Brown, Clyde, SSgt

Communications Systems
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USAF Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Current/Last Primary AFSC/MOS
29372C-Airborne Radio Communications Technician
Current/Last AFSC Group
Communications Systems
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 29372, 31st Communications Squadron
Previously Held AFSC/MOS
00000-not listed
29231-Apprentice Morse Intercept Operator
29330-Apprentice Ground Radio Operator
29251-Morse Intercept Operator
29350-Ground Radio Operator
29350E-Ground Radio Operator
29352C-Airborne Radio Operator
29372-Airborne Radio and Flight Inspection Technician
Service Years
1956 - 1969
Foreign Language(s)
German
Official/Unofficial US Air Force Certificates
Cold War Certificate
Cuban Missile Crisis
Staff Sergeant


 Ribbon Bar


Aircrew Enlisted (Basic)

Expert Marksman

Carbine


 

 Official Badges 

Missileman (Basic)


 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal KC-135 2000 Hour


 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Together We ServedAir Force Communicators & Air Traffic Controllers AssociationVeterans of the Vietnam WarPost 454, John H. Kraus Post
Post 635Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2009, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Communicators & Air Traffic Controllers Association
  2013, Veterans of the Vietnam War
  2014, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 454, John H. Kraus Post (Member) (Bloomington, Illinois) - Chap. Page
  2014, American Legion, Post 635 (Deceased Member (Honor Roll)) (Normal, Illinois) - Chap. Page
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page



 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1956, Basic Military Training (Lackland AFB, TX), 3700
 Unit Assignments
Training UnitsTraining Units6912th Radio Squadron MobileAir Force Security Service - Silent Warriors
6915th Radio Squadron MobileAir Force Communications Service (AFCS)651st Communications SquadronUnited States Strike Command (USSC)
Communications Units46th Communications SquadronTraining Units4258th Strategic Wing
1st Aerospace Communications Group31st Communications Squadron
  1956-1956, 00000, 3726th Basic Military Training Squadron
  1956-1957, 29330, 3396th Student Squadron
  1956-1957, 29231, 3396th Student Squadron
  1957-1958, 29330, 6912th Radio Squadron Mobile
  1957-1958, 29251, 6912th Radio Squadron Mobile
  1958-1959, 29251, 6910th Radio Group Mobile/6910th Radio Group Mobile Detachment 5
  1959-1960, 29251, 6915th Radio Squadron Mobile
  1960-1961, 29350, Headquarters European Communications Area (HECA)
  1961-1961, 29350, 651st Communications Squadron
  1962-1962, 29350, United States Strike Command (USSC)/Headquarters
  1963-1965, 29350, 1978th Communications Group
  1965-1965, 29350, 1976th Communications Group
  1966-1967, 29350, 46th Communications Squadron
  1966-1967, 29350E, 3636th Combat Crew Training Group
  1967-1967, 29352C, 4258th Strategic Wing
  1968-1968, 29372C, 1st Aerospace Communications Group
  1968-1969, 29372, 31st Communications Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1962-1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
  1965-1965 Gemini IV Retrieval/Splashdown
  1965-1965 Gemini V Retrieval/Splashdown
  1965-1965 Operation Power Pack (Dominican Republic)
  1967-1967 Vietnam War
  1967-1967 Operation Arc Light
  1967-1967 Project Combat Lightning
  1967-1967 Young Tiger Operations
  1967-1968 Project Combat Lightning
 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Together We ServedAir Force Communicators & Air Traffic Controllers AssociationVeterans of the Vietnam WarPost 454, John H. Kraus Post
Post 635Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2009, Air Force Together We Served [Verified]
  2010, Air Force Communicators & Air Traffic Controllers Association
  2013, Veterans of the Vietnam War
  2014, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 454, John H. Kraus Post (Member) (Bloomington, Illinois) - Chap. Page
  2014, American Legion, Post 635 (Deceased Member (Honor Roll)) (Normal, Illinois) - Chap. Page
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on SSgt Brown's US Air Force Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE?
SSgt Clyde Brown - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Air Force?
I come from a family of eight sons, of which I was the seventh. I am on the right in the back row of the picture. At the time of this picture, all before and after me had served or were serving in the military. The youngest son later served over twenty years in the US Army.

I had joined the Army National Guard in my senior year in high school and decided after graduating and attending summer camp that I too wanted to be in the military. I enlisted in the Air Force on September 12, 1956.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
As a senior in High School on January 23, 1956, I joined the Florida Army National Guard. At the time, the Guard was posted as crowd control at a union strike at a manufacturing plant in Gonzales, Florida. By the time I was sworn in, the strike was settled. I attended the summer Guard mission at Camp Stewart, Georgia, in August 1956, where I was assigned as Radio Relay Operator, (notifying the 150MM AntiAircraft Artillery placements to "commence firing" or "cease firing"). The "commence" part was easily heard by the gun crews, but the "cease firing" had to be relayed by running to each position and getting the attention of the Artillery Commander. Not so easy, since there were five such AAA stations about 20 yards apart.

After that trip, I decided to switch over the the Regular Air Force. I was sworn in the AF at Maxwell AFB, Alabama on September 12, 1956 and attended Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Texas until October 16, 1956.

After basic training I attended Morse Code Radio Operator schools at Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

My first overseas assignment started on May 27, 1957 with the 6912th Radio Squadron Mobile (USAFSS) in Bingen, Germany.

I transferred to the 6915th RSM in Hof, Germany in September 1958 to initiate Morse Code Intercept Operations nearer the Iron Curtain.

After marrying my German fiancee on January 7, 1960, I transferred to the 1230th AACS Squadron at Croughton RAFB, England to complete my first overseas tour. In England, our first son was born.

From England I was transferred to the 651st Communications and Support Squadron (TAC) at Shaw AFB, SC. While there I was promoted to A1C and my wife gave birth to our second son. After only seven months at Shaw, I was transferred to the newly formed United States Strike Command at McDill AFB, FL.

In the short time I served in the United State STRIKE Command (an acronym for Swift Tactical Reaction In every Known Environment), I participated in three Exercises plus Operation Clear Lake during the Cuban Crisis of October 1962.

In December 1962, I (along with twelve other Radio Operators from STRIKE) received TDY orders to the 1978th Communications Group (AFCS) at Albrook AFB, Canal Zone for participation in Project Blue Baron (establishing Air Force Air Traffic Controllers at the American Embassies throughout Central and South America, providing English-speaking radio operators in support of Presidential flights). In June 1963, we were notified that "Project Blue Baron" had been cancelled, and the TDY turned into a permanent assignment to the 1978th AFCS Group, Albrook AFB, Panama Canal Zone, for the remainder of a normal three-year term. My family was permitted to join me in June 1963.

I served in Panama until January 1966, and transferred to the 46th Communications Squadron (SAC) at Barksdale AFB, LA. In September 1966 I applied for and was accepted as an Airborne Radio Operator. After physiological, psychological and survival training, I was transferred to SEA assigned to the 4258th Strategic Wing (SAC) at RTAFB Utapao, Thailand. I was promoted to SSgt on May 1, 1967. During my tour in Thailand I was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for combat service.

At the end of my SEA tour, I was transferred to SAC Headquarters at Offutt AFB, NE on January 8, 1968, where I flew on the SAC Airborne Command Post (Looking Glass) and worked in the Underground Command Post (Dropkick) as Communications Controller.

In January 1969, I was promoted to Airborne Radio Operator Instructor.

I was honorably discharged on August 6, 1969.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
I flew 71 missions on a KC-135E Tanker consisting of eight hours shifts over the Gulf of China between Hanoi, Vietnam and Hainan Island, China plus five hours travel-to-and-from orbit. The trip to and including our orbit was at flight level 38,000. The return trip was flown directly from orbit to Thailand at flight level 43,000. In this way, we could return to base without concern for possible SAM attacks. This mission was known as "Operation Combat Lightning".

Our primary mission was to provide airborne radio relay to assist downed US Military pilots, requiring Rescue Operations out of DaNang AFB, South Vietnam, or by Navy Rescue from aboard the USS Enterprise stationed in the Gulf of China.

Our secondary mission was to provide emergency air refueling services for damaged US Military aircraft.

In the Fall of 1967, our primary mission took on Radio Relay for Bomber flights out of Thailand through the mountains of Laos to deliver their bomb loads over Hanoi.
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
My assignment with the 1978th AFCS Group and Squadron at Albrook AFB, Panama Canal Zone was the most interesting and diverse of all my permanent assignments. In addition to being my longest assignment during my tenure (a full three years), I was also sent on various TDY's to neighboring Central and South American countries in support of the US Embassy Military Missions.

I was selected for duty on two Gemini missions, IV and V. Our duties included Air Traffic Control for Rescue aircraft, in case the mission was scrubbed and a landing in the jungles of South America was imminent.

I was selected as the Radio Operator on the CINC Southern Command's (General Bruce Breitweiser) unofficial Recreational Boat. While at sea with the General on board, as the sole RO, I had to maintain 24-hour Radio contact with his office on the mainland. Thankfully the trips were only 3-4 days each.

I participated as the sole Radio Operator on one mission performed by the Air Force Rescue Service out of Panama searching for the son of the then-Vice President of Peru. The VP's son and his fellow Engineer's were surveying a route over the Andes from the Pacific Ocean to local villagers on the eastern side of the range. Their helicopter went missing and was later found with no survivors.

Having picked up conversational Spanish while in Panama, I was assigned as the USAF Air Traffic Controller for a coordination trip to all the capitals of South American countries, encouraging their cooperation with ICAO regulations.

When not on TDY, my assignments included Air Traffic Controller for Albrook Airways (Flight Service Station), Military Affiliated Radio System (MARS) operator and Radio Operator for the U.S. Embassy Mission Network.

The most memorable shift at Albrook Airways was on November 22, 1963. On that afternoon around 1PM CST, the pilot on an incoming USAF aircraft asked if I was listening to The Voice of America broadcast. I informed the pilot that we were not authorized to monitor such frequencies and he replied, "I think your Commanding Officer may want to hear what's being reported." With that, he gave me the frequency and I realized immediately when I tuned in that it was Walter Cronkite speaking about the assassination of our President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, and immediately phone-patched the broadcast to my 1978th Group Commander, Colonel Stevenson. He listened to the patch for four hours. Not since the Cuban Missile crisis had I been involved in such an important and terrible event.

The variety and amount of my experiences in Central and South America make that assignment my most memorable.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
Within one year of my assignment to Offutt, I was appointed as Airborne Radio Operator Instructor in support of the SAC ABNCP/PACCS Training Program. At the time, I was the first Staff Sergeant (E-5) to be so appointed.

Being selected by Colonel Wilton G. Weaver, Deputy Director-Command and Control and Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (DCOE) as the Communications Controller for the SAC Underground Command Post during the First Moon Landing on July 20, 1969.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.
Awarded the Air Medal with two bronze loops (for 72 Combat Missions over hostile territory).

Awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, for Meritorious Achievement while participating in Aerial Flight.

Awarded an Outstanding Unit Award for combat service originating in Thailand.

Participated in Gemini IV, V, and VIII, coordinating possible rescue attempts from a Rio de Janerio, Brazil outpost in the event the capsule had to abort its mission while orbiting over the Jungle of South America. Fortunately, the missions were accomplished without aborts.

Appointed Radio Operator Instructor aboard SAC's Airborne Command Post, known as "Looking Glass", on January 8, 1969.

Participated in the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, with Neil Armstrong and his team, on June 19, 1969, as Communications Officer in the SAC Underground Command Post.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
The three Air Medals, recognizing my contributions to successful missions.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
Technical Sergeant Willie C. Smith, my instructor in SAC Airborne Command Post operations, who contributed greatly in my qualifying for rapid selection as Airborne Radio Operator Instructor with the SAC ABNCP. His patience and attitude was consistently encouraging and his knowledge outstanding.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Christmas Eve, 1957. While copying Morse Code from a station behind the Iron Curtain, I copied the following plain-text message, "Merry Christmas to Clyde Brown and all his co-workers in the 6912th Radio Squadron Mobile, located in Bingen, Germany!"

After copying the message, needless to say, I was shocked that someone "over there" knew that much about me, where I worked and that I was on the current shift.

Being a rookie Radio Intercept Operator, I took it at face value. I was shaken to say the least.

After a few minutes of trying to explain to my Analyst what traffic I had for him, he explained, "Don't worry. You were sent the message by a co-worker, since you are a new Operator. He was just playing with you."

I still get a chuckle when I think of how serious I thought it was.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
I attended Business School in Omaha, Nebraska concentrating in Accounting and Data Processing, graduating in May 1971.

Upon completion I worked for the Southwest Bank of Omaha, Nebraska until December 1971, when I obtained employment with a Midwestern Insurance Company.

On January 3, 1972, I started with State Farm Insurance Companies in Bloomington, IL, retiring on January 1, 2000.

After two retirements I now golf, fish and travel with my wife to be with our family.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
Lifetime member of the Joint Communications Support Element, Veterans Association (JCSE) of the US STRIKE Command.

Lifetime member of the Air Force Communicators & Air Traffic Controllers Association. The main benefit is the contact with fellow ATCs who served during my tenure. I attended my first Reunion in St. Louis, Missouri during the weekend of September 22, 2011.

Lifetime member of Air Force Missileer's Association.

Member USAF Radio Operators (past and present).

Lifetime Member of Air Force Together We Served. Main benefit is to allow my military records to be reviewed by relatives and friends for 100 years after my death.

Lifetime member of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars.

Lifetime member of the American Legion.

Lifetime member of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Member of the Air Force Sargent's Association (Facebook).
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
My service enhanced the skills needed to succeed in the business world. During my employment with State Farm, I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management from Illinois State University which allowed me to pursue my own business, building and maintaining Computers and Networking Services, after retirement.

On December 31, 2008 I retired from this small business.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE AIR FORCE?
Believe in yourself. Be courteous, respectful,and professional at all times to subordinates, peers and superiors alike.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SSgt Clyde Brown - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
TWS and the US Air Force
During my 12 years, 10 months, and 12 days of active duty in the Air Force, I served over 9 years overseas and many of those assignments were without family or involved in several Temporary Duty assignments.

After my eldest son asked me, "Dad, what did you DO in the Air Force?" (prompted by my several absences and not being able to discuss the missions with anyone outside my own unit), I joined TWS and was able to compile my Air Force Career facts for my sons, who were the real victims of my many and lengthy duty assignments away from them.

DS 4/6/17

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