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Charlie Battery - Kleingartach

The Launching Area - 1959 - 1969



- Click Here For Larger Image -Alpha Section Hercules Ever Ready - 1968


Image by Ron Daum - Washington - 1968

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- Click Here For Larger Image -PFC Neil Watson - Section Panel Operator

Neil Watson was kind of a mentor to me. He was the man who helped me learn to become a section panel operator. I think it's quite possible that Neil was the very first Section Panel Operator of Alpha Section, and I, replacing Neil, became the second.

He had a great sense of humor and we spent many an hour drinking beer in wild conversations about the irony of just about everything. He was from Baltimore, Maryland. Here's what I mean... Click Here.





- Click Here For Larger Image -Alpha Section Panel

This was my office. I wanted to be a section panel operator from the first time I saw one back at my first station with 1st Missile Battalion, 52nd Artillery, at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Camp Hanford, Washington State. So I worked on making sure that would happen.

The first thing I had going for me was that the current panel operator, Neil Watson, (image above) was part of the group I used to hang out with. He basically showed me the ropes, and when it came time for him to rotate home I stepped in seemlessly.

The second thing I had going for me was SFC John Chambers. He helped me get section panel manuals from missile maintenance, so that I could be knowledgeable on a technical level. It was my experience that John Chambers was always supportive when one show initiative and was a self starters, I think he respected that in people

In this image the missile on launcher 2 is selected and being made ready to fire. The rounded rectangle at the bottom center of the panel has the flip down door open. This section of selectors, switches, and toggles, is where the section could manually fire the missiles if all the other systems failed, or lost communication. Can you figure out which one is the firing switch, hmmmm... I wonder... which one is it? Well, if you “Click Here” you will see a detail of the firing switches.

Also, for a full light view of a section panel please “Click Here” for a good example.

Section panel operator was a lot more interesting job, and one was always involved in the loop of action, using communication headsets. We always seemed to do well in alert evaluations.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -On A Battalion Alert Exercise

Manning the 50 caliber and facing us is Spec 4 Robert Haile. After all, one never knew when the patrons at the “Gasthaus In The Woods” would finish their bier und wurst and attack. If you follow the gun barrel directly into the woods for a quarter mile or so that wonderful little oasis would appear. “Click Here” to view this charming place.

The GI laying down improving his mind is James Norris, however and so far, I can't make out the others from the back.

But there's hope, they say your mind and memory improves with age...! At least I think that's how it goes... and of course, I can't remember who “THEY” are...!




- Click Here For Larger Image -Alpha Section Revetment With Emergency Shower

This image give a good clear illustration of the section revetment. The thick doors are also illustrated in a detail image that you can view if you “Click Here”.

To help understand this section concrete shell configuration within the revetment we have provided an illustration of a revetment plan, so please “Click Here” to view that image.

The emergency shower unit stands by because in case of an accident with the Nike Ajax missiles. The Ajax were propelled by a rocket motor that used two different and highly toxic liquid acids. So in case of an accident related to these toxic fuels, the shower is there to help flood and defuse these toxic effects.

Also, the guy behind Neil Watson, sitting behing the 50 Caliber Machine gun is, I think, Spec 4 James Mullin... I think...!




- Click Here For Larger Image -Neil Watson Ever Ready - 1960

Alpha Section Panel Operator sitting, smiling and in his armor protected down sleeping bag, ... ready to meet any foe!

Ready for a Moninger Neil...?

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Alpha Section Generator Shed - 1960

This photo illustrates the electrical power source that was at the rear of each section. This diesel powered generator was fired up at the beginning of each alert, and ran continually until the conclusion of the exercise.

The same process is applied if the battery was on a “Hot Status”, or as the battery designated to be the one ready to engage in an immediate response to hostile threats.

The image was taken from on top of the revetment where the previous photo shows.




- Click Here For Larger Image -Bravo Section With Alpha Section Just Above It

This is a good shot of Bravo Section, unfortunately it's a bit out of focus. There are some images that even Photoshop can't fix. However, it is still useful because it shows the Alpha Section and Bravo relationship.

After passing through the the inner perimeter security gate one would take an immediate left and go up the hill to Alpha, and to go to Bravo Section one go to the immediate right, down the hill. So the two sections were almost in a straight line from each other. And Charlie Section is to the right in this image.

Isn't that fascinating...!





- Click Here For Larger Image -Launcher Two From Inside Revetment

This is a great perspective of the Launching Area's physical Buildings. It was taken from Alpha Section's high berm that separates the launchers and missile hanger from the main buildings in the event of an explosion.

A reverse view of the berm can be seen in the next image. It is taken from the rear corner of the Ready Room, which is the low building on the far right in this image.

The key is the far right curve of that large black fuel tank next to the Ready Room, because it helps define the smaller berm around the tank in relation to the larger berm of Alpha Section. So look for that.




- Click Here For Larger Image -Bravo Section - I Think It’s A Rocket

This is a great shot, and I discovered why while using the magnification tool. It's amazing how many little treasures I have found with this tool while working with all of these images. Visuals that are to small and get passed by, or just by not being observant enough.

What I discovered was something I stressed upon at the beginning of this section, but in the reverse. And that is the importance of “Line of Site” from the Launching Area and The IFC. I pointed out the notches in the tree line exposing the three sections, and in this detail it is illustrated perfectly, but from the opposite perspective. If you “Click Here”, you will see what I mean. It was a wonderful little discovery.

Also in the detail on the back track to the launcher, on the far right is a “Yellow Safety Stop”. They prevent any movement along the tracks, and they are simply flipped either forward to be utilized, or backward to be cleared.

Image by Ken Nendick - Chicago -1960

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