69th United States Army Field Artillery Detachment
The 69th U.S. Army Field Artillery Detachment was formed in April 1963 in the regular Army as the 69th U.S. Army Missile Detachment. It was activated in September 1963 in Menden, Germany.
It was then reorganised and redesignated as the 69th U.S. Army Field Artillery Detachment in June 1970 and assigned to the 570th USAAG. The unit was deactivated in May 1992.
69th US Army Field Artillery Detachment (FAD) was attached to the regiment and was responsible for the war- heads in peace and war as well as control of the peacetime storage sites. Whilst UK forces would seek authority to release a war- head from the US’s command structure, the 69th FAD would seek a properly authenticated release message from the USA. Efforts were made to camouflage the personnel to prevent them being targeted by Spetnaz (Russian Special Forces) or their presence giving away the nature of the regiment’s mission. Accordingly they used British Army Land Rovers and Bedfords and although they used their own weapons and on occasions they wore British NBC kit.
The detachments were organised in a headquarters element and four maintenance and assembly platoons, each habitually associated with the four British Firing Battery's. The total authorised strength was five officers, twenty one non-commissioned officers and seventy two other ranks. The 69th USA Artillery Detachment was the largest detachment of the 570th US Army Artillery Group, Headquarters in Munster and was one of the largest in Europe. The Detachment was co-located with 50 Missile Regiment at Northumberland Barracks from August 1980 and occupied block 11 within the camp, along with the smaller 9th USA Artillery Detachment.
In addition to supporting 50th Missile Regiment, the detachment also had responsibility for the local ammunition site and a small American post exchange was located in the basement of block 11.
Where The Hell Is The Rest Of The Base?
I went to Germany in February of 1982. I wound up in the 69th Detachment on a British Base known as the 50 Missile Regiment. After being in a huge training facility in the states, I was expecting my duty station to be the same, huge. Well my first day out and about I wondered around for about ½ an hour and said to myself " Where the hell is the rest of this base?" I could not believe it was so small. Amazingly, I had seen the whole thing before breakfast. In a way I was glad it was small because it became homelike quicker. There was always some kind of activity going on. Most everyone was polite and would say hello. Some of the lads looked at me as if I were crazy saying hello to them, but later I came to find out that as in any other place of the world there is good and bad. I found that some of the Americans there hated the British and vice verse. To me it was senseless but I would do my own thing.
In a days time I had settled into my room, and new surroundings of the Barracks. I have to say I liked it already. I arrived on a Friday so the weekend was mine to do as I pleased and that meant check out the town with my roommate and his friends. First we went to the shopping district to eat in the center of town so they could make a complete ass out of the new guy. We ate at an Italian Restaurant and the meal was quite good. After finishing the guy's told me it was customary to belch as loud as possible to let the owner know the meal was good. So like an Ass I listened and did the belching. As they laughed peopled turned and smiled at me so I figured that's what it was all about. Then when the waitress came to give us the bill they told me to say (I'm sure my spelling is wrong here) "Du habst ein schon ash" Supposedly to say "the meal was very good" but when this poor lady turned red in the face when I said it I knew that I had been had. Then they tell me the truth that I had just told her "you have a nice ass' and man did I feel like one. This was my first day. What the hell was to expect in the next few hours?
Writer Tom Lewis ex-69th USAFAD
Anglo-American One Up!
My first posting to Germany in May 71 was to 2 Fd Regt RA in Hemer, my first time out of the UK - on arrival, what did I find - a detachment of yanks on the other side of the street in our camp right next door to HQ Bty offices!!
Competitions!! They had their sign 69th USA Missile Detachment, Home of the Professionals - and what did we put on HQ Bty - 'We train the professionals', then 69 USAFAD changed their sign to 'Second to None' - so we changed ours to 'None'.
A great experience - I did temporary clerical duty with the Americans while their clerk (pronounced clurk) was in hospital.
On a personal note, I made a few friends with the Americans - even on a Remembrance parade, 69 USAFAD provided some of their men for the service and afterwards we all went to their bar - one of them had a chest full of medals, asked him what they were for - citation for enlisting, completing training, marksman, overseas theatre, etc - he then asked what mine was, the old inch of glory - GSM N Ireland - he called the others over saying "He's got a combat medal".
An enjoyable time until October '73.
Writer Jon Bevan ex Gunner HQ & L (Nery) Btys, 2 Fd Regt RA - 58 (Eyres) AD Bty, 12 AD Regt RA
Fondest Memories of British Nurses
I arrived June of 1986, my first thought was oh my God, what happened to the base it is so small. I was taken to my room so I could unpack, I opened my window and just stood there wondering what the next 3 years would bring. I had no idea that permanent duty was so laid back until a black Sgt. (looked a little like Eddie Murphy) knocked and walked in, I yelled "AT EASE" and he was dumb founded. He turned and walked out of the room and got a named Ward (from Arkansas) to come over and explain things to me.
As the first few days went by I found out that some of the Americans did not like the Brits, but I did not have a problem with, as I looked at they as teachers. I learned a lot over there and have some of my British friends thanks to all the guys at the REME bar.
I guess the fondest memory is when the British nurses where on base from England for an exercise.
Best Wishes Lads,
Phil Napier ex-69th USAFAD 1986-
Did you serve with the 69th Detachment with 50 Missile Regiment at Northumberland Barracks Menden?
Can you add any facts to the above article?
Do you have photographs of the part of the camp where you worked?