FS Berlin History
History of the
Army of Occupation and Navy Occupation Service Medal

From Grunt, the Ultimate Military Site,

1. Description: Army - The bronze medal is 1 ¼ inches in width. On the obverse, the Remagen Bridge abutments below the words "ARMY OF OCCUPATION". On the reverse, Fujiyama with a low hanging cloud over two Japanese junks above a wave scroll and the date "1945". A Bronze clasp 1/8 inch wide and 1 ½ inches in length with the word "GERMANY" or "JAPAN" is worn on the suspension ribbon to indicate service in Europe or the Far East. NAVY: On the obverse is Neptune mounted on a composite creature of a charging horse and a sea serpent with a trident grasped in right hand above wave scrolls. Around the bottom of the medal are the words "OCCUPATION SERVICE". The reverse is the same as the China Service Medal and is an eagle perched on the shank of a horizontal anchor with a branch of laurel entwined around the anchor. On the left is the word "FOR" and to the right is the word "SERVICE" and around the top is the inscription "UNITED STATES NAVY". MARINE CORPS: The medal for the Marine Corps is the same as the Navy, except the inscription around the top of the reverse is "UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS".

2. Ribbon: The ribbon is the same for both medals and is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/16 inch White 67101; ½ inch Black 67138; ½ inch Scarlet 67111; and 3/16 inch White.

3. Criteria: The medal was awarded for 30 days consecutive service while assigned to:

       a.  Germany (excluding Berlin) between 9 May 1945 and 5 May 1955. Service between 9 May and 8 November 1945 will count only if the EAME Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 9 May 1945.

       b. Austria between 9 May 1945 and 27 July 1955. Service between 9 May and 18 November 1945 will count only if the EAME Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 9 May 1945.

       c.  Berlin between 9 May 1945 and 2 October 1990. Service between 9 May and 8 November 1945 may be counted only if the EAME Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 9 May 1945.

       d.  Italy between 9 May 1945 and 15 September 1947 in the compartment of Venezia Giulia E. Zara or Province of Udine, or with a unit in Italy designated in DA General Order 4, 1947. Service between 9 May and 8 November 1945 may be counted only if the EAME Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 9 May 1945.

       e.  Japan between 3 September 1945 and 27 April 1952 in the four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu; the surrounding smaller islands of the Japanese homeland; the Ryukyu Islands; and the Bonin-Volcano Islands. Service between 3 September 1945 and 2 March 1946 will be counted only if the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 3 September 1945.

       f.  Korea between 3 September 1945 and 29 June 1949. Service between 3 September 1945 and 2 March 1946 will be counted only if the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded for service prior to 3 September 1945.

4. Components: The following are authorized components:

   a. Army Medal (regular size): MIL-DTL-3943/246. Medal set with full size medal and ribbon bar. NSN 8455-00-269-5763.

   b. Army Medal (miniature): MIL-DTL-3943/246. Available commercially.

   c. Ribbon: MIL-DTL-11589/112. NSN 8455-00-265-4910. Available commercially.

   d. Foreign Service Clasp: MIL-DTL-41819/9: Germany - NSN 8455-00-249-0171; Japan - NSN 8455-00-249-0172.

   e. Berlin Airlift Device: MIL-DTL-41819/13. Regular and miniature sizes. NSN 8455-00-261-4504.

5. Background: a. The Army Occupation Medal was established by War Department Circular 102, dated 5 April 1946.

   b. The medal was designed by Mr. Thomas Hudson Jones and the first medal was presented to General Eisenhower on 2 April 1947. The ribbon design uses the color black to represent Germany and the color red to represent Japan.

   c. On 4 February 1948, the Secretary of the Navy requested the Heraldic Section, Department of the Army, design a suitable Navy Occupation Service Medal. This medal was designed by Mr. Thomas Hudson Jones on 30 March 1948.

   d. The service clasp is worn on the suspension ribbon to indicate area of occupation. The Berlin Airlift Device is a miniature of a C-54 type aircraft and is worn on the suspension ribbon and service ribbon to indicate 90 days consecutive service between 26 June 1948 and 30 September 1949.

Crests or patches. Your best source for these is from your local Military Clothing Sales Store. AAFES has a web site where you can purchase these items online. AAFES sells to military members, dependents, and retirees. There are also several commercial retailers that sell military crests and patches to the general public. One such retailer is Ranger Joe's.

  54th's You know what!   INSCOM FSB
Unofficial Crest   Official Crest

History of FS Berlin Crests

  On the left and right are the only two designs authorized to be placed on metal shoulder crests to be worn by FSB military personnel.  Who knows what the middle one is...?

Some FSBVG and Crest History

  On the left above is the insignia of the 54th United States Army Security Agency Company.  That company was the predecessor of ASA Field Station Berlin. It was formed into a metal crest, and worn on a uniform-mounted shoulder epaulet crest worn by ASA troopers in Berlin.  The insignia and crest were never officially approved or recognized by the Department of the Army or the Army Security Agency.  Army units are free to make their own crests to be worn at the duty assignment.
  The  motto, which is none too clear on the scan, is SEMPER VIGILIS, always vigilant.  That was the official ASA motto.  The crest, which is unofficial, not an officially approved Army insignia, is listed by military collectors as one for the 54th ASA Company.  However, a search of public records by ASA Vets USA, did not reveal a 54th ASA Company, just a 54th USASA Special operations Command.  Army record keeping was never that good. 
Entire unit histories have been known to be lost in shipment to museums, or never accurately recorded at all.
  Prior to 1957, Berlin was home to a wide variety of ASA detachments, some tactical, some from ASA Field Station Herzogenaurach, and some from ASA Europe, each of which
had its own administrative and operational lines of command back to parent units located elsewhere.
  In Oct 1957, many of the detachments from units in West Germany proper were withdrawn.  Those that remained, including Detachment B, USASA Europe,  were grouped together into the 280th ASA Company, in an effort to centralize the ASA presence in the city under a single command chain.
  The 280th served until replaced by the 78th Special Operations Unit (SOU) in 1961.  Then, that too was replaced by the 54th USASA Special Operations Command in Berlin in 1966.  The 54th was redesignated US ASA FS Berlin in the following year, 1967.
  Working with fragmented information makes it difficult to bring clarity to some of the history of these stations/units.  If anyone can clear up the apparent conflicts in unit nomenclature, we would appreciate getting a note.
  This insignia is the only unofficial one we know of for ASA in Berlin. 

On the right above is the official crest of FSB INSCOM.

  This is the insignia of the US Intelligence and Security Command (abbreviated as INSCOM) Field Station Berlin.  That command was born in 1977.  It was the final successor to all previous unit designations at Field Station Berlin. The insignia was formed into a metal crest, and worn on a uniform-mounted shoulder epaulet crest worn by ASA troopers in Berlin.
  Like the other crest, it displays the Berlin Bear.  It displays a lightning bolt crashing through the planet earth, which is divided between freedom and slavery (my interpretation) as viewed peering sneakily through a keyhole.  Those are INSCOM trademarks in the new era of universal espionage.  It is a warning to be careful about what you say and write.  US communication security's long time unofficial motto is, "In God we trust.  All others we monitor."
  The insignia and crest were the only ones known to be officially approved and recognized by the Department of the Army and INSCOM. Previous insignia and crests were permitted at unit commanders discretion.  Army units are free to make their own crests to be worn at the duty assignment.
  The  motto, "ON WATCH," Latin being passe in the recent US era of educational underachievement.  In German, it is spoken as "Auf Wache," a usual command for attention to alertness by trainers to guard dogs.
  Working with fragmented information makes it difficult to bring clarity to some of the history of these stations/units.  If anyone can clear up the apparent conflicts in unit nomenclature, we would appreciate getting a note.
  This insignia is the only official one we know of for ASA in Berlin. 

This information is courtesy of Mark at ASA Vets USA, August, 1999.

Origin of Teufelsberg

From: Stache.M@t-online.de (Martin Stache)
[Martin Stache is in the German Air Force, stationed at what was the RAF base at Gatow.
This message from Martin, mostly as he sent it, explains the pre-history of the Teufelsberg location.]
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 21:01:44 +0200

Before WW2 had started, there was the Wehrtechnische Institut [where the hill called Teufelsberg is now], and Albert Speer had planned to build a university [at that site].  Would you like to know what the Wehrtechnische Institut did?  Well, in 1935 Albert Speer got the order to build the Wehrtechnische Institut and a new university.  His plans included a great university complex between the Olympia Stadion and the Grunewald (the forest near Teufelsberg).  The Institut should be a part of the university.  The purpose of the Institut was research into new weapons.  It was structually complete when WW2 had started, and Speer couldn´t finish his plan.  The construction of the university had never started [but the Institut construction was well along].  During the war the Institut was used by the Wehrmacht to store ammunition and explosives.  In 1945, it fell victim to allied bombers and was totally destroyed.  After WW2, the Wehrtechnische Institut was demolished, and a part of the rubble of destroyed Berlin was deposited there.
  Thus was constructed our Rubble Pile, The Hill, Mont Klamott, Devil's Mountain: all names for Teufelsberg.  It was, I heard once, mostly German women who dragged the rubble and piled it up..

[Note: See Martin's Teufelsberg pictures in the Photo album.]

Don Cooper <cooper@herefordbrand.com> wrote on August 22,2000, to let us know that Teufelsberg has been declared a national historic site for Germany.  This means that the main remaining feature, the towers, may not be removed.   While they still stand, all around them is rising a giant resort condo delopment project.   You can even go live there now.  What a trip down memory lane that would be.  Also, tours are still being conducted of the towers and Field Station Berlin remnants.

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STASI Update

For so many years, we were directly opposed in Berlin by the East German government, called the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (the DDR).  Army General Erich Mielke was in charge of the Ministry of State Security, and its Security Service, the STASI, most particularly through its foreign intelligence service, ruled by Markus Wolf from his headquarters at the forbidding edifice on Normannenstrasse.  Thirty-three thousand slaves of that dreary dictatorship once toiled there to make life miserable for everyone in the world.

Today, in that ancient, crumbling and ugly red brick office building, you will find the STASI museum.

The address, for tourists, per Ralph Siebert, is still:
Normannenstrasse Research and Memorial Center
Haus 1, Ruschestrasse 50, 10365 Berlin-Lichenberg

Phone 553-68-54 for information. It's open Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Visit the STASI Museum website.
Or there is STASI -  East German secret police - the website, which is by the author who sells the book by hat title.  Or do a search at GOOGLE for "STASI" or "STASI museum" and you will find lots more on this history.
Historical Links

Here are some internet links appropriate to this page.  They are external to this website, so you have to use your browser's back function to return to this page.

World War Two in Europe, a Timeline with photos and text, from The History Place

The National World War II Memorial will be the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II. The memorial will honor all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms. Remember, if it wasn't for them, there would not have been a Berlin Brigade.

US Army website's page for Radio Intelligence Operators

The Cold War Museum, a great website of Gary Powers, Jr., it is only a virtual museum until he can get an actual physical museum.  He's looking at Lorton, Virginia.

Cloak and Dagger Books, the world's largest dealer in new and out-of-print books on intelligence and related fields.

Fall of the Wall: one day of Berlin history, one year of European history.  Mr. Andreas writes about his personal experiences driving from Denmark to experience the German revolution.

The House at the Bridge: A Story of Modern Germany

From Ramparts magazine, Vol. 11, No. 2, August, 1972, pp. 35-50
"U.S. Electronic Espionage:  A Memoir," a long, complete text wherein a US Air Force Staff Sergeant, who was a National Security Agency signals intelligence analyst, spills the beans on the whole ball of wax, everything, about SIGINT during the Vietnam era!

"Shadow Warriors, Intelligence Operatives Waged Cold War," a history article from the magazine of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, September 1997

For balance, we offer "Spies: Timeline"  --  a CNN Cold War historical report
(from Ted Turner's socialist point of view)

For education and entertainment, try to Tour Berlin, virtually!  Warum nicht hier und jetz!

And for early American colonial espionage documentation, we go way back for Spy Letters ...
Old Glory, we lived or died for it.
Units after Field Station Berlin

What came after Field Station Berlin?  Those of us who left before the changeover
have little understanding of the new unit designations and what changes they brought. 

If you have something to contribute to this part of the history, please send it to
history at fsbvg.org for this new addition to our History page of FSBVG.

Thu, 28 Dec 2000
From: Leon Abbey <lja@leonsmail.com>
Subject:  Two Brigades

Shortly before Lee Marvin's brother, Major General Stubblebein, retired, and
MG Soyster took over, the powers-that-be at HQ INSCOM looked around
and noted, "Gee, we don't fit in with the rest of the Army."  So in their not
quite infinite wisdom, they determined that MI should be combined under one command
(as apposed to HUMINT from FT Huachucha and SIGINT from Arlington Hall).
First, all the tactical units were combined into CEWI (Combat Electronic
Warfare Intelligence) Battalions attached to Divisions, and CEWI Brigades attached
to Corps.

Next step: What do we do with Field Stations and Groups?
Answer: We make them Brigades. Thus, contrary to the tetrapartite agreement
which clearly stated that each of the Allied Powers could have ONLY ONE Brigade
strength unit in the occupied city known as Berlin, the US Liasons were faced
with the challenge of explaining to our Allies to the east that the redesignation
of FSB as the 702d MI Bde did not actually constitute a breach of trust, because
troop strength would not in any way be affected.  This proposal being forwarded
by the same offices (not officers) who brought into being a tank company with 15
(or thereabout) platoons, and we won't even mention the arty battery with one gun
for each section of the city.

Well, the political problems were finally ironed out, and in 1987,  everyone (not to
Joseph G. Pilzak 74-77) assigned to FSB received a certificate, suitable for framing
or lining your bird cage, welcoming him/her to the Military Intelligence Regimental

I believe that Headquarters Service Company became 720th MI Battalion. 
A & B Companies were resubordinated to the 721st MI Bn.  At about the same time, the
Traffic Analysts and [radio intelligence] Operators were integrated by shift instead of
by section, as had been the case.  Formerly, Company B had been TAs, and Company A had the Operators.  Each company was, when I arrived, divided into 5 platoons, 4
rotating shifts (teams) and one straight days, 5 & 2.

After the reorganization, Operators and Analysts were redistributed between the
two companies and each company was then divided into 3 platoons: an headquarters
element taking care of the orderly room, etc; and two operational elements, again
one for each shift.  Not as confusing as it sounds, really. The confusing part
was that I suddenly had a squad of 23 people, of whom at least one outranked
me.  I was a Staff Sergeant, he was a Sergeant First Class.

The extremely fuzzy part of my memory relates to the numerical designations of
each battalion, but the realignment of resources is correct. We still worked with
the same people we had been working with on our shifts, we were just suddenly
in the same platoon and company at the same time. Those of us living in the
"stacks", in many cases, also had the dubious honor of moving to new rooms.

FSB History Trivia

From: "Joseph Pilzak" <pilzak at alltel.net> 
Subject: FS Berlin Designator
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000

When I first arrived at FSB it was known as USM-620K and was later redesignated USM-5.
Here's a great trivia question for FSB insiders.  It requires an understanding of the designators. Here it is...

Where was USM-620?

Answer: The designators did NOT stand for the Field Stations. They stood for the Comm Centers supporting the Field Stations. There was a Comm Center on the second floor of Headquarters Company at Andrews. It was USM-620 and the Field Station's Comm Center was a detachment of the one at Andrews... hence the designator USM-620K. When the Comm Center at Andrews was dismantled, the one at T-Berg became the main criticomm center in Berlin. It could not be could not be given the old designator from Andrews, so it became USM-5.