WELCOME TO THE ASA RECOGNITION SITE

 


 

            


 

UNITED STATES ARMY SECURITY AGENCY


 

WE MADE THE DIFFERENCE




WE MUST BE REMEMBERED


 

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ASA HISTORY
===========================================
The U.S. Army has supported its fighting forces with signals intelligence since World War I. The first permanent organization to do this was established in 1930 as the Signal Intelligence Service. During World War II, the SIS (renamed the Signal Security Service in 1943 and later the Signal Security Agency - SSA) exploited the communications of both Germany and Japan, shortening the war and saving many thousands of American lives.

The SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA) at Arlington Hall Station, Virginia, on September 15 1945. Operating under the command of the Director of Military Intelligence, the new agency had a sweeping charter. It exercised control functions through a vertical command structure. ASA established a worldwide chain of fixed sites - "field stations" - while maintaining large theater headquarters in the Far East and in Europe.

In 1949, all three military crypto logic services were centralized under the new Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA), the precursor of today's National Security Agency. ASA transferred most members of its large civilian headquarters staff to AFSA in this process. However, because of the need once again to support troops in actual combat in the Korean War, ASA again expanded, deploying tactical units on a large scale to support the Army in combat. For the first time, ASA grew to include groups and battalions in its force structure.

In 1955, ASA took over electronic intelligence (ELINT) and electronic warfare functions previously carried out by the Signal Corps. Since its mission was no longer exclusively identified with intelligence and security, ASA was withdrawn from G-2 control and resubordinated to the Army Chief of Staff as a field operating agency.
In the 1960s, ASA was again called upon to assist U.S. forces in the field. On May 13 1961, the first contingent of Army Security Agency personnel arrived in South Vietnam (setting up an organization at Tan Son Nhut Air Base) to provide support to the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group and help train the South Vietnamese Army. During the early years of conflict, ASA troops in Vietnam were assigned to the 3rd Radio Research Unit. Their primary mission was to locate Viet Cong transmitters operating in the south. This mission was in its early stages when one of their direction finding (DF) operators, SP4 James T. Davis, was killed in a Viet Cong ambush on a road outside Saigon. The date of the ambush, December 22 1961, made Davis the first American Combat soldier to lose his life during the Vietnam War.

The death of Davis brought home to ASA the dangers to proceeding into the jungle with short-range DF equipment to locate VC transmitters that might be only a few miles away. Since radio wave propagation in Southeast Asia required that DF equipment be very close to the transmitter, the obvious answer was to go airborne. ASA engineers began working on the problem, and by March 1962 they had their first airborne DF platform, a single-engine aircraft that flew low, slow, and had room for only a few people.
                                                                           
In the fall of 1962, one veteran arrived in Vietnam assigned to the 3rd Radio Research Unit. He recalls that after Davis was killed operating a jeep-based PRD-1
(Portable Radio Direction Finder 0) direction finding unit, someone decided that this function could be better handled from the air. Within days, soldiers in the unit were calling it TWA (Teeny Weeny Airlines).

                                                                             
With the introduction of large U.S. ground combat elements into South Vietnam in 1965, the ASA organization in-country expanded. The 3rd RRU was replaced by the 509th Radio Research Group, which commanded three battalions and company-size direct support units assigned to all Army divisions. One of the 509th's subordinate battalions was the 224th Aviation Battalion (Radio Research), which pioneered in the introduction of Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) to the battlefield. At the height of the war, the 509th radio Research Group commanded some 6,000 ASA personnel in-country. Meanwhile, the agency itself had greatly expanded, reaching a strength of 30,000 and attaining the status of a major Army field command in 1964.


 

However, the massive drawdown of the Army after the Vietnam War led to pressures to achieve economies by the consolidation of intelligence functions. In 1975, the Army Chief of Staff accepted the recommendations of the Intelligence Organization and Stationing Study and agreed to a wholesale reorganization of Army Intelligence. The decision was made to create multidisciplinary military intelligence organizations within the Army at both the tactical and departmental levels. As a result, ASA was effectively dismembered. ASA's tactical units were resubordinated to the local commander, its functional responsibilities for training and research and development spun off to other major army commands (MACOMs), and its headquarters and fixed sites used as the nucleus of a new intelligence and security MACOM. On January 1. 1977, Headquarters, U.S. Army Security agency, was redesignated as Headquarters, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command.


 

The Official Army Security Agency Community
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LOCATIONS AROUND THE WORLD

   


VERY MUCH UNDER CONSTRUCTION
 


 



 

       


Army Security Agency Field Station
TWO ROCK RANCH
PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA

Several New Photographs Of This Station Will Be Posted Soon.


 
 
 

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA PETALUMA CALIFORNIA
WHEN I FIND SOME

   
 Click for Petaluma, California Forecast
 


 

Army Security Agency Field Station
VINT HILL FARMS FIELD STATION

WARRENTON, VIRGINIA

 
   
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA WARRENTON VIRGINIA
WHEN I FIND SOME

 Click for Warrenton, Virginia Forecast



 

Army Security Agency Field Station
7th RRFS RAMASUN STATION
Udorn Thailand


 Photograph By Dennis Mosley 1968

 
 
 
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA THAILAND

 


 

Army Security Agency Field Station
MANZARALI STATION TURKEY
TUSLOG DETACHMENT 27
15TH Field Station
Cerkezhuyuk Gokchehuyuk, Turkey

 
   
   
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA CERKEZHUYUK GOKCHEHUYUK TURKEY
WHEN I FIND SOME

 

Army Security Agency Field Station
17th Field Station

Rothwesten, Germany

 

   
   
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA ROTHWESTEN GERMANY
WHEN I FIND SOME

 Click for Kassel, Germany Forecast



 

Army Security Agency Field Station
12th Field Station

CHITOSE , JAPAN

 

   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA CHITOSE JAPAN

 Click for Chitose Air Base, Japan Forecast


 



 

 

Army Security Agency Field Station
11th Field Station

BERLIN, Germany

Motto Was
"On Watch"

           

 
   
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA BERLIN GERMANY
WHEN I FIND SOME

 Click for Berlin Schoenefeld, Germany Forecast




 

Army Security Agency Field Station
701st MI Brigade
Augsburg, Germany

 



 
 
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA AUGSBURG GERMANY
WHEN I FIND SOME

 Click for Augsburg, Germany Forecast



 

Army Security Agency Field Station
404th Radio Research Detachment
 Vietnam

 
   
   
   
   
   
 



 

Army Security Agency Field Station
318TH ASA BATTALION HERZO BASE
 

Herzogenaurach, Germany

   
   
   

VISIT THE SITES BELOW FOR ASA HERZO GERMANY


 

 



 

 Army Security Agency Field Station
409TH Radio Research Detachment  
VIETNAM

 
   
   
   
   
   
 



 

FUTURE USASA FIELD STATION MEMORY

 
   
   
   
   
   
 



 

FUTURE USASA FIELD STATION MEMORY

 
   
   
   
   
   
 




 

ASA WEBSITES WITH NO ASSOCIATION TO
ANY PARTICULAR FIELD STATION
..........................................................


 
Wouldn't You Know.................
This First Link Is For Just About All The Different Field Stations
So Ignore The Above Text For The First One
 

UNITED STATES ARMY SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTION FINDING

 

 

 
 

Early ASA Including Time At Two Rock Ranch Station California
 






 

 

FUTURE USASA FIELD STATION MEMORY

United States Army Security Agency

The United States Army Security Agency (ASA) was, from 1945 through 1976, the United States Army's electronic intelligence branch. Its motto was "Vigilant Always." The Agency was the successor to a number of Army signals intelligence operations dating back to World War I. As well as intelligence gathering, it also had responsibility for the security of Army communications and for electronic countermeasures operations. In 1976, the USASA was merged with the US Army Military Intelligence component in a process which formed the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

Composed primarily of soldiers with the very highest scores on Army intelligence tests, the ASA was tasked with monitoring and interpreting military communications of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and their allies and client states around the world. ASA was directly subordinate to the National Security Agency and all field stations had NSA tech reps on site.

All gathered information had time sensitive value depending on its importance and classification. Information was passed through intelligence channels within hours of intercept for the lowest priority items, but in as little as 10 minutes for the most highly critical information.

ASA personnel were stationed at locations around the globe, wherever the United States had a military presence -- publicly acknowledged or otherwise. In some cases such as Eritrea, it was the primary military presence. Although not officially serving under the ASA name, cover designation being Radio Research, ASA personnel were among the earliest U.S. military advisors in Vietnam. The first ASA combat fatality in Vietnam took place in 1961. This was Specialist James T. Davis for whom Davis Station in Saigon was named. President Lyndon Johnson later termed Davis "the first American to fall in the defense of our freedom in Vietnam". All ASA personnel processed in country through Davis Station. ASA personnel were attached to Army infantry and armored cavalry units throughout the Vietnam War. Some select teams were also attached to MACV/SOG and Special Forces units.

ASA military occupational specialties (MOSs) included linguists, morse code intercept operators, non-morse (teletype and voice) intercept operators, communications security specialists, direction-finding equipment operators, cryptographers, communications traffic analysts, and electronic maintenance technicians and a 42 man Special Operations Detachment to conduct clandestine combat operations, among others. ASA had its own separate training facilities, MP corps, communication centers and chain of command.

These occupations, which required top secret clearance, were essential to U.S. Cold War efforts. ASA units operated in shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ASA troops were not allowed to discuss their operations with outsiders — in fact, they could not talk among themselves about their duties unless they were in a secure location. Even today, decades after they served, some of the missions still cannot be discussed. Owing to the sensitivity of the information with which they worked, ASA soldiers were subject to travel restrictions during and long after their time in service. The activities of the U.S. Army Security Agency have only recently been partially declassified.

 
   
   
   
   
   
 


 

FUTURE USASA FIELD STATION MEMORY

 
   
   
   
   
   
 



 

 

 

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UNITED STATES ARMY SECURITY AGENCY

 


RIGHT!
 

OUR PATCHES & PINS


                             

ARMY SECURITY AGENCY OFFICIAL PATCHES



Army Intelligence
&
Security Command

508th Novelty - Korea


Fort Devens  Association

 

16th Field Station Herzo Base

 


17th Field Station Rothwesten

 

                

11th Field Station Berlin Baumholder

National ASA Association
Member Patch
 
  
 

156th Aviation Company
Radio Research, 224th Aviation Battalion - Stalking Grounds - Vietnam

ASA FROM  1945 - 1975


INSIGNIA FOR
ARMY SECURITY, USAR
 - OBSOLETE - 

   
409TH RADIO RESEARCH (ASA) DETACHMENT VIETNAM

"RAMASUN"
STATION,
THAILAND
 


         7th RRFS


VIETNAM ALL VETS


US NAVY

 


3RD USASA FIELD STATION
SOBE, OKINAWA


3RD USASA FIELD STATION
SOBE, OKINAWA

 
313TH ASA BATTALION
WAS USED UNTIL 1976 (LEFT)
313TH MI BATTALION FLASH
WAS USED AFTER 1975 (RIGHT)
 


FORT SHEMYA ALASKA

United States
AIR FORCE

 


 
    
3RD RADIO RESEARCH UNIT, TAN SON NHUT AIR BASE
 SAIGON
 
NAMED AFTER 
JAMES T. DAVIS
Known By Family and Friends
as "Tom"

FIRST AMERICAN BATTLEFIELD CASUALTY IN VIETNAM
December 22, 1961

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  MORE TO BE ADDED  
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 



PLEASE USE THIS GRAPHIC
FOR LINK TO THIS WEBSITE



 




 

   


 

   



 


[
ASA Web Ring

 

...........................STORAGE ONLY AT THIS TIME..................
..............................Everything Blow This Text.......................

..........................Holding To Add Part To Make History complete..........................

Previous 5 sites Previous site asa webring home asa webring home COMSEC - A World Wide Mission Next 5 sites Next site List sites Random site
   

 Confirm the Names - Add If missing.

 

 
 SSG Robert F. Townsend, 10th Radio Research Unit, 4 Nov 1965  (Panel 03E - - Line 20)

 SSG Donald D. Daugherty, 3d Radio Research Unit, 13 Apr 1966  (Panel 06E - - Line 109)

2nd Lt., William E. Leatherwood, Jr, 8th RRFS, 509th ASA GRP, 17 Feb 1966 )Panel 05E - - Line 42)

 CPT James D. Stallings, 337th Radio Research Co, 25 Sep 1966  (Panel 11E - - Line 18)

 1LT John F. Cochrane, 409th Radio Research Det, 24 Oct 1966  (Panel 11E - - Line 102)

 SFC John F. Stirling, 335th Radio Research Co, 8 Mar 1967  (Panel 16E - - Line 42)

 SFC Robert D. Taylor, 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967  (Panel 30E - - Line 95)
 SGT Diego Ramirez Jr., 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967  (Panel 30E - - Line 93)
 SP5 Michael P. Brown, 335th Radio Research Co, 26 Nov 1967  (Panel 30E - - Line 88)

WO1 Milton Warren Smith, 138TH Avn. Co, 224th Avn. Bn, 509th ASA Grp, 29 December 1967 (Panel 32E - - Line 097)

WO1 Jonathan P. Shaffer, 138TH Avn. Co, 224th Avn. Bn, 509th ASA Grp, 29 December 1967 (Panel 32E - - Line 097)

 CPT John M. Casey, 371st Radio Research Co, 25 Mar 1968  (Panel 46E - - Line 14)

 SP4 Christopher Schramm, 371st Radio Research Co, 13 May 1968  (Panel 60E - - Line 1)

SP4 Jeffrey W. Haerle, 372d Radio Research Co, 13 May 1968  (Panel 59E - - Line 22)

 SP5 Samuel C. Martin, 101st Radio Research Co, 17 May 1968  (Panel 62E - - Line 8)

 SGT Thomas J. Tomczak, 403d Special Opns Det, 23 Jul 1968  (Panel 51W - - Line 46)

 SP5 Harold Biller, 175th Radio Research Co, 25 Feb 1969  (Panel 31W - - Line 43)

 SP5 Harold J. Colon, 409th Radio Research Det, 21 Jun 1969  (Panel 22W - - Line 103)

 CW2 Jack K. Knepp, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969  (Panel 15W - - Line 5)
 WO1 Dennis D. Bogle, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969  (Panel 15W - - Line 3)
 SP4 James R. Smith, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969  (Panel 15W - - Line 8)
 PFC Henry N. Heide II, 371st Radio Research Co, 29 Nov 1969  (Panel 15W - - Line 4)

 SP4 Robert E. Dew, 330th Radio Research Co, 30 Aug 1970  (Panel 07W - - Line 24)

 SP5 Carl H. Caccia, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971  (Panel 05W - - Line 127)
 SP5 Robert J. Thelen, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971  (Panel 05W - - Line 130)
 SP5 Robert J. Potts, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971  (Panel 05W - - Line 129)
 SP5 Mitchell B. Smith, 404th Radio Research Det, 21 Feb 1971  (Panel 05W - - Line 130)

WO1 Paul V. Black,  371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 13)
WO1 Robert D. Uhl, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 15)
SP5 Gary C. David, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 13)
 SP4 Frank A. Sablan, 371st Radio Research Co, 1 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 15)

 CPT Michael W. Marker, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 21)
 WO1 Harold L. Algaard, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 20)
 SP6 John T. Strawn, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 22)
 SP5 Richard J. Hentz, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 21)
 SP5 Rodney D. Osborne, 138th Avn Co (RR), 4 Mar 1971  (Panel 04W - - Line 21)

 SP5 Larry P. Westcott, 8th Radio Research Field Station, 30 Mar 1972  (Panel 02W - - Line 125)
 SP5 Bruce A. Crosby Jr., 8th Radio Research Field Station, 30 May 1972  (Panel 02W - - Line 125)
 

 Killed in an aircrash on 8 Oct 1967 shortly after departing Phu Bai were the  following:

SP5 William L. Stewart Jr   (Panel 27E - - Line 77)
SP4 Richard G. Feruggia   (Panel 27E - - Line 70)
SP4 Terrance H. Larson   (Panel 27E - - Line 74)
SP4  Robert D. Nelson   (Panel 27E - - Line 74)
SP4 Joseph P. Rowly   (Panel 27E - - Line 78)
SP4 John D. Saville Jr.   (Panel 27E - - Line 76)
SP4 Ronald A.Villardo   (Panel 27E - - Line 69)

The cause of the crash has not, to our knowledge, been definitely pinned on hostile action and may have been an accident.


Friends to Remember

 

Oscar Benevento, died in plane crash in April 1966 enroute home from west coast for leave before shipping off for Vietnam.
Randy Moore, 101st Airborne Div.--casualty on Nov. 8, 1966 in Vietnam (Panel 12E - - Line 43)
Kenny Worman, 25th Infantry Div.--casualty on May 22, 1967 in Vietnam (Panel 20E - - Line 88)
Clifford Van Artsdalen, 11th Light Infanrty Brigade--casualty on May 9, 1968 (Panel 58E - - Line 1)
Bruce "Buz" Keaton, died in April 1999 from cancer.  A long time friend and my mentor soon after I first arrived in Vietnam.
 

Others

Michael Baronowski, Marine Corp.--casualty on Nov. 29, 1966 (Panel 12E - - Line 128)
 


 

 

 

 

..........................Holding To Add Part To Make History complete..........................

The United States Army Security Agency (ASA) was, from 1945 through 1976, the United States Army's electronic intelligence branch. Its motto was "Vigilant Always." The Agency was the successor to a number of Army signals intelligence operations dating back to World War I. As well as intelligence gathering, it also had responsibility for the security of Army communications and for electronic countermeasures operations. In 1976, the USASA was merged with the US Army Military Intelligence component in a process which formed the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

Composed primarily of soldiers with the very highest scores on Army intelligence tests, the ASA was tasked with monitoring and interpreting military communications of the
Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and their allies and client states around the world. ASA was directly subordinate to the National Security Agency and all field stations had NSA tech reps on site.

All gathered information had time sensitive value depending on its importance and classification. Information was passed through intelligence channels within hours of intercept for the lowest priority items, but in as little as 10 minutes for the most highly critical information.

ASA personnel were stationed at locations around the globe, wherever the
United States had a military presence -- publicly acknowledged or otherwise. Although not officially serving under the ASA name, cover designation being Radio Research, ASA personnel were among the earliest U.S. military advisors in Vietnam. The first ASA combat fatality in Vietnam took place in 1961. This was Specialist James T. Davis for whom Davis Station in Saigon was named. President Lyndon Johnson later termed Davis "the first American to fall in the defense of our freedom in Vietnam". All ASA personnel processed in country through Davis Station. ASA personnel were attached to Army infantry and armored cavalry units throughout the Vietnam War. Some select teams were also attached to MACV/SOG and Special Forces units.

ASA military occupational specialties (MOSs) included
linguists, Morse code intercept operators, non-Morse (teletype and voice) intercept operators, communications security specialists, direction-finding equipment operators, cryptographers, communications analysts, and electronic maintenance technicians and a 42 man Special Operations Detachment to conduct clandestine combat operations, among others. ASA had its own separate training facilities, MP corps, communication centers and chain of command.

These occupations, which required top secret clearance, were essential to U.S.
Cold War efforts. ASA units operated in shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ASA troops were not allowed to discuss their operations with outsiders — in fact, they could not talk among themselves about their duties unless they were in a secure location. Even today, decades after they served, some of the missions still cannot be discussed. Owing to the sensitivity of the information with which they worked, ASA soldiers were subject to travel restrictions during and long after their time in service. The activities of the U.S. Army Security Agency have only recently been partially declassified.


..........................Holding To Add Part To Make History complete..........................

United States Army Security Agency

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Army Security Agency

The United States Army Security Agency (ASA) was, from 1945 through 1976, the United States Army's signal intelligence branch. Its motto was "Vigilant Always." The Agency was the successor to a number of Army signal intelligence operations dating back to World War I. As well as intelligence gathering, it also had responsibility for the security of Army communications and for electronic countermeasures operations. In 1976, the USASA was merged with the US Army Military Intelligence component in a process which formed the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

Composed primarily of soldiers with the very highest scores on Army intelligence tests, the ASA was tasked with monitoring and interpreting military communications of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and their allies and client states around the world. ASA was directly subordinate to the National Security Agency and all field stations had NSA tech reps on site.

All gathered information had time-sensitive value depending on its importance and classification. Information was passed through intelligence channels within hours of intercept for the lowest-priority items, but in as little as 10 minutes for the most highly critical information.

ASA personnel were stationed at locations around the globe, wherever the United States had a military presence -- publicly acknowledged or otherwise. In some cases such as Eritrea, it was the primary military presence. Although not officially serving under the ASA name, cover designation being Radio Research, ASA personnel were among the earliest U.S. military advisors in Vietnam.

The first battlefield fatality of the Vietnam War was Specialist 4 James T. Davis (from Livingston, Tennessee) who was killed on December 22, 1961 on a road near the old French Garrison of Cau Xang. He had been assigned to the 3rd Radio Research Unit at Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon, along with 92 other members of his unit. Davis Station in Saigon was named after him. President Lyndon Johnson later termed Davis "the first American to fall in the defense of our freedom in Vietnam". [1]

All ASA personnel processed in country through Davis Station. ASA personnel were attached to Army infantry and armored cavalry units throughout the Vietnam War. Some select teams were also attached to MACV/SOG and Special Forces units.

ASA military occupational specialties (MOS's) included linguists ("Monterey Marys"), morse code intercept operators ("Ditty Boppers" or sometimes "Hogs" for their 05H designation), non-morse (teletype and voice) intercept operators, communications security specialists, direction-finding equipment operators ("Duffy's" for their 05D designation), cryptographers (crippies), communications traffic analysts, and electronic maintenance technicians[2] and a 42 man Special Operations Detachment to conduct clandestine combat operations, among others. ASA had its own separate training facilities, MP corps, communication centers and chain of command.

These occupations, which required top secret clearance, were essential to U.S. Cold War efforts. ASA units operated in shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ASA troops were not allowed to discuss their operations with outsiders — in fact, they could not talk among themselves about their duties unless they were in a secure location. Even today, decades after they served, some of the missions still cannot be discussed. Owing to the sensitivity of the information with which they worked, ASA soldiers were subject to travel restrictions during and long after their time in service. The activities of the U.S. Army Security Agency have only recently been partially declassified. This turn of events has been accompanied by the appearance of a small number of ASA memoirs and novels (see the list below).

 

 

ASA Human Resources (1945-1965)

The ASA, during the majority of the years of its existence, from 1945 to 1965, was largely a “Cold War” operation within a conscripted Army (the draft ended in 1973). It is a simple fact that, during the draft era, about 20% of all enlisted service members were in the bottom third of the Army's aptitude scoring range and the overwhelming majority fell slightly below the mid-point of the range. As has been noted, the ASA enlisted troops were recruited from the top 10% of the aptitude scoring range until 1965, which ultimately proved to be a very serious problem for the civilian National Security Agency that largely exercised control over the ASA until that time. To complicate matters, while today’s armed forces retain nearly 50% of service members, during the draft only 12% of the troops re-enlisted. The vast majority of the ASA enlisted staff were given very simplistic training and performed secret, but routine, basic tasks far below their potential. Of all the Army organizations that recruited from the top 10% (OCS Programs, Warrant Officer Programs, Special Forces Programs, etc.), only the ASA failed to gain the benefits inherent in having such staff, just as the average member of the enlisted staff gained little or no benefit from the ASA experience. Never in Army history, since the end of WW II, has there been such a waste of outstanding human resources. However, as we are dealing with what was a highly classified organization, the full story will never be written.

The Army, itself, exhibited very little to no concern for the ASA until 1965, as it was a "joint venture" essentially under the control of a civilian organization. However, there was a general concern in the Department of Defense that enlisted technicians of all kinds should be given recognition and adequate pay in order to retain them. Accordingly, in 1954, Regulation 615-15 created the grades of Specialist E-5, E-6, and E-7 in order to get around the general Table of Organization and Equipment restrictions on the number of individuals (normally regular NCO's), who could be placed in these grades. In 1958, DA 344303 also created Specialist grades E-8 and E-9. Sadly, there were never more than a handful of Specialist E-7’s in the ASA and no individual in the ASA was ever promoted to the grades of Specialist E-8 and E-9 before these grades were eliminated in 1965. The ASA managed to completely frustrate the intentions of the Department of Defense and the massive turnover of highly intelligent ASA staff proved to be an administrative nightmare. Without the draft, it would also have been an operational disaster. The entire organization was, understandably, eliminated as soon as possible after the creation of the all-volunteer, professional Army.

It should be noted that all ASA enlisted staff, until 1965, had an actual M.O.S. which was classified and they were carried in the Army’s general records under the fictional M.O.S. of "General Duties". The sad truth was that, while their various specialties were recognized within the ASA, their expertise was often not known and given any consideration outside of the ASA and the NSA. The officers within the ASA were designated as Signal Corp officers and this, of course, was also generally a complete fiction.

It is certainly true that, until 1965, the ASA contained some of the brightest enlisted soldiers in the Army. Few stayed very long, although a very few did wind up as professionals in the National Security Agency and a small number, associated with the hardware side of the operation, transferred to the Signal Corps (where they had often come from in the first place). ASA bases, frequently shoved up against the Soviets and Red Chinese, from northern Europe to the Near East, southern Asia, and northern Japan and Korea, were often rather crude, isolated outposts. In short, the ASA was notoriously the worst job assignment area in the Army and the organization would certainly not have been sustainable in today’s all-volunteer Army. The ASA "4R" practice of No Rank, No Recognition, No Respect, and No Record, did not work even in a conscripted Army, let alone in an all-volunteer Army.

Edited response: As a member of the ASA from 1955-58, I can say that my assignment to an "isolated outpost" in Lübeck, Germany, was one of the highlights of my life and that of everyone who had the good fortune to land there. An account is provided in my book below, Lübeck: A Wonderful Moment in Time. Also the time spent at a kaserne at Rothwesten, on the border near Kassel, was high living for an army trooper. There were a few places along the border that necessitated "tent" living, but on the whole most of us were put up in pretty fancy digs, especially our mansion in Lübeck that recently sold for several million dollars. I also know from first hand experience that whenever we ventured onto a "regular army" base we were treated with fear and grudging respect. Frankly, they didn't know what to make of us, as they didn't know what we were doing.

Of course there were a few places that were the "worst job assignment in the Army," but, in general, the ASA took really good care of its own. These men were a unique collection of smart, often brilliant, talented, and dedicated soldiers. We did the job asked of us. We are proud of our service and the Lübeckers still meet every 2 years for a week-long celebration. End of edit.

In today’s Army, modern technology has largely replaced the specific tasks performed by most ASA troops. The modern Army M.O.S. 98 series involving SIGINT, requires the same high security clearance levels as the old ASA standards, but the personal qualification standards are far below those of the lowest level of pre-1965 ASA standards. However, the modern troopers in the M.O.S. 98 series actually perform the full range of now computer-driven SIGINT functions that the average ASA trooper never came close to performing. Nevertheless, if a modern SIGINT Officer was confronted with an old ASA type Spec 4 from the Agency's mid-life point of 1960, with a college degree and an I.Q. of 120 to 130, he or she would probably be quite shocked. Still, the officer would no doubt be delighted to get such a trooper for $27 a week, as was the NSA and their Rent-a-Trooper operation.

The educational level of a "Monterey Mary" (an ASA linguist) in the late 1950s is typified in a memoir by a graduate of ALS class R-12-80, the school’s 80th 12-month class in Russian. He had an M.A. in one of the humanities, and had been working on a Ph.D. As he neared the end of his draft deferment eligibility at age 26, he decided to avoid the draft and enlisted in the ASA. Today, of course, if someone with graduate degree and test scores in the top ten percent volunteered for the Army at a starting pay rate of $1000 a year, the recruiting NCO would probably faint from shock. [3]

Edited Response: I was another USASA trooper stationed at that “isolated outpost” in Lübeck, Germany. I was there until the station closed in 1965. A better assignment would have been difficult to find at the time. I also spent time at the 17th USASA Field Station in Rothwesten, Germany as part of Company B 319th USASA Battalion. As a member of a “fly-away team” I did spend a few months living in tents along the Elbe River near Gartow, Germany. In those days the Elbe River was the separation (border) between West Germany and East Germany. However, for the most part we had excellent accommodations living on “the economy.” What a grand time we had during the cold war. The Lübeckers are a great group of former ASA troops that share a common bond few people can really comprehend! Like they say- you have to have been there!


 

NOTE: From 1965 to 1973, the WW II hero, Major General Charles Denholm, supervised the integration of the ASA with the rest of Army Military Intelligence and the organization underwent a dramatic change, including a vast increase in size and scope and a completely changed relationship with the NSA during the final period of its existence. By this point in time it was not, of course, the traditional "ASA".