5/14/2021

Chronological History

 

The chronological history published in the final issue of the base newspaper, the Scotsman,  dated December 23, 1965.

 

· The 37th RSM was actually born at Brooks AFB, Texas, in August 1951 with plans to occupy RAF Station Kirknewton, Scotland. 

 

· 6952nd Security Group activated in June 1952 as the 37th Radio Squadron Mobile (RSM) with 6 officers and 39 airmen.

 

· August 1952 the 37th RSM began operations as a functioning unit and by September had 17 officers and 155 airmen.

 

· On May 8, 1955 the 37th RSM was re-designated the 6952nd RSM.

 

· July 1, 1963 the 6952nd RSM became the 6952nd Security Group.

 

· July 1966 unit becomes inactive.

 

 

The Evaluation and Startup by Colonel Russell L.  French

 

 

The abandoned RAF Station Kirknewton located a few miles from Edingurgh, Scotland was first evaluated by the USAF in January 1952.  In the words of Colonel Russell  L. French in his now declassified (but at the time Top Secret) oral history interview as follows. 

 

“…it was about 6 o’clock in the morning.  It was probably the most dreary picture I ever had in my life—cold, overcast, and everything.  I finally managed to find  out where (redacted) was and managed to get hold of a cab, and after several wrong turns, we arrived at a desolate bunch of buildings which had formerly been used as a PW camp for Italian prisoners.  They were basically concrete block buildings and not very many of them.  Also, a big old hangar which had originally been used by the (redacted) to use as storage for their aircraft because it had been built originally for a fighter field.  But there was a big hill located at one end of the airfield, and I guess after (redacted) lost several aircraft into the hill, they discontinued all operation.  Then it became an Italian PW camp, and then subsequently a possible location for (redacted).  …. a wider part of the base,  was an opportunity for housing to be put into that area…...the other part which is the airfield site is where the antenna field would go…….nothing there except an old hangar and no water or anything there.  It was sort of a dreary picture.  I remember returning from the so called site survey and my recommendation basically was that although it appeared from a geographical standpoint and looking at the map an ideal location, ….it was not a very practical place to move…...but that was sort of glossed over in a hurry by the powers-to-be to advise me that not only were we going to send (redacted) but I also was probably going to be the commander of it.  So we kind of rolled with the punches.  When I returned we had a cadre I believe of about 30 enlisted people and I think six officers.  And we departed on or about July 1952…….arriving at (redacted).  When we first got there we stayed in various places—I know that the six officers with me arranged to stay in a boarding house (redacted) …..stayed there for I guess approximately three months, and in the meantime were able to get some support (redacted) to get some tents put up and get some camp stoves and make the place habitable for the small cadre.  Then we built some more tents to handle the people—the typical WWII type thing of putting down a wood base and putting the tent over it and had the old diesel camp stove which used fuel oil to heat with.  So the situation was quite primitive for the first year, and then managed to get some construction…...as we continued to build up the base from the six officers and 30 men until we got up to I guess 3-400 men who were living in tents and we were operational.  In fact we were operational from the very beginning.  I think we had one or two positions that we got going in a matter of three or four weeks after we were there”. 

 

 

 

 

 

Condensed History by Colonel Russel L. French

                                        

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Another Condensed History by Donald F. Green

 

The following is a Condensed History that has surfaced. It was recovered from three small ring binders of material left by Mr. Donald F. Green  after his death in 2008 .

This is the second text/speech.  The first text ends suddenly, perhaps there is a page missing.  These are presented as they were found without any additions, or manipulation of the text either in format or spelling. The 6952nd originated in Mobile, Alabama and was transferred first to Brooks Air Force Base (San Antonio, Texas), then in its entirety to RAF Station Kirknewton, Midlothian Scotland in 1953.  This text apparently was written in 1955 as 1956 is mentioned as ‘a future date.’

This text appears to be the finalized text/speech while the first was most likely a rough draft.

Mr. David R. Dorrycott - Family Archivist

Condensed History

of the

6952nd Radio Squadron, Mobile

RAF Station Kirknewton

Midlothain, Scotland

 

The 6952nd Radio Squadron, Mobile, (originally the 37th RSM), was activated at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. After a short duration there, it was moved to a new site overseas as was originally planned.   The development of the Squadron from its embryonic stage to its present standing has been brought about through the foresight, planning and hard work of all those individuals who have been a part of it.

So, here is briefly the How, Why, Where and When of the 6952nd Radio Squadron, Mobile.  

The 6952nd Radio Squadron, Mobile (originally the 37th RSM) was activated on 3 August 1951 by General Orders 36, 1 August 1951, Headquarters, USAF Security Service. A Commander, Captain Augustus D. Clemens, and a First Sergeant, Master Sergeant John F. O’Brian, were assigned.  It have been established from the beginning that the squadron would be located in an overseas site, so to provide personnel with at least some experience, the shipping of personnel to overseas Security Service units immediately began.  The squadron started in 1952 with six officers and 140 airmen physically present for duty at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas.

 

On 21 February 1952, Lt. Colonel (then Major) Russell L. French assumed the duties of Commander of this squadron, replacing Captain Clemens.

 

In April 1952, Detachment 102 from the 10th Radio Squadron, Mobile was despatched to set up operation at RAF Station Kirknewton; plans were expeditiously made to move a cadre of six officers and 36 airmen to the overseas site in June; on 27 March, the transfer of the property at Kirknewton from the British Air Ministry to the United States Air Force had been completed.

 

On the local scene at Brooks Air Force Base, arrangements were made with Fort Sam Houston to send the squadron to Camp Bullis for a week of combat training.

 

Warning orders, alerting the squadron for overseas shipment were received on 10 March 1952; Movement Orders came on 25 May 1952, and the cadre reported to Camp Kilmer and boarded the United States Navy Ship WILLIAM O. DARBY arriving at Southampton, England, at 1500 hours on 26 June 1952.

 

Tuesday, 1 July 1952, was the first official work day of the 37th Radio Squadron, Mobile at its new overseas location.  It was approached with some trepidation, inasmuch as the previously thought of necessities for efficient work had suddenly become luxuries.  A new attack was sought, found and put into effect.  Efficiency in the mission of the Squadron now stemmed from a different source; that of ingenuity, and that was how it began.  Key personnel at that time were:

Major Russel L. French

Commander

Major Charles S. Willis

Operations Officer

Captain Armand C. Ellzey

Adjutant

Captain John Valersky

Tech Services Officer

Captain Denis R. Edwards

Material Officer

1st Lt Vessie E. Hardy

Personnel Officer

M/Sgt    Leroy W. Haggett

First Sergeant

M/Sgt    Rex M. Yarbo

NCOIC, Operations

M/Sgt    Albert D. Rice

NCOIC, Material

M/Sgt    Lewellyn L. King

NCOIC, Tech Services

M/Sgt    Joseph A. Iwanowski

NCOIC, Food Services

T/Sgt     Travis C. Duran

Chief Clerk

 

Plans were immediately started in earnest to erect 33 prefabricated buildings in the Communal and Airfield Site, both for billets and the Operations Building.  Plans too, were made for enlarging and making available better Post Exchange, Commissary, and recreational and entertainment facilities on the base.

 

On 15 August 1952, the 37th Radio Squadron, Mobile changed from activation to operational.

On 25 October 1952, the activation of a Class “B” Finance Office at this station provided an added service for all personnel.  Previously, in order to pay the troops stationed here, it was necessary to send personnel to Burtonwood, England, 220 miles away, to pick up the Military Payment Certificates and sterling and deliver it here, pay the troops, make monetary conversions, and return to Burtonwood with the converted MPC’s.

Plans for a commissary were started in November 1952, and rehabilitation of a building in the Airfield Site was started for housing the commissary.  A request for the establishment of a Class VI Store was submitted to Headquarters, Third Air Force on 28 November, and shortly thereafter, a variety of liquor was avaliable to personnel of this station.

 

On 16 December 1952, an Air Force Chaplin, First Lieutenant Chester L. Smith, was assigned to RAF Station Kirknewton.  Previously, for religious activities on Sunday, it was necessary to arrange with a student minister from the Edinburgh University Divinity School to come to the base to conduct services.  Although partially satisfying, the assignment of an Air Force Chaplain was most welcome.

 

Plans were made to have the 7535th Air Base Squadron assume the responsibility for operation of the commissary, Base Air Police Section, and Security Section, as well as miscellaneous functions such as fire protection, Air Police town patrol, and fuel storage.  We retained responsibility for the Food Services, Transportation and the Base Communications Sections.

 

In May the squadron received it’s first General Inspection from Headquarters, Third Air Force.  A highly satisfactory report was received.

On 2 June 1953, international history was made when Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Edinburgh from 23 through 27 June 1953, and most of the personnel got at least one good look at the royal couple.  Some individuals had gone to London for the coronation ceremonies and celebrations on 2 June and several of our officers attended the Royal Presentation Ball help in honor of the Queen when she was in Edinburgh.

 

It was about this time that the Kirknewton “Comets” basketball team became notorious for having won every worthwhile-winning loving cup in Scotland, a notoriety that the team still maintains.

 

June 28, 1953 marked the first anniversary of the arrival at the present overseas site.  Many difficult problems had been solved, and many additional duties had had to be performed by this squadron in order to accomplish the assigned mission.  Definite progress had been made, and the squadron had developed into a united unit.

 

Effective 7 December 1953, this squadron was relieved from the command jurisdiction of the 6910th Security Group and was reassigned to the 6950th Security Group, Chicksands Priory, England.  This change was effected by 6900th Security Wing General Order Number 8, dated 3 December 1953.  The establishment of a group physically located near this organization, afforded closer liaison and coordination between Group Headquarters and the Squadron.

I

n June 1953 authority was received for 18 “Native Son” personnel utilization.  It was planned to incorporate these personnel mainly in the Material Branch.  Two female stenographers were subsequently assigned to duty with the Adjutant and Personnel Branch.

 

Although there were still many things to accomplish at RAF Station Kirknewton, by the middle of 1954 all of the planning, budgeting, funding, and much of the work involved in this respect had been accomplished.

 

The early months of 1955 brought about quite a few changes in the squadron, the major one being attributed to the rotation of personnel.

On 22 April 1955 Lt. Colonel Lowell R. Jameson assumed command of the 37th Radio Squadron, Mobile relieving Lt. Colonel Russel L. French.

On 8 May 1955 the 37th Radio Squadron, Mobile was redesignated to the 6952nd Radio Squadron, Mobile, with no change in its mission.

The year 1955 has been considered a profitable year in many respects. The building program has reached a completed point in many of its projects.  A new chapel, library, bowling alleys, bachelor officers quarters and phase II of the Operations Building, all are expected to be completed by the end of 1955 or the first quarter of 1956.

 

What is believed to be one of the most valuable achievements of the year 1955 is the establishing of a NonCommissioned Officers School. The NCO school is headed by M/Sgt Eugene R. Emory, Chairman of the NonCommissioned Officers Council, and T/Sgt Peter A. Stinus, Academy Non-Commissioned Officer and Chief Instructor.  This school was set up as an experimental thing at squadron-level, however, with the graduation of three classes at present, the Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Lowell R. Jameson believes that another valuable dividend has been forthcoming.

 

This is briefly the story of this squadron from the beginning up to now.  Progress has been made.  It is expected that the future will afford even more achievements.

 

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