Ordnance Bomb
Ordnance Corps

Air Defense Artillery

The following was submitted by the listed author. The owner of this web site, Doyle Piland, cannot vouch for the accuracy of this article.

System Exchange
DSP 3rd Bn 71st ADA
Submitted by: James D. Young

In late 1973 the DSP was notified by 94th ADA Group that D/3/71 was going get a IFC system equipment exchange. By March 1974 the systems had been exchanged and the old equipment was to be shipped back to CONUS. Battery personnel (with "help" from battalion S4) were supposed to ensure everything was accounted for and the equipment was ready to move to Bremerhaven. I, as the tech supply officer, was to ensure that the shipping documents were in order and that it was manifested on the USNS Callaghan. "Who" was to do "what" was never very clear. No one involved had any experince with this type of operation before.

The vans and radars were trucked on their own wheels to Bremerhaven using "bobtail" five-ton tractors---no mean feat. A day or so later the DSP shop warrant got a call from the ASA people at B'haven. The DSP now has a BIG problem!!! "This is classified cargo. Where are the documents listing classified components, locks, seals, banding, etc. etc. etc.???" The ASA guy Sam spoke to was evidently an old buddy of his. Sam told me that if I got the hell up there by the next day, and if we could assure the ASA people that all would be OK, there would be no investigation. I grabbed one of my best NCOs from tech supply, explained what was up and he volunteered to go with me. We hit the road that afternoon and were in Bremerhaven by the next morning.

We reported in to the ASA who put us in contact with the port cargo people; they all helped us tremendously! No one there wanted to see anyone "hang" for this one. The 3/71 S4 section shared responsibility for this fiasco, but the shop warrant and I figured they would be more hindrance than help in getting it straightened out. This was a "direct coordination" job for the Ordnance and the Quartermaster Corps. John (my tech supply NCO) and I worked our butts off for two days and we (with help from a number of guys at the port) got that shipment squared away to EVERYONE'S satisfaction. But what a job!!! A lot of "how NOT to....." lessons here.

But it wasn't over---yet. After all our work, I was told to report to the Army port commander. He "kindly" let me know in no uncertain terms not to EVER let what happened, happen again. I gave him MY word, knowing full well I was rotating out in less than three months and that I would NEVER handle another system exchange for 3/71.

PS: The shipment did make port call and I never again heard anything about it .

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