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A Bit of History, 1959-1960

Some History from the 1959 to 1960 School Year

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“Sponsored by Captain J. L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco,was a festive “Friendship Day” on May 5, 1960, as part of the “People to People Program.” This successful event drew over 5,000 visitors from the local community to witness a demonstration of a helicopter rescue, Navy fire fighting, a huge picture display depicting Navy friendship in action during the Rharb Valley floods and the Agadir earthquake, and the fly-over by the USAFE Skyblazer jet team. Pictured above are people from the local community walking through an R5D “Skymaster” of Fleet Tactical Support Squadron TWENTY-FOUR based here at Kenitra. Included in the throng who visited this day were approximately 1,500 school children who took time off from their school studies to visit this magnificent display.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above is a Quonset hut, a gift of the Naval Base at Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco, to the city of Kenitra for an international library, being lowered into place on its foundation. Because of an ever-increasing need for library facilities due to the English language teaching program by the Navy Wives in the Takadoun School, this community project was undertaken. Stocked initially with approximately a thousand books, divided among Arab, French and English titles, this international library was dedicated in the presence of high state and governmental officials on the 4th of July, 1960, as the highlight of the gala 4th of July celebrations hosted by Commander Naval Activities, Captain John L. Counihan, U.S. Navy.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above is part of the thousand books initially stocked in the new “International Library,” presented by the Naval Base, Port Lyautey to the city of Kenitra, as part of the continuing program of “People to People” and “Community Projects.” In response to an increasing need for library facilities because of the popularity of the Navy Wives English language teaching program in the Takadoun School in Kenitra, this library was built and dedicated with formal ceremonies in the presence of high state and Moroccan governmental officials ob the 4th of July 1960, as the highlight of the Navy Base 4th of July celebrations hosted by Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above is United States Ambassador to Morocco, the Honorable Charles W. Yost, co-mingling with the large host of Moroccan, U.S. and foreign governmental officials, participating in the celebration marking the dedication of the new “International Library” presented by the U.S. Naval Base at Kenitra to the city officials of Kenitra, as part of a continuing program of “People to People” and “Community Projects.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“With the colors massed in front of the reviewing stand, a salute is rendered by Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco; the Dutch Ambassador, the Honorable Goemans; the Pashe (Mayor of Kenitra), Excellency Abdelhamid El Alaoui; and Colonel S. Mandeville, Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks. The massing of the colors concluded the huge parade which was part of the of the gala 4th of July 1960 celebration held aboard the base, and hosted by Commander Naval Activities as part of the continuing program of “people to People” and “Community Projects.” The afternoon festivities consisting of an all-hands picnic followed the dedication of the new “International Library” in Kenitra, a gift of Naval Base authorities. The day was climaxed with a huge display of fireworks. Many Moroccan and foreign dignitaries were present throughout the day.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above we see the new “Friendship Park” installed at the main entrance to the Naval Station, Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco. Conceived and brought into being by Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Port Lyautey, the “Friendship Park” represents a gesture of good will and a gift of beautification to the city of Kenitra. The above park was one of many community projects undertaken by the Naval Station during the past year (1960).” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above is Dr. Chattel, resident physician at the Canterac Hospital located in Kenitra, Morocco, inspecting a water distilling unit which was presented to the hospital by Naval Reserve Squadron 883 of Olathe, Kansas in 1960. Naval Reserve Squadrons deploy to Port Lyautey for annual training duty. This idea of training duty in the Mediterranean, and the presentation of a gift of good will to the Government of Morocco was the brain child of Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Port Lyautey and has been in being now these past two years. All squadrons who come to Morocco for training bring gifts ranging from frozen bull semen, for the betterment of the cattle strain in Morocco, to powdered milk for the orphanage, and books for the “International Library” in Kenitra. All of these projects are part of a continuing program of President Eisenhower’s “People to People” program. Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above ate two Quonset huts, part of ten Quonset huts given to the city of Kenitra for erection, renovation, painting and completion as school units. This gift of ten Quonset huts for increased school facilities for the Medina area of the city of Kenitra, was part of the continuing program of “people to people” and “Community Projects,” as sponsored here by Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Kenitra. In response to a request by the Pashe (Mayor of Kenitra) Alaoui, for Quonset huts, in order that his school program could be enlarged, the Naval Base surveyed ten Quonset huts, moved them to their new location, and renovated them. With the project completed, it is anticipated that the schools will be formally dedicated about the 1st of September 1960 in the presence of Naval and local Moroccan dignitaries.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Pictured above is the mammoth picture display, depicting “Friendship in Action,” part of a huge display put on in the hangar on the Naval Station on “Friendship Day,” 4 May 1960. In a continuing program of “People to People” and “Community Projects,” “Friendship Day” was sponsored by Captain John L. Counihan, Commander Naval Activities, Kenitra, Morocco, as a gesture of good will and friendship. This successful event drew over 5,000 visitors, many of them school children who came aboard to witness this huge display and demonstrations of helicopter rescue, Navy fire fighting and other static displays. The huge picture displayed above depicted Navy assistance and friendship in action during the Rharb Valley floods of the past winter and the Agadir earthquake of March 1960.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Mrs. Mercedes C. Perry, wife of the Executive Officer of the Naval Air Station at Port Lyautey, and one of the members of the Officer’s Wives Club Teaching Program, conducts her beginner’s English class at the Takadoun School in Kenitra. The Moroccan students study Arabic and French in addition to English which is now being taught for the third consecutive year.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“A U.S. helicopter from the U.S. Naval Air Station, Port Lyautey, Kenitra, Morocco, is show above dropping food and supplies to stranded Moroccans during the Rharb Valley flooding (1958). During the course of the year, Commander Naval Activities, Captain John L. Counihan, is called upon to render assistance and aid in times of disaster. Above picture represents aid of this nature being rendered for the second year in a row when the Rharb valley flooded during a rainy season. Commander Naval Activities was called upon also to render aid during the Agadir earthquake which followed immediately after the Rharb Valley flooding.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“Navy-Marine and Air Force players who participated in the football game at Kenitra’s Municipal Stadium on “Orphan’s Day” on December 4, 1959, hoist young Moroccan orphans on their shoulders at the end of their long thrill-packed day as guest of the U.S. Navy. Proceeds of the game went to the Societe Musulman de Bienfaisance, for the benefit of the local orphans.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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“The “Orphan’s Day” football game held on December 4, 1959 at the Municipal Stadium in Kenitra attracted a large local crowd, many of whom had never seen a football game before. Among the dignitaries and officials were: (left to right) the Pashe’s Khalifas (assistants), His Excellency Hadj Mohammed Lebbar, (3rd left), and His Excellency Thami Serouillou; the Pashe of Kenitra (mayor), His Excellency Moulay Abdel Hamid el Alaoui; Captain John L. Counihan, Commander, U.S. Naval Activities; Captain Verne A. Jennings, Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Port Lyautey; Mr. Abdel Rahman M’Kensi, local sports director; and Lieutenant Commander Leon H. Blair, Staff Liaison Officer.” Official U.S. Navy photograph.

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"Blind Moroccans in prayerful stances as the pashe (mayor) of Kenitra, Morocco, thanks Commander Louis J. Balestra, USNR, of Norwood, for gifts presented to the blind by reservists from South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Left to right, Lieutenant Commander J. Richard Lamere, USNR, of Canton, Commander Balestra, the pashe's assistant, the pashe and Lieutenant Commander Louis Cosentina, USNR, Providence." Published December 6, 1960 in the Boston Traveler.

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Contact

Dr. Douglas Campbell
dcamp@aol.com