I joined the 1370th in 1963 and retired from it in 1970. I started as an RC -130A driver and finished as an AST Commander in AST 2 Liberia. In 1967 I went on the recon, gathered the data, put the OPS Plan together and then worked the AST for the first six months starting in September of 1967. Marshal Thomas spent the last six months starting in 1968, completing the project.
The liberia project was, I believe, the first and possibly the the only one that relied upon ground stations to provide flight line navigation. The system enabled the pilot using a PDI( Position Deviation Indicator) to stay on flight line. The system was designed by a civilian, now deceased, named Mike Unescrow(sic).There was a haze layer at 25 to 30 thousand caused by sand from the Sahara Desert therefore we used a three and a half inch camera at 22 thousand giving us a 1 to 60,00 scale. We also used one of the several infra red films by Kodak. Water for processing had something like fifteen times to much iron therefore we tapped into the exhaust steam from a soap factory to use distilled water for processing.
The chief of Contracting Division, Army Map Service contacted me after the project was completed and was very pleased with our work. Using flight lines that were void of excess coverage enabled them to produce maps more rapidly and at a lesser cost.
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