Goose Bay, Labrador

1958 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division

Historical Record
641st AC&W Squadron
Goose Bay, Labrador
1 July 1958 to 30 September 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., USAF

  1. Chain of Command (Superior Echelons)
  2. United States Air Force
    Air Defense Command
    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 number 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 (100KW) 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 – Section personnel were divided into two crews performing twelve hour shifts 16 July 1958, as a result of a state of increased readiness declared at that time. Normal operations were resumed 23 July 1958.

    Plans were made to move four PPI scopes and one HRI scope into the B-Scan room and to relocate all necessary communications to allow for two separate and independent control and surveillance functions. Rehabilitation and modernization of the Operations Room will require vacating the Direction Center. Independent cabling was required so that immediate changeover could be completed without effecting the unit mission. The wire maintenance section has completed eighty percent of the recabling and wiring of the spare communications facilities, and the radar maintenance section has two PPI scopes with cabling in place for two additional PPI scopes and one HRI to be moved as soon as the contractor determines the date for work to begin in the Operations Room.

    Projects, Plans and Programs – One ADC Standard Movements and Identification Preplot table was received from the 64th Air Division (Defense) on 14 August and present plans include installation during the Operations Room modification which is programmed to begin in October. A map scaled to one inch representing twenty miles is required and is being prepared by the NCOIC of the Movements and Identification Section.

    Two AN/TGC-1A, Teletypewriter sets were received from 64th Air Division (Defense) 18 September, as reprogrammed equipment. These sets contained, in addition to the other components, two reperforator units in each set. These reperforator units are being removed from the sets and will be used individually at the receiving positions of each tributary station. This additional equipment will facilitate the reception and handling of incoming messages from tributary stations by providing readily available perforator units and reducing the time formerly required to "standby" until reperforator units could be moved to the requesting positions.


    Personnel assigned to the Operations Section remained relatively constant numbers-wise. However, as a result of a strong unit training program forty-three airmen were upgraded from the three skill level to the five skill level. The largest scheduled rotation period for personnel in the section will occur during the next quarter when thirty-eight personnel will depart this unit and forty replacements will arrived from the Zone of the Interior.

    Thirty-eight airmen were tested for upgrading to AFSC 27350, Senior ACW Operator, during the June testing period. Thirty six passed the tests with an unusual number receiving high scores while only two failed.

    The crew training outline and monthly training lessons utilized for indoctrinating and training of Operations personnel were reviewed and revised during this quarter.

    Unit Radar Maintenance Section operated at approximately fifty percent of authorized strength during this period. Maintenance technicians worked twelve hour shifts to maintain required effectiveness of the Radar equipment. In August the 64th Air Division (Defense) placed one Technical Sergeant AFSC 30372 from the 642nd AC&W Squadron on TDY at this unit to provide "seven level" supervision until an airman AFSC 30372 could be assigned for a normal tour.

    Authorized manning of the Radar Maintenance Section versus assigned manning for the three months covered by this report is as follows:

    (see the matrix at the end of this report)

    Support of Operations:

    The weather teletypewriter machine connected to the Canadian Department of Transport Weather loop was relocated in the Communications Center and communications personnel received and relayed weather information.

    The Communications Section received a letter of appreciation from Detachment #4, 5th Weather Group, Goose Air Base, for efficient handling of site weather observations. This has been made possible by the excellent co-operation of the tributary stations transmitting their respective weather observations on schedule, thus facilitating prompt and complete observation transmissions to the Goose Air Base Weather Station.

    Joint Operations With Other Units:

    The Commander, 4732nd Air Defense Group, held a conference at Goose Air Base of Operations Officers of the Labrador Defense Complex on 21 and 22 August 1958. The Operations Officer, Assistant Operations Officer and the Senior Directors from this unit attended.

    The azimuth drive amplidyne equipment of the AN/CPS-6B failed on 9 August 1958. This was replaced on 10 August 1958 by an overhauled amplidyne from Canadian Marconi Company (Depot) through close coordination by the Director, Electronic Supply and Maintenance, 64th Air Division (Defense). The last two replacement amplidynes have had malfunctions in the blower motors. The faulty blower motors were removed and returned to the Marconi Depot. The old, original motor was used to replace the faulty ones and is still in use.

    A Canadian Marconi Team (Depot) was called upon to repair an oil leak in the AN/CPS-6B antenna drive system on 9 September. The drive system circuit overloaded, disabling several components when the antenna was rotated. The disabled components were replaced and complete alignment of the servo system was accomplished. The antenna would then operate with a slight overload condition existing, but the indicators would not follow the rotation smoothly. In as much as the Depot Team was composed of antenna drive specialists, they, with assigned personnel, determined the cause of the trouble. A malfunction was caused when cable W-7942 did not transfer the thirty six speed selsyn information. To correct this situation three jumper wires were installed from TB-1607 of the magnetic controller, thus making a by pass for the thirty six speed selsyn information around W-7942. This by-pass was utilized until a replacement cable was fabricated and installed. The tachometer coupling was reshimmed to eliminate the possibility of backlash. Work was completed and the Depot Team departed 14 September 1958.

    The AN/FPS-502 back-up search radar was recabled during August to operate on the AN/CPS-6B trigger. This changed the AN/FPS-502 radar operating pulse repetition frequency to correspond to the pulse repetition frequency of the AN/CPS-6B. This change resulted in the AN/FPS-502 having an increased peak power capability and also increasing the IFF range to equal that of the AN/CPS-6B IFF. This change also eliminated need for PPI sweep length adjustments after change over from one radar to the other.

    A Depot-overhauled 0-166/CPS-6B EW Local Oscillator circuit was received and installed during the month of September enabling the local oscillator to be used in automatic position. With the local oscillator in the automatic position, it compensates for minor frequency variations, whereas in the manual position it does not, thus reducing the requirement of taking peaking periods for the realignment of the local oscillator.

    A recycling modification was installed in the EW kit of the AN/CPS-6B in August. This modification was designed and installed by A/2C Ernest Drohan. The problem prior to the modification was that the EW kit was reportedly falling out of radiate due to ambient temperature changes causing temporary instability in the thyratron capsule voltage. This condition not only required the constant presence of a maintenance man in the radar maintenance room but also resulted in a shorter life span of modulator components due to rapid cooking when dropping out of radiate. The modification is designed to recycle only on minor fluctuation of capsule current by becoming inoperative on any instability over one second in duration. A schematic diagram of this modification was attached to the monthly activity report submitted for the month of August.

    The radomes were painted inside and outside by the Canadian Marconi Company Radome Painting Crew during July. Overhaul type work was accomplished during the painting period.

    This organization has had a continuous problem with "on-off" switches utilized on the headsets used by the Operations section. This problem appears to be solved by the substitution of a switch FSN 5930-259-9696. The bakalite case of the regulation switch is hollowed out and the new Hetherington type C 41008 press to talk switch is inserted, the cord fastened in place, and the case reassembled. The substitute, spring-loaded switch works much better than the rocker type switch and two months use indicates a much longer life and less maintenance requirements.

    On 7 July 1958, the Communications Section started recording the Late Night News from CFLA-TV. The news is recorded each night except Sunday at 2200 hours and replayed to sites in the Labrador Complex at 2330 hours. The original plan called for direct transmission of the news to the sites by use of conference jacks on the Station switchboard, however, the sound volume from the television station was not sufficiently high to accomplish this. By relaying the news from the tape recorder, the volume can now be adjusted as the news is played to the sites.


    A general repair, clean-up, repainting and winterizing of the site was begun in August. Receipt of Air Defense Command Project "Shape-Up" added impetus to our normal "do it yourself" program which has progressed very satisfactorily. Squadron personnel have completed painting the exterior walls of the motor pool, receiver site, transmitter site, pumphouse, exchange and warehouse buildings. Exterior painting of the dining hall, kitchen, cold storage warehouse, and subsistence warehouse buildings are sixty percent complete, and will be completed shortly.

    Rehabilitation of BOQ and BAQ’s S-1570, S-1571 and S-1572 consisting of painting walls and trim, installing wainscot in hallway and installing vinyl asbestos tile on floors in rooms and hallways is estimated ninety nine percent complete, estimated completion date is 15 October.

    A well designed, practical, aluminum storm window is being installed by contractor personnel in all windows throughout the site. These windows are a tremendous improvement to the appearance of the site as well as more efficient. Considerable breakage occurred during shipment which caused delay of completion date of this project. The installation of the storm windows is ninety six percent complete.

    Erection of the programmed Air Police building was begun in August, however, construction has been halted pending approval by 64th Air Division (Defense) of a change in the electrical wiring system. The building is sixty percent complete, and will be completed the first week of October.

    Portions of the Lounge and quarters furniture requisitioned April of this year has arrived from the support base. Replacement of over-age furniture and equipment is a required phase of overall rehabilitation program.

    The outside, green rubber based paint, (285 gallons) used to paint the outside surface of all buildings of this site was procured through the cooperations of 64th Air Division (Defense) Material Office and Pepperrell Air Base (Supply AFB 2510). The local support base was unable to provide the paint.

    Community Relations:

    Community Relations with other units stationed at Goose Air Base have continued in a cordial manner. The Royal Canadian Air Force personnel have evidenced a strong interest in our facilities, mission and personnel, as a result we have invited them to visit the site, provided escorts for guiding them on tours of the site and later entertained them in the various club facilities. It is believed a bond of friendship has been formed with the Canadian services that will ensure indefinitely as they have extended standing invitations to our personnel to visit their facilities at any time.

    The Commander of the 4082nd Strategic Wing of Strategic Air Command, his staff and the Goose Air Base Commander and his staff together with their ladies were conducted on a general tour of the site, and were later entertained in the Officers Lounge.

    Our already cordial relations with our working partner the 59th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from Goose Air Base were further cemented by return parties between our units, where good fellowship and fun was enjoyed by everyone.


    Status of Morale continues excellent. The building renovations presently underway had contributed immeasurably to a spirit of pride in the appearance of this station.

    "Operation Fish Fry" was a special treat for a fortunate few Officers and Airmen of this unit during July and August. Goose Air Base Special Services allocated spaces and arranged for reservations and transportation to two of the well stocked fishing lakes. "Rod and Stream" enthusiasts among the Officers enjoyed a three-day trip to No Name Lake while the NCO’s and Airmen visited Lake McKenzie.

    Typed Name and Grade of Commander

    Elmer E McTaggart, Lt. Col., USAF



    Radar Maintenance Section Manning






    Master Sergeant





    Technical Sergeant





    Staff Sergeant





    Airman First Class





    Airman Second Class