MERLE L. REMMERT
Warren, Texas
Microwave Repairman
June 1956-November 1958

BACKGROUND

When I enlisted in ASA, I had served a four-year hitch starting with basic training in Hawaii, radio operator's course in Japan, and a RTT operator in Korea in 1952.  After rotating back from there, they sent me to Texas.  In Ft. Bliss, I was a radio operator in the artillery, then to Austin in the Reserve Advisor's Office, and on to Beaumont, TX, as an advisor to the units there.  This is where I met, and eventually married, the prettiest girl I ever knew.  From there, I went to Ft. Hood as a radio operator in the 4th Armored Division.  In 1955, I decided to get out and I did.

MICROWAVE REPAIR SCHOOL

In June 1955, I decided to re-up (somebody called that ASA was offering a course in microwave repair).  I didn't have the slightest idea who, or what, ASA was or anything about microwaves except that it was a new means of communication, but it sounded interesting to me.  I didn't know what I was getting into. In July of that year, I started the course at Ft. Monmouth, NJ, and discovered that I really enjoyed the challenge--took to it like a duck to water.  There I learned basic repair and the AN/TRC-29 Microwave Relay System, a 24-channel PPM system that was really neat. Of course, I never saw one of those again.  I graduated in February 1956.

BERLIN ASSIGNMENT

I was on hold at Ft. Devens until my first child was born in April 1956.  Finally, in June of that year, I got orders to fly, with my family, and report to 8620 DU.  Our first impression of Berlin was awesome.  A German driver took us around to all of the places we had to go to process in, get quarters and supplies.  We were treated so well that I could hardly believe this was the same army that I had spent five years in already.  As the driver was running us around, he would point out things of interest and explain where we were.  My wife made a comment that he spoke English like a native American, and he said, "I should, I was a prisoner of war in Kansas for some time.'' Ouch!  But he was really friendly and helpful to us.

When I reported to work, instead of AN/TRC-29's, I got to repair, install and operate everything from desk fans and ceiling lights to you name it.  It was a learning experience that could not be equaled anywhere else.  I fully enjoyed the technical aspects of the job.  My one-man shop grew some while I was there, and at the end of my tour I had a small crew of some of the best technicians in the business.

Off duty, my wife and I enjoyed walking in the parks, window shopping, strolling along the Kurfursterdamm and sightseeing.  Two of our favorite places were the Gypsy Keller restaurant and the botanical garden with it huge glass castle.  We got to know several local people, some of them East Berliners who were allowed to come and go in those days.  We got some first hand accounts of what the conditions were for them.

In November 1958, I said my good-byes and left behind a contract for a new VW that hadn't been delivered yet, and an old Nazi era one-tube radio.  Sometimes I wish that I had kept the radio.  The VW order in those days had about a six-month waiting period to get delivery from the factory at a cost of $600.00.  The contract went to someone that needed it more than I.

SERVICE AFTER BERLIN

Upon getting stateside, I went back to Ft Devens and another repair school for six months, and from there to the ASA Special Projects Unit in Vint Hill Farms, VA.  After that, I served at ASA sites in the Philippines, Roth Westen bei Kassel, Ft. Devens and Panama.  From there I retired in June 1971.

CIVILIAN CAREER

I got to work at Texas Instruments Antenna Lab, on the outskirts of Dallas.  This is an R&D facility that worked mainly on government military contracts, and I was able to stay in my favorite technical field.  In my 18 and one-half years there, I met several ex ASA men.  From there, I retired again.  This time to the East Texas Big Thicket, about 50 miles north of Beaumont, Texas.  This is where I'll stay until whenever.

 
BI 160 000 000