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My Army Redstone Missile Days

Page 11




7th Army

Battery A, 1st Missile Battalion, 333rd Artillery

40th Artillery Group (Redstone)
Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Lt. Col. (Retired) Pascal W. Pascarella

13 December 1931 - 16 October 2004

It is with great sadness I recently discovered that our former Commanding Officer of Battery A, Captain Pascal W. Pascarella, passed away in October 2004 at the age of 72. Our CO's Army career started in the early 1950's, spanned 23 years, and included service in both the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and resided in Texas until his passing. To his fellow 40th Artillery Group officers he was known as "Pat" Pascarella. To those of us who had the pleasure and the privilege of serving under him in Battery A, he was our Captain "Pasky" Pascarella, and we mourn his passing.

19 May 2006.

Paris Air Show

The following information was provided to me by my former Battery A Firing Section colleague, John Jardine. In the spring of 1959 Battery A was chosen to display the Redstone trainer missile at the June 1959 Paris Air Show. Here are John's words on that activity.

I don't know if you ever heard but almost 46 years ago this coming month some of us in the service section went to the Paris Air Show with the trainer missile. We had been out in the field for a while and shortly after returning it was announced that the battery had been selected to go to Paris. I was quite surprised and excited to have been selected. There were a few that were upset that a new slick sleeve was going and they were not. Sixteen made the trip including one SFC from the 630th. Among the ones you know were Fiore,Willis and Pardue. We were there for 15 days. It was great. We were paid $16.00 a day per diem. Our hotel, sharing a room, was $6.00 a night. Each of us paying $3.00. We erected the trainer and once the show started we worked two days on, six hours a day, and the third day off. We had two shifts a day. In addition to the trip to fire the missile, the Paris trip was one of the highlights of my time in "A" Battery.

Air Show 1
Air Show 2
Air Show 3
Air Show 4

40th Artillery Group Early Assignments

The following information was provided by Ron Williams, who served in the early days of Battery A, 217th Missile Battalion, 40th Artillery Group. Ron was a Redstone missile pioneer (see Ron's October 16, 2008 Guestbook entry: jkr) who served both at Fort Sill and Redstone Arsenal, and in Germany. Here are Ron's words about some of that early Redstone missile period.

Since finding your site I have been going thru my Army days album and fondly remembering my times with the 40th Group, Battery A. I came across our orders sending us to Redstone Arsenal from Ft. Sill:

U.S. Army Artillery and Missile Center
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Special Orders 14 January, 1958
Number 12

I don't know whether we were the first group to complete the training-it was all about the Corporal Missile.

This is our training class group and where we were assigned at the 40th Group under Special Orders Number 14 Dated
27th January, 1958 that was issued by the 40th Group:

HQ & Service Battery:
Johnny E. Allen, Charlie S. Hill Jr., Thomas R. Ince,
Robert A. Kuh, Kenneth E. Prosser,
Gerardo M. Rodriguez, Francis C. Matzke

Battery A:
Jose G Maes, Bernard L. Outcalt, John R. Porras,
Alfredo M. Romero, James O. Suggs,
Harold J. Wheatley

Battery B:
John R. Marzella, Billy B. Dye, Robert B. Parker,
Howard A. Peterson Jr., David S. Robinson,
Leroy J. Stephens, Ronald L. Weaver,
Ronald M. Williams, Math M. Damron,
John E. Hoffman

As you can see I was scheduled to be assigned to Btry B but I don't know how it came about that I ended up in Btry A. I was glad of it though as I made some great friends-among them from this group: Charlie Hill, Jose Maes, John Porras, Alfredo Romero and James Suggs.

And the following is an edited version of Ron's group travel orders for a demonstration in Frankfurt:

Headquarters 40th Artillery Group
APO 185, US Forces
Letter Orders 11-6 5 November, 1958
Subject: Group Travel Orders

CPT Douglas Blalock, 1st LT. Pascal W. Pascarella
MSGT Alphonse H. Raymond, SFC Clifton R. Amerson
SFC Starr A. Palmer, SGT Richard S. Denby
SGT Louis Fiore Jr., SGT Charles L Herron
SGT Jose M. Pereles-Hernandez, SP5 Henry Henderson
SP5 Stanley F. Willis, SP4 John F. Dinkel,
SP4 Elmer N. Knutson, SP4 Donald F. Lapointe,
SP4 Alvin B. Lester, SP4 Richard L. Masten,
SP4 Alvin K. Pardue, SP4 Samuel O. Stove,
SP4 John T. Wiley, SP4 Henry W. Zasada,
PFC Erik Beyer, PFC Eugene L. Carlson,
PFC Samuel Cirone Jr., PFC Lee D. Henderson,
PFC Charlie S. Hill Jr., PFC Frederick T. Honda,
PFC Martin R. Hudlow, PFC Lawrence G. Lambert,
PFC James O. Suggs, PFC Harold J. Wheatley,
PFC Ronald M. Williams, PFC Tsuyoshi Yamamoto,
PFC Meredith W. Zeck, PVT Walter V. Salyers

Btry A 217th FA MSL BN, Bad Kreuznach, Ger., APO 252

1. You WP o/a 12 Nov. 58 for a pd of aprx three (3) days on TDY fr Bad Kreuznach, GER. to Frankfort, Ger. rept on arr to Commanding General, V Corps for the purpose of participating in the demonstration of the Redstone Missile System as demonstrators. Upon compl of TDY you will rtn to proper sta.

(I think we had a very good mixture of enlistees and draftees.)

Christmas Menu

The following Holiday Menu shows the December 25, 1959 staffing of Headquarters & Headquarters Battery, 40th Artillery Group (Redstone).

menu 01
menu 02

Headquarters & Headquarters Battery
Wackernheim, Germany


Here are comments about the rosters from Colonel (Retired) Charles "Chuck" Thompson. As a 1st Lieutenant, Chuck Thompson initially served as Executive Officer and Firing Battery Commander (XO's had the dual role in an Artillery Firing Battery) of Battery B; and, as a Captain, he subsequently served as 40th Artillery Group S1/Adjutant:

"I knew all of the officers, I think, and a number of the NCOs. Dan Settle (S3 Section) was Asst Mgr of the Group basketball team the two years I was OIC (and Manager). Captain Bill Gressette was my next-door neighbor. I succeeded Major Rudy Hoffman as S-1/Adjutant, (and worked for Colonel Harrison, LTC Tothacer, and LTC McCord. Sgt Major Bailey was still Group Sgt Major when I became S1/Adj a month or so after I was promoted from 1LT to CPT. He was fun to work with, as he was usually tolerant of a brand new captain doing a job he had no training for! However, sometimes, when totally frustrated, he'd say "Sir, if you don't shape up, I'm going to have to retire and come back and give you a hard time." He was an RA Sgt Major, but a Reserve LTC, and upon retirement, would retire in the higher grade. My response was to the effect of "That would certainly change things, Sgt Maj, but in the meantime, I'm in charge." We'd then both laugh and get on with whatever needed to be done.

Of course, virtually all of those folks rotated back to the states in 1961, and I had an entirely new bunch of staff officers to deal with (and new Group Commander, Col Royal McShea, one of the best I ever had)."

Redstone Arsenal in January 1958

The following three photos, provided by Ted Bonnington, show scenes at the Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama on a Saturday following an unusual snowstorm for northern Alabama in January 1958. 40th Artillery Group was still going through training and predeployment workups at Redstone Arsenal, in preparation for its June 1958 deployment to Germany. At the time Desmond N. "Ted" Bonnington was a Pfc E-3 recenty assigned to 580th Engineer Company, 40th Artillery Group. Here are Ted's own words about the photos, the training at Redstone Arsenal, and events surrounding 580th Engineer Company's subsequent arrival in Germany:

"Time and place is a Saturday morning in January 1958 at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville AL. The buildings are the 580th's barracks area. The rest of the 40th group was quartered in WWII era two story wood barracks.These were divided to rooms for one or two persons at one time but the internal walls had been removed to form one long bay. One platoon per building. The three projecting portions were the latrines; one sink, one john, one shower. ...real fun in the morning. The 580th remained here until March when we were moved to allow the USAF troops who came to take over the Jupiter to move in. The area was known as splinter city and was outside the fence of the arsenal and just across the road from a Huntsville residential area."

"As you can know doubt guess the snow shut down a large part of northern Alabama. Airport and highways closed as there was no snow removal equipment and the locals had no idea as to how drive in the stuff. Natural gas for heating was also getting short. Saturday inspections and work details were cancelled and the 580th motor pool was called out. The trucks drove around the main streets in town in echelon formation to break up snow."

"The car was my Austin A40 Sports. Austin chassis, a slightly hopped up 1200cc engine and a special aluminium body. It was a limited production product of the Jensen Co. which also produced the Austin-Healey and Jensen-Healey in later years. Took it out for a run in the snow that Saturday afternoon. Fun and didn't get stuck. I got the car in Washington DC while at the Engineer Center at Ft Belvoir. The car was a lot of fun during the summer of '57, particularly around all the apartment buildings in Arlington and Alexandria where all the young ladies who worked for the gov'm't lived. Had to sell cheap in Huntsville when we shipped out. No time to drive it home to California."

arsenal 01
arsenal 02
arsenal 03

580th Engineer Company
Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama

January 1958

"The third picture from the great Alabama blizzard of 1958 is then PFC Karl Kappler who has just come off guard duty. Kap was from Kansas and felt right at home that day.  Note the M1 rifle, this was before we were all issued arsenal fresh rebuilt M2 carbines. Since we had both been instructors at The Engineer School we were assigned to do the M2 carbine class room training. Guess the head shed wanted to find out what kind of people they had. Kappler was a refrigeration Tec and was kept busy with the refrigeration systems used to cool down the distillation columns in the Lox plants. He and I made E4  in May just before we shipped out and completed his hitch in the fall of '59."

"I see you figured out what my rank was in January '58. Made E4 in May '58. In the January picture I'm wearing my helmet liner. This was standard head gear for the 580th at the time. The CO was Capt Michael P."Bull" Clayton, a WWII battle field commission by Gen. Patton. Old Blood and Guts was Bull's hero and roll model and he ran the company accordingly. When I showed up on 4 Oct '57 the 580th had very little of it's TO&E equipment. Most of the time was spent on the school of the soldier. A couple of times a week we had 3-5 mile marches around and thru the arsenal with full field packs and M1 rifles. Locals said this was the first time they had seen "real soldiers" at the arsenal. This of course tended to screw up traffic on base. The Bull always lead these excursions dressed in full field gear. One day I had duty cleaning in the orderly room and when mopping the floor in the CO's office I had to pick up his field pack. The pack weighed next to nothing as it was filled with rolls of toilet paper. In November we started to get our equipment and began operational training. Our first field exercise was a motor march to Ft. McClellan for a week playing field soldier and weapons qualification just before Thanksgiving. It was cold and wet and we still did not have all our field gear like winter clothing and sleeping bags. Several guys ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. 1958 brought the arrival of more equipment and the issue of new field gear and arsenal rebuilt M2 carbines. Another motor march with all our trucks, lox plants ,etc to Ft McClellan for the Army Training Test was in late March or early April. After this we were busy getting all the new equipment checked out and ready for oversea shipment. A maintenance team went off to the Cape to support the A Battery launch and in May I was part of the engineer team to WSMR in support of the B Battery shot. During this time Artillery and Ordnance were doing the same things we were doing but without the Gen Patton modus operandi."

"Not long after arriving in Germany the word came down from on high that helmet liners were not approved for general wear in garrison. This was the first of set backs for the Bull. Sometime, late '58 or early '59 the Bull got transferred to command a engineer bridge company somewhere down the Rhine, but that's another story. His XO, Capt Yeager, became CO; a good man but the 580th lost a little of the sprit of "Old Blood and Guts""

580th Engineer Company Carbon Dioxide CO2/Dry Ice Operation

The following information concerning Carbon Dioxide CO2/Dry Ice production by 580th Engineer Company, 40th Artillery Group, was provided by Ted Bonnington.

"Here's the story on the 580th's CO2/ dry ice operation. As you know, dry ice was used for cooling in the Block1 missile heater/cooler assembly. This was replaced by liquid nitrogen LN2 from the LOX plants with the Block 2 missile for reasons which should become obvious. Caution--this is as accurate as I recall but 50 years may have clouded some details."

"This shot of the CO2 plant in operation was taken in May '59 when the group was on full alert due to the USSR edict that the US get out of Berlin by the end of May. The location is on the Nahe River opposite Langenlonsheim. The slide was shot through the windshield of one of our 3/4-ton shop trucks."

CO2 Production

"The equipment from L to R is:
--2&1/2 ton truck probably with the 60 kw generator needed to power the plant.
--The ice plant trailer with the hydraulic press used to form the 50 lb. blocks of dry ice.
-- The liquid CO2  transport and storage trailer.
--2&1/2 ton truck with dry ice storage box and saw use to make 1in. cubes from the 50 lb. blocks.
--End view of the CO2 generation plant trailer"

"In operation CO2 was generated by the combustion of diesel fuel. The air fuel ratio was adjusted for max CO2 in the flue gas. Probably 14:1. CO2 was then scrubbed out with the reagent MEA ( monoethanolamine). MEA was then heated, releasing the gas which was then compressed and cooled into liquid and pumped to storage or the ice plant. MEA was then cooled and recycled through the scrubber in a continuous process. The need for cooling water was the reason the plant was sited on the Nahe and not in the boondocks where the rest of the group was deployed. As required, liquid CO2 was pumped to the ice plant where it was snowed and compressed into 50lb. blocks. As required to maintain all units basic loads, blocks were sawed into cubes with a neat device with ganged saw blades. Cubes were stored in the insulated ice box seen in the truck bed."

"The liquid CO2 transport/ storage trailer came into use when we got to Germany because it was apparent the continued operation of the generation plant was not feasible for cost, maintenance. and tactical deployment reasons. Under "normal" conditions liquid CO2 was obtained from a German source and used to maintain basic load. The May deployment of the generating plant was to insure we had a supply should conditions develop where we were unable to resupply from the German source. The German source was located about a day's trip somewhere north of BK. A name sticks in my head but I can't find a place by that name in my Michelin atlas. I recall the place was where the gas occurred naturally and was said to be an original site of the German carbonated beverage industry. Remember the Sinalco and Tropi belch water from the German fire house?"

"Both plants were built in the early 50's and were well over the road by the time we got them. Maintenance was a continual problem particularly the electrical and refrigeration systems; hence I had a number of visits to the ops site. During this period there was much interest in what we were doing by the volk from over in Langenlonsheim who kind of adopted the plants crew. When the alert was over I spent a few Saturday evenings with buddies from the CO2 section at a gasthaus in Langenlonsheim with our new friends; dancing with the girls under the watchful eyes of the mothers and local boy friends."

"MEA-- This is kind of nasty stuff and stains are hard, if not impossible, to remove. Recently a friend who had been a officer aboard nuclear subs told me the stuff is used there to scrub CO2 from the air and in time turns the dress white uniform a little yellow."

40th Artillery Group Training at Redstone Arsenal in 1957-1958

The following information concerning 40th Artillery Group training with the Restone missile at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama in 1957-1958 was provided by Ted Bonnington.

"I checked out your update on the 1957 training at the Arsenal (Ted is referring to the addition of photos taken at Redstone Arsenal in 1957 to the Slide Show Missile Operations Folder - jkr). That 25-ton crane with its 100 ft. boom was a real pain to all. It was a piece of engineer equipment so the 580th had some interest in its care and feeding. The Arty (Field Artillery Battalion) was the operator so training of junior EM (enlisted men) was a big thing. There was a story going around about some poor slick sleeve (Private E2) trainee dropping a training missile across a chain link fence at the launching & handling lab. Also stories about conflicting orders to the (crane) operator by NCOs and officers. I don't think anyone was sorry to see the crane go away; particularly the guys who had to unload the segments and assemble the 100 ft. boom within time limits. Much of our operational equipment including the A-frame-H-frame did not start to show up until early in 1958."

Crane 1
Crane 2
Crane 3
Crane 4

"In Dec. '57 we received the first of the high pressure air compressor units. This was a piece of engineer equipment and arrived at the 580th's shop with a parts kit , drawings and an electrical schematic for field modification. I worked several nights to get the job done in time to ship the unit off to some test program. It reappeared at White Sands in May for the B Battery launch. Some OJT (on the job training) was done in the hangar area as we worked up to the Qual (qualification for deployment to Europe) launch. I was surprised to see how much equipment the group had acquired between the time we left for White Sands around the first of May and arriving at San Nazaire (France) in late June. May '58 must have been a busy month for those in Huntsville."

630th Ordnance Company

I received the following message from CWO W3 (Retired) Robert A. Neff, who served in 630th Ordnance Company, 40th Artillery Group (Redstone) at McCully Barracks, Wackernheim-am-Rhein, Germany in the Special Weapons Section from 1958 to 1960.

"Reorganized in April 1954 as the 630th Ordnance Company, inactivated during June 1955 in Korea, and reactivated on 1 June 1957 at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama."

"The 630th was subordinate to the 40th Field Artillery Group (Redstone) and deployed to McCully Barracks, Wackernheim am Rhein, West Germany, in late June 1957 (actually 1958:jkr), as a part of the 7th US Army nuclear triad (the PGM-11 Redstone Guided Missile, 280mm “atomic” cannon, and the Honest John rocket)."

"The mission of the 630th Ord. Co. was to support the 40th Group by maintaining constant readiness of the missile system, specifically the propulsion section, guidance section, arming and firing section, and the warhead section."

"When deployed to Europe in June 1957 (1958:jkr), the Company was commanded by Captain Horace W. Tousley (a one-time aide to General Medaris). The executive officer was First Lieutenant Entriken, and the First Sergeant was Master Sergeant Dishroon. Our special weapons section chief was Chief Warrant Officer Eckoff, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., and the NCOIC was SFC Cuffel."

"I was assigned to the warhead section as a special weapons electronics assembler and our primary mission was to perform periodic tests on the nuclear warhead to insure operational readiness (in other words, to make certain the warhead would detonate upon receipt of a signal from the XM-18 radar arming and firing system)."

Special Note: Robert's comments also appear on the 40th Artillery Group (Redstone) page of Walter Elkins's outstanding U.S. Army in Germany website, where you can also see Robert's additional comments about the Special Ammunition Storage Site, e.g., the storage site for 40th Artillery Group's Redstone missile nuclear warheads. On the U.S. Army in Germany website MENU window located to the left, under ADDITIONAL USAREUR UNITS & ACTIVITIES follow the Links: FIELD ARTILLERY/40th ARTY GP then 630th Ord Co and see ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

1st Battalion, 333d Artillery Yearbook 1964

I received the following1st Battalion, 333d Artillery yearbook from Mike Parker, who as 2nd Lt. Michael Parker was the last Executive Officer (XO) of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 333d Artillery - the reorganized successor to 40th Artillery Group - in the Spring of 1964. The yearbook, which I have converted to PDF format, was put together by the information office, 1st Battalion, 333d Artillery and printed by Stars and Stripes in Darmstadt, Germany to denote the contribution of 1st Battalion, 333rd Artillery with the Redstone missile in Europe for 6 years. 1st Battalion, 333rd Artillery was officially closed down in June 1964, as Redstone missiles was replaced by Pershing missiles.

1st Battalion
333d Artillery

This yearbook has also provided me with a wealth of additional valuable information about the transistion of Battery A (and the other 40th Artillery Group Redstone units) between 1957 and 1964. In June 1958 Battery A deployed to Germany as part of 217th Field Artillery Missile Battalion assigned to 40th Artillery Group (Redstone). On 1 May 1960, Battery A (and Battery B) was redesignated Battery A, 1st Missile Battalion, 333rd Artillery attached as an organic unit of 40th Artillery Group (Redstone). On 16 September 1962, 40th Artillery Group was reorganized as 1st Battalion, 333d Artillery.

Also as a consequence of this reorganization, along with Headquarters Battery, A Battery and B Battery, the former 580th Engineer Company and 630th Ordnance Company became simply "The Engineer Company" and "The Ordnance Company" of 1st Battalion, 333rd Artillery. The reorganized Redstone Battalion was then commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel in place of the Colonel formerly in command of a Redstone Group. The last commanding officer for Redstone missile 1st Battalion, 333d Artillery was Lt. Colonel William R. Miller.

Battery A's final Commander was Captain Floyd M. Murphy, Jr. Its last Executive Officer was 2nd Lieutenant Michael Parker. Its last Maintenance Officer was CWO Fred Sanders, and its last 1st Sergeant was 1st SGT (E-8) David J. Pawelski.

1st SGT Pawelski's closing Redstone assignment is of keen interest to me personally, in that for his opening Redstone assignment Sergeant Pawelski, as MSGT E-7, was for 23 weeks my REMMC 2A classmate and team leader at the United States Army Artillery and Missile School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma at the start of my Redstone missile journey in January 1959.




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