Mel Erman: Aviano & Vicenza Italy
"After I left Italy, after 4 years of active duty, on the list for Captain, I decided, after seeing I couldn't get the posts I had asked for (I was headed for Fort Huachuca, which I thought was not exciting -- it was actually setting up for Cuba), and entered civilian life. Chasing the all-mighty dollar seemed petty very quickly. And, with wife and 2 children, decided to return to military service. It took one year to process the papers, and on the very day I received my orders to return to active duty, I received a great offer from a civilian advertising firm. Bad timing, good timing, who knows?I stayed a civilian and in 1971 started my own firm and just last April, turned it over to my son, Brad, born in Vicenza in 1960. A little Italian-American you might say."
(At All ASA Italy Reunion 2001) "Anyway, I'm 64 now, living in Bloomington, IN, sorry that Bobby Knight is gone, but enjoying the new-found freedom. I hope we can arrange a reunion, particularly if it is in Indianapolis (my home), and will look forward to seeing all of our great crew."
Photo from Mel Houdek taken at 2001 reunion in Indy.
"I just returned to Italy for the first time this last September. I spent most of the time in Tuscany, a part of beautiful Italy which I had not seen much of during my tour there. But, I did travel to Vicenza. I was able to bluff my way unto the Ederle Caserne, and after some minutes found the old barracks area and antenna field. 40 years can do a lot of damage to a fond remembrance. I can't imagine what the sites at Ravenna and Lecce must look like now. But, it certainly wasn't all bad. The Italians still drive just the same, they just have bigger, badder, faster cars. They are fabulously rich by the standards we judged them then. Of course, we were soooo very rich! And, yes, we were. It was a great time to be alive."