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Troposcatter in South East Asia

Merv Norton


Some people know the background of Backporch tropo scatter system in Vietnam but few

people know the origin of the origin Intergrated Wide Band Communications System

[iWCS] and the AN/TRC-32 Troposcatter Terminal. I have been fortunate to be involved

in the events leading up to the CINCPAC proposal for the IWCS and its final design and

installation as well as the creation of the AN/TRC-32 troop terminal.

Before the beginning

In the late 1950’s I served in the Japan Signal Batallion and served as the Radio Officer of

the U.S. Army Japan. The signal officer was Colonel Tom Riley

(In 1965-66 Colonel Riley was the Signal Officer of the US Army, Vietnam and reported

to General Westmoreland, CG Vietnam and to Brig General Bob Terry, the CG, 1st

Signal Brigade.)

One day my boss Major Ralph Keefer [later Lieutenant Colonel] were summoned to

Colonel Riley’s office. Also present was a colonel from Washington. This colonel had

just returned from Indonesia where he was involved in a project for the transfer of Philco

Troposcatter equipment to the Indonesian Army.

This Indonesian Troposcatter Equipment became the foundation of the ICWS

which was not even conceived until more than five years later

The Indonesian system was quite interesting to us since we were in the process

of planning a troposcatter system for Japan. This system, the Japan Tropo System

was approved and funded in 1960 and completed in 1961.

For more information on the system read Japan Troposcatter System

Backporch tropo system

During the period 1960-1963 I was assigned to the Army Signals Corp Research

and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey as their liason officer to the

Air Force Rome Air Development Center (RADC) at Griffiss AFB N Y. While at RADC

I became familiar with the Air Force developed AN/MRC-85. The AN/MRC-85 was a

10-kilowatt quadruple diversity tropo scatter terminal housed in three semi-trailers

and using permanently installed 60-foot antennas.

Page Engineers was awarded a contract to install the Backporch Tropo Scatter System

in Vietnam using the Air Force AN/MRC-85 equipment. These AN/MRC-85’s

were moved from Europe and Alaska to Vietnam. This installation was completed in

1963. Backporch interconnected Phu Lam (Saigon) Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Pleiku and

Ubon AB in Thailand.


Japan Tropo Scatter System

Mervin L. Norton

LTC, US Army (Ret)

[January 2004]


I was stationed in Japan from 1956 to 1960. My first assignment was as Commander of Company C, Japan Long Lines Signal Battalion with Headquarters in Sendai, Japan. Our unit operated an maintained the US military communications from just north of Tokyo to the northern island of Hokkaido. We operated military AN/TRC-24 radio relay equipment with a channel capacity of 12 channels. We ran three systems in parallel. In the Tokyo and throughout the southern area of Japan other units operated GE pulse position microwave with a channel capacity of 23 channels. There were two or three systems in parallel in the southern route.

Three contributing events

There are three major events that happened at about the same time that all contributed to the idea of a Japan Tropo Scatter System.

First event

During the 1958-1959 time frame there was a reduction of military forces in Japan and a Washington decision to terminate all of the US Army operated and maintained communications systems and use leased communications facilities. This action was completed and I was transferred to the US Army Headquarters in Camp Zama, Japan as the Radio Officer. As time progressed the US military communications did not decrease as had expected but actually increased. Additionally, the Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Public Corporation (NTTPC) could not provide the communications required by the US military. NTTPC was a government controlled organization that did not have a budget for new facilities. In order to get new facilities there must first be a documented requirement, the funds for new requirements had to be requested in the budget which resulted a two year delay before new requirements could be fulfilled.

Second event

During this same time frame, The Department of the Army made plans to extend the Pacific Inospheric Scatter System (PACSCAT) from Okinawa into Japan. This system originated in Hawaii and extended through Pacific islands to Okinawa. In 1958, The US Army Signal Engineering Agency sent an engineer to Japan to conduct a site survey for two inospheric scatter sites, one in southern Japan and one along the coast southeast of Tokyo. Don Brown, a civilian communications engineer from our office, and I accompanied this engineer on the survey to southern Japan. A tentative site was selected on the southern tip of Kyushu, the southern most of the major islands.

Third event

The US Air Force was assisting the Japanese Air Self Defense Force in improving their Air Defense System. Nippon Electric Company (NEC) had just completed the development of tropo scatter equipment. The Air Force was negotiating with NEC to provide a tropo system to interconnect the AC&W sites in Japan.


I found out about the NEC development and began to make visits to NEC without the knowledge of any of my superiors. I met with Dr. Morita, Chief, Microwave Branch and obtained technical information, installation cost information and operating and maintaince cost information. With an understanding of the tropo scatter system cost factors, the knowledge of the cost of leased service and the knowledge that it took two years to get leased service, the thought of a tropo scatter system began to evolve. I conceived of a system that would provide all of the US military communications from Tokyo south to Okinawa and Korea at a cost savings over leased service that would also eliminate the need for an extension of the Pacific Inospheric Scatter System from Okinawa to Japan.

Page contract for Japanese Air Self Defense Forces Tropo System

One day I was walking down the hall at NEC with Dr. Morita. I saw a very tall man walking up in front of us. It was obvious that he was not Japanese. I ask Dr. Morita who he was. Dr. Morita said, "Haven't you met Mr. Hames of Page?". This is how I met Stan Hames. Stan and Tom Nichols were both assigned to NEC to inspect the production of tropo equipment for the AC&W Tropo system procured by the US Air Force for the Japanese Air Self Defense Forces. I did not meet Tom until several years later.

How did Page get the job of supervising NEC? This is another story. When the Air Force began their procurement effort they had to use the only procurement activity in Japan which was run by the US Army. The Air Force told the Army that since the Army would do the contracting that they had to provide all of the technical supervision of production and installation. The US Army Japan position was that was not their responsibility. This problem got elevated to the US Army Pacific where our Signal Officer decided that it was not the Army's responsibility but the Army would accept the responsibility. The reason for this decision was that if the Army did not accept this responsibility that the Air Force would use that against the Army in the continuing fight on the assignment for communications responsibility in various areas through the world. The Army contract to Page for the Pacific Scatter System was modified to have Page provide this support.

My boss thought I was crazy

After several days of conducting map studies in my home, I was able to determine the feasibility of a tropo scatter system from the Tokyo area, south and extending to Okinawa. Once I was sure of my facts, I talked to my boss, Major Ralph Keefer. Ralph and I were close friends and he had some respect for my technical ability. When I told him we could install a 60 to 120 channel tropo system that would pay for itself in less than a year he thought I was crazy. The told me to leave his office and not come back without his permission. For about the next 10 days I came nowhere [near] his office for I knew he meant what he had said. Off duty it was a different story. We socialized together, partied together and played golf together but the subject of tropo was never mentioned.


Finally he sent for me. He ask me to repeat what I had previously told him. He listened very intently. We then entered in what would we considered a "conspiracy". When two decide to do something without the knowledge of their superiors that is a conspiracy. He and I arranged to make secret trips to NEC

After a few more secret trips to NEC, I was able to make the first of several written proposals for what we called the Japan Tropo System.

The initial proposal was for a system from the Tokyo area south to Okinawa. We then presented this concept to our commander, Col. Thomas Riley. Col. Riley approved our plan but said he wished we had briefed him earlier.

Briefings in Japan and Korea

During the next few weeks I briefed the Air Force and Navy in Japan on the concept and the system concept was expanded to continue on to Korea and extended northward to Chitose AFB on Hokkaido, just south of the Sapporo.

After we successfully "sold" the concept to all of the military forces in Japan, Maj. Ralph Keefer went to Korea, our superior headquarters, and got the support of all of the US Forces in Korea. A copy of the original system diagram follows this article.

After a considerable amount of telex traffic, formal and informal telephone calls to the US Army Pacific, in Hawaii, we were invited to make presentations in Hawaii.

Briefings in Hawaii

Ralph and I traveled to Hawaii. We met with the Signal Officer, US Army Pacific, but he gave no indication as to whether he approved our plan or not. He said he would get in touch with us later. It became later and later and later with no word from the General. All of his staff, including our close friends, were also very closed mouth. After more than a week of waiting and doing nothing, Ralph and started to enjoy some refreshments in our room. This activity extended on into the night and the it was so late that the Officers Club dinning room was closed. The staff at the club suggested that we go off base to a bowling alley where we could get a meal. We did and decided to bowl. I had a 88 and Ralph had a 94. You can see that we had really enjoyed our refreshments earlier in the evening.

The next morning we were summoned to the General's office and told that we would brief representatives from all three services and the joint command the next morning. We were shocked but we found out why we had been kept in the dark. The General and his staff had supported the plan from the beginning but did not want for us to get our hopes up until they had worked with all of the military headquarters paving the way for our briefing. A formal message had been prepared to the Department of the Army recommending approval of the plan. Ralph made the presentation and everything went well. We returned to Japan the next day, mission completed.

Approval from Washington

There was one more step. We had to get approval from the Department of the Army and get the necessary funding. We had an ally in the Pentagon. Maj. Fred Stivers was a good friend of mine and Ralph's. We contacted Fred informally to help pave the way for Ralph to go to Washington. Ralph went to Washington and made presentations. Shortly thereafter the program was approved and funded.


During all of the time that these briefings were being conducted, our engineer, Don Brown was very busy. We had obtained some information from the Bureau of Standards on the design of tropo systems. This was long before the computer and Don did all of the complex, lengthily tropo computations using pencil, paper and a slide rule. Don was a superior engineer who was very precise in his work. A few years earlier he had been the principal engineer in the design of the Kanto Plains Microwave System.

NEC built the system

From the beginning our concept was a sole source contract to NEC with NEC performing all of the operations and maintaince. As I understand it, several years after system completion the O&M responsibility was transferred from the Army to the Air Force. The Air Force decided that the O&M had to be competed. An American firm won the contract but fell flat on their face in short order and NEC was again given the O&M contract.


I left Japan in June 1960 and lost contact with the project for three years. When I was transferred to Washington in 1963 I was happy to learn that the system was installed by NEC as originally conceived with essentially no changes. The US Forces in Japan had a greatly improved communications system with 60 voice channels going north and 120 voice channels going south with 60 going to Korea and 60 going to Okinawa.

Site visit

During the summer of 1963, during an extended trip throughout the Far East, I was able to visit Japan and visit one of the Japan Tropo stations. I visited Fuchu Air Station which was the major hub for the Tokyo area. It was a very impressive site. The path north to Sendai used octuple diversity, four frequencies and two 45 foot antennas and two kilowatt power amplifiers. NEC did not have two KW power amplifiers so they used two one KW power amplifiers in parallel. Since there were four frequencies there were eight, one KW amplifiers all in a row for the path to Sendai

Operational after 30 years

While visiting the Defense Communications Agency Engineering Office about 10 years ago, I determined that the Japan Tropo System was still operational some 30 years after the initial activation.


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  • 1 year later...

Excerpt from

Getting The Message Through : a branch history of the U.S. Army Signal Corps / by Rebecca Robbins Raines.


Modern weaponry and equipment enabled the Army to fight more effectively despite its shrinking size.

Active strength dropped below 900,000 in 1958.119 At the same time, greater reliance on high technology increased the demand for skilled communications-electronics specialists. The Signal Corps revised its training curriculum accordingly, adding such courses as atomic weapons electronics, electronic warfare equipment repair, and automatic data processing. During the four years from 1955 to 1959 the Signal Corps trained 9,000 officers and 99,000 enlisted men at its schools.120 Yet a shortage of skilled communicators became a chronic problem as the Signal Corps competed for personnel with the higher-paying civilian electronics industry.

Along with rising international tensions, the Cold War intensified domestic paranoia, and the Signal Corps became caught up in the host of Communist spy investigations and trials that pervaded the period. During the late 1940s Congressman Richard M. Nixon of California gained national prominence as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), particularly for his role in the case of Alger Hiss, a State Department official who had spied for the Russians. With Hiss and others as evidence of widespread subversion, fear


of communism became a national obsession. The trial and conviction of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1951 for passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, played out against the backdrop of the Korean War, heightened the nation's fears. Even the couple's execution in 1953 did little to reassure the American public that the Communist menace was not omnipresent.

During the early 1950s Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin attained notoriety for his investigations into alleged Communist infiltration into American government, particularly the State Department. Loyalty and conformity became paramount, and the word "McCarthyism" entered the American lexicon. Eventually the senator's attention turned to the armed forces and to the Signal Corps in particular. During World War II Julius Rosenberg had worked for the Signal Corps as an electrical engineer, though he had lost his

job in 1945 due to charges that he belonged to the Communist Party.121

The Signal Corps had scrutinized its security procedures in 1952 after a defecting East German scientist reported that he had seen microfilmed copies of documents from Fort Monmouth. The resulting investigation uncovered neither missing documents nor evidence of espionage. In addition, both the FBI and the HUAC conducted probes at Fort Monmouth to no avail. In late 1953, however, McCarthy picked up the scent, and even cut short his honeymoon in the West Indies to rush to Washington to begin hearings into subversion

within the Signal


Corps. The source of the latest accusations was Maj. Gen. Kirke B. Lawton, commander of Fort Monmouth, who had secretly warned the senator of possible subversion at the post. McCarthy used his committee's hearings to fan fears that a spy ring started by Rosenberg continued in operation at the Evans Signal Laboratory. During the probe the Army suspended many civilians from their jobs, but no indictments ever resulted.122 McCarthy tried again to implicate the Signal Corps the following year when he accused a civilian employee, Mrs. Annie Lee Moss, of being a member of the Communist Party and having access to top secret messages as an Army code clerk. These allegations were also never proven.123

The most immediate result of these investigations into the Signal Corps was their effect on McCarthy himself, for they contributed greatly to his political downfall. Televised proceedings of his subcommittee, known as the Army McCarthy hearings, began in April 1954 and created a national sensation. The senator's virulent attacks on the Army helped to turn public opinion against him.

In December 1954 the Senate condemned McCarthy, who thereafter retreated from the public spotlight and died in 1957.124

During this period of turmoil Maj. Gen. James D. O'Connell succeeded General Back as chief signal officer in May 1955. Commissioned in the Infantry after graduating from West Point in 1922, O'Connell joined the Signal Corps in 1928. The next year he entered the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University where he

received a Master of Science degree in communication engineering in 1930. During World War II he served in Europe with the signal


section of Headquarters, 12th Army Group. After the war he became director of the Fort Monmouth laboratories, followed by a tour as signal officer of the Eighth Army in Japan. Before becoming chief signal officer, O'Connell served as Back's deputy. With his promotion to lieutenant general in 1958, O'Connell became the first chief signal officer to hold that rank. His tenure as chief included the exciting achievements made during the IGY, and he helped launch the Signal Corps into the

computer age through his support of the Fieldata program.125

When O'Connell retired in April 1959, his deputy, Maj. Gen. Ralph T. Nelson, replaced him effective on 1 May. Nelson, a member of the West Point class of 1928, had served in both World War II and Korea. He subsequently commanded the Signal Corps training center at Fort Gordon and the Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca. Like O'Connell, Nelson possessed the technical background necessary to steer the Corps through the revolutionary changes taking place in communications.126

Organization, Training, and Operations, 1960-1964

In 1960 the Signal Corps celebrated its centennial: A century had passed since Congress had authorized the addition of a signal officer to the Army Staff on 21 June 1860 and Albert J. Myer had received the appointment six days later. The year-long observance (21 June 1960 to 21 June 1961) included: a traveling exhibit that visited all major Signal Corps installations, the Pentagon, and the Smithsonian; the publication of numerous articles in newspapers and magazines about the Signal Corps; a special broadcast of "The Big Picture"; and the burial of a centennial time capsule at Fort Monmouth. The Signal Corps could

indeed look back with pride on one hundred years of growth and accomplishment. Having become the Army's third largest branch, comprising about 7 percent of its strength, it had taken military communications from waving flags to speeding electrons and orbiting satellites.127

The Signal Corps began its second century, however, with some drastic changes. The centralization of authority that had resulted in the creation of the Department of Defense increasingly insinuated itself into the operations of the Army and resulted in the erosion of power traditionally held by the technical services. In 1955, for instance, the position of chief of research and development had been added to the Army Staff to supervise this functional area, cutting across the traditional authority of each of the technical bureaus.128

Later, in 1960, the Defense Communications Agency was created to operate and manage the new Defense Communications System. This worldwide, long-haul system provided secure communications for the president, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, government agencies, and the military services.129 The system incorporated the facilities of the ACAN-renamed the Strategic Army Communications Network (STARCOM)-which the Signal Corps continued to operate.130 In another

significant shift, the Signal Corps regained its status as a combat arm, which it had lost


ten years before. In 1961 Army regulations designated the Signal Corps (along with the Corps of Engineers) as both a combat arm and a technical service.131

In that same year the new president, John E Kennedy, and his secretary of defense, Robert S. McNamara, set out to reorganize and strengthen the armed forces to allow for a more flexible response to international crises. Concurrently, McNamara initiated far-reaching managerial reforms within the Defense Department that shifted power from the military services to the civilian bureaucracy. In conjunction with these changes at the higher levels, McNamara directed a thorough reorganization of the Army Staff. On 16 January 1962 President Kennedy submitted a plan to Congress that abolished the technical services, with the exception of the Medical Department. Congress raised no objections, and the reorganization became effective on 17 February. Although the positions of the chief chemical officer, the chief of ordnance, and the quartermaster general all disappeared, the chief signal officer and the chief of transportation were retained as special

staff officers rather than as chiefs of services. The chief of engineers retained his civil functions only, while the chief signal officer now reported to the deputy chief of staff for military operations (DCSOPS).132 By eliminating the technical services as independent agencies, McNamara succeeded where Somervell and others had failed.

For the Signal Corps, the McNamara reforms wrought a fundamental transformation. Functional commands took over most of the chief signal officer's duties: the Combat Developments Command became responsible for doctrine; the Continental Army Command (CONARC) took over schools and training; and the Army Materiel Command (AMC) acquired authority for research and development, procurement, supply, and maintenance. While signal soldiers continued to receive assignments within the branch and to wear the crossed flags and torch insignia, personnel assignment and career management became the province of the

Office of Personnel Operations. The Signal Corps even lost control of its home, as Fort Monmouth became the headquarters of the Electronics Command, an element of the AMC. Despite the changes in the chain of command at Monmouth, the U.S. Army Signal Center and School remained there, for a time, to maintain the history and traditions of the Corps. Having surrendered much of his domain, the chief signal officer nevertheless retained control over strategic communications, largely because there was no functional

command to which to assign them.133

Chief Signal Officer Nelson, who had favored the reorganization, left the Army at the end of June 1962 before the reforms had been fully implemented.134 His successor, Maj. Gen. Earle F. Cook, retired in frustration in June 1963. Before relinquishing his post, he spoke frankly to the chief of staff, General Earle G. Wheeler, telling him that he had found "after one year's functioning under the 1962 Army reorganization that there is lacking in elements of the Army Staff a proper understanding of Army communications and electronics and the role of the Chief Signal Officer."135 Having been apprised of the problems, Wheeler directed that

a board be assembled to study signal activities.

Made up of general


officers from all the major staff elements in the Department of the Army, the so-called Powell Board (for General Herbert B. Powell, commander of CONARC) made recommendations that resulted in further modifications to the organization and operations of the Signal Corps.

As proposed by the board, the Army established on 1 March 1964 the Office of the Chief of Communications-Electronics, a subordinate agency of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, to replace the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. The incumbent, Maj. Gen. David P Gibbs (son of Maj. Gen. George S. Gibbs, who had held the post from 1928 to 1931), thus became the last to bear the title of chief signal officer and the first to be chief of communications-electronics. Ironically, his father had

advocated the creation of such a staff position twenty years earlier. While the new title perhaps more accurately described the broad nature and scope of the chief's work, it severed the historic connection with the branch's past. After 104 years, the long chain of chief signal officers, stretching back to the Corps' founder, Albert J. Myer, had been broken.136

Concurrently, the staff and command responsibilities of the chief signal officer were separated. Gibbs turned over control of strategic communications to the newly established Strategic Communications Command (STRATCOM), with headquarters in Washington, D.C.137 This major command became responsible for the management of all long-distance Army communications and for engineering, installing, operating, and maintaining the Army portions of the Defense Communications System. Henceforth, Gibbs and his successors became advisers


to the Army Staff on communications-electronics issues. Other principal responsibilities included radio-frequency and call-sign management and use, communications security, and Army representation on boards and committees dealing with communications-electronics matters. Gibbs retained control of the Army Photographic Agency in the Pentagon, while the Army Pictorial Center at Astoria became part of the AMC.138

Despite the radical realignment, Gibbs declared himself pleased with the new arrangement:

I firmly believe these changes in the management of Communications and Electronics in the Army to be a step in the proper direction. It has clarified many of those gray areas surrounding our previous organization involving the responsibilities of the Chief Signal Officer, and the alignment of the Army long-haul communications functions.139

Relieved of his Signal Corps operational duties, the chief of communications-electronics could adopt an Army-wide perspective. Concurrent with the reorganization of the Army Staff, the Army's tactical divisions underwent restructuring. Early in 1962 the Army began implementing the Reorganization Objective Army Divisions (ROAD) plan. The battle groups of the pentomic divisions had proven too weak for conventional war, and the Kennedy administration's strategy of flexible response emphasized the waging of atomic wars only as a last resort. Hence the Army formed four new types of divisions: infantry, armor, airborne, and mechanized, each with a common base and three brigade headquarters. The division base contained the support units, including a signal battalion comprised of three companies, one to support each brigade.140 The Army was still in the throes of these changes when a new series of crises threatened the world with war.

From Cold War to Hot

The administration of John F. Kennedy faced several serious international incidents during its brief tenure. One of the earliest occurred during August 1961 when the Soviet Union attempted to expel the Western powers from their occupation zones in the former German capital of Berlin. The showdown that resulted led to the building of the Berlin Wall by the Soviets to separate the eastern and western sectors of the city and thereby halt the flight of East Germans to freedom. In response, the Army deployed additional forces to Europe that included two signal battalions and eight signal companies.141

[Robert: Also see Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, & The Most Dangerous Place On Earth - Frederick Kempe G. P. Putnam's Sons - 2011]

Troubles also arose closer to home, in the Caribbean. Tensions between the United States and Cuba had been rising since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, transforming the island into a Communist state. Castro's increasing ties to the Soviet Union threatened American security interests in the hemisphere, and the Eisenhower administration had severed diplomatic ties on the eve of Kennedy's inauguration.

Relations soured further in April 1961 when the United States supported an unsuccessful invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs. The following year the regional dispute threatened to explode into global war. In October 1962 American intelligence sources detected the pres-


ence in Cuba of Soviet medium-range missiles, capable of reaching American cities. President Kennedy demanded their removal and ordered the Navy to prevent the further delivery to Cuba of all offensive equipment. For thirteen anxious days the United States and the Soviet Union stood on the brink of nuclear war. Fortunately, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev backed down and ordered the missiles removed. The Cold War had reached its apogee.142

Signal support during the Cuban crisis had been hampered by the "fog of reorganization." Confusion resulting from the recent realignment of the Army Staff had excluded the chief signal officer from the initial operational planning.143 Furthermore, throughout the tense period communications between the United States and the Soviet Union had been plagued by frequent delays.

As a consequence, the two superpowers established the "hot line" between Washington and Moscow, and the operation of this vital link became a STRATCOM responsibility.144

With tensions in Europe and the Caribbean abating somewhat, the focus of the Cold War once again shifted to Asia. If Korea had seemed remote to most Americans in 1950, then Indochina-Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia-evoked a similar reaction in the early 1960s. In just a few years, however, there would be few Americans who remained unaware of its existence. As U.S. involvement expanded in Southeast Asia, Army communicators became an integral part of the process-applying the latest technology in a conflict that pitted the world's most sophisticated power against a seemingly backward, primitive foe.


Robert: As to state the obvious the Army Signal Corps, bear an important relationship to the communications network that was in place in 1963, not to mention President Kennedy's trip to Texas. I have refrained from making comments, as I believe the subject matter should be the focus, although it should be pointed out that this thread is intertwined with the various Air Force One Tapes and Collins Radio thread.

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 4 months later...

Although Army Intelligence is not in the name of this thread, whereas the Army Signal Corp is, certain posts do delve into that area such as Colonel Boris Pash. As time goes by I don't really like getting real involved in other persons threads, so for at least the time being. I want to try to use this thread to connect some dots that pertain to other threads, such as those involving General Curtis LeMay, Operation Valkyrie to cite a couple.

I believe the research into Army Intelligence in relation to Dallas has improved thanks to Bill Kelly and others, recently I discovered a book I was not aware of entitled In The Shadow of The Sphinx: A History of Counterintelligence by James Gilbert, John P. Finnegan and Ann Bray. Ann Bray is now deceased, if I am not mistaken.

It is on google books, but not in its entirety.....

While the book has a lot of appeal, I certainly wouldn't buy it for leads into the JFK Assassination, at least not literally.

Finnegan also wrote The Military Intelligence Story: A Photo History

both are available as ebooks....

Below is an excerpt from the latter. I felt it was worth selecting....

The Military Intelligence Story: A Photo History

page 20

....the shock of the Korean War did give a new impetus to the development of Army intelligence. There was a rapid growth both in personnel and in organizational structure. At the Department of the Army level, the staff of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, reached a strength of over 1,000 personnel. For the first time in its history, the Army fielded large intelligence units: military intelligence service groups, and battalion groups organized on cellular lines. The Army Security Agency was revitalized by the Korean War. Previously, most ASA assets had been concentrated at fixed sites, performing a peacetime strategic mission. The agency now found a new role in providing support to tactical operations, activating communication reconnaissance groups, battalions, and companies to support commanders at every level.

In the aftermath of Korea, Army intelligence move towards greater professionalism while attempting to exploit the potentialities of new technologies. The perceived need for a new emphasis on human intelligence led the Army to introduce a training course in this discipline in 1954. In the process, the mission of the existing Counterintelligence School at Fort Holabird, Maryland was expanded and it became the Army Intelligence School.

The following year, all combat intelligence training was centralized at Holabird. Army Security Agency personnel however, continued to train at ASA’s own facility at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

Integration of intelligence disciplines in training was followed by attempts at greater integration in the field.

In 1957, the Army developed new units, organized under the ”Military Intelligence Organization” concept that incorporated counterintelligence, combat intelligence and human intelligence specialists under a single battalion. In 1961, CIC and human intelligence personnel were consolidated under a single Intelligence Corps.

In 1965, the Chief Counterintelligence Corps was given an additional assignment as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence Command, a new Army major command which had the mission of controlling all counterintelligence operations in the United States. This presented span-of-control problems however, and the Intelligence Corps was discontinued as part of the solution. In 1955, the Army Security Agency redefined its own mission, absorbing responsibility for conducting electronic intelligence and communications related electronic warfare operations from the Army Signal Corps. In turn, ASA surrendered its functions of cryptomateriel distribution and repair to the Signal Corps. The realignment was logical since electronic intelligence was an aspect of what was now known as signal intelligence (SIGINT) and since electronic warfare closely impacted on signals intelligence and used the same types of equipment.

Since ASA had become the proponent of a weapons system- electronic warfare- it was relieved of direct subordination to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence and placed under control of the Army Chief of Staff. The Army continued to make large strides in the areas of serial reconnaissance and photo intelligence. Reconnaissance helicopters entered the Army inventory, replacing the “Piper-Cub”-type aircraft on which the Army had relied on since World War II. In 1959, the Army acquired a dedicated surveillance arircraft, the AO-1 “Mohawk.” The Mohawk could be variously equipped with aerial cameras, side-looking airborne radars, or infrared-sensors. Additionally, the Army acquired access to national-imagery products during the 1950’s, and fielded its first military intelligence battalions, aerial reconnaissance supports to exploit photographs generated by Air Force platforms. Because of the growing importance of infra-red and radar, the discipline of PHOTINT was officially redesignated as imagery intelligence-IMINT-in 1964.

The evolution of the discreet disciplines within military intelligence in the 1950’s and 1960’s, was paralleled by two other developments. One was a move toward centralization. In 1958, a reorganization of the Department of Defense had eliminated the responsibilities of the individual armed services for warfighting. Under the new concept, each armed service would be responsible for procuring, training and supplying its own troops to unified and specified military commands operating under the umbrella of the joint chiefs of Staff. The logic of this approach carried over into the intelligence field. In 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, created a unified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). DIA exercised responsibilities for most intelligence production and was responsible for administering a unified defense attache system. It absorbed much of the staff of the Office of the Assistant Chief for Intelligence. The second significant development that took place during this period was the Army’s decision to place military intelligence on equal a professional footing. Ever since World War II, intelligence staff positions had been held by officers detailed from the combat arms, while the overwhelming majority of intelligence officers performing specialized assignments had been reservists who chose to remain on active duty. Although there were Military Intelligence and Army Security Branches in the Army Reserve, these were not open to active duty personnel.

However, by 1962, most reservists performing intelligence duties were due to retire. Meanwhile, it became apparent that appropriate leadership for the large intelligence units now fielded by the Army could only be provided by professional intelligence officers, just as the existence of ordnance units implied the need for an Ordnance Branch. Responding to these needs, the Army created an Army Intelligence and Security Branch in 1962, to perform combat service support functions. In 1967, this was given the more appropriate designation of the Military Intelligence (MI) Branch, and its functions upgraded to provide combat support. While these units were in train, the nation and its Army were becoming growingly involved in a new foreign policy crisis. Ever since 1954, the United States had supported the government of Vietnam with military advisors. As that government came under increasing pressure from a Communist-backed insurgency, more advisors were sent in, along with helicopters and aircraft. South Vietnam became a demonstration setting to prove that counterinsurgency techniques and “nation-building” could defeat a guerilla threat. Unfortunately, the demonstration went awry; by 1965 the United States was involved in a full-scale land and air war in the jungles on the mainland of Asia.

end page 21


Regarding the Defense Intelligence Agency, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, the DIA was headed by Lt. General Joseph F. Carroll. He was a most logical choice to head that agency, he had been a FBI agent, and a strong background into security matters; he was very involved in key affairs of the JFK Administration....to say the least

His son, James Carroll is the author of House of War: The Pentagon & The Disastrous Rise of American Power.

This book is the definitive history of the Pentagon and the ghosts that once walked its ground.

It is an incredible book, one of the details I have learned from reading it, is that when Robert McNamara was JFK's Secretary of Defense, he asked to see the Pentagon's War Plans and was told that he "lacked clearance."

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 1 year later...

Since the Education Forum is about to be history, I thought I would post something on this thread, that was at least compelling to me.

As time goes by the British have become more of a part of the equation in the overall Kennedy saga, than many other things. Bletchley

Park, as everyone knows was to England what Arlington Hill was to America, back in that era 1943 UK/USA BRUSA agreement, etc.

I will not recapitulate the factoids of military individuals involved in World War II, who also appear in the JFK Saga, except to say.

that when I first started surfing twitter, I ran across Stephen Fry, the noted British actor, whom I really am a fan of, [he is

currently in the 24 Series with Keefer Sutherland and portrays the British Prime Minister], anyway a few months ago, I saw a Tweet

which stated something to the effect that ......"Oswald worked with us on the Lorenz code, we that he was dull."

People make a lot of assumptions about things hitherto not known, it happens all the time. So I am not saying that the person above

Denis Oswald [senior codebreaker and linguist at Bletchley Park during World War II], was related to Lee Oswald of New Orleans, Louisiana

but I would also not assume, there is nothing to note genealogically either.....

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Since the Education Forum is about to be history, I thought I would post something on this thread, that was at least compelling to me.

As time goes by the British have become more of a part of the equation in the overall Kennedy saga, than many other things. Bletchley

Park, as everyone knows was to England what Arlington Hill was to America, back in that era 1943 UK/USA BRUSA agreement, etc.

I will not recapitulate the factoids of military individuals involved in World War II, who also appear in the JFK Saga, except to say.

that when I first started surfing twitter, I ran across Stephen Fry, the noted British actor, whom I really am a fan of, [he is

currently in the 24 Series with Keefer Sutherland and portrays the British Prime Minister], anyway a few months ago, I saw a Tweet

which stated something to the effect that ......"Oswald worked with us on the Lorenz code, we that he was dull."

People make a lot of assumptions about things hitherto not known, it happens all the time. So I am not saying that the person above

Denis Oswald [senior codebreaker and linguist at Bletchley Park during World War II], was related to Lee Oswald of New Orleans, Louisiana

but I would also not assume, there is nothing to note genealogically either.....


You wrote " ' ... we that he was dull.' "


--Tommy :sun

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Sorry about that; here is the actual text

Stephen FryVerified account@stephenfry 28 Nov 2012

@Dr_Black Just discovered that Denis Oswald who taught me maths at school worked on the Lorenz code at Bletchley. We thought he was dull!


Edited by Robert Howard
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