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Army Aviation in the European Theater
(Page 1 -
Early Years and 1960s)
US Army, Europe

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.


Early Years (1953 - 1963)
Army Avn TO&E
Army Avn Maint
L-19/O-1 Bird Dog
L-20/U-6 Beaver
H-19 Chickasaw
H-34 Choctaw

The 1960s
Avn Co, Division
Air Traffic Operations
Seventh Army Avn Co
Army GCA
Border Aerial Surveillance
H-37A/H-37B Mojave
CH-54 Tarhe
U-1 Otter
UH-1 Huey
OV-1 Mohawk
Army Avn Maint
ARCSA Reorganization

The 1970s

The 1980s
Sep Avn Detachments
1st Avn Det
5th Avn Det
6th Avn Det
22nd Avn Det

56th Avn Det


Related Links




 
The Early Years
1950

Aeronautical Map covers the US Zone of Germany and areas east. Map was prepared by Aeronautical Chart Service, USAF and has air information current as of April 1950.

Click on the thumbnail to view a larger format of the same map.

Aeronautical Chart - BÖHMER FOREST (Chart #231), 1950 (KB)
Map has been divided into four separate sections for faster
download. Click on the area of interest for a larger view

WARNING!
Large image file sizes!

NW Quadrant - 785 KB; NE Quadrant -
787 KB; SW Quadrant - 719 KB; SE Quadrant - 736 KB


Big Picture Series: Army Aviation (mid-1950s) (Movie - 28 min) (Source: YouTube)
1953 - 1963
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, July 31, 1964)

(Source: The United States Army in Europe 1953 - 1963, by D.J. Hickman, HQ USAREUR 1964)
The Increasing Significance of Army Aviation
Chapter 9, pp. 144 - 147

Another major tactical concept that greatly increased USAREUR's combat capability was the emphasis on aerial mobility. Aviation, of course, had been an integral part of the Army since the War Department approved organic aircraft for the field artillery on 6 June 1942. Throughout the latter part of World War II, light aircraft had effectively detected artillery targets that were hidden to ground observers; and after the war, when the United States began to rebuild its forces in Europe, light aircraft were assigned to each artillery battalion. Initially, aviation was envisioned only as a means of target acquisition, but this restrictive viewpoint was short lived. More than 20,000 casualties were evacuated by Army helicopters from the frontlines in Korea.

By the time the five U.S. divisions1) in Europe were increased to full strength in 1952, Army planners already envisaged the use of aircraft in varying battlefield roles. A new TOE, under which Seventh Army reorganized in February 1953, assigned several fixed-wing and rotary aircraft to each division. This development created an immediate shortage of helicopter pilots. Therefore, in November 1953 USAREUR delegated to Seventh Army the responsibility for instrument flight training and testing of all Army aviators in the European theater. Thus, an organized and fast-growing aviation program was under way in Europe.

1) 1st Infantry Division (Würzburg) already in theater (since 1945) as an occupation unit. The other four divisions - 4th Infantry Division (Frankfurt), 28th Infantry Division (Augsburg), 43rd Infantry Divisions (Göppingen) and 2nd Armored Division (Bad Kreuznach) - arrived as part of the Troop Augmentation program in 1951.

On 11 March 1954, Seventh Army headquarters organized an aviation section to supervise specialized and flight aspects of aviation administration, training, and operations. Within a year, aviation elements of Seventh Army were an important, though small, segment of combat support forces, and command emphasis was being placed on their readiness. At first there was a limited training program at Seventh Army level; later each major Seventh Army subordinate command inaugurated a unit pilot-standardization program. The serious shortage of aviators continued, however, and on 1 July 1955, at USAREUR direction, the Seventh Army Aviation Training Center was established to augment the Department of the Army replacement program by supplying locally trained aviators. By the end of 1955 the output of this center had solved the problem of aviator shortages.

During the mid-1950's, as Army planners anticipated the pentomic reorganization, more emphasis was placed on aviation, and USAREUR developed and tested tactical doctrine and methods for employing more aircraft in combat. In 1956, Army aircraft within USAREUR increased to approximately 50 per division, and field exercises simulated aviation play with special emphasis on the use of organic aircraft in intelligence reporting, long-range patrols, helicopter river crossings, and guerrilla attacks. In July 1956, Seventh Army began night-flight training.

By the beginning of 1957, USAREUR had a complete series of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft: the H-19 CHICKASAW helicopter for training and light transport; the L-19 BIRD DOG plane for observation, surveillance and medical evacuation; the H-13 SIOUX helicopter for reconnaissance and medical evacuation; the H-34 CHOCTAW helicopter troop lift and resupply; the L-20 BEAVER plane for liaison, communications, troop lift, and resupply; and the U-1A OTTER for tactical transport. In August of that year, Seventh Army demonstrated in a joint aviation-medical exercise that large numbers of troops and casualties could be moved rapidly under battle conditions; and on 21 January 1958, an entire battle group was lifted in CHOCTAWs and OTTERs from Heilbronn to Baumholder in only six hours. In February 1958, the 11th Airborne Division first used the OTTER for jump training.

On 2 April 1958, the 8th Infantry Division conducted the first successful firing from a SIOUX helicopter that mounted two .30 caliber machineguns; as a result, the division was directed to develop tactical doctrine for the employment of armed helicopters. In late 1959, after numerous tests and exercises, this division organized the first armed helicopter unit to perform long-range reconnaissance and to deliver and retrieve patrols deep behind enemy lines. In the spring of 1960 the unit was put to a successful test during Exercise WINTER SHIELD. Thereafter, USAREUR included armed helicopter operations in its war plans. In 1962, training in armed-helicopter operations became a routine part of infantry, armored, and armored cavalry training schedules.

The 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment had meanwhile tested and evaluated the operation of a professional aerial reconnaissance and security troop. Final reports concluded that this type of unit could execute combat surveillance, reconnaissance, security, light delay, and peacetime surveillance operations effectively.

These and other tests generated an increased emphasis on integrating light aircraft into ground combat training, and as the potential of combat aviation was revealed, new and improved aircraft were developed. In 1961, the UH-1B IROQUOIS helicopter and the OV-1 MOHAWK plane - the first light craft to be powered by gas-turbine engines - arrived in Europe. The IROQUOIS was a much improved utility craft capable of performing many missions, the MOHAWK was a 2-engine plane that could take off or land within very short distances. Several other improved models began to arrive also: the O-1 BIRD DOG for airborne artillery adjustments and fire surveillance; the CV-2A CARIBOU, a fixed-wing medium transport replacing the OTTER; the CH-37 MOJAVE helicopter for medium range transport operations; and the U-8F plane for improved command and staff transport.

Technological advances in aviation and avionics, made as a result of practical experience acquired in South Vietnam, permitted USAREUR to achieve a new dimension of mobility and flexibility. In 1963, each ROAD division was given an aviation battalion and an air cavalry troop. The aviation battalion included a headquarters and headquarters detachment for command and control, an air mobile company for combat lift, and a general support company for utility and surveillance. The air cavalry troop was the first fighting aviation unit in the Army. All of its craft were armed. The light observation helicopters carried the 7.62-mm machinegun, the aero scout platoon was armed with antitank guided missiles, and the aero weapons section used 2.75-inch aerial rockets. The combination of aerial scout, infantry, and fire-support elements permitted this unit to fulfill the traditional role of the cavalry with vastly increased speed, flexibility, and combat power.

In addition, each brigade headquarters had one aviation platoon; the division artillery commander was provided with one organic aviation company; each corps had one organic tactical aviation battalion, one air mobile battalion, one air cavalry troop, one artillery aviation battery, and numerous small aviation sections; and at Seventh Army level there was one aviation group, consisting of 12 flying companies, one tactical aviation battalion, one air mobile battalion, and several air ambulance companies and detachments. In addition to the aircraft assigned these units, by 1963 large numbers of aircraft were assigned to small separate section and platoon elements organic to non-divisional units at both corps and army level. Moreover, USAREUR had several small elements of section and platoon size, such as the flight detachment assigned to USAREUR Special Troops in support of the Commander in Chief. In 1963, SETAF had an aviation company, and two light helicopter companies and a light transport company were assigned to COMZ. Altogether, USAREUR operated more than 2,300 aircraft, most of which were helicopters.

Obviously, this large number of aircraft required large maintenance and support efforts at all levels. Aviation maintenance elements were organic to the ROAD organization. A field maintenance company was assigned to each division, and direct support companies usually provided non-divisional maintenance. Airfield and support functions, however, were more complicated. In mid-1962, in anticipation of the ROAD conversion, USAREUR began expanding its aviation support organization with the idea of providing a widely dispersed system of airfields and support facilities. By 1963, there were 69 Army airfields in operation throughout the command; practically all were equipped for night operations, 47 were linked by direct communications, and 22 were all-weather fields. In addition, there were 26 established heliports.

Army Avn 1960s

 

1. O-1 BIRD DOG (KB)

2. OV-1 MOHAWK (KB)

3. UH-1 IROQUOIS (KB)


4.
U-6A BEAVER (KB)



 

1952
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Sept 14, 1952)

US Army light aircraft parked on civilian side of Echterdingen Airfield, 1952
(Click on image to view hi-res photo - click on aircraft designations to view WIKIPEDIA Pages)
 

Aircraft in service in USAREUR in 1952 include helicopters and light fixed-wing planes. The helicopters are serving in Berlin. The fixed-wing aircraft (L5, L17 and L19's) are scattered through USAREUR infantry and armored divisions, engineer and artillery battalions, the US Constabulary and separate special units. (The Army does not call its planes "light" anymore but the aviation sections in infantry and armored divisions are still called "light aviation sections." Also, Army pilots have been commonly called "liaison pilots" but that is now being discouraged by the Army. The "L" on the Army pilot's badge has been removed.)

L5 Stinson -- powered by a 185-hp motor; cruising speed 100 mph; can stay in the air for a maximum of 3½
hours.

L19 Cessna -- powered by a 213-hp motor; cruising speed 95 mph; can stay in the air for a maximum of 4½ hours.

L17 Avion -- powered by a 205-hp motor; cruising speed 130 mph; can stay in the air for a maximum of 6 hours.

Aircraft maintenance -- aircraft are given intermediate maintenance checks every 30 (flying) hours; major maintenance is performed every 120 hours. The 93rd Ordnance Light Aviation Maintenance (OLAM) Company at Echterdingen performs repair and maintenance on aircraft when the required repairs exceed the capabilities of an air section's own repairmen. USAFE's air depot at Erding (near Munich) serves as the supply point for Army aircraft.

Each division in USAREUR has an Aviation Section in division artillery - usually consisting of one L17 and two L19s (if they are equipped with the latest equipment) or L5s (which are being replaced as rapidly as possible).

Each artillery battalion has two L19s (or L5s) principally for directing artillery fire. Strength is typically two officer pilots and four enlisted men.

Each organic tank battalion within an infantry division has one L19.

The division air section is under the Division Air Officer. The aircraft of this section serve all units in the division. Strength: eight to ten officer pilots, 16 to 19 EMs.

The missions include:
laying wire from the air
airdrops of weapons and ammo
courier runs
evacuation of wounded
border reconnaissance patrols
direction of truck convoys
message drops and pickups
aerial taxi service

1st Infantry Division Air Section -- has a new airfield (Griesheim); a combination operations-quarters building was just recently completed. Maj Charles P. Damon is the CO.

4th Infantry Division Air Section -- has its airfield at Bonames (north of Frankfurt); Maj Maynard Booth is the division flight air officer; Capt Harold E. Barnes serves as the division light aviation officer.

28th Infantry Division Air Section -- Maj Robert M. Webb is the CO; the aircraft of the section serve as "air OP" (observation post) for artillery, infantry and armored units; lay wire; perform minor resupply missions and evacuate wounded.

43rd Infantry Division Air Section -- uses the old Messerschmitt factory (at Haunstetten) as its division airfield; Maj George G. Tillery is the 43rd's Air Officer; Capt William P. Sampson serves as the DivArty Air Officer; Capt Charles M. Grandell is the 43rd Div Hq Co Air Officer.

2nd Armored Division Air Section -- flies light aircraft from airstrips at Baumholder, Mannheim and Bad Kreuznach; Maj Robert F. Tugman is division air officer.


 

US Army H-13 of the 4th Infantry Division Air Section, early 1950s
 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Nov 2 and Nov 23, 1952)
The Bell H-13E helicopters are currently being distributed to 7th Army tactical units.

A first group of these helicopters, which have been proven as very useful on the battlefields of Korea, arrived in Europe in September - they have been reassembled and then turned over to the command's combat divisions.

The 6th Infantry Regiment in Berlin has also received several of these helicopters. (The 6th received their first helicopters - Hiller H-23's - in December 1950. As of Nov 1952, they have two H-13E's and one H-23A. The helicopters are stationed at Tempelhof airfield.)

Eventually, about sixty H-13's will be in operation in divisions, combat engineer units and the 7th Army Flight Detachment (Echterdingen).

The "eggbeater" or "flying jeep," as the small helicopter is also known, can carry a passenger next to the pilot or two litter patients strapped to platforms outside of the cabin. Very versatile, the helicopter can be used for a variety of missions such as laying communications wire, patrol and reconnaissance, supply, emergency evacuation, courier service and passenger transportation.

H-13E model -- powered by a 213-hp motor; cruising speed 75 mph; range of about 150 miles, can stay in the air for a couple of hours.

Each helicopter is shipped by boat from the factory in Fort Worth, TX. to Bremerhaven (broken down and stored in two large crates). The crates are then transported by rail to Erding Air Depot near Munich which serves as the depot-level support base for Army aircraft in theater. At the air depot, the helicopters are uncrated and reassembled by airmen of the 85th Erection & Storage Squadron, a USAFE unit. It takes a 25-man crew 83 man hours to assemble one helicopter.

Pilots from the 7th Army Aircraft Trans Co flight test each assembled aircraft before releasing it for delivery to an issuing or using unit.

US Forces, Austria has also received H-13 helicopters - there are five in the USFA Air Section.

 
Air Sections of Field Artillery Battalion

103rd FA Battalion, 43rd Infantry Division

 
1956
(Source: Army Aviation Magazine, Dec 15 1956)

Some notes from the issue:

Hoppstädten Army Airfield (near Baumholder) - the 30th TAAM Company has been moved to Hanau; the 42nd Field Artillery Group (aviation section) currently operates from the airfield and is currently participating in the large-scale NATO maneuver "Sabre Knot". The 265th FA Bn (280mm) recently returned from a NATO maneuver up in northern Germany where demonstrations of the 280-mm Gun were put on for the German Republic, British, and Netherlands Armies.

NOTE: Hoppstädten AAF, located in the valley of the Nahe River, was also known as "Happy Valley"... (anybody know the "story" behind that?)

Some army aviation units in Europe at this time:
Hq Det, 54th Trans Bn, APO 177
41st Trans Bn (AAM), APO 28
K-D Det, 41st Trans Bn, APO 46
110th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr), APO 29
7th Army Aviation Training Detachment (7737), APO 46


1957
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 10, 1957)
As US Army field forces reorganize under the Pentomic concept, Army aviation capabilities in the field are undergoing a significant buildup.

Currently, the US Army, as a whole, has 4,900 officer and warrant officer pilots and 9,000 enlisted men who maintain and fly some 4,500 aircraft. Present plans call for a 50 percent increase in personnel and aircraft by 1960.

The ongoing USAREUR aviation buildup typifies the Army's increased focus on aerial mobility.
  2 years ago, the value of Army aircraft in the command was $17.5 million. It is now $36.8 million.

9 months ago, airplanes and helicopters numbered about 500. The present inventory is about 600 (half of them fixed-wing, the rest rotary).

Personnel now includes 900 officer and warrant officer pilots and 1,200 enlisted men.

USAREUR's complement of aircraft today includes: H-13, H-19 and H-34 helicopters; L-19, L-20, U-1 and L-23 fixed-wing aircraft. The Army's largest aircraft, the H-37 MOJAVE, will be added to that group soon.

Col Warren R. Williams is the current USAREUR Aviation Officer.

To keep USAREUR aircraft in action, USAREUR depends primarily on three organizations:
the Supply & Maintenance Depot at Sandhofen
the 7th Army Aviation Training Center at Echterdingen
the Army Flight Operating Facility at Heidelberg

7703 US Army TC Aircraft Depot (more)
The depot is commanded by Lt Col George L. Lovett. It supports 194 organizations and has an inventory of parts and engines totaling 10 million.

Service is also provided to SETAF; Communications Zone; Military Assistance Advisory Groups (West Germany, France, Greece, Turkey and Ethopia); Canadian 1st Brigade.

7th Army Aviation Training Center
The training center is commanded by Lt Col Theodore F. Schirmacher. The center was established in July 1955 and provides three main courses:
- Instrument qualification and requalification for pilots
- Instruction of pilots who will serve as instructors in units
- Mechanical, supply and airfield operations training for NCOs

Army Flight Operating Facility (more)
AFOF, located at the Heidelberg Army airfield, was established on July 1, 1957. It is operated by personnel of the 5th Army Aviation Operating Detachment (5th AAOD).

AFOF monitors Army aviation flights in Germany - an average of 365 flights a day in good weather, about 165 flights a day in wintertime. Before AFOF was opened, each individual airfield monitored their own aircraft. From the AFOF communications center, clearance officers and traffic monitors have direct communications to 43 Army airfields and dial phone connection to 15 others in West Germany.

The 5th AAOD is also responsible for providing traffic control teams for many major Army airfields in West Germany. One officer and 66 EM's are on tower duty.

Detachment commander is Maj A. C. Wutzke.

 
1958
(Source: Army Aviation in Seventh Army, Army Aviation Digest, March 1958)
Indicative of the expansion of Army Aviation in 7th Army are the increases in Army Aviation personnel and equipment over a two-year period. Personnel have been made available to meet recently increased authorizations as well as the initial deficits which existed two years ago. Assignments of aircraft has not kept pace with the 50 percent increase in authorizations due to our old friend "lead time"; nevertheless, over 700 pilots, 1,600 mechanics and 500 aircraft were in Seventh Army as of 1 July 1957.

The Seventh Army Aviation Training Center was established to meet the requirements of combat readiness. Although the number of hours flown (in Seventh Army) in 1956 was approximately 20 percent greater than in 1955, the aircraft accident rate decreased from 46 to 36 for each 10,000 hours flown.

The presence of light cargo helicopter companies and the fixed wing tactical transport companies provides a means of considerable airlift by organic Army aircraft for small tactical units and critical supplies. Division commanders are able to utilize one or more aviation companies, in addition to their own increased division aviation, for tactical training and the development of techniques to increase mobility. All field exercises stress the potential of Army Aviation in increasing the battle capacity of Seventh Army.

Similar expansion of organic aviation has taken place in other elements of US Army Europe. The USAREUR Army Aviation Depot has expanded facilities and personnel to support the increased numbers of aircraft assigned to the command.

 
(Source: Seventh Army Annual Historical Report FY 1958; STATION LIST, 17 April 1957)
Army Aviation Units in Germany - 1958
8th Transportation Corps Gp (Mov Control) Ludwigsburg
2nd Avn Co (Army) arrived in Europe early 1957
3rd Avn Co (Army) arrived in Europe early 1957
11th TC Co (Lt Hcptr) Nellingen
  41st TC Bn (Army Acft Maint) Mannheim-Sandhofen  
  30th TC Co (Army Acft Maint) Hanau  
  153rd TC Co (Depot) arrived in Europe after Apr 1957
  245th TC Co (Army Acft Hv M-S) Mannheim-Sandhofen  
  247th TC Co (Army Acft Maint) arrived in Europe after Apr 1957
  205th TC Bn (Army Acft Maint) (Ludwigsburg) arrived in Europe after Apr 1957
  29th TC Co (Army Acft Maint) Vaihingen (prob Nellingen)  
  42nd TC Co (Army Acft Maint) Hanau  
  48th TC Co (Army Acft Maint) Munich  
  246th TC Co (Army Acft Maint) arrived in Europe after Apr 1957
  11th Avn Co (11th Abn Div) Augsburg (prob Gablingen Airfield)
8th TC Bn (Hcptr) Munich
18th TC Co (Lt Hcptr) Munich
110th TC Co (Lt Hcptr) Munich
54th TC Bn (Hcptr) Ansbach? (prob in Hanau)
26th TC Co (Lt Hcptr) Hanau
36th TC Co (Lt Hcptr) arrived in Europe after Apr 1957
Webmaster Note: At the same time, aviation companies were in the process of being organized one for each of the divisions stationed in Germany as well as one for each of the armored cavalry regiments.
A STARS & STRIPES article from Oct 15, 1958 states that there are eight (8) aviation companies spread throughout USAREUR (Germany, France and Italy). A look at the STATION LIST for the period shows the following AVIATION companies:
2nd Avn Co (Fixed Wing, Tactical Transportation)**, Orleans, France
3rd Avn Co (Fixed Wing, Tactical Transportation), Illesheim, Germany
3rd Avn Co, Kitzingen, Germany
8th Avn Co, Bad Kreuznach, Germany
24th Avn Co, Augsburg, Germany (replaced the 11th Avn Co listed above as part of GYROSCOPE)
110th Avn Co (Surveillance), Vicenza, Italy
503rd Avn Co, Hanau, Germany
504th Avn Co, Fürth, Germany

** The STATION LIST has the 2nd listed as a detachment which is incorrect.

Army Aviation TO&E (Late 1950s/Early 1960s)
 
(Source: FM 1-5 Army Aviation Organizations and Employment, May 1959)

Army Aviation Units
The manual cited above covers all Army aviation units assigned or attached within a type field army (such as the Seventh Army in Europe) in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The mission of Army aviation is to expedite and facilitate the conduct of Army operations. Specifically, Army aviation units are equipped and trained to provide commanders with a significantly greater capability for --

a. Mobility and maneuverability.
b. Command control and communications.
c. Observation, reconnaissance, and target acquisition.

Hq/Hq Detachment, Transportation Aviation Group --

Hq/Hq Detachment, Transportation Aircraft Battalion -- (TOE 55-56D)
The mission of this unit is to provide command, control, staff planning, and administrative supervision of two to seven transport aircraft companies.

In Germany at that time:
8th TC Bn (Trans Acft), Oberschleissheim
54th TC Bn (Trans Acft), Hanau

Aviation Company (Army) -- (TOE 1-137D)
The mission of the company is to provide the army headquarters and units subordinate to army headquarters with immediately available and responsive aviation support and necessary air traffic control therefore.

In Germany at that time:
2nd Avn Co (Army), Illesheim
3rd Avn Co (Army), Illesheim

Aviation Company (Div) -- (TOE 1-7)
The mission of the company is to provide the division and its elements with aerial observation, reconnaissance, transportation, and limited resupply.

In Germany at that time:
3rd Avn Co, 3rd Inf Div, Kitzingen
8th Avn Co, 8th Inf Div, Hoppstaetten
24th Avn Co, 24th Inf Div, Augsburg
503rd Avn Co, 3rd Armd Div, Hanau
504th Avn Co, 4th Armd Div, Fuerth

Aviation Company (ACR) -- (TOE 1-67D)
The mission of this unit is to increase the combat effectiveness of the regiment by providing the regiment and its elements with immediately responsive organic aviation support.

In Germany at that time:
Avn Co, 2nd ACR, Nuernberg
Avn Co, 11th ACR, Straubing
Avn Co, 14th ACR, Fulda

Transportation Company (Light Helicopter) -- (TOE 55-57C)
The Transportation company, rotary wing, light transport, provides air transport to expedite tactical operations and logistical support in the forward areas of a combat zone.

In Germany at that time:
11th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Nellingen
18th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Oberschleissheim

26th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Verdun, France with a detachment in Pirmasens, Germany
36th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Hanau
59th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Wertheim
91st TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Oberschleissheim
110th TC Co (Lt Hcptr), Oberschleissheim


Transportation Company (Rotary-Wing, Medium Transport) -- (TOE 55-58)
The mission of the company is to provide air transport to expedite tactical operations and logistical support in the combat zone.

In Germany at that time:
4th TC Co (Hcptr H-37), Hanau
90th TC Co (Hcptr H-37), Illesheim (arr. in Germany 1961)

Aviation Operating Detachment -- (TOE 1-207D)
The mission of the AOD is to facilitate Army flight operations by providing flight information and planning data; coordination of day, night, and instrument flights; en route navigation aids; air traffic control and operations service for Army aviation units.

In Germany at that time:
16th AOD, Kitzingen (from 1958 to September 1962)

Army Air Traffic Regulation and Identification Company -- (TOE 1-207E)
This company's mission is to provide en route air traffic regulation and identification, navigational aids, flight information, air warnings, and other assistance to in-flight aircraft, and to assist divisions in regulating air traffic in the forward areas.

In Germany at that time:
14th AATRI Co, Echterdingen (as of September 1962)


Army Aircraft Maintenance Units (1950s-60s)
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Oct 1, 1952)
On Oct 1 1952, the responsibility for maintenance and supply of all US Army fixed-wing and rotary aircraft in Europe is being transferred from the Ordnance Corps to the Transportation Corps. This shift in responsibility is part of an Army-wide effort.

There are currently three Ordnance Light Aircraft Maintenance companies in Germany and France:
35th OLAM Co, Illesheim, Germany
45th OLAM Co, Metz, France
93rd OLAM Co, Echterdingen, Germany

These units are scheduled to be redesignated as Transportation Corps units (Trans Army Acft Maint).

The Dec 15 1952 USAREUR Station List shows the 45th as already redesignated (45th TAAM Co), but the 35th and 93rd are still listed as Ord Lt Acft Maint companies.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 2, 1953)
There are currently two Transportation Army Aviation Maintenance (TAAM) companies attached to 7th Army -
35th TAAM Co, Hoppstädten (CO is 1st Lt William O. Marle)
93rd TAAM Co, Echterdingen (CO is 1st Lt Richard H. Nelson)

These units provide field maintenance and supply support for 7th Army's rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

TAAM units are comprised of headquarters, maintenance, service and technical supply sections.

Headquarters section - provides normal housekeeping duties.

Maintenace section - provides field maintenance.

Service section - operates the various repair shops.

Technical Supply setion - responsible for requesting, receiving, storing and issuing spare parts and related material pertaining to Army aircraft.

In addition, there are four flight officers assigned to each of the TAAM units; they are responsible for test flying repaired aircraft and other duties.

During WWII and the immediate post-war period, maintenance responsibility for Army aircraft belonged to the Army Air Corps. In 1949, that mission was assigned to the Ordnance Corps. The units were designated as Ordnance Light Aircraft Maintenance (OLAM). In August 1952, the mission was transferred to the Transportation Corps and the OLAM units became TAAM units.

Depot
153rd TC Co (Depot)
Heavy Maintenance & Supply
245th TC Co (Army Acft Hv M-S)
Army Aircraft Maintenance
29th TC Co (AAM)
30th TC Co (AAM)
35th TC Co (AAM)
42nd TC Co (AAM)
45th TC Co (AAM)
48th TC Co (AAM)
93rd TC Co (AAM)
246th TC Co (AAM)
247th TC Co (AAM)
Division Aircraft Maintenance
3rd TC Det (AAM) -- 3rd Inf Div
8th TC Det (AAM) -- 8th Inf Div
24th TC Det (AAM) -- 24th Inf Div
53rd TC Det (AAM) -- 3rd Armd Div
54th TC Det (AAM) -- 4th Armd Div

 

138th Trans Det (Cargo)(Fld Maint)
Pocket Patch







30th TC Company (AAM)
I moved the emails and comments regarding the 30th Trans Co (Acft Maint) to the 41st Trans Bn Page, Army Aviation section.
 

42nd TC Company (AAM)
I moved the emails and comments regarding the 42nd Trans Co (Acft Maint) to the 205th Trans Bn Page, Army Aviation section.
 

45th TC Company (AAM)
(Source: Email from Edward Landry, 45th OLAM, 1952-54)
I joined the 45th Ord Light Avn Maint Company (OLAM) at Fort Bragg NC, in the spring of 1951, fresh from Fort Sill. as a newly minted Army Aviator, as well as an AF Liaison Pilot.   The 45th OLAM, commanded by Captain Frank O Perry was assigned to a Fort Bragg Ordnance Bn. I was assigned as the Executive Officer.  

The company was alerted for a USAREUR assignment during the summer and we trained in the old Balloon Hanger area in the vicinity of Pope AFB.. The company consisted of about 93 aviation personnel at the time, most of which had significant experience in aviation field maintenance. Ordnance POM staff personnel told us that we were training for a very important aviation mission in USAREUR.  

During the winter of 1951 I took the Advance Party of the company, consisting of 4 senior NCOs’, to USAREUR to arrange for the arrival of the main body in the spring of 1952. Upon arrival, the company was assigned to an Ordnance Bn. in Germany, but with duty station at the USAREUR Advanced Communications Zone Command (ADSEC) in Verdun, France. At that time, ADSEC was commanded by Brigadier General W. W. Ford, one of the early founders of Army Aviation and known then as the “Father of Army Aviation.”  

Ed Landry, 45th OLAM, in an L-17 at Frescaty Airfield
 

The 45th OLAM was initially quartered in the Gribevaul Caserne in Verdun, France and upon arrival, much to our dismay, it was determined that the unit did not have an aviation mission. Rather, it was a time when the Army was moving all its depot facilities west of the Rhine. Since we did not have an aviation mission, company personnel were utilized as stevedores, moving ordnance material and equipment into new depot facilities. Morale immediately plummeted and it was determined that immediate action was needed if the company was to survive as a unit.  

Capt. Frank O. Perry, the CO. verbally discussed this situation briefly with the Ordnance Bn. Commander in Germany and as a result, by Company Order, moved the company from Verdun in the early dawn of a spring morning to the Frescaty Airfield in Metz, ostensibly on an extended field maneuver .  

The Frescaty Airfield was a NATO airfield under construction and consisted of a single runway and taxiways suitable for a squadron of French Air Force Mystere fighter jets. Vertical construction on the American assigned side of the airfield consisted of a dilapidated warehouse and separate hangar where a small detachment of U. S. Army personnel were maintaining 21 L-5 aircraft in flyable storage as the USAREUR war reserve.   The company pitched tents in a field adjacent to the airfield and took on the mission of maintaining the war reserve aircraft and improving the hangar and warehouse facilities sufficient to conduct aviation field and general support maintenance. Company moral immediately soared.  

Additional personnel were assigned to include the commander of the detachment, Lt. Ned McCord, Lt. Ray Cumb and two second liutenants, Lendrum and Forester. Shortly thereafter the 45th OLAM assumed a USAREUR aviation general support role, providing back up support for the 93rd OLAM in Echterdingen and the 30th OLAM in Hoppstätten, Germany.  

During this period the USAF provided Army Aviation depot maintenance and supply support from their depot in Chateauroux, France. The 45th OLAM interfaced with the USAF Chateauroux depot and early on established a 45 day level of aviation spare parts at Frescaty from which the 93rd and 30th OLAM sister companies drew their 30 day level of spares. As the hangar facility became viable, the 45th OLAM began line hauling boxed H-13 model helicopters from the USAF Chateauroux Depot facility to Frescaty where they were assembled, test flown and issued to the 93rd and 30th OLAM companies for subsequent distribution to 7th Army units. More than 35 H-13 model helicopters were assembled during the period and the crates the helicopters came in were modified and became general support maintenance service facilities alongside the hangar.

During this same time period, responsibility for Army Aviation logistics transferred from the US Army Ordnance Corps to the US Army Transportation Corps and the company and its sister companies in Germany became US Army Transportation Army Aircraft Maintenance Companies (TAAMs).

During the 1953-1954 period, the company provided general support maintenance for aircraft and components that were beyond the capability of the 93rd and 30th TAAM companies. During this same period, all the USAREUR war reserve L-5 aircraft were replaced with new L-19 model aircraft. The older L-5s were flown to Erding AB in Germany by company personnel, where they were disassembled and subsequently returned to CONUS. Twenty one new L-19 aircraft consisting of the USAREUR war reserve were received and maintained in flyable storage at the Frescaty airfield facility until late 1954 when they were flown by company personnel to a small airfield at Laroche-Sur Yon in southern France.

During the 1953-54 time period the 45 th TAAM personnel, in conjunction with the USAREUR Headquarters Logistics Division, established a contract with Sabena Aircraft Corporation at Brussels to provide depot maintenance for all the old war-weary L-17 model aircraft in USAREUR. USAREUR. L-17s from Germany and Austria were flown to the 45th TAAM where they were prepared for a one-time flight to Brussels. These aircraft then received a complete overhaul known as the Depot Inspection Record (DIR) , and the aircraft were restored to “like new” condition. This is probably one of the last contracts of its type as shortly thereafter USAF and U.S Army depot maintenance policy was changed to the “Inspect, Repair, Only as Necessary" (IROAN) concept. Approximately 25 L-17 aircraft were inducted into this program.  

I left the 45th TAAM in the fall of 1954 and I understand that shortly thereafter the unit was relocated to Sandhofen, Germany where it became part of the USAREUR Army Aviation Depot as it was subsequently known.   I had the good fortune to be subsequently assigned to the U.S. Army Transportation Command in St. Louis commanded by Gen. Bill Bunker. This command became the nucleus of the first U. S. Army Aviation Logistics Command and free from the USAF yoke for logistics support. At the attachment is yours truly and one of the war weary L-17s inducted into the DIR program.

L-19 / O-1 BIRD DOG
 

14th Armd Cav O-1 Bird Dog on display at a Bitburg AB airshow
 

L-20 / U-6A BEAVER
 

U-6A of an unidentified USAREUR aviation company
 

Operator's Manual U-6A, 1965
 

Will post Chapter 2 (Description) and Chapter 5 (Avionics) at a later date.  

 

U-6A of an unidentified USAREUR aviation company

Army Aviation TO&E (mid-1960s)
 
(Source: Branches of the Army, ROTCM 145-70, Oct 1963)
Transportation Aviation Units
The Transportation Corps (TC) provides a number of aviation units which can be attached or assigned to the field army, corps, or division. The quantity and "mix" of these units may vary, depending on the mission and size of the supported force, climate, weather, terrain, and other factors. Transportation aviation units are either transport units or maintenance and supply units.

Transportation Transport Aircraft Battalion -- 8th and 54th TC Battalions.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Transportation Transport Aircraft Battalion, provides a headquarters for command, control, staff planning, and administrative supervision of assigned or attached aircraft companies and maintenance units. Normally assigned to a field army, the battalion is capable of commanding up to seven aircraft companies.

Transportation Light Helicopter Company -- 11th, 18th, 26th, 36th, 59th, 91st and 110th TC Companies (Lt Hcptr).
To expedite combat operations by providing direct tactical and logistical air transport support to combat units, this company is attached or assigned to a Transportation Transport Aircraft Battalion in the field army. Utilizing CH-34 (Choctaw) helicopters, the company can provide day or night air transport of troops and cargo; aeromedical evacuation; transport of specialist teams and critical items, supplies, and parts; air traffic control; and liaison with tactical units.

Transportation Medium Helicopter Company -- the 4th TC Co (arrived in Europe in 1959) and 90th TC Co (arr. 1961), equipped with the H-37 "Mojave."
This company also provides tactical and logistical air transport to expedite combat operations in a theater of operations. It is attached or assigned to a Transportation Transport Aircraft Battalion. Using CH 37 (Mohave) or CH-47A (Chinook) helicopters, it provides the same type of service as the Light Helicopter Company, but its lift capabilities are greater.

Transportation Transport Airplane Company -- see 2nd and 3rd Avn Co (Army).
This company's mission is to provide logistical airlift for movement of supplies and personnel in a theater of operations and, as directed, to provide tactical airlift of combat units and air resupply of units engaged in combat operations. This company is normally attached or assigned to a Transportation Transport Aircraft Battalion. Operating CV-2B (Caribou) airplanes the company provides the same services as the light or medium helicopter company, but with a greater lift and range capability. (Webmaster Note: In Europe, the Fixed-Wing Light Transport Company was equipped with the U-1 Otter.)

Transportation Aircraft Maintenance and Supply Battalion -- 41st and 205th TC Bn (Army Acft Maint).
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Transportation Aircraft Maintenance and Supply Battalion, provides command, control, staff planning, and administrative supervision of assigned or attached transportation aircraft support maintenance companies and transportation aircraft base maintenance companies. The battalion is capable of commanding up to seven transportation aircraft maintenance and supply companies.

 
(Source: Email from Lars Ekström, Sweden)
My late father photographed these helicopters at the airport of Göteborg (Torslanda), which is located on the west coast of Sweden.

According to him they were they flying from Norway to Germany, probably attending a NATO exercise or a training flight. There were at least five helicopters at that time. My father didn’t recall the exact date, but I believe that it must have been about 1957-59.

Can anyone identify the unit and perhaps give some additional information regarding this flight.

Unidentified Unit
timeframe: 1957-59
Photos submitted by Lars Ekström, Sweden
 

1. H-34's at Göteborg airport (KB)

2. H-34's take off (KB)




 
(Source: Fundamentals of Army Aviation II, US Army Transportation School, ST 55-183, April 1961)
HHD, TC Transport Aircraft Bn, TOE 55-56D
The organization of the type field army includes four battalions of transport aircraft consisting of 20 aircraft companies -- 4 airplane, 4 medium helicopter, and 12 light helicopter. The transportation transport aircraft battalion is composed of a headquarters and headquarters detachment and two to seven aircraft companies -- usually three light helicopter, one medium helicopter, and one light airplane. The headquarters and headquarters detachment provides command, control, staff planning, and administrative supervision. It is assigned to a field army, and it is 50 per cent mobile when it uses all its organic vehicles and aircraft.

a. Capabilities.
This detachment can plan and supervise the employment of attached or assigned air transport companies and supervise the logistical functions of assigned or attached maintenance units.


Figure 1.
 
b. Organization.
Headquarters and headquarters detachment, transportation transport aircraft battalion, is made up of a battalion headquarters and a headquarters detachment. Battalion headquarters performs the usual supervisory and administrative functions of a headquarters. Headquarters detachment is made up of a detachment headquarters and five sections, with titles which indicate their functions: administrative and personnel section, operations and intelligence section, communications section, medical section, and maintenance and supply section. Figure 1 is an organizational chart of the headquarters and headquarters detachment; the TOE of this unit has been approved and is official.
(1) Battalion headquarters -- includes the battalion commander, executive officer, staff officers and assistants, liaison officers, and the battalion sergeant major. These personnel provide the supervision for the normal staff functions found in a battalion headquarters. Provisions for liaison with supported units are minimum and may be augmented by personnel provided by the sections described in the following subparagraphs. Command vehicular and aerial transportation, communications, and other mission equipment for the battalion commander and staff are found in the appropriate sections of the headquarters detachment.

(2) Detachment headquarters -- is staffed by the detachment commander, supply sergeant, cook, clerk, and mechanics. One utility airplane and three observation helicopters are provided for command transportation to higher headquarters and subordinate and supported units, and for reconnaissance and courier missions.

(3) Administrative and personnel section -- includes the personnel officer, personnel sergeant, and personnel specialists and clerks for the S1 section. The name of the administrative and personnel section indicates its functions. There are no aircraft in this section or in any of the following sections.

(4) Operations and intelligence section -- is composed of the assistant S3, the operations sergeant, the intelligence sergeant, and enough personnel to operate the S2 and S3 sections of the battalion headquarters. It is responsible for planning and coordinating the employment of subordinate units. The successful accomplishment of air transport missions requires that liaison officers from battalion headquarters go to the supported units for detailed planning and staff assistance. The liaison officers must clearly coordinate the requirements of the supported units with the capabilities of the air transport units.

(5) Communications section -- is manned by the communications chief and all wire, radio, and message center personnel of headquarters detachment. The section has two 3/4-ton trucks, one mounting the battalion radio for communications with higher and subordinate units and one for transporting the battalion wire equipment. A 1/4-ton truck is also provided for the battalion communications officer. The communications section operates in close proximity to the operations and intelligence section.

(6) Medical section -- is made up of enlisted medical aid men and has an ambulance to provide medical support to the battalion. Aid men are normally attached to the subordinate units. The battalion is authorized an aviation medical officer.

(7) Maintenance and supply section -- includes the supervisors, technical inspectors, and clerks for the S4 section. In this section are the specialists to assist the S4 in the supervision of supply and maintenance functions in subordinate units.

c. Employment.
The transportation transport aircraft battalion headquarters functions as the tactical and control headquarters for the employment of attached or assigned transportation air transport companies. The battalion may be employed in direct support of or attached to corps or division units. It may be employed by individual companies or by a combination of its assigned or attached elements. The battalion headquarters is usually established near the base airfield of one of its subordinate elements, preferably the light airplane company. Normally, the battalion headquarters is not deployed forward of a supported division command post.

d. Aircraft.
Aircraft to meet normal command flight requirements of the battalion headquarters are organic to the detachment headquarters. One utility airplane transports the battalion commander, staff, and staff specialists as required. Three observation helicopters provide a rotary-wing flight capability to areas inaccessible by fixedwing aircraft.

 
(Source: Fundamentals of Army Aviation II, US Army Transportation School, ST 55-183, April 1961)
TC Light Helicopter Co, TOE 55-57D
The transportation light helicopter company expedites combat operations by providing direct tactical and administrative air transport to combat units. It is assigned to a field army and is attached to the transportation transport aircraft battalion; normally, three companies are allocated to a battalion. A light helicopter company uses either of the two light transport helicopters -- the H-21 or the H-34. (Webmaster Note: in Europe, Lt Hel Co were equipped with the H-34.)

a. Capabilities.
The transportation light helicopter company provides aeromedical evacuation, day or night transport for troops and cargo, and air movement of specialist teams, critical items, critical supplies, and parts. Its maximum-effort capability, under ideal conditions of weather, temperature, and altitude, and within an operating radius of 50 miles, depends upon which light transport helicopter is used. An H-34 company can lift approximately 280 troops, 34 short tons of cargo, or 160 litter patients. An H-21 company can lift approximately 280 troops, 28.8 short tons of cargo, or 240 litter patients. In sustained effort, these capabilities are reduced by 25 per cent, or the lift capability can be adjusted by an aircraft availability factor which is dependent on the duration of the operation.

Figure 2.
 
b. Organization.
As shown in Figure 2, a transportation light helicopter company is made up of a company headquarters, an operations section, two helicopter platoons, and a service platoon. They are described in the following subparagraphs.

(1) Company headquarters -- has the company commander, executive officer, first sergeant, and supply, mess, administrative, and vehicular maintenance personnel. Vehicles are provided to transport the company commander, company supplies, and mess equipment. All crew-served weapons of the company are assigned to this section for distribution according to the organization and occupation requirements of the base heliport. Crew-served weapons are distinguished from weapons issued to individuals: a machinegun is a crew-served weapon, a rifle is not. Except for the company commander's FM radio, wire is the normal means of communication with other elements of the company.

(2) Operations section -- is made up of an operations officer, and operations and communications personnel to handle the base heliport operations and local air traffic control on a 24-hour basis.
(3) Helicopter platoon -- consists of a platoon headquarters and two helicopter sections. The platoon normally operates from the company base heliport; however, it may operate by sections to meet mission requirements. Platoon headquarters is staffed by the platoon commander, assistant platoon commander, platoon sergeant, and a light truck driver. The helicopter platoon is equipped with a 1/4-ton truck which has an FM radio; with this, the platoon commander can communicate in the company's command radio net or with the platoon's aircraft. The officers in the helicopter sections pilot the aircraft. Each helicopter section has one officer, eight warrant officers, and five aircraft crew chiefs and is equipped with five light transport helicopters. You can see in the organizational chart that there are two helicopter platoons in a company; each platoon has two helicopter sections, making four helicopter sections in a company.

(4) Service platoon -- consists of a platoon headquarters, a maintenance section, and an airfield service section. It is designed to provide aviation supplies, organizational aircraft maintenance, and base heliport service for the company. The service platoon headquarters supervises the aircraft maintenance performed by the company, and it stocks aircraft parts and supplies. The maintenance section has a maintenance supervisor and 32 helicopter mechanics. The crew chiefs assigned to the helicopter sections (par. (3)) supervise and assist the personnel of the maintenance section. The airfield service section provides crash and rescue service, refueling service, parking and mooring service, and general assistance to all helicopters using the base.

c. Employment.
The light helicopter company normally operates under the control of the battalion commander. It is employed with other companies of the battalion, or it may be attached to a corps. When employed as corps troops, the company may be placed in direct support of subordinate corps units for specific missions. This unit is not attached below division level. The company can lift one infantry company, including all tactical personnel, weapons, and prescribed loads. It is usually employed by section or platoon rather than by individual aircraft.
 

26th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)
Pocket Patch


91st Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)
Pocket Patch




 
(Source: Fundamentals of Army Aviation II, US Army Transportation School, ST 55-183, April 1961)
TC Medium Helicopter Co, TOE 55-58T
The mission of the transportation medium helicopter company is to provide air transport to expedite combat operations by providing tactical and administrative air transport in the combat zone. The medium helicopter company is assigned to a field army and attached to the transportation transport aircraft battalion, usually one company to a battalion and four to a field army.

a. Capabilities. A medium helicopter company provides the same types of service as the light helicopter company, but its lift capabilities are greater. Using H-37 helicopters, it can lift 384 troops, 80 short tons of cargo, or 384 litters as a maximum effort under ideal conditions. For sustained effort, these capabilities are reduced or adjusted by an aircraft availability factor which depends on the duration of the operation.


Figure 3.
 
b. Organization. A transportation medium helicopter company is made up of a company headquarters, an operations platoon, a communications section, two tactical transport platoons, and a service platoon. The organization is shown in Figure 3 and described in the following subparagraphs:

(1) Company headquarters. The company headquarters has the following personnel: company commander, executive officer, first sergeant, supply sergeant, mess steward, motor sergeant, and enough personnel to perform the administrative, vehicular maintenance, and mess functions. Vehicles are provided to transport the company commander, company supplies, and the company mess. All crew-served weapons of the company are assigned to company headquarters for distribution according to the organization and occupation requirements of the base heliport.

(2) Operations platoon. The base airfield is established and operated by the operations platoon, which provides terminal air traffic and approach control. This platoon coordinates and assigns flight missions, and performs airfield services. It is made up of a platoon headquarters, a flight dispatch section, an air traffic control section, and an airfield service section. .
(3) The communications section takes care of the company's communications. Except for the company commander's FM radio, contact with the other elements of the company is by wire. In the communications section are a communications chief, radio mechanics and operators, switchboard operators, and field wiremen.

(4) Tactical transport platoons. Each of the two tactical transport platoons consists of a platoon headquarters and two tactical transport sections. The platoon commander, platoon sergeant, crew chief, and a light truck driver make up platoon headquarters. It is equipped with a 1/4-ton vehicle with vehicular mounted radio, which permits the platoon commander to communicate in the company command radio net or with aircraft organic to the platoon. It is also authorized an observation helicopter. Each of the four tactical transport sections has four medium cargo helicopters, H-37's, which provide the tactical and administrative air transport capability of this company.

(5) Service platoon. The service platoon has a platoon headquarters and four maintenance sections. It is designed to provide organizational aircraft maintenance and supply service for the company. In the service platoon headquarters are the platoon commander, platoon sergeant, aircraft technical inspectors, supply personnel, and aircraft component repairmen. The service platoon supervises and inspects the organizational maintenance of aircraft and stocks aircraft parts and supplies. Officers from the transport platoons are designated by the company commander as assistant maintenance officer and aircraft supply officer; they perform these additional duties under the supervision of the service platoon commander. Each of the four maintenance sections contains a maintenance supervisor and enough rotary-wing mechanics to perform organizational maintenance on the H-37's of one tactical transport section. The flight engineers assigned to individual helicopters in the tactical transport sections supervise and assist the personnel of the maintenance section in performing such maintenance.

c. Employment. The transportation medium helicopter company normally operates under the control of a battalion commander. It may be employed with other companies of the battalion or it may be attached to a corps and employed as corps troops. When employed as corps troops the company may be further attached to or placed in direct support of subordinate corps units. One platoon with its two sections of four aircraft each can lift an infantry company, including all tactical personnel, weapons, and prescribed loads. The medium helicopter company is usually employed by platoons or sections rather than by individual aircraft and crews. Echelons of maintenance beyond the capability of the company are performed by the transportation aircraft maintenance units supporting the battalion. Supply of aircraft, parts, components, and expendables and the evacuation of nonflyable aircraft are the responsibility of the supporting units.
 
NOTE: Image of 4th Trans Co (MH) pocket patch submitted by Dave Guilliams.

8th Trans Bn (Hcptr)
Pocket Patch





 
(Source: Fundamentals of Army Aviation II, US Army Transportation School, ST 55-183, April 1961)
Aviation Fixed-Wing Lt Trans Co, TOE 1-107T
The mission of an aviation fixed-wing light transport company is to expedite combat operations by providing tactical and administrative air transport in the combat zone. The unit is commonly referred to as a light airplane company, but you should know the longer term, since that is its title on the TOE. This text uses both terms. The company is assigned to a field army and is usually attached to a transportation transport aircraft battalion.

a. Capabilities. The light airplane company can transport troops and supplies, within a 100-mile radius, under day, night, or limited-visibility conditions. It provides tactical aerial mobility and aerial supply of combat forces in the combat zone. It establishes local air traffic control and terminal facilities at loading and unloading areas. Aeromedical evacuation falls within its capabilities, as does movement of specialist teams, critical items, and critical supplies and parts. Using the U-1A, this company can lift 160 troops, 20 short tons of cargo, or 76 litter patients.


Figure 4.
 
b. Organization.
As seen in Figure 4, this unit is made up of a company headquarters, an operations platoon, a communications section, two transport platoons, and a service platoon. They are described in the following subparagraphs.

(1) Company headquarters. In the company headquarters are the company commander, executive officer, first sergeant, supply sergeant, mess steward, motor sergeant, and enough personnel to perform the administrative, vehicular maintenance, and mess functions. Vehicles are provided to transport the company commander, company supplies, and the company mess. All crew-served weapons of the company are assigned to this section for distribution according to the organization and occupation requirements of the base airfield.

(2) Operations platoon. The operations platoon consists of the platoon headquarters, flight dispatch section, air traffic control section, and approach control section. It operates the battalion base airfield and provides air traffic control and radar approach control.
(3) Communications section. The communications section has the repairmen to maintain the company's electronic equipment and the operators for the company radio mounted on the 3/4-ton truck.

(4) Transport platoons. Each of the two transport platoons has a platoon headquarters and two transport sections. The platoons normally operate from the company base airfield. Their flight missions are assigned by the operations platoon. A transport platoon headquarters has a platoon commander and assistant, a platoon sergeant, and a light truck driver. It is equipped with a 1/4-ton truck and trailer mounting a radio for communication in the company command net and with aircraft organic to the platoon. The platoon commander and assistant are required to pilot one of the aircraft assigned to a transport section within the platoon. Each of the four transport sections consists of one lieutenant, six warrant officers, and four crew chiefs; each has four U- 1A aircraft. These sections provide the tactical and administrative air transport capability of the company.

(5) Service platoon. The service platoon is made up of a platoon headquarters, a maintenance section, and an airfield service section. It provides aviation supplies, organizational aircraft maintenance, and base airfield service to the company.

c. Employment. The company is usually assigned or attached to a transportation transport aircraft battalion and operates under the control of the battalion commander. Normally, the company is employed to provide backup transport of troops and supplies for units being lifted to the assault by the helicopter companies of the transport battalion. It is usually employed as a unit, but flights may be attached to support subordinate units of the battalion. Also the company may be attached for operational control to a corps and employed as corps troops.

 
The 1960s
 
Early 1960s
(Source: FM 100-10 (Part I), Staff Officer's Field Manual: Organizational, Technical, and Logistical Data - Part I Unclassified Data, October 1961)
Army Aircraft Characteristics

FM 101-10 Part I, Table 7.43 (Large file - 513 KB)


 
(Source: FM 1-5, Army Aviation Organizations and Employment, May 1959)

TOE 1-17T, Armd Div Avn Co
 
Armored Division Aviation Company

Composition: shown in the figure on the left.

Assignment: The aviation company is organic to the armored division.

Capabilities:
a. Providing the division with day and night aerial reconnaissance and surveillance.
b. Supporting the airborne television, infrared, and radar capabilities of the armored cavalry squadron.
c. Limited day or night aerial photographic capability, employing organic hand-held and aircraft-mounted cameras.
d. Limited movement of troops, supplies, and equipment by air.
e. Transporting commanders, staff officers, liaison officers, and messengers by air.
f. Performing wire laying, radio relay, and propoganda leaflet missions.
g. Providing company administration, company-level logistical support, and organizational aircraft maintenance for the aviation company.
h. Capable of 100 percent mobility, when employing organic vehicles and aircraft.
i. Supplemental aeromedical evacuation.
Armored Division Aviation Companies in Germany, 1957-60:

502nd Aviation Company, 2nd Armored Division, (Bad Kreuznach)
(Act. July 1, 1957 - Dep. Germany 1957)
503rd Aviation Company, 3rd Armored Division, Hanau
(Act. Oct 1, 1957 - Inact. Sept 1, 1963)
504th Aviation Company, 4th Armored Division, Fürth
(Act. April 1, 1957 CONUS - Arr. in Germany 1957 - Inact. Sept 10, 1963)
 

TOE 1-7T, Inf Div Avn Co
 
Infantry Division Aviation Company

Composition: shown in the figure on the left.

Assignment: The aviation company is organic to the infantry division.

Capabilities:
a. Day and night aerial observation, reconnaissance, and surveillance.
b. Rapid spot aerial photography consisting of daylight oblique and vertical, and night vertical photography.
c. Limited transportation of troops, supplies, and equipment.
d. Supplemental aeromedical evacuation.
e. Limited battle area illumination.
f. Transportation of commanders and staff by air.
g. Aerial radiological surveys.
h. Aerial communications assistance to include radio relay, wire laying, message drop and pickup, and propoganda leaflet distribution.
Infantry Division Aviation Companies in Germany, 1957-60:

3rd Aviation Company, 3rd Infantry Division, Kitzingen
(Act. Jul 1, 1957 CONUS - Arr. in Germany 1958 - Inact. Jul 15, 1963)
8th Aviation Company, 8th Infantry Division, Bad Kreuznach
(Act. Aug 1, 1957 - Inact. Apr 1, 1963)
11th Aviation Company, 11th Airborne Division, Augsburg
(Act. Mar 1, 1957 - Inact. Jul 1, 1958) 24th Avn Co, 24th Inf Div
24th Aviation Company, 24th Infantry Division, Augsburg
(Act. Jul 1, 1958 - Inact. Feb 1, 1963)

 
(Source: FM 1-5, Army Aviation Organizations and Employment, May 1959)

Fig. 1: Radio Net, Inf Div Avn Co
 
Operations Section
a. Mission. The operations section accepts and processes mission requests, and coordinates and assigns these missions to elements of the company. This section maintains flight records on all aviators assigned or attached to the company; monitors flight requirements and aviation combat readiness; coordinates all training; and controls the effective use of pilots and aircraft within the platoons.

b. Organization. The operations section consists of the assistant operations officer, 1 operations sergeant, 2 operations specialists, 2 clerk typists, and 2 intermediate-speed radio operators.

Fig. 2: Wire Net, Inf Div Avn Co
 
c. Duties of Personnel.
(1) Assistant operations officer. The assistant operations officer is in charge of the company operations section. He accepts and processes all mission requests. He coordinates and assigns all flight missions. He supervises the maintenance of the aviators flight records, and the operation of the control tower at the base airfield.

(2) Operations sergeant. The operations sergeant assists the operations officer in performing his duties. He supervises enlisted members of the section, and the posting of inbound and outbound aircraft flights. He records information on the situation map and assists in the preparation, reproduction, and distribution of orders, sketches, overlays, schedules, and reports.

(3) Operations specialists
(2). Under the supervision of the operations sergeant, the operations specialists post and maintain the individual flight records of the company, and assist the operations sergeant as directed. One operations specialist drives and maintains the
¾-ton truck assigned to the section and operates the AN/VRQ-2/3 radio set.

(4) Clerk typists (2). The clerk typists, supervised by the operations sergeant, perform necessary administrative actions required within the section.

(5) Intermediate-speed radio operators (2). The intermediate-speed radio operators operate the AN/GRC-9 radio set. One drives and maintains the 2
½-ton shop van truck assigned to the section. 
d. Employment.
(1) Principles of employment. The operations section normally operates in the vicinity of the company headquarters and is the focal point for flight operations of the company. The section accepts and processes mission requests from the division aviation section and subordinate units which require aviation support. The status of aircraft within the various elements of the company must be made continuously available to the section to permit coordination with mission requirements. The section operates a teletypewriter to the corps FOC to facilitate flight planning and to obtain weather and other flight information.

(2) Factors affecting employment. Since the operations section is comprised of a minimum number of personnel, the section, when necessary, will be augmented with personnel from other company elements to maintain 24-hour operations. Augmentation may also be necessary to facilitate operations from satellite airstrips.

e. Security. The operations section is secured within the base airfield perimeter.

f. Special Operations. See FM 1-100.

Communications and Aircraft Control Section
a. Mission. The communications and aircraft control section establishes, operates, and maintains the communications nets of the aviation company, including wire, radio, and teletype (figs. 1 and 2). Personnel and equipment for the operation of the control tower at the base airfield are located within this section.

b. Organization. The communications and aircraft control section consists of 1 airfield control officer, 1 communications chief, 2 radio telephone/teletype team chiefs, 4 radio telephone/teletype operators, 1 senior air controller, 1 air controller, 2 senior radio mechanics, 2 radio mechanics, 2 intermediate-speed radio operators, 1 switchboard operator, and 1 light truck driver.

c. Duties of Personnel.
(1) Airfield control officer. The airfield control officer is the communications officer of the company. He supervises the establishment and operation of the company communications system and coordinates with the assistant operations officer in the establishment of the control tower. He is responsible for the proper training of the individuals within his section.

(2) Communications chief. The communications chief assists the airfield control officer in the performance of his duties and supervises the enlisted men of the section.

(3) Radio telephone/teletype team (2). There are two radio telephone/teletype teams in the section. Each consists of a team chief and two radio telephone/teletype operators. These teams operate the two AN/GRC-46 radio. teletypewriter sets in the company. Each team has a ¾-ton truck, driven and maintained by one operator from each team.

(4) Radio mechanics.(4) Radio mechanics' duties include --
(a) Inspecting, testing, and repairing radio sets and other signal equipment assigned to the company, including aircraft radios.

(b) Maintaining the authorized level of repair parts for signal maintenance and informing the communications chief of the status of signal maintenance and the supply of authorized spare parts.

(c) Maintaining records of maintenance and modifications performed on each item of signal equipment in the company.

(5) Senior air controller. The senior air controller, assisted by the air controller, operates the base airfield control tower under the supervision of the assistant operations officer.

(6) Intermediate-speed radio operators (2). The intermediate-speed radio operators; under the supervision of the communications chief, operate the AN/GRC-19 radio set assigned to the section. One is also a light truck driver.

(7) Light truck driver. The light truck driver drives and maintains the 1/g-ton truck assigned to the section and operates the AN/VRQ-2/3 radio set.

d. Employment.
(1) Principles of employment. The communications and aircraft control section will operate adjacent to the company headquarters and the operations section at the division base airfield. The section will install and operate the control tower for the base airfield. Also, it will install and maintain wire on the base airfield and to flight elements which are retained under company control but operate from satellite airstrips located in close proximity to the base airfield.

(2) Factors affecting employment. The section is not designed to install wire or wire substitute communications to flight elements of the company, particularly the direct support platoon, attached or in direct support of various elements of the division. Maximum use must be made of existing communications facilities to establish communication with these elements.

e. Security. The section is included in the perimeter defense of the base airfield.

f. Special Operations. See FM 1-100.

Army Ground Control Approach
 

AN/TPN-18 GCA radar at Schwäbisch Hall AAF, c. 1972 (Ray Dauphinais)
 
more pics of the TPN-18 at Schwäbisch Hall AAF, c. 1972 (Ray Dauphinais)
(If anyone has additional insight into the operation/deployment of GCA radar at USAREUR airfields,
please contact me)
 
(Source: ARMY AVIATION DIGEST, Oct 1957)
The Landing Control Set AN/MPN-18 is a self-contained, mobile radar set used for providing instrumented approach at certain Army airfields. (Webmaster note: I believe the TPN-18 illustrated above was the tactical version of the MPN-18 model and was the standard GCA set employed at USAREUR army airfields in the 60s and 70s.)

To accomplish the task of providing azimuth and elevation information to aviators landing aircraft during periods of low ceilings and reduced visbility, the TPN-18 incorporates three major systems -- search, precision and communications.

The function of the search system is to locate aircraft within a 30-mile radius of the equipment. Constant surveillance of the area is maintained so that approaching aircraft can be located, identified, and vectored into position for the final approach.

The function of the precision system is to track aircraft down the optimum glide path during the final approach. The precision system scans the final approach in both the vertical and horizontal planes, providing both course and glide-path information to the aviator.

The communication system performs the vital function of enabling the operator to relay to the aviator the information presented on the search and precision scopes. The operator can select any one of several HF, VHF or UHF channels.

Several extra features are included in the GCA set:
A moving-target indication (MT) system functions with either or both the search and precision units to cancel signals derived from stationary targets, thereby reducing ground clutter. Clutter caused by rain, sleet or snow is reduced electronically.

A VHF direction finding set incorporated into the search system permits rapid identification of aircraft by projecting onto the search scope an electronic strobe, which identifies the target that is in radio contact with the search controller.

One of the outstanding advantages of GCA is its capability to adapt procedures to meet any situation. An aircraft within the range of the search scope can be vectored to the field, flown in a rectangular pattern, guided around obstructions, or held over a point without the use of other navaids; it can begin final approach at five to ten miles, and even make a controlled approach to a nearby airfield that has no GCA unit. The aviator needs only the basic flight instruments and one radio receiver to utilize this system.

CORRECTION
(Source: Email from John Hairell)
I'd like to clear up some incorrect information on US Army GCA radars that you have on this page (see above):

The radar with the red/white strips identified in the photos as a "TPN-18" is actually an FPN-40. The FPN-40 was a fixed-base radar, which is one of the reasons it was painted in the red/white "candy stripe" paint scheme. The radar was mounted on the airfield and was not intended to move. On the other hand the TPN-18 GCA radar was designed for tactical usage. It was somewhat similar looking to the FPN-40 but came mounted on a trailer which was towed behind a truck. The radar could be used on the trailer, or it could be dismounted and set up on legs just like the FPN-40 in the photos. The TPN-18 could also become a fixed airfield radar if needed, but it wasn't designed for that. TPN-18s were painted dark green. There are detail differences beween the TPN-18 and the FPN-40 which make them easy to differentiate once you see them.
 

TPN-18 in Korea (John Hairell)
 
Both the FPN-40 and the TPN-18 were designed and built by ITT Gilfillan. The radar indicators (scopes) of both were interchangeable, which has lead to some confusion with controllers as to which radar they used. The TPN-18 was an outgrowth of the earlier TPN-8, which looked exactly the same externally. The TPN-8 had earlier vacuum tube technology and the TPN-18 had more solid-state electronics.

The landing control set MPN-18 referenced in your article is not the same thing as the TPN-18 and the TPN-18 was not the tactical version of an MPN-18. The TPN-18 was actually part of a larger system called the "TSQ-71A". That included the radar, a tactical shelter, an IFF system (TPX-44) and generators. The entire system was developed for tactical usage, and could be carried on truck trailers or aircraft. The US Army also had a tactical air traffic control tower system (TSQ-70A). There was also a TSQ-72A system which basically combined the functions of the TSQ-70A and TSQ-71A.

I was an Army air traffic controller in the US and Korea from 1977 to 1981. I don't know the specifics of US Army GCA employment in Europe/Germany but if it was like the other places I've been it would have been a mix of FPN-40s/TPN-18s. Typically the FPN-40s would have been used at larger airfields. The TPN-18s would have been used by tactical ATC teams on field exercises and at smaller airfields, or could have been used on larger airfields if an FPN-40 was out of commission or not available. At that time US Army ATC units had both a fixed-base and tactical mission so they used a mix of radars. Often TPN-18s were kept in storage until they were needed. You didn't want to use it as a prime radar at a large airfield and then have to stop radar service at the airfield for every tactical exercise.

I've enclosed a photo of a TPN-18 in use as a fixed-base radar in Korea. You can see how it differs structurally from an FPN-40. Both the FPN-40 and TPN-8/18 date from late 1950s technology and were in use until quite recently.

Hope this information is of help.

 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Nov 14, 1962)
USAREUR GCA radar operations began in 1959 and the total number has more than doubled each year.

USAREUR has 10 GCA radars operating at Army airfields in Germany, France, and Italy.

Webmaster note: probable Army airfields equipped with a GCA radar set in this time period:
 
INSTRUMENTED AIRFELD
OPERATING UNIT
   
 
Bonames
V Corps
   
 
Finthen AAF
8th Avn Co
   
 
Fliegerhorst AAF, Hanau
503rd Avn Co
   
 
Gablingen AAF
24th Avn Co
   
 
Illesheim AAF
504th Avn Co
   
 
Kitzingen AAF
3rd Avn Co
   
 
Schwaebisch Hall AAF
   
 
Stuttgart AAF
   
 
   
 
Boscomantico AAF, Verona, Italy
110th Avn Co
   
 
Saran AAF, Orleans, France
26th Trans Co
   


 
CH-34 CHOCTAW - Unique Unit Nose Bands
I am very interested in corresponding with anyone who has additional information pertaining to the color bands applied to the H-34 units.

Need some help with good color pics of the nose stripes. Any help -- info and/or pics -- is GREATLY appreciated! Please contact me


11th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)



18th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)


26th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)
-- Older version of stripe?



26th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)
-- I painted the light blue band across the nose of the ships trimmed with a 1” white strip.  Paul E. Bartlett.


36th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)



59th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)


91st Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)



110th Trans Co (Lt Hcptr)
(color is somewhat off - yellow with white stripes)


(Unidentified unit)



 


3rd Avn Co, 3rd Inf Div



8th Avn Co, 8th Inf Div


24th Avn Co, 24th Inf Div



D Trp, 3rd Sq, 7th Cav


D Trp, 3rd Sq, 8th Cav

D Trp, 2nd Sq, 9th Cav  


503rd Avn Co, 3rd Armd Div

504th Avn Co, 4th Armd Div
 
"A" Co, 3rd Avn Bn
"A" Co, 8th Avn Bn
 
"A" Co, 24th Avn Bn
"A" Co, 503rd Avn Bn
 
"A" Co, 504th Avn Bn
-- A Co, 504th had a white nose band in the mid 1960s.  Robert Quillen
 

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, March 2, 1963)
The 110th Trans Co, 8th Trans Bn, is the first light helicopter company of the 7th Aviation Group to be transferred to a division under the new ROAD concept. The 110th became part of the 24th Inf Div where it will serve as part of the nucleus of a new aviation battalion that is organic to the ROAD division.

Other helicopter companies are expected to be transferred to other divisions in Germany at a later date (see timeline graph below).

CG of the 24th Inf Div is Maj Gen H. F. Taylor.
CO of the 7th Army Support Command is COL J. W. Hemingway; CO of the 7th Avn Gp is Henry H. McKee; CO of the 8th Trans Bn is Lt Col Orman E. Hicks; and CO of the 110th Trans Co is Maj William E. Black.

H-34 in USAREUR Timeline
 
Schematic on the left is an attempt to show the Army aviation units that were primarily equipped with the H-34 light transport helicopter and the reorganizations and redesignations of the original H-34 units over time.

As always in this project, I request comments, corrections, etc. from you, the readers.

H-37A / H-37B MOJAVE
 

CH-37B of 90th Aviation Company on the flight line at Illesheim Army Airfield, 1966
 
The H-37 MOJAVE was the Army version of the Sikorsky S-56 helicopter. The S-56 was the world's largest production helicopter at the time. It was designed to carry 36 combat soldiers, evacuate 24 litter patients or carry up to 10,000 pounds of cargo.

The H-37 had a single five-bladed main rotor and a metal four-bladed tail rotor. The H-37 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-54 2100 hp piston engines and had a speed of 131 mph (114 knots).

Production of the S-56 ended in May 1960, but Sikorsky was engaged until the end of 1962 in converting all but four of the Army's H-37A's to H-37B standard (Conversion of H-37A's to H-37B's began in 1961). Improvements in this version included the installation of Lear auto-stabilisation equipment and the ability to load and unload while the helicopter was hovering.

The H-37 was redesignated as CH-37 in 1962.

The career of the H-37 was cut short in the 1960s with the advent of the more efficient and economical gas turbine engines which became the standard helicopter powerplant for the US Army (used on the newer CH-54 TRHE and CH-47 CHINOOK).

Two Army aviation units were equipped with the H-37 in the 1960s:
4th Transportation Company (Medium Helicopter) (later redesignated as 4th Aviation Company)
90th Transportation Company (Medium Helicopter) (later redesignated as 90th Aviation Company)

The 4th Trans Co, already equipped with the H-37A helicopter, deployed to Germany in 1959. The 4th was the US Army's first operational Mojave unit.
 
 
(Source: Artillery Trends, May 1960)
The mission of the transportation company (medium helicopter) is to provide air transport to expedite tactical operations and logisitical support within a combat zone.

The medium helicopter transportation company has a company headquarters, an operations platoon, a service platoon, a communications section, two helicopter platoons and a field maintenance detachment that is available to the company for third echelon support. The H-37 company has two reconniassance helicopters (H-13) and sixteen H-37 medium cargo helicopters that furnish the necessary flying support.

A typical H-37 crew includes a pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, and crew chief.

The maximum lift capability of the H-37 helicopter company is 368 fully equipped troops (based on 240 pounds per individual); 50.1 cargo tons; or 384 litter patients. This is assuming that all 16 helicopters are used and the operation is restricted to a 50-mile radiums at elevations between sea level and 5,000 feet. (The load capability decreases with an increase of elevation and temperature.)
 

4th Trans Co (Med Hel)
Pocket Patch


90th Avn Co (Med Hel)
Pocket Patch


517th Trans Det (AAM)
Pocket Patch



UH-1 HUEY
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, online, April 28, 2011)
USAREUR retires Vietnam-era 'Huey' helicopter

By Dan Blottenberger, S&S

 
A retirement ceremony was held at Hohenfels in late April 2011 marking the last time a UH-1 would take flight in USAREUR.
follow link to view photos and read the article from the Stars & Stripes archives

 
Divisional Aviation Assets
 
(Source: MANEUVER AND FIREPOWER, THE EVOLUTION OF DIVISIONS AND SEPARATE BRIGADES, by John B. Wilson, Army Lineage Series, 1998)

Elimination of Aviation Battalions

The Army did not withdraw any divisions from Europe for service in Vietnam, however, US. Army, Europe, did make some changes to help in the combat effort. In the armored and mechanized infantry divisions, the aviation battalions were eliminated. A study on the use of aircraft rationalized that heavy divisions did not need extensive air lines of communications.

Fifty-seven helicopters remained in each division, spread throughout the following units:
reconnaissance squadron
maintenance battalion
division artillery
division and brigade headquarters companies.

The operation of the divisional airfield passed to a new transportation detachment attached to the supply and transport battalion. Although not stated, the forty aircraft removed from each armored and mechanized infantry division were needed in Vietnam.

 
(Source: AVIATION, compiled by Wayne M. Dzwonchyk, Army Lineage Series, 1986)
3rd Aviation Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division (1)
Company A inactivated 15 Jan 1967 in Germany
Battalion (less Co A) inactivated 5 June 1967 in Germany

8th Aviation Battalion, 8th Infantry Division
Battalion inactivated 5 June 1967 in Germany


24th Aviation Battalion, 24th Infantry Division
Battalion inactivated 5 June 1967 in Germany


503rd Aviation Battalion, 3rd Armored Division
Company A inactivated 15 Jan 1967 in Germany
Battalion (less Co A) inactivated 5 June 1967 in Germany

504th Aviation Battalion, 4th Armored Division
Company A inactivated 15 Jan 1967 in Germany
Battalion (less Co A) inactivated 5 June 1967 in Germany
 
(1) In early 1967, the battalion was redesignated Detachment "C" of the 3d S&T Battalion with the mission of airfield operations and providing aerial transportation for the Commanding General, his staff, and other missions directed by the Commanding General.

The detachment was later designated Company "C" 3d S&T Battalion.

Army Air Traffic Operations (Doctrine)
1960
(Source: FM 1-60, Army Aviation Air Traffic Operations, Tactical (HQDA, August 1960))
Command and Staff Responsibilities and Unit Functions

General
a. The theater commander (a unified commander) establishes policies and procedures for regulation of air traffic within the theater (area) of operations. The field army commander is responsible for the regulation of Army air traffic over his area of responsibility. The field army commander's responsibility is exercised within the authority, policies and procedures prescribed by the theater commander or agreed to by the Service component commanders or by the Service element commanders concerned. The field army commander is responsible also for coordination of the use of the air space over his area of responsibility by all Services to the extent authorized or directed by the theater commander or agreed to by the Service component commanders or by the Service element commanders concerned. Regulation of the air traffic of the other Services is the responsibility of each Service concerned. Coordination of the use of the air space over the Communications Zone is the responsibility of the commander so designated by the theater commander. The commanders of the logistic commands located within the Communications Zone are responsible for the regulation of Army air traffic within their geographical areas of responsibility.

b. The Army air traffic regulation and identification system in the combat zone is organized to parallel the command structure of the field army.

c. The Army air traffic regulation and identification system is established to coordinate and expedite the safe and orderly flow of Army air traffic under all flight conditions, facilitate air defense operations, and provide inflight assistance to Army aircraft.

1. Type Field Army
Air Traffic Ops
 
Command and Staff Responsibilities

a. Staff supervision is exercised by the Army aviation staff officer at each level of command. He normally carries out this supervision through the aviation element in the tactical operations center where one exists. The Army air traffic regulation system must maintain liaison with the Army air defense system. The Army aviation staff officer at each echelon of command will insure that such liaison is maintained.

b. The Army air traffic regulation system operates under the staff supervision of the Army aviation staff officer at the level to which elements of the system are attached or assigned. Normally, one FOC and an alternate at reduced strength will be assigned to each field army and corps. Flight Coordination Centers (FCC) may be used to extend the FOC capability into high density air traffic areas forward of corps FOCs. FOCs will be colocated with Air Defense Command Posts (AADCP) at army and corps, and with Air Force Control and Reporting Centers (CRC) in the army service area. Control towers are organic to aviation units at the various echelons.
Unit Functions

a. FOC's (FCC's) and airfield control towers are the basic elements of the Army air traffic regulation and navigation system. An FOC colocated with each primary AADCP provides regulation, separation, inflight assistance for aircraft, and coordination of Army aviation with Army air defense operations on a continuous basis. It will also provide an altitude, time, and distance flight plan method for positioning Army aircraft in space. There are four types of air traffic regulation utilized by the Army in the combat zone:
Forward Area Regulation
Route Regulation
Point-to-Point Regulation
Airfield (Control Zone) Control

b. A base airfield with its allied navigational aids will provide the basic navigational system (Fig. 1) to facilitate the regulation of Army air traffic. This will be a beacon-to-beacon system with nonsimultaneous surveillance and ground control approach (GCA) radar available at the field army, corps, division, and other major airfields. Under instrument flight rules (IFR), Army aircraft will navigate with the aid of the nondirectional beacons and radar vectoring.
 
The Army Air Traffic Regulation and Identification System

General
a. The Army air traffic regulation and identification system is established to
(1) Coordinate and expedite the safe and orderly flow of Army air traffic.
(2) Facilitate Army air defense operations.
(3) Provide air warning and inflight assistance to aircraft using the system.
(4) Coordinate Army air traffic with the other Services.

2. Corps FOC
AOR & Org


3. Field Army FOC
AOR & Org
 
b. The flight operations center has primary responsibility for operating the Army air traffic regulation system. FOC's are established in each corps area, field army service area and, when required, in the Communications Zone. FOC's effect Army air traffic regulation in the commander's area of responsibility, coordinating as appropriate with the associated AADCP and at field army level, the associated tactical Air Force Control and Reporting Center. FOC's will be located adjacent to designated AADCP's in the corps and the field army areas. All FOC's have a designated area of responsibility which approximately coincides with the AADCP area of responsibility. Local regulation of air traffic is exercised in airfield control zones. Figures 2 and 3 show the FOC area of responsibility and relationships within corps and field army areas. Coordination with other services is effected with the tactical Air Force Control and Reporting Centers (figs. 2 and 3). Regulation of Army air traffic between one field army area and another field army area will be accomplished by coordination between the field army FOC's concerned. Coordination of field army aviation operations requiring use of the air space over another field army area will be effected between the field armies concerned. Coordination pertaining to current field army aviation operations is effected normally between the Tactical Operations Centers of the field armies concerned. Regulation of Army air traffic between a field army area and the Communication Zone is accomplished by coordination between the field army FOC and the Communication Zone FOC, if the latter is established. In the event a Communications Zone FOC is not established, this coordination is effected between the field army FOC and the responsible tactical Air Force Control and Reporting Center through the tactical Air Force Control and Reporting Center in the field army area.

 
Primary Army Airfields, Field Army - early 1960s (list is incomplete)

ARMY AVN FACILITY

LOCATION COMMENTS
7TH ARMY AIRFIELDS    
Echterdingen AAF Stuttgart 7th Army base airfield
Ludwigsburg AAF Ludwigsburg 7th Army Avn Gp airfield
Oberschleissheim AAF Munich 8th Trans Bn (Acft)
Hanau AAF Hanau 54th Trans Bn (Acft) (shared with 3rd AD?)
     
V CORPS AIRFIELDS    
Bonames AAF Frankfurt V Corps base airfield
Finthen AAF Bad Kreuznach 8th Inf Div base airfield
Hanau AAF Hanau 3rd Armd Div base airfield
Fulda AAF Fulda 14th ACR airfield
     
VII CORPS AIRFIELDS    
Nellingen AAF? Stuttgart VII Corps base airfield
Kitzingen AAF Kitzingen 3rd Inf Div base airfield
Augsburg AAF Gablingen 24th Inf Div base airfield
Monteith Bks Fürth 4th Armd Div airfield
Soldiers Field Nürnberg 2nd ACR airfield
Mansfield Ksn Straubing 11th ACR airfield
     
 

1961
(Source: Army Aviation Magazine, March 1961)
"CRISS-CROSS" CRAZY QUILT"
Three Flight Operations Centers unravel the crowded airspace over USAREUR's Exercise Wintershield II

Planning and controlling traffic in the air space above the modern battlefield presents perplexing and unprecedented problems.

Jets swoop through the air corridor at speeds of 500 mph. Drone surveillance craft slice through the skies on reconnaissance. Missiles need plenty of elbow room when they blast toward their target. Helicopters and fixed wing planes move troops and equipment through battlefield air space. Aerial supply craft head for pinpoint parachute drops, and cargoes of wounded dash through the air to the hands of medics.

Criss-cross, crazy-quilt, a hundred different speeds, a score of altitudes and countless specific needs -- that was the ever-changing sky picture presented to three US Army Flight Operation Centers during Winter Shield II.
 
Each Flight Operation Center (FOC) managed a sector of the 6,500 square acres of air space turned over to exclusive Seventh Army control by the West German government. From January 25 - February 10 this air space became combat space, and every plane aloft cleared its route, speed, altitude, and destination with FOC traffic managers.

Routes for heliborne battle groups, aerial attackers, drone photo flights, combat and medical suppliers -- all battlefield aviation missions were reported to Flight Operations Crews and tracked on up-to-the-minute charts. When jet or missile routes had to be cleared in a hurry, when simulated atomic blasts turned nearby air space into a no-man's land, FOC staffs put their radio "finger" on each plane affected and cleared the danger area.

Winter Shield ll was the first time Seventh Army had total control of air space in a simulated combat situation. This is a big change from the single provisional FOC that helped the Air Force air controllers in 'last year's winter maneuver. This time, Seventh Army air traffic control was ready for everything from jet strikes to atomic detonations above its battle area.

At Grafenwoehr, Bayreuth, and Regensburg, Flight Operations Centers operating on a 24 hour basis directed visual and instrument flights all over the front in every kind of weather. German staffers were on hand too, to help direct Bundeswehr air traffic.

The Flight Operations Center (FOC) at Grafenwoehr is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. It is housed in two mobile vans and can be rolling toward a new position in 30 minutes. The three operating centers materialized in the 22 days preceding Seventh Army assumption of air space control. During this period, 105 men from 24 Seventh Army units and four men from the German III Corps trained at Grafenwoehr.
As planes approached their landing site FOC control was passed to Approach Control Towers (ACT) for terminal direction. Markedly different from familiar tower control adjacent to an air strip, each ACT radio directed landings and take-offs for many different landing sites within its sector. When a Winter Shield II aviator took off in clear weather, he often was airborne before receiving central clearance, getting routing information from his FOC while in the air.

Assured of clear approach lanes by ACT, aviators either landed visually, homed in on radio beacons, or received guidance from Ground Control Approach (GCA) radar. Each plane was so accurately plotted by FOC staffs that the Air Defense Command Post used FOC data to clarify its air defense radar blips.

As traffic techniques undergo refinement FOC's, ACTs and GCAs will be as mobile as the Flight Operations Center at Grafenwoehr. In its final form the entire operation will be able to move with the battle. The air traffic control network of Winter Shield Il is ready now for the increased air loads of the future. "We'll run out of physical air space before we exhaust our traffic handling capability," stated Capt. Garland B. King, Grafenwoehr FOC chief. "Our present system is not final by any means, but it has met every challenge so far. In just two days after our crews finished their course of instruction they handled a flight emergency perfectly."

Future planning has the control network primed for the highest performance aircraft yet to come. "With our Air Force support coming more and more in the form of jets and with the advent of missiles and atomics we must clear key routes on a split second schedule. To do this we must know the location of every aircraft in our area at all times. We did this in Winter Shield II," declared Lt. Col. Jerome B. Feldt, Commander, Seventh Army Aviation Company (Provisional).

 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 7, 1963)
Coleman Controllers Kept Busy

SANDHOFEN, Germany (Special) -- Located on the outskirts of Mannheim, Germany, in the Rhine River valley of central Europe is one of the busiest Army airfields in USAREUR.

Army aircraft from Germany, France, Italy and military advisory assistance groups in Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Ethiopia and the Congo wing their way to Coleman Army airfield, home of the Army Aviation Maintenance Center for depot-level repair.

Controlling the large volume of air traffic that operates in and around the airfield daily is a small group of men that make up the Air Traffic Control Section. This group handles upwards to 150 aircraft in a single day.

Each plane or helicopter landing or taking off from the airfield must be handled separately. In addition, aircraft passing through the airfield control zone must be cleared to avoid the possibility of collision with other planes or helicopters operating in the area.

As many as 500 of the 3,500 aircraft handled each month are guided by radar. During bad weather or when smog envelopes the airfield, aircraft are landed by the ground controlled approach (GCA) system.

An experienced GCA radar operator can guide an aircraft onto the runway during the worst weather conditions from as far as 50 miles away from the airfield.

Coleman Airfield GCA placed third in Europe for the number of landings during 1962, and during Feb. and March 1963 received the USAREUR plaque for more GCA landings than any other Army airfield in Europe.

 
(Source: Army Aviation Magazine, March 1961)

Some notes from the issue:

Some army aviation units in Europe at this time:
Avn Sect, 7th US Army, APO 46 (Nellingen)
7th Army Avn Gp, APO 154 (Ludwigsburg)
7 USAATC-3752, APO 46 (Nellingen)
USATDS, APO 28 (Sandhofen)

8th Trans Bn, APO 29 (Schleissheim-Munich)
41st Trans Bn (AAM), APO 185 (Finthen)
54th Trans Bn, APO 165 (Hanau)
205th Trans Bn (AAM), APO 154 (Ludwigsburg)

2nd Avn Co (FW LT), APO 58 (France)
8th Avn Co, APO 111 (Bad Kreuznach)
4th Trans Co (MH), APO 165 (Hanau)
11th Trans Co (LH), APO 46 (Nellingen)
18th Trans Co (LH), APO 29 (Schleissheim-Munich)
24th Avn Co, APO 112; - Munich Det, APO 29 (Schleissheim-Munich)
26th Trans Co - 2nd Platoon, APO 189 (Pirmasens)
42nd Trans Co (AAM), APO 28 (Sandhofen)
59th Trans Co, APO 800 (Wertheim)
110th Trans Co (LH), APO 29 (Schleissheim-Munich)
110th Avn Co, APO 168 (Italy); possibly a det, APO 221 (Italy)
202nd Trans Co, APO 168 (Italy)
245th Trans Co (AAHMS), APO 185 (Finthen)
504th Avn Co, APO 177; APO 696; APO 326 (two of these are probably detachments)

Avn Co, 14th ACR, APO 26 (Fulda)
3757 Air Recon Co, APO 227


 
1961-62
(Source: Chapter 8, A History of Army Aviation -- 1950-1962, by Richarf P. Weinert, Jr., Office of the Command Historian, TRADOC, 1991)
Deployments to Europe
By January 1962, more than 40,000 active Army troops had been sent to Europe as part of the Berlin buildup. Included in these deployments were three Army aviation units:
90th Trans Co (Med Hel) from Fort Knox
45th Med Co (Air Amb) from Fort Bragg
15th Med Det (Hel Amb) from Fort Ord

After lengthy high level discussion, the decision was made to preposition equipment in Europe for two additional divisions and ten non-divisional units rather than deploying the units. Full authorizations of H-34 and L-20 aircraft were prepositioned in USAREUR for the 4th Infantry Division and the 2nd Armored Division. At the same time, efforts were made to modernize the equipment of the forces permanently stationed in Europe. Despite the serious shortages of aircraft in CONUS, quantities of UH-1 helicopters and AO-1 airplanes were sent to Europe during this period.

Army Aviation in the Field Army - mid 1960s (Doctrine)
mid-1960s
(Source: Common Subjects & Reference Data for Army Aviation in the Field Army, US Army Aviation School, Fort Rucker, AL, Jan 1967)
The chart below recaps the Army aviation units that are organic to the type field army, according to doctrine of the day.

The type field army is based on three identical corps, each containing four divisions including one infantry, two mechanized and on armored.

As already explained on other pages of this website, USAREUR/7th Army, in peacetime, comprised two corps - V Corps with one mechanized and one armored division; and VII Corps with two mechanized and one armored division.

Army Avn Units in the
Type Field Army (295 KB)
 
With the help of several STATION LISTS (Dec 1966 and 30 Jun 1968), I identified the Army aviation and maintenance units assigned to USAREUR/7th Army during that period and tried to match the units up with the Recap list (on left) for a type field army.

The two columns on the far right (highlighted in yellow) I added to show the actual number of units assigned/attached to 7th Army and 7th Army Support Command. I have also included the designations of the units identified. (I did not inlcude the aviation sections of combat, combat support and combat service support units in this research.)

Some observations:
The five divisional aviation battalions were eliminated in Germany in 1967 to provide additional aviation resources to the Vietnam War effort. As part of the reorganization, the three airmobile companies (349th, 350th and 351st) were formed using some of the assets from the deactivated aviation battalions.

The was only one aerial surveillance company assigned to 7th Army and it reported to Army HQ.

There were two aermobile battalions in 7th Army - the 18th Avn Bn (TOE 1-256F) is listed on the Recap; the 16th Avn Bn TOE 01-76E is not listed. (Can anybody provide some insight - why was the TOE for the 16th different than that of the 18th Avn Bn?)

There were two TOE 1-137D units (60th and 207th Avn Co) listed in the STATION LISTS; I believe the 60th was meant to support 7th Army and the 207th supported HQ USAREUR.

On the aircraft maintenance side, there were several units identified in the STATION LISTS that do not appear on the Recap list:

205th Trans Bn (Acft)(GS) with TOE 55-66F (TOE 1-256F is identified as the Trans Acft Bn in FASCOM)
152nd Trans Co (Cargo Hel)(Fld Maint); TOE = 55-510T.
653rd Trans Det (Acft)(GS); TOE 55-500R55 (supports the 349th Avn Co)
654th Trans Det (Acft)(GS); TOE 55-500R55 (supports the 350th Avn Co)
655th Trans Det (Acft)(GS); TOE 55-500R55 (supports the 351st Avn Co)

And finally there is the Air Reconnaissance Support unit - the STATION LISTS identify 2nd MI Bn (ARS) as a TOE 30-5D unit, but the Recap list has the MID (ARS) unit configured under a TOE 30-6D. A typo?

 

16th & 18th Avn Bns
 
Schematic on the left is an attempt to show the changes to the organization of the 16th and 18th Airmobile Aviation Battalions in support of the Seventh Army and its subordinate Corps over time.

As always in this project, I request comments, corrections, etc. from you, the readers.

 
Army Aviation Units in USAREUR (Germany) - 1965
 
(Source: USAREUR Station list, December 31, 1965)

Comprehensive list of Army Aviation units (incl. maintenance)
stationed in Germany in late 1965

 
1966
Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the Army (ARCSA)
 
(Source: Annual Historical Summary, HQ USAREUR & Seventh Army, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 1966, HQ USAREUR 1967)
Chapter 4, Training and Operations

Aviation

The ARCSA (Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the Army) study recommended concentrating OV-1 aircraft in corps surveillance companies to provide intelligence collection support for the brigades, divisions, and corps. It also emphasized that there was no requirement for an extensive air line of communications (ALOC) in Europe and that the mechanized infantry and armored divisions did not need organic light airmobile companies.

Accordingly, the study recommended eliminating the organic airmobile companies, consisting of 25 UH-1D helicopters, and establishing one airmobile company at the corps level. Similarily, the divisional aviation general support companies -- authorized 10 OH-6, 6 UH-1B, and 4 OV-1 aircraft -- would disappear, with part of their assets going to the division support command supply and transportation battalion, and part to the corps. The divisional air cavalry troop would remain unchanged, with 9 OH-6 and 17 UH-1B aircraft, but the headquarters battery of the divisional artillery would lose 1 of its current 10 OH-6 and gain 2 UH-1B for a new total of 11 aircraft. The division headquarters and headquarters company -- currently authorized no aircraft -- would receive 4 OH-6's and 2 UH-1D's, while each of the infantry brigade headquarters and headquarters companies would have 4 instead of 6 OH-6's.

In August (1966) the Department of the Army authorized USAREUR to reorganize its aviation elements under the new G-series TOE's with its currently available aircraft.

USAREUR then had 5 each of divisional aviation battalions, light airmobile companies, air cavalry troops, and general support companies. The 16th Aviation Battalion, assigned to Seventh Army, included the 14th Air Traffic Control Company, the 60th Aviation Company, Army and the 122nd Aviation Company, Aerial Surveillance. The 18th Aviation Battalion, assigned to Seventh Army Support Command, was composed of two medium helicopter companies, the 4th and 90th Aviation Companies. Finally, there were two corps aviation companies and one aviation company in each of the three armored cavalry regiments.

In the FY 1967-68 force structure each USAREUR division would retain one aviation support detachment and one air cavalry troop. In addition, USAREUR would have 1 aviation group, 2 aviation battalions, 2 army and 2 corps aviation companies, 3 light airmobile companies (not assigned to divisions), 1 heavy and 2 medium helicopter companies, 2 aerial surveillance companies, 1 air ambulance medical company and 2 helicopter ambulance medical detachments, 3 air cavalry troops for the armored cavalry regiments, and 3 aviation detachments for USASETAF, Berlin Brigade, and AWSCOM headquarters.

Under the HEADCON implementation plan USAREUR activated the Aviation Group (Provisional) and transferred to it the units formerly subordinate to the 16th Aviation Battalion plus Seventh Army's helicopter training facility, the 3725th Flight Detachment, the 3737th Flight Operations Facility, and the 3740th Flight Information Detachment. Simultaneously, USAREUR reassigned the 4th Aviation Company from the 18th to the 16th Aviation Battalion, reassigned the 16th Battalion to VII Corps, and assigned the corps' 67th Aviation Company to the Battalion. On the same date, USAREUR assigned the 18th Aviation Battalion, including the 90th Aviation Company, to V Corps, and reassigned the corps' 66th Aviation Company to the 18th Aviation Battalion.

The subsequent phases of the reorganization program called for the implementation of the force structure prescribed by the Department of the Army, except for the disposition of aerial surveillance assets. Instead of assigning one aerial surveillance company to each corps, USAREUR doubled the aircraft strength of the 122nd Aviation Company and assigned it to the Aviation Group (Prov) with the mission of supporting both corps.

 
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Dec 15, 1966)
Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the Army

Hq USAREUR announced on Dec 14 1966, that it would reorganize its aviation units to comply with the recommendations made by the ARCSA Study. (Actions related to the reorganization were initiated on Dec 1 and will be completed by 1967.)

The reorganization includes the following primary changes
1.) Activation of an Aviation Group at Schwäbisch Hall.
2.) Assignment of an Aviation Battalion to each of the two corps under 7th Army.
3.) Reorganization of the aviation units assigned to USAREUR Communications Zone.

The USAREUR Aviation Group will be headquartered at Schwäbisch Hall but most of its assets will be located elsewhere.

The 16th Avn Bn and the 18th Avn Bn will be reassigned to VII and V Corps respectively.

The Aviation Battalions newly assigned to corps will consist of
one medium helicopter company
one airmobile company
one corps aviation company

USAREUR will lose no aircraft, but the aircraft will be redistributed, with aircraft concentrated at higher echelons. The primary purpose of the reorganization is to insure that the aviation resources meet the requirements of units in the corps and field army areas and to reinforce divisions and other units having organic aviation.

A few units will be relocated: the USAREUR Aviation Safety and Standardization Det (formerly the 7th Army Aviation Training Center) will be moved from Schleissheim Army Airfield to Gablingen AAF near Augsburg. The 24th Inf Div's Aircraft Maintenance Company will be moved from Gablingen (to Schleissheim).

The five division aviation battalions will be inactivated:
3rd Avn Bn at Harvey Barracks, Kitzingen
8th Avn Bn at Finthen AAF (near Mainz)
24th Avn Bn at Gablingen AAF, Augsburg
503rd Avn Bn at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Hanau
504th Avn Bn at Montheih Barracks, Fürth


Avn Sec, 35th Arty Gp
Pocket Patch

Avn Sec, 72nd Arty Gp
Pocket Patch

Avn Sec, 3rd Bn, 84th Arty
Pocket Patch



719th Sig Det (Avionics)
Pocket Patch

349th Avn Co
Pocket Patch

350th Avn Co
Pocket Patch
 

351st Avn Co
Pocket Patch

Avn Sec, USAACOM
Pocket Patch

56th Avn Co, COMZ
Pocket Patch
 

Avn Det, RAF Burtonwood
Pocket Patch

26th Trans Co, COMZ
Pocket Patch
   

 
Division Aviation Companies
 
 

503rd Avn Co, 3rd Armd Div
Pocket Patch

504th Avn Co, 4th Armd Div
Pocket Patch

3rd Avn Co, 3rd Inf Div
Pocket Patch



8th Avn Co, 8th Inf Div
Pocket Patch

11th Avn Co, 11th Abn Div
Pocket Patch



24th Avn Co, 24th Inf Div
Pocket Patch





 
Border Aerial Surveillance
 
1960s
(Source: US ARMY BORDER OPERATIONS IN GERMANY, 1945-1983, by William E. Stacy)
Chapter 5, Training and Operations

Aerial Surveillance Along the Border

Although there had been aerial surveillance along the eastern borders in the early days of the occupation, there was a large scale upgrade of both the command's reconnaissance aircraft and surveillance equipment during the 1960s. USAREUR had received its first three operational AN/APS-85 Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) systems in the latter part of 1959 for use by V Corps, VII Corps, and US Army Southern European Task Force (USASETAF). One system had been previously tested by the US Army Surveillance Unit, Europe, and stationed at Lenggries in the Federal Republic. The equipment produced photographic records of radar pictures of the ground and had a maximum range of 40 miles on either side of the aircraft. The SLAR was installed on the L-23, and by 1962 on the specialized RL-23D (one reference said it was on the RU-8D also). Initially, USAREUR was not overly impressed with the new system and rated it marginally effective: "The device showed little promise of producing information of value that could not be produced by other means."

The initial skepticism about SLAR's usefulness gave way as the system was upgraded in subsequent years. Actually, there were several significant improvements in USAREUR's aerial surveillance capabilities during this period. The new OV-1 Mohawk all-weather, long-range surveillance aircraft arrived within the command on 12 September 1961, when 12 were assigned to the Seventh Army. In 1962 three types of serial surveillance configurations on Mohawk aircraft were being tested in the command: the OV-lA model, which was equipped with the KS-61 photographic, system; the OV-1B model, which was equipped with the new AN/APS-94 SLAR; and the OV-1C model, which was equipped with an AN/UAS-4 infrared sensor. The test results of the three configurations were successful with those of the SLAR-configured OV-1B indicating that the new AN/APS-94 SLAR was a great improvement over the previous radars (both the AN/APS-85 and the subsequent system, AN/APS-86). The command had initially wanted to mount all three surveillance systems in one aircraft, thus reducing the number of aircraft required, as well as requirements for maintenance and technical personnel, while increasing the operational flexibility of the multipurpose aircraft. However, by 1965 it had settled on two aircraft configurations that merged two of the surveillance systems: the OV-1B model was equipped with the AN/APS-94 SLAR and the KS-61 camera system; and the OV-1C was equipped with the AN/UAS-4 infrared sensor and the KS-61 camera system.

There had been problems with the OV-1 Mohawk aircraft during the 1962 test period which indicated that several modifications were needed in the airframe and the engine. This became so serious during 1964 that the aircraft had only a 46 percent availability rate -- not all of which could be blamed on the aircraft -- which severely limited its performance of the aerial surveillance missions. In order to improve the performance of the OV-1 Mohawk, the Department of the Army in 1965 directed modifications for all Mohawks employed in aerial surveillance missions. For the OV-1B, modifications included installing new, more powerful, engines and increasing the wingspan to provide greater lift. Both the OV-1B and OV-1C types received improved navigational systems, to include the Marconi Self-Contained Navigational Doppler System -- a commercially produced item of equipment that simplified navigational functions and reduced the possibility of errors. USAREUR began returning the Mohawks to the United States in early 1966, with some of the refitted Mohawks returning in mid-1966 and the modernization program being completed in 1967.

In 1967 the SLAR capability was further upgraded with the fielding of data link equipment, which made possible the transmission of SLAR imagery from the aircraft while in flight to a ground receiver. The system consisted of airborne video encoders and transceivers that transmitted the radar images directly to a ground station that was mounted on a 3/4-ton truck and included a Ground Sensor Terminal, AN/TKQ-2, which was a transceiver, video decoder, and recorder-processor-viewer. The latter piece of equipment converted the video image to a hard-copy printout in three seconds after receipt and projected the hard copy onto a viewing screen for virtually instantaneous viewing by the imagery interpreter. The advantages of such a system over making the aircraft return to its base, having the films processed, and only then submitting them for analysis, were significant. The first set was issued to the 122d Aviation Company, which immediately began using it in exercises and as part of its border surveillance operations. USAREUR received two additional data link equipment sets in early 1969, keeping one for the 122d Aviation Company and issuing the other to the 14th ACR headquarters in August. The 14th ACR began using it with its operational border surveillance missions on a trial basis, and the results were so satisfying that it went into normal operational status in September 1969. Information derived from the imagery enabled the 14th ACR to locate convoy or rail movement, determine the direction of movement, and probable convoy speed, as well as indicating the degree of activity at the East German Eisenach Training Area. Two imagery interpreters were attached to the 14th ACR, which permitted the plotting of moving target indicators and correlation of current order of battle information to the SLAR sightings. Although the SLAR had a coverage of approximately 50 kilometers into East Germany, it was unusual during this early period for it to provide significant peacetime surveillance information. During 1969, for example, only one SLAR mission in the V Corps area recorded significant activity in East Germany, and it turned out to be non-military traffic in conjunction with an East German holiday. Its potential during wartime operations, however, was considered to be significant since natural terrain masking would make any ground-based observation limited. Only aerial observation could overcome terrain masking, and SLAR promised to be a great aid in this area.

There was a great deal of discussion about what would be the optimal level to distribute these new aerial surveillance assets -- armored cavalry regiments, divisions, corps, or theater level. Originally, it had been thought there would be enough Mohawks to issue four to each armored cavalry regiment and division, as well as provide some for the corps and theater support units, but by the end of 1962 only 30 of the 62 authorized Mohawks had arrived in the theater. By 1963 USAREUR headquarters was recommending that the Mohawks be concentrated at the corps level, especially the OV-1A which would help solve the corps' surveillance and drone capability deficiency; and, after reviewing the final results of the OV-1B test report, reiterated once again that they should be assigned at the corps level -- citing the range and speed of the aircraft as a major reason for justifying its deployment at that level. However, pending activation of corps surveillance companies programmed for FY 1966, the logical unit for assignment of the aircraft -- which were to be withdrawn from the divisions and armored cavalry regiments -- would be the corps aviation companies. The picture became somewhat muddled during 1963 and 1964, but there were strong indications that the majority of the Mohawks were being employed by the divisions and armored cavalry regiments.

The picture clarified when the 122d Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance) was activated on 10 May 1965 and assigned to Seventh Army. The table of organization and equipment authorized the company 18 Mohawk aircraft (9 OV-1Bs and 9 OV-1Cs). According to the 1965 USAREUR history, the command also activated two corps artillery aviation batteries, assigned them to V and VII Corps Artillery, and authorized each of them 6 Mohawks (3 OV-1Bs and 3 OV-1Cs). Actually, Battery D, 25th Artillery -- assigned to VII Corps -- had been activated on 25 June 1964 and Battery F, 26th Artillery -- assigned to V Corps -- had been activated on 25 September 1964, but apparently they were not transferred to the two corps until May 1965. USAREUR organized these units by redistributing available personnel and equipment assets; however, due to an aircraft shortage, the units had less than 50 percent of their authorized Mohawks. The divisions retained at least part of their Mohawks, but the armored cavalry regiments had to give theirs to the three new units. At the beginning of 1966, Mohawks were being flown by Aerial Surveillance and Target Acquisition (ASTA) Platoons attached to each division in USAREUR and to the Corps Artillery of V and VII Corps, as well as by the 122d Aviation Company.

On 31 January 1966 Seventh Army suspended all SLAR surveillance missions along the border in order to begin implementation of the "Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the-Army" (ARCSA) - I Study requirement that USAREUR SLAR aircraft be reorganized into two surveillance companies. Although the study had called for two aviation companies, each consisting of eight OV-1B Mohawk aircraft that would provide SLAR and conventional photography support to each corps, the existing number of qualified personnel and the shortage of aircraft and equipment would not permit the formation of two units. Instead, USAREUR resources would be used to equip the 122d Aviation Company, located at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, which would support both corps. On 24 August 1966 the 122d Aviation Company resumed border surveillance operations under the new Seventh Army Intelligence Operations Directive 1-66, which delineated its responsibilities to the two corps and its overall responsibility to provide support to USAREUR headquarters. By June 1967 the Mohawk consolidation portion of the ARCSA-I Study had been completed, with 16 of the command's Mohawks pooled in the 122d Aviation Company. The aviation batteries in the two corps artillery (D of the 25th and F of the 26th) were inactivated on 5 June 1967. References in subsequent histories refer to OV-1s other than those of the 122d Aviation Company -- the most likely place being the divisions -- but it is unlikely they had a border mission.

In addition to problems with establishing the most functional configuration of surveillance equipment on the aircraft and at what organizational level to deploy the Mohawks, there were serious concerns about controlling the aerial surveillance missions along the border and with protecting the aircraft from Warsaw Pact aircraft responding to these missions. The first grounding of operational SLAR aircraft occurred on 5 February 1962, when USAFE's 86th Air Division curtailed ground radar control pending review of the requirements and control procedures for SLAR flights along the border. A meeting with USAFE personnel on 12 March led to an agreement to resume ground control of SLAR flights, but under the more stringent controls of 86th Air Division's Operations Order (OPORD) 191-62 (SLAR), 13 August 1962, which set forth procedures for US Air Force ground radar control of SLAR flights. The Seventh Army commander authorized resumption of SLAR flights along the border on 25 August, but only after personnel operating SLAR systems -- pilots, radar operators, imagery interpreters, and USAFE ground controllers -- had qualified on a proficiency check course established at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. Qualified personnel resumed flights on the border in the VII Corps area on 11 September 1962 and in the V Corps area on 26 October, with all remaining personnel being checked-out by the end of 1962.

These efforts at increasing control were followed up on 22 March 1963 when Seventh Army published a letter of instruction (LOI) that standardized SLAR processing and imagery procedures; required that orientation and training be increased for personnel flying border missions (e.g., one-sixth of the flights would be flown over known parts of West Germany not on the border); established new border flight routes -- generally to the rear of existing routes -- that would lessen the possibility of border overflights; developed traffic and density patterns based on tests; and established uniform SLAR reporting procedures. These new procedures, although useful in solving the border overflight problem, did not completely resolve another serious problem. Many times in the past, Warsaw Pact aircraft had responded to SLAR flights along the border by shadowing the flight on their side of the border. When, on 18 August 1963, a SLAR aircraft flying a mission between Kassel and Fulda drifted toward the border, a Warsaw Pact aircraft flew over the border to a depth of about eight miles and made two passes at the SLAR aircraft, coming within a half mile at its closest point. This was the first incident involving an actual border overflight in response to a SLAR mission.

All SLAR operations along the border were suspended for three weeks in March 1964 in response to the second incident during the preceding period in which a US Air Force aircraft was shot down -- after inadvertently crossing the interzonal boundary. The result of this grounding was tighter control of resumed SLAR flights in a revised LOI.

Control problems were highlighted again in 1965 when a SLAR flight from the 4th Armored Division was inadvertently vectored by US Air Force ground control across the Austrian border near Passau on 8 November. Because of the sensitive political nature of the incident, the pilot was suspended from flight status, SLAR missions in this area were restricted to visual daylight flight conditions only and one SLAR checkpoint was moved further from the Austrian border.

Subsequent investigation of the incident revealed this was not an isolated event, and that there had been seven unreported incidents during the prior eight months due to faulty ground control. As a consequence, on 31 January 1966 USAREUR again suspended all SLAR missions in the border area until positive control over the flights could be assured. The basic cause was found to be the incorrect plotting of one of the USAFE radar antenna sites, which resulted in a 2-degree compass heading error and a displacement of the flight path checkpoints. To provide the required assurance, USAFE recalibrated all of its ground control radars along the border and USAREUR moved its flight paths further from the border. Although this resulted in some loss in depth of penetration of the intelligence gathering capability of the SLAR, USAREUR thought the increased positive measures to insure aircraft did not inadvertently cress international boundaries were more important than the additional intelligence information that might have been gathered from flying closer to the border. With the greatly improved ground radar control and realignment of the flight routes, it was hoped that border violations would be virtually impossible, and the command resumed SLAB flights on 17 August 1966 (the 122d Aviation Company did not resume its flights until 22 August). As a final precaution, USAREUR directed that upon detecting any conflict between navigational aids and the vectoring instructions of ground radar control operations, pilots were to abort their missions immediately.

On 2 November 1966, however, the flights were suspended again when it was discovered that a Polish radio station was interfering with the frequency of the Schweinfurt non-directional radio beacon. Federal Republic aviation safety authorities changed the frequency for the beacon, and SLAR flights were resumed on 10 January 1967. It would seem that it would have been impossible to still inadvertently fly over the border, but it happened again on 23 February 1967 when a Mohawk violated the interzonal boundary while on a maintenance test flight under visual flight rules (VFR) to check the reliability of its SLAR equipment. The pilot had been flying what he thought was a routine maintenance check, well outside of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that had been established along the border to preclude this type of incident. However, when he flew over some clouds, he became disoriented and was blown across the border by strong winds. The 86th Air Division's ground controllers picked him up on radar as he strayed into the ADIZ and tried to recall him, but he was operating on a local Army radio frequency rather than a border frequency. Unfortunately, the ground controllers did not notify the US Army Flight Coordination Center at Fulda, which would have tried to recall him on all Army frequencies. The 86th Air Division's ground radar control installations again picked up the flight as it was returning to the Federal Republic side of the boundary and scrambled USAFE fighters to intercept the violator, thus demonstrating that at least the border defense system worked, if not the ground radar control procedures.

It is interesting to note that this down period due to the border overflight incidents coincided with the consolidation of SLAR assets into the 122d Aviation Company, and that other histories alleged the extensive suspension of SLAR flights during this period was due to the reorganization. Probably both the reorganization and the ground control problems caused this lengthy curtailment rather than one or the other.

As a result of this incident, a complete review of all local flying regulations was conducted to insure they were in concert with USAREUR regulations. The practice of filing local flight plans by radio was prohibited -- even if it was only for a short flight -- and henceforth written flight plans and weather briefings would be required before all flights. In addition, joint procedures were developed with the 86th Air Division to insure that future recall actions would be broadcast on all available Army radio frequencies. These changes were institutionalized in USAREUR Regulation 95-1 on 25 October 1967. The 86th Air Division also instituted procedures for processing the flight plans for "LARD CAN" patrols (nickname for SLAR flights) that insured everyone understood their mission and mode of operations.

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, Bayreuth, and Regensburg 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.

After North Korean forces shot down a US EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft over the Sea of Japan in 1969, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and USEUCOM examined the security of surveillance aircraft in Europe. USAFE did not have any specific plans for protecting reconnaissance missions and, in fact, because of the nature and frequency of the SLAR flights, did not consider it desirable or feasible to provide fighter escorts for them. It reasoned that flights of armed fighters near political borders could disturb sensitive political relationships with host and other friendly countries, that there would be an increased possibility of border violations by the high-performance aircraft, and that fighter escorts could not provide full protection since they could not defend against surface-to-air missiles or an overwhelming fighter force. USAFE thought its current procedures of immediately scrambling fighters in the event of hostile interference was adequate.

USAREUR decided to upgrade the early-warning capability of its surveillance aircraft and, late in 1969, requested AN/APR-25 and -26 radar homing and warning systems for the OV-1B aircraft. The requested electronic warfare equipment was capable of detecting and identifying radar signals from both ground-based and airborne emitters and warning the pilot of the type of threat, thus alerting him to take appropriate defensive action. The equipment began arriving in January 1970 and by July all of the aircraft in the 122d Aviation Company committed to the SLAR surveillance mission had warning devices installed, with the entire USAREUR OV-1 fleet similarly equipped by the end of August. Still another defensive improvement was USCINCEUR OPLAN 4320 - Protection and Support of US Reconnaissance Operations (S), published 30 December 1970, the primary benefit to USAREUR being that it rationalized the procedures under which it could expeditiously request assistance from NATO air defense control agencies if one of its surveillance aircraft was attacked or in trouble.

Go to 1970s for continuation of SLAR missions

 
OV-1 Mohawk
 
1960s
(Source: US ARMY BORDER OPERATIONS IN GERMANY, 1945-1983, by William E. Stacy)

OV-1B
 
The OV-1 Mohawk all-weather, long-range surveillance aircraft arrived in USAREUR on 12 September 1961, when 12 (OV-1A's only?) were assigned to the Seventh Army.

There was a great deal of discussion about what would be the optimal level to distribute these new aerial surveillance assets -- armored cavalry regiments, divisions, corps, or theater level. Originally, the plan called for four Mohawks to be issued to each armored cavalry regiment (3) and division (5), as well as provide some for the corps and theater support units, but by the end of 1962 only 30 of the 62 authorized Mohawks had arrived in the theater.
By 1963 USAREUR headquarters was recommending that the Mohawks be concentrated at the corps level, especially the OV-1A which would help solve the corps' surveillance and drone capability deficiency. However, pending activation of corps surveillance companies programmed for FY 1966, the logical unit for assignment of the aircraft -- which were to be withdrawn from the divisions and armored cavalry regiments -- would be the corps aviation companies.

By 1963 USAREUR headquarters was recommending that the Mohawks be concentrated at the corps level, especially the OV-1A which would help solve the corps' surveillance and drone capability deficiency. However, pending activation of corps surveillance companies programmed for FY 1966, the logical unit for assignment of the aircraft -- which were to be withdrawn from the divisions and armored cavalry regiments -- would be the corps aviation companies.

During 1963 and 1964, it appears that the majority of the Mohawks were still being employed by the divisions and armored cavalry regiments (in ASTA Platoons of the organic aviation companies).

The picture was somehwat clarified when the 122d Aviation Company (Aerial Surveillance) was activated on 10 May 1965 and assigned to Seventh Army. The table of organization and equipment authorized the company 18 Mohawk aircraft (9 OV-1Bs and 9 OV-1Cs). According to the 1965 USAREUR history, the command also activated two corps artillery aviation batteries, assigned them to V and VII Corps Artillery, and authorized each of them 6 Mohawks (3 OV-1Bs and 3 OV-1Cs). Actually, Battery D, 25th Artillery -- assigned to VII Corps -- had been activated on 25 June 1964 and Battery F, 26th Artillery -- assigned to V Corps -- had been activated on 25 September 1964, but apparently they were not transferred to the two corps until May 1965.

USAREUR organized these units by redistributing available personnel and equipment assets; however, due to an aircraft shortage, the units had less than 50 percent of their authorized Mohawks. The divisions retained at least part of their Mohawks, but the armored cavalry regiments had to give theirs to the three new units. At the beginning of 1966, Mohawks were being flown by Aerial Surveillance and Target Acquisition (ASTA) Platoons attached to each division in USAREUR and to the Corps Artillery of V and VII Corps, as well as by the 122d Aviation Company.

The "Aviation Requirements for the Combat Structure of the-Army" (ARCSA) - I Study required that USAREUR SLAR aircraft be reorganized into two surveillance companies, each consisting of eight OV-1B Mohawk aircraft that would provide SLAR and conventional photography support to each corps. However, the existing number of qualified personnel and the shortage of aircraft and equipment would not permit the formation of two units. Instead, USAREUR resources would be used to equip the 122d Aviation Company, located at Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau, which would support both corps.

On 24 August 1966 the 122d Aviation Company resumed border surveillance operations under the new Seventh Army Intelligence Operations Directive 1-66, which delineated its responsibilities to the two corps and its overall responsibility to provide support to USAREUR headquarters.

By June 1967 the Mohawk consolidation portion of the ARCSA-I Study had been completed, with 16 of the command's Mohawks pooled in the 122d Aviation Company. The aviation batteries in the two corps artillery (D of the 25th and F of the 26th) were inactivated on 5 June 1967.

References in subsequent histories refer to OV-1s other than those of the 122d Aviation Company -- the most likely place being the divisions -- but it is unlikely they had a border mission.

(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Sept 18, 1964)
Sembach Crew Aids Army Pilots In Border Runs

BAMBERG, Germany (S&S)
A group of airmen with headquarters at Sembach Air Base, Germany, are providing aerial navigational assistance to Army pilots flying missions along the border here.

Headed by Capt Charles N. Colt, 30, of Owensboro, Ky., Det 0005, 601st Tactical Control Sq, has been here since April 20, furnishing radar and communications assistance for Army aircraft flying within the Air Defense Communications Zone (ADCZ) (sic) (Webmaster note: shouldn't this be ADIZ - Air Defense Identification Zone?).

Orderly room for the detachment is in the Bamberg Subpost headquarters and operational site is at the Army airfield. Operations sergeant for the 30-man detachment is SSgt L. B. Cordell Jr., and site chief is SSgt Ronald B. Childress.
If an Army aircraft strays toward the border, Cole's radar operators picks it up and the pilot is notified of the direction he is flying.

"In addition, we provide radio and radar control for Air Force aircraft furnishing air support and reconnaissance missions for the 8th lnf Div located at Bad Kreuznach," said Cole who is a graduate of Western State College at Bowling Green, Ky.

When the 8th Div conducts training exercises in the area and needs air support, planes are dispatched from Bitburg, Hahn or Spangdahlem Air Bases. Cole's men pick up the aircraft on their sets and give radar control until the mission is completed.

Using huge radar, radio and teletype vans, Cole's unit can move its entire communications and radar network from Bamberg to any place it is called upon to fill a gap in a communications network,

 
Special Projects
Barry Stein, author, is well known for his books on US Army cloth (patches) and distinctive (crests) unit insignia such as the "U.S. Army Patches, Flashes and Ovals: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cloth Unit Insignia."

Barry is currently doing research on US Army Aviation patches used in Germany from the 1950s to present. (If we can get enough material, maybe we can convince him to expand that to all Army Aviation units in Europe - France, Italy, BENELUX and UK.)

He is looking for high quality color scans of original (not reproductions, please) unit patches - authorized or not - of flying as well as support units. If you have any details - historical, organization, mission, etc. - of the respective aviation unit, that would also be much appreciated as he would like to add some details on each unit.

You can send them to me (webmaster) or, if you contact me, I will provide Barry's email address.

Related Links:
73rd Military Intelligence Company - site dedicated to the 73rd MI Co in Germany. Check out the Photo Albums! (Broken LINK)
C Company, 6th Bn, 159th Avn (203rd Avn Co) - Paul Scott's very nice web site featuring Co C, 6/159th Avn (prior to Nov 1987 designated as 203rd Avn Co) based at Dolan Barracks, Schwäbisch Hall. (Broken LINK)
 

Army Aviation Digest Archive
In 2011 the U.S. Army Aviation Technical Library at Fort Rucker, Ala. made every issue of the ARMY AVATION DIGEST available online. The Digest, the first issue was published in Feb 1955, was an official DA periodical published monthly and provided information on all aspects of Army aviation. These issues are a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history and evolution of US Army aviation.
 
  4th/152nd Reunion Association - the web site for former members of the 4th Transportation Company (Medium Helicopter); 506th Transportation Company (Light Helicopter); 4th Aviation Company; and 152nd Cargo Helicopter Field Maintenance Detachment. The site includes a good unit history of the 4th Trans/Avn Co and some great pictures of the MOJAVE (H-37) medium helicopter as well as Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Hanau, in the late 1950s.
 
  QUICK LOOK - an interesting website for former members of Detachment 1, 330th Avn Co  
  205th Aviation Co "Geronimos" - 205th Aviation in Germany, 1973 - 1988.  
  295th Aviation Co (HH) - Another very good Army Aviation web site - the 295th served at Mainz-Finthen AAF and flew the CH-54A Sikorsky Skycrane Helicopter (TARHE) in the early 1970s. Chuck Rogers is the webmaster.  
  Aviation Detachment, Berlin Brigade - A Historical Overflight of Berlin with a UH-1H pilot of the Avn Det, Joe King  
  US Army Otters - a page on the De Havilland DHC-3 Otter web site authored by Ian Butter