While in the U.S. Army, Keith (then called Oz or Ozzie Wheeler) served on a "special mission assignment" to Saudi Arabia, namely the United States Army Element of the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia (U.S.M.T.M.). This was a small group of U.S. Army (& 1 Air Force) personnel located in the then seldom heard of desert capitol of Riyadh during parts of 1960 and 1961. Here are some albums of images from those times. Many are scanned from old 35 mm slides, black and white photos, as well as other images. Many of the color slides have suffered over the years from poor storage conditions and are presented here not for high quality, but to share memories. Most black and white photos were taken with Air Force high speed (i.e., grainy) film and were developed by Keith under less than optimum conditions in the group's Riyadh darkroom (dirty and warm water to mix developing solutions!). Many shots, both black & white and color slides, were taken "on the fly" for fast candid (sneaky) photos to be later improved in the darkroom or much later with the digital scanner. Keep in mind that taking photos in Saudi Arabia back in these times was risky. It was usually forbidden to take photos of women and children; many locals believed that the camera lens could be an "evil eye."
Information presented in these albums is based on 44 year old and very fuzzy personal memory banks. Accuracy is not guaranteed. Probably every caption should be preceded by the qualifier, "If I remember correctly..." Corrections &/or additions are welcomed.
Original photographs, along with higher resolution digital images, were donated on 16 November 2005 to Al-Turath, a non profit foundation, located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who will work to put a complete copy at the Saudi National Archive for Historic Photographs at the King Fahad Library. For permission to use these images from this collection for commercial or publication purposes, please contact Al-Turath directly via their contact site.
Authorization to share lower level images with friends and family for private/personal use has been maintained by the photographer, Keith Wheeler. For information about this, contact:
Also, please let us know if you can help us make contact with other USMTM personnel that served in Riyadh around this time period or any of our Saudi friends and associates from those days.
See crude old map from "Through the Camel's Eye with ibn Moses" for relative location of buildings & landmarks of Riyadh in 1960-61.
Collection of 9 old Saudi postcards.
Scanned Black & White Prints ©2005
Black & White Photos, Group #1 - Riyadh
Black & White Photos, Group #2 - Mission Personnel & Friends - Everyday life of our Riyadh gang & friends.
Black & White Photos, Group #3 - Mission Personnel & Friends - Everyday life in & around Riyadh
COLOR SLIDES ©2005
US to Saudi Arabia - July 1960
Around Riyadh & City Zoo - Aug. 1960
More Views Around Riyadh - Aug. 1960
Asmara, Eritrea, Africa - Aug. 1960
Feast & Fun at Al Kharj Farm - Sep. 1960
Royal Palace, Riyadh, Part I - Sept. 1960
Royal Palace, Riyadh, Part II - Sept. 1960
Flight in King's DC3 - Nov. 1960
Christmas 1960 - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Winter Walk; Friends Leaving - Jan. 1961
Asmara, Eritrea, Africa - Jan. 1961
Riyadh & Road to Al Kharj - Desert Drives - Jan/Feb. 1961
Al Kharj Volleyball Visit - Feb. 1961
MODA, Ministries & Other New Riyadh Buildings - Feb.-Jun. 1961
Buildings & Views of Old Riyadh - Apr.-May 1961
Riyadh City Life Views & Wadi w/Dino - Feb.-Apr. 1961
Duriah/Diriyah Ruins - Mar. 1961
Id Al-Fitr celebration - Mar. 1961
East (Gulf) Coast visit - Apr. 1961
Desert Drive - Dhahran to Riyadh - May 1961
Duriah/ Diriyah Ruins - May 1961
Last Views of Riyadh - Good Friends Made - May 1961 & Before
Leaving Riyadh - Goodbyes - Leave Saudi Arabia - June 1961
Commercially Produced Saudi Slides
.HOLY LAND TOUR - Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jordan River, Dead Sea - Aug. 1960
.INDIA VISIT ON RETURN TRIP TO STATES- Jun. 1961
.THAILAND VISIT ON RETURN TRIP- Jun. 1961 Part 2
.LEBANON (Still searching for lost slides of 2 separate visits (Oct. '60 & Apr. '61) - See: 2002 return to Lebanon.)
Collection of 5 old Lebanon postcards & 1 Xmas card.
(A 24 year old GI writes home about experiences & observations while in the Middle East)
Saudi Links - With emphasis on those related to Riyadh area
Back to Family Photo Index Page Back to Travels with Peg & Keith Index