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Charlie Battery - 1959 - 1969

Site News - Summer 2011


SUMMER - 2012



Finally Identified

fter all of these years I have finally been told the formal name of that big lump of earth that Charlie Battery was built upon, and where we all lived and performed our duties.

Not knowing any formal name for it, I just called it the "Plateau". However, I have learned from Uwe Koch, of Kleingartach, that it is formally known as "The Heuchelberg". Where Berg means mountain then it is, in English, Heuchel Mountain.

New Materials and Documentation

New materials keep coming forward that continue to document our Charlie Battery experience. It's almost like the Nike Base of Kleingartach has been given a new life and appreciation. We keep making new friends both here in the U.S., and in Germany as well.

Of course, I am delighted that people in the villages and Heilbronn are finding the website, signing our Guest Book, and contributing new items for our Archives and photo record. I am looking for a way that the website can have a German language version, which could expand participation even more. So if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

New photos have be submitted by John and Charlotte Standerfer of Dallas, Texas, which illustrate Brackenheim, the Crete ASP facility, and Heilbronn. It's nice to have a more personal record of those who live in the surrounding villages. A view of that daily life that most of us who live at the base did not experience. Some of the photos were taken on May Day, a holiday in Germany, and show the dance around the May Pole and scenes of a marching band as part of the parade. Thank you John and Charlotte...!

Also a very nice collection of photos have been provided by Ron Daum of Washington state that are a wonderful blend of Neighborhood, Battery, and their Annual Service Practices. John Standerfer and Ron Daum were at Charlie Battery during the same time period in the late 60's.

In fact Ron lives just down the road from me, and he came over for a visit. We swapped stories and while viewing his photos. I scanned about 30 plus color images. Some were added to already existing areas, like “Our Neighborhood”, the “Barracks”, and the “Launching Area”. A great many of them have been added to newly created area that is an excellent documentation of a brand new created firing range on the island of Crete. Thanks Ron we appreciate your contribution.

Crete Annual Service Practice Range

In 1968 NATO created a new Annual Service Practice Firing facility on the Island of Crete, which is part of the country of Greece, located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Ron has written the introduction to the new area of “Crete”, located as a sub-heading in the “Assigned TDY's” section of the navigation bar.

The Following is a quote from Wikipedia: “NATO Missile Firing Installation or NAMFI (35°34′22″N 24°10′25″E) is an extensive missile firing range located north of Souda Air Base. NAMFI was established in 1968 as a NATO training facility for Air Defense Systems and it takes advantage of clear atmospheric conditions throughout the year.

Currently NAMFI is regularly used by the armed forces of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, and the United States. In the past it was also used by Denmark, France, and Norway.

Today the firing range is used mostly for Patriot and Hawk launches, although a wide range of surface to air and air to surface missiles are fired occasionally. As the trajectories of the missiles cross busy air and sea areas, an Air and Sea surveillance radar system is used to resolve possible conflicts.”

It seems that at some point the drone aircraft were replaced with a system that created a “Virtual Target”, thus reducing expense, and increasing reliability. I can't speak on it to because I know almost nothing about it. Maybe one of you could give us a lesson on Virtual Targets, which I will add to the website.

And it turns out that Charlie Battery was one of the units chosen for the initial trial run shoots that got the facility up to speed and operational. So Crete is a whole new area that documents Charlie Battery's history and record, so be sure to check out. It's great to have another historical area that can be so fully documented.

There are a great photos to view, a nice mix of Nike pics, as well as some of the local landscape and architecture that really gives one a sense of the historical and cultural feeling of the area.

Charlie Battery Personnel

Along with the new materials added to the website are the former Charlie Battery personnel recently contacted by the efforts of Don Yarbrough of Delta Battery. This “Herculean” task (pun intended) has yielded many who have been added to our unit roster. All of those on the roster have given their consented to be listed. Anyone who would like to be placed on that roster can contact me and I will do so. Also, Charlie Battery now has a presence on FaceBook thanks to Tim Hannigan. The their respective links can be found on our “Links” page. Thank you both for all of your efforts on our behalf.

Also, as a result of the above search efforts our “Honor Roll” section has also had many addition as those who have passed now have their place of Honor. And the “Guest Book” too has had an some new and interesting entries both from Charlie personnel, as well as new friends from the villages and Heilbronn.

Connections In Germany

Charlie Battery has acquired several new friends who live around the Heuchleberg. Uwe Koch of Kleingartach has contributed many new photos that give us an update of the local area.

Thomas Schulz of Heilbronn, a Military Historian, continues to provide the most obscure of documentation that constantly amazes me. He is one excellent historical detective.

And most recently, Peter Hoss, of Kassel, Germany, a retired Lt. Colonel of the German Bundeswehr, sent us a very nice suite of photos of IFC equipment that is part of the German Air Force Museum in Berlin.

Peter Hoss is a friend of our friend Hans Roeper, originally from Karlsruhe, now living in California. Hans told Peter about the Charlie Battery website and he sent Hans the images, who then asked me if I was interested in them. There are some nice close-up shots that are very interesting. To view them “Click Here”, and they can also can be viewed in the Archives section of the website, as well as a link in the IFC area.

The IFC equipment was part of the German Nike Site System located around West Germany. The German Nike crews did their training at Fort Bliss, and there are a number of German websites that document their American training, as well as cultural experiences. Several of those websites, as well as the link to the German Airforce Museum, can be found on our “Links” web page, so check'em out.

And finally, we can't forget our good comrade Herbert Ade-Thurow, of Sersheim. Herbert continues to be an important part of our effort to document Charlie Battery, as well as the Nike experience in general. As a boy he grew up in the shadow of Bravo Battery in Sachsenheim and developed a interest in the Nike system. Herbert created a graphic that documents the geographic relationship of the 4 Batteries, so “Click Here” to view that graphic.

Most of those mentioned above have signed our Guest Book, so be sure to read their entries. We thank you all for your friendship, good cheer, interest, and support. The website and our historical record would be much less complete than what it is today.

Schloß Stocksberg

Also included in the Ron Daum photo collection are some new images of the Castle that are very unique, of which I am pleased to have as part of its documentation. There is a beautiful Iron Gate that is part of the bridge access across the dry moat to the defense towers and walls. I would love to have some detail photos of that gate, if anyone has some.

Reunion Section

I am disappointed that there is so little interest in populating the Reunions Section. I was hoping for more help with this section. I guess if there is no interest then I will remove that section. Doesn't seem to make sense to have a section with no information in it.

Web Site Two Year Anniversary

Just a note in passing, this is the Charlie Battery website's two year anniversary. Happy Birthday, we are two years old. Also, the website's “Hit Counter” passed the 4,000 hits milestone the other day... Not bad for just two years... ’ey?

Thank you all for your support...!

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