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VII Corps Special Troops
VII Corps

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.


Main VII Corps Page

Special Troops Bn

VII Corps LRRP

39th Trans Co

66th Engr Co (Topo)

67th Avn Co

527th Trans Co

110th MP Platoon



 
VII Corps Special Troops Battalion
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, Jan 7, 1967)
HQ VII Corps has been reorganized -- units that formerly were attached directly to HQ are now reassigned to the newly formed VII Corps Special Troops (Provisional).

Five companies, a platoon and a detachment now make up the provisional battalion.

One of the changes included the reassignment of the attached US Air Force Weather detachment to the 16th Aviation Battalion.

The following changes were noted by Dave while reviewing the 49th Anniversary issue (published on Aug 18, 1967):

82nd Army Band now assigned to VII Corps Special Troops

VII Corps Aviation now comprised of ...
16th Avn Bn with HHC located at Nellingen Ksn
67th Avn Co, reassigned to the 16th Aviation Bn (as of 1 Dec 1966); troops billeted at Nellingen Ksn
4th Avn Co, located at Nellingen Ksn/AAF
349th Avn Co, Katterbach AAF (this unit was formerly Co A, 504th Avn Bn)

 
(Source: 52nd Anniversary, 1918 - 1970. The JAYHAWK Anniversary Issue, August 19, 1970.)
The VII Corps Special Troops Bn is commanded by Lt Col Julian H. Smith, who replaced Lt Col Ernest M. Breuer in July.

The Battalion participated in a reduced-distance Command Post Exercise at Kelley Barracks prior to Exercise Front Centre '70 to identify and eliminate problem areas. During the exercise, the battalion was responsible for the movement of Corps Headquarters to and from the exercise area, arrangement of Corps Headquaters elements and logistical support.

Subordinate units are:
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, VII Corps
Co C, 35th Supply and Service Bn
82nd Army Band
527th Transportation Co
207th Military Intelligence Det
110th Military Police (Pltn)

 
VII Corps LRRP
 

Your Army Reports: C Company (LRP), 58th Inf, c. 1966 (YouTube)
(see report starting at 11:30 min into the program)
 
(Source: Anselmo "Sam" Rodriguez, Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf. (1966-1968), and the VII Corps LRRP (ABN) Assn.)
VII CORPS LRRP (ABN) CO.
Co. C (LRP) 58th Inf.

Nellingen, Germany
B Co. 75th Rangers
Ft. Riley , KS
 
A History compiled by Anselmo Rodriguez

Excerpts of the history courtesy Anselmo Rodriguez and the VII Corps LRRP Association. For more details and contact information please see the web site.
 

VII Corps LRRP


VII Corps Abn
Pocket Patch

 
In the mid 1950’s and into the 1960’s, the “Cold War” between the West and the Soviets was heating up. If war were to break out, the US Military didn’t have any units that could provide extended long-range 24 hour all weather target acquisition and intelligence from deep behind enemy lines.

THE LRRP COMPANIES AND DETACHMENTS
As early as 1958, the Seventh Army in Europe published a Training Circular 20-1 that directed that each Division maintain Long Range Patrols. In February 1958, the first Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol evaluation tests using Provisional Units were conducted in FTX “SABRE HAWK”.

“They assembled a group of personnel. They were given two or three weeks training and were then sent to the field. There was one problem with all the Provisional Units, they failed to establish satisfactory communications!” –Major Hunt

After initial testing using Provisional Units, a Table of Distribution was approved and issued on 15 July 1961 and under TOE 7-157 the Corps LRRP Companies in the Seventh Army were activated. With DOA approval, Major Maltese proceeded to set up the VII Corps LRRP Company (ABN), APO 46. Major Maltese became, at his request, the first Commanding Officer and Paddy Flynn was selected to be the company’s 1SGT. The new company’s designation would be “USA LRRP Co (ABN) 3780”.

A search of the VII Corps area for suitable quarters for the new company was found at Nellingen Barracks located southeast of Stuttgart, Germany. SP/4 Louis Durnavich, of the 558th ORD Company, recalls the day in 1961 when Major Maltese and 1Sgt Flynn walked in with orders to take over their barracks. Louis’ recollections of this day can be found in a document in the LRRP CD.
With the takeover of these barracks, the pre-WWII building was now the new home of the VII Corps LRRP Company. –Major Maltese and 1Sgt Flynn now began the search for suitable personnel, and a call went out for volunteers. Many of those who responded were veterans of WWII and/or the Korean conflict. Some had already served in the Army’s Special Forces. Others were American or German Ranger qualified. Still others were veterans of other US armed forces; a few had served in foreign armies or had been born and raised overseas and were fluent in other languages. Many of these men were former Army Paratroopers who saw an opportunity to get back on jump status by volunteering for the new company of LRRPs. The “Assignments NCO” at VII Corps would give Major Maltese a call once a month and say, “I’ve got a list of people you might be interested in.” Major Maltese would go over the list and pick out the ones he wanted. “We had a full company - it really filled up well.  We got permission to recruit - most of them came from the “505”.  I remember old Herb something from B Co 505, he tried to discourage them, called us a bunch of candy-asses, so I went up there - hell, I'm about forty-one years old, but in pretty good shape, and I said, “I'll take you out and we'll see who comes back.”  “That was the end of that discussion.” –Col. Maltese
  Included in this new group of LRRPs were military personnel who had already been awarded our Country’s highest military decorations. Others would later distinguish themselves and receive recognition for their service in Vietnam. One former VII Corps LRRP, Glenn H. English, Jr., would posthumously be awarded our country’s highest recognition for valor, the “Medal of Honor,” for his personal actions while serving in the Republic of South Vietnam.

Three other LRRP Companies were also formed in Europe. USA LRRP Co (ABN) 3779, was attached to V Corps, commanded by Major Reese Jones, with Gilberto M. Martinez as 1SGT. V Corps LRRP Co. was located in Wildflecken, near the “Fulda Gap” invasion route. In Northern Italy, the SETAF LRRP Company was established with Major James Stamper commanding. The 3rd Inf. Division formed a LRRP Detachment under the command of 1Lt. Edward Jentz (Col. ret.) with SFC Gerald M. Tardiff acting 1SGT.
 
THE MISSION
“To conduct combat surveillance and target acquisition operations behind enemy lines in the VII Corps area of influence.” –Company SOP Fact Sheet - Co. C (LRP) 58 th Inf. 1966 (LRRP CD)


“The LRRPs (LRP after 1965 and Army Rangers after 1969) must not be confused with the well-recognized reconnaissance patrol that normally proceeds to an objective area to acquire certain information and then returns upon the accomplishment of the specific mission. Patrols are to see but not be seen. Their movements are restricted to periods of limited visibility or hours of darkness. During these periods they can expect to receive instructions to move and check suspected areas for command posts or large supply installations in their vicinity and to report on possible obstacles for future offensive plans along a route in their area of operation.” –Major Hunt  

“The primary mission of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Company was to enter patrols into specified areas within enemy held territory to observe and report enemy dispositions, installations, and activities.” – Col Bingham


An infantry Long Range Patrol is a specially trained military unit organized and equipped for the specific purpose of functioning as an all weather information-gathering agency responsive to the intelligence requirements of the tactical commander. These patrols consist of specially trained personnel capable of performing reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition within the dispatching unit’s area of interest. Normally the LRRP (patrol) is placed in a position (within enemy held territory) to maintain surveillance over routes, areas, or specific locations for extended periods, reporting all sightings of enemy activity (along with strengths and weaknesses) within the area of observation. A LRRP patrol must be self-sufficient, operate effectively, and accomplish their assigned information gathering mission for extended periods with minimal or no outside support or re-supply.

LRRPs originally operated in four-man patrols increasing to five-men after the LRP TOE was issued in mid-1965. SETAF used six-man patrols in Italy, as did the later LRRP units in Vietnam. Twelve-man combat or heavy patrols were put together for specific tasks. –Robert Murphy, V Corps LRRP  


Insertion methods varied. Patrols could be committed in planned locations behind enemy lines by stay-behind methods (A means of emplacement where a patrol would dig in and allow an overrun by enemy forces.) or delivered by land, water, or air, to include parachute. Night parachute insertion from large fixed wing aircraft such as C-124s and C-130s was considered normal. Small fixed wing aircraft such as L-20s or U1A Otters and CH-34 or CH-37 helicopters were also used.

THE CZECH BORDER  
“In 1963, the company was given the mission to provide foot patrols along the Czech Border, along with the 2nd ACR. The LRRP patrols were able to get closer to the border than the vehicle-bound 2nd ACR. VII Corps G-2 confirmed that the border intelligence provided by the LRRP patrols was of strategic value to the US military and NATO. In a similar exercise, the employed LRRP patrols were pitted against the Army’s new airborne Side Looking Radar (SLR) system. The outcome: LRRP patrols averaged getting the information back to the VII Corps’ TOC twenty minutes to one hour before the SLR information was received. This record made a believer of the Corps’ G-2 Section and General Bonesteel, who was already an avid supporter of the LRRP concept
.” – Col Bingham

Several of the LRRPs who were involved in foot patrols along the heavily guarded West German Czech border have come forward with special memories. Pat Smith, a former Marine, recalls one border patrol in the early 60’s where he and Joe Chetwynd, VII Corps LRRP Assn. founder and first Assn. President, found that they were both on the Czech side. Before they could get back, a Czech two-man patrol with a dog came between them and the West German border. With the need to get back to the “West,” Joe decided that the best way to get out of this situation was to just walk over to the guards and ask for a match to light a cigarette. Needless to say, Pat thought it wasn’t a good idea but Joe, with the typical LRRP confidence, walked right up to the guards, and with their dog going nuts, asked for the match. A situation solved with a bit of LRRP bravado.

John Wood
, B Co 75 th Ranger and decorated Vietnam Veteran, provided another bit of information regarding patrols along the Czech border in the late 60’s and early 70’s. John’s comments were “However, as LRRPs/Rangers we did do some really hairy things. I wish you could get a hold of Sp/4 James, from Michigan somewhere. He had photographs of Russian guards looking through the fence at the West. Only thing was he was behind them when he took the photo, and the photograph was taken from the ground looking up. Sp/4 James had crawled up behind them and taken their photo.  Not to mention how he got on the “Commie” side. But that picture will be in my memory forever. I knew I was with the right guys after that.”

Photographs of the LRRPs on patrol along the Czech border can be found in the LRRP CD. For additional information regarding the “LRRP Organization and Employment Concept” check the LRRP CD for Major Hunt’s personal notes and Briefing.

THE SECRET MISSION  

In the event of hostilities, NATO forces would need time to mobilize before confronting invading Soviet Armor. A 10:1 advantage in tanks ensured an initial Soviet advance. To slow the Soviet Armor, Corps devised a “top-secret” plan to use LRRP patrols to emplace small tactical nuclear weapons. These early large suitcase-sized nuclear devices were known as T-4 Small Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADM). “An SADM would be placed by LRRPs at important bridges and other choke points for the specific purpose of slowing the advance of invading Soviet Armor.”–Robert Murphy, V Corps LRRP

“The atomic targeting mission was the reason the unit was a double volunteer organization. To minimize this threat to the patrols, the location of all known caves was maintained in Corps G-2 and LRRP Operations.” –Col. Ellis D. Bingham


Selected patrols received specialized training for missions requiring emplacement of tactical nuclear weapons. For these missions, a former LRRP Officer, LTC Ed Mitchell (ret), then a 1LT who had come over from 3 rd Inf. Div LRRP, provided the following comment that “It was his job to select LRRP personnel who could do the job, but who were considered expendable”. He also remembers, “We were testing drops and jumps with ADMs and SADMs in the summer of ‘62 around Crailsheim and flying out of Schwabisch Hall in CH-21s and Otters.”SGM Rowe Attaway (ret) also added that “Patrols would be provided with seven days LRRP rations, expected to perform their assigned mission, and would then be written off the books.”  

Only those with a “need to know” were aware of this mission and the special training required. Those who did know would not discuss or confirm the mission until almost forty years later.
 

International LRRP School
Patch
  NATO LRRP UNITS

NATO also recognized that the “Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol” was a necessary Intelligence gathering concept and encouraged NATO allies to form LRRP companies.
The German “Bundeswehr” formed the “Fallshirmjäger Fernspähkompanie”. The British established “The Special Reconnaissance Squadron” based in Paderborn, W. Germany from 1961 to 1964. “The Canadian RECON/LRP Company (Troop) was located at Baden-Baden.” -Ed Mitchell. “There were also three French and two Belgian LRRP Companies in West Germany and the possibility of a Dutch Unit as well.” -Bob Murphy

 
39th Transportation Company (Light Truck)
 

Lt William Phillips in front of a 39th Trans 2½-ton truck
 
1963
(Source: Emsail from William D. Phillips, former CO of the 39th Trans Co)
In 1963/1964 I was in 39th Trans Co (Lt Trk) at Kelley in Special Troops Bn.

This web site refers to 29th Trans Co (now corrected by webmaster). I assume that is an error. The reference to the 527th Trans Co is accurate.

The 39th provided ground mobility, among other things, to VII Corps G-sections. The 39th had, as I recall, a Hqs group; 4 truck platoons and a maintenance section overseen by WO4 Vernon Smith. The 39th provided trucks and the 527th provided jeeps/sedans to support VII Corps Hq.

I as a 1/Lt reservist, thanks to Love/Kreiger they taught me how to deal with 06's (= colonels), a lesson I have used in my 50 yrs of being a trial lawyer. The key to disagree is the use of the term... ”with all due respect sir..”

When I came to Kelley in Mar 1963, the CO of 39th was John Brighten. The VII Corps Commander was General Bonesteel. The Special Troops Bn Co was LTC Joseph Love, a fine soldier who taught me much about the ”system”. The Bn SMaj was also named Kelley. He was a master of manipulating people and paper.

I became CO in Mar 1964. Louis W Truman replaced Bonesteel as Corps Commander. LTC Melvin Kreiger replaced Love as Bn CO. Another fine soldier.

I came home in Dec 1964 to practice law. I corresponded w/Col Krieger for many years after he retired prior to his death.

Col Love, also retired, came to Pittsburgh about 25 yrs ago to visit his daughter in medical school. I connected with him through David Hackworth who was a retired Col and writer. Hackworth mentioned Love in one of his books. Col Love and I had a wonderful 3 martini lunch as we rehashed the Kelley days. Sadly he passed on in 2011.

I still have some 35m slides from the Kelly days that I will try to find for your website.

How do we try to locate 39th people from the 60s? I am very close with the aide to Corps Artty commander (Gen Garrison) from 1963 as well as JAGC officer and officer from the Signal unit. We all lived in BOQ. We are still in constant touch. But I have lost track of the 39th people. No doubt many of the senior NCOs are gone.

 
Lt Gen Louis W. Truman
(CG VII Corps)
Lt Col Joseph B. Love
(CO STB)
   

 
VII Corps NCO Academy (PLDC)
 

VII Corps NCOA
Pocket Patch

 
Need information on mission, organization, history of the VII Corps NCO Academy, Augsburg

 
Related Links:
VII Corps LRRP (ABN) Association - website for former members of LRRP assigned to VII Corps at Nellingen
75th RANGER REGIMENT ASSOCIATION - very nice website also includes LRRP units assigned to V and VII Corps
LRRP Company, 3rd Infantry Division - page on the SuaSponte web site (www.SuaSponte.com)