As an adjunct we are now collecting information and photos of our sister site (737th AC&W Sq. Site Y2, Saidia). Some information has already been collected and can be found at the bottom of this page.
As of August 2006 we are collecting information and photos about the 5th Radio Relay Station and other RR Stations. Some information has already been collected and can be found at the bottom of this page.
There were several AC&W Squadrons in Morroco, some of which were located in the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. Their mission was to calibrate, set up, and maintain early warning and tactical control radar and radio sites in support of the Strategic Air Command Bases at Nouasseur, Sidi Slimane, and Ben Guerir Air Bases in Morocco. The majority of these AC&W sites were activated in 1952-1953.
With the destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the US Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on such action after American intervention in Lebanon in 1958. The United States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully out of Morocco in 1963. SAC felt the Moroccan bases were much less critical with the long range of the B-52, and with the completion of the Spanish bases in 1959.
Site Y3 was located approximately 90 miles South East of Oujda, Morocco. This site was established in Sept. 1952 about four years before Morocco gained independence from France. It was deactivated and razed around May 1962. In addition to the approximately 100 or so airman assigned to this radar site each year, there was also a small contingent of French Airman assigned for two year tours.
This Radar Sites first designation (Sep 1952) was 117th AC&W Sq, B Flight. It was then changed to 735th AC&W Sq, B Flight. It was permanently changed to the 734th AC&W Sq, Site Y3 in early 1953. Not much is known about what happened at this Site during 1953-1954, but we have to assume that the site was being built up with permanent buildings, living quarters, etc. First there were tent Buildings (wooden floors with tent tops). Then there were several "Dallas Huts." and finally permanent "Motar/Cement Barracks." Several of the the support building were large metal Quanset huts including the Gym and Communication Center. The Motor Pool was a large permanent building located about 75 yards from, and adjacent to the Air Police Shack at the Main Gate.
When was Site Y3 closed? I obtained the following information from the Internet:
As a Unitec techrep, I tried to keep a AN/GPS-4 working at the 734th AC&W on the Moroccan, Algiers border in 1961-2, we had an AN/MPS-14 too. The AN/GPS-4 was a strange beast, converted from AN/MPS-7, with the AN/FPS-20 type line antenna feed, but powered by a "2 MW" QK-470." Receiver was a single channel version of a AN/FPS-20 unit. (MIL-HDBK-162B, 15 DEC. 1973.) Was put on orders as the C&E officer, [!] so the good Captain C&E, could rotate to the land of the round doorknobs. This site was shut down and razed by May of 1962, according to Airman Ruff, a base fireman, who turned up at Wurtsmith AFB, in the spring of 1963. Best Regards, Don Helgeson, Gleaner&Scrounger....RadarHist Newsletter
The daytime heat was said to average about 110-120 degrees and the night time temperature would drop to the 50s or 60s. Quite a contrast in temperature changes in the span of a day. It was a very dry heat so it was not as unpleasant as one would imagine. One time during the course of my tour it snowed there during the day for 5 or 10 minutes. Most of us just stood outside amazed at what we were seeing -- and it was not even cold.
There was a very large Krater about 1500 yards northeast of the site -- hence the name "Djenane Krater?" Originally, the area was called Jnane Rhater, but for reasons unknown, it was changed to Djenane Krater. From time to time small groups of Berber nomads would pitch their tents near the Krater and stay there for several days. Our waste water was transported underground via pipes out to the Krater area where it would evaporate in the heat/sink into the sand. However, some of the nomad groups would use this waste water for their needs.
Site Y3 had a Dispensary to serve our medical needs. During my tour of duty this dispensary was manned by TSgt Sanchez and A/1C Harvey Slaughter Jr. For medical emergencies, a C-47 (Gooney Bird) was flown in from Sidi Slimane AB (our support base) to evacuate the patient. I can remember this happening only one time when one of our airmen had appendicitis. A Dental Van would visit our site twice a year. Each time they would stay about a week or two to administer dental care. TSgt Albert Palladino was NCOIC of the Mess Hall from 1958 - 1959
The 734th AC&W Squadron won the 316th Air Division Basketball Championship two years in a row (1959 & 1960). Our Gym was a large Quonset Hut that had two baskets and some weights for body building. There was not much to do when we were not working or sleeping so we played a lot of basketball. Perhaps, this is why we won the 316th Championship two years in a row?
The NCO Club (El Sirocco) was situated between the Headquarters Building and the Mess Hall. It was used by all enlisted personnel. It was the place that a majority of enlisted personnel frequented the most - for social puposes and to play cards (pinochle), or shuffleboard. If I remember correctly, beer and soda cost 10¢ a can, and mixed drink costs 25¢ each. There were two "slot machines" in the NCO Club (5¢ & 25¢). Pat Duggan remembers being able to purchase two "mixed drinks" during Happy Hours for 10¢ script. Photos provided by Pat Duggan and Don Fleuette.
I (John Hawley) lived in the third enlisted barracks, the one that also housed the French enlisted personnel and was farthest away from the Orderly Room. Each barracks was approximately 80 feet long and had a motar/cement wall in the middle forming two distinct bays. Our barracks had the French Airmen in one bay and the American Support Airmen (Orderly Room, Supply, etc. in the other bay. We had two Hut Boys (father & son). The Son was called Sammy. In 1964 I met Sammy at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX. He was a Private in the Moroccan Army attending the Defense Language Institute to learn English. Updated April 18, 2002
Amateur Radio Station John, there was an Amateur radio station (it was in one of the military mobile shelters) while I was stationed at Site 3. Major Strobel operated the station from the BOQ and Sgt Wells took over and relocated it to the shelter when the Major was reassigned. (Call letters CN8FW, Charlie-Nancy-8-fine-Whiskey). There was also Radio Homer, located in the HQ blg. It was supposed to serve as a radio beacon for incoming Aircraft. It was set up as a regular station with our own disk jockey. Updated March 15, 2003. Submitted by Don Fleuette
Security of this Radar Site: From time to time we had security exercises for defense of the Radar Site. We had several "machine gun" teams, and each team was comprised of two members; one who ran with the machine gun and operated it, and another who carried the tripod and ammunition box. Each team would be situated on roof tops, or bunkers made out of sand bags. Exercises such as this were rare at Air Force installations during peace time, but were coinsidered necessary due to our isolation and closeness to the Algerian border, etc. As far as I can tell, during my tour of duty, none of the team members ever practiced firing the weapon. The most dangerous part of each exercise were the Scorpions we sometimes encountered in the bunkers. Updated Aug 12, 2002
Algerian - French Conflict. The Algerian border was perhaps 30 or so kilometers from our Site. Sometimes at night we could see flashes of light on the skyline which we assumed was artillery fire between the waring factions. However, there was not much sound associated with the flashes of light so the artillery fire must have been far away. This was happening in 1959. We came across an article written in French that indicated that the border between Morocco and Algeria were planted with land mines, barbed wire and other devices. Updated Sep 14, 2002
1958 Air Force Times Article about the 734th AC&W Sq. Updated May 19, 2002 - Contribution by Don Fleuette
Story of a Moroccan Wedding at the Oujda Medina Updated Sep 9, 2002
"Les Scorpions" Newsletter Article dated Jan 1, 1957 Updated May 19, 2002 - Contribution by Matt Mattioli
1959 Poem about Site Y3. Updated Feb 9, 2006 - Contribution by Ernie Morgan
E Mail from From Ray Miller who was stationed at Site 3 during 1955-1956
E Mail from H.L. Leaming who was also stationed at Site Y2
E-Mail from A2C Gary Ratliff (Retired CMSgt)with one photo.
E-Mail and Guest Book Comments about Col E.P. Langebartel provided by his son-in-law Charles Hogg.
E-Mail received from A2C Donald Hart
E-Mail received from 2Lt Howard Tidwell (Lt Col Ret.)
E-Mail received from Mr. Ahmed, a native of Oujda.
E-Mail Received from James Dennis, Jr.
E-Mail Received from Ralph Berryman, Major, Ret.
E-Mail Received from CMSgt Edward W. Buckles
E-Mail Received from Farrall Smith
E-Mail Received from Don Fleuette
E-Mail Received from George Chandler and Jim Turner
Guest Book Comments received from Judson Crow Sr from the Dream Book - Moroccan Reunion Association.
Guest Book Comments received from Ken Friddell from the Dream Book - Moroccan Reunion Association.
Guest Book Comments received from Doug Perry from the Dream Book - Moroccan Reunion Association. Also included are 17 photos received 4/2/2006.
Over the course of 10 years the 734th AC&W Squadron had 4 mascots. They were: Sheiba the dog with her perpetual twice a year litters; a monkey by the name of "Effee" at the Site in 1954/5. Figmo the Camel, a Crow named "Marty", and a small horse (pony). Below are photos of Sheiba with her litter, and Figmo with Lt Col Langebartel. Sheiba and her litter would camp outside the chow hall during meal times to get scraps from the airmen.
In 1960, "Figmo" a young camel was obtained as our new mascot by making a trade with local nationals for a "Dallas Hut" that was no longer being used. When our site was closed (deactivated) Figmo was shipped to Sidi Slimane AB by truck and was cared for by their motor pool personnel.
We also had a pet crow (Marty) that loved to drink at the Enlisted Club; would get so drunk it would weave all around. And loved to agitate Sheiba by running and flying all around her while she was snoozing. The crow got to close one day and Sheiba, put one big bite on the bird and that was it's end!
E-mail from George Stoner regarding "Figmo's" demise.
Names of Personnel Assigned to this Site This listing contains some of the names of personnel who were once assigned to this site. If you can contribute more information please let us know. Site Y3 Information Updated May 17, 2002
Photos and Information submitted by 2Lt Howard Tidwell (Lt Col Retired)
Photos submitted by 1Lt Oleg Soudoplatoff who was an EXO in the French Air Force Updated Feb 26, 2008
Merlin Popp's personal web site of Site Y3 during 1954 (Excellent narrative and many good photos. Updated Nov 1, 2006
Recent and past photos of Oujda
Satelite Photo of Djenane KraterSubmitted by Don Fleuette
1952 Bob Rowe's Photo and Comments Page This link (web site) provides information about Site Y3's actual activation and the conditions these Airmen endured under trying circumstances. Updated October 11, 2004
1952 -- 1953 Photos submitted by Jim Turner. (Deceased Oct 2006)Updated April 20, 2006
1955 -- Dec 1957 Otto Mattioli's Photos Page Updated April 21, 2002
1956 -1957 To go to Robert Arpin's Site Y3
Oct 1958 -- Oct 1959 Wes Westfall's Photo Page (Deceased 2007. See Obituary elsewhere on this site). Updated April 20, 2002
Spring 1959 Terry Farthing's Photo Page Updated Dec 2, 2003
April 1960 -- November 1960 Pat Duggan's Photo Page Updated Sept 5, 2002
TDY 1961 Richard Eselby's Photo Page. Updated Dec 18, 2002
Oujda Post Office in the 1950s. Contribution by Mr. Ahmed of Oujda Morocco. Updated Feb 3, 2003.
Nov 1960 -- Sept 1961 Don Hart's Photo Page Updated Aug 13, 2003
Nov 1960 - Nov 1961 - E Mail & Photos from George Richardson Updated Dec 27, 2005
For those of you who were stationed at the 5th Radio Relay Station or other Relay Stations you're more than welcomed to contribute your comments and photos. E-mail them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I have established a web site for your site and it is located at the following URL address below. Click the URL address to access this site. Thank you.