Some recollections of Schneeberg during the mid to late 50s from Bill Evans and his ASA friend Lew. (Fall of 2001)
During the '50s there were three ELINT detachments. One on Schneeberg, one on Meisner, a third was at BA. In about '59 or '60 the detachment at BA moved to Rothwesten. The detachment at BA was probably the 257th ASA Detachment or the 259th. The detachment at Schneeberg was the 258th. Our headquarters was in Frankfurt. The three detachment were formed into the 279th ASA Co. Hq Plt in Frankfurt, 1st Plt at Schneeberg, 2nd Plt at Meisner, and the 3rd Plt at BA. The 1st and 2nd were fixed site, the 3rd Plt was almost entirely mobile. In March '59 the 279th ASA Co was disbanded. The 1st Plt was assigned to the 318th at Herzo, the 2nd Plt was assigned to the 319th at Rothwesten. The 3rd Plt became the 279th ASA Det.
So much for the history lesson, now for the question. Do you have any recollection of this unit? They were TDY most of the time. They were not
known for their military bearing. Property accountability was not their forte' either.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Til next time,
Subject: Re: 279th ASA Co
I have to give you a bit of my history in order to answer your question. In 56 I was at Devens as an 059, (later 05K) radioprinter op, in grade SFC E-6. I had been put on orders for Herzo, but due to my wife having had a heart attack, I requested and got concurrent travel with our 4 kids. In June56, was assigned to BA as First Sgt of the 7224th DU...... what the heck ever THAT was!! I had only vaguely heard of ELINT prior to that time. The Company Commander was Capt Hopkins, Exec O was Capt Lazar, and the acting top was the clerk, SSG Curt Steining. SFC (Don) Langevin was one of the operations people that I remember. I was shocked to find that I had been assigned as 1SG, as I had been thru 059 school, and had a year as instructor at Devens. Capt Hopkins was due for retirement in about 6 months and wanted me to straighten up the company records before he retired. He promised me that he would see that I got back into Intercept operations before he left. I was not happy, but hadn't much choice. I understand perfectly your comments about the bearing and
accountability, etc!! That 24 man detachment was undoubtedly the worst assignment of my career!! Hopkins spent most of the next 6 months on leave, and Lazar and I butted heads. Most of the men must have heard about their being the "top ten percent" and had let it go to their heads. I don't know who did the work in their operations, as they were all chiefs. Not having a need, I was never in the operations area.
I found that this was only half of the detachment, the other half being still in Vienna. Problem was, each unit had been reporting itself as parent unit, and carrying the other on TDY. I spent most of that 6 months making morning report corrections, updating regs, and correcting other such file discrepancies.
The ASA unit at BA was the 320th ASA Bn, with operations companies being the 328th and 332nd Comm Recon Companies. I think it was sometime in 57 that they became the 180th and 181st ASA Companies, respectively.
True to his word, Capt Hopkins arranged for approval of my transfer to the 332nd about early 57. As far as I know, the 7224th was never actually a part of the 320th Bn. I know we reported to another headquarters, probably in Frankfurt. When I left that unit, I never looked back, so have no idea of it's subsequent assignment or unit designations,
Somewhere there is a website listing just about all ASA units from 45 thru 76. I can't find it right now, but will ask my other ASA correspondents and send it on if I can come up with it. My only two BA contacts were there earlier than I and left in late 56 or early 57, but I'll ask them if they know any info about the unit.
Dunno if this is of any help to you, but that's about all I know. I'll write again if I remember anything else. One of my kids has my old Army records, which might contain more accurate dates and maybe some more names. I may get a chance in a couple weeks to look at them.