Erinnerungen an die Fallschirmspringer Kompanie Vll Corps LRRP / C Company 58th Infantry

 

Memories of the Paratroopers  C Company 58th Infantry / Vll Corps LRRP 1961 to 1969 Nellingen Barracks

 

 

Trip to Europe October 2011 of the former Paratroopers Kirk Gibson – Rick Hathaway & John Fisher

 

 

Eine weitere Seite meiner Homepage widme ich den ehemaligen Fallschirmspringern des Vll Corps LRRP ( Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol )

Diese berühmte Einheit war in den Nellingen Barracks von 1961 bis 1969 stationiert. Weiter unten können sie eine deutsche Übersetzung über deren Mission, Training, Einsätze und Ernstfallübungen lesen. Im Frühherbst 2011 schrieb mich der ehemalige Soldat Kirk Gibson an, dass er mit zwei weiteren Kameraden auf einer Europa Reise sind und mich besuchen wollen. Ihre Reise ging über die Normandie, Belgien, Luxemburg, Stuttgart, Dachau, München und Obersalzberg bei Berchtesgaden.

Die Herren Kirk Gibson, Rick Hathaway und John Fisher kamen dann am Tag meines Geburtstages, 20. Oktober, in Stuttgart an.

Über den HBF und die Linie U-7 fuhren sie am frühen Abend in den Scharnhauser Park. Dort habe ich sie empfangen und herzlich begrüßt.

Fuhren dann in das Areal der ehemaligen Nellingen Barracks. Parkten dort und konnten gerade noch vor Einbruch der Dunkelheit das Gelände zu Fuß begehen.

Die 3 Fallschirmspringer waren sehr erstaunt was sich alles seit 1964 verändert hat. Aber ihr früheres Kasernengebäude steht noch frisch renoviert.

 

Auch das L-Gebäude, dem früheren Service Center der US-Army schauten wir uns an sowie die Alte Wache. Die drei Amerikaner waren hier gemeinsam von 1962 bis 1964 stationiert.

Sie konnten sich noch an vieles erinnern und erzählten mir heitere Soldatengeschichten von damals. Ich trug auch meinen Teil zur Geschichte der Kaserne in englisch bei.

 

Gegen 20 Uhr fuhren wir nach Nellingen zu mir nachhause und stellte ihnen meine Familie vor.

Eine sehr freudige und spannende Unterhaltung hat nun begonnen. Alle anwesenden erzählten von ihren Familien und was sie nach ihrer Armee Zeit getan haben.

Meine Frau servierte ein schwäbisches Vesper und ich stellte ein leckeres Ulmer Goldochsen Bier auf den Tisch. Zeigte ihnen noch meine Abzeichensammlung und mein Kasernenarchiv.

 

Das war ein sehr schönes Zusammentreffen mit uns und den Amerikanern. Verabschiedeten uns auf ein baldiges Wiedersehen.

Meine Frau brachte sie zur Stadtbahnlinie U-7 in Nellingen.

 

Viele Grüße an euch sendet Familie Bils  Oktober 2011

                   

Original Comment on End of this Page.

 

 

Rick, John & Kirk vor ihrem früheren Kasernengebäude

Standing in Front of the old Barracks Building - former Area of Nellingen Barracks – Scharnhauser Park – Oct. 2011

 

Bei uns zuhause in Nellingen am 20.10.2011 / v.l.n.r. John, Billy, mein Sohn Anthony, Kirk und Rick

At Billy´s House in Nellingen Oct. 20th 2011

 

Anthony mit Kirk Gibsons Baret /

Tony wears Kirks Beret

 

 

Alle bei uns zuhause in Nellingen 20.10.2011

 

 

Billy mit Kirk Gibsons Jacke der Vll Corps LRRP

Billy wears Kirk Gibsons Vll Corps LRRP Jacket

 

U-7 Haltestelle Nellingen. Rick, Michaela und John

 

Kaffeetasse von Kirk / Kirk´s Coffee Cup

 

Abzeichen der Vll Corps LRRP / Insignias

 

Billy´s Abzeichensammlung /

Billy´s Patch and Crest Collection

 

Von Kirk Gibson

Gesendet: Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2011

An: William Bils usarmynellingen@hotmail.com

 

Hi Billy,

We got back on Sunday and have been trying to get back to normal. Thanks so much for picking us up and showing us around the old barracks. They looked great, and brought back a lot of memories. Too bad the MP station wasn't a Gasthaus while we were there!

And thank you, Michaela and your Son Anthony. That was very special for us. I have Toni's plane on the shelf over my desk. Also, we were amazed by the ancient buildings in Nellingen. We had no idea that there were such treasures so near to us. It gives us another good reason to come back. I'm glad the crest has a place of honor on your board.

We think we were a pretty special company, and it's nice to be remembered by others.

Best regards,

Kirk Gibson

 

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Hier zeige ich Ihnen weitere historische Fotos der ehemaligen Fallschirmspringer Kompanie mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Sam Rodriguez, Kirk Gibson, John Fisher und Rick Hathaway. Alle Fotos stammen aus den Jahren 1962 bis 1968. Viel Spaß beim betrachten der tollen Bilder wünscht Ihnen Ihr Billy – November 2011 -

 

Kirk Gibsons Photo Album / Collection Nellingen Kaserne 1962 to 1964:

 

Fallschirmsprung Kirk Gibson Nellingen Kaserne Februar 1964

Jump February 1964 near Heating Plant Nellingen Kaserne

Marschieren in der Nellingen Kaserne Februar 1964

LRRPs on early morning march on post Feb. 1964

 

 

Fallschirmspringer bei der Landung innerhalb der Kaserne Winter 1964 / Landing near post

 

 

Kirk Gibsons letzter Sprung 1964 / Kirk Gibson´s last Jump

 

 

 

Baret Abzeichen / Beret Pin

 

 

Fallschirmsprung Kirk Gibson Nellingen Kaserne Feb.1964  Jump February 1964 near Heating Plant Nellingen Kaserne

 

Kirk Gibson 1964 / Kirk Gibson  Feb.1964 Nellingen Kaserne

 

Kirk Gibson vor einer Landung / Ready to land

 

 

Kirk Gibson Juni 2002 / Kirk Gibson June 2002

 

 

Truppenparade Neckarstadion Stuttgart Sommer 1962

LRRP VII CORPS 1962 Neckar Stadium

 

Spinger Offiziersabzeichen /  LRRP Officers' Pocket Patch

 

 

Feuerzeug der Fallschirmspringer /

Paratrooper Lighter 1964

 

 

Sam Rodriguez Photo Album / Collection Nellingen Kaserne 1966 to 1968:

 

 

Sam Rodriguez Fallschirmspringer Übung 1967

 

Fallschirmsprung aus einer C130 / C130 Jump 1967

 

Sam Rodriguez 1967 Vll Corps LRRP

 

Sprung aus einem CH-34 Hubschrauber Malmsheim 1967

 

 

Kompanie Schild am Eingang vom Kasernengebäude

Company Sign Barracks Nellingen Kaserne 1967

 

Miller & Fred Rodriguez Nellingen Barracks 1967

 

 

Kinoprogramm Kino Nellingen Kaserne im Jahr 1967

 Choctaw Movie Theater 1967

 

 

Sam Rodriguez bei der Landung auf dem Nellingen Army Airfield

Sam Rodriguez Jump over Nellingen Army Airfield 1967

 

 

Sam Rodriguez 1966

 

 

 

Freundestreffen Juli 2010 v.l.n.r. McClung, Sam, Handlin,

Gibson in Toto´s Pizzeria San Bruno Ca. USA

Freundestreffen Juli 2010 v.l.n.r. Bob Murphy,

Richard McClung, Sam Rodriguez

Stiletto der 7th Corps LRRP

 

 

 

Original Comment of Sam Rodriguez:

 

Email 1 of Sam Rodriguez

 

Hello Billy

 

While serving with the LRRP Co. (Co. C (LRP) 58th Infantry, VII Corps) I served as Radio Telegraph Operator, worked in the Commo Shop (communications equipment service shop), and as a CW (Continuous Wave or radio telegraphy communications) instructor in our in-house training room also known as the "Dit Pit" located in the basement of our barracks. On arrival to the company in 1966 I was sent to the US Army Airborne School for Airborne/Paratrooper training at the 8th Airborne Infantry, Airborne School located at

Weisbaden Air Force Base, Wiesbaden Germany.

 

As for your other questions, I am currently 65 and hopefully will last a little longer. My wife Dolly passed away last year and currently I live with my youngest son, Jose, who also served as a Paratrooper with the 504th PIR, 82nd Airborne Infantry. I'll attach a photo of my youngest son and me to this reply that you can use on your web page. I currently live in Northern California. I am retired, having worked for several Commercial Computer companies after leaving the Military. These were RCA Information Systems, Sperry Univac, and GTE Information Systems Division. After leaving private commercial industries I started work at the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior, US Government.

 

As Stated, I am a widower and have three Grown kids and Six Grandchildren.

 

Take care Billy

 

Sam Rodriguez (Anselmo Rodriguez)

 

Email 2 of Sam Rodriguez

 

LRRP Nellingen Barracks Germany

 

Von: Sam Rodriguez Gesendet: Samstag, 25. Juni 2011 An: usarmynellingen@hotmail.com

 

Mr Bils

Hello, I am Anselmo Rodriguez also known as "Sam Rodriguez". My military service at Nellingen was with Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf. formerly VII Corps LRRP Co. and later B Co. 75th Rangers.

 

I want to thank you for your excellent work in putting together your tribute to Nellingen Barracks in your web page. Your web page brings back so many fond

memories of what many of us recall as one of former homes. I am a member of the VII Corps LRRP Association. I have collected over 5K plus photographs, news

articles, and personal memoirs that I digitally preserved on a single DVD. I also wrote the VII Corps LRRP Assn's history that has been published in very limited

numbers. The documents cover the years 1959-1960 at Ford Barracks, ULM. 1960 through 1968 at Nellingen and 1968-1975 at various US posts. I would like to

share some of these photographs and other historical documents but I am bound by my agreement with the VII Corps LRRP Assn. that prohibits me from furnishing

these documents. The VII Corps LRRP Assn owns the rights to the documents. Even though my involvement has been pro bono and entirely voluntary my

agreement was that I would not provide any documents to anyone without the approval of the VII Corps LRRP Assn. In return the Assn would publish and

distribute the DATA DVD and Book.

 

The VII Corps LRRP's, LRP, and later Rangers most closely resemble the Bundeswehr's Fernspähkompanie.

While at Nellingen I was fortunate to serve with Theo Knaak who I believe you also personally know. Though I cannot provide any documents, I believe I may be able to provide some of my own personnal photographs. I will make an effort to find out if I may be able to help you out. I just regret that I am unable to provide all of the documents that are in my possession. These were provided by many of the former LRRPs and current members of the VII Corps LRRP Assn for the explicit use of the Assn.

I will keep your email address and make "another" effort regarding sharing some of "at the very least" my own personnal photos for your web page.

Again, excellent web page. Thank you for doing this.

 

Very best wishes

 

Sam Rodriguez

Co C (LRP) 58th Inf 1966-1968

(VII Corps LRRP Co.) Nellingen Barracks.

 

Die Mission des Vll Corps LRRP Nellingen Kaserne ( Deutsche Version )

 

                                                                                                         

 

 

 

 

Die Mission des Vll Corps LRRP C Company 58th Infantry

Nellingen Germany 1961 bis 1969

 

Zusammengestellt von Anselmo ( Sam ) Rodriguez

 

Mitte der 50er Jahre und bis in die 60er Jahre verschärfte sich der „Kalte Krieg“ zwischen dem Westen und den Soviets. Im Falle eines Krieges besaß das US-Militär keine Einheiten, welche in jeder Wetterlage 24 Stunden lang weit entfernte Ziele hinter der Feindeslinie erreichen konnten und die nötige Aufklärung dazu.

Schon im Jahr 1958 gab die 7. Armee in Europa ein Schreiben 20-1 heraus, in dem gefordert wurde, dass jede Division weit reichende Waffen besaß.

Im Februar 1958 wurden die ersten Evaluationstests für weit reichende Aufklärungswaffen durchgeführt.

Sie stellten eine Gruppe von Leuten zusammen. Sie hatten zwei oder drei Wochen Trainingsausbildungszeit und wurden dann rausgeschickt.

Mit diesen kurzfristig zusammengestellten Einheiten gab es ein Problem: Sie konnten nicht ausreichend miteinander kommunizieren !!!!!

 

Truck Park Yard Nellingen Kaserne

 

Nachdem solche Einheiten zu anfänglichen Tests eingesetzt wurden, wurde am 15. Juli 1961 dem Einsatz zugestimmt und veröffentlicht und unter TCE-7-157 wurden die Corps LRRP Kompanien in der 7. Armee aktiviert.

Mit Zustimmung des DOA stellte Major Maltese nun die Vll Corps LRRP Kompanien APO 46, zusammen.

Major Maltese wurde auf seinen Wunsch hin der 1. Offizier und Paddy Flynn der 1. Feldwebel der Kompanie.

In der Nellingen Kaserne, die sich südöstlich von Stuttgart befand, fand man eine geeignete Unterkunft für die neue Kompanie der

Fallschirmspringer des Vll Corps.                                                   

 

Die Fernspähkompanie

 

Headquarters / Hauptquartier LRRP Nellingen Kaserne

 

Hauptgefreiter Louis Durnavich von der 558th Ordnance Company erinnert sich an den Tag im Jahre 1961 als Major Maltese und Feldwebel Flynn reinkamen und ihm befahlen, ihr Kasernengebäude zu übernehmen.

Nachdem das Gebäude übernommen wurde, war das vorherige aus dem 2. WK das neue zuhause des Vll Corps LRRP Kompanie.

Maltese und Flynn begaben sich nun auf die Suche nach geeignetem Personal

( Soldaten ) und es wurde ein Aufruf für freiwillige gestartet. Viele, die sich  meldeten, waren Kriegsveteranen des 2. WK oder des Korea Konflikts.

Einige hatten bereits im US-Militär gedient. Andere waren amerikanische oder deutsche ausgebildete Ausbilder. Die Gruppe NCO im Vll Corps riefen Major Maltese einmal im Monat an und sagten: Wir haben eine neue Liste mit Leuten, die für sie interessant sein könnten. Maltese überflog die Liste und suchte sich die heraus, die er wollte.

                                                         Maltese: „ Wir hatten eine volle Kompanie – sie war gut gefüllt. Wir hatten die Erlaubnis Leute einzuziehen „

 

 

In dieser neuen Gruppe von Fallschirmspringern waren Militärpersonen, welche schon die höchsten militärischen Auszeichnungen hatten.

Drei andere LRRP Kompanien wurden ebenfalls in Europa zusammengestellt. Unter anderem das V Corps LRRP in Wildflecken und die SETAF in Italien.

 

                             „ Aufklärung im Kampf und feindliche Zielvorbereitungen hinter den Feindeslinien im Einzugsgebiet des Vll Corps“

 

Die Fallschirmspringer LRRP sollten nicht mit der gut erkennbaren Aufklärungspatrouille verwechselt werden die normalerweise in ein bestimmtes Gebiet vordringt um Informationen zu sammeln und dann nach Vollendung des Auftrags wieder zurückkehrt.

Patrouillen sollten etwas erkennen aber selbst unerkannt bleiben.

Ihr vordringen ist auf Zeiten beschränkt, wo man sie nur wenig sieht oder während der Dunkelheit. In dieser Zeit könnten sie Anweisungen erhalten, weiterzugehen und verdächtige Gebiete nach Kommandoposten oder großen Nachlieferungsanlagen auszukundschaften.

 

 

„Die Hauptaufgabe der Aufklärungspatrouille für die weitentfernten Ziele bestand darin, Patrouillen in ganz bestimmte Gebiete ins Feindesland zu schleusen, über die Aufstellung des Feindes, seine Einrichtungen und Aktivitäten zu berichten“

Eine Infanterie Gruppe für weit entfernte Ziele besteht aus einer besonders ausgebildeten Militäreinheit die zum einzigen Zweck zusammengestellt und ausgerüstet wurde, um Wetterdaten zu erhalten, die mit den Erfordernissen der Aufklärung des taktischen Befehlshabers im Einklang standen.

Diese Patrouillen bestehen aus speziell ausgebildeten Leuten, die Aufklärungsarbeiten, Überwachung und Zielfindung innerhalb des Gebiets der eingesetzten Einheit übernehmen können.

Die LRRP wird an einer Stelle aufgestellt ( innerhalb des vom Feind besetzten Gebiets ) um Wege, Gebiete oder bestimmte Orte für eine längere Zeit auszukundschaften.

Sie berichten über feindliche Aktivitäten mit Stärken und Schwächen im beobachteten Gebiet. Eine LRRP Patroullie muss unabhängig sein, gut operieren und hat die Aufgabe Informationen über längere Zeitspannen mit minimaler oder keiner Hilfestellung oder Nachschub von außen zusammenzutragen.

 

 

LRRP Truppen wurden ursprünglich in 4-Mann Patrouillen durchgeführt, die dann auf 5-Mann aufgestockt wurden nach dem der LRP TOE in der Mitte des Jahres 1965 herauskam.

SETAF hatte 6-Mann Patrouillen in Italien, wie später die späteren LRRP Einheiten in Vietnam. 12-Mann Kampfpatrouillen oder große Patrouillen wurden zu besonderen Zwecken zusammengestellt.

Die Methoden dieser Infiltrationen waren unterschiedlich. Patrouillen konnten in vorbestimmten Plätzen hinter der Feindeslinie aufgestellt werden durch die Methode des Dahinterbleibens. Eine Patroullie grub sich dann ein und wurde vom Feind überrannt zur Gewinnung von Einfluss.

Oder....es gab Patrouillen auf dem Landweg, im Wasser oder aus der Luft, auch mit Fallschirmspringern.

Infiltrationen durch Fallschirmspringer bei Nacht von Flugzeugen aus mit großen Flügeln wie die C-1245 und C-130s waren normal. Flugzeuge mit kleinen Flügeln wie die L20 oder die U1A Otter und CH-34 Hubschrauber oder CH-37 waren auch im Gebrauch.

 

Geschrieben von William Bils November 2011

 

Hier stelle ich Ihnen einen youtube Link zur Verfügung wo Sie Einsätze der LRRP Paratroopers sehen können.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzPcRAXeo0I&feature=relmfu

 

 

The Mission of the Vll Corps LRRP Nellingen Kaserne ( English Version ) October 2011:

 

LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROL

 

“EYES BEHIND THE LINES”

 

VII Corps LRRP Co. (ABN) 3780

Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf.

 

 

“Our training is much like Special Forces but we are not Special Forces…”

“Our Missions are entirely different…”  “Patrols are to see but not be seen…” –Major Hunt

 

BACKGROUND

 

By the 1950’s the “Cold War” between the Warsaw Pact Countries and the West had reached full stride.   If all out war were to break out, the NATO Allies were lacking in dedicated military units that could provide extended 24 hour all weather surveillance and target acquisition from deep behind enemy lines.  With the need to effectively counter an invasion of Northern Europe by Soviet Bloc forces, NATO Military Commanders determined that the “Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol” was a necessary intelligence-gathering concept and encouraged NATO allies to form LRRP companies.  After initial testing using Provisional Units, a Table of Distribution was approved and issued on 15 July 1961.  With DOA approval the Corps LRRP Companies in the Seventh Army were activated.  Major Maltese proceeded to set up the VII Corps LRRP Company (ABN), APO 46.  Major Maltese became, at his request, the first Commanding Officer and Winston “Paddy” Flynn was selected to be the company’s 1st SGT. Captain Edward Hunt became the company’s Executive Officer and Captain Ellis D. Bingham was assigned to be the Communications Officer.  The new company’s designation would be “USA LRRP Co (ABN) 3780”.    A search of the VII Corps area for suitable quarters for the new company was found at Nellingen Barracks located southeast of Stuttgart, Germany.  Unlike spies performing clandestine missions, LRRP patrols would consist of uniformed military personnel tasked with surveillance and target acquisition.  “During my tenure in the VII Corps LRRP Company, our concentration was on physical and mental toughness, infiltration, survivability, observation and reporting skills and of course communications and escape and evasion.  We purposely gave the teams a minimum of equipment including only one weapon for self- protection.  We didn’t want our teams to get involved in sustained combat operations. Knowing what I know, I know it is more glamorous to act “RAMBO” style but that was not our Mission.”   –Major Maltese

 

THE MISSION

 

The Company’s Mission: “…To conduct combat surveillance and target acquisition operations behind enemy lines in the VII Corps area of influence.”  –Company SOP Fact Sheet - Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf. 1966 (LRRP Data Disk)   “…The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company’s mission is to extend target acquisition and information collection of the Corps.  …The LRRPs (LRP after 1965 and Army Rangers after 1969) must not be confused with the well-recognized reconnaissance patrol that normally proceeds to an objective area to acquire certain information and then returns upon the accomplishment of the specific mission.  …Patrols are to see but not be seen.  Their movements are restricted to periods of limited visibility or hours of darkness.  During these periods they can expect to receive instructions to move and check suspected areas for command posts or large supply installations in their vicinity and to report on possible obstacles for future offensive plans along a route in their area of operation.”  –Major Hunt

 

“…In 1963, the company was given the mission to provide foot patrols along the Czech Border, along with the 2nd ACR.  The LRRP patrols were able to get closer to the border than the vehicle-bound 2nd ACR. VII Corps G-2 confirmed that the border intelligence provided by the LRRP patrols was of strategic value to the US military and NATO.   In a similar exercise, the employed LRRP patrols were pitted against the Army’s new airborne Side Looking Radar (SLR) system.  The outcome: LRRP patrols averaged getting the information back to the VII Corps’ TOC twenty minutes to one hour before the SLR information was received.  This record made a believer of the Corps’ G-2 Section and General Bonesteel, who was already an avid supporter of the LRRP concept.”   –Col Bingham

 

Several of the LRRPs who were involved in foot patrols along the heavily guarded West German Czech border have come forward with special memories.  Pat Smith, a former Marine who had volunteered for “Special Forces” training but was instead assigned to the LRRPs, recalls one border patrol in the early 1960’s where he and Joe Chetwynd (VII Corps LRRP Association’s first President) found that they were both on the Czech side.  Before they could get back, a Czech two-man border patrol with a guard dog came between them and the West German border.   With the need to get back to the “West”, Joe decided that the best way to get out of this situation was to just walk over to the guards and ask for a match to light a cigarette.  Needless to say, Pat thought it wasn’t a good idea but Joe, with the typical LRRP confidence, walked right up to the guards, and with their dog going nuts, asked for the match.  A situation solved with exceptional personal resourcefulness and a bit of LRRP bravado.  John Wood, B Co 75th Ranger and decorated Vietnam Veteran (Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star for bravery under fire), provided another bit of information regarding patrols along the Czech border in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  John’s comments were “…However, as LRRPs/Rangers we did do some really hairy things. I wish you could get a hold of Sp/4 James, from Michigan somewhere.  He had photographs of Russian guards looking through the fence at the West.  Only thing was he was behind them when he took the photo, and the photograph was taken from the ground looking up.  Sp/4 James had crawled up behind them and taken their photo.  Not to mention how he got on the “Commie” side.  But that picture will be in my memory forever. …I knew I was with the right guys after that.”  Photographs of the LRRPs on patrol along the Czech border can be found in the LRRP Data Disk. 

 

STIFF QUALIFICTIONS

 

Men who volunteered or had been selected to join the LRRPs had to meet stiff qualifications.  Those not personally selected by Major Maltese had to go through extensive screening before being accepted into the ranks of the LRRPs.  “…We look for an airborne-qualified individual who is in superb physical condition, has training or aptitude for International Morse Code, is skilled in scouting and patrolling and, most important of all, has a high degree of personal resourcefulness.” –Capt. Frank L. Garbers   (The Overseas Weekly 1963) Foreign language knowledge by these individuals, or the aptitude to learn a foreign language, was also highly desired.  In addition, volunteers had to meet a stringent minimum physical profile of 111121 and a minimum aptitude area GT score of 115 and on arrival already posses or be eligible for a “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” clearance.  Bill Mathiak, C (LRP) 58th and B Co 75th Rangers, provided the following information obtained from a Newspaper recruitment article after the company was re-located to Ft Carson.  “…What the LRRPs needed were “exceptional” individuals.  They had to be tough and loyal, Airborne Qualified, trained in radio communications with emphasis on radiotelegraphy, and either RANGER or RECONDO qualified or both.  If not, the company had the priority to get individuals into these schools without worrying about a limited number of allocations.”  Individuals meeting these qualifications and after extensive screening were allowed to join the ranks of the LRRPs. 

 

 

THE TRAINING

 

“…The training schedule was written by me, Captain Frank Garbers, Lt. Jack Conlon, Sgt McNeeley, and Sgt Darrell Daugherty.  Daugherty did almost all the work.  They (Corps) let us alone, and we could do whatever we wanted.  No one ever came out and said, “Don’t do this, don’t do that.  For instance, when we wanted to take ski training in Garmisch, we went to Garmisch, and the Army paid for all the facilities and we did whatever we wanted to do, even swimming at Garmisch in the summer,” –Major Maltese 

 

Cross training in order to take over a fallen patrol member’s duties was routine.  All LRRP personnel were required to be Airborne qualified.  Personnel arriving at the company who were not Airborne qualified were required to attend the first available scheduled jump school at the 8th Infantry Division’s Airborne School at Wiesbaden Air Force Base located just outside of Wiesbaden, West Germany.  A typical day for the LRRPs consisted of physical training and a five-kilometer run around “The Horn” (a map of “The Horn” can be found in the LRRP Data Disk) in combat boots and fatigues.  An occasional fifteen-kilometer run through Nellingen to the Karlsruhe-Munich autobahn underpass and return was thrown in to test the physical stamina and endurance of the LRRPs.  “…I still remember with a lot of humor the run to Patch Barracks at 0500 hrs to sing Happy Birthday to the General, while double timing around his home in the housing area.”  –Terry Pratt.  Rigorous physical conditioning was stressed throughout all training phases in order to fulfill the unit’s mission.  “…Only through physical fitness could patrols expect to survive under the conditions expected in times of hostilities.” –Major Hunt 

 

 

Joint operations with the 10th Special Forces Group and NATO Forces were also part of the company’s training.   Because of the unique structure of the LRRPs, there were Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers who were Special Force and Army Ranger qualified throughout the company.  These Special Force and Ranger trained personnel were required to pass their knowledge and training to those under their immediate supervision.   Many LRRPs would earn German jump wings by jumping with the West German Military’s equivalent to the LRRPs, the German Bundeswerh’s Fallschirmjager-Fernspahkompanie. Likewise, German military personnel were given the opportunity to earn the U.S. Army’s Parachute Badge by jumping with the LRRPs.  Many of the early LRRPs also earned the French Airborne Badge by participating and jumping in French Airborne exercises.  Photographs and newspaper articles regarding LRRPs being awarded German jump wings can be found in the LRRP Data Disk.  Also included are digitized copies of German jump manifests, German Airborne Certificates, and photographs of German jump wings.  

 

“…What good is information if half the patrol is shot up and the other half can’t send CW?” –Major Hunt

 

The training included, but was not limited to, communications “…(Communications was) Considered the most important subject because it takes the longest time to develop and the hardest to maintain. Only through good communications can you report what you have seen.” –Major Hunt  ...Communications was essential to the success of any intelligence-gathering mission.   From the beginning, both Majors Maltese and Hunt insisted that all LRRP personnel be CW (radiotelegraphy) qualified.  To ensure company wide radiotelegraphy proficiency an in-house classroom for International Morse Code training, known as the “DIT-PIT” was set up to provide basic or refresher training.  It was not unusual to have Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Enlisted Men sitting next to each other taking basic radiotelegraphy training in the “DIT-PIT” classroom.  Majors Maltese and Hunt employed the hard learned lessons of WWII OSS radiotelegraph communications to train the LRRPs.  Under the command of Majors Maltese and Hunt, LRRP communications became a “Mastered Art

 

LRRP SURVIVABILITY

 

“…Patrol extraction was problematic.  There was little chance of re-supply or extraction of Patrols operating far behind Warsaw Pact lines in hostile or contested airspace.” – Robert Murphy, V Corps LRRP

 

“…Our Units were very much the same.  We were the Special Reconnaissance Squadron, RAC, based in Paderborn, tasked with holding back a Soviet offense of the North German plain with insertion by chopper or walk in for targeting for “Honest John” or “Corporal” tactical missiles.  We did quite a lot of training in the Bavarian Alps.  All of the members of our Squadron had to pass the SAS selection course, about 90% failure rate.  Don’t know what your boys were told, but we were reckoning on a 90% casualty rate in the first 48 hours.  After that we were told to just get lost and get home if we could.  All “COMMS” would be cut.” –Bryan Morrison – British (SAS)

 

Former LRRP patrol Sgt. Theo Knaak was foreign-born, spoke fluent German, and more than met all the qualifications necessary to be a LRRP.  Major Maltese personally interviewed and welcomed Theo and Rowe Attaway (SGM Ret.) to the LRRPs.  Because of Theo’s ability to speak fluent German, he was often used as a liaison between VII Corps and the West German Bundeswehr (Army).  Theo recalls a meeting he attended where Patrol “survivability” was under question.  According to Theo, “…The meeting was between a group of German Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and the VII Corps LRRP leadership in our Barracks.” Theo believes that the German Officers may have come from Lechfeld.  “…I think they called this room where the meeting was held the “Briefing Room”.  The Briefing room was located in the wing near the “Operations office”.  In his statements regarding this meeting, Theo also added, “…I am not totally certain any more if the expected rate of return of Patrols on the briefing chart was 75% or 80%.  For this purpose I will say 75%. The German Officers were skeptical of those numbers.  After some discussion, it was lowered by our Officers to 50% and finally to 25%.  This was a more realistic value that the West German Officers, who still remained highly skeptical, would accept.”  “…By survival, it was not meant that they (patrol members) would all die, but they would not return as expected.  If you think about it, that was realistic.  We were the “Eyes Behind the Lines,” up to two hundred miles behind enemy lines. (Please note that in Major Hunt’s Pentagon briefing “The Corps area of influence is 50 miles but that patrols could expect to find themselves up to 300 miles behind enemy lines.”)  To escape and evade such a distance would require a large amount of personal resourcefulness.  A Patrol would be in enemy-held territory, transmitting radio signals that could be intercepted and by the use of radio direction finding and triangulation a patrol could possibly be located.” Once inserted, a patrol would complete its mission, and then find itself deep behind enemy lines, on foot, with no means of re-supply or extraction.  “…If you consider the “Fulda Pass” mission, with the tactical Nukes job, I can't see how we would not have gotten ourselves killed by our own or the next patrol’s Nukes, if not by the blast, the fallout for sure.”  These are some of Theo’s personal recollections as a LRRP Patrol NCO at Nellingen.

 

THOSE CRAZY LRRPS

 

That extra $55 a month (Hazardous Duty or Jump Pay) earned for being Airborne was put to good use by the LRRPs.  Though constant FTXs kept the LRRPs in the field, when they did come back to Nellingen Barracks, they were instantly recognizable as the elite troops they were.  Physically fit, wearing spit shined Corcoran Paratrooper boots, tailored class “A” uniforms or immaculate starched fatigues, that distinctive maroon beret, plus that cocky confidence, and “Espirit-de-Corps” were un-mistakenly the trademarks of a LRRP.   Intensive and specialized small unit commando training also distinguished LRRPs from other Airborne and non-Airborne troops, and “…The LRRP companies had the distinction of being the only non-mechanized US Army units in the Seventh Army.”  – Robert Murphy, V Corps LRRP

 

Few units in Europe, if any, received as much training as the LRRPs.  Frequent random alerts at any hour or day for LRRP personnel to immediately report to their barracks were common.  Not uncommon were the numerous and frequent interruptions at the Choctaw Theater with the announcement for all LRRP Personnel to report to their quarters.  Not only at the Theater but this call was repeated throughout Nellingen Barracks.  The frequent alerts made it very clear that the LRRPs would be the first to respond in the event of war.  Because of the need to be the “First-to-Respond” a 90% recall of all personnel at a moment’s notice made off base passes hard to come by.  In the mid-60’s, 1st Sgt Puckett made it clear that “…If you want an off-base overnight or weekend pass, you are going to have to earn it.” And earn the passes we did, by performing to the standards Major Maltese set at the beginning.  All of this activity earned the LRRPs numerous names by non-Airborne personnel such as those “Crazy Paratroopers” or those “Suicide LRRPs” who wore berets, ran, did “PT”, and constantly participated in field training exercises in any weather.  “Any weather” was an understatement.  “…Most major FTXs took place when the ground was frozen, in order to minimize damage to the countryside from tracked vehicles.  Jumping in at night with a full equipment load in their rucksacks onto frozen Drop Zones was not for the faint-of-heart.” – Robert Murphy V Corps LRRP

 

 

THE ROD & GUN CLUB

 

The Rod & Gun club, because of its’ close proximity to the barracks, was falsely rumored to be the LRRP’s personal property.  Non-Airborne personnel (commonly referred to as “LEGS”) stationed at Nellingen Barracks for some unknown reason would avoid the Rod & Gun.  It was said that the Rod & Gun was full of “Crazy LRRPs”.  These Paratroopers, these sons of devils, were supposedly quick to find fault with non-Airborne personnel.  Numerous unsubstantiated rumors circulated around Nellingen Barracks’ non-Airborne personnel about how the LRRPs would defend and support each other.  A fight with one was a fight with all, with LRRPs appearing as if from nowhere to help defend a fellow brother.  To non-LRRPs at Nellingen Barracks, the Rod & Gun was a place to avoid.  As all former LRRPs well know, these were absolutely and totally false assumptions about the Nellingen LRRPs and were common misconceptions with no basis what so ever. 

 

These men, these LRRPs, were exceptional and truly special. 

 

For Billy Bils

 

Anselmo Rodriguez (Sam)

Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf.

Nellingen Barracks, Ger

1966-1968

 

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