[ Warning: While well-meaning, it would be best to disregard any sentimental pleas from anyone, even Dr. Trotnow, for factual, technical, confidential information about anything to do with your service in Berlin or elsewhere. I'm certain that is not what they are asking for from us. These spy experts with Russian intelligence connections already have more than they need of that through their own channels, so don't jeopardize yourself or US national security by risky chat or shop talk! What we did may have happened only five years ago or as much as fifty years ago. That doesn't make any difference to the damage disclosure could make to our national security. ]
Von: Dr. Helmut Trotnow, trotnow at alliiertenmuseum.de
Gesendet: Montag, 16. Oktober 2000 17:19
Bruce Ford; Chairman; Field Station Berlin Veterans Group
Dear Mr. Ford,
Thank you very much for your message and the information about the veterans group...
I am, indeed, very much interested in establishing a firm contact [with FSBVG], as we have done a lot of research on the history of T'berg.
As you will know much better than I do, the work that was being conducted at T'berg is a tricky one. When last year we did in cooperation with the Center for the Study of Intelligence, that is the historical branch of the CIA, a conference on the Cold War of the Intelligence Services in Berlin and the conference did actually take place up at T'berg, even the CIA could not get a clearance from NSA to talk about Field Station Berlin.
The task of the Allied Museum, which is sponsored by the German, American, British and French Governments, is not to uncover any secrets, but, in order to make young people understand what the Cold War was all about and what it needed to "win" the Cold War, we have to explain to them what the fight and what the achievements and, by the way the sacrifices, were all about.
One of the Museum's buildings is named after Arthur D. Nicholson, a member of the US Military Mission stationed in Potsdam. He was killed in 1985 by a Soviet Guard. At long last we are able to tell the story and as I understand, T'berg did play a role in it. Otherwise, Nicholson's driver may also have vanished.
We are a historical, not a technical Museum. Therefore we are interested in the story, not in the technical means how the information was gathered.
You may have heard that we could [and did] persuade the Investment Group to keep the landscape of T'berg, now that it is being redeveloped. After all, the "golf balls" were the symbols of the silent Cold War in the 1970's and 1980's; like the Wall stands for the 1950's and 1960's.
From your web page I learned about collecting artifacts for Ft Mead. Please [Berlin Vets], DO think of the Allied Museum [if you have some artifact relating to the allied occupation of Berlin, especially related to Teufelsberg that you might like to donate to the Allied Museum.] After all, it was in Berlin that it [your experience] happened, and people here may really appreciate what was being done. And after all, they lived through it.
We also get a lot of visitors, not only from Germany and the rest of Europe, but also from the United States and other overseas countries. By now many veterans come to show their grandchildren how they had been involved in the Cold War and how far away from home. It is very important that we keep this lifeline of friendship alive. Millions of Americans served and lived in Berlin and Germany between 1945 and 1994. Now this presence has dwindled to a couple of thousands. Americans and Germans, and I mean quite ordinary people, not the elites, as it is so well described in [FSBVG member, Don] Cooper's book ["C Trick: A Sort of Memoir"], will have less and less opportunity to meet. If you do not maintain friendship, it will evaporate.
Sorry to have gone on for so long, but at the Museum we do feel very strongly about the special relationship that especially developed in Berlin between Germans and Americans. Without US presence there would not have been German Unification. But in order to tell this story accurately and lively, we need the cooperation of the Allied veterans.
[A link to the museum is on our FSBVG Links page now.]
Warm regards from Berlin,
Dr. Helmut Trotnow,
Director of the Allied Museum.
Former FSBVG Chairman Ford's reply (excerpt) :
Thank you for your very nice letter about the Allied Museum. ...It would be fine to have a friendly, informative relationship with you and your organization, as you suggest. In that regard, you might want to visit our website occasionally, since all of our activities and announcements are placed on it. Of course, you could also freely join our mailing list from the FSBVG website's "Check-In" page, and join our Group formally in membership, as an associate member, from our "Join Page." We would very much enjoy having you become one of our colleagues.
I believe that we have similar objectives, to perpetuate the honorable memories of the Allied role in Germany during the Cold War through educational programs and collegial relationships ...
It is quite clear that your own efforts and the Allied Museum are doing a great job of public relations for the historical memories of Allied efforts in Berlin during the Cold War. I am grateful for your significant activities...
Very truly yours,
[Note: We have had no further from Dr. Trotnow since my note back to him.]
[We were sent this note by a person who desperately wanted us to establish a relationship with Dr. Trotnow:
"Dr. Trotnow is an expert on Soviet/ Allied relations, with emphasis on undercover spy operations. He has KGB, CIA, German Intelligence, US Military Intelligence contacts. He would be interested in the Field Station history & mission. It was my idea to contact him ( I E-Mailed him a copy of your message to me). He is VERY busy & is slow to reply. An E-Mail should start with " FOR DR. TROTNOW " so it will be delivered to his desk.. I flew 235 Missions on the Berlin Airlift. BAVA Member & recently joined US Army Berlin Vets Assn, I donated some of my stuff to the Alliierten museum & met Dr. Trotnow in Berlin. We are good fiends. He & his staff all speak excellent English. Museum address is: Clay Allee 135..14195 Berlin, Germany......Helmut`s goal is a COMPLETE & ACCURATE history of those trying times..."
Lesismore at webtv.com
Send all materials for this page to
letters at fsbvg.org
Notes in [ brackets ] are comments from the webmaster.
From: Jeff Wilson, wilsonjl at pacifier.com
Subject: Visit to Berlin
Just got home last week from a 3 week tour around Europe, and thought I should enlighten you with the changes in Berlin.
In January, our old barracks @ Andrews opened as a hotel ! I was a bit shocked when I seen it, but then I thought it was kinda cool to see what had changed since the place was given back to the Germans. We stayed there for 3 nights, and the rooms were probably the best ones we had in the whole trip. The rooms were DM155 ($75) a night, and have kitchenettes and decks. There is now an elevator right off the entrance to the old orderly room area, and a ramp and revolving door entrance. The mods are all connected by a long hallway on each floor rather than just the individual stairways. The laundry room is still in the basement, and there is also a sauna.
The old entrance road to the company area is gone, and this new hotel/condo area is fenced in separate from the rest of the caserne. We couldn't walk around anywhere else (the guard at the front entrance said the rest of Andrews was turned into something political and he wouldn't let us in. We did get into the pool for a look, they are using it as a private club. The grounds in general look a bit overgrown and unkept. Graffiti now covers the red brick that surrounds Andrews.
The only business still operating outside the front gate that I recognized was "Al Molino's Restaurant." No "Home Bar," No "Speakeasy." A somewhat expensive Greek restaurant now is what used to be the "Grill Imbiss." We had dinner at Al's. He said he has been there for 25 years, and he says he will still be there when we come back in 20.
We went up to the hill for a look. The landscape has grown quite a bit. I don't think you can see T-berg anymore from the surrounding area. You just have to know where it is. We went up to the gate, it was closed. A sign said "Teufelsberg Resort," but it didn't appear to be open for business yet. We went to the adjoining hillside, and the top was the same (bare), but as at Andrews, the surrounding trees have sure grown. We also took a stroll down to the Teufelsee. There is a restaurant there and a daycare center. And, yes, still the nude sunbathers, though they seemed sparse this particular day.
As I was told, Truman Plaza was leveled. It looked like a big construction mess. (still?) The only structure standing was the old Amex bank. Cole sports center was still there, but looked to be privately operated. The Outpost Theater has been turned into a museum [It's the Allied Museum referred to in the letter above.], which was nice, but I don't think there was anything there related to the ASA/INSCOM presence [We've been told that there is only a letter from a Berlin Brigade Commander commending FSB for a job well done].
Berlin's nightlife was dead. We got stuck at the KuDamm U-bahn station because the last train was @ 12:30! These lines used to run all night.....opening the wall may have slowed down the busy night scene that I remembered. And construction everywhere. Checkpoint Charlie now is a place for street vendors peddling Russian & East German army paraphanelia. A couple blocks away still stands a block length of the wall, and there is an exhibit there.
All in all, I had a good visit to Berlin, and I would recommend staying at the old barracks (Clipper Garden Home Berlin) if you go back.
Note: See Jeff Wilson's photos in the Photo Album.
I went over your website with interest, but the photos were all new to me. I was in Berlin 1957 - 58 assigned to HHC - G2 division. As Berlin was an occupied city, all intelligence agencies (ASA, CIA, etc.) were under the control of G2. I did not recognize your photos of Andrews for all the buildings that were put up since I was there.
In your history of Andrews you forgot thousands of SS troops died at Andrews, as with their tattoos they could not surrender.
One day I watched as they dug up 5 Tiger tanks from under the motor pool. The tanks were covered with cosmoline, and when cleaned the damn tanks ran. The Tiger Tanks dug up from the motor pool at Andrews were SS.
This is all from memory - Early fall, 1957, I was chief Security Clerk, G2 Berlin. I received a phone call that the Commanding General Berlin had given permission for a group of Germans to put up a plaque at Andrews, and I was to run a quick background check on the group that was to enter Andrews. I drove to a very large home out near the Wansee, where I meet with seven very old Germans who had graduated from Andrews when it was the Military School, all serving in W.W.I as general or field grade officers. Late W.W.II they were recalled back to duty to help defend Berlin. After getting the info I needed, coffee was served and the ranking officer told me that at the end the battle of Berlin was about to begin as the military from the Soviet Union had surrounded the city and the Americans & English were parked on the Autobahn 100 K's away. The Germans dispersed their old men and boys to defend the city. Hitlers' SS troops, of which there were thousands, set up to fight to the death, as with their tattoos they could not surrender. The old German General told me the SS troops picked two places to defend in mass, Andrews & Tempelhof air force base. The SS at Andrews held out a few hours, the SS at the airport held out for almost 2 days. I can't remember if Templehoff had 5 or 7 decks below ground and the U.S. troops could only take the first two decks at great loss, so the Russians flooded the decks below ground level, not the US Troops. They flooded the remaining decks, drowning the all the die-hard, still fighting SS troops, like rats in a sewer.
My memory is getting dim, I wish I could remember the German General's name, as it was one of the most interesting evenings of my life.
There is a book about the fall of Berlin, "The Big Rape," [but] the only proof I have is what a very old German Major General told me. I have been trying to remember the General's name since I last wrote to you, as with out it, Andrews is just a story that I believe. I am getting to the age where I forget my own name, but because that night was so unusual, I even remember what the room looked like. That night was the only time I was ordered to go to the Germans for the information because of who they were. I use to run Background Investigations on all German Nationals that entered American compounds, even swim clubs that used the swimming pool at Andrews.
That evening I was an E4 in civies, and when I was led into the room with the real old men I could smell class. I was treated with respect, and it did not take long to fill out all the forms. At this time, coffee was brought in, and that is when the Major General started talking about Andrews, Tempelhof, the end of the war, and then discuss the Soviet Union.
When the investigation reports came back, I was at the office until after midnight reading them. The men were the real German military leaders, not Hitler's goons.
Bruce, I believed them then, and after deep thought in the last 24 hours, I still believe them. Yes, you may use the story. I'm sure their story is true, as the General was there, and why should he lie?
Nov. 57 I took a German family of 4 to the mess hall to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. As we walked across the court way to HHC mess hall, I heard the father say, "in the old days if we got this far nobody would ever see us again." At one time Andrews was a bad place.
Rich, CRB III
A few lines of poetry are appropriate here, after that scary letter of old combat days, or anywhere, actually:
"The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory or the grave!
Wave, Munich! all thy banner wave,
And charge with all thy chivalry!
Few, few shall part where many meet!
The snow shall be their winding sheet
And every turf beneath their feet
Shall be a soldier's sepulcher."
by THOMAS CAMPBELL
From: Mike Carrier, mdcarri at fgi.net, April 07, 2000
Subject: Re: Andrews Barracks
...I enjoy the pictures of the old barracks. I was in the 592 Signal Co. in 1967 and 1968 and reminisced a lot when I found your site. As Bobe Hope would say, Thanks for the memories.
My memory isn't what it used to be but if I recall, our barracks was the last one before the motor pool. I think it was in Company B. My duty station was in the basement of the U.S. Mission, which was right across the street from the main PX. I was a communications controller, so I worked with the people in the Comm Center there. It was a pretty good job, but, unfortunately, I was only there about 9 months and got sent to Nam. Oh, well, that happens.
Mike in Canton, IL
[This letter, dated November 12, 1999, is from Ludwig Ruf. When in Berlin, he lived in the American sector at Andrews, and worked in the British sector. In August he had written that he intended to join FSBVG. Regretably, I was just notified that Ludwig passed away in January 2000, per his wife, Maureen Ruf.]
Just browsing thru and noted your article on Berlin Bars. In 1956-7, the most popular bar for ASA guys from Andrews was the Rex Casino. Another favorite was the Weisse Elefant (White Elephant) where they had horses in the bar that you could ride in a circled-in area. Many a GI fell on his noggin after much beer and riding on to glory.
My favorite story about the Rex Casino - I worked at an outstation in the British sector. One night in the summer, our German guards outside the perimeter found a biker who was wired [with a Commie spy radio] and attempting to listen to what we were doing. We asked for direction from HQ, and a Major showed with two MPs. I was outside the compound with the two German guards, the Major, the two MPs, and the prisoner. After some interrogation, the individual was taken away by some German CD group in black coats. The major instructed the MPs to forget what they saw, forget the location, and forget the faces they had seen there.
One week later I was in the Rex Casino, when a friend got into a fight. The German police showed and arrested him. A short time later, the MPs showed and they happened to be the same two that were at the outstation that night. I was in civvies, but walked up to one, and whispered to him, "You know me. That is ONE OF OUR PEOPLE, and it is critical that I get him out of here now!"
At first, the MP denied he had ever seen me, but I soon had him convinced that he knew me from the forest. After an argument with the German police, they released the individual to me, not wanting to get involved with the spooks.
How we mis-used our status! Fortunately, I never ran across the MPs again, for I left Berlin shortly after.
Ludwig Ruf, ASA Berlin, Nov 56 to Dec 57
From: Lee Twaits, ltwaits at email.msn.com, Sep. 1, 1999
Speaking of bars........
Did you ever hear of the "The Baby Doll," affectionately named, "The Killer", where the newks were indoctrinated into the ways of the flesh? That was a main hangout of the 78th when I first arrived.
We also sojourned to the French EM club for sumptuous feasts. Snails, French onion soup, filets, home-style veggies,rich desserts, and wines. Boy, if I ate like that now................. No wonder I had to put in some "Berlin V's" in my fatigue pants. I really grew around the waist over there.
Only went to the NAAFI club a couple times. They kept talking about this new British band called,
From: Kermit A. Work, Workfrog at aol.comDec., 5 2000
Subject: Fall of the Wall celebration
I was in Berlin from 1972-77 as an Air Traffic Control Officer at Tempelhof. I returned again and served my final military tour as Chief, Air Traffic Control Operations/Deputy Commander of the 1946th Comm Squadron from
1986-90 when I retired.
Having spent much time in East Berlin, I had the great fortune of being in East Berlin the night the wall came down. It was a thursday and the stores were open late so I took my wife shopping. A gentlemen that I knew over there who was very active in politics made a startling announcement in his shop -- out loud- that they were tired of the government and they were not going to take it anymore. I thought that very bold or crazy as such a statement a few months earlier would have meant prison. He had also told me earlier that they were going to put 500,000 people in the streets of Leipzig with no problems and it happened as he said.
He told me the night of Nov 9th that they thought the government might allow them to travel by the end of the year and that was all they hoped for at the moment.
Upon returning to Checkpoint Charlie around 2200 hrs, I saw some people out there just hanging around. Since it was cold and definitely not the tourist season, I noted it but couldn't figure it out. When I got home a
friend called and asked hadn't I been in the East. I said that I had and he said to turn on German TV. I did and coould not see the ground around the checkpoint.
We took the UBahn down the next morning-forget driving-and watched an amazing and historic spectacle. You would have had to have been there to appreciate what was happening. Pictures and words on TV did not do it justice. I saw East Germans coming through the wall and looking like they were still afraid of being shot. They came just in droves and took over the UBahn, the stores and jammed the streets. They lined up at the banks and took out a reported $234 Million that weekend alone in freedom geld.
I had planned to stay in Berlin after retirement because I really loved the city. However, I knew things had changed and that ws the end of WWII. I stated at the time that we would be out of here completely in 10 years-I
misssed it by five.
Best regards, Kermit A. Work
And also from Kermit......
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000
Subject: Shopping in East Berlin
....In my first tour, I only had a secret clearance. I was allowed to go to the East by having my paper work filled out in the orderly room. Also, I could go by myself which was good as I tend to be a bit more adventurous than some people. After people knew that I had found places off the beaten path to shop, wives started asking me to take them. Husbands that were in the 6912th could not go so I took many of their wives, as well as wives from our unit whose husbands did not like to shop.
I worked a swing, afternoon, morning, mid rotation so I only had one day out of eight when it was inconvenient to go. I was going as many as four days a week. The OSI called me in and asked me what was up. Also, I know that I was followed by the VOPOs over there and I would not be the least surprised if the Stasi had a file on me. I know they had some on 6912th persons.
Anyhow, I went to bulletin boards in the grocery stores and found interesting items that I bought from people. I found a consignment shop that sold East German's items for them.
I also ran into a guy that sold me grandfather clocks for two record albums-that's a story for another day.
On one of my late night trips, I was in the Buch district when I saw a tower next to a school that had two doors about half way up and there were bright lights coming through the door openings. That in itself was enough to arouse my curiosity because I think a 20Watt bulb was the strongest I had ever seen previously. A closer look revealed very high amperage cables leading from the doors to the top of the tower. Being an old Electronic
Warfare Technician I knew I was seeing some high powered stuff and I knew it had nothing to do with the school, not at 2200 hours when all the lights in the school were out.
The next day, I contacted a MSgt in the 6912th whose name I can't recall. I only remember that he had a severe spinal problem that made him walk almost completely bent over. Anyhow, he scheduled a C-97 flight over the area and discovered an estimated one million watt jammer aimed at the landing systems at Tempelhof. I felt pretty good about that.
Fortunately no one asked why I was out there that time of night - I was making a clock run.
Kermit (Florida Frogman)
From: Mike Chartrand, rulinguistaat yahoo.com, May 3, 2000
Subject: Re: Field Station Berlin Veteran
I served as a 98 Golf Russian linguist transcriber from 1975 to 1977. I later went on to become an officer working for the Air Force Electronic Security Command and Air Force Intelligence Service as Senior Editor of
"Soviet Press, Selected Translations" in the mid 1980s. Love to hear from any of you guys who were there. I just saw a program about Goering on the History Channel and how they had restored part of old USASA FSB Company B building which in Goering's time was the old cadet school.
I really enjoyed [on FSBVG's Andrews Barracks' photo page] the paragraph about the bombed out barracks across from Company B. It was always a mystery to us what the place had looked like before it was torn
down. The bit about the SS graffiti was interesting. The whole place gave me the creeps. I remember taking the bus to the site one day and seeing some old woman mumbling at the gate. Then I was told about how her husband disappeared into the complex after the 1944 attempt on Hitler's life. I also remember going up to the attic on Halloween to get some guy's stereo boxes who was ETSing in a couple of days. With all the headless ghost stories, that was scary. I also remember how they waited to tell me that the pool had been full of dead bodies at war's end AFTER I was in the water there. For quite a while I wasn't sure if my efforts there would ever bear any fruit. 1975-1977 were about the lowest years for U.S. morale since 1941. But GSovG is bye bye as is 3rd Shock, 2nd Guards, 20 Gurards and 1st Guards. I wasn't very happy in Berlin and I can assure you I didn't get out much either. A few years later, after I became an officer in the Air Force, I ran into some mighty puzzled guys I'd known who couldn't believe someone with an attitude like mine had turned into an officer. Well I carried my FSB experience with me to Korea and Washington, and I did my best to do for my folks what wasn't always done for me. FSB was an experience no one forgets.
Anyone remember Tony's Imbiss stand in front of Andrew's Barracks?
former SGT USASAFSB and CAPT USAF
Speaking of Loose Lips....
Security used to be our by word when we were at FSBVG. Now everybody thinks it was all so long ago that we shouldn't care about it any more. As if we had no enemies in the world to worry about. Should we talk, or should we keep our mouth shut, or at least continue to be discrete about the old FSB secrets?
I know what I would answer. In fact, I have had to give that answer several times to people who should
know better than to ask. I've been asked to disclose intimate details by top officials of the German Air
Force, by leaders at the Allied Museum, and even by our own Pentagon! You may be someday solicited for
interrogation by people posing as pals, reporters, and probably the same officials who queried me.
When that happens to you, think of what I told the Pentagon in the following series of three letters,
which started after I told the Luftwaffe Senior Staff where they could fly to with their interogatives:
From: Lee, Sheila A Ms OCPA, Sheila.Lee at HQDA.Army.Mil, May 4, 2000
Subject: RE: FSB HISTORY
MY NAME IS SHEILA LEE AND I WORK IN THE US ARMY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE IN THE PENTAGON. I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE GERMAN AIR FORCE REQUESTING INFORMATION ON THE FSB. DO YOU HAVE ANY HISTORICAL INFORMATION THAT YOU COULD PASS ON TO ME TO ANSWER THIS REPLY. I FOUND YOU ON THE WEB SITE.
From: FSBVG webmaster, May 8, 2000
To: Lee, Sheila A Ms OCPA
Subject: Re: FSB HISTORY
Sure, we vets of the Field Station Berlin have some information about that great former US Army station. Much of what we know is posted on our web site already, though not in the form of a coherent summary. We keep adding new stuff as we uncover it. I'd have to know more about the scope of the request.
For your information, I was in the Army 1967-71, enlisted to be a German linguist for the Army Security
Agency, became a voice intercept operator at Field Station Berlin, went to Engineer OCS at Fort Belvoir, and served as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. That Cold War and Hot War service gave me an outlook that I hold to this day. It's a security conscious attitude. I know there are spies from our enemies everywhere, within and without our ranks, and every level of our government, from the White House, to the Pentagon. I know how successful those spies continue to be, because of contacts and keeping informed. Finally, I keep in mind that US efforts at counterespionage have been dismally unsuccessful throughout modern history, and are still continuing to be disastrous! Our government security screens are like a sieve.
I wonder if your questioner has any specific questions, or if you do. Let me know, and I'll try to help, within security limits. I hesitate to attempt to write a full report, more than you want to know, because of time limitations and fear of boring you. Also, caution prevents me from trying to disclose to you everything or some kinds of specific details that I know, because probably some of it is still classified Top Secret Codeword / Special Intelligence/No Foreign Dissemination, and I wouldn't even tell you face to face, much less over internet email.
You may think that's an exaggerated security sense, but you would understand if you realized that some details of the Civil War are still classified. For example, do you reeally think there was only one plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln? Do you hear much about Lincoln's plan to send the black slaves back to Africa? No, I guess not. Details of those schemes are still classified Top Secret.
Separating what might still be classified, from what never was, is beyond my capability or authority. I'm not spilling my guts on classified details to persons unknown on the internet.
One funny thing about this is that I know that the German Air Force and the US Army both know more than I
or any single FS Berlin Vet know. My own knowledge or that of any FS Berlin vet's is sketchy. FS Berlin was
a highly secret duty station, so each FS Berlin vet only had a small picture of its role and history. That's because of what's called compartmentalization in security work. We each knew only the little bit that we did, and very little else, because we had no need to know more. We who were stationed there were never given historical or background briefings on the site of any kind, because it was none of our business.
Strangely enough, I received the same kind of query via email from a person who purported to be a Major in
the German Air Force over the last month. He asked general questions but nothing specific. I just referred the Major to my web site, which he had already seen. He said he was writing a report for historical information for his Air Force Commander's staff at a base in Berlin that was formerly a US Air Force Field Station. We had some nice, friendly correspondence, but I didn't feel authorized to write a complete report for him. Frankly, that's not my job, and I couldn't really accept his reasons at face value.
Personally, my opinion is that the German Air Force should be addressing the question through its
intelligence channels to ours at INSCOM, the successor to the Army Security Agency, which controlled Field
Station Berlin. You probably should, also. Have you checked with INSCOM to ensure that this query is
legitimate? Although there is no more German Democratic Republic (East Germany) or USSR, there are
still real and potential enemies of our national security about which we need to worry. Some examples
of those adversaries are Russia, Red China, VietNam, Cuba, North Yemen, and the United Nations. Also, some of this kind of security information is not even for our closest foreign allies' ears.
I feel sure that there are cover stories and military histories already prepared for every eventuality,
including this one.
Again, I'd be interested in helping you more. I have some ideas on how that could be done, if I knew more about what you and the German Air force wanted specifically, and the scope of the question, geographically and chronologically.
Chairman and Webmaster
Field Station Berlin Vets Group
From: Lee, Sheila A Ms OCPA, May 9, 2000
Subject: RE: FSB HISTORY
THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY AND I WILL NOT ANSWER THIS REQUEST FOR INFORMATION.
I LEARNED A LOT ON THE SUBJECT MATTER FROM READING YOUR WEB SITE. THANKS AGAIN.
From: Arthur L. Fern, afern at home.com, Dec. 27, 2000
Subject: Field Station Berlin
From early '56 to late '58, I was with the 66th Counterintelligence
Corps Group at the Headquarters Compound on Clayallee in West Berlin.
Was a junior agent helping a DAC (Doug King), who ran 'Peter'. Peter
was a high level informant in the East German Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, who because of his reporting Khruschev's secret XXth Party
Congress Speech was awarded a letter of commendation by President
Eisenhower. Peter was caught and executed. I learned some 22 years
later he was compromised by Kim Philby, who was on the Joint British-
American Intelligence Board in Washington, when the Americans shared
Peter's reports with the British. The Krushchev speech was historic in
that he denounced Stalin and said war with the imperialists was not
inevitable. The Dulles brothers (John Foster and Allen) decided to make
public the speech - it had far-reaching ramifications, particularly for
the Hungarian Revolution.
Knew a few guys in ASA, but frankly can't remember their names. There
were some 10 or 11 different US intelligence units in West Berlin at
the time. Will join FSBVG, but today I've got to buy a car - my ancient
one failed the emissions test.
BTW, am writing a creative nonfiction book - I open with the first
half of Peter's story and close with the second half. Stephen
Ambrose in his book, "Ike's Spies," mentions the importance of K's speech.
Happy New Year!
From: Lee Goodboe, utep99 at yahoo.com, Dec. 24, 2000
Subject: Never knew
I worked on the Hill and was stationed in Berlin from 1987 to 1992 at the close.
I will join this group and greatly appreciate you letting me know about it.
I never knew!
Ya made my Holidays !!
From: Robert Booker, rbooker_04429 at yahoo.com, Dec., 24, 2000
Subject: Re: Andrews
I was at Andrews. I was in G2 Security on the top floor of HQ on Clayallee.
We had a group of ASA types with us up there: Bill Tear, Brian C. Daley and Chris
Hoeing. I worked for Teddy B. Mohr, the civilian head of security for Berlin.
Teddy was there from 1945 until 1994. I was only in Berlin from April 67 through
Oct 69. Teddy IS the Berlin Brigade.
Brian C. Daley, the great science fiction author, died a few years ago of cancer.
He wasn't an author when he was in Berlin, but became one after graduating from
Jersey City State University. Bill Tear I haven't been able to find, although
Brian and I visited him at Eastern Michigan U. in February 1970. Chris Hoeing
lives in Maryland the last I knew.
From: Charles McGehee, chasm at elltel.net
Subject: Re: 78th ASA
I was at Andrews from Dec. 59 - Jan. 62, having been extended because
The Wall was built just before I was to have returned to the States. I
was in the 280th ASA which later became the 78th SOU. We worked out of the
east wing of Tempelhof Air Base. The Air Force had their unit (their
counterpart to our mission) on the floor above. There are lots of
great stories about life in the east wing which ought to become part of the
history of the unit.
From: Ronald L. Williams, rlwilliams at interconnect.net, Dec. 24, 2000
I lived at Andrews from July, '60-June, '63. The 78th had the
building behind the snack bar. If you are at the front gate, the swimming
pool would be on your right and the snack bar right in front of you. I
worked at Tempelhof for nearly a year (we had floors 3-6 and the
fiberglass hut on top). When the Air Force announced that they were
putting a Nike-Ajax missile radar system in (zap-zap, you are
sterile), some of the guys went to Gatow and some of us went to Teufelsberg.
We had four eighteen-wheeler trailers and I had a 3/4 van. Can you
imagine spending 12 hours in a 3/4 van?? Sitting in a rollling chair, I could
touch the door with my feet and my head touched the other end. The
roof was four inches above my head and I had 30 inches clearance. God it
was cold! Christmas week 1962 it was 25 below zero with a forty mile an
hour wind and I worked 7-7 nights. Midnight Christmas eve, Capt.
Passaro came out to the site. I had slipped a bottle of rum in. We
had mixed "hot butter" in a small coffee pot. The gate called that
Passaro was coming in, so I pitched the bottle of rum out into the snow. He
came in and asked for a drink. One of the privates told him that all
we had was the "hot butter mix". He looked at me and said that he was
going to turn around and when he turned back, he had better have some
to drink. I nearly killed myself diving out the door and kicking
through the snow to find the bottle. He stayed for nearly an hour and we
killed the whole bottle of rum. I slept all Christmas day, needless to say.
Ramon G. Passaro was one helluva CO.
I have tried to locate Capt. Passaro a couple of times with the white
pages. He should still be alive. He was 18 in Korea, so he would be
somewhere about 70 now. I do not know where he came from, SSN, or any of that.
The rumor was that we were going to get the corner buildings (to the
left rear of the snackbar, if you are standing at the front gate).
The Army put up 10-foot fences, but when the Russians brought their tanks
up to the wall in October, 61, the "Big Red One" was sent in to
"protect" us, and they got our buildings. They actually bought us 3 minutes
organized fighting and 30 minutes of disorganized fighting. They left after 90
days and the Army started sending in Reserve groups...13th Infantry,
17th Infantry (from Cleveland, OH) and the latter were totally useless,
but they kept our building. I worked at Teufelsberg until I left in '63.
Between the Wall going up and the Russian tanks coming up on the line
in October, 1961, we plotted the Russian artillery "firing". They fired
180 degrees from the target. So, we would draw lines from the target to
the gun location and then continue it into Berlin. If the curtain had
gone up, we would have been inundated in artillery shells. According to
the NSA guy, who I was working with at Tempelhof, "Berlin would be the
largest POW camp in the world". He told us that if the Russians
attacked (remember, we had 27 tanks and 10,000 troops, while the Russians had
1200 tanks and 250,000 troops within an hour of Berlin), we would have 27
minutes of organized fighting and 2 1/2 hours of disorganized
Sending in the "Big Red One" was a PR thing. After they got there,
we had 30 minutes of organized fighting and 3 hours of disorganized
History and political science is my thing, so I read all I could on
Germany and the two world wars. When I got to Berlin, I immediately
started reading everything in the library. Then too, I had the worst
crush in the world on the librarian. So I would go over almost every
night and talk with her about the war, German feelings, etc. We were
talking one night before the Big Red One came and I asked her what
kind of support could we expect from the Germans. She spent over an hour
telling me what it was like during and after the fall of Berlin. The
end result was that she said that if they surrendered they would live.
Yes, all of the women would be raped and all of their goods stolen. But,
if they fought with us, then they would lose everything and die. So,
they would not support us in fighting the Russians. Talk about a cold
shower on my idealism.
On the other hand, you should have been there when Kennedy came to
Berlin. The streets were lined with Germans chanting "Ken ne dy".
One of the other sergeants made the comment, "Now you know what it was
like when Adolph Hitler came down the street." It was like nothing I have
seen or felt since. You could literally feel the force rocking you
as the Germans chanted. One of the guys said that if Kennedy would just
yell, "Nach Osten," the Germans would have gone! It was almost scary.
US Pres. J. F. Kennedy giving his Berliner speech, 1961
From: Don Cooper, cooper at herefordbrand.com, Jan. 22, 2001
... Have you seen Jim Leahy's photos of the Berlin 2000 Reunion?
If you haven't, call up http://photopoint.com and enter, as the password, Jim's e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
[ These photos are great, professional quality, better than the "official" photos for sale. ]
From Bill McKechnie, SP5, Ret., Cross City FL mckeck at inetw.net
I was with the 78th from January, 1963, until November, 1964, at which time Ramon Passaro was the 'Company Commander', I think, of whatever I was in...Company A, I think.
I'd been in Berlin for about three days when there was a major inspection...probably a pre-IG, I'm not sure. In any event, I'd been warned by the old-timers that Captain Passaro was a bear, and that I'd best be right up to snuff, despite the fact that I was brand-spanking new. They put the fear of God in me, so I tried to be ready. Inspection day came, and he tore up a couple of bunks and lockers, and suddenly, he's in front of me. He confronted me, frighteningly, his cap, as always, way down over his eyes, and told me to present my weapon. I did, and he asked to see it. I started to hand it to him, and then something from Basic Training kicked in; he hadn't said the right words (which I've now forgotten)...there WAS a certain phrasing which allowed you to yield your weapon, and he hadn't done that. After the initial knee-jerk reaction of handing it to him, I pulled it back and stood there, port arms. He asked again, and I stood my ground. He turned to his clip-board carrier, Charlie DeLisle, and asked him to give me the correct order. Charlie about fainted, because he didn't know it either, and was as scared as the rest of the bay for me, knowing that my refusal to surrender that rifle was likely going to end in my death by firing squad next morning at dawn. I'll guaran-damn-tee you that the rest of the squad was sweating the same bullets I was, but he went on to the next bunk and let me get away with it. After he was over, I had to explain what I'd done, and became a mini-hero among the rest of the bay.
My family's background was in baseball, and Captain Passaro was a serious Philadelphia Phillies fan...born and raised there. In a weird sort of way, we became friends. I became company printer, and made him a snazzy sign for the 78th, which he liked. In September of 1964, he was being re-cycled back to the states, and called me in for my re-up pitch...which he knew was not going to happen (my re-upping). He did that for me, knowing I was going to be gone, myself, shortly, and figuring he'd let me off easy by saving me from having to have that re-up talk from the next guy. He asked if I'd thought about re-upping, and I told him I'd not, and that was the end of my re-up pitch. He then told me that when I got on the ship to come back to the states, make a bee-line to the Chaplain and to tell him I could type. He said it would keep my from being down in the foul-smelling part of the ship for most of the trip. I did that, and it worked. I spent the trip back topside, hob-nobbing with officers.
Back to Captain Passaro's return. As I said, he was a die-hard Phillies fan. Baseball fans out there know that in September of 1964 the Phillies pulled one of the all-time swoons in baseball history. Without looking, they were something like eight games in front with nine games left...all of which they lost, and in doing so, lost the National League Pennant. As that was happening, Ramon G. Passaro was on a ship back towards Philadelphia. When he left, the Phillies were comfortably in first place. When he got home, they were out of the World Series. To this day, I wonder if the good Captain Passaro arrived with his ship. I sincerely have the idea that he may have gone overboard as a result of the Phillies' collapse. I do hope he's still with us.
[Webmeister's note: We've received word that CPT Passaro did return safely to the US, and passed away several years ago, reportedly as a result of a stroke suffered at a ball game. I sh*t you not!]
From: John Hanft, JHanft at aol.com, Nov. 26, 2000
Subject: 280th ASA Newsletter
The "masthead" of [the newsletter named] "Berliner Kameraden" reads as follows:
"Established in 1959 by 1LT Jim Farmer as the 280th Army Security Agency Company Alumni Association, "Berliner Kameraden" is [the newsletter produced by John] ... [for] former members, civilian and military, of all Army Security Agency units and ASA temporary duty and attached personnel who served in Berlin prior to 15 June 1961 when the 280th ASA Co. was redesignated as the 78th USASA Special Operations Unit."
There are about 150 subscribers to the infrequently and irregularly published newsletter.
Reunions are often talked about, but nobody seems to do anything about it.
We have no website...we're too poor.
[To get the newsletter, email John, or write him at Box 469, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.]
From: Arthur L. Fern, afern at home.com
Subject: Night Duty in Berlin
Just a short, short story --
Night Duty in Berlin was generally uneventful. But one night the guard
at the front gate called saying someone wanted to talk with Security. I
met him at the Gate's conference room. He said he had been drinking with
some buddies in East Berlin and one was asked by the authorities to
follow a guy in the French Sector, who rode his horse every morning
around 7 am. He had one eye, one leg and one arm! This guy's nuts, I
thought, he's had more to drink than I thought. Dropped my report on the
commander's desk before I went home at 7:30 to get some sleep.
Returned in the early afternoon just to check in and see what was
happening before my day started.
My God, the head of French intelligence did ride his horse every morning
in the woods in Tegel - and he had one arm, one leg and one eye
resulting from a battle wound in WWII!
Truth is stranger than fiction, eh?
The young man I interviewed was a 'walk-in' from East Berlin who was
telling the story of his drinking buddy - the guy who followed the
Frenchman on horseback. The Frenchman was actually the Chief of French
Intelligence, at least that is what I was told by the commander of the
66th CIC group (7945 Liaison Group was the postal address).
From Dave101, <sntrvlr at msn.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001
I noticed some of you were there at Andrews barracks when I was there. I served 31 months in Berlin 2/57 - 9/59. I was stationed at Templehof upon my arrival, then 6th Inf. at McNair, then two years at Andrews with the 287th. The only contact I had with your organization [FSB] was an odd one. You may recall the incident as it involved "one of yours". This happened over 45 years ago and I remember the gory parts well. I was called to respond to an accident (hush-hush at the time) and I got there and it was a German car with German speaking people and the Berlin policeman that was with me took over. The woman in the passenger side tried to wipe out the dashboard with her face in the accident. She did a pretty good job of it as the dash was a mess and she was too. Something had to be done, so we put them in the patrol car and headed for the ARMY hospital, when the German guy insisted we do not go there in English to me. Rapid conversations followed with the Berlin policeman and the guy. A call was put in to the Provost Marshall. I was directed to go to the Hospital. Meanwhile the female wasn't taking any of this too well. She was bleeding all over the place. I got to the hospital, and the German guy jumped all over me and told me I blew his cover (turns out he was a spook). The duty officer showed up shortly after our arrival there. He told me to just go back on duty. That was the last I heard of it. Just another late fun night in Berlin!
From: "JPUTW2@aol.com" <JPUTW2@aol.com>
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 5:42 PM
Subject: FSB Vets Group
Hello Mr. Ford, I just came across your Vets Group web site and was encouraged to note that you have over 80,000 visitors to your site. That's quite a testimony to the retained nostalgia and memories of those many who served at FSB over the years!
Having several friends who served with distinction at FSB, and once having the privilege of visiting that location, I can clearly understand the feeling of camaraderie that has lasted over the years.
In light of that feeling, and the many memories that obviously exist in the minds of those who have served duty at FSB, I wanted to alert you (and if you agree, those who are members of your group) of the existence of a National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade, where many examples of tools and tradecraft used in the past have been granted declassification and public exhibit.
The building which houses museum artifacts has received many exhibits over the past, due to vigorous efforts to declassify items that are now protected within display cases for public examination and understanding. Space to display these artifacts is at a premium due to continued effort to expand the items available for display.
Accordingly, members of the Cryptologic Community who recognize the need for and the benefits of having a larger building which would house those many exhibits which are now accumulating for display have formed the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation http://www.cryptologicfoundation.org/ in order to support many initiatives to assist in building a new museum, one with greatly enlarged spaces for display of those declassified cryptologic items awaiting public viewing.
This effort is described at: http://www.cryptologicfoundation.org/content/New-Museum-Project/
Referring back to your FSB web site, I wanted to call these details to your attention (and, hopefully, those in your group that who wish to participate in this effort) with the trust that some, or many of your members might consider joining the NCMF membership group. Your and their dues would greatly assist in fund-raising and at the same time lay the foundation for publicizing directly or indirectly some of the historical accomplishments that each of you contributed to the security of the United States.
If you agree with the need to assist in this project, the members of the NCNF Board will be most appreciative. Please take a look at the museum web sites listed above; there are quite a number of exciting articles and photographs that will excite and inform you.
Thank you for your time,
NCMF Membership Committee Chairman
[FSBVG is adding the National Cryptographic Museum Foundation to its links collection, and encouraging those interested to join the foundation. Mr. Gray is requesting our suggestions for displays that should be added to the museum to represent FSB, Berlin, and Germany, and the European Cold War, none of which is present at the museum at this time in 2012. Please write to him if you have suggestions. There should at least be a display of the unit names, logos and shields, and locations, and dates of opening/closing, and photos of the sites, if available. That would be a start.