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Monday, May 28, 2012

28 MAY 12

Lest we forget ...
It's Memorial Day ... and memory can be a fickle thing. What runs through my mind, today, are transient thoughts of the funny things that happened throughout my ASA days. Back at Phu Bai ... this one time, there was a SP5 TA guy getting ready to DEROS. I can't remember his name but I remember that he was tall, slightly plump and balding w/brown hair. The closer he got to his port-call date, the more nervous he became. The morning that he actually was to board a 130, he was a basket case ... sure that the VC were gonna get him, or the plane, before he left the country. We got him through breakfast, into a jeep, and on board the plane without too much trouble. He was, finally, stateside bound with orders for VHFS.

Seems that some things don't change much ... From the book, "The Long Walk," by Brian Castner:
(A tale of his time in Iraq with EOD.)
"It was bad luck to die at all, but getting schwacked with three weeks left, two weeks left, one week, would be the height of tragedy." 

That ol' "short-timer's" attitude is still around.

 Seems most all the TA people from the 8th were going to VHFS.

I ended up there in July of '68 ... Det "A," doing the Wide Band shuffle ... along with all the others. ( It was like Old Home week.) When I walked into the shop and looked around, I finally asked where (?) was working. Everybody started laughing ... then told me that he'd just been sent for 6 months TDY back to Saigon. He'd not been a happy camper about that. 
I laughed 'till tears came from my eyes. 
(Dear (?), if you are here and reading this, you have my apologies for laughing at your discomfort ... though, at the time, it was very funny to us all.)

 The humor here is in the irony ... this one guy being sent back to a place he feared and hated ... when there were plenty of others willing to take his place ... but the army wasn't listening. It happened lots of times ... there once was an 05D who was scheduled to transfer to The Bahamas. He didn't want to go, had found a new girl friend and planned to marry. Another fellow, an 05D, was willing to re-enlist just for the Bahama assignment ... the army wouldn't let them swap. We could never figure out the whim of the assignment gods.

Just finished watching Channel 19, MeTV. They're having a Memorial Day military-show marathon.
Was watching "Combat." Good show ... for the 1960's ... though still full of Hollywood bullshit. Germans and Americans, a fire-fight at night. They can still see each other across a field ... Huh?  It's night, it's raining. There are no lights. It should be pitch black. It's not. If I step out onto my back deck right now, turn out the lights, I'll  not see a thing past the railing. All else is gone ... black night. Hollywood ... dipshits. 
(Another thing ... why is it that veteran German machine gunners cannot hit what they aim at, while an American GI private, firing a semi-auto M-1 Garand, kills entire squads of the enemy?)

Finished reading the novelized version of the movie, "Battleship." More Hollywood bullshit. It's clear that the author never spent time with anybody in the navy. He continuously refers to the inflatable boats as "ship." He has the ad hoc crew of the USS Missouri manhandle a 16" shell through the narrow passageways, up into a turret and place it into the breach, ramming it home! Never occurs to him that a 16" shell has NO handholds and weighs 2000 pounds. Hollywood dipshit.  



Saturday, May 26, 2012

26 MAY 12

The day dawned warm and sunny.
It quickly grew warmer ... the thermometer
on my back deck rose to read 90 degrees
in the shade.

Clouds have moved in ... gray skies and
distant thunder. Looks like it's gonna rain.

Veterans in the area are manning "Watch Fires"
at the county Veterans Memorial Park.
There's been vandalism in the past and the vets
want no more of that. If I feel okay, I'm going
to join in tonight ... for awhile, at least.

Didn't make it ... was feeling poorly.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

22 MAY 12

Auld Lang Syne ...

The United States Army Security Agency

HQ, USASA - Arlington, VA, USA 
(Arlington Hall Station)

USASA Training Center & School - Fort Devens, MA, USA

 1st USASA Field Station - Warrenton, VA, USA
 (Vint Hill Farm Station)

 2nd USASA Field Station -Petaluma, CA, USA
 (Two-Rock Ranch Station)

 3rd USASA Field Station - Sobe, Okinawa
 (Torii Station)

 4th USASA Field Station - Asmara, Ethiopia
 (Kagnew Station)

 5th USASA Field Station - Helemano, HI, USA
 (Helemano Station)

 6th USASA Field Station - Holmstead AFB, FL, USA
 (Seminole Station)

 7th Radio Research Field Station - Udorn, Thailand
 (Ramasun Station)

 8th Radio Research Field Station - Phu Bai, Vietnam
 (Trai Bac Station)

 9th USASA Field Station - Clark AFB, The Philippines
 (Stotsenberg Station)

10th USASA Field Station - Kyoto, Japan
(Kyoto Station)

11th USASA Field Station - Berlin, Germany
 (Field Station Berlin)

12th USASA Field Station - Chitose, Japan
 (Kuma Station)

13th USASA Field Station - Harrogate, England
 (Menwith Hill Station)

14th USASA Field Station - Hakata, Japan
 (Hakata Station)

15th USASA Field Station - Sinop, Turkey
 (Diogenes Station)

16th USASA Field Station - Hersogenaurach, Germany
 (Herso Base)

17th USASA Field Station - Rothwesten, Germany

18th USASA Field Station - Bad Aibling, Germany
 (Bad Aibling)

USASA Field Station Augsburg - Augsburg, Germany

USASA Field Station Shemya - Shemya, AK, USA

Plus, there were detachments in places like Pakistan,
Panama, Taiwan, The Bahamas, South Korea and/or
other exotic locales ...
not to forget, the Radio Research/ASA Companies attached
to each US Army combat division.

 To paraphrase a Sherwin Williams paint company commercial:
                "We covered the world."
Unlike most other US Army units, wherever we went we had an
active mission. Combat zone or not, we were always live.


January 2011
By Mike Bigelow
INSCOM History Office
The 337th Radio Research Company

From 1965-1972, the U.S. Army Security Agency attached a series of companies and detachments to maneuver divisions and brigades in Vietnam.

These attached ASA units provided direct communications intelligence and communication security support to tactical units. Their primary mission was to respond to the desires and needs of the tactical commander with a secondary mission to support the theater and national communications intelligence efforts.

To provide this support, ASA needed to adapt its direct support units to the supported divisions and brigades and to Southeast Asia�s signal environment. Prior to 1965, the direct support units were organized and designed for a large-scale war in Europe. Generally these units were smaller and stripped of their electronic warfare and very high frequency (VHF) intercept capabilities.

To support the airborne brigades, ASA developed a small 50-man detachment that could provide manual Morse and low level voice interception as well as conduct limited communication security monitoring.

For the unit that would become the 371st Radio Research Company, which supported the airmobile 1st Cavalry Division, ASA cut its regular direct support unit company in half and provided three voice intercept teams to be employed with the front-line brigades.

Perhaps the most typical direct support unit organization was that of the 1st Infantry Division's 337th Radio Research Company. It consisted of 168 men and supported the division by conducting voice intercept, receiving and processing Left Bank results, and manning manual Morse positions as well as communication security monitoring.

By early 1966, ASA had deployed five of these tailored units: three companies to support divisions and two detachments to support airborne brigades. Eighteen months later, seven direct support unit companies and nine direct support unit detachments were in Vietnam. Although tactically controlled by their supported commands, for administration and technical support, the direct support units fell under the command of either the 303th and 313th Radio Research Battalions.

A measure of how important these units were to their tactical commanders is the number of unit citations they earned during the war. Between 1965 and 1972, the ASA tactical units earned an amazing five Presidential Unit Citations, five Valorous Unit Awards, 54 Meritorious Unit Commendations, and 33 Republic of Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry with Palm.


           Field Station Augsburg, Germany - AN/FLR-9 Antenna Array (Elephant Cage)


                             HQ USASA - Arlington Hall Station, Arlington, VA

A few links to other blog posts concerning my ASA days.








PS: With the constant transfer of personnel between units,
there was always an interesting mixture assigned to any one
organization ... this had a cross-pollination effect which
contributed to new and different ways of accomplishing
the mission. Plus, there were organizations within the other
services performing their variation of the same mission ...
The USAF Security Service
The US Navy Security Group

PPS: The power behind the throne:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

20 MAY 12

Another one bites the dust ...
Robin Gibb died today ...
it was cancer.
Leaving brother, Barry, as
the only surviving BeeGee.

R.I.P. Robin.


Friday, May 18, 2012

18 MAY 12

Artsongjazz ...
The band appears to have acquired a new bass player.
Shane is out ... guess he and Naomi had a talk and decided 
it best for him to drop out, since he could no longer make 
Thursday practice nights.
Naomi then advertised on Craigslist for another player.

Last night we met Allen.
He plays a miced double bass.

He's good.
He's age-appropriate. (In his 50's)
Been playing in a jazz duet w/piano for the past 12 years.

Something seemed to click in each of us last night ... we had
a great practice! Since her family financial crisis, Naomi has
been half-steppin' when she sang. Tonight, she sounded
like a jazz singer. We all picked up on that and our play
was near perfect.
Just fun!

Here's hoping for a repeat. 

Did some chores today ... one was painting the flower boxes.
As I painted, the song "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" kept running through
my head. I really do like one string of lyrics from the song:

"He always sings 
raggy music to the cattle
As he swings 
back and forth in the saddle
on a horse 
that is syncopated gaited ... " 

When I was five, I had no idea what "syncopated" meant
but I did know what a "gate" was. 
How you "gated" a horse ... I didn't know but that was okay. 
I liked the song anyway.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

17 MAY 12

Donna Summer is gone ...
The 63 year old disco-diva died today,
a victim of cancer.

Never realized how much I liked her music ...
until lately.

R.I.P. Donna.
You'll, surely, be missed.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

15 MAY 12

Quiet night ...
A rainy night ... a suitable end
to a wet and dreary day.
Am sipping wine and watching TV.
"Rosemary And Thyme" ... a British
murder-mystery show. It concerns two
women who are traveling gardeners;
partners who always seem to become
involved in solving murders wherever
they go. Seems to me that the crew from
"Criminal Minds" should be investigating
the two of them. I would think that the law
of averages would be against anyone, but
police officers, becoming involved in so
many murders by chance.


Monday, May 14, 2012

14 MAY 12

Again, yesterday ...
Yesterday was Mothers' Day.
Barbara's two daughters and their families
came to celebrate. They brought the makings
for waffles with berries 'n cream ... plus bacon
and sausages. It all made for a great meal.

One thing about having teenage grandchildren ...
they're big enough to haul the deck furniture up from
below and gather all the cushions from out the shed.
Saves wear 'n tear on my old back.

Later on, in the evening, the daughter-in-law called
to wish Barbara a Happy Mothers' Day.

The world is as well as it can be.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

12 MAY 12

After the ball ...
Yesterday saw my granddaughter, Grace Mei, getting ready for,
and attending, her school's yearly semi-formal dance.
Ashleigh Siriotis, Uncle Rino's girl-friend, drove up to do Gracie's hair
and make-up. It seemed to be an all-day affair ... but the results were
worth the effort. (Ashleigh is a make-up artist by profession.)

                       The results - Gracie, just before leaving, with Grandma and me.

                      My favorite photo from yesterday: Gracie Mei - Ready To Dance!

                                                         Grace - 11 May 2012


Was, again today, up in Wappingers Falls to see the new car my daughter and her husband just bought. It's a Dodge Journey, a used SUV. White w/beige interior. All the bells and whistles. Nice ride. Stopped for dinner at a restaurant that we hadn't patronized for awhile ... Greenbaum & Gilhooley's Steak House.
I had the sirloin with baked potato, my wife ordered the deep-fried filet of sole. Don't know how good her's was ... but my steak was superb. Of course, it may just be that I hadn't had a steak for a long, long time.


Monday, May 7, 2012

07 MAY 12

Numbers and such ...
Formulas and numbers have never
been my strong suit. Neither seems
to stick in my brain for very long.
Words do.
Numbers don't.
In high school, I struggled with algebra
and geometry. (That I managed to earn
an "A" in college algebra is nothing short
of a miracle.)
This lack has plagued me all my life.
Now, it would seem that I've forgotten
"Ohm's Law!" This "law" is the basic formula
used in the teaching of electrical circuits.
Forgetting it is akin to forgetting one's ABC's.
It's so basic that I thought I'd remember it
Seems not. 
(And to think that I used to be a 33B/C.)


PS:                                             _R_
It's coming back to me ...             I * E        (I think?)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

05 MAY 12

Momma's gone ...
Mothers' Day fast approaches.
I've been thinking about my own mother lately.
She's been dead, now, these past nine years.
Sometimes, I can hear her voice ...
chiding me when I've acted the fool ...
praising me when I've made a right decision.
When I was little, she used to sing to me.
My very favorite song was, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe."

            Me, as a five-year-old cowboy, in front of 763 Halsey St., Philadelphia, PA.

The song, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe."

Thanks for the memories, Mom.


PS: Halsey Street doesn't exist anymore.
It had been part of a U.S. Navy housing
area built during WW II. After the war,
it was turned over to the city and used
for low income housing.
It was called, "The Village" by those who
lived there. It's been razed.
(Don't know how many years it was before
I realized that "Halsey Street" was named
for Admiral William "Bull" Halsey.)

PPS: Memories come slowly back ... do not
recall any amenities in this house, with the
exception of electricity and indoor plumbing.
The interior walls were mere painted cinder-block.
Heat came from a large cast-iron stove in the
kitchen. We burned wood in it but originally
it burned coal. I learned to cook scrambled
eggs on that stove when my mom was ill with

Thursday, May 3, 2012

03 MAY 12

Old school ...
Have begun reading the latest "Spenser" novel.
Am reading an actual book. The Kindle thing
gets old fast. I'm a product of my own upbringing
and the physical book is a comfort to me ...
no matter the advantages of computer technology.
(One reason is, the protagonist keeps referring
to locations in Boston that I can look for on the map
printed inside the front cover. Sorta keep my orientation
Am not sure that I care for this particular "Spenser" story.
When Robert B. Parker died in 2010, I sorta figured
that Spencer and Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall
would all disappear from the fictional world of
the New England that Parker used as his settings.
Jesse Stone has become Tom Selleck's movie
character and will continue to live at CBS.
There appears to now be some effort afoot at
keeping Spenser alive as well.
This novel that I'm reading, titled "Lullaby," is
one such attempt. It's been ghost-written by one
Ace Atkins, a published crime novelist who I'd never
before heard of. While he makes a valiant effort to
capture that insouciant demeanor of Spenser, he doesn't
quite pull it off. The once easy, teasing, dialogue
between Spenser and Hawk seems put on, now forced.
As protagonist and narrator, Spenser's use of language
does not ring true to my inner ear, to my memory of
dialog in books past. Close ... but no cigar.
It may be that I'm just a prejudiced olde phart
longing for what used to be but for right now,
I'll give this book a grade of C.


PS: How good is this book?
Well, I'm almost done reading it and am so bored that I
don't care what happens to any of the cast of characters.
Am not sure I'll finish it.

PPS: I finished it. I'll let the grade of C stand.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

01 MAY 12

"It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May ..."
but for me ...
it's as King Henry says in "The Lion In Winter,"   
"So, your lust is rusty."

Gettin' old and all that ...


Finished putting together another montage for Artsongjazz.