Ditty Bopper

Easley, SC

We were called "Ditty Boppers" in the Air Force Security Service. The official term was Morse Code Interceptor. Less than 1/2 of 1 percent were assigned to this career field. After Lackland AFB I was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base on April 14, 1963, six weeks after entering the Air Force. My first assignment was to San Vito Dei Normanni near Brindisi, Italy, where we monitored Morse Code messages from Communist countries across the Adriatic. Each airman had a specific assignment and country. San Vito had an elephant cage antenna. Transmissions were not difficult to copy. Brindisi was fantastic duty. Even though travel was restricted, we were able to visit Rome, Naples and my favorite, the Isle of Capri. It did not seem fair because I had friends who were in the Marines and Army serving in Vietnam.
My second assignment was Iraklion Air Station on Crete, near the city of Iraklion. As in Brindisi, every airman had a specific assignment. I was assigned intercepting messages from a group of unfriendly embassies. They were smart, informed and on occasion sent a Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday greeting.
We had security clearances called Crypto. I lost my clearance when I married a Greek National. It must have been the right choice, because we are still married 50 years later.

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