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US Army Aerial Support Center
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 email me (webmaster ).


History

557th QM Co (AD)

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History of the US Army Aerial Support Center (7868th AU)

Sign on access road just before the main entrance (Big Picture video)

Aerial Support Center installation at St-Andre-de-l'Eure, France (IGN website, France)
 

Former Aerial Support Center, France (Google Maps)

Aerial Support Center, France (Raymond Turgeon)
1956
(Source : STARS & STRIPES, May 26, 1956)
The US Army Quartermaster Depot at St. Andre de l'Eure, France opened on May 25, 1956. It is the first depot of its type in USAREUR. Depot commander is Lt Col Benjamin Sekowski.

The depot's mission is to store all classes of supplies and prepare them for aerial delivery to NATO units. The depot is manned by the 7868th Army Unit, which trained at the Perigeux QM Depot and moved to St Andre earlier in the year.

The 7868th will work with the 557th QM Company which is stationed at the Evreux Air Base (just north of St. Andre). The 557th is attached to the 7868th. (The 557th QM Co is composed of parachutists and is equipped to paradrop supplies. Planes for supply missions will operate out of the Evreux Air Base. At the time of the article, the 465th Troop Carrier Wing with 54 C-119 "Flying Boxcars" was stationed at the air base.)

Construction of the depot was started in August 1954. The installation is located on a former French air base five miles southwest of the village of St. Andre de l'Eure (and about 50 miles west of Paris).

All the buildings of the installation are new. They include a 116-man barracks with mess hall, PX, library, Special Services area, administration buildings, fire station, POL storage pads, warehouses and sheds.


Hqs Bldg & Orderly Room; 557th barracks; and Messhall (Jeff Melin)

AIMB Bldg ... Air Items Maintenence Branch (Jeff Melin)
1963
(Source: Submitted by Jeff Melin via Raymond Turgeon)
Jeff Melin was the S1/Adjutant from Dec 1963 through June 1965.

Aerial Spt Cen
St. Andre, France

 

1. Hqs Bldg

2. Hq Co barracks

3. Movie theater


4. Special services building

5. EM Club

6. Trans Maint Bldg


7. Kennels
 



Parachute Competition - chutes are inspected and packed before the next jumps (Jeff Melin)

Jumper landing in the target area (Jeff Melin)

Parachute Competition
USAASC

 

1. Perfect landing

2. Jump plane




4. Jumper

5. Another jumper




Retirement of Photo Lab instructor, Monsieur Koch (Jeff Melin)

Monsieur Koch
UAASC Photo Lab

 

1. Lt Melin presents award

2. Lt Col Corkill & Mr. Koch




Family & Friends
USAASC

 

1. At the Melins

2. Christening

2. Dinner



Access road to the Aerial Support Center (left) (Raymond Turgeon)

Organization chart (James Kalanges)
1964
(Source: Email from Raymond Turgeon)
I was stationed at the US Army Aerial Support Center in St. Andre de l'Eure, France from Feb 1964 until Aug 1966. I was the stock control supervisor. We also had a warehouse sergeant and OIC.

In the AIMB -- I believe it was for the Air Items Maintenance Branch -- Parachutes were inspected, maintained and repaired.

The rail spur entered the installation from the north/northwest as best as I can tell from the maps I've looked at and remembering walking back to the barracks from the AIMB with someone after a weightlifting session.  We were looking at a beautiful sunset.

There was a small theater between the barracks.  It can be seen if you zoom in on the photo and the PX as mentioned previously to the right of it attached to the barracks. 

A weight room was added in the AIMB while I was there.  There was a small bowling alley.  There was a basketball court/tennis courts opposite the Quartermaster barracks.  There was also a baseball diamond that can be seen in the aerial photo.  The dog kennels were added while I was there and were near the two unmarked buildings, southeast of the AIMB.

Housing for officers and personnel with dependents were located at Evreux Air Base.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

I found a different set of the photos that I previously sent to you. These had my “what-are-we-looking-at” entries on the back. The building that housed the library, photo lab and barber shop also housed a Security Office and a Day Room. As I mentioned previously, I was one of the librarians. I remembered that the photo lab was on one side and there was something on the other but forgot it was a Day Room.

The “Quonset” huts that housed the Storage Branch and Transportation Offices also housed the Personnel Offices under a CWO Posey.

There was an MP detachment and a Signal detachment (a detachment of the 275th Signal Co). They were in my barracks on the opposite end. It goes without saying that the canines were under the MPs.

Lt. Jeffrey Melin told me that the fire station was opposite the MP shack at the entrance to the installation. The doors were facing the airfield. It was transformed into the NCO club with the moniker of “The Round Up Club.” The curtains, etc. had a wild west motif. He doesn’t remember what happened to the fire trucks. The logical destination would be the motor pool.

Lt. James Kalanges was the Aerial Delivery Officer of the 557th then became my OIC at the Storage Branch. He became HQ CO Company Commander in December 1965 and was the last soldier to leave the installation in January 1967. He sent me some photos as well as copies of a few issues of “The Aerial Review,” our newspaper. He included a rough draft of an organization chart from memory (see above).

I have also attached some additional photos.

Some comments made to Raymond by Jim Kalanges about the annotated aerial photo of the installation from 1960:
I think the 2 blgds at the end of the installation (bottom right of photo) were used for the storage of ammo to support the combat units on the front if we went to war and had to air drop supplies and equipment and supplies to the units in contact or special forces in the boonies ---- just as we stored rations (C's) and 5-gal gas cans and some 55 gal drums (Class 3). You will remember the huge job we had in maintaining the cans and drums painting and rotating them. We had guard dogs in the ammo warehouses. The MP's took care of the dogs.

Aerial Spt Cen
St. Andre, France

 

1. Barracks

2. Storage & Transportation offices

3. Kennels


4. Aerial supply training

5. POL dump

 

Visit by Gen O’Meare, CINCUSAREUR (most likely in the summer of 1965)
L to R: Lt. Col. Harry Corkill, Cdr USAASC; Gen. O’Meare; Capt. Peter Cofoni, S2/3;
Capt. George McKenzie, S4; Capt. Billy R. Pruett, HQ CO Company Commander
and Lt. James G. Kalanges, Storage Branch OIC.

6. Christmas party (1965?)

7. Storage Branch

8. Librarians
 


Aerial Support Center newspaper, Feb 24, 1965


Aerial view of St-Andre-de-l'Eure (French period postcard)

Aerial view of St-Andre-de-l'Eure (French period postcard)
(Source: Submitted by Mike Hinton via Raymond Turgeon)
Mike Hinton was stationed at St. Andre de l'Eure from late 1964-66. His workplace was the storage office located in the AIM building. He worked with Raymond Turgeon.

Off Duty
St. Andre, France

 

1. Frank Meir and Gary Stockton

2. R. Allan Gum and buddies

3. Information on St Andre



4. Rue du Chanoine Boulogne

5. Rue du Chanoine Boulogne

6. City Hall



7. Church
     

Wheelchair race, Fouth of July at USAASC (Jeff Melin)

4th of July
USAASC

 

1. Games for the kids

2. Food and beverages





Jump schedule for October 1965
(Source: Email from Raymond Turgeon)
You had asked me about where the airborne troops went for their required jumps. One of the Areial Review pages that I received had the October (1965) Jump Schedule and most of them were at Dreux AB. Others at Chaumont. I attached it.

1966
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 6, 1966)
On January 5, 1966 the US Army announced that it would close three bases in France, including the Aerial Support Center at St. Andre de l'Eure (west of Paris). (The other two bases were the US Army Depot Activity at Brienne-le-Chateau and the Ammunition Depot at Trois Fontaines.) These actions (and others) were being taken as part of a cost reduction program.

The announcement went on to state that the St Andre installation would be inactivated by March 31. (There was some discussion about moving the activity to a new location, but no decision had been made as of the date of the announcement.)

(An unrelated article that appeared in a May issue of the S&S mentioned that the 105mm howitzer that had been used at St Andre for retreat ceremonies, was moved to the Poitiers garrison -- Caserne Aboville -- where it continued to serve as a salute cannon during retreat ceremonies.)


The former USAASC in 2003 (Jeff Melin)
2003
(Source: Submitted by Jeff Melin via Raymond Turgeon)
Capt Jeff Melin (Ret.) returned to St Andre for a visit of the former USAASC in 2003. Here are some of his photos of the visit.

Former USAASC 2003
St. Andre, France

 

1. The entrance has been moved.

2. AIMB building replaced

3. Town center


4. Church

5. "Fountain" monument

6. City Hall


 
557th Quartermaster Company (Aerial Supply)
Munich / Nellingen, Germany (1951 - 1955)
1951
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, December 16, 1951)
Until last summer, the aerial supply mission was primarily an Air Force responsibility. Now the Quartermaster Corps stores, packs and delivers supplies and equipment to troops while the Air Force supplies the planes and operational and maintenance crews.

The 557th Aerial QM Supply Company, stationed in Munich and attached to the Munich QM Depot (Karlsfeld), practices its trade at Echterdingen Airfield near Stuttgart. Every member of the company is a jumper. They rig their own chutes as well as those used by the 6th Ranger Company and the light aviation sections in the European Command.

The men of the 557th pack supplies in special air drop containers and then lash the supplies on plywood pallets. The pallet plays an important role as it absorbs a lot of the shock of hitting the ground at 22 feet per second.

The cargo, oncle lashed to a pallet, is then loaded on rollers inside one of the "packet planes" of the Air Force. These planes - C82 and C119 - are designed especially for military air transport and air drops.

Once over the drop area, a parachute billows open and drags the cargo out of the open rear of the plane. A second parachute, much larger than the first one, opens after the cargo clears the plane and the pallet floats down to earth for almost immediate use.

1954
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, April 19, 1954)
The 557th QM Aerial Supply Company is training additional members of French paratroop supply units. This time, three groups from the French 1st Air Trans Company stationed in Kehl, Germany will undergo the two-week course which includes packing of all types of cargo and rigging of parachutes. Also included will be training in flight safety, supply, heavy equipment loading, load computation and characteristics of aircraft.

Similar courses have been conducted for other French units, as well as Italien and USAFE groups since the 557th's arrival in Europe in 1951.

1955
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Sept 15, 1955)
The 557th QM Aerial Supply Company recently moved from Germany to their new base at Evreux Air Base in France.

The unit packages and stores good for free-drops from aircraft.

For the past two summers, the 557th has operated an aerial supply school to train French, Italian and Belgian members of NATO on the fundamentals of aerial-supply operations.

Evreux / St-Andre-de-l'Eure, France (1955 - 1966)

Nahbollenbach / Kaiserslautern, Germany (1966 - 1975)
1971
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, May 25, 1971)
The red-hatted riggers of the 557th Quartermaster Company (Air Delivery), stationed at Nahbollenbach, have a primary mission of parachute-packing and the temporary storing and rigging of supplies and equipment for airdrops by any of the services.

The company also provides technical assistance and training on air delivery missions with NATO nations.

1975
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, July 9, 1975)
On June 30, 1975 the 557th Quartermaster Company (Air Delivery) was inactivated at Kaiserslautern. Concurrently, the 5th QM Detachment was activated and assumed the 557th's former mission.

The 557th was composed of three platoons with a total of 116th military personnel. The company's mission was to perform parachute packing and rigging of supplies and equipment for air drops by US forces. The 5th detachment has only one platoon. About half of the company is being transferred to the new detachment.

To commemorate the inactivation, the personnel of the 557th made a last jump along with the German 3rd Company, 261st Airborne Battalion (partnership unit?) in a field near Kaiserslautern.

 
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