Photos from Bad Aibling

Got these photos of Bad Aibling Station from Julie Rhodes. (Note from Dee: some of the photos are actually short videos, so if one loads slower, wait for it)

Interesting. I recognize some, half recognize others, don’t recognize several. It’s like a parallel universe.

The tree by the tennis court is still there, where we had a tarp covering several cases of Maxlrain Bier which enabled us to perform at our highest levels. That’s what I remember the best.
The Chance has a new parking lot.

I wonder what language the natives speak now. In a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, 10,000 years from now, people, if people still exist, will live in different realms and speak different languages. Alas, we won’t live long enough to see how this prediction turns out. All power to the tribes!

Zippo Flippo Harpo.
Mister Maddog
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17 Responses to “Photos from Bad Aibling”

  1. Doug Gitt Says:

    Perhaps there should be a sign on the tennis court; “Birthplace of BALTA”….

  2. Cranny Says:

    The photos are empty. Where are the GIs running to keep from standing and saluting when the flag came down? Where is the coal pile and people at the PX where Shakey Moore rolled his VW? Where are the MPs at the gate that always messed with us, especially when we were drunken driving? Where are the GIs at the snack bar? Where are the people walking to ops on their way to work? Where are the goofballs that had the tennis tournament that led to BALTA? Buildings are subject to ruin. People remain, or at least memories of people remain. It isn’t the same without the people.

  3. Ken Rhyne Says:

    When were these photos/videos taken? I assume they are recent since there are signs about the B&O Parkhotel, but I’m surprised to see all of the dish antennas remaining after NSA vacated.

  4. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:

    Hi Ken,

    The photos were taken September of 2009. I had heard rumors too that the domes had been dismantled, but it looked like all was intact. Do you remember if they were always dome shaped, or were they dish shaped in the beginning?

  5. Ken Rhyne Says:

    Hi Julie,

    Sorry for the late reply. I haven’t checked the site lately. I was stationed at BA from April ’69 – Oct ’71. There was only one dome shaped dish antenna which used primarily by the NSA. The dish is enclosed in the dome. The dish antenna was located inside the fence at the front of the operations center.

    The antenna field that we used consisted mostly of shortwave tower antennas. There were so many of them that it left little doubt about our mission. I’m not sure if we had DF (Direction Finding) capability at BA. A DF antenna field consists of antennas arranged in a circle. Three different DF sites could pinpoint the source of a radio signal by triangulation.

  6. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your reply. Were you part of the military or civilian work force on BA? Did you know very many of the civilians and the companies they came from? I know one was Lockheed but I don’t know what their role was. It was interesting reading about the communications system there. Did they rely on a satellite as a relay station back then, or were they just picking up bouncing radio waves? I don’t know that much about it but know that satellites were just coming into use.

  7. John J. Wilman Says:

    The dome that Ken Rhyne mentions was built during the latter part of 1967. I was a short timer than and was assigned to guard the Dubies that were working on the construction of the pedestal for the antenna. It was 12′ X 12′ and went down about 30 feet. All re-enforced concrete that had to be completed in one pour of the concrete. On the day of the pour about 50 concrete trucks showed up and the NSA engineers did a random test of the concrete found it to be too dry and rejected the entire shipment. The German contractor went absolutely nuts. He had to dump the concrete someplace else and bring concrete that fulfilled the contract requirements. Got to know the engineers and they gave me a good education in what it took to erect one of the domes. Really very interesting.

    • Ken Rhyne Says:

      John,

      One of my customers years ago was a John Wilman who lived in Columbus, GA and worked for Tom’s Foods. Any relation?

      • John J. Wilman Says:

        Ken:

        I was born and raised in New Jersey and with the exception of a summer in California visiting my uncle in Santa Monica and the time spent in Germany have been in the “Garden State all my life.

        The name while not in the same category as Smith or Jones crops every once in awhile. Far as I know they are not related to me. Even followed up with some out of curiosity.

  8. Ken Rhyne Says:

    Hi Julie,

    I was military – a Russian linguist. The only civilians I knew personally was the NSA guy that worked with our operations section. I’m not sure, but I think his name was Dave Pfost. I can picture him in my head.

    My wife taught 4th and 5th grade at the elementary school on post. She had about a 50-50 mix of civilian and military children. I remember one of her civilian students named Danny Macy. His desire was to become President. He had written and received a White House layout. He should be nearing that age now.

    I can’t speak for others, but our section dealt exclusively with radio communications. I was stationed there ’69 – ’71 and there just weren’t many communications satellites then. NASA was more concerned with moon landings, etc.

  9. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:

    Hi Ken,

    It was interesting to hear that your wife was a teacher at BAS. My two brothers attended that school and could easily of had your wife as teacher during that time frame.

    I am continually looking for info on Bad Aibling and recently found this excerpt out of a Google book by doing a google search and thought it would be of interest to you, John and anyone else involved over there. It discusses the satellite communications and the “Direction Finding” capabilities and much more. I hope this link works on this site. If not, I’ll send it via email to you.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=BaeJNdRySPoC&lpg=PA199&ots=US7aL70RGJ&dq=beginning%20of%20satellite%20communications%20in%20bad%20aibling&pg=PA199#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    Julie

    • Ken Rhyne Says:

      My wife’s interested in learning about your brothers. What are their names? Were they military or civilian? Her name is Linda Rhyne and she taught a 4th – 5th grade combination one year and I believe 5th grade the next year. She was at the school for the 69-70 and 70-71 school years. The principal was Mr. Wagner. There were only 5 or 6 other teachers, but I can’t remember all of their names. The names that come to mind are Pat Garcia, Betty Hogarth, Lorraine Hood, and Kathy (?) Frau Schotz was the German teacher.

      The link came though just fine. I’m not sure of the timeframe in the book. Bad Aibling was strictly an Army Security Agency field station when I was there – no Navy nor Air Force. We did have a small British detactment that occupied their own operations center and we also had NSA which shared our operations center. Bad Aibling had several external detachments in West Germany reporting to them. Maybe some of them had Navy and Air Force personnel.

      Bad Aibling Field Station was consolidated with several other units into Field Station Augsburg in 1972. I got a one month early out due to the pending move to Augsburg. After the Army left Bad Aibling, the NSA took over the operation of the base. I believe that there were other military assignments to Bad Aibling after that time, but I have no knowlege of them.

      Ken

  10. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:

    Ken,

    My brothers were Scott Young (born 1958) and Christopher Young (born 1963). Chris would have been too young for your wife’s class, but Scott could have had her for fifth grade. I’ll check with him to see if he remembers the name Linda Rhyne.

    Thanks for the history of BAS. It’s interesting. We left in August of 1970 before the Army left. My father was civilian and we lived off base a few miles. There were several civilian families that were sent by Lockheed and we were one of them.

    • Guy Hollaway Says:

      My name is Guy Hollaway. I was with the ASA group at Bad Aibling Station from late 1967 until August, 1969. My MOS was 32G20 (Crypto Repair). We worked in the old hangar that served as the Comm Center. I was later assigned to the NSA (Project Wildbore). I remember quite a bit about the old place and really hated to see the delapidation posted in your pictures.

  11. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:

    Hi Guy,

    I enjoyed reading your comments. Do you have any idea how many people worked on Project Wildbore? Was it just a small group or many? Sometimes I feel regret about putting up all those photos of BAS. It’s hard to see them when you have fond memories and want to keep those memories intact. When we were there it felt surreal and everywhere I looked my memories were confronted with the real thing. But then at the same time memories came flooding back that had long since been stored away. It was like reliving my childhood. So it was good and bad.

    Julie

    • Guy Hollaway Says:

      Project Wildbore – I’m gonna say fewer than 100 semi-permanent assigned civilians. Some were from Lockheed, some NSA, and only a few of us ASA people assigned to the project. It was a very interesting project. When I left (volunteered for Viet Nam – dumb mistake), I got a recommendation letter from a Major Robert Weikle, Military Intelligence, that was also assigned to the project. I have pretty much lost track of all, except my roommate, Thomas A. Tate, who now lives in Nashville.

      Seems I read into a few of these posts that commercial development is going on there. I know this was an old Nazi place and, I believe, there were underground tunnels used during the Nazi period for protection. Wonder what happened to those?

  12. John J. Wilman Says:

    I was stationed at BA from 10/64 to 01/68, while there I had heard about the tunnels and asked some of the Germans that worked there on base. Apparently, some of the tunnels were large enough to drive trucks through. Some of the officers told me that when the ASA took over the base the tunnels were sealed at both ends with dirt, rubble and concrete. Some were supposed to have been flooded. All this was performed in an attempt to prevent someone planting listening devices under Ops and other key buildings. I think the other reason for sealing the tunnels was the possibility of booby traps in someone of the tunnels. I had heard that some guys stationed at BA during the same time as me got down into them and did exploring. All this is second hand and I can’t confirm any of it. When I asked an NCO about seeing the tunnels, he told me to keep my butt above ground!!!!

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