Goose Bay, Labrador

1958 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division

Historical Record
641st AC&W Squadron
Goose Bay, Labrador
1 October 1958 to 31 December 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 – All required circuits were relocated from the Operations Center to the temporary location of Operations in the B-scan room pending modification of the Operations Room. The Operations Section moved and began functioning with the interior lash-up facilities 20 October. The contractor began remodelling the Operations Room the same date. One Intercept Director and one Intercept Technician were placed on thirty days TDY at each of the two adjacent satellite Direction Centers on 20 October to assist them because of the increased work load they would incur as a result of the limited capabilities of this site. The Direction Center was reoccupied 17 December, however operations were restricted to the limited facilities available for the lash-up. Mission requirements were met and the associated Fighter Interceptor Squadron did not alter its planned training missions although equipment and facilities, especially communications, were critically limited. Alternate plans have been established for reoccupying the Operations Room due to the lack of a firm commitment for the installation of the AN/FTA-13. As of now the equipment is at the site awaiting arrival of contractor installation personnel to accomplish the installation and in the meantime absolute minimum communications requirements are being utilized to prevent retarding the installation.

    Interference has been received on the AN/CPS-6B Prime Radar channels during the bench alignments and testing of stalos. In many instances the performance of these alignments and tests had to be discontinued due to the amount of interference encountered on the prime radar. To eliminate this condition, the Radar Maintenance Section constructed a radio frequency cage. This cage consists of a wooden two by four frame covered by a screen wire and enclosing the entire testing area. The screen appears as a solid wall to the frequency emitted from the units being tested, thus eliminating the interference.

    The 15-J-1C Target Simulator and associated training equipment have been installed in the new training room, located at the immediate left of the Operations Room entrance. The AN/UPA-37 and all units of the 15-J-1C, except six target generator units, were recessed into the wall surface. This innovation is extremely satisfactory because of the outstanding neat appearance and in addition has proved highly efficient from a standpoint of heat reduction, normally a serious problem in the typical small simulator room. The heat effectively dissipates into the crawl space under the second dias.

    A Canadian Marconi Team arrived 10 November to install new Video cables between the Radar Maintenance Shop and the remodelled Operations Room. These cables are being mounted on the walls with cleat brackets, 10 cables to a bracket. All cables are color coded and tailored to proper length. This cabling system will simplify cable tracing in the event of trouble, and prevent lost cables. This lost cable problem, compounded under the looming system of cabling previously used, resulted in a twisted mass of unidentifiable cables.

    A temporary work stoppage has occurred in the Canadian Marconi Company video cable installation, for lack of necessary cables and connectors. This cabling is scheduled for completion in January 1959. The situation is not critical at the moment, as enough cabling has been installed to supply the five PPI’s and HRI installed.

    The present Communications System cannot handle any additional scopes and this problem will not be resolved until the new AN/FTA-13 communications system is installed.


    Total assigned personnel strength of the Radar Maintenance Section has increased. One Technical Sergeant reported for duty 27 December. Authorized manning versus assigned manning for this section is as follows:

    (see the matrix at the end of this report)

    Assigned manning for AFSC 291X0 remained critical throughout this reporting period. Of the twenty-one personnel authorized, sixteen are assigned with five of these scheduled for normal rotation in January 1959. Information received to date indicates only two personnel forecasted as incoming for this career field during the same period.

    Operations personnel efficiency is improving as a result of further training here and replacement of rotatees by more experienced NCO’s and Airmen. Previously our Installation Engineering Section was staffed by personnel here on TDY status from the 4082nd Installations Squadron, Goose Air Base. Effective 1 September 1958 the Unit Manning Document for this unit authorized one IEO officer, eleven airmen and thirteen civilians. Eight civilians and eight airmen were transferred 5 and 7 October respectively. Additional personnel have been requisitioned to fill vacant spaces and UMD change requests have been forwarded to Headquarters, 64th Air Division (Defense). Several individuals have relatively short retainability, and replacements for these individuals are being expedited by 64th Air Division (Defense).

    Equipment Performance:

    Six QK-254 magnetrons were used in the AN/CPS-6B EW kit during the month of November. These magnetrons were of 1953-1955 vintage which is believed to be the cause of the extremely short life span of the magnetrons. The Squadron has two more of the older models in stock and upon depletion of the present tubes the normal magnetron consumption rate should prevail.

    On 19 November the exciter armature in the early warning 400 cycle motor generator began arcing excessively, causing an RNFP condition. The armature was kept in an operating condition by repeated hand grinding of the commutator with crocus cloth. This procedure was satisfactory until 2050 hours 20 November, at which time the generator failed completely. A replacement generator was received from depot on 21 November 1958.

    On 19 November 1958, ten MD-129A/GR modulators were received to replace the unmodified MD-129/GR’s then in use. These replacement items were installed and are functioning perfectly. No T-217A/GR UHF transmitters have been received to replace the unmodified T-217/GR’s now being used.

    On 2 October the power supply (PP-415) furnishing power to the voltage regulators in the maintenance control room control panels failed, causing AN/CPS-6B to drop out of radiate. The failure was apparently caused by a current surge in the primary power, burning out resistors R-5, R-6, R-7, and R-8 in the filter circuit in the negative 400 volt supply line. The resistors were replaced and the unit put back into normal operation.

    Changes in Equipment:

    The operational plan for the Central Office Telephone Group, AN/FTA-13 was completed and hand carried to ""AAMA""19 November 1958 by Mr. David Galloway of the Telephone Engineering Section of ""AAMA". The engineering plan is to be prepared immediately and concurrently with contract negotiations for installation of the equipment by a commercial company. It has been determined that the AN/FTA-13 equipment must be augmented by additional components from a second AN/FTA-13 to provide for necessary circuitry at this site. The switchboard supplied with the AN/FTA-13 will not have adequate capacity, therefore, the two switchboards utilized with the present "North Electric NE-611 Equipment" are to be retained. Plans are to relocate the NE-611 switchboards to the Communications Center. These boards will be overhauled by "Canadian Marconi Company" to replace faulty jack strips, relays, and key switches. This overhaul is scheduled during the period 1 January through 30 June 1959.

    The supplementary components for the AN/FTA-13 and the contract team for installation have not yet arrived. With the move into the remodelled Operations Room on 17 December and a temporary hook-up of presently available telephone equipment to provide minimum service, the B-scan room is available for installation of the AN/FTA-13 equipment.


    Contractor work on the rehabilitation of the BOQ and BAQ’s was completed in December. Squadron personnel were utilized to "Roxatone" paint all wall lockers and chest of drawers in the Airmen’s dormitories. The dormitories are in excellent condition and present an extremely pleasing appearance.

    Installation of outside storm windows by the contractor and the erection of the Air Police building has also been completed.

    Complete rehabilitation of the kitchen and garbage room was accomplished by contractor personnel during this quarter. This included a new brick tile floor in the kitchen, exhaust hood over the steam pots, modified exhaust system over the dishwashing machine, new hot water heater, new cement floor and drain in the garbage room, and repainting throughout. M-1937 gas fired field ranges were used to prepare hot food, which was served from the regular serving line during the renovation period. A new potato peeler and an upright mixing machine were also received and installed by site IEO personnel.

    Squadron personnel constructed an elevated walkway including handrail leading from the site proper to the TROPO building. This walkway was constructed atop the existing cable trough between building S-1571 and TROPO which is of sufficient height above the ground to be above snow drifts. This will greatly reduce the snow removal requirement and is a safer and easier way of travelling to and from work for the personnel assigned to TROPO.

    New commercial type laundry equipment was received 24 November 1958. This facility presented a problem for the base electric buss since the dryer required 47 amps each phase when operating on 208 volts, 3 phase power. This situation was remedied by our own personnel and new foundation was installed under the laundry floor to support the added two thousand pounds of weight. The laundry unit became operational 15 December 1958, and has been a definite morale booster.

    Community Relations:

    Holiday invitations were extended to all Air Defense Command and Strategic Command personnel to open house activities held in the Officers, NCO and Airman’s Clubs on the site.

    A Christmas party was conducted for accompanied squadron personnel, their families and invited guests. "Santa" was present with gifts for the "small fry" and refreshments were served.

    Technical Sergeant Hujus was elected Vice President of the Goose Air Base Parent Teacher’s Association for the remaining yearly school term.

    Group Captain Swetman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Forces stationed on Goose Air Base was invited to conduct a regular Friday Morning Standby Inspection of troops in their newly rehabilitated quarters.


    Morale has been at a very high level during this reporting period. With the rehabilitation of the quarters and the installation of the laundry facility and renovation of the mess hall the officers and airmen assigned seem to understand this site is the best AC&W site located in the arctic.

    Typed Name and Grade of Commander

    Elmer E McTaggart, Lt. Col., USAF



    Radar Maintenance Section Manning




    Projected In