The Personnel Section, though unheralded, is one of the functions of the Army organization without which the efficiency and morale of any Unit would suffer. In this Section more is done for the morale of troops than in any other field of activity within the Army. Indeed, an efficiently operating Personnel Section is one of the Army's main stay. The aim of this Department is not only to come up to the standards set by Army Regulations but to do those things which cannot be covered by Regulations.
A personnel clerk must apply himself wholeheartedly to his work and must develop a real interest in the problems of his fellow Soldiers. Since the work and problems of the Personnel Section pertain to the very personal matters of the
individual Soldier, it takes a great amount of goodwill and interest to see the problems for his point of view.
The Personnel Section is very conscious of the reliance placed upon and endeavors to live up to the confidence reposed in it by the Commanding Officer and every Soldier in the organization.
1st Lt. Sidney Turenshire is the Battalion Personnel Officer. He is a man well fit for the job because of his interest in all phases of personnel work and his understanding of problems and people. The non commissioned Officer in charge is M/Sgt Isidore Berman whose knowledge of the work to be done has been the main contribution factor in making this Personnel Section outstanding. (Note: The pride and joy of the section is the Classification Specialist, T/4 F. P. Weissman, Jack of all trades.)
Until last month, the Personnel Section was decentralized. Each Company maintained their individual records in their respective Orderly Rooms. This system proved to be unsatisfactory for close supervision and uniformity in the keeping of records and in the handling of administrative matters. The Battalion Commander, Lt. Colonel Gilardi and the Personnel Officer decided to centralize the Personnel Section. As a result, the Personnel clerk and one clerk typist from each Company were transferred to Headquarters Company on detached service. The centralized system has already proved to be a most satisfactory arrangement. Every detail is given closer attention than was possible in the past. The time saving element is having everything pertaining to this department in one office is undesirable.
The Personnel Section has a reputation as "Trouble Shooter", and they are proud of that reputation. A good many Soldiers report to the organization with records in a deplorable state, some not having been paid for months or even a year. Prompt corrective action is taken. All Officer's and Enlisted Men's monthly pay, allotments and personal matters are handled with dispatch and personal interest, knowing that a Soldier who is worried about his own family's affairs cannot be a good Soldier, everything is done to alleviate his anxiety.
The following Enlisted Men are the Personnel Clerks working in this section under the direct supervision of the Personnel Officer and his assistants:
Cpl Vincent Rotundo Headquarters Company
Sgt Stephen D Potter Company "A"
Sgt Richard Noumalr Company "B"
Sgt Erwin Barrandess Company "C"
Sgt George E Warwick Company "D"
The slogan of this department is, "Keep the Men Happy":
TO : Commanding General, Ninth Tactical Air Command.
APO 595, US Army
Transmitted herewith Historical Report for the period of 1 October 1944 through 31 October 1944:
A. Organization (E.G., changes effected by transfers of the Unit or by new T/O's). Negative.
B. Strength 2400, 31 October 1944:
OFFICERS WARRANT OFFICERS ENLISTED MEM
65 4 918
C. Date of arrival and departure from each station occupied in the ETO; station being named.
Company "A" departed site 1 1/2 miles north of Valkenberg, Netherlands, (VK 66 56), 29 October 1944 and arrived Bastogne, Belgium, (VP 56 58), same date.
Company "B" departed site 1 mile Northwest of St.Vith, (VP 84 88), 6 October 1944 and arrived site 1 mile Northwest of Bullingen, (VK 92 01), same date.
Company "D" departed England 29 September 1944 and arrived in France 30 September and 1 October 1944. Arrived Verviers, Belgium, on 8 October 1944.
D. Losses in action (Killed, Missing and POW) by name, with identification of place (or Mission), circumstances and date.
Pvt Roy (NMI) McClure, ASN 38468605, and Pfc James W Toffton, ASN 34669980, of Ground Observers Platoon, Company "C", who failed to return from a Reconnaissance Mission with Lt. Raibley near the front line in the vacinity of St. Germain De Pert, France, on 17 June 1944, were reported to be Prisoners of War in letter, Headquarters, Ninth Tactical Air Command, dated 10 October 1944.
E. Awards and decorations of members of the immediate unit involved.
When 2nd Lt. James G. Raibley, Commanding the Ground Observers Platoon of Company "C", failed to return from a Reconnaissance Mission near the front line in the vicinity of St. Germain De Pert, France, on 17 June 1944, Sgt. Robert C.
Stranahan, ASN 35600273, assumed Command of the Platoon and established effective operations. Sgt. Stranahan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal per paragraph 2, General Orders 63, Headquarters , Ninth Tactical Air Command, dated 30 September
1944, for his eminent display of leadership under fire. The citation reads as follows:
"The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to Robert C. Stranahan, 35600273, Sergeant, Signal Corps, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, for Meritorious Service in connection with Military Operations against the enemy in the European Theater of Operations. After his Commanding Officer failed to return from a Reconnaissance Mission. Sgt. Stranahan assumed Command of his Platoon from 17 June 1944 until relieved on 4 July 1944. Under constant fire from enemy Aircraft, Artillery and Snipers, He located, placed and maintained His Ground Observer Posts, thereby insuring a continuity in reporting Observations of enemy Aircraft to the Fighter Control Center. His actions reflect credit to Himself and the Armed Forces. Entered Military Service from Ohio"
Eighteen (18) Enlisted Men were awarded the Good Conduct Medal per General Order No. 5, Headquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion , dated 28 September 1944. These Men were formerly members of an Iceland Command now on their way to the United States under the rotation plan.
A. NEW BATTALION MEDICAL OFFICER
Captain Robert C. Cussler, 0501115, M.C. was appointed Battalion Medical Officer vice Major Thomas A. Munns, 0493089, M.C., relieved, per paragraph 2, Special rders No. 71, Headquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, dated 2 October 1944.
Major Munns was relieved from assignment to this Battalion and was reassigned to Headquarters, Communications Zone, European Theater of Operations, per paragraph 13, Special Orders 269, Headquarters, Ninth Air Force, dated 25 September 1944. At present, He is located in the 62nd General Hospital, Paris, France.
B. TRANSFER OF DETACMENT "A", 566TH SIGNAL Aw Bn
Detachment "A", of the 566th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, composed of one Officer and thirty Enlisted Men, attached to this organization since 1 May 1944, was relieved from attachment and transferred to the 327th Fighter Control
Squadron per verbal Orders of the Commanding General. As trained Ground Observers, they served faithfully and well as replacements for the Battalion's regular Ground Observers. This technical advantage more than off set the annoying difficulty of administering a "Poor Relative" detachment.
C. RETURN OF PERSONNEL TO ZONE OF INTERIOR
The 16th October 1944 saw the first happy contingent of eighteen (18) Enlisted Men wending their way toward the good old U.S.A. via Air Strip 92, St. Trond, France, and the 70th Replacement Control Depot, Station 579. These Men had served with the 556th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion on the bleak and desolate rock called Iceland and subsequently with the 555 in England, France and Belgium. To commit a gross understatement, one could say that their perspective
toward things in general had been colored by the hardships of their confinement to Strategic Iceland. Their attitude was justifiable and the commendable action taken in their behalf was a full vindication of their condition. The authority: paragraph 12, Special Orders No. 274, Headquarters Ninth Air Force, dated 30 September 1944.
2nd Lt. Edward J. Knobloch, 01644495, of Company "C", was relieved from assignment to this organization and was reassigned to the 12th Replacement Control Depot, Station 591, for eventual return to the United States and discharge from the service. The authority for the transfer: paragraph 1, Special Orders No. 156, Headquarters, Ninth Tactical Air Command, dated 6 October 1944.
D. TRAINING OF PERSONNEL IN OPERATION OF NEW TYPE 13 EQUIPMENT
One technical Warrant Officer and four Radar repairmen each from Companies "A" and "B" were given ten days training at Company "C" on the new type 13 equipment in anticipation of receiving identical equipment at their Companies.
E. LT. COLONEL HOPKINS, ON TEMPORARY DUTY
Lieutenant Colonel James S. Hopkins, 0305725, Signal Corps, per paragraph 1, Special Orders No. 170, Headquarters, Ninth Tactical Air Command, dated 21 October 1944, was placed on temporary duty with Company "C" for the purpose of
supervising the operation of the Microwave Early Waning Radar.
F. APPOINTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER AND ASSISTANT S 3
1st Lt. Kenneth D. Young 0329330, was appointed Battalion Communications Officer vice 2nd Lt. William W. Kingsley, 01642265, relieved, per paragraph 5, Special Orders No. 73, Headquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, dated 7 October 1944. Lt. Kingsley was reassigned to the 926th Signal Battalion on 16 October 1944. Lt. Young was appointed assistant S 3, principal duty, per paragraph 6, Special Orders No. 73, Hedquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, dated 7 October 1944.
G. APPOINTMENT OF AIR INSPECTORS
Captain William P. Quantz, 0390623, was appointed Battalion Air Inspector per paragraph 3, Special Orders No. 73, Headquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, dated 7 October 1944.
1st Lt. Sidney Turenshire, 01639748, and 1st Lt. Kenneth D. Young, 0329330 were appointed assistant Air Inspectors per pargraph 4, Special Orders No. 73,
Headquarters, 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, dated 7 October 1944.
A. RADAR OPERATIONS AND GROUND OBSERVER ACTIVITY
The following are the comments contributed by the Senior Controller from his log:
"Until the 8th October 1944, this Unit has been mainly a reporting Unit with very little Controlling being done. One night's work at St. Trond in conjunction with Company "D"'s SCR 584 proved successful and identification of friendly Fighter Bombers made easily.
"Beyond reporting, no days work was done until October 8th when a complete change of equipment and personnel was effected. Since this date forty nine (49) missions have been Controlled by this station. These consisted mainly of Ground
Support, Dive Bombing, Leafet Missions, Armed Reconnaissance, Rail Cutti ng and Bridge Blasting. Occasional investigations have been made at the request of "Sweepstake" and the M.E.W. during several of these assignments.
"The Liason between Company "C" (M.E.W.) and this station was very closely coordinated while in Holland, proving profitable to both organizations.
"No work has been done with "Planter" one 584 during the month of October"
"The greatest percentage of the Mission assignments given to this station were either postponed or canceled. Because of bad weather. Flying greatly restricted, and many flights turned back because of this fact."
During the month of October, Company "B" controlled twenty nine (29) Missions of all types including Bomber Escort, Bombing Strafing, Rail Cuttin g, Dive Bombing. Excellent work was also done on Buzz Bomb tracking. A particularly outstanding day was 12 October when the Unit controlled four Missions over the Aachen area. A flight of ME 109's were intercepted and two destroyed. Type 22 was added to the equipment in operation at present. Lt. Winfree and ten Enlisted Men of the 573rd Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion set up and put into operation type 21 equipment.
Several outstanding reports of control at the M.E.W. evidence the Unit's same high standard of efficiency:
Controller W L Cobb
Target Armor at K 9356
Date 20 October 1944
Group 365 Sqdn 386
Call Sign Plastic
Mission Dive Bombing
Controller's remarks: "Marmite One" directed by Marmite at 1445 to vector "Plastic" to a special "First Priorty" target - 30 tanks at King 9356. ("Plastic" had flown over this spot several moments previously seeking another target from which Marmite ordered them, through Marmite One, to be diverted. No flak had been encountered.) But after "Plastic" asked whether flak could be expected at special target and being advised by Marmite One that (1) the flak belt was three to four miles East of the target and (2) that they had been over
this spot, "Sweepstakes" advised Plastic that there was flak at this spot. So Plastic, although he was only three and a half miles from the target, then declined to accept the Mission. Plastic was then turned over to Marmite for homing. (Flak areas in this sector had been noted on the Marmite Control Table on the basis of all reports during a day of heavy flying.)"
Report on Conrol at M.E.W. for day 21 October:
1. MISSION ASSIGNED TO AND CONTROLLED BY M.E.W.: Y21 5 and Y21 6.
2. ASSISTANCE GIVEN TO "SWEEPSTKES" CONTROL: Y21 2 (Afternoon).
3. MISSION HANDLED BY MARMITE AND MARMITE 1: Y21 2 (494 Sq of 48th Group Morning and Y21 7 (Morning).
A. Marmite 1 Did excellent job of vectoring Cheetah Squadron to target which resulted in direct hit on Factory. (Y21 2).
B. Granite Squadron reported Destroying 20 Cars and Locomotive on Y21 3 (Morning).
C. 365th. Group vectored to Angles of enemy Fighters at F9030, 1800 hrs. (Y21 1). Unofficial Report 21 Destroyed, 12 Probables and 2 Damaged. On Morning Mission of Y21 1, 365th Group reported sighting Jet Planes.
Experiencing Difficulty in identifying A/C taking off from strip A92. Although they call us promptly after take off. They are in our PE S before reaching pickup altitude. This results in lack of pin point identification until they reach the target area in many cases.
"Report on night control at M.E.W. for night of 21st and Morning of 22nd (October).
1. Patrol Missions were flown under M.E.W. control by Coleman 31, 33, 48, 27, 23, 31, 49, 32, 40, 30, 23 and 32.
2. Results: One FW 190 destroyed by Col. 31, 1825 hrs. at F2885, Angles at time of kill 4000 ft. (Lt. Meath Controller).
3. COMMENTS: Coleman 31 reported siting Air Field at F2859. At 2210 hrs. Coleman 27 reported seeing what We described as 'A Green Comet' dive into the ground ahead of him. He was positioned at F 2060. At the time 27 was giving Us
this information we noticed a pronounced response on our scope which appeared at three miles twelve O'Clock to him.
On 2 November 1944, The operations section of the M.E.W. was completely burned to the ground by a stove explosion and all records destroyed. Thirty six Planes were credited to the M.E.W. for the month of October according to the pieced together records. The information is incomplete to date and type of Aircraft. Refer to RECAPITULATION OF AIRCRAFT CREDITS.
"At Verviers the Hq Unit of Co. "D" remained with Bn. Hq. and on the day following our arrival, the operating Platoons moved out to sites and prepared for operations.
"A new arrangement was made for the operational purposes. Platoons 2 and 3 were consolidated for operations as Able Dog and were sited at K 708 640, Liege Sheet 9, with Lt. Kennedy in charge. D 5 and 6 were grouped as Baker Dog and deployed under Lt. Balding as Platoon Commander. Able Dog were moved on 1 November from their original site to P 755 480 on sheet T 1. Baker Dog is located at K 883 090. D 1 and 4 known as Charlie Dog, under Lt. Bivens, newly
assigned, continued at K 837 340 throughout October 1944.
"Air Corps Officers, 'Controllers', and VHF Enlisted Men are attached to each Platoon from 321st and 327th Fighter Control Squadron to complete the personnel necessary for operations. A crew of 14 VHF and D/F Enlisted Men are
attached to each Platoon with 3 to 4 Controllers.
"Charlie Dog being in actual operation for 4 Months before other Platoons, continued to conduct Missions. This SCR 584 was credited with directing Aircraft in complete destruction of enemy gun site. Bombing Missions were directed in aid of Ground Forces and also controlled Aircraft engaged in Blind Bombing in T.A.C. On the whole the control of missions by Charlie Dog was executed with reasonable accuracy, reflecting credit on the effectiveness
of their operation.
"Both Baker Dog and Able Dog are about ready for Combat Operations and during forthcoming days in November their preparedness and training will be tested".
B. RECAPITULATION OF AIRCRAFT CREDITS
1 OCTOBER 1944 31 OCTOBER 1944
UNIT CONTROLLER DATE DESTROYED DAMAGED PROBABLE TYPE
FDP 12 Oct 2 ME 109
M E W Lt, Meath 12
Lt. Leehouts 1
Lt. Harris 22
Lt. Meath 21 Oct 1 FW 190
TOTAL: 1 Oct 1944 31 Oct 1944 38
GRAND TOTAL AS OF 30 SEPT 1944 62 10 7
GRAND TOTAL TO DATE 100 10 7
October witnessed the opening of both the Officers' and Enlisted Men's clubs, excellent adjuncts to the Special Service program. This in conjunction with the Lending Library, access to the daily Moving Pictures and frequent U.S.O. shows in the city's Grand Theater, and the materialization of a basketball team have expanded recreational facilities to a satisfying degree. At present, Headquarters Company "D", and Detachment "B", 925th Signal Company Depot (AVN). The Companies in the field will follow suit.
BAPTISM OF FIRE
The comment, "That Damn Ninth TAC observer buzzing us again." Prefaced the first real enemy action that Battalion Headquarters ever experienced at 1515, Wednesday, 11 October 1944. Swooping low over the Ecole Manufacturer e, the craft sounded legitimately American, and little more than annoyance was voiced at the Pilot's recklessness. The routine of the day continued for the space of a few minutes. The Plane, now Planes, wheeled about and the staccato fire of their machine guns could be heard raking the Rue De Seroule in front of the building. 50 calibers and Anti Aircraft began to pepper away at the sky. Almost
simultaneously, the blast of an Exploding Bomb, not too distant, shattered the windows behind M/Sgt. Berman's vacant desk chair in the personnel office and in the Company "D" Orderly Room. Finally convinced of the danger, Clerks and Officers flung themselves on the floor of the corridor and all hoped plenty hard that the Ecole would not be a target. Expecancy rather than fear seemed to be the dominant feeling. At the opening of the action, Sgt. Franz P. Weissman received a call from F/Sgt. Sam Milgram of Company "C" inquiring whether or not 4 P38's were over Verviers and informing him that they were suspected of being Hostile Piloted. The answer was affirmative, and, as it was punctuated by strafing bullets, the conversation abruptly ended as Franz P. ran for cover.
The action lasted approximately fifteen minutes when the planes were forced to withdraw. Several Civilians, including Children, had been hit, and the medics with fully equipped "Jeeped" to the aid of the casualties. Every facility at the disposal of the Battalion was made available to meet the situation. During the early evening, Enlisted men under the direction of Lt. Albert J. Wunsch voluntarily assisted in salvaging the belongings of those people whose homes were destroyed.
At 1715, 21 October 1944, Company "B" (Disco) reported a flying Bomb going West from their station. A fact later confirmed by the AAA Unit located nearby. Disco, at 2303, again reported a Buzz Bomb traveling Northwest. Headquarters G.C.I. and Company "C" M.E.W. likewise reported visuals on the same Buzz Bomb.
Saturday, 21 October 1944, was the opening day for the flood of V 1's over the city of Verviers toward the general direction of Antwerp and Brussels. With clocked regularity, varying in schedule from time to time, the Bombs flew over both day and Night. A toal of 153 "Secret Weapons" for the month of October had vibratingly roared their way toward haphazard targets in the areas of Belgium's two prominent cities. All Bombs, it was assumed, had been launched from a site in Germany to the Southeast of "Disco", which is located one mile Nortwest of Bullingen, Belgium, two miles from the German border.
LETTER OF COMMENDATION
IX TACTICAL AIR COMMAND
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL
APO 595, U S ARMY
Commanding Officer, 327th Fighter Control Squadron
1. The great number of enemy Aircraft destroyed or probably destroyed by the 474th Fighter Group on Mission Y21 4, 13 October 1944, was indeed gratifying and I wish to express to you My sincere appreciation for the excellent work of your organizations which made this outstanding success possible.
2. The results of that day were achieved not merely by the efficient functioning of the Air Warning and Fighter Control Systems as individual Units but by the excellent teamwork and splendid cooperation of all personnel of the
555th Signal Air Warning Battalion and the 327th Fighter Control Squadron. The spirit of teamwork and cooperative effort displayed by the members of your commands on that occasion is a real indication of the unlimited successes that
may be obtained by a full and complete development of genuine cooperation between the organizations connected with the operations of the IX Tactical Air Command. The realization of this ideal is the goal toward which We should work for the
enviable records that may be produced by the sincere cooperation of your organization and is well worth the devoted effort of every Officer and Enlisted Man in the operational sections of your commands.
3. Again may I commend You for a "Job Well Done" and express My confidence in the ability of You and the members of Your organizations to reach and maintain this high degree of tem work which will make Friday's success a common occurrence.
/s/ E. R. QUESADA.
/t/ E. R. QUESADA
MAJOR GENERAL, US ARMY.
* * * *
For the Commanding Officer: /s/ Stanley M. Cowan
STANLEY M. COWAN
Captain, Signal Corps
555TH SIGNAL AIRCRAFT WARNING BATTALION
APO 595 U S ARMY
1 December 1944
SUBJECT: UNIT HISTORY
TO : Commanding General, IX Tactical Air Command,
APO 595, U S Army
Transmitted herewith Unit Historical Report for the period of 1 November 1944 through 30 November 1944: