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Signal Aircraft Warning battalions in the Southwest Pacific in World War II.

Air Force units are usually composed of the traditional flights, squadrons, groups and wings. During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) also included platoons, companies and battalions. Some of the largest and most important of these "Army" units were the Signal Aircraft Warning (SAW) battalions, which used the new technology of radar to provide early warning and air defense.

These battalions served in all theaters and developed somewhat differently depending on the tactical considerations of the specific theater. This article looks at the evolution and use of SAW units associated with the Fifth Force during World War II.

Uneasy Alliance

It was only in 1937 that the first successful Signal Corps use of radar to detect aircraft was demonstrated at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. (1) The Signal Corps was responsible for developing, procuring, and fielding all U.S. Army electronics. Radar was just one more developing technology under their purview. At the onset of World War II, the Army Air Corps * was just beginning to come to grips with the concepts of radar and early warning. It also was grappling with the Signal Corps for control of the equipment and personnel associated with these concepts.

But even in the years preceding this historic event, the Air Service had struggled to gain control over aviation-related communication and other electronic equipment and personnel. (2) The AAF argued that only airmen could know what specific equipment was needed for aviation. Radar was just one more bone of contention between the two organizations.

However, by the outbreak of the war, the Signal Corps and the AAF had established an uneasy working arrangement. The Signal Corps would develop, procure, and logistically support the technical equipment needed to conduct radar early warning. It would also train the personnel to operate the equipment and extract the information the new technology provided. (3) The AAF would simultaneously form units that could use and act on the provided tactical information. (4)

The Signal Corps, still a part of the larger ground Army, organized its tactical radar units into platoons--usually forty to fifty men, led by a lieutenant; companies included two to four platoons and were led by a captain; while battalions, numbering two to four companies, were led by a major or lieutenant colonel. (5) These standard Army formations had to be integrated into the AAF organizations that used squadrons, groups, and wings.

Initially, the AAF used fighter control squadrons (FCS), complete with pursuit pilots, to process the tactical information provided by SAW battalions to intercept unknown radar tracks. The pilot controllers would use very high frequency (VHF) radios to scramble friendly fighters and place them in the most advantageous position to identify and, if necessary, shoot down the "bogey." This technique was, and is, called ground controlled intercept (GCI). (6)

The fighter control squadrons were a direct result of the experience of Gen. Carl A. "Tooey" Spaatz and other American observers of the Battle of Britain, during the summer of 1940. There AAF leaders saw how the Royal Air Force used pilots as controllers to successfully direct fighter squadrons to defend the British homeland against a numerically superior enemy. The lessons learned were brought back and placed into practice, albeit somewhat differently than the RAF model. The RAF owned all facets of the airborne radar system, including the research facilities, radars and operating personnel, and the end-users--the interceptors. 7 The U.S. violated the basic tenet of war fighting in that the responsibility of radar for early warning and for intercepting the enemy was split between two commands, the Signal Corps and the AAF. Eventually, this situation would be rectified, but not until nearly the end of the war.

Unfortunately, the first example of this "marriage" was tragically unsuccessful. On December 7, 1941, a Signal Corps operator working at a remote site on Opana Point detected a large formation of aircraft approaching from the north of Oahu, Hawaii. Only recently trained in the complexities of the SCR--270B radar set, Private Joe Lockard picked up a large plot of blips. Following his instructions, he telephoned the information to the radar information center at Ft. Shafter, Honolulu. (8)

There, a young P-40 pilot, never trained in early warning procedures or in appropriate tactical response to such warnings, made the now-famous command of "Well, don't worry about it." (9) Thus, the last chance of challenging the outcome of the attack on Pearl Harbor was lost. The first engagement of the American war did use radar, but not effectively.

On the Job Training

The Signal Corps, stretched like every other U.S. military function, expanded rapidly to meet the demands for radars and the men to operate them. A huge electronics training base was set up at Drew Field, near Tampa, Florida. Here the vast majority of radar men undertook their training in electronics, field living operations and even in some cases, basic training. (10)

The only operational early warning radars then in the U.S. inventory were the large, bulky SCR-268/270 long-range radars. These could provide excellent long-range coverage but as stated, were difficult to move in a hurry since they consisted of 66 tons of equipment. What was needed was a lightweight, smaller radar set that could go ashore on the first day of any offensive invasion or be situated quickly as the tactical situation dictated for a defensive campaign.

Jake Herring, a radar technician with the rank of T4 (a corporal with specialist technical training), who was assigned to a SAW battalion in the Southwest Pacific, remembers that after his induction into the Army in September 1942, he went through six weeks of rushed basic training at Drew before beginning his radar training.

In a baritone, rich with the coastal accent of North Carolina, Herring recounted, "We did our basic training there at Drew Field, then I was sent to Kansas City, Missouri, for a month of radio school. I was immediately sent back to Drew to begin radar training. We went through our course, learning to operate the SCR-602 mobile radar set." (11)

The -602 was a U.S.-produced version of a British lightweight (LW) mobile radar set. It was designed to provide forward radar coverage for a sector, reporting its findings to a control center or filter center located further back from the front. (12)

The -602 had a range of up to 100 miles in optimum conditions, although 60-70 miles was more common. More importantly, the set weighed only two tons. (13) It was used in conjunction with other LW sites and the larger and less mobile SCR-268/270 long-range radar to build a graphic representation or "picture" for air battle commanders.

At the filter center, operators would track the overall picture of a developing air battle on a plexiglass plotting board and controllers would make adjustments to the number and placements of Allied fighters to deal with the approaching aircraft. Again, the concepts were based heavily upon earlier British experiences. (14)

Not coincidentally, the AAF developed Drew Field as a night fighter training base. Many radar warriors, both airborne and ground-based, learned and practiced their skills in mock maneuvers on the flat scrubby fields and in the dark, humid skies of central Florida. (15)

Herring continued his reminiscence:

After graduating from my course, we were sent out for a month-long field exercise. We set up six platoons, each with a -602 radar reporting back to the control center: Each platoon, by the way, was a self-contained unit. We had two cooks, two medics, two truck drivers, and five four-man radar teams. We could load all our gear into two 2-1/2 ton trucks and a jeep and move out in just a few hours.

Each team had four basic duties: one guy would work as a plotter, one as a radio operator; one as a guard-nobody was allowed into the tent if we were working--and one man as a radar operator. We would switch off duties about once an hour to keep "fresh" and not miss anything on the radar scope. (16)

In addition to the LW and heavy long-range radars, a Signal Aircraft Warning company (later battalion), had ground observer platoons. These included a specially trained signalman, who would go into areas where radars could not be sited because of topographical limitations or more commonly because the infantry was engaged in combat. Using portable VHF radios and field telephones, these soldiers would "voice-tell" their observations of aircraft sightings back to the filter center Their reports were incorporated into the picture to fill out any gaps in radar coverage. (17)

As experience with using the electronic realm to guide missions increased, the ground observers were also used later in the war to direct radar-guided ground attack aircraft. A strike squadron would be vectored to a target area by a controller using radar; once over the area, the ground observers would call in corrections for subsequent bomb drops. (18)

With all these personnel needed to meet the Signal Corps mission requirements of operating radar equipment and detecting aircraft, an SAW battalion could easily number more than a thousand officers and men, all designed to get the information to the controller assigned to the fighter control squadron. (19)

The much smaller fighter control squadron (FCS) consisted initially of fighter pilots and enlisted radio operators. Later in the war, specialist officer radar controllers replaced some of the pilots guiding aircraft. In addition, the missions controlled via radar increased from strictly vectoring fighters into intercept position to controlling bombing strikes, providing navigational vectors to lost aircraft, controlling air-sea rescue missions, and weather reporting and warning, among others. (20)

By the time Jake Herring reported for duty at Drew Field, the Signal Corps and AAF had reached a more reasonable accommodation. In September 1942, the two organizations agreed to put the Signal Aircraft Warning units under Air Forces operational control. While the Signal Corps continued as the supplier of equipment and troops to operate it, the SAW units would work under the operational orders of the Air Forces. This arrangement continued throughout the war. (21)

Fifth Air Force Experiences

On December 9, 1941, the 8th Fighter Control Squadron (FCS) was activated at Mitchell Field, New York, and immediately assigned for deployment to the Pacific. By June 1942, it was based at Milne Bay, New Guinea, as part of Fifth Air Force's V Fighter Command. (22)

In the shoe-string days of the early Southwest Pacific campaigns, the 8th FCS used a hodge-podge of Australian and U.S. radar equipment and an equally assorted collection of fighter aircraft to defend the hard-pressed troops of the New Guinea fighting. (23)

The SAW units supporting the 8th were likewise challenged to support the air defense requirements of the theater. Trained personnel and replacement parts for existing radar sets were in extremely short supply and used a mix of U.S. and Australian parts and troops to function. (24)

By November 1943, however, the Allied forces in the area were strong enough to press ahead with operations to drive the Japanese from outside the New Guinea archipelago. Based at Finchhaven, the SAW battalions and 8th FCS first went on the offensive in support of the invasion of New Britain. By isolating or destroying the major Japanese port at Rabaul on that island, the Allies could continue to drive north, eventually towards the Philippines. Reaching that ultimate goal would be difficult.

Finchhaven, New Guinea, became "radar central" for the Southwest Pacific. New personnel destined for existing battalions and newly assigned battalions arrived at the jungle town to be incorporated into the theater. (25)

When not assigned to a combat operation, the radar men would conduct training. In addition to the technical practice needed to correctly interpret the data on a radar scope, the troops had to practice setting up and breaking down their sites. Units would spend a planned week out in the field, having simulated a combat assault. Then they would emplace their equipment, calibrating the radar for true north, making sure the equipment stayed dry in the unrelenting humidity of the jungle, and always, always seeking the best and highest place to site the antenna. (26)

The reason for the quest for height was due to line of sight consideration. If an SCR-602 was situated on a flat plain, an aircraft approaching at 1,000 feet would not be detected until it was within 15 miles. Putting the radar on a 400-ft. hill made the detection range jump to 50 miles. Higher flying aircraft could be detected at even longer ranges. (27)

Another consideration for radar placement is the need to avoid close by obstructions like buildings or trees. These obstructions would reflect the electromagnetic energy emitted from the transmitter and reflect it back in massive doses causing "clutter" on the radar scope. Clutter was simply an area on the scope that could not be used for detecting aircraft because of the high level of background reflections. (28)

Not infrequently, these week-long jaunts lasted longer. The torrential thunderstorms common to the area could and did change a rough dirt road into a raging stream. Often the troops were cut off and had to be resupplied with C-rations and fuel from air drops until the remote jungle track dried out enough to support truck movement. (29)

For the first campaign not conducted on New Guinea, the SAWs went in with the infantry. On D+1 for the invasion of New Britain, the first LW radar platoon went ashore. Assisting the 1st Marine Division, and under fire from the Japanese, the radar proved its worth by picking up Japanese aircraft sortieing from Rabaul. With the approximately minutes of advanced warning thus provided, the Allies were able to gain air superiority over the battlefield in relatively short time. (30)

Jake Herring related his experience from this invasion:

We set up our radar on a small island just off the main invasion beach called Duke Island. One day a "Betty" bomber came over at tree-top level surprising everybody. He sprayed everything in sight with machine gun fire and dropped a bomb on a barge anchored out in the bay. He zoomed off without being shot at.

That night we had a Major King, one of the better officers we had as far as I was concerned, killed by a Japanese infiltrator. We found the major's body the next morning with his head severed by a bayonet or a machete." (31)

Herring remained on New Britain until April 1944. (32)

By the time of the next planned Allied advance to the island of Biak, the integration of Signal Corps SAW battalions and Air Force FCS was nearly seamless. Indeed, retired CMSgt. Joe Newman, a Signal Corps radio maintenance man assigned to the 8th FCS, spent his entire tour in the Pacific under the administrative and operational control of that Air Force squadron. Even though he wore the distinctive Signal Corps emblem on his garrison hat and the aiguillette on his seldom-worn Class A uniform, he worked daily in the FCS filter center. At the end of the war, Newman found out he had been transferred to the Army Air Forces, but was never informed. (The Chief went on to have a 30-year USAF career.) (33)

In April 1944, after a refitting period back at Finchhaven, Herrings 596th SAW battalion sailed aboard an LST (landing ship tank) to support the invasion of Biak. Landing at the neighboring islet of Los Negros, Herring's unit ran ashore under Japanese fire. (34)

As the battle progressed, the U.S. troops were on the south side of an east-west oriented Japanese runway, just up from the beach and the defending troops were on the north side of the runway. So close were the opposing forces that Herring recalls that the radar could not operate at night because the little two-cylinder gasoline generator, that powered the radar, gave off a blue exhaust flame at night. Like a magnet for rifle fire, the blue flickering drew danger onto the radar site. So at night the radar men shut down operations and manned defensive fighting positions. (35)

One of the advantages of the self-contained aspect of the LW units was the ability to conduct air intercept operations on its own. As mentioned previously, the LW sites reported back to a master filter center. However when the radar units were first getting established, each site could work intercepts in its own smaller area. A controller would be attached to the LW platoon and run fighters onto targets within the limited coverage of the LWs. Not nearly as efficient as the fully integrated LW and heavy SCR-271 designed operations, it was nevertheless better than nothing. (36)

As the war progressed, the pace of recapturing islands increased. In July 1944, Noumfour Island in the Dutch East Indies was slated for seizure from the Japanese.

Herring's battalion went in with the Army's 503d Parachute Regiment. It was during this operation that Herring first saw the fruit of his labors. A plot was picked up on the SCR-602 radar and the Air Force controller attached to the LW platoon vectored a P-61 nightfighter on the track. Continuing the intercept, the controller guided the Black Widow until the radar operator on the big black-painted fighter picked up the bogey. He, in turn, provided vectors to the pilot until the pilot visually sighted the target. Confirming it was a "bandit," actually a Japanese "Betty" twin-engined medium bomber; the pilot proceeded to "torch" the bomber with the P-61's four 20mm cannons and four .50 caliber machine guns. (37)

As it happened, the intercept took place over the radar site allowing Herring and his mates to spill out of the radar tent and watch the streaks of light racing from the fighter to the victim. Then they saw a big flash, and then many streamers of flames float down from the sky. The fighter pilot radioed, "Splash one bandit." (38)

Jake Herring's battalion, the 596th SAW, was one of only many that served in the Southwest Pacific Theater. The author found references in the U.S. National Archives at College Park of eleven separate SAW battalions during V Fighter Command operations. With an average of 1,000 officers and men in each, it is apparent that substantial numbers of troops were involved in air warning and defense missions.

Despite all the Signal Corps troops involved, there were very few Army Air Forces-owned personnel in ground control of radar and fighter aircraft operations. For most of V Fighter Command's operations, the 8th Fighter Control Squadron did yeoman's work for the theater.

The 8th FCS sent detachments of enlisted aircraft plotters and rated pilots to operations and sites throughout the Southwest Pacific. Initially, the pilots learned their jobs under fire. They did the best they could, while learning how best to employ radar in guiding interceptors onto targets. The Air Force believed that only a pilot could properly translate the obscure oscilloscope tracings into a verbal "picture" that an airborne fighter could understand. (39)

As time progressed, many combat tour-expired fighter pilots were recycled into controller positions. Even this pool of resources was insufficient to meet the expanding mission demands and "pure" controllers were eventually trained and sent into combat. Freshly minted second lieutenants would attend radar and controller school back in the States and come to New Guinea for some seasoning. These controllers went on to become the backbone of the FCS units. In March 1942, the 8th had 6 flying officers and 83 enlisted troops. 40 By February 1944, the 8th FCS had four flying officers assigned, 11 non-flying officer controllers and 231 enlisted. (41)

Like the SAWs, FCS personnel often fought under fire. In July 1942, the 8th was still based at Milne Bay, New Guinea. In August, Japanese troops landed from barges, only six miles from the headquarters. The squadron endured mortar and artillery fire for several days. Due to a shortage of combat troops, the men of the 8th Fighter Control Squadron were pressed into service as infantry, bolstering an Australian infantry brigade. Several tense days in fighting positions ensued, but the Japanese threat was eliminated before the airman cure-infantry had to be used. (42)

In a more serious example, a Sgt. Brown, 8th FCS radio operator, was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for combat action during the invasion of Biak. Coming ashore on D-Day, Sgt. Brown killed several Japanese soldiers during an enemy infantry charge against the U.S forces. Sgt. Brown later crawled out under intense enemy fire to rescue a wounded U.S. soldier. (43)

The airmen of the 8th faced more than ground threats. A combat report dated March 4, 1944 from the commanding officer of the 8th FCS to the commanding general, Fifth Air Force, described a Japanese bombing attack on Gusap, New Guinea and results:

Weather: 4/10s cloud cover, vis 8 miles, cloud base 3,000

First radar contact: 1230L, last contact 1340L 16 a/c scrambled, 42 a/c returning from mission 4 'Tonys' sighted, 3 destroyed, 0 friendly aircraft missing **

Several H/E bombs dropped; 2 A-20s damaged, 3 A-20s slightly damaged

No warnings given--enemy a/c came in low and timing of returning mission covered plot board with tracks. (44)

Finally, the 8th's combat reports also include a Bronze Star citation for Capt. Lloyd Brooks, who served as a ground control intercept officer aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer supporting the December, 1944 invasion of Ormoc Bay, the Philippines. Capt. Brooks was directing a flight of fighters to intercept a group of enemy tracks. Despite the picture-perfect intercept, one of the attackers broke through and performed a kamikaze attack on the destroyer. Capt. Brooks continued controlling until the ship lost power and eventually sank. (45)

These examples are but dramatic interludes in the work-a-day business of providing early warning and ground controlled intercept of enemy aircraft. The 8th FCS, and later squadrons like the 1st, 35th, 49th and 56th, working with the Signal Aircraft Warning battalions expanded the roles that radar could play. By war's end, GCI had expanded to include both the SAWs and the FCS to become Fifth Air Force's primary means of command and control (C2) for tactical operations. Indeed, V Fighter Command had been designated primary agency for all matters concerning air warning and defense. As such, V Fighter was the sole source for using SAW BNs and FCS. (46)

The Allied advance into the Philippines was perhaps the culmination of the progress made in combining the SAWs and the FCS into a smoothly running air warning and effective air defense machine. Many radar sites spread throughout the islands as the campaign progressed covered virtually every square mile of territory. Radar supplies and replacements shipped from Signal Corps depots from the ZI (Zone of the Interior) arrived into Air Force supply dumps and were distributed as Air Force assets. The signalmen of the SAW battalions drew rations and pay from the Air Force. Battalion commanding officers took orders directly from V Fighter Command that in turn relied on the Signal Corps officers to lend advice on how best to place and use the equipment. Ground controllers and signalmen worked side by side in operations tents and at radar scopes, directing Allied aircraft in myriad missions. (47)

This unity was a far cry from the early divided concept between the Signal Corps and the Army Air Forces. As a fitting finale, in June 1945, the Signal Aircraft Warning Battalions officially transferred from the Signal Corps to the Army Air Forces. (48)

Legacy

The legacy of these pioneer radar units lives on in today's USAF ground tactical air control squadrons (ACS). The ACSs in the active duty and Air National Guard are constituted much like their World War II predecessors and served in those original roles in Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and both conflicts in Iraq. They are designed to be self-contained, self-sufficient squadrons capable of providing early warning, air defense, and ground controlled intercept. The ACS's personnel include their own operators, communicators, radar and computer technicians, medics, vehicle maintainers, and cooks. A true legacy--the progeny of' the Signal Aircraft Warning Battalions and Fighter Control Squadrons are still providing service to today's Air Force.

* At the outset of World War II, the flying service was named the U.S. Army Air Corps. The Army Air Forces (AAF) formal name change was not adopted until June 1941 but for the purposes of this article, the "Air Forces" term is used.

** "Tony" was the Allied code name for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force's Ki-63 single engine fighter/bomber.

NOTES

(1.) Army Times Editors, A History of the U.S. Signal Corps, New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1961, p.132.

(2.) Dulany Terrett, The Signal Corps: The Emergency (To December 1941), United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services (Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1956), p.24, [Hereinafter, Terrett].

(3.) Terrett, p. 149.

(4.) AG Order 320-2, dated 10 Sep 42 and C.G., 3d Air Force, General Order 288, dated 16 Sep 42, subject: "Coustitution and activation of certain Signal Aircraft Warning companies with the Army Air Forces." National Archive--College Park [Hereinafter, NARA], RG 18, stack 190, row 60, compartment 9, box 3965.

(5.) Ibid, and Maurice E. Byrne, Col, Signal Corps (ret), SPOTLIGHT: History of 563d Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion in Combat in World War II, NARA, D769.363 [Hereinafter, Bryne].

(6.) History of 8th Fighter Control Squadron, 9 Dec 1941-31 Dec 1943, US Air Force Historical Research Agency--OL A, Reference Library [Hereinafter, AFHRA], microfiche roll A 7497 731.01, [Hereinafter, 8th FCS].

(7.) Pape, Gerald R. And Ronald C. Harrison, Queen of the Midnight Skies, West Chester, Pa., Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1992, p. 55 [Hereinafter Pape].

(8.) Thompson, George and Dixie Harris, et al, The Signal Corps: The Test (December 1941 to July 1943), United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services, (Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1957), p.5.

(9.) Ibid.

(10.) Terrett, p. 288.

(11.) Herring, Jake Thomas, Jr., enlisted SCR-602 radar operator, personal interview, 12 July 2003 [Hereinafter, Herring].

(12) Brown, Louis, A Radar History of World War II: technical and military imperatives, (Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, U.K., Philadelphia, 1999), p. 378.

(13.) Brooks, Stewart M., Remembering the British LW & US SCR-602 Radars, The Sawbuck Gazette: For and About ETO Signal Aircraft Warning Battalions, Vol 16, No. 2, Feb 2000 [Hereinafter, Brooks].

(14.) Byrne, p. 78.

(15.) Pape, p. 59.

(16.) Herring.

(17.) Byrne, p. 52.

(18.) Ibid.

(19.) Co. B, 596th SAW BN, June 1945 Monthly report, NARA, RG 407, Stack 270, Row 69, Box 23083.

(20.) 8th FCS.

(21.) AG Order 320-2, dated 10 Sep 42 and C.G., 3d Air Force, General Order 288, dated 16 Sep 42, subject:

"Constitution and activation of certain Signal Aircraft Warning companies with the Army Air Forces" NARA, RG 18, stack 190, row 60, compartment 9, box 3965.

(22.) 8th FCS.

(23.) Ibid.

(24.) Ibid. and memo, dated 23 Dec 1942, from Commanding General, V Fighter Command to Commanding General, Fifth Air Force, describing current radar assets, AFHRA, microfiche roll A 7497 731.01.

(25.) Herring.

(26.) Ibid.

(27.) Brooks and Co. B, 596th SAW BN Monthly Report May 1945, NARA, RG407, Stack 270, Row 69, Box 23084.

(28.) Brooks, p. 55.

(29.) Co. B, 596th SAW BN Monthly Report July 1944, NARA, RG407, Stack 270, Row 69, Box 23083.

(30.) Herring.

(31.) Ibid.

(32.) Ibid.

(33.) Newman, Joe, Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (ret), personal interview, 21 Aug 2003.

(34.) Herring.

(35.) Ibid.

(36.) Operational Plans, Fifth Air Force Air Plan for Operation INTERLUDE, Annex 15, undated, NARA RG 18, Stack 190, Row 60, compartment 9, box 3965.

(37.) Herring and Pape, p. 113.

(38.) Herring.

(39.) Terrett, p. 149.

(40.) Baumgarner, Randy, ed. Fifth Air Force, (Paducah, Ky., Turner Publishing, 1994), p. 56 and 8th FCS.

(41.) 8th FCS.

(42.) Ibid., and Kenney, George C., General Kenney Reports, Washington, DC, Reprint by Office of Air Force History, 1987, p. 88.

(43.) 8th FCS.

(44.) Ibid.

(45.) Ibid.

(46.) Operations Order 5, para 1, HQ Advance Echelon, Fifth Air Force, assigning responsibility for aircraft warning to V Fighter Command, AFHRA, microfiche roll A7499 731.01.

(47.) V Fighter Command History, Chapter 4, July--December 1944, AFHRA, microfiche roll A7498 and Co. D, 596th SAW BN Monthly Report June 1945, NARA RG 407, Stack 270, Row 69, Box 23083.

(48.) Thompson, George and Dixie Harris, The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 Through 1945), United States Army in World War II: The Technical Services, Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1966, p.445.

Braxton "Brick" Eisel is a major in the United States Air Force Reserve on active duty. He has been assigned as an ICBM launch officer, a weapons controller in mobile GCI radars, AWACS and JSTARS aircraft, a military historian, and as a military assistant to a senior DoD civilian in the Pentagon. Major Braxton is currently serving as an air defense advisor to the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C. He has written numerous aviation and aviation history articles for magazines such as Air & Space, Flight Journal, Aviation History, Aviation Week & Space Technology and FlyPast. This is his second article for Air Power History.
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