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8th Aviation Battalion
8th Infantry Division (Mech)

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.


8th Avn Co History (19..-19..)

8th AB(C) History
(19..-19..)

A Co (Cbt Spt)

B Co (Attack)

C Co (Attack)

D Co (Maint)

E Co

D Trp, 3-8th Cav

4th Brigade


8th Avn Bn Timeline (Project)

Bad Kreuznach Army Airfield

Finthen Army Airfield

Related Links

8th Aviation Company
 

H-34A CHOCTAW of 8th Avn Co, 1962 (Günter Grondstein)
8th Aviation Company Pocket Patch
 
1957-63
(Source: Special Organization Day 1960 Issue of the ARROW, 8th Inf Div newspaper. July 1, 1960)

8th Aviation Company
In the three years since the activation of the
8th Aviation Company, the unit has proved to be one of the most versatile in the 8th Div. Composed of nearly 300 officers and enlisted men, the Aviation Company provides the 8th Inf Div with the varied capabilities of mobility, command control, communications observation, and target acquisition. In addition, the company has a limited capability to airlift troops and provide medical evacuation.
 
An 8th Avn Co L-20 makes a maximum performance take-off during the recently held Army Aviation Trials at Heidelberg
  The nerve center of the 8th Avn Co, commanded by Maj Frederick B. Franklin, is the Operations Section, all flight requests and scheduling flights in order that the Division may get maximum utilization of it's aircraft. The section is also responsible for scheduling pilots for the continuous training required to keep them fully proficient in the many varied tactical flying missions such as wire laying, paradrop methods, short field techniques and armed helicopter techniques.

Ground commanders in forward positions receive aviation support Irom the Direct Support Platoon to assist in accomplishing their mission. It is from within this platoon that the Aviation Company renders support to Division artillery units with conduct of fire and
battlefield observation missions. The 8th Avn Co maintains the artillery flight at the DivArty airfield to provide greater flexibility and responsiveness as well as to more closely coordinate with the DivArty commander.

Command, liason, courier, and utility capabilities are provided by the General Support Platoon. Consisting of fixed and rotary wing tactical support flights, the general support platoon is truly able to take the commander any place at any time. In addition, the general support platoon contains a utility and transport section with the functions of limited resupply and taking patrols on long range probing missions.


The Service Platoon, giving the Aviation Company organizational maintenance parts, and other aircraft services is located at Hoppstätten Airfield. Through the efforts of this platoon, the company is able to maintain a high availability of aircraft in spite of the many missions flown by the company's aircraft.


Providing the unit with its combat surveillance capability is the Aerial Surveillance Platoon. Keeping up with the trends in today's modern Army, the platoon is equipped with the latest in equipment to provide combat intelligence to the battlefield commander. Through the use of the Drone surveillance system, the Aviation Company can penetrate deep into enemy territory and bring back vital intelligence information.

 
(Source: Email from Charles "Chuck" Griswold, 8th Avn Det)
I was originally stationed at Bad Kreuznach (NOTE: possibly at the 8th Avn Co) then almost immediately reassigned to Coleman Barracks, Manheim (NOTE: maybe a detachment of the 8th Avn Co). I believe it was early spring of 1958. We had a hanger near the gas dump on the east end of the runway. I was crew chief on H-13's and, when I first got there, the CO was Capt.C. Maddox; later Lt J. Heilman. We had one H-13, a L-19 and a 3/4-ton truck and trailer.

Anderson was the L-19 crew chief; Filkins was a crew chief/gofer and Greenberg was the radio operater. We supported the 8th Infantry Division.

In the same hanger the 245 Cav Aviation (NOTE: probably the 245th Trans Co (Army Acft Hv Maint & Sup)) unit had an L-19 and an L-20.

We bunked in with the 245 Cav as I remember. We didn't have to stand inspections nor pull KP which didn't sit well with the rest of 245th guys. We were there for well over 2 years and I remember some of our guys went to Africa to find the remains of the B17 crew that was lost in the Sahara. I think it was the crew of the "Lucky Lady." They had a very crude way of ground navigation and as I remember they found all of the remains. I really wanted to go on that mission. Greenberg went with a tall West Point Lt. Can't remember his name but the story was written up in Life Magazine.

We were involved in Operation Winter Shield. I believe it was the first time H-13s had guns mounted on them. I flew right seat and operated the elevation and cocking levers. After a few missions they decided that guns on helicopters, at least the way we were set up, didn't make good sense.

We did a flour bag bombing mission and dropped one through the mess tent. That was a bad mistake. I remember one night we got a bad batch of stew. All night long you could hear guys running bare foot in the snow through the compound looking for a place to get rid of the food. I was a lucky one.

We had a flying club and an old J-3 Cub.We had a couple of WOs and 3 or 4 EMs. R. Law was a A&P and we rebuilt the Cub. Had a lot of fun flying it around Germany. Ran into one of the guys that was in the club a few years ago, D .Pepper, he was flying jumpers out of California City where I fly gliders. Haven't heard from anyone else.

 
(Source: Email from Rudy Bruno)
I was a Spec. 5 with the 8th Aviation Co. at the air field in Hoppstätten Germany from December 6, 1957 to April 1959. We had 2 hangars, a motor pool, mess hall, one runway, one building which housed our quarters, operations commo shack etc.

We had H-13s, H-19s, L-19s, L-20s and U-1 as. At some time in 1958 we were transferred to Rose Barracks in Bad Kreuznach (still with 8th Avn Co.)

I was a radio communications chief and also in charge of the repair section. I was in charge of the CW radio operators and repairs. We repaired the field radios, unofficially some aircraft electronics and the Link trainer. Our commanding officer was Major Oliver V. Norman, who was also a pilot. Our platoon Sgt. was Harry Schultz. Communications officer was Lt. Chuck Snavely from N.J. He was replaced by Lt. Rudolph Pick, lt. Pick either came from Mannheim or one of the other five fields assigned to the 8th.Avn. Co. during the 1957-1959 period.

It was good to find this web site, I have been trying to get some information about the 8th Aviation Co. but could only find 8th Avn. Bn. info.

 
(Source: Email from Rodrigo Gebhard, Germany)

I took these three photos of 8th Infantry Division aircraft at Bad Kreuznach AAF when I was a boy. I used to drive by the airfield to check out the aircraft. The photos were taken in the 1959-61 timeframe.


Bad Kreuznach AAF

 

1. H-13E (KB)

2. L-19 (KB)

3. UH-1D (KB)


8th Aviation Battalion (Cbt)
 
1963-67
8th Aviation Bn DUI
 
(Source: Email from Hugh W. Morgan, Co B, 8th Sig Bn & S-2, 8th Avn Bn)

Attached is a copy of the Activation Day pamphlet that was used when the 8th Aviation Company was reorganized into the 8th Aviation Battalion. The 8th Aviation Company was based at Bad Kreuznach, but the Battalion was organized and activated at Finthen.

I am listed on the last page as “S-2 Capt H. Morgan.”


I was serving a ground duty tour as CO of Company B, 8th Signal Battalion, 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach.  When the Aviation Battalion was organized I was assigned as the S-2 of the Aviation Battalion.


1. Cover

2. Unit History (KB)

3. Officers (KB)


1964
(Source: Email from Brig Gen (Ret) Joseph W. "Buck" Camp, Jr, A Co, 8th Avn Bn, 1964-1965)
I was stationed as a CH-34C pilot at Finthen AAF from January 1964 until September 1965.  Over the intervening years I continuously served in Army Reserve and Army National Guard units, retiring 31 December 1998, completing over 36 years of continuous service.

I have attached some personal recollections, titled “Flying in Germany,” that I thought might be of interest to your readers. (Webmaster Note: I have reformatted Buck's memories as a Rich Text Format (RTF) file which should allow all readers to open and read even if they do not have MS Word.)

 
(Source: Email from Joe Hueber, 8th Avn Bn; D Trp and HQ Trp, 3rd Sq, 8th Cav, 1966-68)
I served with the 8th Div. from July 1966 until Jan 1968. I was originally assigned to the 8th Aviation Battalion at Finthen, living on the top floor of the old farmhouse there. One night after having just arrived, I was 17 and an RA, some of the US guys got a little drunk because they were "short timers" and came up and tied me and another guy to our bunks and then put the bunks out the window on the roof. The OD and Sgt of the Guard pulled us back in.

That was a fixed wing unit and I was a helicopter mech (67M10? 20?) and they only had a sorry looking CH-34 Choktaw, that since I was the skinniest guy (kid) there I had the distinct displeasure of greasing the rear rotor drive shaft bearings that went up the tail to the rear rotor. My arm was covered with grease every day.

They eventually reassigned me to "D" Troop of the 3rd Squadron, 8th Cav at Mannheim-Sandhofen (OCS - Old Coleman Stockade). We had a number of helicopter there but that number seemed to dwindle as WO's returning from 'Nam crashed them.

I became surplus to their needs and was reassigned to "HQ" Troop 3/8 where I learned Commo stuff and how to drive a 'trac'. Came in very handy when I was sent to Viet Nam and became a radio op in an Engineer Battalion, instead of a door gunner.

Had many wonderful "growing up" experiences (which I won't go into here) while serving in Germany with some pretty good guys. A few names I remember are James "Creech" Rascoe, Lloyd McGinley, Jim Asplundh, and Lt. Lyman J. McQuade or McCain, or something like that, Hal Beveridge, who was our Conscientious Objector, went AWOL a few times to get out of the Army, played in a band somewhere, Phil Katsis from Calif., Phil went to 'Nam as a LRRP.

I was transferred back to Finthen in late 67, living in the hanger this time, it was still the 8th Aviation Battalion then. Shortly thereafter, I was sent to beautiful SE Asia for the remainder of my enlistment, and lived to tell about it.
Joseph Hueber

1978-87
(Source: Email from Charles Dexter, 1st CO of 8th CAB, 1977)
I was the first commanding officer of the 8th CAB. I just stumbled across your web site and found it to be quite good and fun to remember many of the things you cite after these past 30 plus years. Here is some additional information that may be of interest.

We formed the battalion during the latter part of 1977. It eventually consisted of 5 companies.
(1) the Division Aviation Support Company co-located with the 8th Div Hq (commanded by MG Paul Gorman, later 4 star CINCSOC) at Bad Kreuznach which became Alpha Company commanded by Major Gene Stockwell and continued to provide general aviation support to the division headquarters.

(2) Bravo Company, an AH-1 Attack Company, was formed at Ft. Hood, TX from elements of the Air Cav Combat Brigade and moved to Finthen lock stock and barrel including families and was commanded by Major Don Trent (one great commanding officer who had to overcome many, many difficulties building, training and moving his attack company to Germany).

(3) Charlie Company, an AH-1 Attack Company, was formed out of some existing Air Cav elements within the Fifth US Corps and then augmented with additional aircraft and personnel as they arrived into the battalion (at the moment I have forgotten the name of the fine Major who first commanded the company, he did a remarkable job). Later Charlie Company was commanded by Major Hugh Mills who we reassigned from B Company. He likewise did a superior job commanding the company and serving on the Bn Staff.

(4) Delta Company, the Aviation Maintenance Company, was formed out of existing V Corps elements of the 708 Maintenance Battalion currently located in Germany. The company commander was really a good and knowledgeable one and I just can't recall his name at the moment.

(5) Our Headquarters and Headquarters Company was formed as troops arrived from the USA and from various units within the 8th Infantry Division and V Corps. HHC was initially commanded by Major David Hartley and after he was reassigned to be the aide de camp to one of the ADCs, BG John Galvin (later 4 star general and SACEUR/USCINCEUR), the company was then commanded by Major John Hamer who was initially the Bn S-2.

Some other battalion officers at that time were: Major Brian McWilliams who initially served as Bn LNO to Div Hq; Daniel F. Coonce, Capt MCFS, the Bn Flight Surgeon who also ran our Finthen Post family medical clinic; Major Ray Kane, Bn 2-3 who was reassigned to Bn from B Company; Major Dennis Dolon later commander of Bravo company; Cpt Everett Avery, Bn Maintained Officer, also a transfer from B Company as was CWO Castillo, Bn Standardization pilot, who flew my left seat and always kept me safe; and Major Ed Smith the first Bn XO who processed us all into country in the very early days settling our families and setting up driving licenses, orientation meetings, etc.

We were especially helped by then Colonel Bob RisCassi (later 4 star general and USA Vice Chief of Staff) who commanded the 4th Brigade in Wiesbaden and Colonel Claude Ivey (later 2 star general) commander of the 1st Brigade in Mainz who reassigned many experienced soldiers to assist us in coming up to full TO&E strength.

I am sorry that I am unable to remember all of the names of those fine soldiers who served with me at Finthen AAF. I can see their faces as if they were here; but as a 73 year old I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast. Perhaps you can contact others to fill in the blanks.

Additionally it was not well known but the 8th CAB commander and staff were also responsible for the operation of the entire Finthen Post and airfield along with its aircraft control tower, 100+ sets of family quarters, a PX, fire station, post chapel, medical clinic, recreation center, NCO club, Officers club, and post engineering support and physical security. There was a German flying club located on the airfield but it did not fall under our auspices.

I retired in June 1983 as Chief of Staff, USA Military District of Washington and worked for ten years with the Titan Corporation as a Vice President for Continuity of Government Programs. I have lived here in Florida since 1993.

 
Early 1980s
(Source: 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) Welcome Pamphlet, early 1980s)
8th Aviation Battalion (Combat)

The mission of the 8th Aviation Battalion (Combat) is to destroy enemy armored and mechanized forces by aerial combat power, using fire and maneuver as an integral part of the combined arms team during offensive, defensive, and retrograde operations.

The battalion was activated on 21 September 1978 at Finthen Army Airfield. It has five companies and 116 helicopters. The battalion has two Attack Companies, a Combat Support Company, and an Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Company (AVIM). The battalion headquarters and the attack and maintenance companies are located at Finthen Army Airfield. The Combat Support Company is located at Bad Kreuznach and Baumholder Army Airfields.

A UH-1 of the 8th Avn Bn flies over a maneuver area

  The Combat Support Company, with 41 aircraft, is the largest company in the battalion. Its mission is to support the divisional brigades, the Division Support Command, Division Artillery and the division command group and staff.

The two attack companies, with 42 AH-1S Cobra/Tow, 6 UH-1 Utility, and 28 OH-58 observation helicopters, give the division a highly mobile and flexible anti-armor capability. The OH58's and Cobras work as teams, using Nap of the Earth flight techniques. The division's anti-armor capability is greatly increased with the highly maneuverable asset when integrated with armor and infantry.

The Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Company insures that all the aircraft are mechanically combat ready to perform the many missions flown in support of the division.

 
1984
(Source: Email from Lamont Silves, Pathfinder Team, 1984-85)
I came across your website today and thought I'd quickly add to what you have. I served in the 8th ID from March 1984 to October 1985. I came to the division as part of a mandatory rotation of soldiers out of the 82nd ABN DIV that had participated in the Grenada invasion. We were told the army wanted to spread our recent combat experience around other units of the army. The luck of the draw sent me to the 1/13 Inf BN at Baumholder.

In November of 1984, I was offered a position on the 8th ID Pathfinder Team, attached to the 8th Aviation BN in Bad Kreuznach. The Pathfinder Team was a small but very high-performing team with all of our soldiers being airborne qualified and with most having Ranger, Special Forces or combat experience. At one point, all were at least sergeants or promotable soldiers. We were attached to the the UH-1H (Huey) company based in Bad Kreuznach.

Most of our missions involved training division units in air assault tactics and sling loading of equipment using the battalion's UH-60 and UH-1H helicopters. This was typical of most Pathfinder teams attached to heavy infantry units. The closest similar unit was the V Corps Pathfinder Team in Wiesbaden.

We organized some interesting training -- mainly through our own efforts. Several of our guys attended Foreign Legion-led French Commando School near Alsace, France, and we trained occasionally with the Belgian and German airborne forces. Through a two-week 8th Aviation BN mission to train the Luxembourg Armee in late 1984, we also became very close with several of their NCOs and often visited each other. One of their sergeants, Claude Pffeffer, showed up unannounced on Christmas Eve 1984 for a two week vacation in our barracks. (Explaining to the First Sergeant the presence of a foreign soldier in our barracks was an interesting job!) Claude was a HUGE fan of American culture and drove the only Chevy I saw in Europe, an early 80s Chevy four-door car. He wore cowboy boots, was passionate about country and western music, and spoke great English. When I casually invited him to "come visit sometime" he took me at my word.

I lost touch with the members of the team a few months after coming back to the States and have never learned what happened after I left. Several years later the airfield was turned back over to the Germans and I visited the kaserne in 1993 while on a business trip to Frankfurt. It was spooky to walk streets filled with Germans that just a few short years earlier had been an oasis of Americana. Funny how quickly things change. It would be interesting to hear the perspective now of the Germans that we worked and lived with in Bad Kreuznach. Do they remember or miss the GIs?

Thanks for taking the time to put together the website. I enjoyed reading about the division where I spent nearly two years of my young life.
Lamont Silves

A Company, 8th Aviation Battalion
 
1966
(Source: Email from Paul Mullen, Co A, 8th Avn Bn, 1965-66)
I had the opportunity to revisit Finthen on a trip over to Germany in the mid-90s. Finthen has been completely turned over the the Germans. The family housing area (which was just built when I was stationed there) is German housing now. The hangers and support buildings are leased to several different types of companies including civilian helicopter repair. I did get to go in the old Company A barracks building and stood right where my bunk was. Wierd feeling.

I was stationed at Finthen from March 1965 to October 1966, then on to the 173rd Abn in Vietnam. At that time I only recall Company A as having CH-34s, no Hueys or H-13s. There was also a small detachment of OV-1 Mohawks (3), unit unknown. We used to have to stand guard over them every night. They issued each guard 5 rounds for the M-14 and we had to count them out and give them to the Sgt of the Guard each time we were relieved.

I worked for a time in the tower and base operations, as well as a crew chief on a -34. The tower was operational until around 1800 hrs each weekday then the radios were switched down to base ops. The AF weather personnel left around 1600 hrs each day, no weekends. We received our missions, as well as information on incoming flights via a dedicated audio communications line that tied in with several other airfields including Darmstadt, Giessen, and Fulda. Late at night we would all chat with each other and flirt with the Germany female operators. We only knew each other by our phonetic initials (I was Papa Mike).

At the end of each workday the majority of guys would go to off-base housing. I doubt there were more than 50-60 left on base. I ran the movie theater upstairs over the NCO/EM club and sometimes I only had 2-3 guys watching the flix. I made two bucks a night from the club.

When I first got to Finthen in March of 1965, Company A barracks was in the front part of the hanger building with company offices on the lower floor. Shortly afterward we moved down the road to a two story brownstone building. Besides Company A, the two other main units on Finthen were the 8th Avn Bn Headquarters and the 245th Maint Co. We had a very small PX/snack bar that served a great egg burger on Sunday mornings, one mess hall for all units (Company A supplied all the KPs), and a single club for the NCOs and EM; not sure where the officers went.

Across the airfield there was a HAWK missile anti-aircraft unit for a few months, then one day they were gone. Every month we had an alert, which we always knew about well in advance. Most of the time we would load up the trucks and choppers and then sit for a few hours. They'd call the alert off and we unpacked everything until the next month. Our ammo was kept at a ammo site about 15 clicks away and 5-6 trucks would always have to go there and pick up the ammo trailers.

People I remember: Tom Emerick, Pop Benton, Walter Heathcliff, Sturgeon, Sgt Dody, PFC Earnhart, Cpt Hooker (he hated my red hair), Sgt Norton, Carl Roach, and Maj Davis (he got tossed out as CO when a bunch of officers complained about his actions to the Army Times. There was a big article in that paper about our little Napoleon.)

Finthen AAF

 

1. Aerial of Finthen AAF (KB)

2. Finthen AAF (KB)

3. Finthen AAF (KB)


4. Finthen AAF (KB)

5. H-13 near A Company hangar (KB)

6. H-34 (KB)
 

5. A Company sign (KB)
     

 
1977
(Source: Email from Hugh Mills, B Co, 8th Avn Bn)
I served with 8th CAB from October 1977 to May of 1980. We formed B Company at Ft Hood Texas within the Air Cavalry Combat Brigade (ACCB) and moved to FRG in October 1978.

Unit leaders were Major Don Trent CO, Cpt George Heneveld XO, Cpt Ray Kane Ops officer, Cpt Hugh Mills 2nd Platoon, Cpt George Insellman at 3rd platoon.

I believe it was Bob Harmon that commanded the 1st platoon right off.

We moved into Finthen, and created C company which I would command in 1979 from the 3/8th Cav and set about making a BN. LTC Charles Dexter was the first CO and LTC Merwin Nutt was the second.


Finthen Detachment sign at FAAF, 1979 (Bruce Arrighi)
 

Finthen Detachment, 1979 (Bruce Arrighi)
 
A Company patch
 
1979
(Source: Email from Bruce A. Arrighi)
I was assigned to A Company Finthen Detachment from Jul.1979 to Feb.1982.

I worked with some of the following personnel as you can see in the group picture above: SSG Bruce O. Fuller NCOIC (far left); CW2 Mott (4th from the left), SGT Figaroha (5th from the left); CW3 Schaffer OIC (6th from the left); myself (7th from the left); SGT Garcia (8th from the left); CW3 Nuqui (10th from the left) and CW Fridell (far right).

I was reassigned to A Company in Apr. 1983 and remained until Sep. 1986. Then I was with the scout platoon in Bad Kreuznach where one of our pilots came up with this rare pocket patch.

As Mrs Lamont Silves said we did work with foreign armies. We spend 4 days working with the 2nd Belgium Para Commando from Flawuine from May 7th to the 11th, 1984.

I really did enjoy my experience with this unit and the quality & professionalism of our soldier was great. I hope some of the old timers from back then read this. If any on would like to get in touch you can look me up on facebook .

This is a very nice web site.

Finthen Det

 

1. Partial of Finthen AAF

2. Performing maint.

3. Scout Pltn, 1983


4. Members, Scout Pltn 1984

5. Pathfinder Pltn

6. SGT House, Pathfinder Pltn
 

B Company, 8th Aviation Battalion
 
(Source: Email from Gerald Nelson, ASTA Pltn, B Co, 8th Avn Bn)

B Co., ASTA Platoon (Aerial Surveillance and Target Acquisition) Platoon was my first assignment after Combat Surveillance School at Ft. Huachuca Az. I graduated Sept 2ND and arrived at Finthen Army Airfield, Finthen Germany at the end of that Month. (I think.)

B Co. was housed at Bad Kreuznach AAF but the airfield was longer at Finthen (1000 meters) so we were detached there. Our barracks was in the large hangar attached to the tower on the third floor. Our Platoon Headquarters was in a small hangar at the east end of the taxi way. It has been replaced with a new hangar some time since then, that is much larger.

Our mission was to fly SLAR (side looking airborne radar) missions looking into the east, USSR, East Berlin. We had a Red Telephone connected to Intelligence Dept. of the Army. We did not like to hear that phone ring. At that time the Mohawks were stationed several places around Germany in these ASTA Platoons. We flew a lot of training missions also and some involved Aerial Photography. I flew a grid photo mission over Finthen once and our Lab Tech's made a mosaic composet photo about 36in x 24in for the Mayor of Finthen and we hung one in our hangar. I was crossed trained as a photo lab tech. and developed and printed a lot of my own photo runs as well as my own personal photos. The photos I will be sending you were all 35 mm that I shot, developed and printed.

We ran the platoon like a small Co and had a Platoon Commander (Capt. McMillan). We called him Capt. MAC. He was later promoted to a Maj. Capt. Billy Baucomb was our next in command and our motor pool Commander. We also had a pilot, Capt.. Caldwell. They were Pilots and I flew a lot of Aerobatics with Billy By-God Baucomb as we liked to call him. He loved to make complex and difficult maneuvers including 360 overhead landings, precision snap rolls, Spins, 360 loops and such. Capt. was a kind of Jet_Jockey also and a very good pilot as well. I flew in several Air Shows also, great fun. All in all it was a lot of fun.

On occasions we did not have enough flight hours for the four T.O.'s (Technical Observers) as we were called, so we would get flight suit and helmet and sit in Flight Oops. in the tower begging rides. I flew in L-19 Bird Dogs, L-20 Beavers, OH-1 Bell Helicopters, CH-34's, CH-37's, Chinooks and a few others. I was also given a chance to fly one once in a while otherwise I was just riding along so I could get Flight Pay. We were exempt from guard duty and KP for most of the time. We often walked around in Flight Suits (orange) or flight jackets with helmet bags and knee boards. We also wore ejection seat harnesses for the Martin Baker Mark. V, Ejection Seat. Although I and the other Airborne Radar Specialist's 26E20, were E-2 at the time we looked like Officers and were saluted on a regular basis. We raised a lot of hell at the EM club and in the Gast Hauses in Finthen, BK and around the area.

We had the Air Force Riggers come to train our mechanics and inspect our Ejection Seats. We had three aircraft. One "A" Model (photo) and two "B" Models. That is six Ejection Seats. One was not armed, one was defective and two had no charges in them. That meant only two had a chance of ejecting someone successfully. One of the operational seats was the right side T.O.'s side. We T.O.'s could not land the aircraft and would have gone down if the pilot ejected. That leaves only one seat that had a chance of a successful ejection. That is not good but as lock would have it we never had an ejection in B Co.

I once had an engine flame out on the flight line three times before we were informed by the tower that we had been given fuel oil in stead of JP4. A flame out in flight could have been disastrous. Although the aircraft would fly on one engine it would not have had full power an could have caused a crash.

One day they flew the OV-1 Mohawks away and I was Assigned to HHC 8th. Avn. Btn. as a Ground Control Approach Radar Repairman (GCA) for a few months. I went to Baumholder for two weeks as the Commanding Officer and X.O.'s driver. Then one day the Sgt. Major called me in and told me that because I was an Airborne Radar Operator and was not jump qualified I was being sent to Airborne School. I just about shit my pants. Although I had parachute training and ejection seat training I was not required to actually make a jump. You see aviators think that there is no possible reason to jump out of an aircraft unless it is going down faster than it is going away.

A few months later I was reassigned to 122nd Avn. Co. that later became 122nd SAC (Surveillance Aviation Co.) in Hanau at Fleigerhorst AAF. Instead of three Aircraft it had 9 "B" Models (SLAR) and 9 "A" Models (Photo.) About six months later I and a few other T.O.'s were sent to the 244th. SAC at Ft. Lewis Washington. After another 6 Mo. of training the whole Co. was sent to Can Tho AAF, Can Tho VietNam. Another 6 Mo. and I ETS'd out to the States and was discharged.


 
1978
(Source: Email from Philip Smith, B Co, 8th Avn Bn)
I am a friend of Paul Cleary and he called me and told me about your web site. I was in the National Guard with Paul for 17 years and I was stationed at Mainz/Finthen in 1978-79 with "B" Company, 8th Avn Bn.

We came from Ft Hood with our new "S" model Cobra's. I was a huey crewchief and the commander's crewchief my whole time over there.

B Company started at Ft Hood in 1977 as part of the 6th ACCB. We started the unit there with nothing and received all new equipment. The First commander was Maj Donald Trent. I would be his crewchief until I left the Army in June of 1979. He was an awesome commander. We had the best pilots around and a really bunch of nice guys. Our XO was Hugh Mills. Shot down 16 times in Vietnam, he was the nicest guy of them all.

We had 21 Cobras, 13 OH-58's and 3 Huey's.

The commander had one Huey which was mine. Operations had one and Maintenance had one. They were the last Huey's made for the Army and the tail numbers were 76-22670, 7622671, 7622672.

Before we left for Germany the Commanding General of Ft Hood took one of our Huey's and when we got to Germany the Commanding General would take mine {670}.

Capt. Everett Avery was our Maintenance Officer and Sgt Ron Baasch his crewchief and James Digby was the operations CE (sic). All I learned about Huey's was from these two guys who were the best CE's around. Ron was from Yacama, Washington, and Jim was from Texas and me from Boston. We went over to Germany in the fall of 1977 to begin training pilots with the new modified "S" model Cobras. We would be over there when the Queen of England landed at Finthen to see the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz. There were also races at the airfield every year and they would use the runway and the whole airfield for the races.

We were put in an old hanger which still had bullet holes in it from World War 2 as Finthen airfield was a night fighter base during the war.

Hope this gives you some good information.

 
1980
(Source: Email from Doug Hoffman, B Co, 8th Avn Bn)
I was stationed at Finthen Army Airfield from April 1980 to September 1981. I was a crewchief on an AH-1S Cobra (70-16103 if I remember right) in the 3rd Flight Platoon. We had three flight platoons in "B" Company, each with 7 AH-1S Cobras and 4 OH-58 Kiowas. Of course there was also a maintenance platoon, as well as headquarters platoon. 25+ years have passed, so my recollection of the unit structure is not the best. Our CO was Major Bennett for most of my stay there. I don't recall the CO's name who followed him.

We worked out of a small building on the flightline that we referred to as the flight shack. Our barracks were across the road from the flightline. In addition to "B" Co, there was "C" Company, another attack helicopter company, and "D" Company, the maintenance company. "A" Company had a small detachment of OH-58's at Finthen, but the main part of that unit was at Bad Kreuznach. There was also a Chinook unit at the airfield, the 205th Avn.

Names of some of the people I worked with:
SFC Gunning - 3rd Flight Platoon Seargeant
CPT Reicheldorfer - 3rd Flight Platoon Leader
SGT John Daniels - 1st Flt AH-1S Crewchief

Also, SP4 Brown, SP4 Dave Perry, SP4 Steve Janicki, SP4 Jimmy Martinez, PFC Carpenter, SGT Mark Colton, SGT Jim Douglas, SGT Guy Oiler - all AH-1 or OH-58 crewchiefs. Many other faces whose names escape me at the moment.

We spent a good amount of time in the field, going to Grafenwoehr, Hohensfel, RAF Greenham Common, and various un-named farm fields that we used as LZ's.

I enjoyed my stay at Finthen, and loved Germany. We spent plenty of time at some of the local Gasthaus's in Finthen. The towns people were very friendly. The airfield was the sight of some car races a couple of times a year, so we would fly our aircraft over to Wiesbaden AFB while the races took place. We had to do the same when the Pope came to Germany and used the airfield to speak to a massive crowd. Many stories to tell of our high jinks, but everyone has some of those and mine are probably no different. Suffice it to say that I have many fond memories of my year and a half at Finthen Army Airfield.

I ETS'd out of Finthen, then realized how much I missed Army Aviation, and joined the Army National Guard a few years later in the States. Recently retired from the Guard, wishing I was still in...

B Co, 8th Avn Bn
Finthen AAF

 

1. Doug Hoffman and his AH-1 Cobra (KB)

2. AH-1 Cobra (KB)




(Source: Email from Carmen Purcell, 8th CAB)
I was assigned to the 8th CAB at Finthen Army Airfield for one year from November 1981 to October 1982. I later spent 5 years from 1986 through 1991 (excluding a brief attachment to 1st Armored Division for Desert Storm) with both 2-4 and 3-4 Avn Bns.

I was originally assigned to B Co, 8th CAB. At that time, the Battalion Commander was LTC Al Russo. My commanders at B Company were Majors Ernie Seitz, and later, Ed Monoski. Our Operations officer was Cpt Mark Landrith. I was an AH-1 pilot and CAC (Combat Aviation Coordinator) as a CW2 for that year. We were equipped with AH-1S Modified model Cobras. One of the men with whom I served, CW3 Bill Metcalf, was later killed in an aircraft accident very near the airfield. I belief it was in 1985, when I was stationed at Grafenwöhr Training Area. I hope the memorial to him and his fellow crewmember is still at the front gate of whatever FAAF has become.

Your website brought back many fond memories. Unfortunately my camera equipment (including photo albums) was stolen by movers when I was reassigned to Ft. Rucker in 1982 so I don’t have any pictures to contribute. It was a great unit to be in at an exciting time. I also really loved the Mainz area. I ended up back there for 5 years and really do miss the place.

1982
(Source: Email from John A. Wood)
I arrived at B Company, 8th CAB in October 1982 as a brand new WOJ (WO1) fresh out of the AH-1 course and ETS'd to FT Hood in 1986.

I arrived just before we changed over from the MOD-S to the F model (Fully Modernized) Cobra. I only had a few flights in the MOD-S, but to this day it is still my favorite Cobra model. I still look back on these times with great fondness. It ended up being one of the best tours and times of my 23 year career.

I remember the years being marked by gunnery and REFORGER. We began each year, in February I believe, with gunnery at Wildflecken (Wild Chicken as we called it). The weather was always atrocious. Spring was usually Hohenfels (loved that place), and summer to fall was Grafenwoehr (I won't repeat the alias for this one), and like Wildflecken, the weather was often times very bizarre. We would land with dust and dry temps and by the end of the 2 week gunnery it would often have gone from dust, to mud, to snow, and back to mud and dust again. I have fond memories of the all night poker games in the tent while on field exercises. We had 7 or 8 regulars among the 3 flight platoons that always played. It was a blast.

We always had a good time as the flight platoons were very close and there was much camaraderie. We had a good mix of Vietnam experienced Warrant Officers to learn from and a good stable of W1's and 2's to keep them on their toes. We worked and played well with our Scout section (OH-58Cs), and were one big family. The parties and spontaneous "drunk fronts" at the various O-Clubs got pretty wild, and by today's standards would have landed all of us in the brig and probably forced out of the service. It was a different time then, and kicking up your heals was not uncommon and often expected. The W3's and 4's ruled the roost and the W1's were the servants and were expected to provide due respect to the senior Warrants. It was all in good fun and served a purpose. Life was good and got better once you made CW2 (Ha!).

At Finthen we had morning briefings each day and following the briefing we verbally stated when and who we were going to fly with. There was no formal schedule, approval, mission briefing sheets, risk assessments, or Commander briefing (beyond the words "be careful"). Production Control (PC), or just "the maintenance office" as we called it then, told us the tail number and off we went. We pretty much flew with who we wanted, where we wanted, for as long as we wanted, and landed to grab some chow whenever and wherever we wanted. Often times we just landed in an open field and ran in to one of the small towns to a guest house. The Company, made up of 3 flight platoons, often flew as mixed crews. There was no "I'm 1st flight and can't fly with you from 2nd unless my platoon leader approves." We just grabbed someone and went.

We flew Nighthawk (terrain flight with no NVGs) and I often wonder how we ever managed to not kill ourselves. Towards the end of my tour we began to fly NVGs as well. They were the old full face type that you had to focus one tube inside the aircraft every time you wanted to read the torque, TGT, or other gages. I compare those early NVGs to what we use now and cannot for the life of me figure out how we did it back then.

I often wonder if the old H series TO&E we had wasn't better than how the Army is organized now. We had basically the same capabilities and number of personnel and aircraft, but the company (now would be called a battalion) was much tighter and more cohesive. From the bottom up we had section leaders (Lieutenants), platoon leaders (Captains), and the company commanders were Majors. All of the RLOs (real live officers / not Warrants) were combat arms back then, such as armor, infantry, or artillery and were fairly new to the aviation world. Their basic knowledge of combat arms, along with the aviation experience of the Warrants made for a great combination for combined arms tactics.

There are many colorful stories to tell, but most of them are not suitable for an open forum.


Some names I recollect from both B and C Company are (pardon any misspellings):
B COMPANY
Tom Anderson
Bill Barron
Gene Bulldock
Parker Goodwin
Dwight Gray
CAPT Heinzman
Bill Metcalf (lost in aircraft accident at Finthen)
Billie Miller
Tim Okins
Curt Oldroyd
Larry Summers
George Shultz
Jimmy Stewart (lost in accident with Bill)
Gordon "Burt" Williams. I stay in touch with him.

C COMPANY
Steve Paris

D COMPANY

Dennis Carson

I know there are others, but the names escape me right now.

1983
(Source: CREDENTIALS, 8th Inf Div newspaper, Jan 10 1983)

AH-1S Modernized

  Article describes some of the improvements found in the new AH-1S Modernized Cobras now arriving at Company B, 8th CAB to replace the AH-1s Modified models.

 
C Company, 8th Aviation Battalion
 
 
 
 
 

 
D Company, 8th Aviation Battalion / F Co, 708th Maint Bn
 
1976
(Source: Email from Leroy Dale Jones, D Co, 8th CAB)
I ran across this site awhile back and wanted to get my memories and info in.

After a week or more of Frankfurt, Baumholder (the rock) and Bad Kreuznach I was stationed at Finthen Army Airfield from 1976-1979 in D Co, 8th CAB. It really began as F.Co. 708th Maintenance in an old hangar under the tower. Then shortly the change came and we moved around the corner. We traded out with one of the Chinook units.

Our C.O. at the time was Major Obrien and Smith was our 1SGT. I was an OH-58 mechanic. SSG Brumfield and SSG Jennings were our platoon leaders. Sgt Leroy Wheeler was squad leader. Myself, Pvt Wiley, Pvt. Basil Miller, Sgt Paul Dyer, Sgt. Russell.

We had a good time. Too many friends would come and go though. I do remember Robert Bradley, Sgt Eads, Sgt. Mel Schultz and Seinz from the story above. "Steady" Eddie Long, "Buffalo" Bob Kuhns, J.P.Corbett, Earl Bramlett, Bruce Cole, T J McFadden, David Pope.

Not long after I was there a sad thing occurred I'll never forget. A Chinook taxiing on the runway not far from me and some buddies had a rear transmission failure. It made the eariest sound and the blades cut the nose off behind the cockpit taking the life of a fellow soldier. It was a terrible thing to see. Luckily though four soldiers lived through it. That flashed in my mind a lot of times. One of those thing that bugs you for awhile.

I really enjoyed the time I spent there. The car races, Charlie's in Finthen, the chicken runs to Wakernheim. I loved getting out on the weekends, going somewhere. Eating the food..yummy.

I remember faces and have lots of pics. Have located some old buddies here and there.I remember the new chow hall getting built, the Fasching party's.

I ETS'ed from Finthen and came home to San Angelo, Texas and began looking for a job. Shortly, I was hired by Bell-Helicopter over the phone to work in Amarillo. I quickly left home and went there working on final assembly, building AH-1S Cobras. For two years it was a blur. We worked long hours and put out lots of units. Then came the layoffs and I was on my way back home. I was devastated. Things took off though and I worked in the oil fields for many years and now I work for a government contractor. We are in our last year of tearing down A model Apaches for the Army. We will soon start some phases and more stuff on D models.

 
1977
(Source: Email from Robert P. Bradley, D Co, 8th Avn Bn)
I was stationed at Finthen Army Airfield from Feb 1977 to Jun 1979. When I arrived, the aviation maintenance unit was F Company, 708th Maintenance Bn. Upon the activation of the 8th CAB, we became D Company (8th Avn Bn).

We were originally in the old hangar next to the control tower. When the units from Ft Hood arrived, we moved to the hangar across the street from Company C and D's barracks.

During a formation of the entire battalion on the flight line, the battalion commander gave a new unit crest to every soldier in the unit. Our unit crest was one of the best!

The only event that took place to indicate the change (redesignation) was a pseudo field event. On a Monday morning, we had a mock alert, loaded all the trucks and vans with our hanger and shop equipment and drove it to the other side of the airfield. There we set up our tents and shops and pretended to be in the field. Details were sent to the old hangar to move stuff we didn't take to our new hangar. After two or three days, we packed up, drove around the airfield to our new hangar and set up our shops.

I was a 68B, turbine engine repairman, in the shop platoon. SSG Mel Schultz and SSG West were our engine shop leaders. SP4 Steve Heup (sic) and I specialized in engine changes on the Hueys, Cobras and 58s, with an occasional ride to the 295th down the street to work on their Chinook engines. My buddies were Rick Eads, (retired CSM) and Beto Saenz (LA Firefighter).

Looking back after 30 years, I realize how fortunate I was to be stationed in a beautiful area, near a very nice city, Mainz. Watched two Fasching parades, went to the Oktoberfest twice, loved going to Garmisch to ski and hike.

Ended my four year enlistment in Ft Bliss, with the 15th Military Intelligence Bn, maintaining U-21s, twin engine, fixed wing.I now support Program Manager, Cargo Helicopters, at Redstone Arsenal, AL. I work for the Aviation Engineering Director as an engineer ensuring all CH-47D/F and MH-47G aircraft mission equipment meet environmental requirements.

 
1984
(Source: Email from Lane Sizemore, Co D, 8th Avn Bn)
I was assigned to D Company of the 8th Combat Aviation Battalion (Finthen Army Airfield) right out of AIT (Fort Eustis) in the summer of 1984. Left there Jan 1986 for good ole cav country at Fort Campbell.

"D" Company was the AVIM unit there at FAAF. Was initially pretty disappointed that I did not get assigned as a crew chief but actually was able to gain more overall experience working on the AH1-MOD S birds at the intermediate maint level. Lots and lots of phase inspections, oh yeah !

I fondly recall (being facetious here) our unit being tasked to change out the MR blades on all of the Cobra's. We removed the old Bell 540 blades and installed the new Kaman 747 blades on all of the birds there at FAAF.

Favorite pilot I worked with was CW-4 Daugherty. He was Special Forces in Nam and then decided he would rather fly over the jungles and rain hell on peoples heads instead of crawling through them anymore.

Our first barracks was actually on old warehouse that they partitioned rooms off with 1/2" plywood! We finally got our new barracks right before I left. Everyone used to talk about how the Germans had an underground hangar there during WWII and how the old bunker doors leading down there were booby trapped. During guard duty on the flight line at night we used to talk about trying to pry open one of the old bunker doors that led underground to see if it was true or not. Not a very intelligent move looking back now! Lord knows what's still down there.

Airfield is home to a civilian glider club now.They used to fly the gliders on the weekends only when I was there. I wonder if they still hold the Finthen Races there?

Miss the old airfield,people and surrounding towns very much.

 
Aviation Company, 8th Inf Div
 
1973-78
(Source: Email from Rodrigo Gebhard, Germany)
I found some additional photos of the 8th Infantry Division at Bad Kreuznach. These were taken during an "Tag der Offenen Tür" (Open House) at Kuhberg (Training Area) in June 1975.

Kuhberg LTA

 

1. OH-58 Kiowa (KB)

2. AH-1G (KB)

3. M-163 Vulcan (KB)

 
CORRECTION
(Source: Email from Adrian C. Stocker, last 1-4 ADA Bn commander at Wackernheim)
First off, I am very impressed with your website, Kudos for all your hard work and effort! I was looking at the various Division pages when I came across an error in the 8th ID page under the Aviation section. Specifically: "Aviation Company, 8th Inf Div / 1973-78"

The 3rd picture shows a M-163 Vulcan and is labeled incorrectly as belonging to 2nd Battalion, 59th ADA ... I can see how one might think that when looking at the left bumper in the picture .. however, the "2" on the bumper is actually a worn away "D". The actual unit is the 1st Battalion, 59th ADA "Red Lions" .... before it was reflagged as 5-3 ADA "Sun Dragons" and finally 1-4 ADA "By Daring Deeds".

8th ID bumper codes for ADA during the Cold War were .... "8 1ADA59" and later .... "8 5ADA3" There was no "I" (to indicate Infantry Division) after the "8" because no other similar numbered division , i.e. Armored Division was on active duty as was the case with Army Division's number 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

I was the last acting ADA Battalion Commander on Wackerheim ... I completed the final portion of the deactivation of 1-4 ADA (LTC Reid was reassigned to division HQs) and stood-up the first ever Air and Missile Detachment in the US Army in its place (AMD Detachment 1st Armor Division - "The Sentinels - We are the few who protect the many").

There has been an ADA unit on McCully Barracks (named after 1st Lt. William C. McCully, who received the DSC posthumously WWII, member of 2nd Armored Division) ever since the US took possession of the Kaserne. My Detachment was too small to assume the former BN Headquarters, but I was reminded by many ADA "grey beards" not to give up the building as it had been in ADA hands for over 50 years. So a unit of 24 personnel occupied both a German style Barracks and a Battalion Headquarters for my duration as the Commander.

 
"D" Troop, 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry
 
"D" Troop, 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Pocket Patch
 
(Source: Email from Paul Cleary, D 3/8 Cav, 1964-1966)

The 8th AVN BN web site was a nice find, good reading.  I arrived at APO 111 Bad Kreuzach on or about April 8 1964, the unit then was B Co, 8th Avn Bn. HHC, A Co, and possibly C Co were at Finthen AAF.

We were the Buffaloes with buffaloes stenciled on white towels an the end of our bunks.  The company motto was "The thundering herd, to the sound of the guns."  I believe the 1st shirt was named Felton. I remember two pilots one was Kris Kristofferson and the other was a warrant named Randall. They used to sing together in gasthauses on week ends.

Some of the enlisted named Weaver, Hackett, West and Dozier.  They were a great bunch. During my short stay at Rose Bks we moved from the barracks at the back gate to ones by the front gate, we went from bays to four man rooms. 

About this time the 8th cav was getting the newer UH-1s and were looking for a few more men.  A group of us were tagged to go. I was flown to Coleman Bks, Mannheim in an L-20 Otter.  Reporting to
D Troop, 3/8 Cav was different. The unit was up on border patrol. We soon learned the Squadron always needed detail people fence painting, grass mowing, police call, guard duty, C.Q. runner, the list never ended.  The squadron area was the opposite corner of the base from the stockade, near what I think was the Sandhofen gate. The helipad was across the street from the barracks. The PSP pads were built by the crew chiefs and mechs just before we got there, they had canvas under them to stop the growth of weeds under the PSP. 

When the unit returned with the aircraft more normal life returned.  I remember the orderly room had a glass case with a stuffed mongoose with a corbra wrapped around it. We had about 8 UH-1B's, 3 or 4 H-13's and a very loud H-34. While I was there we totaled two aircraft: an H-13 on take off right on our own ramp, and a UH-1 on field maneuvers flying it into a hillside, no injuries in either adventure.

We had a line shack with cartoon creatures painted on the sides. The UH-1's mostly had quad M60's on the side; we had two Hueys with the 24 rocket tubes on each side.

I can recall lots of alerts, some field duty, a trip for a NATO maneuver to Denmark.

In 1965 the Army set up a school to transition pilots from fixed wing qual to rotary wing. Each Cav outfit in Germany sent 2 UH-1's to the school in Stuttgart. I was TDY for 6 mos, we stayed at Nelligen Bks. The school was such a success that they ran a second school at Schleissheim outside of Munich.

I was getting short then and returned to Coleman to start to outprocess. Some of the great people I remember from the Cav were CWO Hatter, Capt Brown, Capt Madden, First Sergeant Trapp, John Heaton, Luce, Nelson, Cox, Ward, Snyder, King, Rinehart. I ETS'ed April 1966.

Eleven years later for some strange reason I joined MA NG. and retired April 2002 age sixty. Some of my best memories involve UH-1's, Army aviation and good comrades. ABOVE THE BEST


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In 1965 the war in Viet Nam placed a tremendous need upon the Army for qualified rotary wing aviators.  To relieve this possible shortage USAREUR started a transition school to train fixed wing pilots into qualified helicopter pilots.  A group of qualified instructor pilots were assembled, D Trp 3/8 Cav and every Sky Cav D Trp in USAREUR was to send (2) UH-1's with crew chiefs to the school at Stuggart AAF.  It was good duty for the crew chiefs, we had no extra duties, no guard duty, no KP nothing but take care of the helicopters.  We were housed at Nelligen Bks, we had a barracks orderly, a bus with a driver to take us to the air field and were on separate rations, because the flight schedule often conflicted with the mess hall serving times.

If I remember correctly we flew 4 hours in the morning, 4 hours after noon and twice a week 4 hours night.  Most of the UH-1's had their unit crests painted on the cargo doors.  The one from the 8th Cav had the HONOR AND COURAGE crest,  We knew we were flying with the best pilots in Germany at the time.  Not all the fixed wing pilots thought this was an improvement for them, this made for some interesting conversations in the cockpit, auto rotations became normal, (the fixed wing guys did seem to like those).  I believe a Major Fiore was in charge, I can't remember the maintenance officer's name, but the both of those guys treaded the crew chiefs great.  The program went so well they were setting another one up in Schleissheim near Munich the next year.  I helped set up a few auto rotation lanes, with used tires but was too short to stay with the school and returned to Coleman bks to start to out presses.


D Trp, 3/8 Cav
Coleman Bks, Sandhofen

 

1. H-34 Coleman Bks (KB)

2. UH-1B (KB)

3. Line Shack (KB)


4. OH-13 (KB)

5. Crew chief Paul Cleary (KB)

6. UH-1B equipped with rockets (KB)
 

7. UH-1B (KB)

8. Ground guide (KB)

9. Call it a day (KB)
 

 
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