Goose Bay, Labrador

1956 Ė Historical Report Ė USAF Historical Division


 

 

History
of the
641st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron

 

1 October 1956 to 31 December 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of the 641st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
1 October 1956 to 31 December 1956

 

 

Prepared for the Office of Information Services
64th Air Division (Defense)
by
First Lieutenant Peter B King (Historical Officer)

 

25 January 1957

 

 

(64th Air Division (Defense), Northeast Air Command

 

Peter B King
1st Lt., USAF
Historian

 

Paul H Hansen
Major, USAF
Commander

 

 

Operations Section

A doctor examining a patient might begin by clocking the heartbeat. In a like manner, this Historical Report for the waning months of 1956 at the 641st AC&W must, first and foremost, feel the pulse of the Operations Section.

The overall situation in Operations during the period from 1 October to New Yearís Eve has been one of feast and famine. In October a critical shortage of operations personnel brought the suggestion that troops be "lifted" temporarily from the Communications Section. Loss of airmen to the ZI, and an insufficient number of 1641 and 1644 officer personnel, meant operating with three crews. This has led to an unusual working schedule, which is compensated by a four-day "break" at the end of each eight working days.

In November the outlook was again hopeful, with everyone looking forward to the arrival of replacements. This was fulfilled in December, as three 1644ís and one 1641 arrived to fill Duty Director slots, and twelve 30ís and an equal number of 50ís were assigned to Operations.

There were also various personnel moved within the section during this period, also. On 1 October Captain Clark E Weaver became Operations Officer as Captain Tollie R Mullins rotated. On the 20th of December Major Robert A LeBeuf joined us, and will soon replace Captain Weaver in this position. In another crew move, Lt. Gilbert E Jones took over duties as Direction center Chief on 1 October, replacing Captain Richard A Leed.

The cross-training program moved along smoothly during this time. In October we were visited by Captain Louis F Strough of the 922nd ACWRON. In October and again in November we were host to two airmen a week of cross-training. These men were from the 64th Air Division (Defense). Captain Weaver, in turn, spent eight days at the ADCC in the month of October.

In the operations room, the Movements and Identification function handled a large number of tracks. Air Traffic showed little inclination to decrease, in spite of the onslaught of initial Unknowns, with a much larger percentage being intercepted in December than in earlier months. The chart below shows the rundown for these three months:

 

October

November

December

Total

Initial Tracks

1,152

1,331

1,302

3,785

Number of initial unknowns

111

165

181

457

Number of unknowns intercepted

2

6

8

16

Number of remaining unknowns

7

20

4

31

There was a smaller number of aircraft handled locally, as shown by the chart below, and this was displayed quite clearly by the decreasing amount of mail which came into the squadron during the month of December. There were no emergency navigational aids given during this period.

 

October

November

December

Total

Number of Aircraft Directed

767

649

484

1,900

Emergency Navigational Assistance

0

0

0

0

Operational Crew Training went into effect in October, and will be discussed in the Training Section.

The 6630th REV/ECM Flight worked with Pintail for one hour in October, twenty minutes in November and one hour and six minutes in December. Lectures on ECM were given within the squadron, and will be covered under Training in this report.

In November a screening of Operations OJT records insured that the program was being accomplished properly.

With the coming of Christmas, Operations Santa Claus swung into gear, and by the holiday season all January returnees had departed for the ZI. This was accomplished in spite of heavy air traffic carrying returnees from bases beyond our own, and mass movements of Hungarian refugees.

Also in December, a group of carpenters descended on the Operations Room and tore out the "stile" which had formerly obstructed the entrance. As a result, it is no longer necessary to "go up to get down", and the Senior Directorís dias and Movements and Identification dias have ceased to be a racetrack.

In December the coffee equipment was moved from the snowdrifts and sub-zero temperatures of the rear hallway, and relocated just above Movements and Identification. Coffee drinkers are restricted to a small area containing comfortable sofas, and it has worked out to everyoneís satisfaction.

The 15-J-1C simulator was in good operating order during the last three months of 1956.

Radar and Communications Maintenance

The October through December activity in Radar Maintenance brought several changes. The TPS-502 indicator was moved from the upper dias to floor level, alongside the surveillance scopes, for better accessibility and utilization. In November the MRR-2 Micro-Wave relay equipment was modified to permit shorter cables, and a new switching arrangement devised. Later, in December, a group of Motorola Tech reps analyzed the set-up, and found that, although commercially built, the relay equipment could be linked into our primary gear for selsyn information. They completed the tie-up without any modification to the selsyn system.

During October, Canadian Marconi conducted a complete overhaul and calibration of all test equipment, and of the TPS-502 and the CPS-6B. In December there was a complete check-up of our emergency radome pressurization system, and all section personnel were given detailed instruction concerning its operation and maintenance. Also during this month, the 6630th REC/ECM evaluation team checked out our 0A-347 kit.

In November all surplus equipment stored at the base of the three towers was moved to a central location, and green-tagged material sent to supply for repairs. This will make for much better housekeeping in these areas.

Two radar maintenance technicians from this section volunteered their service, during November, to help in repairing radar equipment aboard a Department of Transport buoy tender.

On the Communications Maintenance side of the ledger, there were many accomplishments, as well as problems, during the past three months. The Marconi Maintenance team overhauled all equipment at the Transmitter and Receiver sites. Two new HF antennas were installed at the Transmitter site, which will help greatly in weekly radio back-up tests.

Six men from the Communications Center completed their OJT in October, and were upgraded in the five skill level. All OJT in this section is going well.

In a move to prevent unofficial traffic from travelling the road to the LF site, Wire Maintenance moved the lower check-point telephone father down the Pinetree road.

In November a major change was the re-wiring of the console in Operations, enabling three persons to utilize it at one time. Formerly only two phones had been available, which led to frequent traffic jams.

The 64th Air Division sent instructions which led to the lowering of the LF antennae.

Also in November, a "new look" came to the drab interior of the Transmitter Building when it was repainted. The bright color scheme provides a much more cheerful working atmosphere.

During the month of December the major accomplishment was the establishment of a training class in amateur radio operation. Captain DL Lundstedt started the class to provide qualified operators for the 641st Amateur Radio Station, which had not been operational since the last of October. When the station is once more operational, the troops will be able to have frequent voice contact with the folks at home, by means of phone patch and through co-operative ham operators in the ZI. This is an important morale factor.

The problems of the last quarter were many and manifold, and some are still unresolved. One continuing thorn in our side has been the cable to the LF site, which has been out for several months and is still out, due to lack of properly trained radar repair personnel. Another has been the shortage of personnel in the Communications Section. In October the Communications Center was short six teletype operators (291 field) with only two expected to be assigned until the last of January. The situation had picked up somewhat in November, although the switchboard was still undermanned, and in December there was again a need for teletype operators.

New problems cropped up, one being the shutdown of the amateur radio station which occurred in October. The other was a lack of cryptographic maintenance men, a lack which will not be corrected until January.

An overall gain of seven men to the Communications Section during October brought overall strength to 85% of full manning.

In the same month a Security Service inspection team found the Cryptographic Section to be secure and well run.

A job shift during the month of December found Captain Lundstedt replacing Captain Richard J Shawd as Communications Officer. Captain Shawd has remained on temporarily while awaiting rotation, and is serving in several additional duties.

Messages handled by the Communications Center included 13,860 in December, 14,451 in November, and 14,277 in October for a grand total 0f 42,488 messages.

Training

A major change in the Operational Crew Training schedule occurred on 1 October, when our revised program took effect. The program, as now set up, includes field trips by operations personnel to our associate Air Defence Control Center, and to the 59th FIS. Later visits will include Air Rescue and AACS.

A master Lesson Book has been assembled and placed in the Operations Office. This volume contains lesson plans for the entire year of 1957, grouped according to a lesson schedule, and tests pertaining to each section.

Each Senior Director, on his Crew Training day, removes the correct lesson plans in accordance with the schedule, co-ordinates them with the proper CIF material, and delivers a lecture on the indicated subject.

In another phase of training, OJT has been operating smoothly, with frequent familiarization meetings being held for both Officers and NCOís. Procedures have been screened and proper training insured.

Upgrading by means of OJT gave new AFSCís to three NCOís and twenty (20) airmen during this period. The heaviest period was in October, when 16 airmen and one NCO were upgraded.

Training on ECM has continued, not only at the scopes but also in the classroom. Octoberís schedule included three (3) hours of training. There were three hours and 45 minutes in November and three hours of class again in December.

Material covered included five hours and forty-five minutes on Division Manual 55-4, three hours covering AFM 100-4, and one hour on TO 31-P6-2CPS6-11.

A new director training program, outlines by Lt. William S Colver, was announced in December and will be covered more fully in subsequent reports.

In essence, it will establish training procedures in interception techniques and in "wolf pack" fighter tactics against either single or multiple targets. Course procedures include pre-evaluation, academic ground training, interception techniques (in conjunction with the 59th) intercept tactics, applied tactics, cross training, mission briefing and critique.

Briefings, due to differences in available time and to uncertain transportation, will be held separately by the 641st and the 59th, using identical mission outlines.

One other type of training held was in First Aid. A training session in October was attended by two officers, fourteen NCOís, 39 airmen and ten civilians.

Military training continued to occupy a full schedule.

Air Installations

The last quarter of 1956 in Air Installations was, as usual, one of varied and continuous activity. The oncoming winter brought a need for special maintenance not needed in warmer weather, and snow removal took a priority position, second only to proper heating. All told, the accomplishments seemed to outweigh the problems, however.

In October one of the first projects was the hanging of storm windows. This was complicated by difficulty in fitting the windows, but was finally accomplished. The third cycle preventative maintenance period brought the replacement of worn parts in the heat distribution system. Oil burners were overhauled and the heating plant was reported to be in excellent condition.

Another project this month was marking of roads with high boundary posts, a Godsend both to snow removal teams and to the drivers themselves.

In November an extensive overhaul program insured that all diesels, both in the main plant and in Tropo, were in fine shape.

The PM team of carpenters, plumbers and electricians spent 21 days on the hill in November, and literally tore the place apart and put it back together again.

The carpenters repaired window screens, built new washing-machine stands for both barracks, installed partitions in the new Hobby Shop Photo Lab, and repaired doors, windows, wall lockers and room furniture in the barracks, doors in Operations, and the corridor walls.

The plumbing contingent, also busy as beavers, cleaned and painted the Power Plant service tanks, and checked the fuel lines. They installed new steam pipes in the heating system, and plumbing for new washers in the barracks and BOQ. Then, turning to repairs, they fixed leaking faucets and a bad steam line on the Dining Hall clipper, overhauled the water pumps, and cleared stopped-up commodes and urinals.

A team of electricians, not to be outdone, completed installation of the new washers and dryers, installed lights in the "gym", and repaired electrical fixtures in the barracks. They wound up their activity by replacing burned out light bulbs in all areas, and curing the ills of the dining hall toaster.

AIO had another busy month in December, with men busy in all phases of repair and preventative maintenance. Carpenters built such diversified objects as a frame for the new Cinemascope screen, a permanent stage for special shows, shelves for the Officers Lounge, and used razor blade boxes for the Airmenís barracks. Repairs included the rebuilding of a wall in the Hobby Shop, bracing one of the status boards in Operations, and repairing drawers in the Airmenís barracks.

Electricians installed a new range in the Mess Hall, and a new dryer in "B" Barracks, and relocated Hobby Shop lights. Plumbers repaired the BOQ washing machine, installed some new valves in the Power Plant coolant lines, and replaced 15 steam traps in the Barracks.

Problems encountered during this period included the seasonal one of snow removal. There were no angle blades available for the bulldozer, and the straight blade has been found unsatisfactory in heavy snow. A "Sno-Blow" and a D-6 Caterpillar from the Goose helped to alleviate things somewhat, along with the assignment of two airmen from the base to run the equipment. Frequent breakdowns have occurred.

Another continuing problem that was partly solved is the presence of sand in the pump house intake. It was found that shortening the intake valve would help, but qualified personnel are needed to perform the job.

New problems have cropped up. One of the more serious is the apparent weakness of the main overhead beam in "B" Barracks. A transformer in the transformer bank has been found to leak. A badly needed overhaul for the heater motors in towers two and three has been delayed due to materiel shortage and cold weather. And, in the most widely noticed problem, the shortage of steam traps, valves and storm windows has shown itself in the low temperature in some living areas. The main topic of conversation among the airmen has been the thin film of ice found on their "butt cans" on windy days.

Cold weather was also deemed responsible for the constant burning out of hazard lights.

Recent additions to the AIO staff include two airmen, graduates of a special diesel school.

Supply

The Pinetree Supply Section passed a major test in October when the Inspection Team from Division rated them satisfactory. During this period also, the resident Auditor General from the Goose gave Captain Kierstís section a clear audit. In November all class 17B hand tools were screened, and new hand receipts issued under the revised ECL. Excess tools were sent back to Goose Supply. December saw re-accomplishment of the C&E Maintenance custody account prior to inventory, with all back orders screened and some cancelled due to age.

In November it was reported that the section would be short three men by the middle of December, including one T/Sgt., 64173, one S/Sgt., 64151, and one A/1C, 70250. Projected replacements were due in January.

Canadian and USAF UALís were submitted on 4 October for forwarding to Headquarters NEAC.

Motor Pool

In the Pinetree Motor Pool, our most dependable link with the "outside world", an already enviable record was added to during the months of October, November and December. By the last part of December, 537 days had passes since the last accident chargeable to our Motor Pool. A total of 165,734 miles were driven during this period. One fairly serious accident, which hospitalized a field-grade officer with minor injuries, took place during this period, but was charged to the Goose Air Base AIO Section. This accident occurred when a 641st Motor Pool jeep, driven by Lt. Donald W Panoushek, was virtually "plowed under" by a runaway garbage truck belonging to the Goose. The jeep was headed up the Pinetree Road at the time.

In October four men from other sections were assigned to the Motor Pool, making a total of six qualified drivers. Five vehicles were assigned through November; a loan of a jeep to SAC temporarily brought this number down to four vehicles. Further statistics on Motor Pool operations for the three months period are as follows:

   

October

November

December

Totals

a

Miles

7229

5628

6554

19411

b

Passengers

5070

3029

3491

11590

c

Tonnage (lbs.)

9350

45400

59200

293950

d

Gasoline (Gals.)

872

592

925

2389

e

Oil (Qts.)

15

15

30

60

f

Dispatches

207

140

166

513

A drivers school in November was attended by 6 officers, 3 NCOís and 18 airmen. Driver Safety Training began in October, with one NCO and seven airmen enrolled, and in November a test was given to eight officers, nine NCOís and 52 airmen.

Air Police

Among other accomplishments in October, our Air Police section completed their annual range familiarization firing. In addition, standardization of the Air Police information card was accomplished. This card had been designated as 641stACWRON Form No. 30, and will be used exclusively in the future. The Site Defense Plan was completely revised during this month, and in December it was decided that each member of the team would receive a slip showing his designated post and the name of his Section Leader. These slips will be attached to assignment slips showing type, serial number and stock number of each assigned weapon. The latter slip will be issued to all personnel, whether on the site team or not, and will be co-ordinated with supply.

November brought a complete cleanup and inspection of weapons assigned to this squadron.

In October the old problem of burned out light bulbs in the halls was brought up by Ground Safety. Air Police was taken over, and the Sergeant of the Guard will be responsible for replacing all bulbs within his reach. In November and again in December a major problem was the procurement of a laminating machine for sealing security passes. At this date passes must still be sent down the hill, with a consequent delay of two weeks.

The section has been making progress on lesson plans for the OJT program.

A major change occurred in December when Captain Shawd was relieved from duty as Provost Marshal by Captain Carlos Cantu, newly arrived from Texas. Captain Cantu was immediately tagged as "The Sheriff".

Special Services

For the Special Services Section, the last three months of 1956 were a hum of activity in many fields. Primary as a morale factor, of course, is entertainment. In October a USO show made up the hill, and was well received. With an eye to the future, the squadron procured Cinemascope lenses in order that more and better pictures, particularly the newer ones, might be shown.

In November planning began for the Christmas season, culminating in not one but two Christmas parties. The first, held in the Dining Hall on December 20th, was for the purpose of decorating the Squadron tree, with Mrs. Paul Hansen, the Commanderís wife, presiding. On Christmas Eve, a gift exchange was held around the tree, then the whole party moved up to the Motor Pool for entertainment. A choir, hastily and ably assembled at the last minute, sang carols with audience participation. Highlight of the evening was a skit presented by the Junior Officers. This farce roasted the goings-on at a Squadron staff meeting, somewhat in the manner of the Washington Gridiron Club dinners. A hideous characterization of the Commanderís dog, Troubles was given by Lt. Donald W Panoushek.

The Hobby Shop, complete with leatherworking, jewellery making, photography and weight-lifting facilities, opened on 1 November.

On the sports scene, basketball was one of the major interests with the team practising daily in the Motor Pool. New pool tables and a ping-pong table were installed in the Lower "A" Game Room. This room was the former location of the Theater, which in October moved to the BX warehouse. Twelve new pairs of skis from the Goose have helped the winter sports program considerably.

The library continued to exchange 25 books with the main library at Goose Air Base monthly.

Education, another function of Special Services, was represented by several classes taught by junior officers. Physics and Analytical Geometry classes enrolled nearly five percent of the squadron personnel. In November Lt. John Woulbroun began teaching Slide Rule, and in December Lt. William K Ebel Jr. added a course in American Government to the curriculum.