Strategic Communication Command – Europe

-- A Brief History & The Role Of The 516th Signal Group --

STRATCOM.jpgIn 1947, the War Department redesignated the 9423rd TSU, War Department Signal Center, as the U.S. Army Command and Administrative Communications Agency in 1947, simplifying the title to U.S. Army Communications Agency 10 years later.

On April 1, 1962, ACA merged with the U.S. Army Signal Engineering Agency to form the U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command (USASCC). A staff agency of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer located in Washington, D.C., USASCC was charged with the engineering, installation, operation and maintenance of the Army’s portion of the Defense Communications Agency’s global communications network.

Even as the reorganization of the Department of Defense communications network got under way in the early 1960s, the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 exposed serious flaws in communications between the U.S. State Department, American Embassies, and the Soviet Union. Post-crisis analysis of communication delays confirmed a need for a rapid upgrade of interdepartmental and international communication capabilities. President Kennedy ordered the establishment of the National Communications System interconnecting the State Department, the Department of Defense, and several other federal agencies. The Secretary of Defense became the executive agent for the NCS and the director of the Defense Communications Agency (later redesignated Defense Information Systems Agency) was appointed NCS manager.

FM 11-23The USASCC’s mission, as the Army proponent of the NSC, expanded in December 1962 to encompass (1) the management of strategic transportable communications, fixed signal communications, the Military Affiliate Radio System, frequency interference resolution, and communications equipment research and development; (2) worldwide test and evaluation, guidance on maintenance planning practices, and development of engineering criteria for fixed plant and associated equipment; (3) acquisition management of automatic data processing equipment – except tactical – for Armywide application; and, (4) supervision of transportation and traffic management of the Signal field command.

As USASCC’s mission grew, so too, did its physical appearance. Activation of the 11th Signal Group (later Brigade) and the 505th Signal Company May 1, 1963 at Fort Lewis, Wash., provided USASCC with tables of organization and equipment units which, when adequately trained and equipped, could support emergency operations; and emergency operations were not long in the making.

March 1, 1964, the Army established the Office of the Chief of Communications-Electronics and discontinued the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. Simultaneously, USASCC (now U.S. Army STRATCOM) became upgraded to major Army command status with full command and control over worldwide strategic communications. The organizational structure of STRATCOM quickly expanded with the establishment of STRATCOM-Europe in July 1964, STRATCOM-Pacific in September 1964 (and STRATCOM-Pacific’s STRATCOM facilities in Hawaii, Vietnam, Okinawa, Taiwan and Thailand in November 1964).

As the conflict in Southeast Asia committed more and more American forces and services, the mission of STRATCOM in Vietnam grew proportionately. Signal groups and battalions operated in the various Corps tactical zones without the benefit of centralized command and control. To fill that void, STRATCOM established the 1st Signal Brigade. Formed in 1966 in Vietnam, the 1st Signal Brigade assumed command and control over all Army communications-electronics resources in Southeast Asia. Scattered among 200 sites in Vietnam and Thailand, the brigade became the largest combat signal unit ever formed.

In 1967, STRATCOM headquarters moved from Washington, D.C., to Fort Huachuca, Ariz. In 1973, STRATCOM assumed responsibility for the communications systems at all Army posts, camps and stations, as well as depots and arsenals. This responsibility included all telephone systems, telecommunications centers, non-tactical radio systems, television distribution systems and public address systems.

As the nature of the war in Vietnam blurred the distinction between strategic and tactical communications, STRATCOM personnel and equipment became more and more supportive of tactical operations. As such, STRATCOM leaders moved to modify the command’s designation to better suit its changing mission by dropping “strategic” from its designation. In 1973, the Army redesignated STRATCOM as the U.S. Army Communications Command.

During the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the rapid proliferation of computers and ADPE throughout the Army extended the mission of USACC into information systems management. Consequently, in May 1984, USACC was redesignated U.S. Army Information Systems Command. Under the Army’s new Information Mission Area concept, USAISC began to consolidate communications with automation and other IMA disciplines to include records management, visual information, printing and publication. Before the advent of IMA, automation resource control and acquisition management was the business of individual MACOMs. Now, the Army recognized a need to centralize efforts globally under the IS management authority of USAISC.

Realignment of Communications Support

516th realignment - USASTRATCOM-EUROn 1 July 1964 the Department of the Army had activated the United States Army Strategic Communications Command as a separate major command under the Army Chief of Staff. Concurrently, the Department had formed the United States Army Strategic Communications Command, Europe (USASTRATCOM-EUR), as a subcommand that was to control a substantial portion of USAREUR's communications resources, including the 106th Signal Group—supporting USEUCOM—the 22d Signal Group, and the major relay stations.

After several months of experience, USAREUR had recommended improvements in the support rendered by USASTRATCOM-EUR, which were in full agreement with the unified-management principle for communications resources. In July 1965 the Department of the Army had therefore directed the further realignment of USAREUR's signal resources under USASTRATCOM-EUR, stipulating that the Commanding General of USASTRATCOM-EUR serve also as USAREUR's Deputy Chief of Stuff, Communications-Electronics (DCSC-E).

On 1 November USAREUR had transferred 17 units, including the 516th Signal Croup—supporting USAREUR headquarters—and the headquarters resources of the U.S. Army Signal Brigade, Europe, to USASTRATCOM-EUR (Chart below)

The 1966 Reorganization

In January 1966 USAREUR and USASTRATCOM conducted a joint review to determine the effectiveness of the communications support and to recommend adjustments based on the year's operating experience.

The 1965 realignment had left two of USAREUR's major commands—the United States Army Area Command (USAACOM) and the United States Army Communications Zone, Europe (USACOMZEUR)—with extensive organic communications capabilities. In April USAREUR considered the transfer of their signal support units—the 4th and 1st Signal Groups, respectively—to USASTRATCOM-EUR.

This realignment would consolidate the responsibility for operating and maintaining the Automatic Voice Switching Network (AUTOVON), Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN), interface equipment, telephone exchanges, and communications centers. While USAACOM favored the transfer of the 4th Signal Group to USASTRATCOM-EUR, USACOMZEUR preferred to retain control of the 1st Signal Group during the critical months of the relocation from France. A realignment before completion of the relocation would complicate the difficult negotiations with the French for the continued use of the tropospheric-scatter and other long line systems.

In their second joint report, USAREUR and USASTRATCOM-EUR recommended the complete integration of the staffs of USAREUR's Communications-Electronics Division and USASTRATCOM-EUR headquarters. They also advocated the extension of the single-managership principle to include all of USAREUR's fixed-plant communications facilities. To implement this recommendation CINCUSAREUR proposed to transfer USAACOM's 4th Signal Group to USASTRATCOM-EUR by 1 October, whereas the timing of the transfer of the 1st Signal Group would depend on the problems incident to the relocation of USACOMZEUR.

USAREUR implemented the immediately feasible portion of the joint report by transferring the 4th Signal Group to USASTRATCOM-EUR on 25 August. The integration of USASTRATCOMEUR headquarters and USAREUR's Communications-Electronics Division was to await the completion of the merger of USAREUR and Seventh Army headquarters.

HHC, 4th Sig Gp
McGraw Kaserne, Munich
5th Sig Det Svc
Nancy, Fr.
12th Sig Det Svc
Vatry, Fr.
16th CS Det
21st Sig Co Svc
Camp Darby, Livorno, It.
HHC, 22nd Sig Gp
Funari Bks, Mannheim
32nd SC Co Svc
Camp Darby, Livorno, It.
52nd SC Co Svc
Dreux AB, Dreux, Fr.
HHD, 68th SC Bn Spt
Nellingen Ksn, Nellingen
A Co, 68th Sig Bn
Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe
B Co, 68th Sig Bn
Nelson Bks, Neu Ulm
C Co, 68th Sig Bn
Pendelton Bks, Giessen
HHD, 72nd Sig Bn Spt
Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe
97th Sig Det Svc
Maison Fort, Orleans, Fr.
HHD, 102nd Sig Bn Spt
Coleman Bks, Mannheim
A Co, 102nd Sig Bn
IG Farben Bldg, Frankfurt
  B Co, 102nd Sig Bn McGraw Ksn, Munich 11-116R55  
  C Co, 102nd Sig Bn Rhine Ord Bks, Kaiserslautern 11-116R55  
  D Co, 102nd Sig Bn Nelson Bks, Neu Ulm 11-116R55  
  E Co, 102nd Sig Bn North Point Depot, Kriegsfeld 11-116R55  
  HHD, 106th Sig Gp Patch Bks, Vaihingen 11-022E61  
  169th Sig Co Rad Rly VHF Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe 11-500D62  
  201st Sig Co Radio Relay Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe 11-377E55  
  229th Sig Co Const Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe 11-032L61  
  246th Sig Co Svc Patch Bks, Vaihingen 11-500D62  
  257th Sig Co Svc Patch Bks, Vaihingen 11-500D62  
  293rd Sig Co Svc Pruem AS, Pruem 11-500D62  
  HHD, 360th Sig Bn Spt Staging Area, Bremerhaven 11-116R55  
  A Co, 447th Sig Bn Spt Pruem AS, Pruem 11-116R55  
  B Co, 447th Sig Bn Spt Pruem AS, Pruem 11-116R55  
  C Co, 447th Sig Bn Spt Bremerhaven 11-116R55  
  D Co, 447th Sig Bn Spt Linderhofe Ksn, Hilden 11-116R55  
  510th Sig Co Svc Funari Bks, Mannheim 11-500D62  
  HHD, 516th Sig Gp Neureut Ksn, Karlsruhe  11-032F61  
  547th Sig Co Op Karlsruhe 11-500D62  
  552nd Sig Co Op Karlsruhe 11-500D62  
  STRATCOM Fac Husterhoeh Ksn, Pirmasens CC-WOD6  
  STRATCOM Fac Saran Fld, Fr. CC-WOD7  
  US Army Sig Center Heidelberg CC-WOFH  
  USASCC Eng Agency Mannheim CC-WOFS  
  HQ USASCC-EUR Kilborne Ksn, Schwetzingen CC-WOPN  
  HQ USASCC-ME Asmara, Ethiopia CC-WOPP  
  STRATCOM Fac Kagnew Sta, Asmara, Ethiopia CC-WOPQ  
  STRATCOM Fac Teheran, Iran CC-WOPR  
  STRATCOM Fac Ankara, Turkey CC-WOPS  
  STRATCOM Fac Sinop, Turkey CC-WOPT  
  Comd & Con Bn Kilborne Ksn, Schwetzingen CC-W13L  
  Tranptl Comm Co Karlsruhe  CC-W1WS  
  Cmd Issue Office Worms CC-W1WT  
  HQ Co USASCC-E Kilborne Ksn, Schwetzingen CC-W2AP  
  USASCCE Det London, Engl. CC-W2AQ  
  USASTRACOM-EUR (Det) Livorno, It. CC-W2AR  
  USASCC-Eur SSU IG Farben Bldg, Frankfurt CC-W2TG  
  USASCC-Eur SSU Rhine Ord Bks, Kaiserslautern CC-W2TH  
  USASCC-Eur SSU McGraw Ksn, Munich CC-W2TJ  
  USASCC-Eur SSU Nürnberg CC-W2TK  
  USASCC-Eur SSU Stuttgart CC-W2TL





































     Annual History, U.S. Army, Europe, 1 January -31 December 1966

     9th Signal Command web site

     USAREUR STATION LIST, 30 June 1967