Baldy Hughes, BC

1962 Ė Historical Report Ė USAF Historical Division


Historical Report
918th AC&W Squadron
1 October 1962 to 31 December 1962

Section I

REQUIRED DATA

  1. Unit and Location

918th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Baldy Hughes AFS, Prince George, BC

  1. Name and Grade of Commander

Lt. Colonel Alfred J Naigle

  1. Chain of Command (Superior Echelons)
  2. NORAD
    Air Defense Command
    25th Air Division (SAGE)
    Seattle Air Defense Sector

  • Subordinate Units (Down to and including squadrons)
  • None

  • Mission (Give authority and brief statement of primary mission)
  • Maintain radar surveillance and report surveillance information to Seattle Air Defense Sector for identification and action. Exercise control fighter interception within the limited capacity provided as directed by Seattle Air Defense Sector. Render emergency assistance to distressed aircraft.

  • Personnel
  •    

    Officers

    Airmen

    Civilians

    Total

     
     

    Assigned

    11

    105

    24

    140

     
     

    Attached

    1

    0

    0

    1

     
                 
  • Equipment (Give official nomenclature and quantity of mission-type equipment)
  • AN/FPS-20A (1), AN/FPS-6B (2), AN/GPS-T2 (1), AN/GPX-7A (1), AN/GRC-27 (3), AN/UPS-T5 (1), AN/GRT-3 (2), AN/GRR-7 (2), AN/FRT-503 (1), AN/FRT-502 (2), AF/URG-60 (5), AN/GPA-30 (1).

    Section II

    COMMENTARY

    This quarter has been one of intense activity at the 918th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. The main area of concern during the quarter was the Cuban Crisis. However during the increased defense readiness conditions, the routine activities of the squadron were carried on as usual. The impending phase-out of the squadron progressed with no problem areas. All phase-out deadlines have been on their D-date with many areas of the phase-out plan being completed before the deadline.

    October began as a quiet, normal month. Phase-out activities were concentrated mainly toward pre-planning for the events that were to transpire at later dates. Personnel were enjoying the excellent hunting in this area. Squadron work activities were slanted toward final preparation for winter. The Base Motor Pool was performing final maintenance to snow removal equipment and to other heavy equipment for winter. The Installations Engineering Officer was also busy preparing for cold weather operations. These are the two sections that are most affected by the severe winters of this area.

    Then at 1735Z hours, 22 October this squadron received an alert status of Delta. The initial reaction by the squadron personnel was one of interest and speculation. There was, at this time, no information as to what event or events had prompted the increased weapons status. The status had no immediate effect on this squadron but everyone felt that we too would soon go to a higher defense readiness condition. When Minicom was received at 1955Z hours on the same date, the local situation became even more tense. Rumors were numerous and varied but no one knew for sure what was happening. The word that President Kennedy was scheduled to make a nationally broadcast speech in the afternoon was gladly received by the personnel of this squadron.

    When the time for President Kennedyís speech came, almost every member of the squadron was gathered around a radio. The speech was even piped into the Operations Room to allow those on duty to hear what the President was going to say. The reaction to the speech by each individual was, almost without exception, of one accord. There was a feeling of gladness and determination. Gladness that now the United States had made a firm stand against communism and had taken the necessary steps to back-up this stand Ė and determination in that each person was ready and willing to do his part (no matter how small or large it may be) to insure the success of the action the United States had taken.

    For a few moments in the speech there was a feeling of concern and of speculation as to what would happen next. Then at 2300Z the squadron received a CONAD alert status of DEFCON 3 "D". At this time the serious work of adjusting crew schedules, guard schedules, and implementing other measures that were felt necessary to meet the requirements of the state of alert was begun. It was left to the individual sections of the squadron to prepare their own work schedules. All personnel realized at this time that there may be little or no time off.

    After the CONAD alert had been received a formation of all squadron personnel was called by the Squadron Commander. At this time, Lt. Colonel Naigle reviewed the situation and discussed the policies that it would be necessary to implement. Among these policies were a curfew placed on all personnel, the requirement for all personnel to be within telephone contact with the squadron at all times, and that no leaves or passes would be approved. Increased security was also discussed. Personnel were reminded that an increase in security was very important. It was stressed that the situation was not to be discussed with any civilians. Lt. Colonel Naigle then reminded all personnel that the situation was extremely flexible and that each person would have to adjust quickly and efficiently to any changes that might be necessary.

    The next area of concern was to review the DEFCON requirements and to prepare in case there might be an increase in the alert state. It was also necessary to review the various operations plans, regulations, and manuals to ensure that the squadron was prepared to meet any emergency. Defense capability under fallout plans were also reviewed and procedures checked. DECUF personnel were kept on stand-by.

    On 22 October 1962 Operations went into a two crew schedule. There were seventeen operators on each crew. With a two crew schedule it was necessary for each crew to work twelve hours on with twelve hours off. This schedule precluded any break time. Operations also furnished one guard each day as well as provide for the regular details of dining hall attendant and squadron detail. The Weapons Controllers went into a twenty-four hour on duty shift. At this time, one of the five directors assigned to this station was on TDY at the 758th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron at Neah Bay Air Force Station, Washington. There were two directors on each twenty-four hour shift, so each director worked twenty-four hours on with twenty-four hours off.

    At the same time Communications and Electronics went into a two crew schedule. Each crew was composed of twenty-one men in the following breakdown: twelve radar maintenance personnel, three radio maintenance personnel, three communications center personnel, two wire maintenance personnel, and one crypto operator. One crew headed by the C&E Officer and the other crew was headed by the Communications Officer. The section worked a schedule of twelve hours on and twelve hours off. C&E also furnished personnel for guard duty.

    The Security and Law Enforcement Section also had to assume an expanded work schedule. It was necessary to post two guards at the main entrance to the station as this post also controls access to the security areas. The section was divided into three crews of two men each. Each crew worked a twelve hour on and twenty-four hour off schedule.

    There also existed the requirement to increase security measures in the operational areas. This was accomplished by forming a special guard detail. Each of three details consisting of a Sergeant-of-the Guard and four guards, worked eight hour shifts. The personnel manning the guard details were furnished by all sections of the squadron. One guard was stationed at the power plant and one at the Micro-wave (Telco) transmitter. This arrangement resulted in one hour on guard and one hour off. Because of the cold temperatures it was determined that one hour was the maximum time that a man should spend on guard post. Security in the transmitter-receiver area was maintained by the radio maintenance personnel on duty. The Sergeant-of-the-Guard was required to check each guard post and the transmitter-receiver area twice hourly. Security guards were armed with 30 caliber carbines and were issued sixty rounds of ammunition. The Sergeant-of-the-Guard was issued a 45 caliber pistol. He carried 200 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle. Each Sergeant-of-the-Guard was required to fire the 45 caliber pistol for familiarization prior to assuming duties.

    The remaining sections of the squadron did not go into an extended work schedule. They furnished personnel for the security guard and for the Sergeant-of-the-Guard. As during normal circumstances, the details of dining hall attendants, Junior Officer-of-the-Day, and squadron detail were maintained. All sections furnished personnel for these details.

    Both Operations and C&E soon realized that they could not, nor would it be necessary to, maintain a two crew schedule indefinitely. On 26 October, Operations went into a three crew schedule.

    Under this schedule each crew worked twelve hours with twenty-four hours off. In this mode of operation each crew had eleven personnel. The Weapons Directors remained on a twenty-four hour schedule but changed from two directors on each shift to one director on each shift. This schedule allowed each director to have a break before and after his twenty-four hour shift, and still provide two directors on duty during the day shift. At all remaining times an additional director was on fifteen minute stand-bye in the lower contonment area.

    On 1 November C&E also went into a three crew schedule. Unlike Operations, however, C&E worked a schedule of eight hours on and sixteen hours off. Under the three crew set-up, two crews were made of fourteen personnel and one crew had fifteen personnel.

    Something should be said about the manner in which this stationís personnel ventured into the expanded work schedules. For most this was the first time that they had experienced an actual increased alert status. The expanded work schedule placed additional personnel on duty without a corresponding increase in work to be performed. Initially most of the personnel spent their time, when not actually performing a job, in playing cards, discussing the situation, and in similar ways. Soon though, the newness of the situation wore away and everyone soon drifted back into their normal manner. The manner in which personnel accepted the situation with its increased work hour requirements is commendable. Although many persons spent many hours on guard duty or performing tasks not required under normal circumstances, none felt that they had reason to neglect in any degree their duties. Performance of these duties often necessitated working during break time. It was with a feeling of relief that DEFCON 5A was received on 27 November. It took but a short time for each section to return to normal schedules and to readjust to normal working conditions.

    The main item of concern of this time was phase-out activities. The first of the incoming RCAF personnel were due to arrive within the next week.

    December was another busy month for the 918th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. The first of the RCAF personnel, who are to assume command of this unit on 1 March 1963, arrived on 1 December. Flight Lt. Craig, who will command the RCAF Detachment here until the RCAF assumes command of the station, was the first to arrive. Others soon followed and by 31 December the number of RCAF personnel had grown quite large. Many sections of the squadron completed phase-out plans. The remaining sections were working to meet deadlines. Non-appropriated fund activities including Unit Fund, Officers Open Mess, and NCO Mess ceased operations on 31 December. Several sections are to be turned over to the RCAF early in January. These sections, including the Dining Hall and the Motor Pool, are busy preparing final inventories and preparing their accounts and property for turn over. Supply is very active inventorying all its accounts and insuring that all property records are correct. Up to now all phase-out activities have gone very well and deadlines have been successfully met and in many areas requirements have been completed prior to the deadline.

    One of the highlights of the year at Baldy Hughes was completed in December. This is Operation Reindeer. The squadron first took part in Operation Reindeer during 1958. The Operation originally began when Father Levaque, principal of the Lower Post Indian Residential School, requested the Prince George Lionís Club to help provide a Christmas party for the children of the school. The Prince George Lionís then invited the personnel of the 918th Squadron to join in the Operation. This year Operation Reindeer V was the largest Operation ever. In late November the personnel of the squadron, the Wiveís Club, the Prince George Lionís Club, and the Lady Lionís purchased almost one hundred and fifty gifts for the children. Money to purchase the gifts was earned by the combined efforts of this squadron and the Lionís Club Members. Each of the gifts were wrapped and individually tagged for one of the children at the Lower Post. This way each child at the school received a personal gift from Santa. On 18 December a C-54 from the 25th NORAD Region transported the gifts along with nuts, fruits and candies to Lower Post. Aboard the aircraft was Major General HR Spicer, Air Commodore Elms, personnel of the 25th NORAD Region, members of the 918th AC&W Squadron, members of the Prince George Lionís Club and representatives from the radio and press. The group was met at Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory by Father Levaque and members of the Watson Lake Lionís Club and then driven to Lower Post. Events of the day included a program of Indian Dances performed by the children of the school, a tour of the school; the Christmas play; and the highlight of the night, a visit by Santa. For many of the children, it was their first time to receive a gift. The members of this squadron are proud of the part they played in bringing Christmas activities to children who might not have otherwise known about Christmas or Santa. Another Christmas project carried on by the squadron again this year was "Big Brother". This project, begun several years ago, provides a gift and Christmas dinner to deserving children of Prince George. This year twenty-five airmen from the station "adopted" a child for the day. He brought the child to the station and sponsored him at a Christmas Party and then treated him or her to dinner. Santa presented each child with a gift that the airmen had bought. Children of the personnel of the squadron also attended the party and received a gift from Santa. This project played a large part in helping further the outstanding base community relationship that this unit shares with Prince George.

    Despite the large amount of work to be done, December was also a month of parties and fun. After working the many hard and long hours during the increased status in November, all the members of the squadron were more than ready to relax and have fun. This, coupled with the holiday spirit, provided the perfect setting for several parties.

    This squadron performed in an outstanding manner during the quarter. There was a heavy loss of personnel because of phase-out. This loss had no adverse affect on the performance of this unitís mission. The incoming RCAF personnel have quickly adjusted to the situation and have done their part in assuring that the mission is accomplished. No section has experienced any problems that have in any way altered the effectiveness of the squadron. Because of the increased status, radar maintenance was greatly accelerated. This resulted in a minimum of red time enhancing the accomplishment of the mission. Two squadron vehicles were damaged. Damage to the vehicles resulted when drivers lost control on icy roads.

    This continues to be a problem, but one with no definite solution. All necessary precautions are taken and training is provided. But as long as roads remain icy and slippery, accidents will occur. This squadron feels that its accident rate is very good considering the local driving conditions. Cold weather has provided no major problems, because of the intense preparation and planning that each section performs in the autumn to insure that it is ready for operations in the very cold temperatures experienced here.

    Historical Record Memorandum

    Typed Name and Grade of Commander

    Alfred J Naigle, Lt. Colonel

    Signature