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The 602nd AC & W Squadron

From 1948 until 1955, Birkenfeld Air Base was under the command and control of the 602nd AC & W Squadron.

The 602nd AC&W Squadron has its roots in the 602nd Tactical Control Squadron which was re-designated the 602nd AC&W Sq. on 23 November 1948 just before moving to Birkenfeld from Darmstadt.  The mission of the 602nd was to provide early warning radar coverage and navigational aid to all aircraft flying over the occupied zones.

The main body of troops arrived at Birkenfeld on 8 December 1948.  This was the first American unit to move into the French Zone and they came to build.  From 12 Quonset huts of that first winter came the permanent structures familiar to post-1953 assignees.

"Cornbeef" the AC&W site had an AN/CPS-1 search radar, AN/CPS-4 height-finder, several radio relay sites (call sign: 03 Zulu) and Direction Finding sites (call sign: Cornbeef D/F) operational within a 100-mile radius of Birkenfeld.  Cornbeef D/F was ultimately designated a Net Control Station (Master DF site) and directed the efforts of 5 other sites in the Northern Europe UHF D/F Net.

Eventually by 1954 "Cornbeef Control" a high altitude Air Traffic Control Center was set up and operated on Erbskopf.  This non-radar ATC function came about due to the increasing assignment of high performance jet aircraft into Europe.  Later renamed Rhein Control it continued to grow until the mid 60's.  In the Late 60's the Air Traffic Control functions were taken over by the Germans and relocated to Frankfurt Air Traffic Control Center.

Records indicate the 602nd was known for its parties and athletic prowess in baseball, basketball, touch football, tackle football, and other sports.  Victories were celebrated either on base or off base.

In early 1955, the decision was made to move the 602nd to Giebelstadt, Germany and control of Birkenfeld AB passed to the 619th TACONRON that had recently deployed to Birkenfeld from France.

Commanders of Birkenfeld Air Base for 602nd were:  Major Eldy E. Crowell (8 Dec 1948-24 Jun 1949); Capt. Gene B. Grove (24 Jun 1949-3 Sep 1949); Maj William E. Hartless (3 Sep 1949-13 Mar 1950); LTC Richard L. Bisgard (13 Mar 1950-Dec 1951); LTC Toy B. Husband (Dec 1950-24 Feb 1955); Maj Dolph G. Franz (24 Feb 1955-8 Jun 1955); Capt William C. Deemer (8 Jun 1955-1 Aug 1955); Capt. William A. O'Hearn (1 Aug 1955-5 Dec 1955).

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