Updated on 3/06/17

"Labess Sahebe" and a warm welcome to all who visit this website. A special thanks to Vickie Richards DeMott who was born at the Port Lyautey Naval Air Station on August 16, 1955 and who provided a color photograph of the original VR-24 Terminal welcome sign above. This website is a work in progress but the hope is that it will bring back warm and humorous remembrances to all those who served at the "Port" and/or the outlying Naval Communication Stations at Sidi Yahia or Bouknadel.

In Memory And Honor Of

All our former Shipmates in Morocco, who have received orders from Him, and have reported for duty aboard the eternal cruise.....

Lest we Forget

Personal Remembrances

Having a website on Port Lyautey had been in the back of my mind for many years. The Naval Base and my tour of duty there had, and still, bring back fond memories. And I am not the only one. Conversations with members of the Port Lyautey Alumni Association, members of the Davisville, RI Island X-1 (Navy Seabee Veterans of America) and former shipmates in Mobile Construction Battalion 4 (MCB 4), all of whom served there as well, voice the same opinion, it was one of the best duty stations in the Navy.

I arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Port Lyautey, Morocco in 1957 from the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. It was at Pensacola that I cross-rated to the Seabees. My father and uncle had been Seabees and so I carried on the family tradition. After cross-rating, I received orders to report to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville. At Davisville, I received further orders to report to the Naval Air Station at Norfolk for air transportation to Port Lyautey. I always wondered why the Navy didn't send me to Norfolk directly from Pensacola but that is one of those military things that just never seemed to have any rhyme or reason.

NAS Port Lyautey was located outside the city of Kenitra. After the Moroccans achieved independence from the French, they changed the name of the city from Port Lyautey to Kenitra in an attempt to rid themselves of the vestiges of French names and influences. In reality though, it was just a name change. Kenitra along with Casablanca, Rabat and other Moroccan cities were greatly influenced by French culture and it was this culture that American servicemen were exposed to. Tangier, across from the straits of Gibraltar, was a city whose culture was of the Spanish Moors. Meknes, Fez and Marrachesh were pure Moroccan in culture.

The Naval Base was a beehive of naval aircraft activity. Four squadrons were based there with constant take-off and landings of A3D's, P2V's, P4M's, R5D's and R6D's. I had flown to the Port from Norfolk, with a stop-off at the Azores for refueling on an R6D assigned to VR-22. Upon arrival, I reported to the Seabee detachment assigned to the base Public Works section.

As the years pass by, many of the names of shipmates have slipped from my memory but I still and especially remember Gordon "Sleepy" Clevenger (CDC), Tom "Fuzzy" Kramer (BU3), Jim Killebrew (CD2) and his wife Marilyn who graciously opened the hospitality of their home to me, Walt Owsiany (CN) and John Skoglund (SV3).

 

Lou Demas, Norton, MA

 

Photo Memories

Looking up the hill as you were coming up from the Hanger areas

The Base Hospital

Base main road

 

Enlisted family housing. Built by MCB#1 Seabees

Base Chapel. Built by MCB#6 Seabees

Enlisted Mess Hall

A view of the airstrip overlooking the Base Public Works section

Base Public Works Motor Pool

Looking towards the barracks area from the Navy Exchange. Base Hospital was to the right (unseen).

The following patch purportedly was an official patch of the Naval Air Station when it was a Naval Air Facility. This website would be most appreciative for any information that would ascertain if it was and in what years it was worn..........Web-Editor

Personal Memories

 

Photos of Folks I Most Remember (1957 - 59)

Chief Petty Officer Gordon B. "Sleepy" Clevinger

Seabee Detachment personnel (1957 -1959)

Kenitra & Rabat Scenes, (1957 - 59)

Photographs (1957 - 1959) from the Walter Owsiany Collection

Miscellaneous Scenes, (1957 - 59)

Around the Hangers. Tarmacs & Terminal, (1955 & 1957 - 59)

Miscellaneous Base Scenes, (1957 - 59)

Seabee Memories & Links to the new Davisville & Port Huneme Museums

Seabee On-Line

 

Contributor Memories

 

Photographs (1952) from the Vincent Butkevis Collection

Terminal Photographs (1962) from the Floyd Parsons Collection

Photographs (1951) from the Douglas Main Collection

Photographs (1954) and Narrative from the Peter Owen Collection

Photographs (1943 - 45) and Narrative from the Ed Wood WW2 Collection

Photographs (1958 & 1995) from the Jim Izzo Collection

Photographs (1997) from the Jim O'Leary Collection

Photograph (1942) and Narrative from the Dan Rathbun WW2 Collection

Photographs (1950) of NAF, VP-26 & Rabat from the John Brady Collection

Photographs (2003) of Kenitra from the Abdallah Essadiq Collection

Photographs (November-2004) of Kenitra from the Anouar Ouali Alami Collection

Photographs (1968 - 69) and Narrative of Sidi Bouknadel from the Thomas Makin Collection

Photographs (1953 - 55) of NAF & Sidi Yahia from the Charles Jackson Collection

Photographs (1966 - 1967) from the Jeri Yasi Collection

Photographs (1943 - 1944 from the Lou Bowen Collection

Photographs (1951 - 1953) from the Clifton Speed Collection

Photographs (1952 - 1954) from the Ron Lake Collection

Photographs of VW-2 (1953 -1954) from the Richard Dionne Collection

Contributor Stories & Photographs "UPDATED 6/19/16

Photographs (1957 - 1958) from the Dean Miner Collection

Photographs (1949 - 1951) from the Gene Richardson Collection

Photographs (1957 - 1959) American/French Commanders from the Christian Nielly Collection

Photographs of CDR Edward H. Bayers from the Edward H. Bayer Jr. Collection

YouTube film of Port Lyautey by Jerry Zimmerman and Michael Gerrity

Photographs (1956 - 1957) from the Gene Roth Collection

Photographs (1954 - 1955) from the Werner Meyer Collection

Surfing at Mehdia Beach (2016)

WW2 Navy French Morocco Photographs from the Douglas Dickey Collection

Photographs (1959) from the Paul Fleming Collection

Photographs (1960) from the Bill Theeringer Collection

Photographs (1944) from the Lawrence Gandsey Collection

Space Shuttle View of the former Naval Air Station

A letter from a resident American in Morocco 2006

Photographs (1958) from the Stephen Vano Collection

Photographs and narrative (1947 - 1948) from the Jerry Zimmerman Collection

Photographs (1942 - 1948) from the Jerry Zimmerman Collection Part Two

Photographs (1943 - 1944) from the Wade Voit Collection

Photographs (1945) from the Nicholas Proferes Collection

WW2 Article relating the taking of the Port Lyautey Air Base by the USS Dallas

Google Earth Photographs (2007 - 08) of the former Naval Air Station

Photographs (1960 - 1962) from the William Powers Collection

Photographs of Blimp Squadron ZP-14 from the Don Kaiser Collection

Photographs (2009) from the Greta Riemersma Collection

Photographs (1969 - 1970) from the Larry Taylor Sidi Yahia Collection

Photographs (1949 - 1951) from the Jim Touhey Collection

Ashtray Memento from Sidi Yahia, courtesy of Bryce Sutton

Photographs (1961 - 1962) from the Dick Allen Collection

Photographs (1969 - 1971) from the Darian Paganelli USNRS(T) Bouknadel Collection

Photographs (1955 - 1957) from the Carl Sedquist Collection

Port Lyautey news article from the January 1956 issue of Navy Aviation News

Mail Delivery Remembrances, 1947 -1948

Photographs (1972) from the Jim Steele Collection

Photographs (1955 & 2012) from the Susan Winstead Collection

Photographs (1952) from the Jim Lee Collection

Photographs (1955 - 1957) from the Bernie Frank Collection

Photographs (1958 - 1959) from the John Skoglund Collection

Port Lyautey 1943 from the Wayne Strausbaugh Collection


Operation Torch Links

Click here for an account of Operation Torch, WW2 Invasion of North Africa

Click here for photographs of the WW2 Invasion of North Africa including Algeria and Morocco

Click here for an account of P-40's being ferried to North Africa

Click here for an account USS Ranger Operations during Operation Torch

Click here WW2 US Army silent film of Morocco in the years following the Operation Torch invasion


YouTube links to Kenitra and Medhia Plage

Kenitra -1911 - 2006 on YouTube Kenitra on YouTube Kenitra 2011 Medhia Plage

 

VB-112 Deployment Information

The family of a deceased former Naval Officer, assigned to VB-112 during it's Port Lyautey assignment in WW2, is seeking that squadron's deployment information. Please click here for the VB-112 link.

ECM-2 Uncounted Casualties

Perhaps no Cold War unit suffered higher operational casualties than ECM-2 (later redesignated as VQ-2), a Port Lyautey based squadron. In 1958, eight crewmen died; on Jan. 16, 1959, 16 perished in Turkey. Then on May 22, 1962, in Germany, 26 men died in a crash. Six men went down Nov. 3, 1966, flying a mission from a carrier. An additional 56 squadron members were killed in the 60's. At least 12 crewmen died during the 70's. On Jan. 25, 1987, a plane flying off the Nimitz was lost with seven crewmen.

The following link is a tribute to that squadron. It is a tribute researched and compiled by a former crewman in that squadron, John D. Herndon, AMHC, USN, Retired. As web-editor of the Port Lyautey website, I was pleased to take John Herndon's photographs and narratives and construct the ECM archives on the Port Lyautey website. As a young Seabee stationed at Port Lyautey in the late 50's, I recalled numerous landings and departures of VQ-2 aircraft and was able to contribute a few photographs including an A3D landing with parachute deployed (located on the Port Lyautey History link).

There are over 50 photographs in this presentation and their stories reflect the same message as that sign left by US Army troops on the Burma Road during WW2 which stated, "Never forget those, who gave their "todays for your tomorrows". Well done Chief. Please click here to visit John Herndon's account.

John is also requesting that any visitor to this website who may have an emblem or patch for Naval Patrol Unit, NAF available for scanning, please contact him at herndonjohn@hotmail.com. John is also seeking pictures or info concerning Navy PB-1W (B-17) Port Lyautey which was operated by Naval Patrol Unit, NAF.

 

YouTube video tribute to the US Navy Seabees

click here

Visit the Vietnam Virtual Wall

Vietnam War casualties listed by Home of Record.

Visit the Arlington National Cemetery

Preserve and Honor the memories of those who died in the war against Global Terror

 

Please Visit These Other Moroccan Duty Websites

The Sidi Yahia website courtesy of Joe Glockner,CTC, USN,Ret.

The VR-24 website courtesy of Dick Prather, LCDR, USN Ret.

The Kenitra American High School website courtesy of Doug Campbell, "72".

USN Composite Squadrons - VC 5, 6, 7, 8 website courtesy of Charles Huber, former PT1, USN.

NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco History and it's greater VP Navy website courtesy of Nevins Frankel.

VP-21 and VPB-111 websites courtesy of Frank Balogh Jr, former AT2, USN

Nouasseur Alumni Association courtesy of Sharon Renno, "58"

The Port Lyautey Forever website courtesy of John D. Bernard

VQ-2 website courtesy of John Herndon, AMHC (AW) USN Retired

The Sidi Yahia Comstation site courtesy of Joe Franzen

 

In addition to the above Moroccan Duty websites, Jason Bo who had a hobby of buying old slides from the 40's to 80's, acquired a collection of slides from Port Lyautey and the USAF Base at Sidi Slimane from an Antique Mall who had received them from an Estate auction. While the photographs contained references to certain individuals, there is no definitive information as to names, rank/rates or other information of the individuals in he photographs. Jason has placed these photographs on flicker.com for viewing. Because they are 35 mm slides and almost 58 years old, they are not of excellent quality. However the scenes, especially of the bases and Port Lyautey will bring back remembrances. There are a few Port Lyautey photographs contained in the Sidi Slimane group especially of the Demas T. Craw plaque.

For the 1955 - 1956 Port Lyautey photographs click here. For the 1954 - 1956 Sidi Slimane photographs, click here.

 

French Websites regarding Port Lyautey

An interesting French website by Mr. Pascal Caron can be accessed by clicking here. Once the opening page of the CARPHAZ.COM website appears, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Entree. This will bring you to the Kenitra page. Scrolling down this page will find links to Kenitra and Medhia on the right side and "Kenitra et Port-Lyautey" on the left side with seven additional links that can be accessed. Many historical photographs. The CARPHAZ website is written totally in the French language but easily navigable.

Another interesting French website by Mr. Henri Aubert regarding Port Lyautey can be be accessed by clicking here. This site, AAKPPA, is an association whose members are people who have lived in Kenitra and have had some form of school, professional or military activity during the period of the French protectorate until 1965-1970. Again, written totally in the French language but easily navigable.

Click here for the Wikipedia account of the French Protectorate of Morocco

This Website is looking for French Foreign Legion Morocco Information

This website is looking for photographs of the French Foreign Legion from the late 40's to the early 50's era in the Port Lyautey/Kenitra area. Anyone who would care to share these photographs may contact me by e-mail to send a jpeg attachment or mail me the pictures. If mailed, I will copy them and return them to the sender. Full credit will be given to the donor.

The following two photographs had been forwarded to me with the only information being that the one on the left is from the mid - 1930's and the one on the right during the uprisings in the 1950's. Looking to determine where the photographs were taken, name of the units, where they were based, type of machine gun etc.

 

Finally, some WW2 Trivia.......click here

WEB-EDITOR Note! All photographs in this website, not credited, are from the Lou Demas collection.

Has nothing to do with Port Lyautey but is something I happen to agree with.....web-editor