My Military History

By Keith Smyth

Dec. 1954, Enlisted United States Air Force
7 Jan.- 15 Mar., 1955, Basic training in AFB, 3700 MILTRAWG, Lackland San Antonio Tex.

Basic Training Graduation Picture

8 Apr.-1 Sept., 1955, 3383 STURON (Student Squadron), Keesler AFB, Ms., Airborne Navigation equipment Repairman Training
Equipment studied:
AN/APN-11 Identification, Friend or Foe
AN/APS-42 Airborne Navigation Radar
AN/APN-70 Loran Navigation System
AN/APN-9 Shoran Navigation System
AN/APN-59 IFF System
AN/APN-69 IFF System

28 Nov. -18 Dec. 1955, 6914th RADRONMBL (Radio Group Mobile), Sembach AFB, Germany. Casual status two weeks, then went to Grunstadt hill, waiting for clearance. The base itself was home to the RB-57 Reconnaissance aircraft. First flying in October 1953, RB-57As fully equipped the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw Air Force Base by July 1954. The aircraft were also deployed with USAF squadrons in Germany, France, and Japan. This was flown by the 30th TRS (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron), part of the 66 TRW (Tactical Reconnaissance Wing).

Martin B-57

18 Dec.1955 - 2 Sept 1959, Det D, 6910th RADGRUMBL, Berlin Germany, cross-trained as Electronic Warfare Equipment Operator/Repairman (Cryptographic Top Secret Clearance). My job was in ELINT (Electronic Intelligence). We monitored Soviet Block electronic emissions. These emissions consisted of ground based long range search radar, height finder radars, missile control radars, airborne gun control radar, airborne bomb/navigation radar, and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) emissions. There were also the unknown type emissions, such as new missile control radars. Most of the people at the site were linguists. Some were multi-language skilled. All were dedicated, hard working, hard playing, hell-raising young Americans. We were very good at our jobs (and playing).

Some of the Soviet Systems we monitored:
 Flat Face Radar

Side Net height finding radar. 

Bar Lock Radar What is interesting about this image, is that it is a drawing I made in 1956, while stationed in Berlin.

Below is an operational Bar Lock Radar.
Below is the Token Radar - this is a combination long range search and height finding radar. This is also a drawing I made. 

Below is the Knife Rest - Gap filler radar 

Below is the Spoon Rest, mobile gap filler. Another drawing I made. 

 Below is how it looks in real life.

Below is the Squat Eye Radar

Below, in use. There is another radar to the left that I don't know the designation of. It is probably a newer one than when I was in Berlin.

We also monitored every airborne radar and electronics signal we could find. Here are some of the aircraft we tracked.

This on is the Mikoyan Mig-15

We tracked this one using his Airborne Aid To Intercept (AAI) Fire Control Radar.

Here is the Mikoyan Mig-17

This is the Mig-19

Here is the Yak-25 Fighter/Bomber


Here is the IL-28 Bomber. We tracked this ones' Bomb/Navigation Radar.

Found a picture of the cockpit. Never saw this myself. It was on the side of the Iron Curtain I didn't want to visit.

Here is the Mi-4 Hound Helicopter. This was later armed. It had a navigation radar we tracked.

This is the exact (?) copy of the U.S. B-29.

Tupolev Tu-4 "Bull" The Soviet Superfortress In the late months of 1944, three damaged B-29s were diverted to Vladivostok in the Soviet Union.
The crews were allowed to "escape" but their B-29s remained behind. Two of the B-29s were disassembled for detailed evaluation and their parts were sent all over the Soviet Union to be copied. The third B-29 was kept intact for flight testing. The results were an exact external copy of the B-29 designated the Tu-4. The Soviet Superfortress first flew in late 1946. Approximately 1200 Tu-4s were produced from 1946 to 1953. The prototype aircraft is the last remaining example of the Soviet Tu-4. This aircraft (minus some of it’s original markings) is on display at Monino Air Museum just outside of Moscow. The prototype aircraft made the first air drop of a Soviet atomic weapon on 18 October 1951. The model reflects the complete markings of the prototype aircraft on that historic day in the Soviet Union.

This is the TU-16 Badger. One of the first Soviet Union high altitude Jet bombers.

This is the TU-95 Bear

And here is the TU-104 Commercial Jet Liner. Code name Camel

Intercept Equipment Operated/Repaired:
AN/APR-9 Radar Receiver
AN/APR-4Y - then AN/APR-14 Radar Receiver
AN/APA-74 Pulse Analyzer
AN/SLA-2 Pulse Analyzer
AN/PT-63 Audio Recorder
High Speed 35 millimeter camera
Brush Recorder
2 Apr. 1959 6912th RADGRUMBL, Transferred to Supply as Supply clerk due to impeding marriage to Foreign National (Security Clearance withdrawn)

14 Oct. 1959, returned Stateside with wife and son (Born in Berlin Germany).

13 Nov. 1959 - 1 Jun. 1961, 3400th School Sq, Keesler AFB, Ms, Instructor, Electronic Fundamentals.

1 Jun. 1961 - 25 Sept. 1961, 3751 Fld Tng Sq, Sheppard AFB, TX, On Location 419S FTD (Field Training Detachment), Laughlin AFB, Tx., Security Clearnce re-issued. Taught Spherics Electronic Warfare Analyzer System, U-2 Aircraft.

U-2 Aircraft

25 Sept. 1961 - 15 Feb. 1962, 4133rd. Strategic Wing, Grand Forks AFB, ND. Processing Clerk, Admin.

15 Feb. 1962, 4133rd AEMS Grand Forks AFB, Re-Assigned Aircraft Electronic Counter Measures Repairman.

16 Apr. 1962 - Sept. 1964, Transferred to 3346th Field Training Sq., Chanute AFB, Ill., On Location, 419C Field Training Detachment, Grand Forks AFB., teaching the Electronic Warfare Systems on the B-52G and H model aircraft.

B-52G Aircraft

B-52H Aircraft

Equipment Taught (Aircraft B-52G-H):
AN/APS-54 Radar Receiver
AN/ALR-19 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver
AN/ALT-6B Electronic Warfare Jammer
AN/ALT-13 Electronic Warfare Jammer
AN/ALT-15 Electronic Warfare Jammer
AN/ALT-16 Electronic Warfare Jammer
AN/ALR-18 Electronic Warfare Jammer/Receiver
AN/ALE-20 Chaff Ejector
AN/ALE-24 Flare Ejector
Originated Solid States Devices up-grade Training course

During these years, travelled over 142,000 miles, TDY teaching these systems to qualify other instructors, as well as operators, and maintenance personnel. Equipment operators were Electronic Warfare Officers aboard the B-52G-H aircraft. My job was teaching how to operate the equipment, as well as tactics used during penetration flights into hostile territory. Also taught Solid States Devices up-grade training to all electronics equipment maintenance personal on the base who wished to learn transistor circuitry. Course carried on 4 hours a day, 5 days in length.

25 Feb. 1964 - 27 Nov. 1964, Det. 0100, 10th Tac Recon Wing, attached to 7544th Armament &Electronic Maintenance Sq., Toul-Rosieres AFB, France, Asst Team Chief, ECM Maint. Sec., ECM Inspector, Inspection Sec, Quality Control Inspector, Electronic Warfare Equipment Instructor, Operation/Maintenance, RB-66 Reconnaissance aircraft.

RB-66 Aircraft

1 Dec. 1964 - 12 Mar 1966, 3390th Instr Sq, Keesler AFB, Ms, Instructor, Special Quick Reaction, Special Projects, South East Asia (SEA) Cadre on the following equipment:
Special Quick Reaction Equipment:
AN/ALR-19 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver
AN/ALR-17 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver
AN/ALR-20 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver
AN/APR-25/26 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver Systems
AN/APR-36/37 Electronic Warfare Radar Receiver Systems
ELRAC Electronic Warfare SIGINT Receiver System

13 Mar. 1966- 25 Aug. 1967 Special Projects, SEA Cadre, Keesler AFB, Ms. Same systems as above.

Jan. 1965-July-1965, TDY Korat Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand. Worked on the F-105 ECM and EB-66 Reconnaissance aircraft. Helped with training on the AN/APR-25/26 receivers on the F-105's. (Don't have the exact dates for these TDY's anymore)

F-105 Aircraft

July 1965 - returned to Keesler.

Nov. 1965 TDY to Viet-Nam, Cam Ranh Bay (Base was being constructed, aircraft had not yet arrived. In a fire fight during that time.)

Below are the MC-130 and AC-130 gunships. They arrived after I left. Wish I had worked on them.

MC-130 Aircraft Flares

AC-130H call sign "Spooky" or AC-130U call sign"Spectre" Gunship.

AC-47 Skytrain (also called "Spooky" or "Puff the Magic Dragon") Gun Ship
Here is the internal gun

Nov. 1965 - returned to Keesler - Sea Cadre - taught same equipment as above.

Feb. 1966 - Jul.-1966 TDY Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. Worked on the F-4 Phantom.

July 1966 - returned to Keesler. Taught the same equipment as above.

25 Aug. 1967 - discharged.

12 years active duty. Couldn't make TSgt at Keesler, so got out. Came to California in Sept. 1967, worked as a Technical Instructor for two jobs, then became a Technical Writer. Sat up my own business as a Technical Documentation Consultant, working on many classified military contracts writing the technical documentation.
This included generation of military and commercial technical manuals on hardware, software, and some Integrated Logistics Systems (ILS) data documentation. Documents generated includes Statements of Work (SOW), Site Preparation, Equipment Installation, Equipment Operation, Maintenance, Device, Overhaul And Training
Instruction (Product Learning Materials) manuals to the applicable commercial and military specifications, Software documentation, Acceptance Test Procedures and Product Specifications. Also worked with start up companies setting up Technical Publications Departments, and bidding on military contracts.

While working here in the Silicon Valley, in 4 May, 1974, I signed up for the Air National Guard. Wanted to put in enough time to get retirement. On the 3rd of May, 1977, I was discharged from the Air National Guard because the work I was doing at ESL required teaching several high ranking Army and Air Force officers. The ANG training mission fell in the middle of the class I was teaching. An Air National Guard Major told me I had to attend the training mission or spend time in the hoosgow. When I told the class that it would have to be interrupted for two weeks, an Air Force Major General called the pentagon, and I was discharged from the ANG that same day!!! While at ESL, I designed and tested a piece of test gear for the Quick Draw system. It was used to test and calibrate the magnetic Heading detector hardware. So, I became a non-degreed design engineer. That was impressive on my resume!

In the ANG, I worked on the Nav Equipment on the C-119 Flying Boxcar (nicknamed Flying Coffin), and the C-130 Hercules.

AC-119 Flying Boxcar ANG, Hayward Ca.

C-130 Hercules Aircraft, ANG, Hayward, Ca.

Here are some of the aircraft I have worked on since leaving the U.S.A.F.

F-111 Ardvark, Dalmo Victor, San Mateo, CA. Worked on the APS-109 Radar Homing and Warning System

F-4 Phantom

I worked on the AN/APR-35/36 Radar Homing and Warning System, Applied Technology Inc. (ATI). Worked on the ER-135 Reconnaissance Analyzer System, AN/APR-45/46 Radar Homing and Warning System, and many others that I can't even remember now. There were Navy systems, Air Force, and Marine Corps systems.

I worked on the an Electronics Countermeasures system on the Navy SH-60 Seahawk. I worked at ATI 6 different times.

Guardrail AN/ARW-83(V) Airborne Relay Facility, RU21 and RC12 Beech military utility aircraft. Part of the AN/USD-9 Special Purpose Signal Detection (Guardrail) system, Electromagnetic Systems Laboratories (ESL).

I worked at ESL 5 times.

Maintenance Van, AN/ARW-83 Flight Line.

Big Safari RC-135 Electronics Reconnaissance Aircraft, ESL This is a Rivet Ball RC-135. Once a Big Safari aircraft went active, it was given a name change. I also worked on other Reconnaissance Systems at ESL, There was Guard Rail and Quick Draw and several other projects.

Here is the Bell Cobra Gunship Helicopter. While I didn't actually work on the chopper, it was in the back lot at ESL, and I was all over that baby! ESL was working on the helmet gun control. Wherever that guy in front turned his head, and looked up, or down, that is where that chin mounted chain gun pointed!

Here is a goodie. I worked as a contractor for GTE/Sylvania, producing Mil-Spec manuals on Naval Submarine Electronic Equipment.

ssn774 Virginia-class fast attack submarine

A-10 Warthog,

I wrote Maintenance Calibration Summary for the Alignment Spec for the A-10 Warthog Gun Sight, Kaiser Electronics.

F-16 Fighting Falcon.

I worked with the Tech Pubs team to write the Head-Up display manuals, Kaiser Electronics.

F-15 Eagle.

I worked with the Tech Pubs team to write the Head-Up and Cockpit Display manuals, Kaiser Electronics.

While at Kaiser Electronics, I worked with the Tech Pubs team and wrote a Head-Up display manual we thought was going into a simulator. Turns out to be the Head-Up display in the F-117 Stealth Fighter!


I think there are some more, maybe I can recall later. Oh yeah, while at Kaiser Electronics we wrote the first proposal to install a Head-Up display in the Space Shuttle. This is used for docking to the space stations, as well as landing attitudes.


Beyond all that, I have worked in Telecommunications field, Television Recorder/Reproducers maintenance, even edited specifications for rocket motors at United Technologies, San Jose, Ca. Yep, Have even been a rocket scientist! Then there were the contracts working on Plasma Wafer Etch technology at Novellus, the video game at 3DO, cell phone technology at Synacom, - all this and more is in my resume at resume/smyth resume.htm