From the mil-email net… I don’t write ’em, I just pass ’em along on recycled electrons!

For the old Army folks… You might have been ASA if:

You “monitor” the ASA-VN-TALK list more than post to it!

PT is cancelled because of sun.

Your M-16 jams and you try to reboot it.

You believe “Air Assault” is when the air conditioner in the SCIF breaks down.

Your boots were last polished at the factory.

You brag about making tape…. again.

You firmly believe in the 3 basic food groups – caffeine, alcohol & Tylenol.

You think D&C is a form of sexual deviance.

You want to find out more about D&C.

You have the IGs phone # on speed dial.

You GT score is higher than your PT score.

When you get an order the first thing out of your mouth is “Why?”

The “field” is where a farmer works.

Exercises are placed on hold when the coffee runs out.

Donuts are more important than the brief.

Rank is more important than information.

You think “Leatherman” is one of the Village People.

Your last tactical assignment was during a game of Risk.

You hold an ASI for PowerPoint.

You think TA-50 is an NSA course.

You think a teenybopper is an 05Hog.

You KNOW a teenybopper is a very small 05Hog.

When you got to Devens you asked for your cloak and dagger.

You drank Black Label beer in Ayer, Mass and liked it!

“If you give us god’s frequency, we will monitor him too.”

And no, I don’t know the inside jokes… I was Navy… Go ask an Army spook… 🙂


Snerk… — 20 Comments

  1. I missed the ASA (Army Security Agency, predecessor to InSCom) by just a few years, but I recognize much of this. Army MOS 05H, Hoggs, were Morse Code interceptors. Duffies were direction finders. Juliets were jammers/radar interceptors. I was a Kilo – things that go ‘beep’ in the night. Golfs were voice interceptors.

    PT tests, where at every 1/4 mile lap you had to stop and chug a beer. If you completed the course upright, you passed.

    Senior Hogs put a little coffee in their whiskey thermos. They still copied more code before they passed out than the young kids did all shift.

    ASA people were the only troops out on the field exercise who were issued live ammo. (The truck was a portable SCIF.) They also took lawn chairs.

    It’s fun to record an ‘enemy’ commander giving an order in the clear on the first day of the exercise, then replay it over the air three days later. Hilarity ensues.

    Five gallon Jerry cans are for four and a half gallons of coffee, plus a bottle of bourbon.

    Field Station Berlin was 22 seconds flight time for artillery rounds fired from the Soviet GSFG artillery division stationed in Potsdam. Notionally.

    • … and of course you forget the ones who took all the stuff you guys reported and turn it into something coherent, chucks.

      • Eh. Charlies worked on the second floor. We didn’t interact with them much. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. I talked more with the Brits than I did with the Charlies. (I worked Kilo, Echo, Quebec, and in the Search tower.)

    • PS: I was assigned to INSCOM, but my first unit was still called the 332d ASA company. They hadn’t figured out what to do with us yet.
      On my second tour, the 329th ASA Company had ben re-flagged to A/102d MI, but the PX Arcade was still selling 3/29th Highland Regiment belt buckles.

  2. Gents- And I use the term loosely… Thanks for the ‘lack’ of confirmation…LOL

    Posted from my iPhone.

  3. Hey Old NFO;

    I have no recollection of those geographic area mentioned….My Mustang came from Lunenburg Ford, Ayer Ford sucked…but I didn’t say that, LOL


    Yep, an 05H-20 four years in ASA from 1966-70 the design of our shoulder patch was an eagle claw grabbing lightning (sparks) which we knew stood for Lightning Fast Chicken F****rs or at Devens, Massachusetts Power and Electric. I spent 37 months in Germany, Herzo Base, copying morse code, in one end of a long bay full of giant R-390-A, 80 pound receivers, about 80 of them that threw off a whole lot of heat. Yep a room in a free standing building inside an 1930’s Luftwaffe hanger because secret stuff.

    Yes we could show up drunk on a mid shift but we not allowed to take a nap and when the buzz wore off about 3:00 am and our eyes looked like they were leaking blood we soon found out that was a bad idea. If we couldn’t do our job then we were in big trouble, and all that. Copying morse transmission on six plys of paper with carbon in-between on old heavy mechanical typewriters with tractor things on the plattens to pull the fifty sheets per box trough made a lot of noise. Working at metal tables with built in ashtrays and lots of coffee doing rotating shift work and after six months realizing that no one wanted to mess with us as we learned how to chase our various nets through freq changes twice a day. It was a goofy strange skill being able to copy, make header info and notes, and keep the dots and dashes in our heads up to two five character groups behind.

    I only shipped one pair of combat boots to Europe and they lasted me 37 months without much wear on the soles and I shined them a couple of times each year or so. We were issued M-14s and if we paid the Arms Room NCO a buck a month we never had to see or clean our rifles, I requalified 2 times in 37 months. We paid $5 per month to have Kraut civilians do KP for us and being married and living off post I was only in the Mess Hall as an E-5 for head count a few times.

    As for PT, a couple of times we went out beside the EM Club, got a few beers and walked and ran around a bit, I was smoking a cigar, kind of running a hundred yards and then we penciled in our scores and went back about our business. Part of the trouble of getting us doing things outside of our duties in the Operations Building was that after Tet in early 68′ we were not getting replacements for about a year and a half so we had four tricks working 6 days on and 2 off rotating 24 hours per day every day of the year. That was until the Russians came into Czechoslovakia in August of 68 and we worked 12 on and 12 off with one day out of ten off for a number of months.

    We were not exactly like real Army Soldiers, more than three traffic tickets meant no Top Secret Crypto clearance, most of us were college drop outs, three years in my case, or college grads who enlisted for four years to beat the draft and we were both smart and smart asses. When I left I was lead Mill-Monkey for 7 men plus myself, average age 22 years old with 2 to 3 years of college, some with degrees and few youngsters, all with a bit of crazy thrown in. And yes, from time to time we did put ourselves at risk of injury or death by driving, under the influence, to the Hofbrau Haus in Munich on the Autobahn.

    This last year I attended a Reunion of the old Herzo Base Germany guys and it looked like district meeting of old Methodist men and their nicely dressed wives and we agreed that we were kind of in the Army but it was our Army.

      • It says something that I was never .mil at all and R-390 immediately brought Collins Radio to mind. Then, I’ve driven on Collins Road…

  5. There was a time when my boots saw no polish after leaving the factory. Polished boots were only found on guys who never got outside the wire.
    Good ol’ Black Label. There was a time when that’s all we could get. That or the local product. I preferred the 33.

  6. I will add that,being Korean linguist in the early 80s, many of our senior NCOs had been Viet linguists in the 60s and early 70s, and they were apt to take umbrage at suggestions that “ASA never went to the field.” Plenty of ASA guys getting shot at at Hamburger Hill, for example.

    Here’s a fun one: Mid-90s we went to Sapporo for Exercise Yama Sakura, an annual joint exercise with the Japanese Self Defense Forces. A couple of nights in I noticed a very faded notice painted on the wall in English. Upon further investigation I realized we were being housed in the barracks of what used to be Field Station Chitose!

    Man, it was cold…

  7. Workmate parlayed a Boy Scout HAM badge and dweeb teen years building Heath Kit radios into an InSCom post. Not bad for a draft number of 3. Drafted in ’68 or ’69. Ended up pulling 20+ years. Many of which were in places he not only didn’t polish his boots but didn’t even wear an Army uniform. But he COULD order beer (and horizontal refreshment) in at least a dozen languages. When I knew him he was in a fight for his career … seems the assholes in personnel couldn’t wrap their minds around a GS-12 (13?) who didn’t have a college degree. He finally walked into offices on the 7th floor and had “old friends” have a talk with personnel.

  8. LOL- ‘Sea’ stories, with a twist… Those that work behind the ‘door’ have a ‘much’ different experience than the average military enlistee… 🙂

    Stetch- NOT surprised at all. I might know a couple of those folks that are still kicking around various defense contractors… 😀

    Posted from my iPhone.

  9. So there I was, FS Berlin, May 1989, while Communism was teetering on a knife edge…

    Background – The watch office forwarded all traffic out not just the FS, but the city. That’s what happens when you’ve got the big antenna on top of the hill.

    So the watch office got a new guy. Smart kid, did well in training. The officer of the watch (scut job for a Lieutenant who was out of favor) was almost never in the office. He was encouraged to “do paperwork” (nap) in a private office elsewhere. The NCO set New Guy to training on the system. Copy in standard message forms, make sure they’re correct, then clear the screen. Send out the message queue, then work on the next standard form.

    Simple stuff. Easy. New Guy got pretty good at copying things. So NCO and the rest of the crew went to lunch. MAJOR SCREWUP #1.

    New Guy copied another standard message, made sure it was perfect,cleared the screen, and went to lunch. LEaving the watch office empty. MAJOR SCREWUP #2.

    Did I mention that the “send” key was next to the “clear screen” key? And that it also cleared the screen? MAJOR SCREWUP #3.

    Did I mention that that message form, which had been typed out perfectly, said “We are under attack. GSFG is headed west. The balloon has well and truly gone up.”?

    About two minutes after the message was sent, the phone in the watch office started ringing. Nobody answered. No more messages were leaving, because they had to be manually forwarded. FS Berlin had sent the “we are under attack” message and then GONE OFF THE AIR.

    US Forces Germany went nuts. The “no shit” war plans got activated. Every unit tried to draw their ammo loads from the ASPs at the same time, snarling traffic everywhere. 11th ACR was requesting permission to cross the 1KM line. 7th Corps requested permission to counterattack into Czechoslovakia. Excess weapons appeared, including Tommy guns for an entire M1 tank battalion.

    All the guys I’ve met remember it as “the day the First Sergeant looked scared.”

    Things finally got under control after 5th corps artillery showed up at the special ASPs and requested nuclear release. The nuke guards were on a completely separate commo net, and hadn’t heard anything. They got on the direct line to the Pentagon, and asked what was happening.

    The entire affair was written off as an unannounced full drill. A lot of good came from it – the battle plans were improved, and ASPs were reassigned to be closer to the units they served.

    Nothing happened to New Guy. The NCO became a Private three days later. The Lieutenant got a “DNP-DNR” rating.

    And that’s how FS Berlin almost started WWIII just before peace broke out all over.

    • 26thSig, 93rdBDE, 7thCorps…we were hard and heavy on the road 2hrs after that call, playing ‘follow the leader’ without orders to where. No one knew jack shit to include command, just that it was an unscheduled ‘drill’. 8hrs later we were back ‘home’ in Heilbronn. IIRC, we heard about the reason over one of the German HAM stations before the BN commander did.

  10. Hey McChuck;

    God I remembered that, I was part of 2nd MI BN(AE) and we went nuts when that traffic hit. We had sent people to our bunker at Panzer kaserne to get our warload. There were rumors of paratroopers landing on the airfield and taking us out. Wow…Interesting times.

    • Running ‘Utes” RC’s or Hawks at that point? I ran Utes in the early 80’s.

  11. Good stories here. I entered service as a brand-new “butter bar” in the 352nd ASA when it was a reserve unit prior to deactivation. I learned a lot from the Soldiers of that unit; many had active duty experience in other ASA units in Vietnam and Europe. I had the MP squad that protected the SCIF; my favorite time was during an exercise when a Lieutenant Colonel decided his rank allowed him to ignore the MPs and concertina and attempt to enter the SCIF. A few seconds later the LTC was on the ground with four MPs sitting on him. Good times indeed. 🙂

    • “Sir, who do I shoot first, you or your driver?”

      One night when I was Watch NCO at FSK, the MPs had a fast draw competition in the gateshack while I was doing “message pull”.

      Fortunately, they only ventilated the shack, not each other.