Signal Units in Thailand
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29th Signal Group,
1st Signal Brigade
There was still another signal group under the 1st Signal Brigade-this one in Thailand. Early in 1966 Brigadier General John E. Kelsey, Deputy Commanding General, Strategic Communications Command, had visited with the Commanding General, US Military Assistance Command, Thailand, Major General Richard G. Stilwell. They agreed that all US Army Signal units in Thailand should be organized into one signal group. This group was first designated Strategic Communications Command Signal Group, Thailand, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Harold J. Crochet, and was organized to be effective 1 May 1966. It acquired all US Army communications facilities in Thailand. The group was re-designated in September 1966 as the 29th Signal Group, under the command of the 1st Signal Brigade in Saigon, but remained under the operational control of General Stilwell, the top US commander in Thailand. Later, in mid-1967, this operational control passed to the Military Assistance Command's Army component, US Army Support, Thailand.
Jeff Brown - Aug 29 at 5:55 PM
The listing for STRATCOM SIGNAL BATTALION (PROVISIONAL) (LONG LINES COMMUNICATIONS) Unknown - 14 Jul 69 (Udorn - Ubon) was, by 1965, when I served in Udorn, part of the 379th Signal Battalion. The 379th in Udorn included operators for the TRC-24 shot to the US Embassy in Vientiane, Laos. We also had MRC-80 shots to Korat, whose tech control and communications personnel were also 379th Signal Bn. Udorn also had a MRC-80 shot to Sakon Nakhon AFB and then to Nakon Phanom, and a TRC-24 shot to a transportable CIA base camp on the Laotian border. Udorn tech control acted as the tech control for Udorn AFB, Sakon Nakhon, Nakon Phanom, and the CIA border camp, as well as the US Embassy in Vientiane. Udorn also had the 5th RRU and a transportation unit.
Interestingly, the tech control, MRC-80 Tropo and TRC-24 were all located on the air base, but were billeted in an Army compound near a Thai army base. We were right at the fence quite near the runway. We were directly across the runway from Air America, and right at the touchdown point for the aircraft. The 40 ft. trailer, which was the tech control, was situated so if we opened the doors we had a direct view of the runway.
In any case, the biggest point Im trying to make was that the three stratcom units at Udorn, Korat, and Ubon were all part of the 379th Signal Battalion.
BTW I served the first two months in-country in Khon Kaen with the 201st Sig Detachment (RB) by accident. In February and March about half of the class I was in for Fixed Station Operator at Ft Monmouth joined up at West Coast Relay in California for 8 weeks OJT as Tech Controllers. As a group we went to Thailand to Udorn, Ubon, and Korat. Somehow my orders were screwed up and I ended up at the 201st, but they finally figured out I was supposed to be in Udorn, so off I went. The interesting part is that most of the tech controllers at Udorn, Ubon, and Korat new each other, and worked together for 19 weeks before ever going to Thailand. Because of that the tech controls operated much more smoothly than if total strangers were thrown together. We did well right from the beginning. The 379th was awarded the Army Unit Commendation ribbon for its service from April 1965 to April 1966, which was the time span that our operator school and California TDY group was in Thailand. I look at that as my best assignment in my 6 year army career.
Thus a dual-hat role evolved in Thailand as well as in Vietnam; the senior signal commander in each country also served as the principal communications-electronics staff officer for the Army component commander. The 29th Signal Group's organization and concept of operation was similar to that of its parent unit, the 1st Signal Brigade. By the end of 1967, the group consisted of the 379th Signal Support Battalion and two provisional support companies to provide the required area communications support in Thailand; the 442d Signal Battalion, a long-lines unit, to operate and maintain the wideband communication links and sites in Thailand; and two provisional battalions to man the large message relay facilities in Bangkok and Korat.
By the end of 1967 the troop units of the 1st Signal Brigade consisted of twenty-one battalions organized into five groups and totaled about 20,000 men. Nearly all of these units arrived or were activated in Southeast Asia in the short period from April through December 1966.
These units of the 1st Signal Brigade, along with the combat signal battalions, companies, and platoons organic to the fighting forces, furnished the vital communications needed to support expanding operations in Southeast Asia. The huge buildup of US and other Free World Forces had resulted in an unprecedented demand for communications, from long-haul data circuitry to combat radio nets, taxing the resources of both the signal battalions of the combat forces and the 1st Signal Brigade.
Constituted on 29 July 1921 in the Organized Reserves, the 302d Signal Battalion was organized and outfitted in January 1922 at New York, New York. After the United States entered World War II, the battalion was redesignated the 302d Signal Operation Battalion on 8 December 1942, and ordered into active military service on 23 February 1943 at Camp Swift, Texas under Fifth Headquarters, Special Troops, Third Army.
The battalion arrived at Avonmout, England on 9 March 1944, and was assigned to First United States Army Group (FUSAG), which was later renamed 12th Army Group under General Omar Bradley. Between D-Day and VE Day, the battalion supported the Third Army and General Patton's dash across France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany through five campaigns, receiving battle streamer credit for the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns.
The 302d was the first US Army signal battalion to occupy Heidelberg, Germany in support of 12th Army Group during the initial phase of occupation and was later deactivated on 1 June 1946. The battalion was redesignated the 302d Signal Heavy Construction Battalion on 8 January 1947, and activated in Louisville, Kentucky on 17 January 1947. The battalion later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and remained there until 5 September 1950. The battalion was redesignated the 302d Signal Aviation Construction Battalion on 16 April 1951, and activated at Frederick, Maryland on 18 April 1951 and remained active there until 20 February 1963.
The 302d Signal Battalion was reactivated on 14 July 1969 in Bangkok, Thailand and supported operations in Southeast Asia through 30 June 1971 as part of 29th Signal Group, US Army Strategic Communications Command. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the battalion was reactivated in Karlsruhe, Germany and assumed the missions of the 160th Signal Brigade.
The battalion was awarded the national streamer for Cold War Engagement from the Federal Republic of Germany in 1994, and deactivated later that same year on 15 September 1994 in Stuttgart, Germany. The 302d Signal Battalion was reactivated on 16 October 2003 at Ft. Detrick, Maryland as part of the 21st Signal Brigade.