Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Colonel Robert Cranston update

19:11 EST

Sunday 26 JAN

Dear AFNers All:

Spoke to Sandy a short time ago and there is mixed news about our Colonel's progress. He remains in the Medical Intensive Care Unit and Saturday had a down day, with some of the doctors again casting doubts as to whether he could survive. The information then was that a CAT scan of his lungs day asg, had shown a very large blood clot right where the catheter inserted into his chest connects with his renal system, and is used for dialysis. The doctors were very upset at the clot's size, and Sandy says they theorized that a small portion of the clot had broken off last Wednesday afternoon and flowed to his lungs, which, inturn, caused the cardiac arrest.


The fact that this clot is so large and in a very vulnerable spot, connected to his dialysis system, meant that since the cardiac arrest, he has NOT been receiving dialysis. The bad news is that he needs it to assist his kidney function but I assume, and this is an ASSUMPTION on my part, the good news is that his kidneys have functioned well enough through today, the 26th, that he is still alive!

Then today, Sunday, Sandy said both the head renal doctor and the I C U doctor in charge, both were "amazed" (her word) at how well the Colonel is doing after yesterday, when they were upset about his condition. ( His various readings must be better) and Sandy says he looks and appears better, and so she is encouraged again, while yesterday she was expecting the Social Workers to resume another end-of-life discussion with her as to when or if to "pull the plug.". She tells me she is expecting one of those tomorrow, as the Social Worker staff is much thinner on weekends. However that may not be necessary. His condition improved so much today that she says they will resume kidney dialysis tomorrow despite the blood clot , as they now believe his blood thinning medicine will have shrunken the clot a bit, and they are willing to take a chance with resuming the dialysis his kidneys need.

I want to thank all of you who responded to me ( with compliments and information) about my unfortunate e-mail discussion with AFN's current senior Public Affairs Officer in the Riverside, CA Broadcast Center, Lawrence Sichter (SICK-ter). If I wanted to be "cute", I would say there is some irony in the way his name is pronounced, as the lack of interest on his part, and the rest of the current AFN hierarchy, to what is going on, makes me "sick." I have now learned from several of you that this gentlemen has been less than cooperative as long ago as a decade, in his cooperation, or lack thereof, in projects related to the splendid, and important history of AFN during the War years, and for the decades immediately after. That gives me some context as to why both the current AFN components at Fort Meade, MD and California are as apparently disinterested in the current situation as they are.

Here is a heads up for you all. The first week in February, beginning on Monday the 4th, I will be attending the World Sea Turtle Conference in Baltimore, MD and will, therefore be out of touch with Sandy! I invite any of you who have the time and interest, to check in with her to continue these medical bulletins as needed. Her cell, again, is (redacted, let me know if you need it - thom). That is the most dependable number on which to reach her. I will try to resume my reports on Sunday the 10th of Feb. or later that week as needed. ( For those of you who do not know me, my chief retirement activity is Sea Turtle Conservation public relations and free lance writing.)

If I may end on a personal note, these reports, plus working on Bob's obit, should it become necessary soon, is beginning to really get me " down." I have my own health issues, and they are a bit wearing, but I am young compared to our Colonel , and I can only guess at how difficult this must be for him, fighting against all odds to overcome all the complications that followed the totally successful heart surgery. He and Sandy have gone through so much, I can only marvel at their personal strength! The two of them are so much stronger and more courageous than I, it makes me ashamed to complain for even a second!

God Bless Y'all from Reston
AFN Newsroom, Hoechst
1960 '61

Andrew N Guthrie



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Former AFN Commander Col. Robert Cranston suffers cardiac arrest.

Posted by: "Andrew N Guthrie" guthrie_andrew

Date: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:12 pm ((PST))



As of 21:12 EST

Dear AFNers All:

I am sorry to report that Colonel Cranston suffered cardiac arrest this - - Wednesday - - afternoon about 4 PM EST at the Rehabilitation Center at the U of VA Medical Center Campus. The doctors and staff had to use the defibrillator paddles you have all seen on TV to shock his heart back into "normal sinus rhythm. He was rushed back to the Main Hospital Building but this time into a separate section of the Intensive Care Ward... the Medical I C U . When he was removed from I C U on the 15th of the month, he had been in the Post Surgical Intensive Care Unit. Sandy e-mailed me the news just before she began the drive back up to Charlottesville from their home in Huddleston.

Since he was resuscitated, colonel Cranston has been in a dialogue with his Doctors and nurses. Sandy tells me that during the nine days he was in the rehabilitation facility, he had grown significantly stronger and, in fact, yesterday, - - Tuesday - - he had breathed totally on his own for seven hours. Then today, the technicians began another session of kidney dialysis and that is when his heart stopped. Sandy feels that just p[perhaps, yesterday's activity tired him out and that it might not have been a good idea to do the dialysis on him today. However I told her that it will make us all crazy trying to second guess the doctors there.

The good news is that hours after he was back in the I CU unit he signaled to the Doctors that, when they asked him what he wanted them to do if his heart stopped again, he emphatically signaled that he wanted to be resuscitated. As I write this, Sandy is being driven back to the Hospital in Charlottesville and we agreed we will talk again Thursday morning after which I will forward any new information.

Sandy did tell me that during her first call from his doctors after he was back in the I C U she was asked if she wanted to "put him through all that again..." meaning starting over with his care in the I C U for an indefinite time. She will talk to Bob tonight about his wishes, but she already knows what he signaled to the doctors from their later phone call, that he wants to LIVE!

If any of you wish to send him cards of encouragement, his new address is Colonel Robert Cranston, Room 89, Third Floor, Medical Intensive Care Unit, University of Virginia Medical Center, 1215 Lee Street, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0816.

I am very sorry to have to report this latest difficult development in Colonel Cranston's fight for life. I am heartened by Sandy's enthusiastically telling me about his dramatic improvement at the rehab facility for the nine days, until this setback. She feels strongly that he is in better physical condition now to withstand what happened today, than he was a week ago, and, with God's help, he will be able to get back out of the Main Hospital and back into the Rehab building where he was making such progress. I intend to send an update tomorrow as I get more information.

God Bless,


Army Pfc. ( by Colonel's order) Andrew Guthrie (Ret.) AFN Headquarters Newsroom, Hoechst


Andrew N Guthrie

"The best thing about a man ..... is his dog..." ancient French probverb




Sunday, January 6, 2013

AFN Bremerhaven Pete Pittman 1981

Country Pete

Pete went to a lot of our stations in Alaska, Korea and Germany.  Writer, musician (even played with Stonewall Jackson on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.  He's also appeared in six theatrical movies.

He even worked behind the scenes at AFRTS-LA.

But in 1981 from Bremerhaven it was time to celebrate the year in country music.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Former AFN commander Robert Cranston very ill


Posted by: "Andrew N Guthrie"

Date: Tue Jan 1, 2013 2:34 pm ((PST))


This  is to alert you to the pending death of 95-year-old U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) Robert R. Cranston, the officer personally selected by General Eisenhower to command World War Two's "G-I" broadcasting operation, offiially known as The American Forces Network, Europe, or AFN,E for short. In addition to serving as commanding officer of The American Forces Network for more than a decade, he also commanded The Blue Danube Network.

Colonel Cranston is dying from complications following heart surgery on the 20th of November at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. I served under Colonel Cranston as a Private in the AFN Newsroom in 1960 and 1961. I have been authorized by his wife, Sandra K. "Sandy" Cranston, to inform all relevent publications, military and civilian, so as to give you time to update your existing obits, or to prepare one.

Colonel Cranston is in room 4128 of the Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital, 1215 Lee Street, Charlottesville, VA, 22906-0816. His home address is: 726 Cedar Key Lane, Huddleston, Virginia, 24104-3214. (540) 297-7052.

For additional information on The American Forces Network, Europe you can go to Wikipedia for general information, and you can also contact the historian at the headquarters of the American Forces Network, located at Fort Meade, Maryland. The phone number is: (301) 222-6532. The Department of Defense unit responsible for The American Forces Network is called The Defense Media Activity Broadcast Services Directorate, and no specific phone number is given.

The News Media information telephone number at the University of Virginia Hospital is: (434) 924-5679 and the Senior Media manager is Josh Barney. After hours phone: (434) 982-1100

I write as a former NBC News and Voice of America correspondent and, should you need any additional information from me, my home phone is: (571) 313-0504 and my cell is: (703) 447-2644.

I can give you this quote: "Colonel Cranston was the perfect officer to run a 14-station radio network in France, Germany, and Italy, because he had both a military background in the Signal Corps, and most especially because his family managed the commercial radio station WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas and so he knew the business inside and out."

January 7, 2013 update from Sandy Cranston:

Greetings to all from Sandy Cranston - I'm glad to report that Col. Bob is holding his own and indeed fighting for his life in his indefatigable style. Andy has caused some confusion, I am afraid re our insurance...we have Medicare and Tricare for life. The situation with dialysis is somewhat new with Medicare, I'm not sure when the rules were changed. They only allow "acute kidney failure" treatment at the hospital where the condition was diagnosed. Most of the medical professionals I've talked to at the University of Virginia don't understand these rules either. It's obviously something new.

We are praying hard that Bob's kidneys will spring back into service as they did several weeks ago after only 3 dialysis treatments! That would solve our dilemma and Bob could be transferred to Lynchburg, only an hour or so from our home. I'm sure he would recover more quickly there near family and friends, and away from Intensive Care!!!

Thanks for all your prayers, and I'll keep you informed of his progress! Later, Sandy