246th Signal Company

From Joe Varga:

Our mission was a field signal unit. We were controlled out of DA-DC. We came from three groups and locations to bring the company up to strength.

My group came from Ft Bragg NC, one came from Ft Dietrich MD, and third came from Ft Gordon GA. We all went TDY to learn the MOS 72B10, Comm Center Specialists. Two groups were OJT and the third went to the school at Gordon. We were schooled onsite and tested daily. I was in the top seven of my group and ended up in live traffic at the comm center. Once in France all three groups were tested and the results were the two groups that went OJT knew more than the group that went to the signal school. Our group had 32 soldiers at Ft Bragg.

When notified, we were to bug out and establish field communications for our signal group and NATO. I was in supply section, handled all functions, made supply runs to Evreux, Chartes, Camp De Loges. Estimated I drove over 100k miles with deuce and a half. Spent a lot of time maintaining my vehicles also. We had over 50 vehicles and a dozen or so commo vans. Had some great mechanics and eventually handled all company supply needs, property book, and laundry needs.

We had MP's assigned to our Air Base that worked with the AP's. Although the MP's were not on our company authorization, I would give them gear and clear them for property turn in and release. MP's were great because the AP's were always after us. The Air Force had more freedom than than the Army. AF was always trying to fight with the Army.

Officers club burned down in 1964 and they shared the NCO club. They wanted us to were dress jackets when attending the club. Since we had to pay to join we decided to drop out as a group and when their profits declined; they decided to open the lower E4 club to resolve the problem. They had to operate at a profit.

We were a close unit and stuck together. The only way to leave the unit was rotation or volunteer for Viet Nam. Surprisingly many did that. In fact one had come from Viet Nam and said this place was worse because he was stationed in the city in communications. A few were extended because they were US, two year draftees.

When a soldier volunteered for Viet Nam supply would ship his field gear to California but usually he was already in theatre before his gear would reach him. Finally the army got smart and decided to change that order and issue new gear in CA before the soldier was sent to Viet Nam.

We had bed check, and functioned like a normal army unit in the field, had a duty driver, guard mount...we had an active commo van in a secure area in the motor pool. Passes were not a given, only 15% of unit allowed passes to Paris.

Air Force did not like us because we were promoted fast and they were not; but they had normal hours and freedom we did not have.

We were the first company to establish communications on a NATO maneuvers at Fountainbleu. I helped set up our camp for that exercise.

Captain Donald S. Schadegg, Commander

Following Names are from Promotion Orders:
Bakunas, Richard F.
Banks, Harvey A.
Conelly, Richard T.
Gibbens, Ronald M.
Ginther, Daniel F.
Girardot, Allan L.
Gumbert, James M. Jr
Helzer, Jimmy L.
Heron, John H.
Lynn, Richard F.
Manahan, James F.
Lupinacci, Thomas C.
Masek, Larry C.
Norman, Roger D.
O'Brien, Michael
Pruitt, Arthur E.
Sheskey, John J. Jr
Varga, Joseph A.
Wasson, Charles F.
Wojtankowski, Allen C.

Other names:
Work William G.
Munoz, Manuel
Bradford, William?
Royer, Rodney W.
Scrum, Warren L.
Abdul Azeez, Ishak L.
Rondot, Richard L.
Moore, Monty M.
Russell, James H.
Barber, Stephen E.

Source: Email from Joe Ricco

I was assigned to the 246th and 257th Signal Companies from Feb. 1964 till Oct 1967. Made the move to Patch Barracks. Was a cable splicer worked for a Sgt Herbert Dustman -- we called him Dusty. Also remember a Lt Collins as wire officer. Had a wire nco named Jim Tinsley who later worked for Ma Bell in Oakland and I was a installer for Western Electric. I remember a few names: Jessie Towsend, Chuck Seibold, Bob Branning, Claude Mitchell. We had 2 German Nationals in our company -- Muller and Al Udie.

At the 257th Wire Platoon shared the barracks with the medics. One mean one named Sanchez. Was always at it with the MP's. Our armor stole some 45's and went AWOL.

I worked at the officers club for a Major with a red face.

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