Jim Kirschenman was in Clumsy and Cloudy parties in Libya, and Ebony Forest in Italy around 1961-1962.  He was also in Iran with Victor 8 Zulu party.

Jim writes: The 64th began surveying in Libya in 1956 for AMS.  The mission was projected to end in 1963.  It was considered one of the most grueling survey missions ever undertaken. There were three elements of the survey, elevation, triangulation, and classification.  The project was undertaken in conjunction with the World Mapping Council.  The Libyan government was to receive a copy of every map the Army published.  However, the control data was not provided. 

The Italians had mapped, or attempted to map, a portion of Libya.  The German Army also did a small portion during its occupation.  The 64th closed the last gap around the Mediterranean although it is not clear how the triangulation was tied into the British surveys of Egypt. (I recall being cautioned specifically not to cross the fence between the two countries. The U.S. was not on speaking terms with Egypt at that time and our end of net astro station was located very close to the Egyptian border.  We were visited on several occasions by men in native dress that approached from the east. Since we were hard against the concertina wire fence, rather three fences running parallel between the two countries, one would assume they came from Egypt. The fact that they wore wingtips seemed rather comical as well.)


The accuracy of the surveys were of course very high.  An error in a 1000 mile triangulation net was from 1 in 200,000 to 1 in 300,000.  One level line of 1061 miles closed with an error of 30mm.  That was a rumor, luck or skill.  I was chief of party on that line.  


The 64th was commanded by Lt. Col. Thomas W. Whitchurch of Casper Wyoming. The unit XO was Capt Bill McMullen of Huntington NY.  The unit consisted of 230 Americans, 60 Libyans, 110 trucks, 12 light planes and 20 helicopters.  Authorized strength was 328 pn. Many of the light trucks were Studebakers with auto trans (and eventually sprung frames). Since auto trans were worthless in the mud and sand the solution to get rid of them was to drive them up a v notch and rack the frames.

All pilots got hazard duty pay as did those involved in mine clearing.  Many of us in the field took turns clearing as it was worth $25 per month, as was non crew member flight pay.  

The unit averaged 3000 to 4000 mines a year.  You have no idea how much shrapnel there was out there.  Mines were Italian (very touchy) German (bouncing betties were filled with milled ball bearings) and British.  Many were bobby trapped, except for British.  

The level operations were commanded by Lt. Michael Malkey of Wheeler, Oregon.  Lt. Green was also on the team. Levels crossed the country. One line I am familiar with went from Tripoli east to Misurata, then south to Sebha and southwest 350 miles to Ghat, on the Tunisian border. That line took 6 months. The team required 10 tons of supplies a week, mostly by truck, over 1,200 miles at its longest, 50 miles of which were paved.  The team name was “Classic”.   . 

Classic had 11 hex tents, mobile kitchen and radio shack on a trailer, with q hut or James way for radio and dining and short term beer storage, meaning it did not last long.  Beer was gratis but the refrigeration (a helicopter trying to hovering over a tub filled with beer and aviation gas) was expensive.  Temps were rather high, 139 was the highest I saw, 128-9 not unusual. Level parties were generally on the line at sun-up and quit at noon because of refraction, or until a section did not close.  Wind usually picked up at noon which made for difficult reading.  

The supply officer was Capt. John Burnish of Omaha.

At that time the unit had 60 men in Iran and 9 or so in Matera, Italy doing surveys in preparation of the installation of Jupiter C missiles.  (In that operation T 3 s were set up on each corner of the figure on concrete pillars.  Cross hairs of each instrument was used for targets, sides of the figure were about 70 meters.  

I joined the 30th mid 1959.  The unit was unloading its equipment from box cars, having just moved from I believe Presidio, San Francisco.  Included in the cadre at that time were:

MSG Pulsaki, MSG Punsak, SFC Gene Solbrak, SFC Hallock, SFC Stamey, SFC Carl Harden, SFC Jim Harris.  There were essentially an unhappy bunch having just moved from paradise.  During the 4 months or so I was there the 64th lost an aircraft, Otter, in the Gulf of Serta, 12 or more men being lost.  The aircraft was never found but parts were, usually small bits of plywood, a sleeping bag but not much else.  Among the missing was SP 4 Stan Novak.  

I joined the 64th in Libya in March, 1960, departed with about 20 others to Iran April 61 in a flight of 3 Globemasters,  Each aircraft was fully loaded with helicopters and trucks.

Following is a list of some of the personnel at Wheelis AFB .  This is by no means complete. 

Note from Web Host: If you recognize yourself or a friend on this list, and have a photo and a story to share, please send them to me.
 
In April - May 1961 40 of these people went to Iran:

Antilla, Emil, 1Sgt.  822.80 
Misurda, John SFC 822.70
Wilkerson, Martin, MSG 813.78
Delacrua, Pilar, SFC 766.60
Doherty, Charles, SFS, 716.60
Harris, James,  SFC, 822.20
Huebner, Floyd, SSFT, 761.60
Muldowney, Donald, SSGT, 911.60
Roth, Ben, SSGT, 822.60
Santiago Julio, SSGT, 822.60
Dommermuth, Don, SGT, 053.60
Larsen, Bernbard, SFT, 822.60
Aregersinger, Paul, SP5, 822.10
Campbell, Henry, SP5 941.10
Florshinger, Roy, SP5, 941.10
Justice, Luther SP5, 941.10
Kirschenman, SP5, 822.10
Tucker, Harry, 813.10
Floyd, Homer, CPL, 631.40
Arias, John, SP4, 822.10
Badey, Georgs, Sp4, 822.10
Bender, barry c, SP4 822.10
Buttle, Terry L, SP4 296.10
Duncan, David W,  SP4 823.10
Dunton, James, SP$ 671.10
Faulkner, Donnie, SP4 717.10
Fritzpartick, Louis, SP4 634.10
George, Ernest W. SP4 822.10
German, Deavid A, SP4 671.10
Gildroy, Kenneth G. 822.10
Hahn, Walter A, SP4 822.10
Johnson, Richard G Sp4 053.10
Lalond, Robert D. Sp4 511.10
Lofus, Thomas T, Sp4 822.10
MCGrath, Michael, L Sp4823.10
Murphy, Paul M, SP4 822.10
Justin, Donald W. PFC 716.10
Bell, William F PFC 823.10
Blair, Ira A, PFC 675.10
Burke, John D PFC, 822.10
Boner, Gary L, PFC 671.10
Campbell, John L, PFC 671.10
Davis, Richard W. PFC, 675.10
Di Filipipo, Carmine, PFC 822.10
Hayes, Robert D, PFC, 822.10
Nagua, Harold A, PFC 822.10
Neison, Robert L PFC, 822.10
Rizzo, Charlas, PFC 631.10
Parker, Larry L, PFC, 631.10
Smith, James L PFC, 822.10
Williams, Jimmy R, PFC, 675.10

JIM KIRSCHENMAN