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71st Ordnance Group
Communications Zone

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.


Group History (1955 - 1964)

Organization (about 1965)

9th Ord Bn

10th Ord Bn

12th Ord Bn

15th Ord Bn

82nd Ord Bn

96th Ord Co

529th Ord Co

Depot maps

AWASP



 
Group History
 
71st Ordnance Group DUI
 
 1955 - 1964 
(Source: Unit History. Prepared by the 71st Ord Gp, 1964)
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group was organized in accordance with GO 65, Headquarters USAREUR, 18 April 1955, under TO&E 9-12A, 5 March 1953, as changed. The group was organized (sic) in accordance with GO 98, Headquarters USAREUR, 21 May 1955, under TO&E 9-12R, 25 March 1955 as changed by GO 229, 28 August 1957 and augmented by Headquarters USAREUR TDRN 77-0071, 21 January 1958.

General Orders 65 and 98 noted above, assigned Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group to Seventh United States Army with station at Pirmasens, Germany. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group was allocated the second and third floors of Building 4616, D'Isly Kaserne as headquarters, office, and troop billet space. Operations have been conducted from this location continuously since the activation.

The general mission of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group was to administer and control operationally the special weapons program as implemented within the Seventh United States Army. The 9th and 15th Ordnance Battalions were attached to the Group on 13 June 1955. The 10th Ordnance Battalion was attached upon its arrival from the United States on 8 May 1956.

The initial cadre for the group was furnished primarily by the 9th Ordnance Battalion, with other personnel supplied from various troop units within the Seventh United States Army.

The 9th, 10th and 15th Ordnance Battalions were relieved from assignment to this group and reassigned to 57th Ordnance Group effective 13 May 1957 in accordance with TWX AETGC 6752, Headquarters, Seventh United States Army, dated 14 May 1957.

Effective 1 June 1957, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group was relieved from assignment to the Seventh United States Army and assigned to the United States Army Communications Zone per USAREUR message SC 30558, with further assignment to the Communications Zone, Advance Section per TM&AO Numbor 16, Headquarters USAREUR, COMZ, ADSEC, 7 June 1957 effective 1 June 1957. The Group Headquarters was assigned a planning mission in accordance with letter, Headquarters COMZ, ADSEC, AEZAOR 262/46, subject: „Planning Mission 71st Ordnance Group" dated 5 July 1957.

Effective 1 July 1957 the 12th Ordnance Battalion was attached to this group less operational control over supply and stock control function, per para 2, TM&AO Number 21, Headquarters COMZ ADSEC, dated 27 June 1957.

The 71st Ordnance Group mission was changed 15 Dec 1958 and the following organizations attached as indicated:
             
    UNIT HQ ADSEC TM&AO   EFFECTIVE DATE
  a. 10th Ord Bn 4 21 Jan 1958   15 Jan 1958
             
  b. 12th Ord Bn 13 6 Mar 1958   1 Mar 1958
             
  c. 82nd Ord Bn 21 1 May 1958   1 Jul 1958
    USAAD, Miesau        
    USAOD, Fischbach        
    7418th LS Co        
    8403rd LS Co        
    4th Ord Co        
    367th Ord Pltn        
             
Effective 17 March 1958, an Ordnance Special Weapons and Missile Direct Support Company (Prov) TO&E 9-47D was organized with duty station at Zweibrucken, Germany per GO #13, Headquarters COMZ ADSEC, dated 19 March for the purpose of facilitating reorganization of the 71st Ordnance Group.

Effective 25 March 1959, the following provisional units were organized and assigned per GO #59, Headquarters COMZ, dated 25 March 1959, and TM&AO #6, Headquarters COMZ ADSEC, dated 1 April 1959.

UNIT DESIGNATION

DUTY STATION COMMENTS
US Army Advanced Weapons Support Command, Pirmasens (Prov) Pirmasens  
US Army Ammunition Depot, Miesau (Prov) Miesau  
US Army Military Police Battalion, Pirmasens (Prov)
TO&E 19-500R5 Team AD
Pirmasens  
82nd Ordnance Battalion (Prov)
TO&E 9-86D8
Zweibrücken  
4th Ordnance Company (Prov) Miesau  
US Army Ordnance Company, Zweibrucken (Prov) Zweibrücken  
1st Ordnance Company (Prov) Dahn  
2nd Ordnance Company (Prov) Massweiler  
1st Military Police Company (Prov)
TO&E 19-500R5, Teams AC and AA
Dahn  
2nd Military Police Company (Prov)
TO&E 19-500R5, Teams AC and AA
Massweiler  
US Army Signal Support Company, Pirmasens (Prov)
TO&E 11-117R5
Pirmasens  
     
Effective 1 April 1959, the 20th Ordnance Detachment (EOD) was attached less operations to 71st Ordnance Group per TM&AO #5, Headquarters, COMZ ADSEC, dated 18 March 1959.

Effective 24 June 1959 per GO #102, USA COMZ, dtd 19 May 1959, GO #158, Hq USAREUR, dtd 4 June 1959, the following units were activated and/or reorganized:

UNIT DESIGNATION

DUTY STATION COMMENTS
US Army Advanced Weapons Support Command Pirmasens  
US Army Ord Depot, Fischbach Fischbach  
US Army Ammunition Depot, Miesau Miesau  
Hq & Hq Det, 94th MP Bn Pirmasens  
193rd MP Co (Sec) Dahn  
564th MP Co (Sec) Massweiler  
529th Ord Co Massweiler  
583rd Ord Co Dahn  
28th Ord Co Zweibrücken  
525th Trans Co (Med Truck)(Cargo) Zweibrücken  
541st Sig Co (Support) Pirmasens  
82nd Ord Bn Zweibrücken  
4th Ord Co Miesau  
9th Ord Co Miesau  
367th Ord Det Mainz  
     
Effective 17 Aug 59, the 2nd Platoon, 25th Trans Co (helo) was attached to Hqs AWSCOM per TM&A0 #19, Hq USA COMZ, dtd 14 Aug 59.

Effective 9 Oct 59, the 64th Ord Co was assigned to Hq AWSCOM with station Fischbach, Germany per TM&AO #23, Hq ADSEC, dtd 26 Oct 59 and TM&AO #3, Hq AWSCOM, dtd 30 Oct 59.

Per GO #31, USACOMZEUR, dtd 25 Feb 60, the US Army Military Police Unit, Kaiserslautern was organized and assigned to 94th MP BN.

Per GO #119, Hq USAREUR, dtd 4 Apr 60, and TM&AO #35, TASCOM, dtd 19 May 60, the 511th MP Platoon (Security) (Courier) was assg to 94th MP Bn with duty station Pirmasens, Germay.

Per TM&AO #25, USAREUR/REAR COMZ, dtd 20 May 60, and TM&AO #38, TASCOM, dtd 9 Jun 60, the 7th Ord Det was assigned to Hq AWSCOM with duty station at Fischbach, Germany.

* At this time in history, plans.were developed to organize AWSCOM in a Depot concept. It was proposed to place all various types of units within the depots under the control of a depot commander: This depot commander would in turn he responsible directly to the Commanding Officer, AWSCOM. During the year of 1961 this plan was initiated as told by the following trend. (It should be noted that TASCOM, Theater Army Support Command, as of 1Jul 61 was discontinued and all functions and missions assumed by 4th Logistical Command)

Per TM&AO #48, 2 Aug 60, TASCOM, 20th Ord Det (EOD) is attached to Hq AWSCOM for admin and logistical support.

Per TM&AO #61, TASCOM, 22 Sep 60, the USA Ammo Depot Miesau is established as a subordinate command of Hq TASCOM.

Per TM&AO #69, TASCOM, 2 Nov 60, the 4th Ord Co and 9th Ord Co are attached to US Army Ammo Depot Mesau for administration and logistical support.

Per TM&AO #5, TASCOM, 30 Jan 61, the 72nd Ord Bn moved from Verdun, France to Rhein Ord Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany and assigned to AWSCOM.

Per TM&AO #6,TASCOM, 10 Feb 61, 181st Ord Det is assigned to AWSCOM and further assigned to 4th Ord Co by AWSCOM GO #7.

Per USAREUR GO #52, 21 Mar 61, the 525th Ord Co and 619th Ord Co are relieved from assignment to 7th Army and further assigned to AWSCOM by TM&AO #15, TASCOM. 28th Ord Co is relieved from COMZ and assigned to 7th Army by same order. (525th Ord Co was assigned to 82nd Ord Bn and 619th Ord Co was assigned to 72nd Ord Bn)

Per TM&AO #13, 26 Apr 61, TASCOM, the 82nd Ord Bn will move from Zweibrücken, Ger. to Pirmasens, Ger. and assigned to AWSCOM.

Per COMZ GO #97, 12 Jun 61, the Theater Army Support Command (TASCOM) is discontinued, effective 1 Jul 61. All functions and mission heretofore will be performed by 4th Logistical Command.

At this time in the history of AMSC0M, the formation of units are about the same as we have presently. Final organization took place with USAREUR GO #154, dtd 19 Apr 62, which inactivated the 511th MP Co and the 525th Trans Co in Section (I) and activated the following units in Section II:
164th MP Co, 165th MP Co, 556th MP Co, 558th MP Co, HHCo 59th Ord Gp and HHDet 193rd Ord Bn. This month, the 367th Ord Det was assigned to the 7th Amy by USAREUR GO #50, dtd 1 Apr 61. (Released from 4th Ord Co.) This GO also organized the 94th MP Bn as active less personnel and equipment.

4th Logistical Command TM&AO #29, dtd 9 May 62, had assigned the following units to 59th Ordnance (Ammunition) Group, (Advanced Weapons Support Command), Pirmasens, Germany APO 189:

UNIT DESIGNATION

DUTY STATION COMMENTS
4th Ord Co Miesau  
7th Ord Co Pirmasens  
9th Ord Co Miesau  
64th Ord Co Fischbach  
82nd Ord Bn Pirmasens  
164th MP Co Kaiserslautern  
165th MP Co Fischbach  
181st Ord Det Kaiserslautern  
193rd MP Co Dahn  
525th Ord Co Siegelsbach  
529th Ord Co Massweiler  
541st Sig Co Pirmasens  
556th MP Co Siegelsbach  
558th MP Co Kriegsfeld  
564th MP Co Massweiler  
583rd Ord Co Dahn  
619th Ord Co Kriegsfeld  
72nd Ord Bn Kaiserslautern  
82nd Ord Bn Pirmasens  
193rd Ord Bn Karlsruhe  
US Army Calibration Det Miesau  
     
4th Log Cmd GO #99, dtd 24 Jul 63, assigned the 116th Ord Det to AWSCOM. AWSCOM GO #35 reassigned the 116th Ord Det to the 193rd Ord Bn. (Effective 28 Jun 63)

4th Log Cmd GO #31 dtd 27 Feb 63, attached the 2nd Platoon, 26th Transportation Co. (LT, HELI) to AWSCOM less aircraft supply and maintenance.

Effective 24 Dec 63, the 7th Ord Det was inactivated by USAREUR GO #359, dtd 12 Dec 63.

Additionally, the 59th Ord Gp was established as Advanced Weapons Support Command by USACOMZEUR GO #76, 26 Apr 62, effective 24 Mar 62.

Officially the unit name is - 59th Ordnance Group (Ammo) Advanced Weapons Support Command. (Presently - US Army Advanced Weapons Support Comand, USAAWSC.)

The 248th Ordnance Det (GM GS) was assigned to 72nd Ord Bn effective 23 Feb 64 by AWSCOM GO #36. USAREUR GO #77, dtd 22 Feb 64, assigned the 248th Ord Det (GM GS) to USACOMZEUR Hq and then by USACOMZEUR GO #73 they were assigned to US Army Advanced Weapons Support Command. (23 Feb 64)

NOTE: See the 59th Ord Bde Page for additional history.

 
1959
(Source: USAREUR General Order 158, dated 4 June 1959)
Effective 24 June 1959 the following units were inactivated:

71st Ordnance Group
10th Ordnance Battalion
12th Ordnance Battalion

Concurrent with the above inactivations, the following activations became effective (all were assigned to Com Z):
  Hq & Hq Det, 94th Military Police Bn   Pirmasens    
  193rd Military Police Co (Security)   Dahn    
  564th Military Police Co (Security)   Massweiler    
  529th Ordnance Co   Massweiler    
  583rd Ordnance Co   Dahn    
  28th Ordnance Co   Zweibruecken    
  525th Transportation Co (Med Trk)(Cargo)   Zweibruecken    
  541st Signal Co (Support)   Pirmasens    
           
The following units were reorganized with no change in location, mission or assignment:

82nd Ordnance Battalion
4th Ordnance Company
9th Ordnance Company

And finally, the 357th Ordnance Platoon was reorganized and redesignated as the 357th Ordnance Detachment.


1. Org chart, around 1965

2. Massweiler Ord Depot

3. Fischbach Ord Depot
 
 
If you have more information on the history or organization of the 71st Ord Gp, please contact me.

 
Additional Ordnance Crests (71st Ord Gp subordinate units)

9h Ord Bn

10th Ord Bn

12th Ord Bn

82nd Ord Bn

7th Ord Co
     

 
1958
(Source: Email from Ed Donohue, 71st Ord Gp/AWSCOM, 1958-62)

PFC Ed Donohue, May 1958
 
I ran across the history of the 71st Ordnance Group and was so delighted to see it in print. I was with the AWSCOM group in Pirmasens and their subordinate groups from May 1958 till June 1962 and have info on the 71st, AWSCOM HQ, 541st Signal Co. & 583rd Ord Co from Dahn Germany. I was there when they first started up.

I arrived at Hq & Hq Company, 71st Ord. Group in May 1958. We were billeted at Husterhoeh Kaserne, Bldg 4618 on the 4th Floor. It was somewhat cramped and I was one of a group that came in that week. My MOS was field signal personal, general field wiring etc. I worked with the Major who ran Operations group. I got my security clearance when arriving at the unit and did some drafting of classified document organizational and operational charts.
I enjoyed associating with the Radio Team & requested training & transfer to the Radio group that had some openings. I went to a U.S. Army Radio School in Bavaria and returned In October 1958 to begin my career as a Radio Operator. I immediately took my place in the Net Control Room located on the 3rd floor which housed all the High Security areas. The floor was maintained by a Military Police team. Crypto/ Teletype room, Classified Documents, and Radio Commo were all on this floor.

I worked various shifts on the Group radio net, Maintaining contact by code to the subordinate units -- 10th, 12th & 82nd Ordnance -- that maintained, stored, and transported Advanced Weapons to 7th Army and NATO units. Maintaining constant communications with convoys that were delivering the weapons, spotting check points so we knew the location at all times of each convoy. When none was on the road we would pass training traffic to improve on our efficiency.

In March of 1959, we were re-organized and became known as AWSCOM.

By June of 1959, after going through some Provisional names, the 541st Signal Co. was activated. We were moved out of the 4th floor (attic) of 4618, and took up new billeting across the street on the second floor. The radio teams were moved to a new location down the street that became our radio station and motor pool for our growing fleet of AN/GRC-26 mobile radio vans.

I enjoyed the TDY missions to various NATO installations, First French Army, British units and German units that worked with our U.S. weapons team. We ran convoys for the different units, 583rd (Ord Co) at Dahn, 529th (Ord Co) at Massweiler, 64th (Ord Co) at Fischbach. There were many convoys that year. It was very exciting being part of these convoys. MP teams were used to protect the missions and we were always heavily armed, carrying white phosphorus blocks to protect and if needed destroy secret crypto equipment and documents if we were placed in that position. NSA regulated our activities in regard to classified communications. Some trips took us close to the Iron Curtain. The best part was returning to base using many different routes to confuse any adversary Intel units.

In August of 1959, I was transferred to the 583rd Ord Co. in Dahn. That is another story and I remained at that facility until I was transferred Stateside.

I was a part of AWSCOM from 1958 - 1962

71st Ord Gp
Husterhoeh Kaserne, Pirmasens


1. Unit sign in front of Headquarters Building, 1958

2. 541st Signal Co, Pirmasens, preparing AN/GRC-26 Radio Vans for Convoy & NATO Assignments

 
1959
(Email from Tom Probst, HQ AWSCOM, 1959-61)

Probst on the Gen Buckner
 
I was at HQ AWSCOM in Pirmasens from Feb 59 to Feb 61. At that time we stored nuclear warheads for the 7th Army. We had many units under our command that worked with the (special) weapons. I was a top secret documents clerk.

The commander at that time was Col. John Dean. Chain of command at HQ AWSCOM . . . 59-61:
CO - Col John Dean; EX - Lt Col Batchelor; S1 - Capt Sammons; S2 - Major Schaner; S3 - Lt Col Pilla; S4 - unknown; Classified documents - CWO Klieman; Personell - CWO Stiles; Liason - Major Billens. HQ company commander Capt. Penney.
The 541st (Sig Co) was the signal support unit for AWSCOM. The crypto room was right next to the top secret documents section on the third floor of the HQ building; the troops were billeted on the second floor of the building across the street. HQ Company, AWSCOM, was billeted on the third floor.

We also had an MP unit that guarded the third floor of HQ building which was highly classified; by todays standards, the security was very poor. I guess you know our mission, we controlled the nuclear warheads for USAREUR. Our troops had restricted travel in Europe because of our mission.

 
10th Ordnance Battalion (Special Weapons Support)
 

Nice view of camp in the 1950s (Lannie Rotili, 583rd Ord Co Dahn website)
 

Company area (Lannie Rotili)
 
10th Ordnance Battalion DUI
 
1956
(Source: Email from Joe Harrison)
I was stationed at D'Isley Kaserne in 1956-57 while serving with the 10th Ordnance Batallion (SWS). While we were quartered in barracks near the big mess hall (closest to the main PX), our work area was in an ammunition storage depot near Dahn.

I have searched to find references to the 10th and met with only marginal success. I understand that the unit was disbanded as such in the early to mid 1960s and that the mission of special weapons support was assigned to a company whose designation I do not know. If you have any information on my unit based on your recollections of D'Isley (or otherwise) I would be very greatful if you would share them with me.

 
(Source: Email from Lyn Garland)
I was trying to research the 10th Ordnance Battalion and 28th Ordnance Company where I was assigned from 1957 to 1959 and saw your information about the 197th Ordnance Battalion. I did see info on the 9th Ord Bn, which was also at Pirmasens with the 10th, but can't find anything about the 10th or the 28th. I was an MP assigned security duties initially and then was assigned as the Assistant Operations Sergeant of the 28th (primarily because I was a good typist).

Do you have any information on the 10th or the 28th? I understand from a friend (retired LTC) that Special Weapons in Europe were reorganized a couple of times and he couldn't provide any info about the Ordnance organization. (He was in Field Artillery.) I retired from Military Intelligence in 1976. I would appreciate any info you could provide.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
I joined B Company, 10th Ord Bn, APO 189 in February, 1957 as an E-2 MP and was billeted at the Kaserne in Dahn, Germany. Stayed with the general organization until September, 1959 when I DEROSed. Was part of the troops that formed C Company, 10th Ord, APO 189, but I don't know the date; then the Ordnance Special Weapons and Direct Support Company, APO 872 on 1 March 1959, and then the 28th Ordnance Company, 7th US Army, APO 872. When we moved to Zweibrueken I left the Security Unit and became the Assistant Operations Sergeant, a job I held until I DEROSed. I was a CPL at that time.

When I was in B Company the Technicans were billeted in Pirmasens. We were near the Exclusion Area for security reasons. When C Company was formed we had a Headquarter's Platoon, a Security Platoon (MPs), and an Operational Platoon (Technicans). I believe the first Company Commander was CPT Herlinger. We had several(?) Lieutenants just out of OCS but with significant service as platoon leaders. We (at least the MPs) were still billeted at the B Company Kaserne and the Exclusion Area was in the Ammo Compound secured by the "Polish Guards". That was the very large (huge) forested compound on the same side of the road as our Kaserne (I can't recall the name of that Kaserne!) and up the road a couple of kilometers. (I had been promoted to CPL by that time and was a Squad Leader and the Machine Gun Section Leader. When we were at the other Exclusion Area all we ever carried were our M1 Rifles.)

We moved to Zweibruecken and I went to work in Operations as the Assistant Opns Sgt. I believe that MAJ Norris was the CO. We conducted CPX with the BAOR on several occasions. Mönchengladbach, maybe?

I retained my 95B MOS even though I was working in Operations and when I re-enlisted I stayed in the MPs. In 1967 transferred to MI and was awarded a 97B MOS. Appointed a WO and retired in 1976. I have some of my records from my first enlistment and service with the 10th Ordance Battalion and will be happy to see what I can provide. I do know that I have a picture of several of us MPs clustered around an H-34 helicopter during an exercise where we provided security for the movement of some special weapons. Problem is, I haven't a clue where or when it was. I do have some copies of orders for enlisted personnel with names, ranks and serial numbers (not SSNs) but I have no ideas where any of those folks are now.

Let me know what kind of information you would like to have. WE are leaving shortly for a vacation but will be back by 7 June. I will be happy to look through my records for whatever I can provide


 
1958
(Source: Email from Ralph Arnsparger)
I transferred to Co A, 10th Ord Bn, Dahn, mid-1958 as an E3, after training at Sandia Base, NM. I left Dahn as a part of the 583rd Ord Co in mid-1960 as an E5.

I was a radar MOS on special weapon warheads working inside a cave between Hinterweidenthal and Dahn.

From reviewing my orders and pay stubs, and from what I recall, the 10th Ord Bn at Dahn was made up of Co A (Mechanical, Nuclear and Electronics personnel), Co B was MP, and Co C was Motor Pool as I recall.  Of course there was a headquarters detachment.  There were communications, parts and logistical support personnel there but I don't know how they fit in organizationally.

Co. A became 1st Ord Co (Prov) of 82nd Ord Bn, May, 1959 which then became 583rd Ord Co, 82nd Ord Bn in Jun, 1959.  Commanding Officer (at least starting in July 1959) was Maj Walter F Diggs. 

As I recall, Co B of the 10th became an MP company.  I don't recall about the Motor Pool.

 
96th Ordnance Company (Guided Missile Direct Support) (CPL)
 
(Source: Email from Johnny Oliver)
Enjoying your website. I was stationed in Germany during the period 1955-57. At first I was stationed at Mainz/Gonsenhein (sp) in the 96th Ordnance Company. Later I was stationed in the 9th Ordnance Company at Siegelsbach. I have been in contact with Jack Goodlv over the internet and have received from him much information on the 9th.

Typed below is something that I typed up about 20 years ago regarding my service in the US Army.

After entering the US Army, I went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for eight weeks of basic training. After basic training, I went to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to attend an eleven week basic electronics course. After attending this course, I went to Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama to attend an eighteen week course on the Corporal Guided Missile electronics guidance system. After graduating from this course, I received one weeks leave to return home and then to proceed to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for further transfer overseas.

Myself and six others that graduated from the course were selected to go to Great Britain to teach a course to the British soldiers on the Corporal Guided Missile System. After arriving at Camp Kilmer, we stayed four weeks awaiting transportation overseas. While waiting so long for shipment overseas, it became apparent to all of us that something was wrong with the way the US Army was doing things. On three occasions (three different Saturdays), we were instructed to dress into our OD's and to board a bus with our duffel bag. Each of the buses was supposed to carry us to an US Transport ship located at New York City. Each time, somewhere along the way, we were instructed to depart the bus and to return back to quarters on the base.

Finally, on the fourth Saturday, we boarded a bus and arrived at the transport ship located at New York City. Once there, we boarded the transport ship still thinking that they were headed for Great Britain. It took seven days by ship before arriving at Bremerhaven, Germany - not Great Britain as originally thought! During the ship's transit to Germany, the ship ran into much bad weather where the seas had produced waves of 20 to 30 feet in height. Many of the soldiers and ship's force got deathly sea sick during the trip. The food, which was served on a tray, would slide off of the tray or the tray would slide off of the table each time the ship would list to the port or starboard. She would list from 5 to 15 degrees each time a huge wave hit the bow of the ship. The waves were headed into the bow at about 15 degrees off the port side of the ship. For several days after departing the ship, you were unable to walk a straight line because your head felt like you were still on the ship experiencing the roll and pitch of the ship.

The seven of us boarded a train at Bremerhaven and arrived at Saarbrucken, Germany some 10 hours later. While traveling to Saarbrucken we observed lots of open fields being plowed by oxen which were being driven by both men and women. You did not see many trees during the route. Most of the trees had been either bombed and destroyed or had been harvested for firewood during the war.

We stayed at Saarbrucken a week awaiting orders. Finally, our orders came. We were being ordered to the 96th Ordnance Company (71st Ordnance Group) which was located at Mainz-Gonsenheim, Germany - some 120 Kilometers away. Mainz was a German base used during World War II by the Germans. Most of the barracks there were four stories tall with an attic on the fourth floor. They were built out of stone with slate roofs. Most of the other buildings on the base were built the same way.

While assigned at Mainz, I got interested in amateur radio after meeting a fellow soldier named Stew Black. Stew had built and installed in the attic of the barracks a MARS (Military Affiliated Radio Station) radio station. The call sign for the station was DL4 CCB. At first, I just visited the radio shack and later I would stay for hours at night. I would talk to other radio operators located throughout the world. Subsequent to getting involved with this hobby, I got my license to operate the station. My call sign was DL4 BV.

The seven of us stayed at Mainz for 10 months. For the first three months while there I was assigned to the motor pool and not to a job in anyway associated with the Corporal Guided Missile System. During that period, I drove a 10-ton motorized crane. Later, I was assigned to the Missile System Lab where I actually performed testing of missile components.

Six months after being assigned to Mainz, the 96th was disestablished and all of the short timers (those having less than six months left in the Army) were transferred back to the States. I was not included because I still had more than six months left in the Army. I, along with the six other soldiers that left Redstone Arsenal together were transferred to the 9th Ordnance Company (Webmaster: should be "battalion") located at Siegelsbach, Germany. The base at Siegelsbach had been a German V1 and V2 Missile testing and assembling area during World War II. All of the German fortifications (bunkers built under ground) had been destroyed by American and Allied forces at the end of the war and the US Army had come along and built their own fortifications for testing and assembly of atomic missile warheads. There were around 80 enlisted men and several officers assigned to the company. All of the enlisted men were either college or high school graduates.

I returned to the States and was discharged at Fort Jackson, SC in Jan. 1957. During the past month I have connected over the internet with several of the men who were stationed in Siegelsbach during the time I was there.


 
For some history of the 96th Ord Co as a Special Ammunition General Support unit under the 557th US Army Artillery Group in Herborn-Seelbach, see the 557th USAAG Page.

 
Advanced Weapons Ammunition Supply Point
 
1958
(Source: Email from Joe Phillips, 82nd Ord Bn and 541st Sig Co, 1958-1960)
I was assigned to the newly designated AWASP Detachment in March 1958, as part of 82nd Ordnance Bn.

We spent the initial months (commuting) from Pirmasens to Massweiler, Ger. I was at first a high speed radio operator then my MOS changed to radio teletype operator. Had top secret clearance at that time.

I believe in spring or early summer of 1959 our signal people transferred to Zweibrucken, I believe as part of the 541st Signal and I was stationed there until discharged in June 1960.

I hadn’t thought about this period of my life very often, much less discussed it with anyone. I haven’t seen or talked to anyone I served with save a high school buddy of mine who was stationed not too far from Zweibrucken in 1960. I missed seeing him when I was there in Germany but we attended college together after we were both discharged.

AWASP was Advance Weapons Ammunition Supply Point, as I recall. It was a sort of ad hoc unit that the army threw together I’m assuming in the spring of 1958. And it was part of the 82nd Ord. Bn. Unfortunately there were a lot of army misfits brought into the unit, lot’s of shortimers who were bordering on delinquents. We didn’t have a very strong company commander when we were organized and actually we almost went into a riot situation about two months after we were operating. They actually called us out and “read us the riot act” the next day. Pretty serious stuff. I don’t think we quite grasped all of the implications. After that, a new C. O. came in, “Capt. Novak," who put us pretty ship shape for the rest of the time we were in Pirmasens.

Often during the first six months I was there, I was radio operating in Massweiler though never barracked there. As an ammunition supply point (AWASP) we were to operate at these supply point areas during exercises and alerts and it seems we must have gone to the field for exercises every month from March 1958 till May 1959.

In May 1959, the AWASP detachment may have been deactivated. Most of the signal attached (there were about two squads of us with AWASP: radio operators, repairmen, land cable guys.) were sent to Zweibrucken, I believe, as part of the 541st Signal Compay.

There, our mission situation and jobs changed, less field exercises and mostly garrison duty as Signal Corps rather than ordnance attached. I, along with my radio operator buddies, operated the mobile AN/GRC 26 units. I was assigned to Zweibrucken I believe from May 1959 until discharged in June 1960.

Radio nets we operated included most of the ordnance groups and supply points mentioned in one of your web pages. When we were posted out of Fort Dix for assignment in Germany, I remember the sergeant telling us that we were going to support the “atomic cannon.” I never saw any atomic cannons nor any of the short range missiles armaments etc. while I was with these units.

Massweiler was more of the “James Bond” security post than any other I’d been associated with. There, it seemed to be pretty serious stuff. I read in one of our associate’s emails that security seemed a bit lax compared to what we see now in the films. I would agree except for the Massweiler post. By the way my recollection of Zweibrucken was eclectic. Stationed on our post was a U.S. Air Force unit. About a half mile away there was a West German basic training command. And in or near Zweibrucken were elements of the First French Army and a Canadian Air Force unit. Very NATO.

Additional Information:

I know that the 541st Sig Co had a message center there and a sense of permanence that we didn’t have working as Signal Corps in an Ordnance Battalion. I don’t know that there were outstations of the 541st Company located outside of Zweibrucken. There was a large signal company located in Pirmasens and I’ll try to remember that unit. I know they operated powerful microwave facilities as I visited their facilities one day. There was also a large engineer unit in Pirmasens I believe. I also think I remember that the ASA ran a radio group above our barracks in Pirmasens.

I do recall with relish that in the week between the transfer of our signal personnel from the 82nd Ord. Bn. to the 541st the Army somehow lost us for a week. We were actually in limbo, no orders to report to 541st had arrived and orders to separate us from the 82nd we had in hand. So, we all took off for Paris for a week. I guess the army never knew.

Related Links:
  Kriegsfeld Special Weapons Depot - North Point - Ron Buckholz has a web site that focuses on the special weapons depot at Kriegsfeld and the units that operated the depot. Great photos and several newsletters.  
  564th MP Company: Massweiler, Germany - A Facebook page for all former members who were assigned to Massweiler.  
  583rd Ordnance Company, Dahn, Germany - A website for former members and family of the 583rd Ordnance Company that was located at Dahn, Germany.