Goose Bay, Labrador

1954 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division



641st AC&W Squadron


1 October 1954 to 31 December 1954





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

17 January 1955


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

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

During the period from 1 October 1954 to 31 December 1954, the following prominent events occurred at the 641st ACWRON, Goose Bay, Labrador, for the betterment of mission capability.

The month of October 1954 proved to be a very active one for this squadron.

  1. The Operations Section initiated a new procedure in the Operations Room. All incoming and outgoing messages are logged by date time group in a special file folder kept on the Senior Director’s dais. The file folder contains all messages for seven days, after which time they are removed, and a new seven day cycle begins. This system facilitates easy reference to all weekly messages. Another new filing system was also introduced. The 64E4 Communications and Electronics (C&E) Reports and COC Tactical and Surveillance forms are maintained for a three month period in a small filing cabinet located on the Senior Director’s dais. Here again, the main advantage is prompt and easy accessibility. Surveillance Timers were installed at the four (4) surveillance scopes and three Controller scopes, and are operational. A small red light appears above each scope at alternate times, indicating when initial plots and moves may be called to the plotter. This eliminates much confusion during periods of heavy traffic when more than one scope operator tries to call in at the same time. This device has a further use in determining ground speed and in dead reckoning, which is especially helpful to the Controller. A C&E status reporting change took place during October. In conjunction with this change, a new special message form was reproduced for further use. At this time, the AAA liaison started working with this Direction Center for a training period. An AAA illuminated status indicator was made and installed directly over the Height Tote Board in the Operations Room. Thirteen (13) Operations men were gained in October TDY status, and sixteen (16) were lost in rotation. Due to the critical shortage of personnel, the Operations Section continued its three shift, seven days per week schedule with no days off.
  2. The Radar Maintenance Section completed and satisfactorily tested an emergency power system for the radome blowers. Now, in the event of a total power failure, the radome can be kept inflated by power from an auxiliary Buda diesel. The radome heating lamp banks were installed during this time. This work was accomplished by both Contractor and Air Force personnel. Their use immediately proved satisfactory in the removal of an early snow fall in the fall.
  3. Steel bins were erected in the tower for the storage of the spare units. Previously, wooden racks had been constructed and used. The employment of the steel bins affords a greater protection for the units, and the overall appearance of the tower is also improved.

    The personnel problem in this section remains acute. More maintenance men are needed at effectively man this section. The ten men assigned to this section were still working three crews, seven days a week. Personnel working normal duty hours were also employed in emergencies.

  4. The Communications Section reverted Net 48 to its former status on Radio Teletype in October. It was found that image time was not as great as voice. Continued tests of the LF circuit, Net 64, indicated a very high percentage of image time. This net was put on the air for approximately three days. The image time was 100%. But due to the transfer of the civilian manning the transmitter, the net was again put on the status of receiving only. Four (4) liaison officer key boxes were installed by Wire Maintenance in the Operations Room for the Canadian Artillery JOC. Four (4) telling lines were installed from the Canadian side for this purpose. The new heating systems in the Receiver and Transmitter sites were installed at this site.
  5. TDY Communications personnel from other organizations arrived in October. But this relief produced a temporary situation, for according to rotation dates and letters of allocation for future months, this section would revert back to its usual shortage of men, as soon as the TDY personnel left. The Radio Maintenance problem showed no improvement during this month, leaving the Transmitter site very short handed, and no one to man the LF site. This was the first month that an enlisted man had to be extended past his actual date of return to the ZI in this section.

  6. The Supply Section received, binned, and made up cards on and set up stock levels for approximately 750 line item spares for the 6B Radar Set. It also rewarehoused and made cards on all 25 B supplies, and reviewed stock levels. All of the bins in Unit Supply were painted. A new supply officer, Captain Vasquez, arrived and relieved Lieutenant Hopkins. A new Unit Allowance List (UAL) was received from Headquarters NEAC along with 601’s, listing items needed by this organization that were not included in (UAL). A physical inventory was taken of all property in the Squadron, including that on hand receipt to the operating sections. New consolidated hand receipts were made for all accounts. Hand receipts were broken down into groups to facilitate easier location of items according to their classification and type.
  7. The Air Installations Section enclosed the body of the ¾ ton weapons carrier, which will greatly improve the comfort of personnel during all year round operation. The heating plant was completely repainted, and appearances were very much improved. The installation and testing of three (3) additional 100 KW generator units was also completed at this time.
  8. The Motor Pool Section pulled Preventative Maintenance schedules in accordance with AFM 71-1 and AFM 77-2. The cooling systems on all vehicles were winterized from 1 October through 7 October 1954. On 6 October 1954, motor transportation started a drivers school at this site, and began giving tests for a Government Operators Permit. On 1 October 1954, a bus schedule was revised for the convenience of men on shift duty. Two medics were issued Operators Permits for the ¾ ton Ambulance, relieving the motor transportation drivers of that duty. A 2 ½ ton truck was sent to base AIO on 25 October 1954 to have an enclosed body built on the vehicle for the protection of personnel in winter.
  9. The Food Service Section rearranged the kitchen to allow more floor space and convenient location of equipment. A large coffee urn was installed by AIO, and was put into operation. New hasps were put on the doors throughout the mess to replace the worn out old ones. Windows were checked and repaired so that they all can be locked. Due to the three shift, seven day per week schedule maintained throughout the squadron at this time, mess attendants were discontinued. The members of this section have since done their own KP work.
  10. The Personnel Services Section continued the publication of the unofficial squadron newspaper, "Pinetree Patter" on a bi-monthly basis. It was issued on 8 and 22 October 1954. Two (2) new 16mm projectors were acquired for the squadron theater.

The month of November 1954 saw a rather extensive turnover of personnel, and as a result was a very busy and important one.

  1. The operations section permanently assigned one Duty Director on each crew as an Air Surveillance-Movements and Identification Officer. The purpose of this was to give needed assistance to the Senior Director, so that the latter could better carry out his functions on the dais. The primary duty of the AS-M&I Officer is to supervise the displaying of all air surveillance information at this Air Defense Direction Center (ADDC) and the forwarding of same to the Air Defence Control Center (ADCC), in addition to providing prompt and accurate identification information of all air traffic within the area of responsibility of this ADDC. He will further supervise his M&I personnel in (1) collecting movements identification information on all friendly air activity within the area of responsibility of this Direction Center, (2) identifying and displaying within two minutes the identification of all air activity within his sub-sector, (3) complying with NEAC 55-2 and pertinent SOP’s. The AS-M&I Officer will also co-ordinate with the Senior Director in (1) assigning areas of responsibility to each reporting scope operator, (2) scheduling duty periods and positions for the operational surveillance personnel, (3) advising on malfunctions of reporting equipment, (4) recommending changes in SOP’s to promote better efficiency, (5) supervising the prompt display of accurate air surveillance information on the vertical plotting, height-tote and fighter status boards, (6) supervising the prompt and accurate reporting of all air surveillance information to the ADCC, and (7) supervising the training and efficiency of all personnel.
  2. All of the above was especially imperative at this time with the arrival of new airmen, fresh out of radar tech schools in the states. The situation was further hindered by this section’s critical lack of seven (7) level NCO’s to perform such supervisory duties as crew chief and/or floor supervisor. Only six (6) of the seventeen (17) YDY men who arrived in October were to remain PCS. The new airmen who arrived from tech schools in the states were indoctrinated by Officers from Operations on all the operational procedures of this Direction Center before being assigned to specific crews for further training. They showed a definite willingness to cooperate and be taught, but with no field work behind them, they had a lot to learn. Despite the continued influx of manpower, the Operations section remained on a three crew, seven days per week duty schedule for the second straight month, because of the inexperience of personnel at all levels.

  3. The Radar Maintenance Section installed the programming unit for the 15-J-1C synthetic trainer. This section noted during November that the Search System Modification Kit had a magnetron with 1,039 hours on it. These tubes are rated for a life of 300 hours. Previous tubes had seldom reached the 300 hour life expectancy . The longer life is based on the maintenance system of running this equipment at low power. Power output is still maintained at approximately 1.4 megawatts, and the radar returns remained satisfactory and in compliance with manufacturer’s specifications. The search radar became inoperative (ROCP) on 27 November 1954. Further literature on the Early Warning Modification (Search) Kit was not forthcoming. However, this lack was not felt as severely as before. Experience and time to go over the mechanism have given the maintenance personnel a fairly comprehensive insight into the workings of this equipment.
  4. The Radar Maintenance Section remained in a critical position in regard to personnel during the month of November, necessitating the continuation of the three crew, seven days per week duty schedule. Three airmen were extended beyond their DEPOS, pending the arrival of replacements. This critical shortage of personnel put a considerable strain on the members of this section. Extension of tours of duty is not a satisfactory solution to the problem. Making certain that replacements arrive on time and/or increasing the number of men authorized to a certain section are sensible solutions. This section has been very much undermanned from the beginning, considering the large size of this Direction Center and all the radar equipment that must be maintained. Despite this deficit, the personnel extended showed a great deal of understanding, and continued to carry on their duties in a most commendable way.

  5. The Communications Section ran several tests on Net 47 in November aimed at completely phasing it over to Radio Teletype, 1, 1F1, emission. The LF circuit, Net 64, remained in the same condition as reported previously, that is, receiving only. Net image time stayed at 100%, but maintenance personnel were still not available to man the site. The Low Frequency (LF) site was ready for an acceptance check at the end of November, but the shortage of maintenance personnel precluded the operation of the site. One test was made of the 702 circuit from this station through Goose Air Base AACS facilities to Harmon Air Force Base. This circuit is to be used for back-up when normal tactical circuits are out. This particular test was unsuccessful due to atmospheric conditions, but additional tests were planned for December. All physical equipment, connection, cables, patches, etc., were functioning properly. The AACS circuit was changed from one machine simplex to a two machine duplex.
  6. At this time, the overall installation of the Pole Vault system was expected to be completed during the month of December 1954. All phases progressed satisfactorily, despite the advert of winter weather. A testing period of approximately two (2) weeks was anticipated following the installation completion, and the, although testing would continue, it was hoped that the system would be available for the Air Force use.

    Code and theory classes were started by the squadron MARS operator. Their object being, acquiring an amateur radio license, and becoming more familiar with communications.

    The personnel problem in the Comm Center was alleviated temporarily at this time with the arrival of new TDY men and several radio operators. This enables the Center to return to operating on four (4) crews. The latter had no effect on the other sections with Communications, as the Transmitters, and Receiver personnel remained on three, eight hour shifts, seven days a week. Crypto personnel were forced to go on two, twelve hour shifts. The new radio operators in the Comm Center were being trained as switchboard operators as well as other positions to enable the teletype operators to be available for primary teletype work.

  7. The Supply Section rearranged Warehouse "B" stock room to make room for additional supplies. Supply Storage facilities began getting crowded. Extra equipment left over from the construction of the LF site was received from the Canadian Marconi Company. It was reviewed with all the Section Heads for the purpose of finding out what items would be needed in the future. All tools for the AN/CPS-6B and CPS-5 not in actual everyday use were received from Radar Maintenance and stored in Unit Supply for safekeeping. Bins were obtained, and a new system was set up for all housekeeping supplies in Unit Supply. All Supply files were screened, and a new filing system was set up in accordance with AFM 67-1. During November this section received approximately fifty (50) boxes of Canadian radar equipment. Some difficulty was experienced before Goose Air Base furnished transportation to move the equipment to this site.
  8. The Air Installations Section reported that the body of one (1) two and one-half (2 ½) ton 6x6 was completely enclosed and a heater installed.
  9. The Motor Pool reported that winter hoods were placed on all vehicles.
  10. The Food Service Section reported that AIO had repaired the deep freeze, and that it was set at zero (0) degrees instead of ten (10) degrees. During November, this section received two (2) 62250’s, one (1) 62130, and one (1) 62210. The mess hall began operating on two shifts and continued doing its own KP work.
  11. The Orderly Room had a new manning status board installed in the Orderly Room. It shows the status of all airmen by AFSC, rank, and DEROS, and is very helpful in compiling the Mission Capability Report. A manning status board was also installed in the Commander’s Office. This chart shows the number of personnel assigned and allocated to each section for the ensuing four (4) months. The number assigned is obtained by adding the proposed allocations for each section to the number of personnel presently assigned and subtracting the number of projected losses. The chart is valuable in determining and having at easy reach the number of men available to each section in future months.
  12. The Air Police Section remained under strength in manpower during the month of November.

Despite the advent of the Christmas season, operational activity kept apace throughout December 1954.

  1. The Operations Section revised the Operational Personnel Status Board and brought it up to date. This action was necessitated as a result of the influx of newly assigned personnel. A complete revision of the Operations file was undertaken. A similar revision of the Intelligence file was accomplished in accordance with AFM 181-4. A new book especially for Movements and Identification personnel was initiated, containing all pertinent information, procedures and SOP’s, It is kept on the M&I dais for ready reference. A message and correspondence distribution box was installed in the Operations room. The box is divided into four sections, one for each crew. This arrangement enables each crew to deposit material pertaining to their respective shift, which in turn, facilitates pick-up by the Operations Office Personnel.
  2. Two (2) officers and eighteen (18) airmen were gained, and two (2) officers and eleven (11) airmen were lost due to rotation. With a month or more of training and experience behind them, most of the newly assigned airmen began operating more efficiently. Despite this, training continued. After more than two 92) months of three shift day, due to critical shortage of personnel and the low experience level, crews again began operating on four (4) sifts. Captain Lavern W Brown was relieved by Captain Wallace E Lowman as Operations Officer.

  3. The Radar Maintenance Section received and installed a Modification kit for the installation of a heater in the RT-264 Receiver-Transmitter of the AN/GPX-6 Identification Set. The receipt of a suitable switch enabled this section to provide emergency power to the AN/TPS-502 Sheldon Pressurizing System Radome. Installation of the switch was accomplished without difficulty, and operation proved satisfactory upon the first test. On 18 December 1954 a new magnetron was installed on the Early Warning Modification (Search) Radar equipment, which had been inoperative since 27 November 1954, and it was once more operating satisfactorily.
  4. Radar Maintenance remained critically undermanned during the month of December. The situation went from bad to worse. This section was forced to begin working two (2) shifts for twelve (12) hour durations, with days off being given individually by the rotation of another section member through crews.

  5. The Communications Section reported that Pole Vault was a step nearer completion, and tests were scheduled to be run almost continually. Early reports on tests were extremely satisfactory, and the communication situation is expected to greatly improve as soon as this new medium can become operational. Although this site can be ready to go into operation in the very near future, the system as a whole depends upon the status of other adjacent sites. Additional tests were again run on Net 47 in an attempt to phase it over to RTTY, but results continued to be unsatisfactory. Lack of suitable frequencies was the greatest handicap in this situation. During December tests were also made again on the 702 Circuit between this station and Harmon, and they were proven to be successful. A new logging system was put into effect at this time, providing a more accurate means of determining if message was delivered to call stations. Since this system came into effect, delay and loss of messages were brought to a minimum. The LF site remained unmanned.
  6. The Supply Section received, binned, and made cards on, and set up stock levels on approximately 400 line item spares for the AN/CPS-6B Radar Set. It also arranged the Tech Supply stock room. All supply records were screened , and items no longer required or authorized were cancelled. One (1) new man arrived for duty as Tech Supply Clerk in December.
  7. The Air Installations Section sanded and varnished the floor in the squadron pool room. A reconditioned gear and drive chain was installed on one (1) of the two (2) water pumps in the pump house. The second pump has been inoperative since December 1953.
  8. The Motor Pool Section noted that, despite hazardous winter driving, 641st ACWRON drivers had driven thirty-one (31) consecutive days and 11,816 miles without a vehicle accident.
  9. The Food Service Section started hauling its six month food rations on 18 December 1954. Work and planing for the Christmas and New Years Day meals was started fifteen (15) days prior to Christmas. A new dishwashing machine that arrived at this site during the month of August, 1954 was still not installed at this time. Base AIO was notified, and a work order for installation submitted in August.
  10. The Personnel Services Section reported that the squadron theater was painted during December by theater personnel.
  11. The Air Police Section received additional men in December. This alleviated the personnel problem, and this section began efficient operation.

There are no photographs or supporting documents with this report.

For the Commander:

Edward A Slye
1st Lt, USAF