Wednesday, December 28, 2005

History and Pictures of U.S. Army Security Agency Field Station Berlin

My Berlin, Berlin, you pearl on the Spree
You are, Berlin, which says you never say adieu
Because your magic can never die
My Berlin, Berlin, Berlin…

My Berlin, Berlin, you pearl on the Spree
You are, Berlin, which says you never say adieu
Because your magic can never die
My Berlin, Berlin, Berlin…

The Second World War is over.

The Cold War is over.

The Nazis are gone....and the Communists too.

The American, British, French and Russian military occupations are history.

Berlin has become the beautiful and free city it always wanted to be...

I spent three years in Berlin with the U.S. Army Security Agency Field Station (1974-77) in the Dark Days when Berlin was a gray city of fear divided by a ugly Wall. It was an honor to have played a small role in saving one of the world's most grand and glorious cities. The Field Station was closed in 1992 and in 1994, the Allied Occupation ended as the last American soldiers marched to the airport and home.

The U.S. Army Field Station Berlin entered the city's history in the turbulent post-war period in 1951. Strictly a mobile tactical-support unit, Detachment F, 6th Field Station was deployed from West Germany to a temporary site in the British sector's sprawling Grunewald forest. Several other ASA mobile units were also deployed into the city during the 1950's.

On July 1, 1957, these units were consolidated administratively into the 260th ASA Detachment. The detachment's headquarters was moved to Andrews Kaserne (Barracks) in the Berlin Lichterfelde district.One of the most historic military sites in Berlin, the post first opened in 1873 by order of Kaiser Wilhelm I as the Prussian Haupt Kadetten Anstalt (HKA) or Prussian Main Cadet Establishment.

The school became the Prussian equivalent of West Point, providing Germany with its senior military leadership for a period covering two world wars. Entry into the academy was extremely difficult as was the subsequent discipline, military training and academics. After graduation, the cadet was given a probationary rank and spent time with a line unit. After subsequent attendance at a "war school", the officer-candidate was elected into the Prussian officer corps by the officers of his regiment. Upon receiving his commission as a lieutenant, the officer swore his loyalty to the Officer Corp, which, as a body, swore their allegiance to the ruling monarch rather than the Prussian state.

In this way, cadets Goering, von Runstedt, Guderian, von Manstein and others because the military elite of the Nazi Wehrmacht. As an aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, the HKA was disbanded in March of 1920. On March 9, 1920, the entire cadet corps marched silently out the front gate and across Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate to the Prussian War Ministry. After presenting their guidons, they received their final dismissal as a cadet corp.From 1922-1933, the post was used to house a public school and a unit of the Berlin Police.

By 1933, after Adolf Hitler assumed power, the Kaserne became the SS Kaserne Lichterfelde. The dreaded Schutzstaffel (SS) used the post as a billet, training and administration area. Among other units, it housed the most infamous SS unit Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler (Living Banner Adolf Hitler). This Battalion sized unit was made up of the finest and most Aryan of the SS elite and served as the personal bodyguard of the fuehrer. The elegant Prussian academy's buildings were modified to glorify the Nazi myth. Statuary and symbols were placed throughout the post. Some, minus Nazi symbols, stand even today.

In March 1945, the remaining Liebstandarte troops in ranks and made a final cross city march to the Reich Chancellory, near the Brandenburg Gate, to prepare for the final siege of Berlin - an ironic and sinister reenactment of the final march of the Prussian Cadet Corps troops twenty five years earlier.By 1946, the Kaserne was under full US Army control and was named in honor Lt. General Frank Maxwell Andrews, Army Air Corp.

This, then, is the historic legacy of the post housing, current Headquarters of Field Station Berlin. By July 1961, the USASA Detachment had undergone several redesignations and was called the 78th USASA Special Operations Unit (78th USASASOU) the mobile equipment was moved to the top of Truemmerberg (Rubble Mountain), this hill, the highest in Berlin, was built mostly by hand from rocks, bricks and debris left of the city. It was started in 1946 by the gaunt survivors of the war - mostly women.

After an operation feasibility study was made a permanent site was built what became known as Teufelsberg or "Devil's Mountain". All ASA assets were relocated to Teufelsburg by 1966, at which time the unit was redesigned the 54th USASA Special Operations Command (54th USASASOC). In 1967, it became the USASA Field Station Berlin. In 1977, the United States Army Security Agency became the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), and this unit became the United States Army Field Station Berlin.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I doubt if many remember PFC Nils G. Thompson, a member of Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) of Fort Lewis, Washington who was killed in action (KIA) in the Battle of Mosul, Iraq on August 4, 2005 – but for many of us he was an American Hero.

What makes a man a hero? Many would no doubt find heroism in the fact that Thompson joined the Army at age 18 just out of high school and against the wishes of his family. He asked for and received training in the U.S. Infantry knowing full well that as an infantryman he stood at the tip of the military spear and in harm’s way. He completed his training in the winter of 2004 and was sent to Mosul, Iraq where he served in the Stryker Brigade Combat Team until his death by a single shot from an enemy sniper that killed him instantly just one day after his 19th birthday.

A moving account of the immediate aftermath of his death was written by Michael Yon, a free lance correspondent who was with the Stryker Team that fateful night when Thompson’s body was taken to the military hospital:

We headed back to base, and over to the Combat Support Hospital. Going to the CSH is much different when we lose a soldier outright like Nils Thompson. When soldiers die on the battlefield, they are still brought to the CSH, but their buddies don’t wait around in the waiting room. Usually the commander comes in and pays his respects, then the men come in, pay respects and leave.I walked in behind LTC Kurilla.

The room was silent, chilly, and bright. There was only Nils, the Commander, and me. Nils' hands and face were pale, and there was a stained gauze bandage wrapped around his head, and a green wool blanket covering the rest of him. The Commander put his hand on Nils’ shoulder and closed his eyes. I could see he was praying. I closed my eyes and said a prayer. And then we left without a word.Chaplain Wilson was there in the hallway with some Deuce Four officers. He’s a great Chaplain, sometimes going out on the battlefield. The men respect Chaplain Wilson, and he somehow made things feel a little better.

The other men had not arrived yet, so I went out to sit alone in the waiting room. SGT Peckham came and sat on the floor beside me but I didn’t have much to say. I hope he didn’t think I was being rude, but I was thinking about Thompson and all the fighting he’d seen in the five months since he first arrived here. I was thinking how he just turned 19 yesterday. He’s gone.

Thompson’s platoon walked in and some of them nodded to me as they walked by, heading back to the room where their friend lay. They spent a few minutes, but I didn’t go because that’s a time when soldiers should be with soldiers.A few minutes later, in a heavy silence, we all walked out, loaded the Strykers, and went back to work, battling for Mosul.

The question still remains: What makes a man a hero? It is clear that from almost the moment of Thompson’s death he was honored by the men who knew him best – but for what reason? His youth? His good looks? His friendly nature? His devotion to duty? If this was the criteria for heroism then many other fallen soldiers of the Strykers had the same qualifications; however, they were not marked as heroes. No, there was something else important in the nature of Thompson that moved the hearts of his comrades, commanders, family and the general public which resulted in his hero’s burial at Arlington: Nils Thompson had won the most important battle that any of us face – the battle against ourselves.

Shakespeare illustrates this best in his classic story of young Prince Hamlet who plots revenge against his Uncle Claudius, the murderer of Hamlet’s father. All his attempts at revenge fail and after many adventures Hamlet at last comes to the realization that justice will come in God’s own time saying at the turning point of play, “There’s a divinty that shapes our ends, rough- hew them as we will.”

Thus it was with Nils Thompson. Perhaps like Hamlet what drove him into the U.S. Army was the factor that drove many young Americans into the ranks after September 11, 2001: The desire for revenge against an enemy who had murdered in cold blood so many fine Americans engaged in commerce that produces the world’s highest living standards; however, after serving in the combat zone of Mosul many remarked of the spiritual change that came over Thompson and the intense interest in religion that led him as a devout Catholic to Protestant services and to individual Bible study. Thompson surely came to know, indeed, that a divinity shaped his end.

This was the heroic in Thompson: He had won the battle against the worst in his human nature and came to know, respect and love God. This was what everyone saw in him and why they honored him as a fallen hero and granted him burial at Arlington National Cemetery. I think the conclusion to the Shakespeare play sums up well Thompson’s short heroic life on earth:

Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally: and, for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off.

Monday, December 26, 2005


The Pope is visiting DC and President Bush takes him out for an afternoon on the Potomac sailing on the presidential yacht, the Sequoia.

They're admiring the sights when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the water. Secret service guys start to launch a boat, but Bush waves them off, saying, "Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry."

Bush then steps off the yacht onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Holy Father's little hat, bends over and picks it up, then walks back across the water to the yacht and climbs aboard. He hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.

The next morning the topic of conversation among Democrats on the Hill, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, the New York & L.A.Times is................

"Bush Can't Swim!"


At the Democratic Underground, someone named lebkuchen asks, "Are you proud of our troops?"

While there were of course some people who were proud of our troops, more than a few Duers....well, let's just say they had an alternative view.

As you read these comments, remember that this is the thanks our troops get for defeating a terrorist supporting, anti-American dictator and then hanging around to kill terrorists and help the Iraqis build a free, Democratic society...

hector459: "That's more like it. i could never be proud of our troops in Iraq or Viet Nam for that matter. I felt sorry for them, but not proud of them."

gWbush is Mabus: "I'm not proud of them. I'm ashamed of their torturing and murdering of civillians."

leesa: "Not proud, sorry for most of them. Some I despise because they LOVE blasting Iraqis for no reason. Frankly, some of them should be in jail for life....they are simply paid sadists."

mike_c: "no pride-- we should be ashamed of what they've our names, not proud of them. They've served as thugs and enforcers for a corrupt foreign policy. They've helped shatter a country already brought to it's knees by ten years of draconian sanctions and an invasion premised upon bald-faced lies. The've participated in a war of aggression that mocks international law. They've murdered untold numbers of innocent civilians. Their occupation has created an insurgency that threatens to consume Iraq in civil war, and causes the deaths of additional innocents. They have destroyed homes and lives for no good purpose whatsoever.

I am deeply ashamed of them. There is nothing noble about what they've done in Iraq. They have not served or defended us-- they served fascism.

To those who inevitably argue that they had no choice but to commit these crimes, consider that this circumstance neither exonerates them under law, nor makes their actions admirable. Only blind alliegence-- the act of being a "good German"-- can raise pride in what they've done in Iraq."

UdoKier: "Neither proud nor ashamed. I admire the blind patriotism that motivates some of them, but I disapprove of the willful ignorance that creates that blind faith in Bush. I would be VERY proud of our troops if 90% of them had stood down and claimed conscientious objector status before the Iraq atrocity began. That would have shut the whole BS down.

And don't tell me it could never happen. Military have turned against hopelessly corrupt civilian governments MANY TIMES."

dvaravati: "no. Im proud of the guy refusing to go back to Iraq."

Karenina: "I am patiently waiting for them to get a CLUE and realize they and their Iraqi victims are being abominably ABUSED by SCUM who mean NO ONE GOOD. When they pack their bags, DEMAND TRANSPORT OUTTA THAT HELLHOLE the Ɯberreich have USED them to create and leave their weapons on the tarmac as they wave goodbye, I will be PROUD of them."

Tierra_y_Libertad: "Cannon fodder and killers doing what they're told to do. Proud of them? Hardly."

NervousRex: No. "If a hit-man murders someone, they go after both the hit-man and the client. They are both guilty of a crime."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


On the way to a new government

Omar, Iraq the Model

Monday, December 19, 2005In a post-election update, Omar from Iraq the Model describes the factionalism and scuffling surrounding the tallying of election results in Iraq, and shares his own predictions and preferences for how it all might be resolved:

The happiness that accompanied the elections has rapidly turned into concerns and anxiety. Voters now worry about the future of their votes and the amount of representation they’re going to get through the lists they voted for.

The IECI stressed repeatedly that no results should be considered official until the commission itself announces the final results but still, numbers and percentages keep leaking from different sources, including people in the commission.

The worries of voters are being fueled by the announcements that keep coming from this or that list declaring “smashing victories” here and there.
Some lists are taking partial results that leak from a single polling center and generalize them over an entire province to give the impression that they have won. Of course none of this can be confirmed or denied until all votes are counted and sorted out.

For example, the UIA claimed two days ago that they ranked first in Diyala but one day after that al-Sabah released another unofficial count that said the UIA won only 13% of the votes in that particular province.

However, partial results can still give an idea of how many seats each of the major lists is going to get and by combining the various estimates coming from different regions it looks likely that the UIA is still going to be the biggest bloc in the parliament while the second largest bloc will most likely be the National Accord Front followed by the Kurds and Allawi’s block as 3rd and 4th, respectively, with the difference between seat-totals for the latter three expected to be rather small. However it’s possible that the latter three will swap places. Again with little differences.

It seems now that the UIA has won around 75% of the seats allocated to the nine provinces where a She’at majority lives; this stands for some 60 seats. Another 25 are expected to come from Baghdad in addition to 10-15 seats of the compensatory seats. So a total of 100 seats is not at all far from the reach of the UIA which will qualify them to have the new PM selected from amongst them.
The National Accord Front on the other hand is currently leading the race in four provinces-Mosul, Salahiddin, Diyala and Anbar- and is also ranking 2nd in Baghdad and is also expected to gain a few compensatory seats. Allwi’s list apparently hasn’t achieved a majority in any particular province but has also ranked 2nd or 3rd in many provinces including Basra, Mosul and Baghdad. Moreover, Allawi has won in the voting that took place in Syria and Jordan.
The Kurdish alliance will certainly win 40+ seats from the three Kurdish provinces, Kirkuk, Baghdad and compensatory seats.

Now what will the shape of the new government be like? This is not an easy question to answer right now and all we can offer is to discuss the different possibilities...

The UIA wish they could form the government on their own without help from other parties, but this will require the majority-138 seats-which is not possible now which means they will have to bring in more parties. Jafari and other UIA figures are saying that they want to include all political spectrums in the government that reflects national unity and they are sending hints and invitations to other major lists like the Kurds and the Accord Front asking them to join the UIA in the future government. No response to this invitation came from the Accord Front, who seem more inclined toward allying with Allawi.
Allawi will in no way ally himself with the UIA, even last time, after the January elections, his bloc preferred to stay out of Jafari’s government, and now he wants to be the new PM, and the UIA will never accept that. There are many reasons to think that neither Allawi, nor the Accord Front will join the UIA but probably the Kurds--who haven’t spoken much about their plans yet--will consider doing so.
There’s yet another alliance brewing, and that’s the possible one between Allawi and the Accord Front, but these two will also fail to reach the essential 51% majority alone, so will try to attract the Kurds too.

Actually, it is now in the hands of Kurdish politicians to define the shape of the government; if they unite with the Accord Front and Allawi they will collectively have something between 120-140 seats, which qualifies them to form the government if the UIA failed to gather enough support. Anyway, I expect the Kurds to remain silent during the initial negotiations and they will wait for offers to come and they will accept the best offer from what’s proposed. The Kurds’ decision will be affected by a number of factors; their geographical and economic proximity with the Sunni Arab region is one. Another is the issue of Kirkuk; the Kurds have always complained of the lack of cooperation from Jafari’s government in this regard.

If the Kurds, Allawi and Accord Front unite to for a government we will face another very important question; will the UIA accept the idea of being out of power? Will the UIA accept the position of opposition? I think not… So what’s the UIA going to do? To prevent being out of power, the UIA will either send generous offers to revive their alliance with the Kurds and dominate the government again, or if they fail to do so, they will probably accept a relatively smaller role in a multi-partisan government, but with the PM being from the UIA.

Talbani said he will not accept being president again if the president’s authority remains as little as it is now, and this will make reaching agreements even harder this time.

The Sunni do not want to be on the opposition side this time; they want a decent role in the government, so they will ally themselves with whoever gives them a satisfactory share. Of course, the sectarian difference with the UIA cannot be overlooked here.

A government with all the four blocs in it would prolong the “quota” system of distributing ministries and important posts in the government, and that cannot move the country forward, but this kind of government is unlikely to happen anyway.

What I personally prefer to see is a government formed by the Kurds, the Accord Front and Allawi, not that I like the Accord Front, but more because this will make the Sunni understand that they can have their share of power, and this will help persuade them to abandon violence and stick to the democratic way instead of arms. But unfortunately I’m afraid some religious parties in the UIA have not matured enough to act in a civilized way and do their job as positive opposition.
The situation is critical now, and it will take maybe two months before the new government emerges. This interval will show how much Iraqi politicians care about Iraqi people. If they act wisely, the next few months can be a shortcut to a better future for Iraq.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Today marks the 85th birthday of my favorite Commanding Officer and Congressional Medal of Honor winner Lewis “Red” Millet. He is famous for leading the last bayonet charge in U.S. Army history on February 7, 1951 during the Korean War when as a young Captain he led two platoons of the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds” against heavily fortified enemy positions. His Easy Company killed forty-seven while another sixty had reportedly been wounded and evacuated off the hill during the battle. Of the dead, eighteen died of bayonet wounds.

Captain Millett, Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While personally leading his company in an attack against a strongly held position he noted that the 1st Platoon was pinned down by small-arms, automatic, and antitank fire. Captain Millett ordered the 3d Platoon forward, placed himself at the head of the two platoons, and, with fixed bayonet, led the assault up the fire-swept hill. In the fierce charge Capt. Millett bayoneted two enemy soldiers and boldly continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement.Despite vicious opposing fire, the whirlwind hand-to-hand assault carried to the crest of the hill. His dauntless leadership and personal courage so inspired his men that they stormed into the hostile position and used their bayonets with such lethal affect that the enemy fled in wild disorder. During this fierce onslaught Captain Millett was wounded by grenade fragments but refused evacuation until the objective was taken and firmly secured. The superb leadership, conspicuous courage, and consummate devotion to duty demonstrated by Captain Millett were directly responsible for the successful accomplishment of a hazardous mission and reflect the highest credit on himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.

I first met Colonel Millet in person at the Commander’s Call in early November, 1966 at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts when he commanded the elite Army Security Agency (ASA) Training Center & School. Millet always made a point to personally meet and lecture all new student-soldiers who were assigned to his training regiment. We had already heard much about Colonel Millet who was living legend who had deserted the peace time U.S. Army in 1940 in order to join the Canadian Army to fight in Europe. In 1942, Millet had reenlisted in the U.S. Army and fought with General Patton receiving a Silver Star. The impression that I came away with from the meeting was that Millet was a highly intelligent man who put the well being of the troops ahead of his own and felt it was an honor to be allowed to command such fine individuals as were found in the ASA.

Friday, December 09, 2005


In September of 1997, a man who was hungry, tired, frustrated, and in a vicious cycle of drug use and irresponsibility came to find a hot breakfast and a warm smile.
For several weeks he had arrived at Good News appreciating the smiles, and thankful for the food. This morning was different from the rest. William Andrews was about to make decisions that would change his life forever! He listened to the speaker of the morning and completed his meal, but when it was time to leave he felt "glued to his chair". He was so tired of the loneliness, the despair, and all of the pain he had created in his own life, as well as the lives of those he loved. On this day, he would stay and ask for help. He knew that Central Care Mission also had a program for men. He asked for help. They led him to the staff of Central Care and some people who truly cared about his life. He prayed that day and committed his life to God asking for His help. On that day he was accepted into the program to begin a brand new journey.
William never dreamed his life would take the turns it had. Living in the New England states, William had graduated from Universities in Boston with two degrees, one in Political Science. He had played semi-pro basketball. His six-foot nine-inch height was a great plus. After several years in the political circles he had become a regular user of alcohol and drugs. His usage led to strong addiction, and his addiction led him out of mainstream society and eventually to migrant work camps in the South where he could be paid daily to support his addiction.
After a few years, he came to Orlando where the streets became a way of life. Who would have guessed this journey would lead him to Central Care Mission and the Good News feeding? Month after month in the program, William learned through classes, counseling, and every day experiences how to be set free from the addictions which had controlled his life. He learned about accountability, integrity, and how to build meaningful relationships. After several months, he expressed the sense of a call on his life to be in ministry. He felt he had run from that call most of his life. He enrolled in college level courses and began to prepare for this new direction. Not only was he discovering freedom, but he found a special person who would decide to work along side of him in ministry too!
After almost two years, William married Rose and accepted a position as the Pastor of a newly formed community church in Orlando. Because the church is located in an area where William at times had wandered the streets in his addiction, many people who used to know him as "six nine", now come to him for prayer and guidance. William remembers vividly that morning when he woke up restless and hungry. Today his life is different! Today his plans are different! Today his future carries hope for so many others who are in great need. What a difference! Central Care Mission is able to make a difference because of your support. The new journey for William Andrews was possible because we were there! We were only able to be there because you cared enough to help!

Friday, December 02, 2005


It's a hard life being an Evil Imperialist Running Dog American Stormtrooper. I mean everyone in Iraq hates you and wants to kill you. The children run from you as soon as they hear the approach of American combat boots. Iraqi mothers tell their children: "Honey, be nice or I'll send the Americans after you!"

The whole shocking story of American soldiers running amok against the most innocent in Iraq -- The children.