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Memories of a Special Forces Soldier
Home Before Special Forces 10th SFGA 8th SFGA - Panama.
10th Special Forces Group (Abn)

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10th SFGA Crest

The 10th Special Forces Group was located at Bad Toelz and Lenngries, Germany.  HHC and Co E(Sig) were located iin Bad Toelz.  Flint Kaserne  was three stories high and square with a large parade ground in the middle. It had an undisclosed number of sub-floors, some rumored to still be booby-trapped by Nazi soldiers.  At one time, Flint Kaserne was the home of the German Army Officer Academy.  It also housed the Seventh Army NCO Academy.  a P.X., mess hall, AMEX bank, EM Club, NCO Club, a gym and indoor olympic pool -- all under one roof!!  It was possible to go anywhere in the Kaserne without going outside.
 
 The Group Crest is based around the Trojan Horse -- a symbol of stealth.  I was a member of the Trojan Underwater Recovery Detachment ( an interesting acronym).
 
The operational (Line) Companies were located about ten miles away,  across the Isar River from Lenggries.  Prinz Heinrich Kaserne housed companies A,B and C as well as the 402d ASA detachment which provided signal intelligence for us.  Lenggries was the home of the 10th SFGA Operational detachments as well as the 7th Army Signal School and USAREUR Dog Training Detacgment.  It was located at the foot of the Alps and within sight of Austria.
 
A friend of mine just returned from a trip to Bad Toelz and Lenggries.  The 10th SF relocated to Ft. Devons, Mass in the early seventies and the compounds have been allowed to deteriorate.  Prinz Heinrich had hand painted murals over the barracks entrances and was quite beautiful.  We even had details in the Spring to break-up and melt the snow in the quadrangle to beutify the area.

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Flint Kaserne

Bad Toelz.

Flint Kaserne was the home of the 10th Special Forces Group in Germany.  This picture iwas taken looking across the quadrangle towards the main gate.  In the winter, the quadrangle was flooded and used for an ice rink for the Army Youth Assoc.

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Entrance to Co A
Lenggries.

Prinz Heinrich Kaserne is located in Lenggries, about 10 miles from Bad Toelz.  The Barracks entrances were decorated in the Bavarian tradition.

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Lenggries

The road from Prinz Heinrich Kaserne towards the village of Lenngries.  Isaac Camacho parked his new Cougar half way up one of the trees in the foreground.
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Flint Kaserne
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Lenggries

Looking across the quad from Co A.  Co C is on the right and the 402d ASA is on the left.
 
The picture on the left is a distant view of FlintKaserne.  Behind the Kaserne you see ski slopes .  Group HQ bought season tickets for the lower slopes as well as the cable car to the top.  The lower slopes were opened at night and I spent many evenings there.  The mountain is the Brauneck.  The first time I skied (fell) down the mountain, I took about three hours.  I got to where I could do it in about twenty minutes.  A one legged German held the time record for descending the front slope. As a side note: there was a rumor that the 10th Group had its own ward in the orthopedic section of the Hospital in Munich.  Like driving, skiing and drinking don't mix.

Signal Company

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.

My Rig
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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!

Inside AN/GRC-41

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.

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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.
Holt and Charland

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.

Jim Holt

L'il ol me.

Team Training
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Team Tra9ining
Sedgwick, Zink, Jacques, Freeman, Valuenzuela.

Alex Jongbloed
Roy Aslanian
Carey, Sweeney, Hayes.

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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.

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The Brauneck behind PHK.

The Geierstein
At the top of the Brauneck and where we conducted a lot of Rock Climbing training.
Off the coast of Livorno, Italy

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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.

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5th Special Forces Group (Abn), Vietnam

Memories of a Special Forces Soldier