This is a complicated topic…were it not for a USAFSS hero, Larry Tart. Thanks to Larry we have a definitive story of our group as part of a four volume history of the USAFSS.

Larry Tart served in the USAFSS for 21 years, retiring as a SMSgt in 1977.  Trained as a Russian linguist, he completed seven overseas tours—four at USAFSS ground sites and three in the command's airborne reconnaissance units. He also served as a special projects analyst in the Air Force Special Comm Center in Texas. He was inducted into the Air Intelligence Agency Hall of Honor in 2000.  A year later he published The Price of Vigilance, about the shoot down of USAFE C-130 60528 over Armenia in 1958.  He joined my USAFSS 6910th 50's Group (and many others!) in the late 90's to collect information for his life's work in retirement, publishing a detailed history of the USAFSS. Please check out Larry’s website for complete information about his writings and if you or your family members served in any part of the USAFSS, Larry’s writings will reveal a proud history that can be appreciated only in retrospect: Freedom Thru Vigilance

The following are only brief excerpts from Larry’s fascinating history of the USAFSS and the 6910th (Thanks, Larry!):

“With war raging in Korea and threats of a Soviet invasion seemingly looming in West Germany, the Air Force Security Service expedited the expansion of its signal intelligence capabilities in Europe and the Far East on 23 May 1951. It activated the 6910th Security Group at Brooks AFB Texas—the commands first operational group. With organizational and staffing problems still unresolved, the command rushed the 6910th Security Group to Europe and Wisebaden, Germany. Wisebaden was already the headquarters of USAFE. Because the city and its bases were so severely crowded, it was necessary to split the 6910th, with headquarters in Wisebaden but operations in Darmstadt. The 6910th headquarters managed the intelligence production cycle in Wiesbaden while its analysts carried out the group’s traffic exploration mission in Darmstadt.

As 1952 arrived, the units comprising the 6910th Security Group were:

2nd Radion Squadron Mobile, Darmstadt, Germany
- Detachment 21 (2nd RSM) Rothwesten, Germany
- Detachment 22 (2nd RSM) Schoeissheim, Germany
- Detachment 24 (2nd RSM) Berlin, Germany
- Detachment 25 (2nd RSM) Landsberg, Germany

41st Radio Squadron Mobile Bremerhaven, Germany

12th Radio Squadron Mobile, Landsberg Germany
- Detachment 121 (12th RSM), Linz Austria
- Detachment 122 (12th RSM), Schleissheim, Germany

10th Radio Squadron Mobile, Chicksands England

34th Radio Squadron Mobile, Wheeler AB, Libya

Project Penn, Ankara Turkey

In the spring of 1953, in a complicated move lasting three months, the 6910th Security Group was moved and consolidated at Landsberg AFB in Southern Germany.

The USAFSS was growing, and part of the need for this move was to plan and staff a new 6900th Security Wing. This new wing was activated in Landsberg in August of 1953 under the command of Col. Augustinus. In October 42 officers and airmen from the 6910th Security Group were transferred in place to the new wing. The remaining elements of the 6910th—essentially 6910th Operations—continued the group’s analysis mission at Landsberg. A Sgt. Major Bill Carlton recalled proudly his pride in the accomplishments of the 6910th Security Group, achieved in only 18 months after arriving in Europe.

“It was the first unit larger than a squadron, the first to command all activities in an overseas theater, the first overseas unit with civilian personnel, the first to conduct general inspections of subordinate units and the first to host an overseas wedding of USAFSS personnel! It was a great outfit and it did some things that some said couldn’t be done and did them very well.” (The wedding was for Bill Carlton himself and his USAFSS bride Annette Jones!)

I arrived in the 6910th in May of 1953 just as the group was arriving from Darmstadt. I was immediately labeled a “newbie,” as I had missed Darmstadt. I was assigned to a Traffic Analysis Section in operations under Lt. Hector Quintanilla.

Landsberg AFB was a neat, small, former German airbase without any aircraft. However, planes did fly in from time to time. Our housing was really great, in large stone buildings with tile hallways and beautiful hardwood floors in our rooms. The base was beautifully landscaped with grass and flowers everywhere, including a grassy parade ground where, thankfully we didn’t have to muster very often. Our mess was excellent with German cooks and KP personnnel; we paid something like $2/month so we didn’t have to pull KP. After completing TA training at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, I spent 10 long months in a casual squadron (waiting for our security clearances), with KP or work detail everyday; Landsberg AFB was heaven!

We were essentially office workers, pulling an 8-hour shift in a secure compound, with evenings and weekends to do as we pleased—except for occasional alerts a

During the next ??? months the 6910th was in Landsberg, most of us had little knowledge of the changes within the group’s subunits