autodin‎ > ‎

Guest Book 7

Guest Book 7

April 1, 2014


I recently Googled "AUTODIN" and was pleasantly surprised to find a most interesting and enjoyable website.  I saw several names of people I worked with for years and wondered how they came to be listed.  Are you the "gatekeeper" for the website?  If so, feel free to add my name.

I did four tours of duty in AUTODIN in the development and maintenance of software.  I began as a computer programmer trainee in 1966 with DCA after several years of message center experience in the Marines and at the State Department.  My first assignment was at the DCA Switchman office shared with
Western Union.  I soon became responsible for Tape Search Unit (TSU) and RCA 301 off-line software that searched history tapes and generated reports. Once the first Overseas AUTODIN switches were cutover and DCA assumed responsibility for OPS-2, I was assigned as one of the maintenance programmers to fix reported problems and to implement minor enhancements.

In 1968, I left DCA for a small company, C3 Inc., and we developed and implemented software for the original automation of the
Pentagon Telecommunications Center.  In 1971, I decided to return to DCA and once again performed software maintenance duties.

After the AUTODIN staff was relocated to
Ft. Detrick, I remained at DCA HQS. as a team leader developing software supporting AUTODIN and AUTOVON operations and engineering organizations.

My third time assigned to AUTODIN programming was when I was promoted to Chief, AUTODIN Programming Branch at
Ft. Detrick.  During my six years there, the branch implemented OPS-9, OPS-10.1, OPS-10.2, OPS-11, and OPS-12.  Our staff developed software in conjunction with contractor Data Systems Analysts for most versions except for OPS-10.1 and OPS-10.2 which were achieved with in-house resources.  We developed detailed specifications for each version, ensured compatibility between CONUS and Overseas AUTODIN, supervised 2-3 months of intensive testing using teams provided by the operational switches, and our personnel implemented the initial cotovers of the new versions at switches in the European and Pacific regions.

After several years in charge of an applications programming division, I moved into my last AUTODIN related assignment, to help develop contract specifications for the transition to the Defense Message System (DMS).  I retired in 1994 after three years on the DMS project.  When it became necessary to extend the life of AUTODIN, I worked briefly as a contractor to develop a five year extension contract.

Bob Campopiano

April 16, 2014

I worked at the Korat AutoDin site as E-4 Sgt. in the COMM section, July 1968 thru July 1969. From there, was stationed at NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs as Tech Support. Originally from Louisville KY, I now live in Indianapolis. I remember feeding and cleaning the Bear, and the THAI's stationed at our site love of the Rice Bugs.

Lackland AFB July-Aug. 1966
Kessler AFB Aug. 1966-July 1967
Warner Robbins AFB July 1967-July 1968.
TDY Fort Monmonth Army Signal School AotoDin training March1967-May 1967.
Korat Rhailand AFB July 1968-July 1969.
ENT AFB/Peterson Field/NORAD-Cheyenne Mouttain  July 1969-July 1970.

Robert (Bob) Perry

May 16,2014


I was the (first) NCOIC DAU Technical Control Facility in Oct?67 and went TDY to Phu Lam in weeks 1&2 of Feb68 to assist in acceptance (from Philco Ford) the autodin facility there. 

On my return to Andrews AFB, I was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for this service: Documented DD214.

MSGT/USAF Ret, A. M. Hayes

July 4, 2014

My name is Steve Wilson.  I was a 72E-G5 from 1976 through 1979.  I worked in the Zweibrucken, Germany TCC from 1977 through 1979.  We used the IBM 360-20 Computer, Teletype writers, and the KG-13 Crypto.

I served with the 327th Signal Company.  SPC Wilson

January 9, 2015

Hello Bob, you got futima Stratcom right. When I first got there the carrier equipment went thru our time division mutliplux equipment 120 channels then the base group and then finally the super group and thru the Rf gear and then shot by microwave to where I WAS AT WITH ONE OTHER SP-5 AND PAGE COMMUNICATION ENGINEERS. YAETAKE IS THE AMERICAN NAME OF THE MOUNTAIN SITE. The Okinawans call it YAEDAKE . On island and off island tropo communications occurs here to and from the Phillipines,Okinawa, and Tiawan and then V. Nam. Bob we were on the highest part of the rock and only a few we to were a part of you. A short story, one day i got a phone from the first sargent he wanted to see me. Now I have not even seen this man for over six months. In fact I did not know his name. So I made the long trip south, came into his office, I saw all his stripes as he stared at my name tag AND YELLED, LECHMAN I AM GOING TO PUT YOU IN JAIL. I started to talk, he interrupted Lechman when was the last time you wrote or spoke to your mother. I said tonight first sargent. End of conversation. I did so because i can monitor.Zap, any line from the site. Just use a 1KC tone. I never abused the system.

Mike Lechman went home sept. 70. mike

Mike Lechman


March 5, 2015

I was stationed at siegelbach in the early 60s. We won the base basketball championship against the Ramstein AFB MP,s. Just kind of wondering what happened to our trophy, since it was kind of a real victory for our air station.

Rudolph Satterfield

April 27, 2015

USASTRATCOM Asmara, Ethiopia 4/69 -3/71

I graduated from 32G school @ Ft. Monmouth in 12/68.  I, along with 4 others did not receive orders @ graduation, and did not rotate overseas until 1/69.  We all received orders for Pirmasens, Germany for the HHC, 59th Ordnance Group!  We pulled casual duty there for 2 months, before getting orders for STRATCOM HQ, Heidelberg.  3 stayed in Germany, I and 1 other got orders for Asmara.  Side note:  When the clerk handed us our orders, he asked what part of Germany Asmara was in, to which we replied, the extreme southern portion!

When I arrived in Asmara, it was still a 100% torn-tape facility; also, Asmara was the largest HF relay site in the Army then.  There were 5 AUTODIN circuits installed in 6/69; 3 to Pirmasens, replacing 5 torn-tape circuits and 2 to Coltano, Italy, replacing 4 to Siegelbach, Germany.

All 5 circuits were via satellite to Pirmasens; they would switch to HF twice a month for SATCOM terminal maintenance.

Our crypto equipment were KW-26s, with the optional HW-8 delay units installed.  The changeover from satellite resulted in significant signal path changes, which we were able to compensate for with the HW-8s.  AEA (Pirmasens) wondered how we were able to keep them in sync; we explained to them about the HW-8, which they, in turn incorporated on their end.

In 6/70, I was sent to Bad Toelz, Germany for 6 weeks for AUTODIN Mode V terminal maintenance training.  As a result I was the only person in the commcenter qualified to maintain the AUTODIN terminals.

Later in 1970 the NAVCOMMSTA across the road from us, NKA, received 3 Mode V terminals.  They had no one qualified to troubleshoot and repair theirs; as a result, I had to assist them on 3 occasions between 10/70 and 3/71.

The biggest repair issue incurred on these were the audible alarms (Sonalerts); operators used to jam screwdrivers into them to  “quiet” them.

Jim Missenda, 3rd Shift TC

May 14, 2015

I was stationed at the Taegu Autodin from Sep'79 to 1st quarter of '81.
My MOS was 34H20, Automatic Digital Message Switching Equipment (ADMSE) Repairer.

It was a fantastic training ground for a young computer tech. Virtually everything had to be troubleshot to the component level, no black box swap outs!

Mike Lowery

September 25, 2015

I worked at the Autodin site with Philco june 67-dec 68, trying to locate the site on a Korat map. I actually visited the Autodin site in 2007-old building was still there-across from it was the UPS bldg. The bear cage was there then and the tropo antenna next door.

Jim Sawyer

November 12, 2015

I was looking at your page today. Just had to comment. I was also a 32D20 & 32D2T. I was at Buckner briefly in Feb 1972 but was Transferred out to Tengan right after the HF site was decommissioned. That microwave site supported Camp Hansen, Schwab, White Beach & Awase. We always manned the unmanned site during typhoons. I always seemed to end up at White Beach. I was there almost until rotation when my brother was killed. I left a few week early & was reassigned stateside at the Pentagon. I had a lot of fun there even though at the time it was a little crazy postwar and reversion. I raced motorcross there and also worked for the local Suzuki shop there in Sukiran. I only remember a few guys that we spent time with that were “banished” out there. Good times.  Thanks for your post.

(Sp4)Carl Pockrus

December 16, 2015

My name is Chris Dammann.  I was an autodin tech controller at Andrews in 78 and 79.  While I was there, they took a few pictures of me while I was working at the console and they hung in the hallway of that building for a longtime.  The pictures were poster size.

I would love to get my hands on them if possible.  I don't expect that to ever happen, but would appreciate any leads you might have,


February 21, 2016

Hello Mr. Pollard,

My name is Susan Barrett and I came across your Autodin site and while surfing through the pages I came across your list of "Autodiners" and I didn't see my father's name there. I know he was at the Andrews site and I believe a few others. His name is Raymond F. Barrett. He has since been severely disabled by complications from a severe heart attack in 1997, but he still remembers his time working with Autodin and tries to find information on it online as best he can. He was also close friends with Robbie Robinson (God rest his soul) for many years who was also an Autodiner.

I just wanted to write and ask if my father's name could be added to your list along with his e-mail which is I know if I could send him the link to the page and he saw it he would be very happy.

Thank you so much and here's to a great year ahead.


Susan L. Barrett

February 22, 2016

MY name is Forrest Allen  and I came to Norton in 1967 and work under  Joe  as a supvr then he gave me a promotion in 1968 to shift supvr.  I left there in 1971 to help my brother go into bussiness but that lasted for a year when I found out that Fred Fogle had an opening so I applied and he hired me and that lasted until 1975 when there was a layoff.
Before coming to Noton I was working at McClellan  Plan 55 until it closed and I worked for Rocky. Before that I was working in LA as a plant tech.


Ps I'm retired from DOD from McClellan in 1999

August 12, 2016

Thank you for keeping the autodin site up. I had NO IDEA Pirm was closed.

My info was included the breaches of both OPM and IRS, so now I'm dealing with id theft. On the site they want to know where I was stationed. Pirmasens isn't on the list. So I went to find out why.

I found your site. Wow. I guess everything comes to a close but
somehow we think the military will always be there. I was at Pirm for 8-9 months. Pregnant and they forced me out. I have lots of memories of that place. Ancient memories, before Al Gore invented the internet. lol

When I was there, there was a road leading to the area. There was a guard shack just outside the fence [or was it inside? can't quite remember].

My then new husband, was on guard duty. There was a chair in there that leaned up against the wall on a tiny ledge that only held the two back legs.
*uhhum* airplanes are nothing compared to a tiny ledge and not falling off that ledge. ;-)

Because I was pg, they put me on guard duty just inside the door, to the right just before going in thru the double airlock doors. 12 hour shifts, it was miserable. They finally let me on the floor, where there was an area much like Star Trek, a 'bridge' area, and the HUGE tapes down below, from left to right in a semi circle I think it was.

My ex, John Barrett spent more time in there than I did. There was some LARGE black sgt as the head guy, in the office. I wanted to stay in, he told me 'well, you're pregnant, we know you're getting out'. I said I wasn't. he said 'yes you are' and he refused to let me do any work, just had me sitting around. I got out. When you are young and female, and it's the 70's, its hard to stand up to people. I think his name was Joe, but that could be just cloudy memory.

I thought the head guy on the floor was first name David, but that too, could be cloudy memory.

There was nothing around there. just this bldg in the middle of nowhere.

The only 'claim to fame' I remember, was the message from Nixon to drop the last bomb on viet nam came thru that switch and we knew, before anyone else in the world.

I'm 62 now. I was 20 then. I was Pvt. Janine Barrett. A long, long time ago, I can still remember some.

Thanks for walking the short walk with me.

Janine Joi
Blue Sage Naturals, LLC
P.O. Box 82864
Phoenix, Az USA 85071

October 21 2016


I worked Norton PTF from 1983 to 1985. I remember Don Strong, Walt Vanokur and Ernie. Don was proud of his Honda Goldwing. Walt told me stories about his friend or dentist being the father of the VanHalen brothers, such a long time ago. Ernie was a disheveled genius. They taught me a lot about my job and BS'd some nights to pass the time. I went on to Osan, AB TCF where I was the QC NCO from 1985 to 1986. Thanks for the page.


William O. Themann

October 28, 2016

Hey Bob,
Got my first look at the Autodin web page.  Brought back memories.  Nice job.  Get a little time, please add me to the Andrews crew.  Did my four years from 1966 to 1971.

Alexander (Al)
Computer Center Technician

November 22, 2016

Hello my name is George Candello and I served in the 270th Signal Company from 1978 to 1981 and was tasked with the maintenance and repair of the digital subscriber terminal equipment inside the center. I just wanted to say hello and mention that I had to come across your site and it was really exciting to see that somebody had posted the history of what it is we and our predecessors had accomplished there.

I live in Portland Oregon and make my home in Milwaukie.

Thank you very much.

 January 28, 2017

Wow. I just found these sites. I was a USAF DSTE/ crypto tech in building 3001g at Tinker from 1982 through 1984. I did my training at Sheppard in Witchita Falls. I may still have some trouble shooting documents from that time. I am now the Postmaster in Grove Ok. Wow the memories and some stories that come back from that time.

From the iPhone of Wayne Seamans

February 17, 2017

I discovered your AUTODIN history site and was amazed.  I was stationed at Croughton from 1986-1990 and was the operator on duty during the Philco-Ford to VAX-DEC change over.  I was also stationed at Gentile from 1990-1995 again the operator on duty during the RCA to VAX-DEC change over and also during the closure.

 On your site is an story by John Scott about the AUTODIN closure coin including pictures.  I could not find any further info about the coin or a bio about John.  I am interested in getting one of the coins.  Would you have any info about John so I can find out who he had make the coins.

 Jaime Deal


June 9, 2017


    My name is Aaron Jones. From what I have been told by another source was my father was Autodin Operations Officer Jan.68-Dec.68; Lt. Jones, William P.. Afterward he made captain and commanded a training company in Ft. Gordon until his discharge in '71. The extent of his talking about Vietnam was piling dead soldiers in Phu Bai and how he hated Asian food due to skinned cats and dogs for sale in Saigon. I am looking for any information from anyone that might remember him. He was never good at making friends, so I would not be surprised if soldiers wanted to forget him. I only have 3 pictures of his time in VN. I am also curious to what Battalion he would have been assigned to while there.

Thank you for your time. 

Aaron Jones, Ssgt. Us Army, retired.

June 28, 2017

Just found your site – amazing memories. I was a 34H, station at Pirmasens (1970 – 1973), Taegu (1977), Fort Ritchie (1974 – 1976), MD in support of the Philco Ford system at Ft. Derick.

The information on your website is truly informative.

Thank you for keep the history alive.

Virgil W. Palmer,


Internal Support Division
Central Services
Unified Government of
Athens-Clarke County, GA


September 8, 2017


Saw the info about the AUTODIN sites and thought I would respond.

After AIT my first assignment was Pirmasens, I worked in the Traffic Service

Section.  At the time we had a IBM360/20 which was replaced with the DESTE equipment.

I arrived at Pirmasens as a PVT and left 1.5 years later a SP5  I took a "short" and re-enlisted for Phu Lam.  After Phu Lam I went to Ft Detrick. Spent a year or two and then received orders for Ft Buckner.

I am the room mate of Ron's that worked in the Service Section.  After Buckner, I went back to Ft. Detrick until I ETS.   

 I went home to Arizona and was about to go back in the Army as I could not find a job when I got a call/letter (can't remember) offering me a job back at the Ft. Detrick AUTODIN as a GS5.  I jumped on that faster than you could believe.   Three months before I ETS'ed I made E-6 but if I accepted I had to reenlist for another 2 years.  I already had one foot out the door and told them I did not want it.  Almost turned out to be a big mistake as if I went back in the Army I would have to go back as a E5 and end up on the end of the promotion list for E6.  That would have hurt.

 I enjoyed most of my time in the Army except for Pirmasens.  Really disliked the place. The winter I was there we had snow 3 - 4 feet deep and I am not a snow person. 

 All the info other people given about AUTODIN is the way I remember it as far as locations, equipment, etc etc. 

 Spent 4 years with DCS, made it to GS7 but then had a big cutback on levels and that meant I would most likely be a GS7 until retirement or the job phased out.  I quit after I got a job with a company called S.W.I.F.T. in Culpeper VA.  Did almost the same job as working in the AUTODIN except on Burroughs equipment sending bank transfers around the world. 

 All in all a good life working in some sort of data communications environment. 


George Myers

November 30, 2017

I was a WU Computer Center Technician at Andrews AESC during the same time frame as Al Lakomyj. We began our training in a trailer in the pakring lot next to the AESC on the same date. I later transferred to Hancock AESC, where I worked until 1969, when I bid into the Pentagon.

 Trivia: I was stationed in Base Comm, across the street from the AESC, while serving in the (USAF) 1909th Comm. Squadron. I seperated in July 1964 anfd went to work for WU the following as a Plant Technician, working initially out of 960 V Street NE, Washington DC.


Charles A. (Chuck) Aston


December 9, 2017

I served as a tech controller in the AUTODIN Patch & Test Facility for RAF Croughton, June 1981 - June 1983. This was my first assignment out of tech school.  This was an extremely fulfilling and enjoyable assignment. I have been blessed to have maintained contact and friendship with some level of friends I met and with whom I worked during those two years. I appreciate your helping to preserve the history of this period of military communications history.

I am attaching a photo which I copied from an AUTODIN-related Facebook page, which is a photo from an AUTODIN training facility at
Ft. Gordon (August, Georgia), circa 1986. This setup which is shown in this photo is basically identical to that which we had in operation during my two years at Croughton, with very little exception (maybe a couple of pieces of equipment in the racks are different). Otherwise, this is a model of the very facility that we used to support Croughton ASC during my tenure, June 1981 - June 1983.


Darren D. Wheeler (Amn and A1C during my time at Croughton)
2168th Comm Squadron
ASC PTF, 1981-1983
Croughton, UK

December 9, 2017

I was trying to sign the guestbook and maybe I'm missing something. I was at Coltano  Patch n Test 86 to 88, 32D H4.

Just found this site and haven’t looked through it all yet but definitely will.

Walt Johnson;

Florida State Sgt at Arms