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This is apropos of nothing

Just needed to share.


Field Station Bad Aibling


Source: Email from Thomas Nunn

I served in Germany from Jan 1970 till Mar 1972 -- as a member of the Army Security Agency

On our door was a timelock -- which opened every 8 hours to allow for shift change. We monitored "Scheds", or scheduled transmissions, in 8 different languages.

We also had sections listening to the other Iron Curtain countries and one listening to a "mysterious" signal coming from "outer space". We even had a section listening to the Soviet space missions.

Steve Thomas

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Interesting since as far is is known officially the Air Force did and does run the broad signals intelligence and monitoring missions for NSA - requires some very special antenna arrays. That would include monitoring Soviet space transmissions - and just to make it a little less mysterious, there have always been unknown space signals in play, normally associated with unacknowledged spacecraft or with secondary transmissions from non military Soviet satellites (that would be non military in name only...grin). I'm sure Army did Signals intel collection in Germany but I would assume it would be largely tactical, signal collections off Soviet and East German forces. I'll do a check on Army Security intercepts...

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I've known a couple of AF intercept folks and they have been disinclined to say anything beyond what their job category was, what command and what their headquarters was. Of course that is public knowledge and anyone that has a copy of Richelson's books on the US Intel Community can readily find out about who does what in Signals and Electronics intel and who gets copied.

If anyone has SWHT you will find some relevant details about the Air Force side of such signals intelligence in Europe, conducted out of Scotland and England back in the day in Appendix E

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Funny... I have some comments but I'm not sure what I can or should not say... even 25-30 years out.


I understand.

I've been reading through some of the comments from the Army Security Agency guys in Germany from the 1950's and 60's.

Their time seemed to be spent divided between utter boredom and abject terror.

This was around the time when the Berlin Wall went up.

They are getting up into their 70's and 80's now and want to reminisce.

A couple of examples:

(Source: Email from Jack Welch, Det K, Vienna & Det L, Nottau)

I was originally with the 328 C/R Co, in Bad Aibling from February 1955 to July 1956.

Detachment L (Nottau)

Det. L was about 20 Ks east of Passau in a little town called Nottau. We have a web site that I am able to hear from some of the guys. I'm about the oldest one left (82). I know most of the others have gone to the Great Beyond. When Austria shut down we received about 20 guys from (the ASA site at) Wels, Austria sometime after July 1955. We used to eat in a squad tent and by that time we lived in 3 of the neighbors houses. Great Duty -- Stay out of trouble, do your job, drink a lot of beer, and keep your mouth shut.


(Source: Email from Wilson Gray, Processing Co, 1961; 78th USASA SOU, Berlin, 1961-63)

In Jan-Aug 1961, I served with the Processing Company of the 507th USASA Gp in Heilbronn (Badnerhof Kaserne) and in Baumholder (Faulenberg Kaserne), before foolishly volunteering to go to Berlin, then learning that Processing Co. was being redesignated the 251st and being transferred to Frankfurt, my favorite city in Germany.

The 507th did have its own "Air Force" in Heilbronn, but, as far as I know, it was used mainly to ferry people to TDY at remote sites. Of course, in those days, at least, "need-to-know" was taken very seriously and I had no need to know more than that.

Processing Co. was divided into three "sections:" Silver Section, Blue Section, and Orange Section.

A good buddy of mine transferred from Silver to Blue. He refused to tell me what Blue did, despite the fact that we had been asshole buddies since our days at the Army Language School. I had no need to know. Silver Section reworked and corrected the carbon copies of rough translations of Russian COMINT done in real time by Special Operations Units and other remote and airborne sites. It was a nice, civilian-style, 9-5, 40-hour-a-week job. By comparison, the 'round-the-clock, seven-days-a-week work in Berlin truly SUCKED!!!

Processing Co. personnel flew COMINT missions in USAF B-29's. A member of Mary Co. (so-called by HHC, "Animal Co." of the 507th because it was made up of 99.44% Army Language School grads, "Monterey Marys"), McNabb - I can't recall his first name - was killed in 1961 when his B-29 crashed returning from such a mission. If there's a memorial to Agency personnel - uh, "human resources" - killed in the line of duty, McNabb's name ought to be on it.

(Source: Email from Neil Piercey, 184th ASA Co and 182nd ASA Co, 1958- )

After completing basic training and 056 training at Ft. Devens, I was assigned to the 184th ASA Co, Rothwesten in 7-58

319th ASA Battalion (Corps)

507th ASA Group (Army)


By this time, I had completed my first year of duty in Europe. I was then transferred to the 182nd ASA Co, at Herzo Base. I was immediately given an assignment to an outstation in Giebelstadt. We lived on a small Air Force base, and were supported with housing, rations, fuel, etc. by the Air Force. The purpose of this Air Force unit was to support the U2 spy plane. We could look out our barracks window and watch the U2 land and take off.

Our site was off base and the Air Force pretty much left us alone. To make it even better, I became friends with some of the APs, who would get me out of trouble with the local police occasionally.

Steve Thomas

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