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
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|
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
|Photos of Folks I Most Remember (1957 - 59)||Miscellaneous Scenes, (1957 - 59) Seabee Memories & Links to the new Davisville & Port Huneme Museums|
|Photographs (1952) from the Vincent Butkevis Collection Photographs (1956 - 1957) from the Gene Roth Collection||Photographs (1955 - 1957) from the Carl Sedquist Collection Photographs (1958 - 1959) from the John Skoglund 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 email@example.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
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.
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