welcome Elbert Cook
my USAF Radar Technician
list! Elbert provided a very detailed account
of his duty stations and the equipment worked on. Any of you who had
the pleasure of maintaining the
ASR/PAR radar system
will appreciate his comments. I never worked on it myself, but while
at Robins AFB, GA (5CCG) in the MPN-14
radar shop a couple of the newfangled, transistorized TPN-19s arrived
from Tinker AFB, OK (3CCG) and oh, boy, do I remember the stories that
came from the poor souls who came with them. I helped clear the site
on Robins AFB's back 40 and laid down a lot of
portable aluminum runway panels for the units to sit on. Rattlesnakes
were all over that place - ugh. I was glad to get back to the civilized
part of the base after a couple weeks there.
Note: Elbert planning to build a scale model
of the MPN-13 GCA radar unit, and is looking for dimensions, photos,
or any other pertinent data for maintaining accuracy. If you can help,
please send me the info and I will get it to him. Thanks.
Elbert sent these pictures that he took while stations at Shemya
Air Station, in the Alleutian Islands, Alaska:
MPN-13 Radar, Cobra Ball RC-135, and ATC Control Tower at Shemya AB,
Here are a couple 'real time' photos of the MPN-14 and TPN-19 ground
control approach (GPA) radars at Robins AFB, GA, while I was stationed
there from 1979-1982.
TPN-19 Radar Shop Sign
(Michael Klein photo)
This is the full text
(with his permission)
Thanks for your reply. You can put this on your web site.
I went back through some old records and this is what I came
Got hooked on the Air Force in 1968 and signed up in April.
After Basic Training I went to Keesler AFB for GCA Radar training, you
know how that goes. Looking forward to my first assignment I ended
up with Sheppard AFB, Texas. April 1969 to June 1973. Started
out on AN/MPN-14 B then the new FPN-47 was installed along with the
FPN-16. GPX-8, GPA-70, GPA-30 and Brite-II.
While at Sheppard
I got a message stating that I will be part of the TPN-19 test Team
at the 3rd Combat Com Group at Tinker AFB, OK. I thought I must
be in for a good deal. Boy was I wrong. I got to the 3rd
Combat Com Group in June of 1973 (left April 1979, was I glad somewhat).
While at Tinker I worked on MPN-13, MPN-14, TPN-19 and all the equipment
that went along with them. It was two years after I got to the
3rd that we went to the TPN-19 school and factory. While at the
3rd we ended up with 10 TPN-19s. What a mess. There are
some war stories about them.
I finely got out of the 3rd
April of 1979, but I had orders to Shemya AFB AK. (Shemya from
April 1979 to April 1980). Shemya had an MPN-13 without a 301
key system. There was all kinds of room in that power trailer.
Our UPX-6 was not restricted to 60 miles. That was nice.
We had a T3 Trainer that the controllers used a lot. I have
a lot of pictures of Shemya.
I got out of Shemya April
1980 and went to Holloman AFB. (Holloman AFB April 1980 to December
1984) Maintained the FPN-47, FPN-16, Brite-II and all the equipment
that went with them. We did have a GPA-131 by then. After two
years at the radar side I was moved into Quality Control. Quick
story, While I was at my Quality control desk at Holloman I just
happen to have one of my old TPN-19 note books with some of my QC notes
in it laying on my desk. The front showing a picture of the TPN-19
was up. Rudd came walking through my office and said hi and then
he saw the note book and said something like “ OH I see you have a picture
of the TPN-19”. Well the normal reaction, the reaction I had any
way was “Sure, I was in the 3rd Mob and worked on it for several
years.”. Boy was that a mistake. Within 6 weeks I had orders
to Langely AFB as the Air Traffic Control Radar Functional Manager and
I mostly worked with you guessed it, TPN-19s.
I was December 1984 to around July 1988 (Retired in 1988) I went TDY
all over the US. One of the main problems was the TOs for the
TPN-19. It seemed like we were rewriting them all the time.
We never did get them right. Another thing was the AC Mod. What
a mess. One thing I did while I was at Lnagley was working on
the Computer Assisted Force Management System technical manual.
After I got out of the AF, I went to college on the GI Bill.
Got two degrees and went to work for a Hospital here in OKC. Worked
for them for 14 years and retired again. Now I build model airplanes.
I am working on plans to build a model of an MPN-13 GCA unit but I am
having problems getting the dimensions. That is how I came across
your web site. Oh well I will keep working. As I started through
this a lot more came to mind.
You are doing
a good job.
Posted August 7, 2013