1882nd History Report 1971

1882nd CS History Report 1971

196519661967196819691970197219691970End of Tour ReportAUTODIN (DSTE)1882nd Tops in PACCOMM
End of Tour Report - Glenn G. Giddings

  1. As the Commander of the 1882nd Communications Squadron I managed all air traffic control, navigational aids, and telecommunication functions in support of Phan Rang Air Base. During the past year the base has hosted several major units. These include: the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing with four squadrons flying the f-100; 14th Special Operations Wing with several squadrons flying the C-130, AC-119C, AC-119K, C-47, O-2A, OV-10 and others; the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing with three squadrons flying the C-123; the Number 2 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force flying the Canberra; the 504th Tactical Air Support Group with two squadrons flying the O-1 and O-2A; many different USA organizations (flying and ground forces); and the 3rd Batalion/3rd Regiment/White Horse Division of the Republic of Korea Army. In support of these major organizations, there were over 50 support/tenant organizations here at Phan Rang AB.

  2. The squadron operated and maintained the following systems, facilities and equipment:
    1. VFR Control Tower
    2. Ground Control Approach (GCA) Radar, MPN-13A
    3. TACAN, URN-3A
    4. BEACON, MRN-13
    5. Univac 1050-II Base Supply Computer, Dual Configuration
    6. Univac 1004 Autodin Terminal
    7. Digital Subscriber Terminal Equipment (DSTE) Autodin Terminal
    8. Ground Radios and associated antennas
    9. Automatic Secure Voice Communication (Autosevocom) System (Secure Switchboard, several wideband terminals, and one narrow band terminal)
    10. 1500-line Dial Central Office and a five position switchboard
    11. Base cable and wire network
    12. Record communications (teletype, telautograph, and facsimile)
    13. Cryptographic Equipment
    14. Public Address systems

  3. Served as the staff communications - electronics (C-E) officer for the Base Commander (Commander, 315th Combat Support Group) and as such assumed the responsibility for all base communications. Also functioned as the wing C-E staff officer for all three wings assigned to the base. Served as chairman for the Communications-Electronics Meteorological Board (CEMB) and directed the Base Wire Communications Program. Served as an active member on the following base-wide boards and councils:
    1. Air Traffic Control Board
    2. Message Review Board
    3. Real Property Resource Review Board
    4. Disaster Preparedness Planning Board
    5. Base Defense Council
    6. Central Base Fund Council
    7. Drug Abuse Council

  4. Responsible for the training, morale, welfare and discipline of all personnel assigned to the squadron.

  1. After several years of restricted operations for VFR conditions only, the GCA was commissioned for IFR use. This occurred at the height of the monsoon season, which caused a large surge in the number of GCA operations. The increased operations placed unusual demands upon this now very important but previously little used facility. Air traffic controllers were fully trained but were unaccustomed to the demands of many aircraft returning from combat, low on fuel or with battle damage. The monsoonal weather combined with the surrounding exceedingly hazardous mountainous terrain, hostile mortar and rocket attacks, and friendly artillery presented a severe challenge to the air traffic control facilities.

    In addition, the commissioning of the GCA completely changed the entire air traffic control environment not only for Phan Rang but for Cam Ranh Bay as well. The addition of the GCA necessitated that all operating procedures and letters of agreements be completely revised to make full use of all ATC capabilities.

    The 1964 Communications Group recognized the severe technical demands imposed upon the base flight facilities function and they responded by reassigning an exceptionally well qualified 27290 controller to this squadron. With his assistance and an intensive effort on the part of all assigned personnel, the Phan Rang GCA soon became an efficient and reliable facility.

  2. During the first eight months of the past year, the squadron was heavily committed in simply supporting the sustained combat operations of three wings and the RAAF squadron. It would not be accurate to imply that three wings increased the communications squadron workload threefold; but, the workload was certainly far greater, more complex and very much more demanding than would have been imposed by only one wing. The ongoing operational requirements to support the varied missions of tactical fighters, bombers, airlift, and the conglomerate operations of the SOW were relentless and could be fulfilled only through sustained dedicated performance by all squadron personnel.

  3. During the last four months of this tour, the complexion of the mission completely changed. From a full-blown combat operational posture, the base began to phase down to the current suppressed level of activity. In June the RAAF squadron returned to Australia. In July the 35th TFW deactivated and all the F-100 aircraft were ferried back to the CONUS. At that time the 315th TAW assumed the function of host wing and began to relocate their entire operation from the east to the west side of the base. Upon completion of the 315th TAW move, the east side of the base was closed. In September the 14th SOW deactivated and practically all of their flying operations ceased. With these major moves and deactivations. 7AF directed the 504th TASGp, the 19th TASS, and the 21st TASS and the 505th TCMS to move to Phan Rang. As a result of all these moves the communications squadron was heavily involved in relocating major communication systems and in fulfilling the requirements of the newly acquired and relocating organizations. Hardest hit were the wire maintenance section - inside plant and outside plant. There were major changes to: cryptographic support for tactical seek-silence equipment and material, weather teletype, ground radios, telautograph, record communication services, telephone directory etc. The Plans and Programs section had many difficulties in keeping up with the necessary changes to C-E documentation. While personnel in the communications squadron were working unusually long hours to keep abreast of the ever-changing communications requirements, the rest of the base population was imbued with the phase down. The contrast was stark: most of the base personnel were less than busy and they were preoccupied with the thought of leaving - the communications squadron was heavily committed in order to support changing requirements. It is a tribute to every supervisor to state that the job was accomplished in an exceptional manner and without any degradation in morale of the personnel.

  4. A major problem, which developed during this past year, was the gradual deterioration of the base cable system. Serious problems were encountered on every single main cable serving the base. Most of the difficulties seemed to be caused by poor installation and were manifested as loss of pressure, wet cables, and corrosion. Although the major repairs were performed by engineering and installation personnel, the very limited cable crew assigned to the squadron was overworked trying to "stem the tide" of cable problems as they developed. As a result routine cable rehabilitation was all but non-existent which, of course, compounded the problem. The general consensus of opinion is the base cables were of necessity hurriedly installed with inferior workmanship probably brought about by lack of materials, lack of time and lack of experienced personnel.

  1. One convincing lesson is that a war zone is not the place to train people. Too often, inexperienced people were sent to do a job that would tax the capabilities of a seasoned technician or manager. This was particularly apparent for the following:
    • Flight Facilities Officer
    • Univac 1050-II Maintenance
    • Univac 1004 Maintenace
    • DSTE Maintenace
    • Autosevocom System Maintenace
    For example, the officers which were assigned as Flight Facilities Officers had very little or no experience for the job even though they had been awarded the fully qualified AFSC 1634. Previously they had served as air traffic controllers and were poorly prepared to take on the full and demanding responsibilities as the base flight facilities officer. This situation is worsened if the communications squadron commander is not well versed in the air traffic control function.

    It is therefore recommended that only experienced personnel be sent to perform duty in such a demanding environment as a combat zone.

  2. The cable problems are a good example of the old adage "haste makes waste". Hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems particularly important that cables be installed properly even if the job takes longer and requires more resources initially. There was far too much evidence improperly sealed splices, hurriedly installed sleeves or damaged cables, poorly marked cables and splices, no sanding for cables buried in rocky ground, etc. It is believed that greater emphasis on proper installation of cable would pay off in the long run by significantly reducing the amount of emergency maintenance required. In addition, the reliability of the cable plant would be far greater which is especially important for a combat environment.

  3. It is believed that organizations relocating from other bases to Phan Rang took advantage of the situation to materially increase their communications capability well beyond that dictated by an "austere communications environment". The primary reason is thought to be inadequate communications plans for 7AF PAD 71-7-20 were developed by this squadron with little guidance or information regarding overall requirements. As a result, the squadron was forced to ferret out information regarding communication requirements and often was placed in a weak negotiating position by having to operate in a vacuum. Many difficulties would have been avoided and less communications would have been required if the staff had provided specific guidance or if de jure authority had been delegated.

  4. Although AFCS is primarily a service organization, it is not necessary that AFCS organizations operate in a subservient role. My association with AFCS organizations here in SEA is convincing proof to me that good communications are the product of professionals. Good communications should not be construed as diffidently providing the customer with whatever he wants. It seems very important to continue to press for increased stature for communication organizations and staffs-especially at the operating and intermediate levels.

  1. Two of the most pressing problems in our society and in the Air Force seem to be intensified in SEA. Those problems are: drugs and poor race relations. I believe that significant results could have been realized if commanders and first sergeants/sergeant majors at all levels could have attended short courses regarding both subjects prior to departing the CONUS. The problems are far too important to permit random attempts for their amelioration to be developed by inexperienced and less than fully informed people.

  2. With a predictable requirement for replacement personnel, it seems that too often a key position was vacated before the successor arrived. For example, this squadron was without a first sergeant for over two months. Such a situation is deplorable, especially considering the importance of morale and discipline in this demanding environment. This was not an isolated case. The Flight Facilities Officer and Squadron Training Supervisor both departed at their normal DEROS without a replacement. The loss of continuity, the essential functions which must be absorbed by the already heavily burdened key personnel, and the many false starts made by the replacement when he finally arrives are unnecessary. Continuity folders are not considered a viable substitute for a minimum overlap period for key personnel and their successors. Instead, increased emphasis should be given to personnel reporting dates to assure an overlap period of 7 to 10 days for key personnel.

  3. Family separation is a difficult burden for the military man and his loved ones. During the past year, I have been stunned by the large number of marital difficulties encountered by squadron personnel. There seems to be no pattern of occurrences - the problems are experienced by young newlyweds and older marriage partners as well. In many cases it seems that a personal conversation at the right time could ease the tensions, if not remove their cause. Although it may not be practical for SEA, it certainly seems that controlled personal calls over government telephone facilities are worthy of consideration. It is recognized that available SEA facilities may already be taxed by official requirements; however, the personal needs of all military people should be considered when telephone facilities are being engineered for isolated tour locations. I believe that controlled personal use of government telephone systems is a practical necessity and I would urge AFCS to pioneer efforts to make it a reality.

It would be beneficial to increase the contacts between the group and the squadrons, and between the various squadrons within the group. Mutual problems could be discussed and better solutions could be developed. It is recommended that at least quarterly and informal conference be hosted by one of the squadrons. The location of each conference would be changed until all the squadrons and the group had been visited. The conferences should be attended by all the commanders and selected members of the group staff to discuss matters of current concern. It is believed that the exchange of ideas and information would more than justify the transportation costs and the time away from assigned locations.
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Base Attacks

Attack Aircraft Personnel
Seq No Date/Time Type Rounds Destroyed Damaged KIA WIA
404 Jul 27 23:25 Sapper & Stand Off 7 0 0 0 0
413 Sep 25 08:54 Stand Off 3 0 0 0 0
417 Nov 09 13:08 Stand Off 2 0 0 0 0
Total Phan Rang 3 12 0 0 0 0
Total AF Vietnam 55 184 1 28 5 60
Phan Rang Percentage 5.5% 6.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%

BASE Attacks Inbound
Aircraft Personnel
Destroyed Damaged KIA WIA
Da Nang 16 66 1 9 5 45
Cam Ranh Bay 11 32 0 1 0 7
Bien Hoa 7 18 0 0 0 0
Pleiku 6 26 0 13 0 5
Phu Cat 4 16 0 3 0 3
Nha Trang 4 4 0 2 0 0
Phan Rang 3 12 0 0 0 0
Binh Thuy 3 7 0 0 0 0
Tan Son Nhut 1 3 0 0 0 0

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1882nd Tops in PACCOMM

Image of Phan Fare

The 1882nd Communications Squadron has been selected to represent the Pacific Communications (PACCOMM) Area at Headquarters Air Force Communications Service (AFCS) for the annual Air Force Maintenance Award. The selection, based on the squadron's performance from July 1970 through June 1971 "reflects the high quality work, professional attitude and dedication of maintenance personnel," stated Maj. Glenn G. Giddings Jr., 1882nd commander.

In earning this nomination, the Phan Rang squadron had to compete in over-all performance throughout the year with every other communications squadron in the PACCOMM Area. This performance involved promptness of reports and service, improved services and maintenance, and equipment downtimes and outages.

The mission of the squadron is to provide telecommunications and air traffic control services for units in the Phan Rang area of the Republic of Vietnam. And until March 1971, the 1882nd also provided the air traffic control support to U.S. Army and Air Force units operating the Cam Ly Airfield at Dalat.

To accomplish its mission, the squadron operated four separate communications centers until the latter part of 1970 when two of the centers were deactivated.

In addition, the squadron operated and maintained the Federal Aviation Agency control tower at Phan Rang, two runway supervisory units, two ground control approach units (one located at Dalat) and a host of other complicated, technical equipment.

The 1882nd also operated and maintained the base MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System) station, the ground portion of numerous air-to-ground radio systems, two facsimile recorders, the Giant Voice Warning System, the base weather teletype and telautograph systems, a 1500 line Stromberg Carlson Telephone Exchange, a five-position switchboard, 23 telephone key systems, more than 2,000 telephone instruments, more than 8,000 pair miles of telephone cable, cables for four weather sensing devices, and AFVN television translator, and the base commander's Emergency Broadcast FM Radio Station.

The Squadron also managed the second largest non-tactical radio account in the Republic of Vietnam.

The sections of the 1882nd, which worked to keep the equipment under their control working or if it did go out to repair it as quickly as possible, were the Maintenance Management Staff, Maintenance Control, NavAids Communications Management Office, Wire Maintenance, Navigational Aids Maintenance, Radar Maintenance, Radio Maintenance, Teletype Maintenance, Cryptographic Maintenance, and Computer Maintenance.

In addition to normal and routine maintenance, the 1882nd also responded to emergencies such as when the severe storm severed the main cable to the southwestern side of the base; the 192nd Assault Helicopter Squadron and the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing were totally without telephone communications.

In notifying the 1882nd of the nomination, Col. Forrest K. Looney, 1964th Communications Group commander stated, "I am proud of the 1882 'Happy Valley Squadron' and the high caliber of personnel who have worked to earn this award. It is with this spirit that I convey a hearty 'Well Done' for your exemplary performance and wish you the best of luck in the competition at Hq."