Goose Bay, Labrador

1958 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division

Historical Record
641st AC&W Squadron
Goose Bay, Labrador
1 January 1958 to 31 March 1958

Section I


  1. Unit and Location

641st AC&W Squadron
APO 677, New York, NY

  1. Name and Grade of Commander

Elmer E McTaggart, Lt. Col.

  1. Chain of Command (Superior Echelons)
  2. US Air Force
    64th Air Division (Defense)
    4732nd Air Defense Group

  • Subordinate Units (Down to and including squadrons)
  • None

  • Mission (Give authority and brief statement of primary mission)
  • The Mission of the 641st AC&W Squadron is to conduct Air Defense operations within that area assigned by Headquarters, 64th Air Division (Defense) and function as a Prime Direction Center within the Air Defense System authority: Paragraph 2, 4732nd Air Defense Group Regulation No. 20-2, dated 1 April 1958.

  • Personnel

















  • Equipment (Give official nomenclature and quantity of mission-type equipment)
  • AN/CPS-6B Prime Radar, AN/TPS-502 Back up Height Radar, AN/FPS-502 Back up Search Radar, AN/GPX-6 Radar Identification, 10 Cummins Diesel Generators (100 KW) model LGA, 8 AN/GRC-27 Multi channel UHF Transmitter-Receiver, 6 AN/GRT-3 Single channel UHF Transmitter Receiver, 6 AN/GRR-7 Single Channel Receiver, 5 AN/FRT-502 VHF Transmitters, 11 AF/URG-60 VHF Receivers.

    Section II



    Problem Areas – During this quarter the organization was confronted with the same problems, attempting to accomplish modern Air Defense Tactics and Techniques with the facilities of an out-dated operations room. A project was established for the modernization of the operations room in FY-57, however, until this time no action has been taken. The present arrangement was and is not conducive to good management or efficient operations, therefore, a study was made to determine the feasibility of effecting minor changes as an interim measure which would facilitate greater efficiency. The lower dias in the operations room was remodelled by adding two more feet of space to the dias on either side of the aisle. The additional space afforded room for locating three control scopes and intercept tables on each side of the aisle, however, this allowed only space for two Intercept Technicians positions on each side. Radar and communications facilities were relocated to suit the new requirements. This arrangement is not the desired layout, however, positions are provided for the Ascent and Recovery Director, the Weapons Assignment Director, the Air Surveillance Officer and three Intercept Directors. This improvement was accomplished without interference with the mission of the squadron, training, or maintenance schedule and required no use or obligation of funds.

    Projects, Plans and Programs:

    Special emphasis was placed on the Quality Control Program at the beginning of this reporting period. The program outlined in ADCM 101-1 was expanded to include a method of continuously evaluating radar station and operator capability, plus establishing a method for selection of the outstanding crew and operator for a given period. The quality control summary is tabulated weekly and is posted in the Operations briefing room. Each crew summary is maintained by the Senior Director of that crew for all ACW operators assigned to the crew. The results are tabulated at the end of each month and posted to show the operator the month, crew standings, and the quality of the radar. Results of this program were apparent immediately by the interest and enthusiasm it generated among all crew personnel. During this period three (3) skill level operations personnel were indoctrinated by introducing an intensified training program proceeding from elementary academics of ACW operations through the various floor positions to include the Intercept Control Technician position. Classes consisted of from four (4) to five (5) airmen. Training included classroom lectures, discussion, synthetic training on a "mock-up" board and active participation in three (3) ACW-FIS Operations Training Missions per day. Promising airmen were marked for further intensified training for key positions such as movements and information technician, control technicians, surveillance supervisors and intercept control technicians. Additional emphasis was placed on the "team concept" mode of operations in the directing of intercept missions.


    Monthly Operations Analysis Reports have shown a steady increase of air activity. There was an increase of 651 tracks in February over the number of tracks carried in January and an increase of 610 tracks in March over the number of tracks carried during the month of February. The number of tracks detected and carried in the complex increased by approximately ten percent over the previous three months. There was a slight increase per month in the number of unknowns during this period. There were 148 unknowns during January, 133 in February and 93 during March. Joint operations with the associated Fighter Interceptor Squadron, the 59th FIS, is showing improvement in the Aircrew-Director Intercept Missions. The "team concept" at the direction center with pre-mission briefings and post-mission briefings with the FIS Aircrews over the two-way speaker system has contributed much to the increased success in the performance of these daily missions. The names of the Director of the month and the aircrew of the month are posted in the briefing room at the direction center and also in the briefing room of the 59th FIS.


    The big personnel shortage during this period was in the Communications Section, mainly teletype operators and radio maintenance technicians. Due to an acute shortage of 291X0 personnel, it was necessary for the teletype and switchboard section to go on two twelve hour shifts, seven days a week. Twenty-one 291X0 personnel are authorized in this section with only sixteen assigned. Five are 293X0’s cross-training into the 291X0 field. No 291X0 personnel are forecast for this organization within the next month.

    The shortage of radio maintenance personnel (eleven assigned against seventeen authorized) has caused this section to go to two twelve-hour shifts, seven days per week. Two persons are required to be on duty together in the Transmitter and Receiver Sites for safety reasons. One man from the Teletype Maintenance Section is scheduled for rotation within thirty days. This will leave this section only 33 percent manned with no replacements forecast. This problem has been brought to the personal attention of the Deputy for Personnel, 64th Air Division (Defense), by telephone calls from the Commander here. Ten (10) 291XX are promised by 15 April 1958.

    Operations was hampered by skill level and experience more than by a shortage of personnel. In the 273XX field this organization was operating with its authorized strength, however, forty-six (46) 27330’s had no previous experience. This problem was alleviated to an acceptable degree by having a standby crew of proficient personnel readily available at all times and establishing an intensive training program. In the 1644 (Intercept Director) field there was a shortage of only one director during January and February and two in March, however, the same situation exists among directors as among the Operators; low skill level and inexperience. Only one director held a rating of skilled. During this period five of the assigned directors were 1641’s and three were upgraded to Alert Ready during March. One skilled director reported to the squadron during the month of March. Three (3) 1644’s are scheduled for assignment against three (3) scheduled for rotation during the next reporting period. Personnel shortages in the Air Police Section and the Motor Vehicle Section have been problems that were alleviated through temporary loans from other sections. These personnel problem areas were brought to the attention of the Deputy for Personnel, Headquarters, 64th Air Division, in telephone conversations with the Commander of this squadron, and again pointed out and discussed at length with the Air Inspectors from the 64th Air Division (Defense), during the Annual General Inspection in February 1958. The one-year tour of duty creates a tremendous personnel problem in sections such as Operations where procedures vary to such a great degree from area to area. This problem is aggravated by assignment of large numbers of unskilled inexperienced 27330 type personnel at one time. Although continuous intensified training procedures are utilized these airmen only approach the desired skill level at the time they begin anticipating rotation orders. There are no noticeable adverse effects of the arctic environment on personnel of this station.

    Equipment Performance:

    Maintenance difficulties were experienced with the Early Warning kit and the azimuth drive unit of the AN/CPS-6B during January and February 1958. The EW Modulator and Transmitter Unit would not stay in radiate. The magnetron filament transformer gave an indication of a short to ground. The transformer housing was opened and disclosed a crystallized wire that was replaced. During the inspection process to determine malfunction cause, a rupture was discovered in the pulse transformer resulting in an oil leak. The entire EW kit was removed from the rotating platform for a general inspection which uncovered several crystallized wires, numerous "no solder" and "cold solder" connections and several "out of limits" resistors which were repaired or replaced. This unit had been completely overhauled by the Canadian Marconi Company in December 1957.


    A general cleaning up and painting program that was initiated during the preceding quarter was intensified during this period and has resulted in a greatly improved appearance of the entire squadron area. Cleaning and painting of hallways is near completion. A preventative maintenance team from the Goose Air Base IEO Section arrived during February to perform overdue and badly needed preventative maintenance on installed property. Asphalt tile was laid by contractors on the floor of the Dining Hall, the Day Rooms, the Airmen’s Club, the BX area, and the Radar Maintenance shop. Floors of the hallways were painted by personnel of the squadron and rubber matting was laid. This enhanced the general appearance of the site and provided a safer walkway.

    Community Relations:

    The squadron invited the wives of the Canadian Officers and other officials for a tour of the installation during the quarter. Approximately twenty-five (25) ladies accepted the invitation and were escorted on a tour of the "Site" by officers of the Squadron and their ladies. Officers of the 641st and their ladies also entertained other Officers of the Air Defense Command and their ladies at the 641st Officer’s Club during the quarter. Officers of the 59th FIS were entertained by the officers of the 641st at a stag party at the 641st Officers Club. The NCO’s of the squadron and their ladies entertained the NCO’s of the 59th FIS and their ladies at the 641st NCO Club. An invitation was extended and accepted by the supervisors of the Bell Telephone construction team who were overseeing the construction and installation of the commercial "tropo" telephone system near the 641sy operations site to participate in our club activities.

    Results of Inspections:

    The Annual Inspection by Headquarters, 64th Air Division (Defense) was conducted during the period 17 though 22 February. The squadron received a rating of excellent.


    There has been a general improvement in the morale of personnel of the squadron in spite of the added work of the spruce up campaign. Perhaps the spruce up campaign itself is responsible for the increased improvement in the morale.

    Typed Name and Grade of Commander

    Elmer E McTaggart, Lt. Col., USAF