Crazy Cat's/1st Radio Research History
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...There are some irregularities in some of the history. Small things but might be interesting to someone who gives a rat's rump, i.e., lots of confusion over CRAZY CAT vs CEFLIEN LION. Same outfit, same mission; sometime in '68 NSA imposed their trigraph lettering names on all ASA programs. One of the trigraphs assigned for use was CFL. Since there was already a patch with CRAZY CAT's famous kitty, brainstorms were generated to create a name utilizing the CFL trigraph and keeping the same sense of the outfit. Someone (I believe in the 224th Bn) bastardized "Sea Flying (Pegasus) Lion (kitty)" into CE FLIEN LION (CFL). The first two syllables were somehow merged, and we became CFL. The 1st RR resisted the name change as long as we could, but were finally forced to accept the will of the almighty from Meade..." Contributed by Flanagan, Robert J., CWO, US Army (Ret)email@example.com [11FEB2000]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...I was the project officer to make arrangements to bring the 5 birds to Nam when I was in the 509th RR Group in 1966 to 1967. Here is a little history..." Contributed by COLONEL R. Ren HART (Retired) firstname.lastname@example.org [04MAR2013]
In September of 1966 I had been with the 224th Aviation Battalion (Radio Research) for a little over 3 months. It was becoming apparent to me that the job of Battalion Aviation Safety Officer was not going to be a career enhancing position. In war time the mission takes priority over "safety" and the tasks I needed to perform in that capacity were in opposition to the battalion getting the job done. I asked the battalion commander if he would transfer me to our next higher headquarters, the 509th Radio Research Group, to which he consented. Since I was the only Aviator in the Group, early on I was handed the project of finding a home in Vietnam for the 5 P2Vs which at that time were undergoing reconfiguration at General Dynamics to fit the Army's needs. The primary change was installing five operator positions in each of the planes which would be used to monitor and identify enemy radio traffic and jam their radios when appropriate.
The Neptune was originally a 2 engine, 70,000 pound, anti submarine-warfare aircraft, used by the Navy in the 50s and early 60s. It was an electronically clean platform which would suit our purpose of intelligence gathering. In addition to being refitted with electronic stations for Signal Intelligence (SigInt) acquisition, they also had two jet engines being installed on the outboard portion of the wings, primarily to assist in takeoff when necessary.
At the time I was assigned as project officer, the birds were being transferred to the Air Force Base at Marana, AZ, near Tuscon for final mission testing. My boss sent me back to AZ to monitor the testing. I was at Mariana for about a week but everything was so close hold that it was difficult for me to get info on the progress of the tests.
I did learn that these reconfigured aircraft weighed about 80,000 pounds and required runways with ten inches of homogenous concrete to withstand their landings since their entire weight was concentrated on only two wheels.
There were only two airfields in Nam which could handle that load, one was Tan San Nhut AFB in Saigon and the other was the Naval Air Base at Cam Ranh Bay. Upon return to Nam, my project would be to arrange a home for this new unit and their aircraft. I decided on Cam Ranh Bay because the Navy already had P2Vs there, which meant there would be maintenance facilities available.
I had quite a time talking those folks into making space for us when I couldn't tell them about the high priority, super secret mission they were designed for. Finally, the local commander pointed to a place on the tarmac and said we could park 'em there.
Crazy Cat (P2VE) at Cam Ranh Bay - 1968
I picked out some spots for locating our large GP tents and a place for the company personnel to sleep. At that point the Navy Commander explained to me that Navy Regs required that their pilots had to sleep in air conditioned quarters and that we needed to comply with that. Wow; such a deal. Our chopper pilots flying in an out of the jungle were told they couldn't carry their sleeping bags for overnighters because it used up space needed for ammo and resupply, and the Navy is going air conditioned! Well, it was a strange war!
In early June of 67 I was due to rotate home and our Crazy Cat unit, now designated the 1st Aviation Company, Radio Research wasn't going to arrive until the following month. By that time I really wanted to be in on the final phase of that operation, but I wasn't going to spend a day longer in Nam than I had to. And the rest is history.
COLONEL R. Ren HART (Retired) email@example.com
Aircraft Accident Consultant
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...LEFT: Me (by the nose) in the flight suit. CENTER: Barracks - Can't remember Shipmates name. RIGHT: Artillery shell exploded just above aircraft! The Pilot did one hell of a job bringing her back home..." Contributed by DAVIS, Roy firstname.lastname@example.org [23AUG2013]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Circa 1967-1969..." Contributed by DAVIS, Roy email@example.com [25AUG2013]
A BIT OF HISTORY: "...Several AP-2E (ex P2V-5F) ECM / SIGINT Neptunes were used by the US Army 1st Radio Research Company, out of Cam Ranh Bay from 07/1967 to 04/1972, and also relayed sensor data. BuAerNos: 131429, 131458, 131485, 131492, 131496, 131526, 131531, and others..." http://www.umcc.umich.edu/~schnars/texte/gunships.htm
"Crazy Cat's/1st Radio Research History Summary Page"