Saskatoon Mountain, BC

1958 – Historical Report – USAF Historical Division

Historical Report
919th AC&W Squadron
1 October 1958 to 31 December 1958

Section I


  1. Unit and Location

919th Squadron, Saskatoon Mountain Air Station, Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada

  1. Name and Grade of Commander

James G Barnett, Major, USAF

  1. Chain of Command (Superior Echelons)
  2. Administrative: 25th Air Division, WADF, ADC, NORAD
    Operational: Canadian 5th Air Division
    Logistical: 4602nd Support Group (ADC)

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

  • Mission (Give authority and brief statement of primary mission)
  • To maintain radar surveillance for the purpose of providing early warning, identification, and continuous intelligence of all air activity detected within our assigned area of responsibility and to conduct training for the effective accomplishment of this mission.

  • Personnel

















  • Equipment (Give official nomenclature and quantity of mission-type equipment)
  • AN/FPS-3 (1), AN/TPS-502 (1), AN/FPS-502 (1) Backup

    Section II


    Throughout the period of this report, there has been a concerted effort toward maintaining high standards of discipline, morale and living conditions. During his October visit, Lt. General Joseph M Atkinson, ADC Commander, stated that this squadron is setting an example of high standards and improvements that should be followed by all ADC units. In support of "Project Shapeup" goals, living conditions and recreational facilities for all personnel are constantly being improved.


    Our application for an ADC Welfare Fund Grant resulted in approval of over four thousand dollars worth of recreational equipment to be locally purchased. This includes a speed boat and 35 horsepower motor, four outboard motors for fishing and lake shooting, three television sets, and a large console high fidelity record player.

    The new gymnasium is now in full-time use with newly installed overhead florescent lighting. The availability of indoor basketball and volleyball has been a great boon to welfare and morale. New tile flooring and a revised lighting system have brought the recreation hall renovation to near completion. Progress is being made toward the completion and opening of the woodworking hobby shop.

    New desks and reading lamps have been received and are in use in the Airmen’s barracks and BOQ.

    The second trunk line telephone facility to Beaverlodge has been installed. This, plus the installation of a pay telephone in the recreation hall, ahs eliminated nearly all personal off-base communication problems.

    A new station in Dawson Creek, BC, has increased our television capabilities. The addition of the three Welfare Fund Grant fringe area television receivers will add considerably to off duty activity and morale.


    The 919th Squadron is continuously filling its role of early warning and aircraft identification. We have successfully participated in Canadian 5 Air Division Exercises including combined 25th/5th Air Division Exercises.

    An asset to the squadron and division training will be the addition of division-wide Systems Training Missions slated to begin during January 1959. The STP Officer and Operations NCOIC attended the Systems Development Corporation course at Santa Monica, California during the month of December in preparation for this valuable addition to the squadron operations section.

    Under a new RCAF policy this squadron is forecasted to send one director a month to RCAF Station Cold Lake for intercept control proficiency training.

    The new search radar equipment has arrived and is being prepared for installation. The addition of this new equipment will considerably raise the mission capability of this station. A new height finder radar is still programmed for installation. During the period of this report. Our primary search equipment has performed to maximum capability with only preventative maintenance.

    Landline and teletype outages have been less frequent. An overhaul of all teletype equipment was conducted recently.


    A high point of the period of this report was the second visit to this squadron during 1958, by ADC Commander, Lt. General Romeilus Puryear, former 25th Air Division Commander.

    The most tragic event to occur at this station since its organization took place on 17 October 1958. The squadron L-20 aircraft was on a routine flight to Edmonton when the station was notified of a lost hunting party in the Nose Mountain area south of Grand Prairie. The duty director informed the aircraft of the situation, and the L-20 pilot soon spotted the party and decided to drop a note to them. In the course of events which followed, the L-20 crashed. A helicopter from Dawson Creek landed near the crashed aircraft and radioed back that one of the four aboard was dead and the others injured. The fatality was Captain William E Varns, Squadron C&E Officer. The injured officers and NCO were returned to Grand Prairie and received treatment at the Beaverlodge hospital.

    Brigadier General Charles A Bond, 25th Air Division Commander, conducted a short inspection visit during November. He commended the squadron on its constant striving for high standards of personnel and facilities.

    With the advent of snow in early October and later the closing of the seasons on fowl and big game, the squadron turned to winter sports and indoor games for recreation. Winter sports available in the area include skating, tobogganing, curling, skiing, and ice hockey. The squadron basketball team is undefeated in the local league. The Communications section won the squadron intramural volleyball tournament.

    The Protestant and Catholic Religious Missions held during November and December respectively were considered successful and added greatly to the spiritual lives of our squadron personnel.

    Squadron personnel received a great deal of satisfaction from participating in the Christmas project of assisting the Grace Home in Dimsdale. Highlight of the project was the dinner and Christmas activities included in the Officer’s and Airmen’s Children’s Christmas parties as well as many other social events.

    Community relationships have continued to be good. Letters and other responses have been received expressing gratitude to the squadron for the part it is playing in local affairs as well as in Air Defense.

    Typed Name and Grade of Commander

    James G Barnett, Major, USAF