|Signal Company party
|Schooner Race Champs
The 10th Group was one of the originals. Many of the soldiers
were refugees from Soviet Bloc countries and had years of experience. They really had no use for a "cherry",like me
on the operational detachments. New commo personnel were assigned to Signal Company, I hated it at the time but
later realised that I had gained a lot of experience and confidence in Signal company.
|AN/GRC-41 Receiver rig E-13.
The AN/ GRC-41
consisted of two receivers, R-390A, one transmitter, T-368, a land line teletype for communication between the receiver and
the ComCen and a 10KW generator. We were safe sitting on our ten big rubber tires, but one day we got in a hurry and didn't
ground the rig. The Command Sergeant Major came out for a "visit". As soon as he grabbed the metal ladder he was
knocked right on his ass. I can lay claim to the fact that I knocked CSM Pioletti on his ass - hee,hee,hee!
Our primary mission was to provide radio communications, via morse code, between the SFOB and
deployed detachments. I recall one exercise just prior to graduating to Co A when the entire group was deployed all
over Germany and Belgium. Thirty six A-teams with two contacts per day added up to a contact every 20 minutes.
They really kept us busy. In addition we supported airborne operations at the Drop Zones and at Neubiburg German
Air Base located outside Munich. Just for practice we sometimes used IMC. This was great practice necessitating
copying and receiving code in one's head rather than from paper. Finally I was promoted to Sgt and re-enlisted and graduated
to the "Real Deal" - a Special Forces "Line" company.
LIFE ON AN A-TEAM
|Carey, Sweeney, Daniels, Freeman and Hayes.
It was in Lenngries that I learned of the
true meaning of the A-Team. I was assigned to Co A and further assigned as the 05B of Det. A-2. This was in 1964
and Vietnam was beginning to draw from the 10th. Det A-2 was a composite of A-1 and A-2. There weren't enough
personnel to fill both teams. At times we had as many as fifteen members on the team. I was the youngster on the team.
These professionals took me under their wing and made a real soldier out of me. What I learned from these professionals
carried me through Vietnam and the rest of my career. The team consisted of MSG Bill Holz, SFC Bob Daniels, SFC Bill Frigo,
SFC Elden Cross, SSG Kramer Reagen, SFC Jack Carey, SFC Ronnie Marr, SSG Alex Jongbloed, SSG Jim Holt,
SP5 Ted Goebel and me.
Don't pay much attention to the rank since this was aolmost forty
years ago and most retired as Sergeants Major or Officers. In addition, through rotation, there was Cpt Abbot ,Lt Bloemhard,
Lt. Hirsch, MSG Valuenzuela, SFC Charland, SFC Marty Freeman, SFC Delbert Hayes, SP5 Aslanian, SP5 Hayes, Sgt Jacques
and Sgt Zink.
Everything we did was as a team -- training and partying.
Whenever the Company or Group tried to pull one or two out for training the Tm. Sgt. said take all of us or none!! Bob
Daniels was particularly strong on this. He had graduated from the Italian Alpini Mountaineer Course, and Group wanted
him to pick a committee to conduct mountain training for the Group. He said that the team was his committee and trained
all of us before we trained the rest of the Group. Another time they were going to send the Tm. Ldr, XO and a few NCO's to
Czech school. MSG Valuenzuela said again:"All or none" and we went as a team. This closeness is part of the strength
of the Special Forces A-Team.
|Sedgwick, Zink, Jacques, Freeman, Valuenzuela.
As I mentioned earlier, my MOS was that of a radio supervisor.
The COMMO man was critical to the team. As a result I was always protected and never allowed to accompany the team on
the "fun things" like raids and ambushes. Clandestine communications were a must. I never operated from within the base
camp, changed my transmission site on every transmission, and broke down and moved out ASAP after a transmission. Our
potential foe was the Soviet Block and their SIGINT was probably on a par with ours. They could track radios and operators
around the world. Our normal foes came from the 24 ID. They quickly learned that one way to spot a team was by
spotting the antenna which may have been left up. Those who took short cuts and failed to take extraordinary precautions
were scarfed up. As a point of interest, there were several instances of Russians imitating our Base Stations and A-Teams.
Proper Sig Security was a must.
In addition, the Communications supervisor was required to set up and put into operation an
internal communications system within the Area of Operations. This included electronic and non-electronic means.
The AN/GRC-109 was the primary radio of the Specil Forces
operational detachments. Anything larger belonged to Signal Company. This radio was known as the radio in a
shoe box. What you see on the table is the receiver and transmitter components. The Angry 109 was really a radio
in four shoe boxes. It evolved from the RS-1 which was used by the OSS and various U.S. supported underground units
during WWII. The radio was capable of operating on almost any ac/dc power available at the time. It could operate
off of 6 volt wet cell batteries, and the universal power supply vould accept almost any commercial AC power as well as power
from a generator. It also had a hand-crank generator. The good thing was that the commo man didn't have to crank.
The RS-1 was modified to accept a burst transmission device and became the Angry 109. It's case was water proof and
the radio could be buried in the ground or submerged in a body of water to be later recovered and put into operation.
Thus the underground could casche radios in various locations and move from site to site without carrying the radio.
It operated only on CW (morse code), and had a maxumum output of 15 watts. At our operating frequencies it put out around
8 watts. Because of the limited power, wave propagation and antenna theory were extremely important. This is where
a good commo man made his bread and butter -- proper site and antenna selection and construction. Even on 8 watts I
have personally operated from Germany to Ft. Bragg.
|At the top of the Brauneck and where we conducted a lot of Rock Climbing training.
|Off the coast of Livorno, Italy
|I must have done something right - for a change!
I spent three years in the 10th SFGA, and of all assignments it is my most memorable. Once I made
it to Lenngries, I stayed with the same team for the entire time. I had never been on skis before in my life, and I
left as a certified ski instructor, from a German Ski School. I became SCUBA qualified. Probably, of all the skills
I acquired, I liked rock climbing the least. Someone asked me why, since I was also a "freefall" nut. I told him
that with a parachute you only hit once but a mountain beats you to death all of the way down. I had many memorable times
in Munich. It seems that every Saturday night I would lose my car, take a train back to Toelz and go back the next day
to find it.
I still have many stories of Germany but it's time to move on the Vietnam.
5th Special Forces Group (Abn), Vietnam
Memories of a Special Forces Soldier