RADSTA-ICEPAT-AIRSTA Were Ironman Champ's at Argentia. Softball-Vollyball-Tag Football-Etc. 1963

DEVELOPMENT OF COAST GUARD SHORE RADIO STATIONS

Incident to the anti-smuggling operation in 1924, the Coast Guard underwent a major expansion in communications capabilities. Prior to this time its vessels were equipped with Navy type radio apparatus and used Navy frequencies for handling ship-shore traffic -- there was no need for Coast Guard shore radio stations. The great 1924 expansion in coping with the law enforcement duties resulting from the suppression of smuggling developed the need for vaster and more far-reaching radio communication services than the Navy or commercial facilities could furnish. Not the least of such service was the great amount of traffic to and from the large number of small craft, particularly the 75-footers, over 300 of which were pressed into operation. To take care of this traffic, a shore radio station was established at the Rockaway Point Life Saving Station at Fort Tilden, NY. This station proved so highly successful that additional units were shortly established at Nahant, MA; New London, CT; Cape May, NJ; Cape Henry, VA; Fernandina, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Mobile, AL; San Francisco CA; San Pedro, CA; Port Angeles, WA; and Anacortes, WA.

Over the years, operational priorities changed, Coast Guard Districts were combined, and communications technology improved. Radio stations were relocated and merged based on various factors, and by the 1950s a rather stable system or network of "Primary" and "Secondary" shore radio stations was in place in each Coast Guard District, all of which had CW and voice capabilities and which handled Coast Guard, commercial/maritime and recreational boating radio communications. But technological advances continued with the development of radio teletype, computerization and satellite communications, and this led to further mergers of radio stations and an inevitable decrease in their total number. By the 1990s most Coast Guard major communications facilities were concentrated into two Communications Stations: "CAMSPAC" and "CAMSLANT" (located, respectively, at the old Primary Radio Stations of San Francisco [NMC] and Norfolk [NMN]).

The following information about the old CW Coast Guard Radio Stations of the 50s, 60s and 70s is meant to provide some historical perspective, as well as bring back some memories for those of us who lived that history.

I w​as there from late '69, thru Dec 71.  Radio Station Naples, IT was a tenant to CGAS Naples who physically supplied MEDSEC Loran Stations in Turkey, Spain, Greece and Italy.  We were the 'Voice' and Communication arm of MedSec.  Toward the end of my tour we disestablished the Radio Station and temporarily moved it to MedSec office and then down to the Master Station at Simeri Crichi.  

One little story ... we needed some supplies so I drove across town to the Navy Base supply office.  Upon my arrival I was asked to sit and wait until someone had time to help me.  I sat around for 30+ minutes or so and then I requested assistance again, especially since nobody else had even entered the office since my arrival.  They pushed me off once again ....wrong.... I left the supply office and walked up the street to the Command compound and went directly to the Admirals office ... introduced my self to the secretary and asked to speak with the Admiral - I was ushered into his office and after introductions he asked what he could do to help me.  I told him about my problem with his supply office.  He called for his secretary to contact the supply office and have their CO to come to his office immediately.  Upon the CDR's arrival the Admiral explained my problem and then went into a 10 minute explanation of their responsibility to the USCG since the CDR evidently didn't know that without the USCG and their Loran Stations his ships and aircraft would have a difficult time navigating.  So in the future whenever PO Riffle or anybody else from the CG came to their office and needed anything they will stop everything and fulfill their requests. ​
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Thank​s to RMC David Riffle ZUT-741 for the following commentary

and Photographs during his tour at NCI

Nan Mike Love 30

Communication Truck

​Granite City, Illinois

USCG RADSTA KETCHIKAN

NAN MIKE JIG

CGRADSTA BOSTON

​NAN MIKE FOX

CGRADSTA New Orleans NMG

Geaux Saints

Nan Mike Dog - CGRADSTA Cleveland

Nan Mike Nan​

USCG Radio Station Portsmouth

CAMSLANT

COAST GUARD RADIO ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND NJN/NIK

Nan Mike Henry

​Home of the dreaded ZAA

 

NMV Pix from the collection of RM2 Bill Latimer ZUT-1505

"NMD"     Gates Mills Radio - Chesterland Radio - Cleveland Radio Notes about the Station  history  and duty assignments in early 1960s   by Ron Russell, x-RM2 and WD3F

 Back in the mid 1930s the Ninth Coast Guard District, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, commissioned the District's  Primary Radio Station, operating with the call-sign  "NMD." 

The radio station was located some 14 miles east of Cleveland on a 300+ acre parcel of flat ground located on County Line Road, Geauga County ...located between the towns of Gates Mills and Chesterland.  Due to its location, over its existence "NMD" can be found operating under several different names:  At times it was referred as Gates Mills Radio, while other times is was called Chesterland Radio and Cleveland Radio.  But the station was always operating at the same location and using the same call sign. Two Secondary Stations were also put into service that extended radio coverage throughout the Great Lakes area.  One was located on DundeeRoad, Northbrook, IL., operating with the call-sign "NMP" and the second was located in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.  operating with the call-sign "NOG."  In addition to providing extended
routine radio communications for Coast Guard vessels and commercial shipping, these radio stations were vital in the handling of emergency radio traffic and in some cases coordinating life saving efforts throughout the Great Lakes area.

 Primary Radio Station, "NMD" was a much sought after "choice" duty site.  Many of the staff assignments were preferential duty assignments granted to Radioman and Electronic Techs coming off isolated or semi- isolated duty.  These assignments could have been at any of the Coast Guard Alaskan stations, Loran stations or ice-breakers...etc.   Occasionally the "NMD" assignments were short stays of duty prior to being shipped off to one of those more difficult assignments.

 An important chapter in the "NMD" story occurred during and shortly after WWII.  Coast Guard Radiomen were known to be "first Class" radio operators and they were needed in the war effort.  Women were recruited to replace these radiomen as they were shipped-off to sea.  This group of women were known as "SPARS."  The name SPARS was derived from the Coast Guard motto:  Semper Paratus, Always Ready. SPAR members were initially comprised of Navy WAVES that were transferred to Coast Guard duty.  Their duties included:  Recruitment, Pharmacist Mates, Store Keepers, Public Relations and Communications.  By 1944 there some 398 SPARS filling duty stations in the Ninth Coast Guard District.  Most were filling clerical and communication billets.  The SPAR program reached its peak  in 1945, when 662 SPARS were assigned throughout the District.  During this time 12 SPARS were assigned to Chesterland Radio, "NMD."   The  SPAR program was demobilized in 1947 but was reinstituted on a much smaller scale in 1949.

 On June 13, 1961, I (Ron Russell) was sworn in at the Federal Building located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I spent 13 weeksof Basic Training at Cape May, N.J. (Company Quebec 46).  At the conclusion of boot camp the Coast Guard school that I wanted to go to had no openings; so instead, I was given my first choice of duty assignment.  I chose the Ninth District in Cleveland.  Upon reporting to the District office, the OOD asked me what school I wanted to attend. I did not have any idea of  schools to consider.  He informed me that he was sending me out to Cleveland Radio, Chesterland to decide.  He said: "Either make up your mind in the next few months (or less), or you will be shipped out."  ....and you probably will not like where we send you.  My stay at the Cleveland Primary Radio Station "NMD" became my first duty assignment as a SA and SN.My temporary duty assignment lasted from September 1961 to February 1962:  assigned to the 9th District Primary Radio Station  NMD, Chesterland, Ohio.  It was called Cleveland Radio at that time.The duty roster (as I remember and from documents that I have saved):  P.C. Carman, CHRELE W-2, was the Commanding Officer;  "Red" Massman(?), RMC, radioman in charge; "Buzz" Sawyer, RM1;  Allen "Frenchie" LaPraire, RM2;  B. MacQueen, RM2;  B. Moore, RM2;  Russell L. Smalley, RM3***;  Richard Mason, ET3;  Eugene Battles, SC1;  Ted Wands, BM3 and Ron Russell, SA/SN.

 ***A special note:  Russell L. Smalley RM3  was 19 years old when he reported for duty at NMD.  Just a few months after reporting to duty he was killed in an auto accident while traveling to visit his uncle in Titusville, a small town located just south of Erie, Pennsylvania.  Smalley was replaced by two RM3s.  For the life of me, I cannot remember their names.  I am submitting this short history narrative and accompanying pictures in Smalley's memory.  He and all assigned to Cleveland Radio were great radiomen, great friends and fine "COASTIES!"

 With the advent of Satellite and micro-wave communications the Coast Guard radio stations were phased out.  NMD was decommissioned sometime around 1970.  The Station site and buildings were leveled.  Now only the memories persist. Some of the land is now used as an education facility:  As per their website:  The Gates Mills Environmental Education Center, located at 390 County Line Road, Gates Mills. The school opened in 1974, on 27 acres that used to hold a Coast Guard Station.

 By the way, I decided to attend Radio School in Groton.   I graduated in the Radioman Class of 9-62 (graduation picture is on the ZUT/CGCWOA website) and spent the rest of my enlistment aboard the Weather Ship/Ocean Station vessel: CGC McCulloch, WAVP386/NODA Boston.  I sailed 2 Bravo's, 1 Charlie , 2 Delta's, 2 Echo's, 2 Bermuda S&R Stand-bys, the International Dory races in Lunenburg, N.S, summer of 1963 in the yards at Curtis Bay and my last voyage was to Gitmo in June, 1965.  My stay aboard the Cutter McCulloch was mostly routine:  Standing radio watches, monitoring 500kcs, maintaining communications with Washington Radio "NMH", working trans-Atlantic vessels, receiving and relaying AMVER traffic and transmitting weather reports.  Nearly all of this was done by "pounding the brass" ... but at the very end of my assignment we were slowly converting over to RTTY.  It was a great time in my life: The Coast Guard, my shipmates, my fellow radiomen and Radio Chief, George Manning left me with life experiences and memories that have been and will remain with me forever!  Semper Paratus  and to all CW OPS a 73! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Operating Console

 What things looked like on our end:  The operator is Alan West from Greenwood, SC, aboard Navy Super Connie 141312.  The picture was taken off the southern tip of Greenland. You’ll note the two straight keys (one comes bolted to the aircraft; the other was carried aboard by the radio op).  The voice traffic he is handling was probably a position report (transmitted via HF AM to either Gander, Iceland, or Prestwick (5626 or 8913 KHz in those days

​Tim Galloway

​The Barracks


Pat Tackett

Mem·o·ra·bil·i·a:

   1. Objects valued for their connection with historical events, culture, or entertainment: posters, photographs, and other memorabilia.


   2. Events or experiences worthy of remembrance: a book containing the memorabilia of a life..

This page is an ongoing "Work in Progress." We will post pictures solicited from and submitted by former Coast Guard Radiomen -- pictures that capture their memories of what it was like to practice their craft both ashore and afloat. It is an interactive research project -- akin to oral history. Some of the content will seem disjointed -- or even spurious at times -- as research and data collection is added in a "live" environment. Please bear with us, and if you find anything inaccurate, please let us know.



NMC

Ft Funston

​San Bruno

Pt Reyes


Pix of, from L to R, RM1 Al Hosteter, RM1 Jim Huffman, Unknown Navy Officer, CWO Hersh Drury and Navy CPO Jack (?).  Taken just outside the Confederation Building in St Johns,Newfoundland in 1964.  Bob Lewis VO1BL of SONRA (Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs) was instrumental in getting us Yanks Newfie Call Sign license plates.  1st time it ever happened.

Nan Mike Roger

USCG Radio Station

San Juan, P.R..

Coast Guard Radio Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Coast Guard Radio Station Long Beach, California.

Circa 1955.

COAST GUARD RADIO NAPLES, ITALY  NCI

Air station - LORAN Net - COMMEDSEC 
.

The above pix are compliments of ATN2 Sam Leach USN

NAN MIKE OBOE

USCG RADIO STATON

HONOLULU

Memorabilia




Circa 1960

NJN-NIK 

  • 4:21

NMV Mascot "BuBu"

He lived under the  Transmitter Shack

 "Chris Abernathy RM2, sent me this great picture of himself operating at NJN.  As a Navy Airborne Radio Operator flying out of Argentia, I often sent my position reports to NJN on 4050 (the Navy ops at NWP got totally steamed when we sent our traffic via NJN, but, hey, we knew the real thing when we heard It, and there were quite a few of us who preferred to talk to you guys)". 

Nan Mike Tare

USCG Radio Station

Point Barrow, Alaska


ET2 Orris W Wharf

​Dodge City, Kansas