Goose Bay, Labrador

1954 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division



641st AC&W Squadron


1 July 1954 to 30 September 1954





641st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
APO 677, New York, New York

21 October 1954


Subject: Report of Historical Program (RCS: AU-D5) (64-1)

To: Commander
64th Air Division
Pepperrell Air Force Base
ATTN: Director of Statistical Services

  1. During the period from 1 July 1954 to 30 September 1954, the following prominent events occurred at the 641st ACWRON, Goose Bay, Labrador, for the betterment of mission capability.
  2. In the month of July 1954, charts were installed in the Operations office, showing the daily operational activity of this Air Defense Direction Center (ADDC) and its two (2) Early Warning (EW) and two (2) Ground Control Intercept (GCI) stations. The charts currently maintained show Detection Percentage versus Flight Plans, Time Lags in passing surveillance information, Tracks Carried versus Tracks Forward Told, Unknowns versus Attempted Intercepts, and Attempted Intercepts versus Completed Intercepts. These subjects were not considered permanent in nature, since additional subjects may be added as the need for a new chart becomes apparent, or a subject may be dropped, if it is determined that the existing chart is of no further value. The major benefit derived from these charts has been the consistent manner in which inefficiencies are located within the overall operational system.
  3. The AN/CPS-6B Radar Coverage Computer was put into use by this squadron. Its purpose is to give a continuous check on equipment performance. The Duty Controller or Control Technician on duty makes constant checks on in-coming and out-going tracks, reporting the results to Radar Maintenance in terms of decibels down. In this way, it is known if the radar set is operating at peak performance. In the event of a low reading, the set is not functioning properly, and corrective action is taken by Radar Maintenance.
  4. With the arrival of one (1) new Controller in June and five (5) Controllers in July from Controller school in the State it became necessary to set up a school program to properly check out these inexperienced officers, and indoctrinate them on the local procedures. The curriculum was as follows:
  5. Operations (24 hours):
  6. a. General: Covering Squadron mission, Air Defense Warning Procedures, NEAC Regulation 205-11, an indoctrination to 64th Air Defense Manual (ADM) 55-1 and 55-1, and Rules of Engagement.

    b. Control: Scramble and recovery procedure, passing control, tactics, cruise control, Controller responsibilities, radius of action and characteristics of the F-89B, and duties of the Intercept Control Technician.

    c. Surveillance Manning: Position manning, function of the various positions, traffic flow, location of the GCI stations and the EW'’ areas of responsibility, receipt and handling of weather information, and pertinent parts of the 64th ADM 55-2.

    d. Identification: Sources of flight plan information, alternate means of receiving flight plans, and applicable parts of the 64th ADM 55-2.

    e. Practice Intercepts: Each controller was required to perform a minimum of twenty (20) practice intercepts in the 15-J-1C Synthetic Trainer. At the end of this practice period, he was given a simulated check on Intercept procedures and GCI-GCA recovery procedures by the Operations officer and then by the Commander. After passing these checks, the Controller was assigned to a crew, and his first five (5) active air defense intercepts were under very close supervision by an experienced Controller.

    f. Testing: After an on-the-job-training (OJT) period of two to three weeks, an examination was given to determine any major weaknesses that might still prevail, necessitating further instruction. All the Controllers involved successfully completed this special training program, on the operational level.

  7. Radar Maintenance (4 hours):
  8. a. General: Covering the capabilities and limitations of all installed equipment, the use of beam selection and antenna tilt control, the use of back-up equipment, the operation of the 15-J-1C Synthetic Trainer, and the use of the AN/CPS-6B Coverage Computer, and a tour of the radar installation.

  9. Communications (8 hours):
  10. a. General: Covering organization, the limitations of VHF and UHF, the operation of the Senior Controllers console, the method of monitoring air to ground communications, the availability and utilization of air to ground channels, point to point nets, alternate means of communications, and landline circuits, plus message security and classification, Communications Center procedures, and a tour of the Communications Installation.

  11. As a result of this extensive coverage, the school program set up for the new Controllers proved to be a beneficial undertaking.
  12. During the month of July 1954, the Communications section rewired four Controllers scopes, so that instead of having a capability of only three (3) air/ground channels at scopes 5, 6, 7 and 8, it became possible to have eight (8) air/ground channels on these scopes. Of the eight channels possible, three (3) are on a patch basis from the Senior Controllers Communication console, and the remaining five (5) are on a permanent basis. This system has done away with many patch cords at the Communications Console, which in the past has caused considerable confusion. The only time patch cords are now used is during those periods when channels are not commonly used and not permanently wired in are required at a scope, or when the radar backup equipment is in operation. The patches are removed when they are no longer needed.
  13. The second project completed by Communications during this period was the installation of an automatic door lock into the Operations building. This door lock is completely automatic, and only by knowing the number combination for the particular period of time can entrance be obtained. In case an individual accidentally or otherwise fails to operate the proper switches, a loud ringing bell is sounded in the Operations room, alerting the Senior Controller, and causing a check to be made on the entrance. The one big advantage of this automatic door lock is that the Air Police guard normally on duty at the entrance of the Operations building is no longer required, allowing him to perform other duties within the Air Police section.
  14. Due to personnel shortages, the Communications Center personnel and the Transmitter site personnel were reassigned to three shift status with no time off.
  15. On the 9th day of August, 1954, at Goose Air Base, Major Richard E Barr, Commander of the 641st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, received the Commendation Ribbon, General Order Number 48, dated 7 July 1954, for meritorious achievement from 4 October 1952 to 30 September 1953.
  16. Operations section added another chart in the Operations Office, showing actual height readings from the HRI scope, as compared with detections, in order to keep an eye on HRI effectiveness. Time lags were kept at a minimum. Two new plotting boards were completed and installed, which cover a much larger area for plotting capabilities, both to the north and south. Since this is an Air Defence Direction Center, an overall picture of the situation should, and can, now be obtained. A new fighter status board was also completed and installed, giving much additional pertinent information as state, fuel and time.
  17. Radar Maintenance installed a complete backup height finder and the Early Warning Modification Kit for the primary AN/CPS-6B Radar Set.
  18. The newly installed height-finder is the Canadian model TPS-502. Its acceptance was left to the decision of the Commander, and after numerous and exhaustive tests were made, the set was finally accepted as operational on the 19 August 1954. Since its acceptance, the set has given the maintenance personnel very little difficulty, considering the fact that none of the aforementioned personnel are familiar with the model.
  19. The personnel problem in the Radar Maintenance section remained critical. For a radar site that has so much equipment to maintain, the number of personnel authorized is far below a desired criterion. This problem has been relieved somewhat by an extensive training program, and by the personnel’s willingness to spend extra hours at work. The arrival of new personnel fresh from technical school, untrained in field methods, and totally unfamiliar with the type of equipment at this site is discouraging. It is recognized that OJT is part of the mission of the section and the squadron as a whole. However, the arrival of a few field trained personnel would do more good than an excess of untrained and inexperienced men. This same problem of inexperienced personnel exists within the Operations and Communications sections, with both airmen and officers alike.
  20. A preliminary test on one of the LF circuits was conducted by the Communications section on 26 August 1954 at 1830 hours, and was continued until 2000Z hours of the same date. The results indicated that a favorable amount of circuit time can be expected from the LF nets.
  21. A new 20 meter beam was acquired for the sites MARS Station, AJ9CO, and was set up and tuned for operation. This directional antenna greatly facilitated the handling of phone-patch traffic into the states.
  22. The NEAC Area Activities Team visited this organization for one week in August. They looked over Tech Supply Procedures. Some of the major recommendations of the team were to re-warehouse in item number sequence by pieces of equipment, and to re-number rotary bins; to maintain separate cards on items manufactured in Canada from those manufactured in the United States.
  23. Hot water heating systems were replaced with hot air heating systems in the RX and TX buildings by Drake Merritt Construction Company during the month of August. The above mentioned company also installed hoods over all louvre openings on the following buildings: vehicle storage, temperature control, operations, the RX and TX buildings, and the power plant.
  24. Appearances of the Motor Pool have been greatly improved by the relocation of tools and parts in the tool crib, and the painting of benches and the tool crib. Excess tools were turned into squadron supply. A new basketball backboard and hoop was installed, and the court was lined off. A new vehicle status board is now being installed.
  25. During the month of August 1954, the squadron received a new First Sergeant, S/Sgt. William A De Cecca.
  26. During this month, Lt. Col. Weaver and party from Headquarters, 64th Air Division (Defense) made their semi-annual inspection of this squadron. The squadron checked out satisfactory.
  27. Personnel Services initiated a Squadron Paper, titled "Pinetree Patter", to be published bimonthly; the first two copies were issued on 13 and 27 August, 1954.
  28. The month of September 1954 was also very busy for the 641st ACWRON.
  29. Operations section added a new filler dias directly over the door entering the Operations room for AAA. It was constructed high enough to prevent any ground safety problem. Shelves were installed under the Control Technicians dias , containing all logs, forms, log books, pads, etc., for operations, thus alleviating the problem of having to go all the way to the office stock level. The stamp system for filing flight plans was put into effect this month (September). A section manning chart was made showing personnel gains, losses, and assigned, for a four month period. This chart indicated that the personnel situation did not improve, nor will it do so in the near future. Nine men were lost in rotation, with no gains. As a result, the Operations section was forced to go on a three shift schedule, seven days a week, with no time off. A new section will be added to the lower portion of the fighter status board, which contains all information concerning high flights. GCA status is shown on the lower portion of the weather board. It was found that the chart showing the actual height readings is effective. In conjunction with the aforementioned chart, a "Detection Record", showing track, range, azimuth, altitude, range reading, and type of aircraft, has likewise been adopted. The time lags were still kept at a minimum during September. There was a staff visit by Colonel Konosky. Identification procedures were discussed in an attempt to reduce unknowns.
  30. Radar maintenance relocated the back-up search radar equipment. It was newly installed in the old maintenance room, which is located in the Motor Pool building. The room has a lock on the door, and equipment is now inaccessible to unauthorized personnel, an advantage over its old location. The radar was also restored to a state of dependency upon the primary equipment for a master trigger. This makes possible the operations of two (2) of the primary indicators on either primary or search back-up at the will of the operator.
  31. Lack of personnel continued to be this sections greatest problem, plus the fact that the probability of getting any new experienced personnel was nil. Consequently, Radar Maintenance went on a duty schedule like that of the Operations and Communications sections, working three (3) shifts, even (7) days a week.
  32. The Communications section started a test on the 24th of September on the radio teletype circuit, Net 48. The emission was changed from radio teletype to voice without an equipment or frequency change. Although image time is increased slightly, it is impossible to utilize this type emission due to lack of personnel in operations. Continuous tests on LF seemed to indicate a very high percentage of image on proposed circuits. Lack of personnel precluded operational efficiency.
  33. The shortage of personnel in the Communications section did not improve in September. Personnel arriving equalled those rotating, with no improvement made in manpower.
  34. During September, the Supply section received, binned, catalogued and set up stock levels on approximately 2000 line item spares for the TPS-502 Radar Set. It also separated and made new cards on all Canadian and USAF electronic tubes. No major discrepancies were notes in the annual 64th Air Division inspection. All 6B spares are now being requisitioned from Harmon AFB in accordance with NEAC Regulation 400-3. All ECL equipment formerly authorized by the TD, but now deleted, was turned in from UPREL. Bins were set up for all blank forms in this organization. Stock cards are in the process of being made up for the forms.
  35. In September, the Air Installations section built and erected a 36 foot flag pole. The lower check point sentry house )S-1561) was moved to the main gate entrance, and the existing one was dismantled. A new 220 volt three phase circuit has been installed in the MARS station to power the new transmitter. Voltage readings were increased to the required 220 volt readings at the TX and pump house buildings by Base AIO. The Drake-Merritt Construction Company installed three (3) additional 100 KW generator units in the power plant, making a total of ten (10) units. Drake-Merritt repacked the water pumps in the pump house, and the main water supply line was checked for leakage. A delivery test was made by them on the pumps, and readings of 22 GPM and 24 GMP were considered satisfactory. However, since the test was taken before the voltage reading was increased, subsequent GPM readings will be higher. The normal output on the new pump is 25 GPM.
  1. One water pump in the pump house remained inoperative. This condition has existed since December 1953. AIO at Goose Air Base is aware of this problem, and has assured this section that the necessary parts are on order. On 10 September 1954, the present pump in operation failed, due to a badly worn drive gear. Emergency water conservation measures were immediately put into effect. Base AIO was called, and arrangements were made for water to be transported by truck, if necessary. Base AIO replaced the worn gear with a locally manufactured gear, and the pump was put back into operation within four hours.
  2. Personnel Services continued the publication of the squadron newspaper, "Pinetree Patter" on a bi-monthly basis. The sheet has met the approval of the personnel.
  3. The Air Police section conducted a training program, consisting of familiarization with the .30 caliber machine gun, in order to strengthen perimeter defense. Acute personnel shortages also exist in this section, due to rotation. The minimum amount of men needed to operate this section properly is six (6). Five men are due in November 1954. In the meantime, two men from other sections will be placed on temporary duty with the Air Police Section.
  4. There are no photographs or supporting documents with this report.

For the Commander:

Edward A Slye
1st Lt, USAF

Upgraded to Secret by authority of the Commander, 64thAir Division (Defense,
1 November 1954

Eldon B Severson,
Captain, USAF,
Historical Officer (& Information Services Officer)