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59th Air Traffic Control Battalion
5th Signal Command

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.


16th AOD (1961-62)

14th Avn Co
(1962-78)

59th ATC Bn History
(1978-87)

3rd Bn, 58th Avn
(1987-19..)

AFOD


Related Links

 
16th Aviation Operating Detachment
1959
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Nov 12, 1959)

16th AOD main operating locations, 1959
  The 16th Aviation Operating Detachment, Echterdingen, was activated on Aug 8, 1958 at Fort Bragg, N.C. Originally, the unit included 44 military personnel and was capable of running a single Army airfield. After the detachment arrived in Europe to replace the 5th AOD, the unit was augmented with personnel from the departing 5th AOD to give it the capability to operate control towers all over the 7th Army area of operations.

The 16th AOD is the only Army unit of its type serving overseas. The mission of the AOD is to get Army aircraft in the air, keep tabs on them while in flight, and bring them down for a safe landing once they reach their destination.

CO of the detachment is Capt. Kenneth C. Stanley.

Personnel of the Det staff control towers and bad weather guides (radio, radar) at permanent installations in Illesheim, Kitzingen, Grafenwoehr and Hanau, as well as furnishing tower operators at several other Army airfields in southern Germany.

The headquarters section and base team operate out of a building on the northern (civilian side) side of Echterdingen airport. They have no control tower responsibility because that function is provided by German civilian operators who service both commercial as well as Army aircraft. However, the military personnel perform many of the other airfield functions for the Army (southern) side of the airport. These functions include running the Operations Office; dispatching flights (in coordination with the German civilian operators); providing all fuel for Army aircraft; maintaining a crash-rescue team around the clock.

(If Stuttgart AAF was primarily a military operation, the Det would also operate the control tower and the GCA.)

In a tactical situation (during field exercises), the Detachment moves to a designated location and sets up shop - a complete fifth airfield with navigational aids and control elements. The 16th AOD is highly mobile, keeping everything except for the runway in easy-to-move vans and trailers.Two full-size vans house mobile operations and flight operations center (FOC) facilities. Radar antennas are folded in small trailers. Small, portable aluminum towers can be loaded on the back of standard deuce-and-a-halfs.

1961 - 1962
(Source: 59th ATC Battalion Unit History, HQ 59th ATC Bn)
The 59th ATC Battalion had it's beginning at Echterdingen Army Air Field as the 16th Air Operation Det in October 1961.

The mission of the 16th AOD was to provide airfield operations support.

On 17 September 1962, the 16th AOD was redesignated as the 14th AATRI Company.

(Source: Email from Thomas Senuta, 16th AOD, Echterdingen Army Airfield, 1959-1960)
I saw your info on the 16th AOD. I was an original member with the unit when we were at Fort Bragg, N.C. The whole detachment left FT. Bragg in Feb. 1959 for Germany. The correct name was 16th Aviation Operating Detachment (A), "An Eye To The Sky". The unit may have been formed in 1958, but I joined it in 1959 after Signal Corps School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. I was in the communications squad.

I have all my paperwork from the unit somewhere in storage but I will do my best from memory so please bear with me. I have photos but they are one of a kind. One is a picture taken by me in 1959 of the sign that stood outside our barracks in Germany, 16th Aviation Operating Detachment (A). The A stood for army. I also have photos of myself and 2 of my buddies in front of the sign and also in front of our trucks. You can see the 7A 16AOD on the bumpers. I also have a letterhead from the unit when we were at Ft. Bragg, N. C.

As I told you in my last email, I joined the unit at Ft. Bragg in the last weeks of Jan. 1959. All our equipment was sent to Newport News, Va. to be sent to Germany by ship. An advance team was sent to Echterdingen ahead of us to get set up for our arrival. We were given 2 weeks leave and reported to Mcguire AFB for our trip to Germany. We arrived in Feb. 1959.

We were not operational when we arrived as our equipment was still in transit. It was over one month before we received everthing, this included trucks, gear, equipment everything. Our Company Co. was Capt. Kenneth Stanley. He was a qualified army pilot. Our XO was a 1st. Lt. Ramsey also a pilot. We also had 3 other pilots attached to our unit. One was a 1st. Lt. Bigalow (he was killed a short time later in a car crash in Germany) the others were a 1st. Lt. (the name I cannot remember) and a CWO (whose name I cannot remember). They were all pilots. Our 1st Sgt. was a Sgt. Barnett.

The 16th was a mobile Air operations unit. We would be sent on maneuvers to set up operations at airfields that had no control tower or GCA (Ground Control Approach). We were a small unit, no more than 40 men. Everything we had was mobile. The control tower was set up on the back of a deuce and a half. We had trailers that had our FOC (Flight Operations Center) and our communications center. Our GCA was on trailers, also all our generators. We also had a crash truck and a tanker truck for fueling aircraft.

When I first joined the unit I said what in the hell kind of outfit is this. Of course we had tractors to pull the trailers (FOC and COMM) the other stuff we towed with the duece and a halfs. We had many different MOS's. in the unit. We had radar repairmen, GCA operators, Generator Repairmen, Teletype operators, Wiremen/switchboard operators (my job) truck mechanic, Crash truck crew, Fueling crew, Air operations men, cook, Air traffic Controllers. We were a mixed bag. Our weapons were the M-1 carbine and the Colt 45 sidearm. I think one guy had a grease gun.

WE did no operations at the airfield as this was all done by the german civilians. They were in control of the control tower and the GCA. We did control the air operations center at the airfield for all military aircraft. The airfield was split in two with military being on one side and the civilian on the other side. Just like Rhein-Main. All army aircraft were under the control of center, I believe it was in Heidelburg. WE were based at the airfield but did not control it.

Later some of our guys were sent to the Army Airfield in Kitzingen. Some were sent someplace else but I cannot remember. I left the unit the latter part of 1960 (transferred) to the 32nd Signal Bn, V Corps, Darmstadt Germany. I spent many days at Darmstadt with the 16th on maneuvers as they had an airfield but no operations there. It seemed strange to be sent back there again but thus time with another unit.

I left Germany in Feb. 1961 and was sent to Ft. Benning, Ga., to the 122nd Signal Bn, 2nd Inf. Div. I was discharged on Sept. 4, 1961.

I have been back to Germany several times as my wife is from one of the towns near the airfield. My old barracks are gone and the military airfield is just about gone. Oh yes we were attached to 7th Army. In fact 7th army aviation had a training center in the same compound as us.
Tom Senuta

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
I have included a scan of my travel orders from the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C. (Movement Directive) to the CO 16th AOD, Fort Bragg, N.C. to Germany. At that time our Authorized Strength was 5 officers 1 WO and 53 EM's. At the time of our movement we only had 35 EM and 4 Officers.

In reading some of the e/mails on the 16th AOD barracks and the tunnel from Nellingen to Echterdingen I can tell you I have never heard or seen this. Also, for the town of Bernhausen being bombed during WW2 this is not true. My wife is from Bernhausen and when I was there in 1959 there was no clue of bomb damage and the same for Echterdingen. Yes there was damage to Stuttgart as there was some serious bombing of this city. I have talked with some people from Bernhausen in the past and they have no knowledge of the airfield being flooded. My late father-in-law worked at the airfield after the war. I did live in the ex. luftwaffe barracks on the civilian side of the airfield. As I stated in one of my e/mails I was stationed at the civilian side of the field. There was the 16th AOD and the the 7th Army Avn. Training center at this site. I would be most happy to tell you what we had to go thru while we were stationed on the civilian side.

On some of the pictures you had of the 16th there was a PFC. Ken in the control tower. I believe this was PFC. James Kendall as he was a ATC with the 16th. I also remember the german canteen in one of the pictures so I will tell you a few stories from this also.

If you look at the H-34 which was parked outside the 16th AOD motor pool (Photo #2) you will see the new hanger that was built, you can also see the civilian canteen the low flat building. The next building was the 7th Army Avn. Training Center. Beyond the 7th Army Training Center was the 16th AOD Barracks. The whole complex was steam heated and in the middle of the building was a furnace room that was using coal at the time, the german national in charge of the furnace room was a Herr Fischer who lived in Bernhausen.

In the 16th barracks there were two floors. The top floor was the orderly room, the CO's office. The 1st Sgt. shared the orderly room with the Company clerk. Down the hall were 2 NCO rooms and the day room which overlooked the autobahn. Also on the top floor was the latrine, 2 shower stalls all tiled with tile floor. Also on the top floor were our living quarters. There was one big room and in the rear was another room. Some of us had double bunks I did not as I slept in the main room. Our living quarters overlooked the autobahn.

One morning we woke up and found a whole band of gypsies camped out in the parking lot. On the lower floor was the commo room, the supply room, the arms room, the mail room, parts room. Each section had their own little room such as GCA, FOC, ATC etc. Our mechanic had a stall to work on the trucks, jeeps and whatever else broke down. It was pretty tight quarters.

Strange as it may seem we only had one tractor to pull 2 trls, the FOC van and the operations van. If we were on a alert we would haul out one van and then come back for the other one. I always thought this was strange. The driver of this rig was PFC. Bill McClure from Texas. All the other Equipment could be hauled with 2 and 1/2 ton trucks so we could haul the GCA unit along with the generators. The whole motor pool was ours except for a few jeeps and 3/4 ton trucks from the 7th Army Training Center.

16th AOD sign in Motor Pool


Meal Card, 29th TAAM Co Mess Hall, 1962
  Most of the pilots at the training center stayed at the BOQ on the military side of the airfield. At the school were flight simulaters. Each person in each section was assigned a truck to drive. Our CO Capt. Stanley had his own jeep and his driver was Pvt. Charles Blackorby from Mass.I wish I had a picture of this jeep as it was painted up real good. The portable ATC towers was mounted on the back of a 2½-ton truck. When we went on maneuvers the Germans thought the circus was coming to down. What with the orange and white GCA radar and the red crash truck. Also the control tower must have been a sight.

We did most of our field training at beautiful Graf and at Vilseck. Once in awhile we would go to an airfield with nothing there and set up. There was some close calls on landings at some of these airfields. My job was to string all the wire for the telephones, switchboard and the teletype machines. Also I would man the field switchboard. They were 8 hour shifts between 3 guys on the switchboard. We were all cramed into the operations van the teletype operators the switchboard operators and others. They later made some changes. This van had no heat so it was murder in the winter.

Back at the airfield (our side) -- we had no mess hall. We did have a cook a SFC.Elzie Hendrix but he cooked at the 29th T.A.A.M mess hall on the military side of the field. This mess hall fed the 29th TAAM; the 16th AOD; the 7th Army Trng. Center; the medical crew that was assigned to the military side; a platoon of SP's, and a detachment from the 31st AWS USAF that took care of the weather for the pilots. They were in the operations building on the military side. Every day 3 times a day 7 days a week, rain or shine or snow, we would all pile into the 2½-ton trucks for the ride to the mess hall. Off we would go through the town of Bernhausen to the military mess hall.
The 29th TAAM was a big outfit as they took up most of the military side of the airfield. There was not much on the military side. We had the mess hall, a small EM club, a small PX (just the basics -- smokes, magazines, candy). A small barber shop and a snack bar (a beauty of a blonde worked there and her name was Eva). Also the BOQ quarters were on the military side. At the PX we could only get 4 cartons of cigerettes a month as we had a ration book. Gas, coffee, and booze needed a ration book. If we did not want to eat at the mess hall we could eat at the German canteen on the civilian side. The food was good once you got used to ordering.

On payday we had a choice of how we wanted to get paid. We could take D-marks or $'s. At that time it was 4.25 D-marks for a dollar. Most guys split it up. Of course at that time beer was 40 pfennings per bottle. On payday we would go to Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart to the BIG PX. Every week we would have a run to Kelley Barracks VII Corps to the PX, or for a movie, or for church services. Once in a great while they would show a movie at one of the hangers at the airfield.

We had no MP's at the airfield only SP's. We had to pull guard duty and most of the time we pulled it at the 16th AOD motor pool. We had no KP as it was all German nationals. All this took place 47 years ago.

I have been back many times and the airfield now is like JFK, the place is huge. All the military buildings on the civilian side are gone. Not much left on the military side also. A few 7th Army planes parked there. In the old days it was loaded with L-19 birddogs, L-20 Otters, L-23's, H-34's, H-19's, H-13's. As I remember more I will e/mail it to you.

I really enjoyed my time with the 16th.They were a great bunch of guys. Before I got reassigned they had guys coming in at all times. I remember the original guys that came from Fort Bragg, N.C. to Echterdingen Army Airfield. I wonder if any one remembers the Filderstuben Gasthaus in Echterdingen or the Gasthaus Lamm in Bernhausen or the Gasthaus Krone in Bernhausen. I would love to hear from some of you guys.

16th AOD
Stuttgart Int'l Airport

 

1. Stuttgart Int'l Airport

2. H-34 on civilian side of airport, 1959/60

3. L-20 in front of motor pool , 1959/60


4. Huffine, Cicero, Senuta


5. PFC T. Senuta

6. Kendall and Huffine
 

7. Senuta and Cicero

8. Several men of the 16th

9. S. Huffine and the crash truck
 

16th AOD, Movement Directive, 26 January 1959

Page 1, 2, 3

Roster 1959 →

Page 1, 2


1. J. Cicero & T. Senuta in the parking area next to Cicero's Mercedes-Benz, 1960  

2. Sp/4 Cicero & Sp/4 Huffine, 16th AOD motor pool

3. PFC Senuta in cockpit of an L-19 Bird Dog, 16th AOD


4. PFC Senuta in cockpit of an L-19 Bird Dog, 16th AOD

5. Sp/4 J. Cicero, 16th AOD

6. PFC N. McEachern in the cockpit of an L-19

 
Brig Gen Checks Army Aviation Scope and Needs

STUTTGART (Sentinel) Brig Gen Clifton Von Kann, newly appointed Director of Army Aviation, DA, is currently on a one-week visit of Seventh Army aviation units.

Accompanied by Col Russell E. Whetstone, Seventh Army Aviation Officer, Gen Von Kann is getting a first-hand look at Seventh Army aviation operations in the field from Corps, Division and Armored Cavalry Regiment commanders.

"Seventh Army has the biggest aviation concentration of any Army unit, therefore, it is of particular interest to us," commented the General.

Brig Gen Clifton Von Kann (center), Director of Army Aviation, DA, inspects the mobile operations van of the 16th Aviation Operation Detachment during a visit of Seventh Army aviation units. Looking on are Capt Kenneth C. Stanley, 16th AOD commander, and Col Russell E. Whetstone, Seventh Army Aviation Officer (right).
  "One of my objects in my new job is to establish the overall deployment of Army aviation for the next several years. My visit here will give me a better insight into Seventh Army capabilities and requirements. This along with ideas from local commanders to improve existing programs will enable me to develop a more realistic program for the future."

Gen Von Kann arrived here on September 29 after a visit of ComZ and USAREUR operations. Highlighting his first day's visit was a tour of Boelke-Entwicklungen plant in Munich where aviation trainers are made. On the same day, he also visited the 8th Inf Div aviation operations at Bad Kreuznach.

The following day (Wednesday, September 30) he visited with Lt Gen Francis W. Farrell, CG of Seventh Army. He also made a tour of the 16th Aviation Operational Detachment, commanded by Capt Kenneth C. Stanley, where he viewed the unit's equipment.

"I am interested in seeing that the principal effort of Army aviation goes into serving the combat units. Unless we place the main emphasis into helping the line units perform their mission better, we have no excuse for existance." declared Gen Von Kann.

Other highlights of his itinerary are visits to the 3d Armd Div in field training at Grafenwoehr, 4th Armd Div, 24th Inf Div, 3d Inf Div. V and VII Corps.

 
14th Aviation Company (ATC)
1962 - 1978
(Source: 59th ATC Battalion Unit History, HQ 59th ATC Bn)
On 17 September 1962, the 16th AOD was redesignated as the 14th AATRI Company (Army Air Traffic Regulation & Identification) and moved to Nellingen Kaserne, east of Stuttgart.

Its new mission was to provide tactical terminal and enroute air traffic control support to USAREUR aviation, along with air traffic flight following from three locations in the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

In October 1965, the 14th was again redesignated, this time as the 14th Aviation Company (ATC). The mission remained the same.

On 15 December 1966, the 14th Avn Co (ATC) was reassigned to the 15th Aviation Group and moved to its present home at Dolan Barracks, near Schwäbisch Hall, FRG.

Its mission remained basically the same except it gave up the airfield operation for Echterdingen and picked up the responsibility for base operations and the control tower at Dolan Barracks.

In 1975, the 14th Avn Co was redesignated as the 14th Aviation Unit (ATC) and assigned to the 5th Signal Command.

Since USAREUR had just turned over the air traffic control mission to the Army Communications Command, the mission of the 14th Aviation Unit (ATC) was changed drastically. Its new mission was to provide Army ATC services, navigational aids, air warning and other assistance to in-flight aircraft, and to provide maintenance support for all non-tactical ATC peculiar equipment. The ATC service included 19 air traffic control towers, 5 approach controls, 10 ground control approach radars, 21 advisory services and the Army Flight Operations Detachment (AFOD). Subsequently, the 14th assumed responsibility for operating the Army portion of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) from the mountain top sites at Wasserkuppe and Döbraberg.

On 1 October 1978, the 14th Avn Unit (ATC) was deactivated.

 
(Source: Email from J., 16th AOD/14th AATRIC/14th ATC )
I have just looked at the Army Aviation-Overview. You have added a lot since I last looked! I thought a lot of "double clutching" in Army Aviation was going on when I was there 1962-64, but what came after!! How in the world can you keep track of all that?? My hat is off to you!!! Just keeping track of the 16th AOD/14th AATRIC/14th ATC/59th Bn./58th Bn.!!!
 
Ansbach was just a deserted AAF as I remember it when we were there once. A few Mohawks came screaming in, in bad weather. What it apparently became!!!
 
Kitzingen, I controlled there quite a bit. It was the busiest AAF in Germany at the time. There quite a few times alone and with the Company. Was there for Cuban Missile Crisis with the Company.
 
Monteith Barracks, Fürth. There several times. My first Tower and GCA duty there. My FOC Platoon went there to control when German Controllers went on strike. One funny moment of many there. We had to clear GCA Freq. before starting up. We jammed the Nike (Webmaster: probably a HAWK site) site radar for half a day. They just couldn't figure out the source of the jamming!! They could have thrown a rock from their mound and hit our Candy Stick!!
 
Graf, well Graf is Graf. I have been trying to look up stuff for an old friend that was with the 9th CID there, but not much online about it. He was in one time trial of first enlistment guys with 2 years of college, plus above certain "smarts". His was the only class, few made it in the field. He only because he was assigned to Graf and had to sink or swim. You have a good picture of Graf AAF. They were just so fussy about cameras in the Tower there because of the missile site.
 
Schwäbisch Hall, there several times. Alone, with GCA, and with Company. The Company deployed there several times in mid 1962. All had to be back "under canvas" after spending all of that money on the IFR FOC Van?? Of course us in Cam. pup tents, day and night Infantry games. All per new CO Capt. (Later Maj.) Virgil O'Deill Jr. Old Infantry Capt. and Col. Franks (Special Troops Commander) just thought it was great. One of those funny moments there. Our CO, Col. Franks, and Maj. Bearden (60th Avn.) came up the Tower to get a good look. After my CO explained our deployment to Col. Franks, he turned to Maj. Bearden and said "and where are you Maj. Bearden". The Maj. snapped to attention and said "Right here sir". Franks said "you dumb son-of-bitch!! I mean where are you deployed!!". And little ol' me trying to control traffic and keep a straight face!

I came up with using our headset mic as throat mic during "gas attacks" for radio commo. there when they were all in a dither on what to do. Wonder that damn outfit didn't court-martial me for that??  I have really looked online to find anything on Col. Franks, but guess not there? I have looked on the Lt. Col. Buchanan that replaced him in Fall of '62, but nothing on him either?? Really nothing on 7th Army Special Troops? Must have came and went? At the time it had 16th/14th, VII Corp. LRRP, missile units, special artillery units, and others in it??
 
Ludwigsburg AAF (Pattonville), was a deserted field when we took it over in mid 1963 when 7th Army got into a fight on landing rights with Stuttgart Int'l. I was replaced after 3-4 weeks, 2 days before it was over. I never heard another word about it or that whole deal. Apparently it continued to be a very busy place?
 
I can't believe what the unit evolved into. Per your posted letter from Thomas Senuta, 16th AOD, Echterdingen Army Airfield, 1959-1960  it was pretty much shipped to Germany as a unit in need of a mission, or at least being allowed to do what it was shipped there to do!! Wasn't a whole lot more while I was in the unit except for Towers, GCA, and on maneuvers!! However, it had the highest priority for Air Traffic Controllers in Germany and you couldn't get out of it!!

There was a big demand for Air Traffic Controllers with big expansion in Army Aviation. They sent a bunch of E-5 and above through Keesler from other MOS's that had no ATC/Aviation experience instead of promoting from within Controller/Aviation ranks. They built a big Cadre of NCO's that knew little about ATC/Aviation. I was in first group below E-5 at Keesler. Was 5 of us, before I left in 6 months there were Army guys overflowing. Heck of a mess and most didn't make it through the school. I scored 3rd highest ever for school on end of course FAA tests. I had 4 or 5 different assignment on the ship going over. I suppose that is how I ended up in the 16th AOD? I was assigned for a week or so to the 7th Army Aviation Training Center before being assigned to the 16th. The MOS was frozen at E-5 all the time I was in the service. If E-4's couldn't be promoted there wasn't much incentive to stay in the service. That was the real controller ranks. Curious study!! It all was quite an adventure for an 18 year old farmboy!!

1. ATC Van in the field

2. Schwäbisch Hall AAF, 1962

3. Schwäbisch Hall AAF, 1962


4. GCA equipment at Schwäbisch Hall

5. Kitzingen AAF

6. Kitzingen AAF
 


7. Tower controller, 1962


8. GCA Radar Team at Monteith Bks, Fürth

9. CH-37 at Ludwigsburg
 

10. Ludwigsburg AAF

11. Civilian Fly In

12. SFC Mayhew, NCOIC
 

13. OV-1B

14. Several types of aircraft

15. Grafenwoehr AAF, 1962
 

16. AN/GRC-26D
     
 
(Source: Email from J., 16th AOD/14th AATRIC/14th ATC )
Stuttgart International Airport, 1962
How I first met Maj. Kerns, our CO: I had only been there a couple of days, bunked across the room with wall of lockers between. Only PFC Co. Clerk, PFC from Beacons and myself were in barracks that night. The clerk had a tape recorder turned up loud enough to be able to hear it in the Orderly Room across the hall. The guy from Beacons bunking beside the recorder turned it off several times; they had words; I couldn't see because of the wall lockers. The last time the Clerk came and stood in the opening between the wall lockers and said "go ahead if you have the balls". Then I heard a "bonk" as the recorder hit the cement below the window. I had to testify before Maj. Kerns, with both of us trying to keep straight faces!

The shark tooth looking thing at right top of picture #4 (16th AOD - Stuttgart Int'l Airport section) was (newly constructed in 1959?) the hangar at Stuttgart Int'l. The tall building next to the hangar was 7th Army Aviation Training Center on the ground floor with barracks above. It had Link Trainers, classrooms, Day Room, Offices and etc. on the ground floor.


They say Stuttgart Int'l opened here in 1938? I would have guessed these building to be older than that. I have looked very hard online and I have found no other pictures or writings on these buildings. I think they were probably torn down all the way to the shark tooth hangar (still there) sometime in late 1960's?

I believe this is where the (Luftwaffe) Night Fighter Pilot School during the war was at. I know they were here in 1945 as there was a cement bunker in the attic above the Orderly Room. Story always was that there was a tunnel from Nellingen Airfield to ground level inside our building to ferry fighter aircraft to here during WWII without being seen. Many claimed to have seen it before it was closed off and cemented over, but you know how that is!! Maybe Tom Senuta remembers it?

It was also always a wonder that Bernhausen (behind the Stuttgart AAF on other side) hated Americans and the town of Echterdingen on our side seemed to like us. I was told that during the war the Germans flooded the airfield between missions. When our bombers came over the hill all they saw was the town and the lake, so they bombed the town (Bernhausen). It seems from pictures I have found online that Echterdingen was bombed as much as Bernhausen. I think Bernhausen just was stronger with the Nazi Party.

The Forced Labor Camp that made the Stuttgart papers and online recently was on that side. They recently found a mass burial site on Stuttgart AAF.

16th AOD
Stuttgart Int'l Airport

 

1. Stuttgart Int'l Airport

2. DeGaulle arrives for a visit

3. H-34 transports DeGaulle and party to Stuttgart


4. Partial view of US Army section of Int'l Airport

5. Looking towards military side of airport

6. 16th AOD motor pool
 

7. Indicator hut truck and Candy Stick

8. Company Area

9. (KB)
 
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Nellingen 1952
 
Large building on lower left is the consolidated mess hall for the base where 16th AOD/14 AATRIC messed. First barracks to right along the road was our Orderly Room, Armory, dayroom, offices and etc. FOC Platoon was billeted in the barracks across from the Orderly Room. Rest of the Company was billeted in next one over and others north.

The hangars/row of large maintenance buildings top of picture -- 16th/14th had the last one to right (not new building). Our Motor Pool parking was in front of it. Our FOC Section room was in the backroom of the row of office space on the rightside of that hangar. It shows it quite plan on the other picture. FOC Platoon when first moved to Nellingen for billet was on the other end of this row of barracks. We drove to Stuttgart Int'l where the rest of the Company and our equipment remained for quite a while. We stayed at that first lower barracks for quite a while after the Company moved here.
 

Nellingen 1952
 
In this picture they have a tank parked in front of our FOC Section Room? What did we do now?? HA! Don't think any Artillery when we were there?? Engineers (bridge builders) is all I remember? And VII Corp. LRRP Abn. Some Helicopter outfit playing around a little, but not much as I remember?

 
(Source: Private Email)
16th Aviation Battalion
The battalion was first organized at Echterdingen, Germany, on August 26, 1963, with a Headquarters and Headquarters Co, the 14th Air Traffic Control Co, the 122d Aviation Co, the 60th Aviation Co, and the 11th Transportation Det. At that time the battalion was commanded by Major William R. Swift.
(See 16th Avn Bn Page.)

I know it is only a blip in your whole write up, but the above doesn't sound right?? My knowledge is probably too old to be of interest. I was assigned to the 16th AOD on the civilian side of Stuttgart International Airport in Jan 1962. It was commanded by Maj. Kerns. I believe the forming of the 16 AOD on Oct., 1961 at Echterdingen. It was new when I got there with few people in the unit. I know that Staff Sgt. Ed Gast and some others were playing with the VFR van at Ft. Benning long before it was shipped to Germany. However, I have been e-mailing with a career Army guy that was in the unit before me and left after. He also remembers our Major being in direct command under Special Troops Commander.

The 60th Aviation was stationed on the military side and commanded by Maj. Bearden. The 7th Army Aviation Training HQ. was also on the civilian side. The 29th (TAAM Co), I think, was also on the military side? As one guy mentioned there was a large motor pool on the civilian side by unit??? that I also walked guard on a few times as our vehicles were parked in the same area.

There may have been a loose command 16th, 60th, and 7th Army Aviation Training Center? I think just because they were all under 7th Army Special Troops? When I won Soldier of the Month of 7th Army Special Troops in mid 1962 there was a board at the Airfield before the board at Patch.

My FOC Platoon moved to Nellingen late Summer or Early Fall of 1962. I think the whole Company was there by late Fall of 1962?

The renaming of 16th AOD to 14th ATC or Army Air Traffic Control and Identification Company happened at least for us in late 1962. A big fight over the name, AATRIC rings a bell, but I have a picture of our Motor Pool and Company area at Nellingen that has 14th ATC on it?? A Maj. O'Dell (sp?) replaced Maj. Kerns as Commander of the 16th/14th I think in Fall of 1962. As far as I remember the 16th/14th was under direct command (without anyone between our Major and the commander of 7th Army Special Troops at Patch) from the time I got there until I left in 1964. It was under Command of Col. Franks from the time I got there until he was replaced by a Lt. Col.?? Just don't remember his name?? I never heard of the 16th Avn. Bn? Or of Major William R. Swift.

Of course I was just a peon Air Traffic Controller! I controlled Towers around Germany, but I don't remember seeing a Mojave H-37 except when the Army got into a fight with Stuttgart Int'l in mid 1963. Tower/GCA section of the 14th took over the abandoned A/F at Ludwigsburg. It became a very busy place! I was the controller in a portable tower on a back of a deuce-and-a-half there for about a month. I was relieved by another man from the Company 2 days before it was over. It was 12hrs / 7days for a month, but it was interesting.

Can anybody shed some more light on this subject?

1967
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, July 1, 1967)
Army Flight Operations Facility

The Army Flight Operations Facility (AFOF) is located at Heidelberg and provides round-the-clock flight clearance and flight following for all Army flights throughout Europe.

The AFOF operates a vast communications network - the AFOF in Heidelberg is connected through direct lines to all major Army airfields, the Army ADIZ Flight Control Centers, the Frankfurt and Munich Traffic Control Centers, the Ramstein Atlantic Air Rescue Center, and the USAFE Frankfurt Flight Following Service.

Formed on July 1 1957, AFOF is the only Army facility of its kind in Europe. CO is Lt Col Robin M. Barrett, Jr. The unit is comprised of 66 personnel - eight officers, fourteen EM's and forty-four civilians. They are responsible for clearing flight plans, checking estimated departures and arrivals, providing weather (supported in that task by a detachment the 7th Weather Sq USAFE), locating suitable landing strips for aircraft in trouble, and coordinating search and rescue efforts in case of downed aircraft.

AFOF expanded its area of reponsibility in 1957 to include France, England, Denmark, the Benelux countries as well as Austria and Zwitzerland.

Most cross-country flight plans, including those of Army aircraft, are forwarded to AFOF for processing and flight following. The information is forwarded by AFOF to each intermediate station and to the final destination. Of special concern are flights within the ADIZ - these are closely followed on a 15 minute schedule. (If a plane or helicopter is overdue by 15 minutes or more at a reporting point or destination, S&R procedures are intiated.)

1968
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 4, 1968)
The 14th Aviation Co operates a radio network covering all of 7th Army's operational areas that provides Army pilots with the only Army Flight Following Service (FFS) outside of Vietnam.

Flight following essentially is a service in which the en route progress and/or flight termination of an aircraft is determined by use of aircraft position reporting procedures. By maintaining continual air-to-ground contact, an aircraft's position can be determined quickly in the case of an emergency. A pilot using FFS checks in periodically at certain checkpoints with one of 14th Avn Co's stations. If he fails to report in on time and cannot be contacted within 30 minutes, rescue teams can narrow their search patterns to the missing aircraft's flight path between the coordinates of the pilot's last report and the missed checkpoint.

Before FFS was implemented in USAREUR and 7th Army, pilots did not regularly talk to anyone during their flights. They submitted a flight plan at an Army flight operations facility (AFOF) which relayed the information to the destination airfield and that was about it. The AFOF network is now being enhanced with an FFS system that will cover most of western and southern Germany by this spring. More than half of the system has been installed and is functional. Each FFS center has a 70-mile radius coverage area. These centers are linked to each other through radio as well as independent land lines.

The focal points of the system will be five Flight Operations Centers (FOC) and three Flight Coordination Centers (FCC). (Only marked difference between FOC and FCC is that the FOC can handle more traffic.) The FCC's are the grandparents of the current system. They were established in 1964 to prevent accidental overflights across Germany's eastern borders. They still flight follow Army aircraft in the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) along the Iron Curtain.

FOC's: Frankfurt, .....

FCC's: Wasserkuppe, Doebraberg, Regensburg

 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 31, 1969)

Carolina FOC AOR, 1969
  Carolina Center, one of six flight operations centers operated by the 14th Avn Co in southern Germany, is located on top of Koenigstuhl, a mountain just east of Heidelberg. The center is colocated with the Koenigstuhl Radio Station (102nd Sig Bn).

The center is comprised of a special communications van that stays in constant contact with all aircraft operating within its area of responsibility (AOR) -- an area that stretches from Sembach Air Base in the west to Rothenburg in the east, and from Frankfurt in the north to Baden-Baden in the south. Detachment "A" is the name of the small group that mans the center.

The van is about 24 feet long and eight feet wide. It is equipped with UHF, VHF and FM radios for air-ground (air traffic control) communications and an HF radio for inter-site communications. Inside the van, one wall is taken up with a plotting board - a map of Germany and its border areas covered with plexiglass. Grease pencils are used to show Carolina's zone of control and the location of the five other FOC's in Germany. The special air-conditioned van has been built at the Pirmasens Army Depot.

When an aircraft moves into Carolina's zone of control, one of the four air traffic controllers on duty within the van makes radio contact with the pilot and follows him with "position checks" every 20 to 30 minutes until he leaves the zone.

If a pilot misses a position check, a blanket call for the aircraft goes out on all monitored radio frequencies after five minutes. If there is no response from the pilot, Carolina alerts the aircraft's destination point. At the estimated time of arrival of the aircraft at its destination point, a telephone search of all airports, landing fields or airstrips along the planned route is initiated. If the blanket call and telephone search are not successful, and the aircraft is 30 minutes overdue, search and rescue operations are initiated.

(Source: Email from Russ Warren, FCC Regensburg, 1967-69)
I was stationed with the 3rd FCC, 14th AVN in Regensburg from late 1967 to early 1969.

Our FCC was initially set up at an airfield near Straubing that was quite a distance from our barracks at Pioneer Kaserne in Regensburg. I scouted & found a better location on a hill overlooking the river & city just outside Regensburg. We relocated the FCC there probably in early 1968.

Our Regensburg 3rd FCC site was really primitive. There was one old garage like building, an outhouse, a few old concrete slabs, and a really nice view. We set-up our 2½-ton truck mounted tower & teletype trailer on the old slabs. Power was supplied 24/365 by 10KW air-cooled mogas generators. We also kept a deuce-and-a-half as a tanker with small (300Gal?) mogas & diesel tanks.

It was a real pain to keep the generators gassed up & running. A day without generator problems was unusual. I seem to remember we had about six of them + one larger diesel that never worked.

The FCC was manned 24hrs and on weekdays one of us would man the radio & phone from about 4pm to 8am. Weekends were also just one man and I can't remember whether it was a 12 or 24HR shift. Food was strictly K-Rats or if you were really lucky someone might bring you something from the Club, PX, or town. Usually the food was provided to "buy" mogas for a POV & included a few "Flippies". On really good shifts my girlfriend would bring food & spend some time with me.
 

Laramie Radio (Regensburg FCC) sign on left, Pioneer Kaserne, Regensburg, 1970s (Miguel Nico)
 
The 3rd FCC 14th AVN was barracked at Pioneer Kaserne. Those that were married had apartments across the street. Our barracks were on the ground floor & had a street entrance. Our wing was shared with a couple of MP's, two Medics, & a couple of Post guys. Everyone had private rooms equipped with refrigerators & hotplates. We (3rd FCC guys) did not have mess priviliges and all got paid double seperate rations so we only cooked in our rooms, ate at the PX or Club, went to town, or had K-rats. If you kept your room reasonably clean, didn't do drugs, or get stupid there were no rules. Overnite guests, parties, alcohol, & poker were the norm everynight.

Some of the names I can remember from there are Sgt. McNair, Mike Nixon, Jim? Bugalski, ? Swarm, & ? Tinker (from Florida).

I'm hoping I can find my old vintage photos, etc. from my Army days. We had our little tower which only had radios & a direct phone line to AFOF. I don't think the phone went anywhere else. As far as the teletype trailer, we had 1 operator with the correct clearance & I don't think we used it except for training exercises up at Hohenfels.

Our Company HQ was at Schwaebish Hall but we had very little contact with them. Actually I'm not sure of our exact unit designation at this moment but will find the applicable documents soon.

The 1972 story of the entire unit being drunk on a Saturday morning  really does fit exactly. My only question would be why were they together on a Saturday because we usually put in 6-7 hours on weekdays and except for the one guy on duty, had weekends off.

I remembered one more of our guys names"Pedro Vega" who I think was assigned to the 14th & Regensberg at the same time as me. We may have also been at Keesler AFB for ATC training together. I will give you more soon. FYI I also worked at the Pioneer Kaserne club. In fact it was there I watched the Apollo moon landing on TV.

Keep up the good work.

1972
(Source: Email from Clarence (Bud) Leist)
I enjoyed your article on USAREUR Aviation Units. Brought back allot of good memories. I have some additional information on the 14th ATC in Regensburg, at least from 1972-1974.

The “control room” as it were, used for en-route flight following was on the top floor of a multi-use building in the Pioneer Kaserne in Regensburg. Our mess and barracks were shared with a Hawk Missile Battery.

We had a 26D van on the ground for passing flight plans etc. Most of the flight plans we passed via land line so we really didn’t use radios that much. I remember at some point someone telling me the facility was on a hill outside of town. Probably the Winserer Höhe you refer to. We received radar support from Batman Radar. I don’t remember or perhaps never knew where they were located suffice to say I did get to chat with them one morning when an UH-1 inadvertently crossed the border and the proverbial “S” hit the fan. They declared a “brass monkey” and I spent the remainder of the day doing reports.

I understand the unit was shut down shortly after Col. Ice came down from Schwabisch Hall and found the entire group from Bayreuth and Regensburg drunk and passed out one sunny Saturday morning. I was the controller on duty and avoided the wrath.

I think your dates may be off on the name change but I could be wrong. I think it had already been renamed the 14th ATC prior to 1975 and changed to 5th Signal.

When I arrived in September 1972 we had the 7th Army patch. We began wearing the 5th Signal with the globe and lightening bolt in mid 1974. In addition there was a slogan and sign going around Dolan barracks in 1974. 14th ATC (Air Traveling Circus).

At any rate should you care I have pictures from the Regensburg years.

I was also in Hohenfels for three years and still return to visit the German couple I met 32 years ago. We were there in October and spent two weeks with them. They come here every two years to visit.

From a military standpoint I was just a Spec 4 and for good or bad I focused more energy on travel, meeting Germans, beer fest and women. I don't remember what they called Bayreuth (Webmaster Note: Gordon Radio). If I remember correctly we were the furthest south and covered north to Bayreuth. Our check points were Camp May, Camp Roth (Roetz?) and a swimming pool among other things.

Their commander was a party animal. He threw up on Col. Ice's shoes, in his car after the infamous "company party" and subsequent close down. I think Laramie Radio (Regensburg) went off the air shortly after that. I seem to remember Dan Query saying he spent his last 6 months in Schwabisch Hall.

I was a gluten for punishment and spent 22 years finishing up a Senior Crew Chief/FS/FI with the Colorado National Guard High Altitude Training facility in Eagle Colorado. I taught crew chiefs night vision goggles, air crew coordination, rescue etc etc.


Approximate location of the Laramie Radio site, north of Regensburg (GOOGLE)
 
1973
(Source: Email from Randall Roush

Laramie Radio 1973-1974

I worked Laramie Radio at the Pioneer Kaserne. The operations site was not in Regensburg but across the river on a hill overlooking the town. This was an old radar site. (Webmaster note: The US Air Force - 604th AC&WS - used to have a manual Reporting Post, codename "Mercury," on the Winzer Höhe hill on the north side of the Danube River. This site was vacacted in the early 1960s (I believe) when the US/German radar unit was moved to Burglengenfeld. The Army probably used the vacated site for its Laramie Radio FCC. Webmaster would like to hear from anyone who has more details on the operations and location of Laramie Radio - webmaster email is at top of page.)

The operations site had one garage on it and concrete foundations of buildings (that were probable torn down after the Air Force moved). We had a duece and half with a box on it with radars and radios. We never used the radar units, only the radios - FM and VHF and UHF radios. We had 30kw generators that we kept running, night and day. Shift was 12 hours on, 24 hours off. Food was what you brought with you. "Water" was in bottles of wheat beer. The water was not fit to drink. We had a hand-dug outhouse that the local Germans liked to use. You might talk to one aircraft per shift. I had a helicopter with a colonel land on site one day. He had no idea this site was occupied. He drank my beer and used our outhouse. This was Laramie Radio, Third FCC.

I had my own room across from Dan Query (spider man). I still remember Dan rappelling into my room from the roof wearing his Spider-Man outfit. Dan was way ahead of his time.

I spent a lot of time volksmarching and rock climbing in the area. I remember when they put in a new sewer line through the Kaserne and they dug up a German machine gun in front of the old pill box at the main entrance to the Kaserne. We spent a lot of time at the whorehouse down the street from Pioneer. We took our commanding officer there. He never gave us a problem after that.

We had a motor pool and everyone had his own vehicle. Mine was the fuel truck. I would drive this to our site overlooking Regensburg. I became pretty good at keeping our generators running. Not bad for a 93K (MOS - ATC GROUND CNTL APPRENTICEOACH/ SPECIALIST). I had a "brass monkey" on a shift. Got to call in the jets to chase Ivan away from the border.

I was transferred to Grafenwohr, 1974-76. I worked air traffic control and range control. I got to see the introduction of the "Warthog" (USAF A-10 fighter used primarily for close air support). They would blow up Korean War tanks on the range. We had flights of fixed wing, and rotary from all nations. We had C130 land. Not bad for a short runway.

The Pershing missiles were still being fired into the range at this time. I would always get a call from some tank commander in the boonies requested me to turn on the beacon on top of Graf tower cause he was list. I worked the officers club, which got real rowdy -- those boonie officers sure got crazy when they drank.


 
(Source: Email from Ed Green)
I was with the 14th when it became the 59th ATC.
 
Headquarterd at Schwabisch Hall, it consisted of two companies. The 187th covered the northern part of the country (V Corps).  The 189th was in the south (VII Corps).  I think that the 187th had headquartes at Hanau Fliegerhorst.
 
I was with the 189th 1st platoon, detached to support the 1st IDF at Goeppingen (Cooke Barracks).  We operated a small tower in garrison, and deployed with an AN/TSQ-70A mobile tower in support of larger unit activities.  2nd platoon, which I think was at Schwab Hall, ran a mobile GCA through an AN/TSQ-71.
 
When we deployed (for example, for REFORGER) the Company went to an unimproved airstrip and set up a tower, GCA unit and flight operations center for a Division-level airfield. We also developed tactics for operating small, short-term landing zones for smaller units.

Additional Comments
Now that you mention it, the other company may well have been the 240th.  I may be confusing the 187th with a 58th Bn unit out of Fort Bragg, where I was also stationed.
 
Yes, there was HHD.  Can't remember whether there was more than the two platoons.

 
59th ATC Battalion History
 
1978 - 1987
59th Air Traffic Control Bn DUI
On 1 October 1978, the 14th Avn Unit (ATC) was deactivated and the 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion was formed to correctly reflect the scope of its wartime mission. While the fixed station requirements remained basically the same, the battalion's 3 companies and Army Flight Operations Detachment accepted their dual mission by extensive training with their supported units, setting the standards for combat support air traffic control.

The battalion continues to strive to establish new and innovative tactical ATC doctrine and concepts that could doctrinally pave the way for both Army and Air Force tactical ATC usage.
 
If you have more information on the history or organization of the 59th ATC Battalion, please contact me.

 
(Source: 59th ATC Bn public affairs)
59th Air Traffic Control Battalion Mission

The 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion is comprised of a total of 777 assigned personnel, has personnel and equipment in 34 locations, and is spread over 50,000 square miles of Germany and Italy. The Battalion is responsible for providing all peacetime and transition to war tactical air traffic control support to two US Corps (Fifth and Seventh), two Armies (CENTAG and SETAF), and to the entire European Communications Zone (COMMZ) that stretches from the North Sea to Turkey. To this end, the Battalion provides operations, administration, and logistical support to a mission that doctrinally requires an ATC Group, and two ATC Battalions.

During peacetime, the 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion provides staff administration, operational and logistical planning, and personnel for the support of both fixed base and tactical air traffic control operations to the entire U.S. Army, Europe, Theater.

The Battalion is organized as a Modified Table of Organization that is authorized 393 personnel, augmented by a Table of Distribution Allowances (TDA) that is authorized 359 personnel. In garrison, the Battalion is responsible for two flight following facilities that monitor aircraft movements in the essential and critical Air Defense Identification Zone, terminal services at twelve fully instrumented and certified airfields, six visual flight rule tower facilities, and communications/electronics maintenance support at 16 advisory airfields. In addition to the operation of the above facilities, the assigned tactical mission responsibility is to provide tactical terminal and enroute air traffic control navigational aids, air warning, and other assistance to inflight aircraft for the Fifth and Seventh US Corps and the USAREUR Communications Zone (COMMZ) area of operation. The 59th ATC Bn supervises and manages the operation of the Army Flight Operations Detachment (TDA AFOD) which is responsible for the coordination of flight planning information with host nation flight activities and for the coordination of search and rescue and other flight service support for U.S. Army aircraft in USAREUR.

During wartime, the 59th ATC Bn reverts to its doctrinal support mission of providing air traffic support to one Corps, but that is not until arrival of the doctrinal ATC elements addressed above.

 
3rd Battalion (ATC), 58th Aviation
 
1987
(Source: Letter from the Adjutant, Hqs, 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn, APO 09025-3109, June 27, 1989)
On 16 July 1987, the 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion was, headquartered in Schwäbisch Hall, was redesignated as the 3rd ATC Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment.

The Battalion's subordinate companies - the 187th ATC Co (FWD), Wiesbaden; the 189th ATC Co (FWD), Schwäbisch Hall; and the 240th ATC Co (COMMZ), Mannheim, were redesignated as "A", "B" and "E" Companies, respectively.

The Army Flight Operations Detachment (AFOD), Heidelberg, retained its name.
 
PEACETIME MISSION of 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn Regt.
The battalion has the following mission during peacetime:
  1. Provide tower, radar, and navigational aid services to 12 fully instrumented army airfields.
  2. Provide tower services to six non-instrumented army airfields.
  3. Provide equipment and maintenance for 16 airfield advisory services.
  4. Operate the Army Flight Operations Detachment which provides interface with the host nation airspace structure and weather services.
  5. Operate two flight following centers on the Inter-German border.
  6. Provide tactical air traffic control services in support of V Corps, VII Corps, 21st Support Command, and 7th Medical Command field training exercises.
     
WARTIME MISSION of 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn Regt.
The battalion has the following mission during wartime:
  1. Deploy on order as combat support headquarters providing command and control of assigned air traffic control assets in the execution of the theater mission..
  2. Plan, coordinate, execute army airspace command and control operations.
  3. Provide tactical terminal and enroute air traffic control services from the COMMZ, through the corps, and into the divisional rear areas.
     
ORGANIZATION of 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn Regt.
  HHC, 3rd ATC Bn, 58th Avn Dolan Barracks, Schwäbisch Hall
  AFOD Heidelberg
  A Company Wiesbaden Air Base, Wiesbaden-Erbenheim
 
  First Platoon
  Second Platoon
  Third Platoon
  Wiesbaden Air Base, Wiesbaden-Erbenheim
  Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Hanau-Erlensee
  Finten AAF, Mainz-Finthen
  B Company Dolan Barracks, Schwäbisch Hall
 
  First Platoon
  Second Platoon
  Third Platoon
  Dolan Barracks, Schwäbisch Hall
  Ansbach AHP, Katterbach
  Giebelstadt AAF, Giebelstadt
  E Company Coleman Barracks, Mannheim-Sandhofen
 
  First Platoon
  Second Platoon
  Coleman Barracks, Mannheim-Sandhofen
  Grafenwöhr AAF, Grafenwöhr
     
FIXED FACILITIES operated by 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn Regt.
  FACILITY SERVICE - PRIMARY USING UNIT
  Ansbach AHP TWR/GCA - 1st Armd Div
  Bad Kreuznach AAF TWR - 8th Inf Div (M)
  Bad Tölz AAF TWR - 10th SF Gp
  Coleman AAF (Sandhofen) TWR/GCA - 21st SUPCOM
  Dal Molin AAF (Vicenza, Italy) TWR - SETAF
  Feucht AAF TWR/GCA - 2nd ACR
  Fliegerhorst AAF (Hanau) TWR/GCA - 3rd Armd Div
  Fulda AAF TWR/GCA - 11th ACR
  Göppingen AAF TWR - 1st Inf Div (Fwd)
  Grafenwöhr AAF TWR/GCA & Approach Control - 7th ATC
  Heidelberg AAF TWR/GCA & Approach Control - HQ USAREUR
  Hohenfels AAF TWR - 7th ATC
  Illesheim AAF TWR -
  Kitzingen AAF TWR/GCA - 3rd Inf Div (M)
  Schwäbisch Hall AAF TWR/GCA - 11th Cbt Avn Gp
  Wiesbaden Air Base TWR/GCA - 12th Cbt Avn Gp

 
(Source: Email from Kent V. Hufford, CO, 59th ATC Bn/3rd Bn, 58th ATC)
I was the first S2/S3 of the 59th ATC BN; the last BN CDR of the 59th ATC BN; and, the first BN CDR of the 3-58th ATC BN.

Attached is a photo of the U-21 aircraft belonging to the 3-58 ATC BN at Schwäbisch Hall, FRG. The main purpose of the aircraft was to conduct flight checks of navigation aids and controller proficiency. At the time, the BN also had 5 UH-1H helicopters.

The control tower is the tower for Schwäbisch Hall Army Airfield.

Now, the long story on 18049, the U-21:

U-21 in front of Schwäbisch Hall Tower
  ATC Battalions are NOT authorized U-21s for flight inspection. An ATC Group
is.

Germany's ATC Group is the 29th ATC Group, Maryland National Guard. When war in Europe would break out, the 29th would be activated, and come to Germany. The 59th ATC BN would then move to one of the Corps, another ATC BN would come over from the States and go to the other Corps.

So, since the 59th ATC BN was "acting" like an ATC Group in peacetime; and
the 29th needed the U-21 (only) when they got there, the 59th used the U-21 .... sorta like flyable POMCUS storage <g>.
We got the U-21 from the Saudi Arabia US support group (they got C-12s) around 1979. FULL of SAND. We kept it boat anchor green until mid 1986.

As mentioned before, the purpose of the aircraft was to do flight inspection of navigation aids and controller rating. A boat anchor green airplane is hard to see (fine in war), so the stateside ATC C-12s were painted white with the red stripe. So, we asked DA DCSLOG, Joe Cribbins (Mr. Army Aviation) for approval to have it painted white with a red stripe for visibility. DA approved, but required it to be painted in CARC paint (1). You could not paint it in Germany, so we flew it to England and had it painted there. Also, during the mid 1980's we were having terrorist and strike issues in Europe. The Battalion had controllers in Italy, and nav aids in Turkey that we had to visit. So, instead of saying US ARMY on the side, it said UNITED STATES OF AMERICA..... Just like the president's plane!

Kinda neat when you land at FULDA. MANY times when the airplane landed somewhere, some self-important senior aviator would challenge the crew, or me as to why it was painted the color it was. We had extra copies of the DCSLOG authorization letter from Mr. Cribbins to hand out. Once they saw that Joe approved it, they said, sorry to bother you.

The plane stayed in Europe until after the end of the cold war. 049 then went to the PENN National Guard, and was repainted boat anchor green.

Notice in the photo, that the paint on the plane is great, but the paint on the control tower is coming off. The post civil engineers controlled when to paint the tower...
Kent.

(1) CARC = chemical agent resistant coating paint. CARC is a polyurethane paint that provides superior durability, extends service life for military vehicles and equipment, provides surfaces with superior resistance to chemical warfare agent penetration, and greatly simplifies decontamination.

1985
(Source: Email from Michael W. Kress))
Under the "FIXED FACILITIES operated by 3d ATC Bn, 58th Avn Regt." (above) you don't have listed Grafenwoehr AAF, even though right above it you have Grafenwohr labeled as the location for Second Platoon E Company. (Webmaster note: I have now added Grafenwoehr AAF to the list.)

At Grafenworhr we had a TWR/GCA and Approach Control (which was also at Heidelberg) and a Flight Following facility.
The Flight Following Facility was Grafenwoehr Radio.

I was with the 240th ATC Co (and later the 3rd ATC Battalion) from 1985 to 1992 at both Coleman AAF as a Shift Supervisor and then Grafenwoehr as the Approach Control/TWR Chief.

2nd Platoon, 240th ATC Company (COMMZ)
The number of personnel assigned to Second Platoon would be a guess but I would say close to 80.  You have to remember back then the Company Commander was a Major, Executive Officer was a Captain and Platoon Leaders where Captains or senior First Lieutenants who had UCMJ authority, something you won’t find in today’s Company structure. 

Platoon Sergeants where Master Sergeants and Site Chiefs where Sergeants First Class.   

As far as actual facilities when I was assigned to the 240th ATC Co (COMMZ) in January of 1985 the platoons where broken up as such: 

Company Headquarters Coleman Barracks, Mannheim Germany    
       
First Platoon Coleman Army Airfield, Mannheim Germany   TWR/GCA + Platoon HQ’s
  Heidelberg Army Airfield, Heidelberg Germany   TWR/GCA, Approach Control
  Pirmasens Army Airfield, Pirmasens Germany   TWR (supported 22nd AVN)
  Bad Toelz Army Airfield   TWR
       
Second Platoon Grafenwoehr Army Airfield, Grafenwoehr Germany   TWR/GCA + Platoon HQ’s
  Feucht Army Airfield, Nuernberg Germany (1)   TWR/GCA
  Hohenfels Army Airfield, Hohenfels Germany   TWR
  Dal Molin Army Airfield, Vicenza Italy   TWR

Those where for the 240th as of 1985.  By the time we became E Co, Pirmasens (2) and Bad Toelz closed and Dal Molin was turned over to Italian contractors. Feucht later closed after I took over as the Tower Chief at Grafenwohr, which was after 1988, which makes it part of E Co for a few years. 


(1) The actual airfield skirts the Feucht city limits but is NOT part of Feucht.     
(2)
Pirmasens actually ran an advisory service from Base Ops and we would return once a year and open the Tower for the NATO fly in sponsored by the 22nd AVN. I believe they finally closed around 1989.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
I arrived in Germany in January of 1985 fresh out of ATC School. After going thru the in-processing center at Frankfurt I had orders to the 240th ATC Company with assignment to Bad Toelz. When I arrived at the Company Headquarters I had already been off on a long weekend with my Family (My father was born and raised outside of Heidelberg, went to the States when he was 19). The 1SG saw my orders to Bad Toelz and said “there is no way I am assigning a private who speaks German to a VFR, day only, no weekend facility, I will never see you again” That was 1SG Grinde, hell of a First Sergeant. He gave me a choice between Coleman or Feucht, since Coleman was closer to family I took Coleman.

We were so short of people that the ATC facilities ran at min manning for four years, and we still had tactical equipment to deploy and maintain, hence the “Dual-Mission” designation that only Germany has. If you worked the day shift 0600-1400 you were expected to be in the motor pool by 1500 for PMCS until around 1800. If you were on swing shift 1400-2200 then you were expected in the motor pool by 0900 until 1300 . I was promoted to SGT exactly 3 years to the day of entering active service.

In 1988 I was offered the Tower Chief/Approach Control Chief job at Grafenwoehr, since I was just married (My wife is from Mannheim) I accepted and took an Inter-Theater Transfer and Consecutive Overseas tour, which equates to a brand new assignment instead of just an extension. After getting certified at Graf and taking over, like I said before, they closed Feucht, HOWEVER they only PC’sd the people the equipment came back to the Platoon HQ’s. Which meant that both the Tower and GCA had to maintain two sets of tactical equipment but no increase in manning.

Also, the Flight Following Facility didn’t start up until 1988 or 89 before that it was handled by Range Control. The first Flight Following facility was located SW of the airfield in an old ADA site and operated out of an old Temporary Tower (not what we used in the field but ones that they would bring in for when fixed base towers got new equipment). Later in 1991 when the tower was going thru a console upgrade it was decided to move the FF facility to the second floor of the tower.

2nd Platoon, E Co deployed for Desert Shield/Desert Storm in support of JTF Bravo, attached to 3rd Brigade 3rd infantry Division out of Wiesbaden and where later joined by 1st Platoon and then relieved by their respective platoons for Operation Provide Comfort. Further deployments included REFORGER in Antwerp, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Bremerhaven not the actual exercise but the deployment and redeployment of stateside assets. Remember we were COMMZ so we handled the before and after requirements, 187th and 189th got to play the war.

We deployed once a year to Turkey to support the Air Force and Marines, can’t remember the name of the exercise. We supported a British aviation unit out of Soest, Germany once a year. We would go there and instrument the airfield for two weeks so they could get there instrument requirements’ completed. By instrumenting the airfield I mean we would set up the GCA and tower and have it flight checked to instrument standards. This was of course paid for by the Brits and they took very good care of us. We would also deploy for ARTEP’s (Army Readiness and Training Evaluation Program), USAREUR Alerts and Common task Training.

Also remember that during the 240th era BOTH platoon’s where manned as present day Company’s. There where Motor Pool sections, HQ’s sections and Maintenance sections. We had additional duties along with tactical equipment and military training that had to be accomplished. Normal day while I was assigned to Germany was 0600 – 2200, 5 days a week. Even with that I would never give up the time I spent in Germany. I loved it.


1988
(Source: Information supplied by Eric T. Deem, 1st Pltn, A Company, 3/58th Avn Regt, 1988-1993)

I arrived in the FRG in January of 1988 and was assigned to 1st Plt, A Co., 3/58th Avn, Regt. at Wiesbaden AB. From there, I was detached to Maurice Rose AHP (MRAHP), Bonames/Frankfurt am Main, FRG. When I arrived in Jan 88, the only unit besides mine was the 62 Avn Co. "Royal Coachman". A little bit later, we ended up with most of 5/158th Avn.

We wore the USAREUR patch, and if you were "lucky" to have been sent to Desert Storm, you wore the USAREUR patch as your combat patch too! (Our BN at that time fell under direct USAREUR Aviation; after the drawdown, 3/58th was assigned to 12th AVN BDE - So after the drawdown 1993? 3/58th Avn wore the "Griffin" patch.)

There was a V.F.R. Tower there. The mission for that airfield was to provide aviation support to the V Corps V.I.P. over at the nearby Abrams Complex/Casino Helipad (aka the I.G. Farben Building), and to the 5/158th Avn (old 60th Avn Co. "Royal Coachman"). Their tactical callsign was "BOSS".

Maurice Rose Tower had control of the following:
Drake Barracks Helipad
97th General Hospital Helipad
Casino Pad (Abrams Building, V CORPS HQ)
Camp King Helipad
Camp Eschborn Helipad

and, though not part of our traffic pattern/positive control area, pilots would often report arrival/departures at the Giessen and Friedberg Helipads.

MRAHP had NO Control Zone, just a "Positive VFR Control Area".

The rule for Casino pad was that only TWO people were authorized to use that helipad: The V Corps Commander, and the USAREUR Commander. Anyone else had to land at Maurice Rose, and then transport by VIP sedan/V.W. Bus.

In addition to the VFR Tower services, we also provided Flight Following Services for the "Northern Training Area" north of Frankfurt in the Taunus Mountains. I don't have the EXACT location of this Flight Training Area...but, I do know that occasionally, other AVN Units in V Corps would use it. Regardless of who used it, we provided Flight Following Services. Down in the Operations Office, they had a wire-strike hazards map, along with a "crash grid" map that we also had in the tower.

I worked there as a SGT(E-5) ATC Tower Supervisor from Jan 1988 until February of 1993. (I was held over an additional year because of Desert Storm).

I am not sure of the exact date the airfield was closed, sometime in 1995/1996. The airfield reverted back to the German Government. It is now a park/greenspace...with a restaurant (The Blue Tower) in the old Airfield Operations/Tower building, and the Frankfurt Fire Department Museum in the former 5/158 Avn Battalion Headquarters building. Most of the runway is plowed up. A good look of the place can been seen on Google Earth.

(Webmaster note: Eric has provided some information on the buildings and hangars at Bonames during the time he was stationed there. To view the information click here.)

 
US Army airfield control tower, mid-1970s (Ray Dauphinais, Creative Concept Studios)
 

Wow, great pics. Whatever ATC Tower facility this was (webmaster note: this is the tower at Schwäbisch Hall), they were lucky - they had an Air Force Weather Observer in their cab!

Find attached, a copy of Army Aviation Digest from August, 1972. Although the article on page 2 is interesting, you'll find information on the equipment.

And now...the Equipment:
The consoles these controllers are directing traffic from are of the AN/FSW-8(v) group. There are 3 different consoles for this group; the OA-2055/FSW-8 was used at the Local and Ground Controller positions. The OA-3014/FSW-8 was typically installed in the Air Operations Office (Flight Planning and Filing) along with the BIG field status indicator. The OA-2054/FSW-8 is where the Flight Data Controller sat at, he/she was responsible for all written communications and this is where the flight data/progress strips sat on.

 
Major components of the Communications Control Set, AN/FSW-8 (TM 11-5895-241-34)
 

NOTES: 1) On the OA-2055, that giant microphone was removed and replaced with a nice lightweight hand microphone. A further improvement, was plug jacks to allow use of the "Plantronics" lightweight headsets (very nice). A further improvement on that, was a cord with plug, to allow use of the microphone in the M-24 protective mask (that's what we controllers were issued, better visibility)

2) On the OA-2054 Console, that damn electronic barometer NEVER worked - anywhere! You obtained the field barometer from your local, friendly, Air Force Weather guy...

3) Ditto on the clock, in Germany, you could never get that "50hZ" motor for it, ergo, if you did turn it on it would be very inaccurate! (210/50hZ AC is the standard in Germany).

4) In the lower activity facilities (as opposed to the high activity, like Wiesbaden) such as Maurice Rose AHP, you would have only ONE OA-2055 console; Local and Ground Control were combined into one operating position.

In your picture, next to the AF WX dude, is a square box, with a paper roll on it. That device (if your facility was lucky enough to have one) was a telo-autowriter. The way it worked was, from a transmitter station, the operator would write... whatever, in our case, it was the hourly weather (WX) observation... and, at the same time the data was written, it would be received on the receiving stations (Air Ops, GCA, and Tower if WX was in another location).


 
Army Flight Operations Detachment
 
1957 - present
AFOD emblem
 
(Source: ECHO, April 1984)
ADAC of the airways

by Richard Saunders

A patient lies atop an operating room table in Northern Germany. Struggling against the odds, medical technicians have strapped his body with a network of life support systems -- but machines and medical technology alone won't save him.

The vital transplant organ he needs to survive has just been removed from the victim of a fatal traffic accident 100 miles south, but if it's going to save his life it's got to arrive at the hospital within an hour -- and the clock is running.

Simple arithmetic convinces the doctors that even a speeding ambulance isn't going to bridge the 100-mile gap in time. Air transport is the only answer. Immediately a call is made to one of 5th Signal Command's least-known units, the Army Flight Operations Detachment. Before three minutes have passed, they've got a Medevac chopper in the air.

Fifty minutes later, the copter lands on the hospital's helipad, transplant organ on board -- a life has been save
d.

Traffic Routing Section
  Coordinating Medevac flights is only a small part of AFOD's diverse mission. The unit, located in Heidelberg, constitutes the heart of Army flight operations throughout Europe. In fact, it's the only unit of its kind of the world.
AFOD, a subordinate unit of the 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion, has been in the business of assisting aviators in Europe since 1957. The detachment operates around the clock with a staff of 19 military and 44 local national civilian workers.

The detachment's mission varies widely, but primarily it coordinates Army air traffic with Air Force, NATO, commercial and private aviation entities. It also provides centralized air traffic services to Army fliers in all of Europe's NATO countries.

Often referred to as the "ADAC of the airways" AFOD assists aviators in much the same way as automobile clubs support motorists on the road. AFOD serves pilots by advising them which flight paths to follow, alerting them to special problems they might encounter during a flight and getting them help when something goes wrong.

AFOD's services begin when a pilot is planning his flight. Since flight regulations and procedures differ widely depending on what country you're flying in, AFOD's library of flight regulations for all countries in the world is the place pilots can call to get answers to almost any question they might have.

Once the flight is planned, AFOD's teletype section goes to work. Technicians dispatch information about the flight on a teletype that's hooked into a worldwide network of civilian air traffic control facilities. These "air safety messages" give needed information to other pilots planning flights. It works the other way around, too. The more than 2,000 messages daily that pass through AFOD's teletype terminal assist Army pilots in planning their flights.

Carl Lutz, teletype supervisor, explains, "Anything the aviator wants to know, we can find out for him. If he needs to fly to Spain, we can coordinate with the French Air Force for permission to stop in France for refueling. And when a pilot flies to England from Germany, he passes over three different countries. We provide the national radar unit of each of those countries with flight data so they can guide the pilot safely over their territory.

"Once we had a case where an airman broke her leg on a ski trip to Davos, Switzerland, high up in the Alps. We contacted Swiss officials and arranged for a SwissAir pilot to accompany the MedEvac flight and guide the pilot through the narrow valleys to Davos so they could pick her up to fly her back to Heidelberg," Lutz remembers.

AFOD also provides an important aid to aviators embarking on routine flights. When a pilot files a flight plan, he receives a NOTAM (Notice to Airman) briefing. This briefing is based on information in AFOD's constantly-updated NOTAM file, from teletype messages received from other locations and from U.S. Air Force weather forecasters who are also stationed with AFOD.

The briefing tells pilots what flying conditions to expect and alerts them to potential problems they'll encounter, things like: closed runways at their destinations, availability of fuel enroute, recently built towers and buildings along the way, tall construction cranes that might block the flight path and hundreds of other details that pilots need to know before taking off.

At the same time, AFOD personnel clear the pilot's flight plan with civil aviation authorities who in turn assign the pilot an airspace for the mission.

AFOD's assistance continues while the pilot "earns his pay." The flight-following section keeps flight plans on file during the mission (Webmaster Note: see article on beginning of Flight Following Service in USAREUR). When a pilot arrives safely at his destination, the air traffic controllers there inform AFOD. If no word is received 30 minutes after a flight is due at its destination, AFOD begins a search.

The first phase of the search is always a communications hunt, and a telephone call usually clears up the problem. Since AFOD has no direct radio contact with the pilots, the unit relies on others to relay information, and sometimes they aren't notified immediately when a flight lands at its destination. Occasionally, the problem stems from a pilot having to make an emergency landing somewhere else, or an enroute flight plan change that requires the pilot to make an unscheduled stop.

Every once in a while, an aircraft is truly missing and in trouble. That's when AFOD goes into action as the Army's search and rescue representative. AFOD personnel call the Joint Rescue Coordination Center at Ramstein Air Base and pass the flight plan on to them.

Peter Freese, a 26-year veteran with AFOD, says it's AFOD's job to inform the rescue authorities that the aircraft is missing, but the JRCC's responsibility to locate it.

AFOD also serves as a liaison agent between German civil authorities and U.S. medical evacuation units. If there's a serious accident on the autobahn, for instance, or a transplant organ that needs quick transport, AFOD can dispatch Army Medevac choppers to assist the German authorities.

When injured Marines were airlifted for medical treatment from Beirut to Frankfurt after last year's bombing, AFOD staffers were responsible for the coordination involved in obtaining 20 Medevac choppers from all over Germany to fly the injured from Rhein-Main Air Base to military hospitals.

During the past year, AFOD assisted in more than 100 search and rescue operations, provided assistance and flight service to 1,438 Medevac flights and engineered 36 medical evacuations. The switchboards at AFOD's dilapidated Heidelberg airfield headquarters logged 393,975 incoming and outgoing calls during the same period. Needless to say, things rarely get boring at AFOD.

Because speed and accuracy are of the utmost importance in most of what AFOD does the various sections must be able to work quickly and efficiently with each other.

Tony Brunner, a flight follower with AFOD for more than 20 years, says precise timing and exacting calculations are the keys to keeping the unit's operations running smoothly.

Keeping things flowing smoothly in an operation like AFOD's is far from an easy task. Most detachment staffers attribute their continued success to the fact that they've been doing it for so long. The majority of civilians working at AFOD have been there for a number of years - many have already passed the 20-year mark. Says Freese, "All of the local nationals here have made a career of aviation services and everyone, all the way down to School (who sweeps the floors), is dedicated to Army aviation."

The military personnel at AFOD run the entire operation at night and on weekends, when things are usually quieter. During day shifts, they mostly handle search and rescue operations and flight-following responsibilities.

PFC William Jensen, a flight operations coordinator with AFOD for the past two years, says, "The military people generally aren't here long enough to master every aspect of the operation, so we draw a wealth of knowledge from the civilians who've been here for a while. I can always turn to one of them if I need help with something."

Besides their long-term experience with AFOD, the civilian staffers also provide the detachment with another invaluable resource. Perhaps one of the greatest support functions AFOD provides in its coordination capability with other air traffic services, both military and civilian, is the ability to communicate across language barriers. More than a dozen languages, from Dutch to Turkish, are spoken by the civilian workers at AFOD. Every local national working in the detachment speaks at least two languages, and the majority feel comfortable with three or more.

The detachment has long been recognized as an outstanding asset to the aviation field by the pilots who constantly utilize its services. Recently, AFOD's continually superior performance was also recognized by the entire military aviation field when the detachment was chosen as the winner of the Army Aviation Association of America's "Support Unit Of The Year" award.

According to CWO 4 Robert Rector, Flight Operations Officer at AFOD for the past 18 months, "The main reason we won the award is because we not only provide an important service to the aviation community in Europe -- we do it well. We're a real communications asset, and winning the 'Quad-A' is just a reflection of the high degree of expertise everyone at AFOD has, especially the civilian workers."

Flight operations coordinator Jensen says, "AFOD is unique: we're the only unit of our kind in the entire world and the mission we do here is very important to the aviation field. If it weren't for AFOD, 1 think Army aviation in Europe would come to a standstill."


 
1971
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 3, 1971)
The Army Flight Operations Detachment, stationed at the Army Airfield in Heidelberg, comes under the US Army Communications Command, Europe. The det operates round-the-clock to aid the Army pilot in successfully completing his mission - inluding assisting in charting his flight plan or initiating search and rescue operations if his aircraft does not arrive at its destination.

AFOD CO is Maj James Harris.

AFOD supports over 1,100 aircraft, 1,300 aviators and 170 airfields in USAREUR.

AFOD's mission is to coordinate Army air traffic with that of the Air Force, NATO allies and European civil authorities. In addition, the organization offers pilots a variety of services ranging from a 24-hour-a-day weather service to the only centralized "Notice to Airmen" (NOTAM) file in Germany. (In the past year, AFOD has assisted with the preparation of over 100,000 flight plans and processed over 400,000 phone calls for assistance.)

During search and rescue operations in Europe, AFOD serves as USAREUR's coordinator with USAFE search and rescue authorities at Ramstein AB. This mission takes priority over all others during an S&R operation.

Recently, installation of a network of phone lines from AFOD to airfields throughout Germany has been completed. This allows pilot's direct access to the organization.

 
(Source: ECHO, May 1986)
Border Patrol

by Lee Royal

"I feel like I'm the eyes and ears for what's happening in the East," says Sgt. Charles Martin, flight operation NCO at the Carlisle Radio Center.

That's how Martin describes his role at one of two remote radio sites located near the East German and Czechoslovakian borders.

The facilities are provided by the 59th Air Traffic Control Battalion's Army Flight Operations Detachment (AFOD) to assist aviators with flights into the German Air Defense Identification Zone CADIZ) - a zone of approximately 15 nautical miles which exists on the west side of the political borders.

The radio facilities, Carlisle (Webmaster: Wasserkuppe) and Rester (Webmaster: Döbraberg?), monitor all aircraft movements and assist in identifying aircraft flying in the ADIZ, says CW04 David Geiger, AFOD's flight operations officer.

The radio facilities cover a distance approximately 250 miles long in the southern part of Germany, explains Geiger, and the British military monitors the northern half of the border.

The AFOD is open 24 hours, seven days a week, to provide services such as flight plan support, flight following, search and rescue coordination, "notice to airmen" briefings, technical advice and assistance, weather support, coordination with other military and civilian traffic facilities and ADIZ coordination.

Recently, with the addition of a radio transmitter and receiver in the southern tip of the border, communications has improved between the aircraft and soldiers at the radio facilities, says Geiger.


Before, if an aircraft flew the southern part of the border, communication signals couldn't reach it and the radio site soldiers could not contact and track the aircraft properly.

The Carlisle Radio Center is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the winter months and in the summer from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, says SSgt. Donald Reeds. Carlisle's facility chief.

Reeds says that being assigned to a remote site near the Eastern border makes the camaraderie between the soldiers strong.

"We are 21 miles from Fulda, which is the largest town. Everything else is small," says Reeds.

"There are very few soldiers (stationed at the site), so we do a lot of things together. We even come up to the site on our free time," he adds.

Soldiers at the site are provided the luxuries of home such as movies. a VCR, books and morale support equipment such as skis.

They aren't totally out of touch with their unit, however. Soldiers from headquarters visits the site several times a month to keep the soldiers up to date on what's happening in the battalion, policy changes, etc.

"We also drive to Fulda about three times a week;" says Reeds. "We don't have facilities like a regular kaserne, so sometimes it takes longer to do different activities."

It also can get difficult in the winter. "I was fighting five foot snow drifts on Christmas day (going to and from the site)," says Martin.

Martin adds he thoroughly enjoys his work even though he's isolated and realizes the importance of his mission in monitoring aircraft. He feels that he's taking an active part in keeping Western Europe free.

 
(Source: US ARMY BORDER OPERATIONS IN GERMANY, 1945-1983, by William E. Stacy)
The Flight Coordination Center (FCC) at Fulda was just part of an extensive network Seventh Army had implemented to monitor Army aircraft in the Federal Republic, especially aircraft performing observation and surveillance missions in the ADIZ. In the latter part of the 1960s, the 14th Air Traffic Control Company, a subordinate unit of the 15th Aviation Group, operated FCCs at Fulda (Wasserkuppe?), Bayreuth (Döbraberg?), and Regensburg (Winserer Höhe?) that monitored, flights within the ADIZ, and three other FCCs west of the ADIZ to monitor Army aircraft operating within the southern half of the Federal Republic.

 
(Source: SIGNAL, April 1965)
A radar surveillance and control fence became operational along the East-West German border on October 29, 1964, Electronic News reported recently. The electronic warning system is intended to prevent accidental overflights into Communist territory by Allied aircraft. The code name of the system is Project Wind Drift.

The new facilities, with three Ground Control Intercept radar stations (Webmaster: Wasserkuppe, Döbraberg and Regensburg) will provide continuous radar surveillance, positive aircraft control and an immediate retrieval capability. The operational plan was developed by USAFE, in cooperation with the Ground Electronics Equipment Installation Agency.

Who can provide more details?

CARLISLE RADIO (Wasserkuppe)
 
(Source: Email from Craig Wilson)
I was stationed on the Wasserkuppe at Carlisle Radio from OCT 87 til AUG 89 at which time I went to Heidlberg (AFOD) until I returned stateside.  I was a 93H (ATC Tower Controller) and we were a 7-man detachment stationed on the summit of the Wasserkuppe.  This was a German Air Force kaserne at the time. 

Some of the younger unmarried soldiers lived on the kaserne with the German airmen.  The NCOs and married personnel either lived in military housing in Fulda with the 11th ACR or lived near the 'Kuppe in Poppenhausen or Gersfeld. 

I remember being able to see the East German border towers from my room on the kaserne.  It was so cold during the winters that you could store frozen foods on your window sill from OCT to MAY.  The snow plows sometimes did not clear the main road down the mountain until noon. 

We had an E6 NCOIC, an E5 asst NCOIC and there were four others E4 and below.  There were always one or two personnel rotating in/out each year.  I remember SSG Desmond M. Wilson, SGT Earl O Rodgers, SGT Joseph Winkelmann, SPC Richard Kurek, SPC Michael Thompson, SPC John Hepfer, PFC Roderick Chandler, SPC Kenneth A. Brabham, SPC Tommy Jones Jr, and Terry (forgot your last name). 

We used to volunteer to go to the field with other units from 3/58th.  I remember going to Graf and Hohenfels with platoons from Mannheim and Stuttgart.  We knew they guys at the other remote site, Rester Center.  We used to take ski trips and play softball with the rest of our unit at AFOD in Heidlberg.  We got to know the German airmen really well and we spent many after hours in the Unteroffizierkamaradshaft (sp?  we called it the UKV).  They served breakfast (shinkenbrot and coffee), lunch (excellent cheeseburgers and pommes) and dinner (they had a jaeger schnitzel with krokettens that was to die for).  The chef had been to culinary school in France and was serving his obligatory service time of 2 years.  And we consumed many excellent German beers.  We made trips to the Kreuzberg monastery to get that dark german beer that the monks made.  We all did a lot of skiing there on the Wasserkuppe and it is still a popular destination.

I believe that Carlisle and Rester Center went of off the air in 1992.  I had friends still working at AFOD in 1992 and I think that is what they had told me.
 
The greatest 2 years of my life.
 
I have some aerial photos of the Wasserkuppe if you would like them.

 
RESTER CENTER (Döbraberg)
 
 
 

 
(Source: USAG Heidelberg Public Affairs Office)

50 Years of Army Aviation in Heidelberg

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Noel C. Seale, commander of the Army Flight Operations Detachment, speaks at the detachment's 50th anniversary celebration Aug. 23. Photo by Dave Melancon

Heidelberg, Germany - The Army's only aviation detachment here does not own any aircraft or man any flight control towers, but the 50-year-old organization is responsible for almost every Army aircraft taking to the air over Europe.


Chief Warrant Officer 5 Noel C. Seale, commander of the Army Flight Operations Detachment, speaks at the detachment's 50th anniversary celebration Aug. 23
  The Army Flight Operations Detachment, part of the U.S. Army Europe's headquarters aviation section (G3), celebrated it 50th anniversary of service and its part in the Heidelberg community Aug. 23.

The AFOD provides flight service support for the U.S. European Command's area of responsibility, which includes 93 countries and territories, explained the detachment's senior NCO, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Davis. That totals to more than 21 million square miles of air space ranging from the North Cape of Norway to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

The detachment also supports all USAREUR aviation training exercises and contingency missions during deployments and redeployments and acts as the central point of contact for aviation-related matters.

And, if an aircraft is late reporting to its scheduled destination, the AFOD staff begins search and rescue procedures.
If there is an emergency, the detachment will serve as the central point for information coming in from the field and for disbursing information to higher headquarters, Davis said.

The detachment is the central point of contact for U.S. search-and-rescue missions, he said. If a U.S. aircraft is overdue at its planned destination, the AFOD starts the tracking process.

"We are the information facilitators," Davis said. "We gather and push out to agencies that need it. We are the hub where all the information is going to come to."

The detachment provides pilot and flight tracking services for all Europe-based Army aircraft, some Air Force flights and civilian flying clubs that use Army airfields, Davis said.

It is the central flight information point for eight Army airfields and four helipads in USAREUR. It keeps track of about 70 Army rotary (helicopter) and fixed-wing aircraft, but that number can total about 160 with the addition of the currently deployed 12th Combat Aviation Brigade's birds.

On a typical day, the detachment supports about 140 flights with peaks hitting up to about 200, Davis said. The detachment is always manned and conducts its operations around the clock every day of the year.

Although it handles mostly Army air traffic, the detachment also processes flight plans from other U.S. services. They also receive and process flight plans from military aircraft originating in the states traveling to or through Europe.

The detachment compiles NOTAMS - notices to Airmen, flight information concerning routes or landing sites - uploading them into a Web-based database that pilots flying in the USEUCOM area of operations can view, Davis said.

The flight administration and data processing sections track aircraft missions from start to finish.

The detachment traces is beginnings to the end of World War II when the 5th Aviation Operating Detachment was stood up and charged with the responsibility for Army airfields in Germany. The 5th AOD's operations included manning and running of control towers, air traffic control, and the operation and maintenance of the navigational facilities.

In 1957, the Army Flight Operations Facility was activated at the Heidelberg Army Airfield as part of the Signal Service Battalion, Europe. Its mission was to provide centralized flight services to all U.S. Army aircraft operating in Europe.

Over the years, the detachment underwent several re-designations, name changes and upgrades in its communications technology since its founding.

At the height of its operations, the detachment was comprised of five warrant or commissioned officers, 24 enlisted Soldiers, and 42 local national civilian employees. Its current personnel roster carries three warrant officers, five Soldiers and 21 civilian employees.

"We are the quiet guys behind the scenes," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Noel C. Seale, the detachment's commanding officer. "A pilot needs to fly, and if we are not here, he has no way to get his flight plan into the system. Anytime you see an (U.S. Army) aircraft flying here, we had a hand in that."

The AFOD team serves as the liaison between Army aviation and Germany's air traffic control system, he explained. The AFOD's civilian employees are able to track all aircraft flying in Germany's airspace and let the host nation's air traffic system know about the U.S. flights.

"The job has changed a lot in USAREUR because we used to have a lot of airplanes here. When you look at all the units coming and going, we are still here," Seale said. "The one constant is that we have not changed: We have the same mission that we had in the '50s.

"If we continue to have aviation in Europe for another 50 years, then we will be celebrating our 100th anniversary."

(Dave Melancon is a member of the USAG Heidelberg Public Affairs Office)

 
Related Links:
Army Flight Operations Detachment - official web site