A bit of humor that would surely cause some degree of irritation and sweep away the boredom. So, this young and spirited soldier climbed the tower atop the main headquarters building and hoisted the red and gold flag in the name of the network commander. I wasn’t there for the event but was told that the planter of the flag had trouble getting down from the tower and then from the roof of the building. The next day when the soldier was told that Colonel McDonald was not in-country, but in the States, the soldier just stared into space and said, “Oh.” He actually did that a lot. That morning, with the flag waving in the breeze, those of us who were aware of its presence tried not to look up toward the flag when going in or out of the main building, so that it might be up long enough for Stars & Stripes photos. However, a warrant officer, the senior military person in Engineering, saw the flag high above and made a swift decision to have all the enlisted men surgically altered to turn them into eunuchs. Luckily, that decision was over-ridden by an Air Force captain who was in charge in the absence of the colonel. Thank gawd (as we say in the South) for the Air Force. The flag was removed after a few hours of fun and things on the AFKN hill returned as near to normal as was the usual situation.

Gary Thompson continues the story: SGM Lacy was a good guy as well. He actually protected Ron and I from being arrested by the Korean National Police. It seems our little flag on the MW tower stunt started a nation-wide alert. You might recall President Park had spotters sitting on roof tops, their mission was to scan the horizon for colored flags. If they saw a RED flag, they would raise their flag and another spotter would do likewise, all across the Northern part of the land. Well, Our McD flag was RED and RED meant something really bad!

Lacy told Ron and I to hit the Blue Train to Taegu and stay their until he called. We did. In a few days, Lacy allowed us to return to the hill. Thats how I learned what a jewel Taegu was. A short time later I transferred from Seoul to Taegu. Twas the best deal I ever made!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AFRS Spain

Here's a neat perspective, I just heard from Andoni, the blogger at He's a Spaniard that misses the AFRTS stations in Spain and the country music in particular.

Here's what he had to say: AFRS Spain the blog is Spanish, so I ran it through google translate.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fred Foy March 27, 1921 – December 22, 2010

Fred Foy, the Lone Ranger announcer has paased away.  Fred was an AFRS veteran.  This is from Wikipedia:

He was inducted August 28, 1942, entering the American armed forces September 11, 1942. Attached to the 14th Special Service Company, Sergeant Fred Foy became the American voice on Egyptian State Broadcasting, delivering news and special programs to the Allied Forces in Cairo. He handled the distribution throughout the Middle East of American recordings, in addition to local broadcasts of Command Performance, Mail Call, Personal Album, Radio Bric-a-Brac and Front Line Theatre. He also announced The American Forces Programme. For Stars and Stripes he did American News Letter, a weekly summary of news from America, plus sport flashes and items from various theatres of war. For Cairo cinemas, he announced Headline News of the Day. Foy helped stage and announce USO sponsored programs, including a Jack Benny broadcast from Cairo to New York and an Andre Kostelanetz concert with Lily Pons.

Foy scripted his own shows, including Up To Scratch, a lively program of the current hit tunes, and Shows on Parade, which he hosted. When he wrote and directed Christmas Overseas, broadcast from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in the Holy Land it received top honors from Washington. Featuring Christmas music by the Franciscan Boys’ Orphanage Choir, the program opened with a Christmas story offering reasons for fighting the War. Working with Stars and Stripes, he created and announced a program airing World Series play-by-play to GIs. He also scripted, directed and acted with the American Red Cross during the 1945 War Fund Campaign. Foy received a commendation for voluntarily remaining at his post during the hours from August 10, 1945 until final August 15 confirmation of the Japanese surrender, making the latest news available at all times during the news emergency prior to the surrender. He was discharged on January 3, 1946 at Camp Atterbury in Indiana.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Obituary for Calvin LaMartiniere

Cal was one of my DINFOS teachers and truly a character.

Calvin Mitchel LaMartiniere, 71, passed away Thursday, December 9, 2010 at his residence.

He was a journalist and broadcaster for U.S.A.F. Arm Forces Radio, served three tours in Vietnam, awarded the bronze star and was a Special Ed teacher for the Rapides School system.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mitchel & Lucille LaMartiniere; and sister, Clemelee who died at infancy.

He is survived by his three sisters, Betty LaMartiniere Nixon of Baton Rouge, LA, Lois LaMartiniere Carbo of Knoxville, TN and Mary LaMartiniere Barbera of Boyce, LA; two nephews; and four nieces; Cal, as he was fondly called was a lover of family, friends and life.

Family is having a private memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to charity of choice.

Sign Cal's memorial

Here's Cal's bigraphy from macoi

Cal Lamartiniere began his radio career in 1956 at the age of 15 as a guest disc jockey on KALB in Alexandria, Louisiana. After high school he was hired part-time at KCLP, a 500-watt station in Rayville, Louisiana. One of his assignments was to broadcast Rayville's high school football games, and during the half-time of the Rayville-Delhi game, he had the unique opportunity to interview Delhi resident Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin, a little-known minister named Jimmy Swaggert.

He left the station to attend the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette (now known as the University of Louisiana-Lafayette). His application for internship was accepted at WWL, a prestigious 50,000-watt station with studios in downtown New Orleans at the Roosevelt Hotel. Cal broadcast on two high profile radio programs. He served as announcer for the Leon Kelner Orchestra which broadcast each evening from the Roosevelt Hotel's Blue Room, and he also hosted "Nightflight from New Orleans," sponsored by American Airlines.

Joining the Air Force, Cal was assigned to AFRTS, and on Christmas Day 1966 he arrived at AFVN. He spent two years in Vietnam, the first year in news and the second as program director. After serving several months of his first tour in Saigon, Cal moved in May 1967 to Detachment 6 at Tuy Hoa. With studios literally on the beach of the South China Sea, Tuy Hoa was a coveted assignment. Facilities included a beachfront barbecue pit and bar. After re-enlisting and extending his tour, however, Cal returned to Saigon to serve as program director at the headquarters station. While at AFVN, he was promoted twice, and he left Vietnam on Christmas Eve 1968 as a Technical Sergeant (E-6).

His next assignment was to Washington, DC at AFRTS Headquarters. While there he moonlighted as an instructor at a local broadcasting school. For the remainder of his Air Force career, Cal served in all parts of the globe. He was, at various times, an electronics instructor at Lowry AFB, Colorado and Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and he was an instructor at DINFOS. He served in Europe and in Iceland, and at Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya. His final assignment was back at AFRTS in Washington, where he was promoted to Master Sergeant (E-7), and served as newscaster/writer and Executive Assistant Director of AFRTS Headquarters.

After 20 years with the Air Force, Master Sergeant Lamartiniere opted for retirement in 1983. But as a parting gift, and in a classic example of bad timing, Cal was told on the very day of his retirement that he had been selected for promotion to E-8. He politely declined, and returned to civilian status at the age of 43.

Cal then returned to the college campus, completed his degree, and became a high school teacher for the next 20 years. He retired from his second career in January 2003, and began spending his time building high speed computers. He lives in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Other Ameche Brother

Jim Ameche did his show for many years for the network. Brother Don was also quite the host.  In the early 50s AFRS did a program called Across the Board, misc musical broadcasts.  Randy thinks this is a heavily edited program from the "Here's to Romance" series.  Don and Jim sound a lot alike:

AFRTS and old time radio

Well into the 1980s, we ran a lot of oldtime radio.  We had access to huge libraries, restrictions on the television product made it another way to present a good story.  When it was being presented as a 'story', it was done well.  When it was 'nostalgia', it was a harder sell.  By 1980 90% of the troops hadn't been there for network radio, making it quaint.  They didn't understand where the joke even was with Fibber McGee joking about 'ration points'.  But drama, mystery and some comedy could be very entertaining.

Here's a 1977 repackaging of a 1940s broadcast.

I think that even today, it could be made to work.  What do you think?