Welcome to the web site of the original Charlie Battery, 3rd Missile Battalion, 71st Artillery Nike Ajax and Nike Hercules Guided Missile Base. This is the original Charlie Battery Nike Site created in Circa 1957 - 1958. I arrived there in the Summer of 1959, after month with Delta Battery at Gerszewski Barracks in Kneilingen, just outside Karlsruhe, Germany.
This web site is years too late, but I am determined to make sure that Charlie Battery has a presence on the web. I have the IT skills and a stash of images, so I thought... why not? It has come about mainly because I woke up one morning in the winter of 2010 and my first thought was to Google the 3rd/71st, and I couldn't believe the information available
I actually spent most of the day online doing research, and discovered several web sites devoted to the 3rd-71st, they are the 3rd71stada, Bravo Battery, 3rd-71st in Sachsenheim, and Delta Battery, 3rd-71st in Pforzheim. And I would like to take this time to give the boys at these web sites a proper salute, for all of their efforts really inspired me in this project. They are very active and have maintained contact with each other over the years, and they even have periodic reunions. And if you want documentation on all things Nike, you should visit ed-thelen.org. Ed has done exhaustive research on every Nike Site that ever existed. It's Outstanding...!
Prior to creating the web site I had no contact with any of my old Charlie Battery buddies. One of the main problems being that almost everyone is in the Midwest, East, and Southeast, and with me being in California, it made distance primary factor. However, since the site was published many old friendships have been renewed and new ones made also. The positive feedback and support for the web site has been most gratifying and rewarding.
In researching this site I asked for, and received the official Charlie Battery semi-annual rosters of January and July 1960 - January and July 1961, from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. I used these rosters to help reconstruct my memory and it really helped to to identify those people in my images whose names I couldn't remember. Please visit the Archives web page to view and download these rosters.
In doing further web research on the 3rd/71st I came to find that the site was later moved to city named Hardheim about 60 or 70 Kilometers north of Kleingartach. The reasons why seem to be sketchy and unclear. Maybe someone who has more info can fill in the blanks.
As you will see we were way out in the country, high up on the plateau of a massive lump of earth, isolated and by ourselves. It wasn't really a mountain, but to visit any of the cluster of villages around the base of this lump one had to take the one road way down the hill. And going down the hill, unless you had a car and almost no one did, meant walking. Walking down and walking back up, and at night it was very dark, cold, rainy, snowy, etc.
If one needed to go on sick call, it was 40-50 Km. ride in the back of a duce and a half to the large city of Heilbronn on the Neckar River. Because we were isolated we really had to rely on each other, so we were a close knit crew.
Everything took place in the single 3 story barracks that housed everything. The entrance was in the middle of the building with the first door to the right just inside the double doors was the orderly room and the BCO's office. Passed the orderly room on the right and double wide stairway on the left and down the hall was, the supply room to the left, a small “Bier Garden”, and a turn to the right down a few stairs and through swinging double doors was the mess hall.
Now we had a great mess hall, we had great cooks, and great mess sergeant named Sergeant Otto. The mess hall was small, personal, small tables with table cloths, almost like a small cozy cafe.
On the second floor was a small PX, the armory/mail room, the mail clerk was also the armorer, housing for NCO's, Spec-5's and some Spec-4's. The third floor had large rooms on either end for PFC's and lower, with smaller rooms in between them and the Latrines for Spec-4's, as well as the tailor and barber. At the very center of the second and third floors were the latrines and showers.
As I intimated earlier, for the most part our world was the barracks area, and our respective work sites, either the Launching Area/Missile Maintenance or the IFC. The barracks area was long and narrow, next was the physical plant building, then the motor pool. I think one could walk from the reservoir on one end to the end of the motor pool parking area on the other in about 6-8 minutes, depending on how fast one walked. There was also a great trail to the launching area, and the IFC was in site of the barracks and few minutes walk away.
On Sunday mornings around 11am a Chaplain would arrive and, in order to make his drive all the way out to the site worthwhile, those of us still around and not on duty were rounded up to listen to a sermon in the mess hall. And I must say that for the most part he talked more philosophically about personal growth, conduct, and self esteem. I found myself learning much from his words, he was a caring man.
Featured on this web site are images of Charlie Battery, Our local neighborhood, the battery's live round firing exercises at Fort Bliss/McGregor Range, and later on Crete in the Mediterranean, a trip to Garmisch, a WW II cemetery in Italy, and missile convoys to Baumholder, etc. So browse the navigation bar just below the header images at the top of the each web page. And to the old Charlie Battery boys, I am always looking for more images and their stories, so get in touch with me so we can talk. Remember this is your web site too...! So I hope you all will participate.
This web site has seen years of work. Slides to be digitized, then the images restored due to the passing years, and what what we do without Adobe Photoshop. I then had to create graphics, the HTML and CSS code, then enter the image captions, as well as write the text for the various introduction pages.. So, in order to get this site up and on line I left out the image descriptions for now, which I will be adding as I get to them. Thanks for your patience.
But don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, it has been a pure labor of love and I dedicate this web site to all of my Charlie Battery Site Mates and to all Air Defense Artillery Nike Site Personnel through out the world. It's all of our stories. It was a job well done...!
Please Note: When viewing the image pages, be sure to click the thumbnail images to display an even larger image. Then click anywhere outside of the larger image and it will close itself.
There's one exception: The browser Safari will not Auto Close Popup Windows, they must be closed manually. I suggest using Firefox or Google Chrome to best view this website. Set this website as the default opening page, then when you open the browser... you're there.
Also, please take a few moments to view and sign Our Guest Book. We would love to hear your stories, as well as your thoughts about this web site.
Again Welcome and Enjoy...
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