Genesis of Intelligence Collection Site
Gartow, W. Germany

ASA Coin

Site Development:
Det G (Gartow), Co B, 319th USASA Bn.

(Main) (Intelligence) (Aviation)

Prior to assignment in Europe, I was trained as a Russian Linguist at the Defense Language Institute (Army Language School, Armeiskaya Shkola Yazikoff) in Monterey, CA. and received a Commission at Ft. Benning, GA. In Germany, I spent a great deal of time on technical or tactical support of the 7th Army's (and 5th Corps') 24th Mech Division. The 24th was 7th Army's 'Theater Reserve' division, which meant that it might be redeployed suddenly anywhere from Scandinavia to the Persian Gulf. We had foot-lockers full of planning and background info, much of which still has application in the Middle East today. My monthly work was scattered all over West Germany.

After 18 months at B Co, 319th ASA Bn -- one of the best locations in Europe in picturesque, moat-lined, Luebeck, Germany -- I was directed to set up a 'collection' site (Det G) on a farm field above a tiny berg, Pevestorf, a couple of ‘clicks’ ('K's', kilometers) from the Elbe River and East Germany. Our work involved several types of electronic emissions from Soviet, East German and other sources.

The troops were parsed out into German homes, which meant that, from the best of the best technical people in Europe, we were given the hand-picked cream (so that neither the daughters nor the silverware might disappear). We had 60 skilled and trusted operators and maintenance wizards to perform an 8hr/7day NATO Mission plus a 24/7 National Mission.

Most of us lived in various circumstances in Gartow, a bigger tiny berg, 5 K's away, for which the site was named. Speaking of housing, sometimes the budget allows for something more elegant than basic accomodations.
(Gov't Housing?)

Most of our sites were in the prohibited ‘5K’ zone – along the fenced, mined and defended East German Border where, except for ‘Agency' folks on duty and Armored Cavalry patrols, neither the Army nor the Soviets were permitted. The route from Gartow to Pevestorf was partly along a dike-top causeway skirting an Elbe River backwater. I once told some of our wizards to take a short-cut by walking across the water. It may not have been a joke.

The Army never starts from scratch unless there's a war. We had technical equipment and vehicles of many types: electronic intercept vans; fresh-water and fuel supplies, 15k generators doubled-up and rotated in a service cycle; many smaller tactical generators plus specialized power supplies. We 'officed' in an expandable, heated/air-conditioned HQ van with communications, edge-lit map boards, analysis and management consoles, etc. It had a multi-fuel engine that would run on perfume if needed.
(My Office)

We worked all night or played football in the afternoon. We exceeded what was expected by a wide margin and, when the dreaded, annual, Inspector General’s team appeared, they looked us over.

Side-panel images represent the millions of radio waves passing every second.

(Main) (Intelligence) (Aviation)


Field Expedient Link

Inspector General Link

Theater Command Link

Site Design by Bill D.