Saturday, March 2, 2013

JFK at Strike Command Nov. 18, 1963

1963 AF Magazine Article on Strike Command 

Also posted at:
JFKCountercoup2: STRIKE COMMAND, McDill AFB 1963

MacDill [sometimes mis-spelled McDill] AFB is located eight miles south of downtown TampaNow an operational base, MacDill has about 6,000 airmen and civilians on 5,000 acres, located on the Southwestern tip of the Interbay Peninsula on the west coast of Florida. Activated in 1941, MacDill Army Air Base was named after Col. Leslie MacDill who died in a plane crash near Washington D.C. in 1938. Its first mission was training World War II airmen on B-17 and B-26 aircraft. The base has gone through many changes and military conflicts in its 60 years, including a stint on the Base Realignment and Closure hit list in 1991.

During the Spanish-American War (1898), Tampa, because of its strategic location, was chosen as a rendezvous point for troops heading south to help Cuba gain independence from Spain. Approximately 10,000 of the 66,000 troops in Tampa waiting for ships headed to Cuba set up camp around what was then known as Port Tampa City, which bordered what is now MacDill AFB. There are several dates surrounding the history of MacDill AFB. Official records report an establishment date of 24 May 1939, date construction began 6 September 1939, date of beneficial occupancy 11 March 1940 and formal dedication 16 April 1941. This last date is normally associated with the age of the base.

Originally known as Southeast Air Base, Tampa, and later named MacDill Field in honor of Colonel Leslie MacDill, the field became MacDill Air Force Base shortly after the establishment of the United States Air Force in 1947.

Flying operations at MacDill began in 1941 with the base's first mission including transitional training in the B-17 Flying Fortress. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, MacDill became a major staging area for Army Air Corps flight crews and aircraft. In 1943 the base discontinued B-26 training and returned to B-17 training which continued through the end of World War II. During the war as many as 15,000 troops were stationed at MacDill at one time. Estimates of the number of crew members trained at the base vary from 50,000 to 120,000. Several bases in Florida, including MacDill, served as detention centers for German prisoners-of-war (POWs) in the latter part of 1944 and 1945. At its apex, 488 POWs were interned at MacDill. Following the end of hostilities in Europe, MacDill transitioned to a B-29 training base in January 1945, and after the war, continued B-29 training through 1953.

After World War II, MacDill became an operational base for Strategic Air Command with training activities focused around P-51, B-29, and in 1950, B-50 training. In 1951, MacDill's operational mission transitioned to new B-47 medium jet bombers and KC-97 tanker aircraft, with a primary mission as a strategic bombardment and air refueling base. MacDill's operational mission transitioned in 1951 to B-47 medium jet bombers and KC-97 tanker aircraft, with a primary mission as a strategic bombardment and air refueling base.

Plans to close MacDill surfaced in 1960, however the Cuban Missile Crisis highlighted the strategic location of the base and led to a reprieve of the planned cutbacks. In 1961 the United States Strike Command was established at MacDill as a unified command with integrated personnel from all branches of the military capable of responding to global crisis.

The base began training crews in F-84 aircraft in 1962, and MacDill became a Tactical Air Command base in 1963. In 1965, MacDill's two combat-ready F-4 wings (the 12th and 15th Tactical Fighter Wings) deployed to Vietnam. The 12th's deployment became permanent while the 15 TFW returned to MacDill and became a replacement training unit with F-4 and B-57 aircraft.

                                                JFK visits Strike Command - Nov. 18, 1963
In 1970, the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing moved to MacDill replacing the 15 TFW and continued F-4 training, losing the B-57 mission in 1972. MacDill's US Strike Command was redesignated US Readiness Command in 1972. In 1975, the 56 TFW replaced the 1 TFW and continued F-4 training until 1979 when F-16 aircraft were brought to the base. The Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, forerunner of US Central Command, activated at MacDill in 1983.

In 1987, US Special Operations Command replaced US Readiness Command. Helicopter operations ended at MacDill in 1987 after more than 25 years of service. Between 1979 and 1993 approximately half of all F-16 pilots were trained at MacDill. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, accelerated training programs expanded to allow many pilots to go straight from initial training to combat units in the gulf.
In 1991, due to military downsizing, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (DBCRC) required MacDill to cease all flying operations by 1993. The action effectively transferred MacDill's 100-plus F-16 mission to Luke AFB, Arizona. 1993 legislation reversed the flightline closure ruling and allowed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to transfer to MacDill to utilize the runway The base became home to the 6th Air Base Wing in 1994 with a primary mission of operating the base in support of US Central Command, US Special Operations Command, and a large number of tenant and transient units.
In late 1994 the base quickly became a major staging area for operations in Haiti when the flightline became a temporary home to approximately 75 C-130 aircraft. The successful operation highlighted MacDill's strategic location and flightline capabilities, which in turn led to the 1995 DBCRC's recommendation to bring a KC-135 refueling mission to MacDill.

In 1995, BRAC recommended keeping the base flightline open and relocating the 43rd Air Refueling Group from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., to MacDill. The wing operates KC-135 tankers. Those planes started arriving at MacDill in 1997. In 1996, MacDill's host unit, the 6th Air Base Wing, was redesignated the 6th Air Refueling Wing and 21st Air Force and Air Mobility Command. Because KC-135 tankers are larger than F-16s (previously assigned to MacDill), engineers had to retrofit hangars and facilities to operate and maintain them.

In 1996 the base's host wing redesignation to an Air Refueling Wing marked the beginning of a new era for MacDill. The redesignation marked the addition of a KC-135R squadron and mission which expanded in 1997 with the add-on of EC-135 and CT-43 aircraft and missions. Since the redesignation, MacDill and the 6th Air Refueling Wing, have contributed to military operations around the world at locations including Istres, France; Ramstein AB, Germany; Soto Cano and Taszar, Hungary; Zagreb, Croatia; Tuzla, Bosnia; Incirlik AB, Turkey; and Al Kharj and Riyadh, Saudia Arabia.

                                             President Kennedy and Gen. Paul Adams

Big Picture: United States Strike Command
Big Picture: Strike Command

United States Strike Command

In 1961 the United States Strike Command (STRICOM) was established at MacDill Air Force Base as a unified combatant command capable of responding to global crises. The name of the command was originally derived from the acronym for Swift Tactical Reaction In Every Known Environment (STRIKE).[1] It integrated the CONUS-based forces of the Army's Continental Army Command and the Air Force's Tactical Air Command (essentially elements from the Army's Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and the Air force's Composite Air Strike Force (CASF).

In 1965 the United States Atlantic Fleet became STRICOM's naval componentcommand. A year later General Theodore J. Conway took command, a position he held until 1969. Initially, STRICOM's assigned missions were to: (a) provide a reserve of general purpose forces for reinforcing the other unified commands, (b) train the general reserve, (c) develop joint doctrine and, (d) plan for and execute contingency operations.[2]Subsequently, STRICOM's missions were expanded to include planning for, and execution of, operations in the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa, and Southern Asia (MEAFSA).

STRICOM took place in the worldwide readiness test (of which Operation Giant Lance formed a part) in 1969, sortieing U. S. NavyMiddle East Force ships into the Gulf of Aden.[3]

STRICOM was redesignated United States Readiness Command (REDCOM) in 1972. [4] Essentially, the change was nothing more than a redesignation, except that the command was divested of its MEAFSA responsibilities.[5] The redesignated command's missions included integrating, training, and providing CONUS-based general purpose forces, as well as planning and providing joint task force headquarters and forces for operations in areas not assigned to other unified commands.[6] In 1979, the national command authorities ordered the CINC of REDCOM (CINCRED) to establish the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) headquarters as a separate subordinate command within REDCOM. That same year, General Volney F. Warner took command of REDCOM, and held command until 1981. The Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force became an independent unified command in 1983 as United States Central Command (USCENTCOM).

Readiness Command was replaced by United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 1987, with the last CINCRED, General James J. Lindsay, becoming the first CINCSOC.

Detachment 1, 1150th USAF Special Activities Squadron, also known as "Communications Support Element" or CSE, was subordinate to USSTRICOM and operated from MacDill AFB. CSE was about a 50–50 mix of Air Force and Army personnel. CSE consisted of two units – "A" unit and "B" unit – and was mainly a mobile tactical communications outfit.

Article on Strike Command

JFKCountercoup2: STRIKE COMMAND, McDill AFB 1963

                                                              Gen. Paul DeWitt Adams
                                                                  General, U.S. Army

Paul DeWitt Adams was born in Heflin, AL. In 1924, after graduating from the Marion Military Institute (the State Military College of Alabama), he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated with the Class of 1928, receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

From 1942 to 1944, Adams served as Executive Officer of the 1st Special Service Force, a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942 and trained in the U.S. In that position, he helped direct the Ranger tactics of the First Special Service Force in the Aleutian Islands and Italy; he also served in hot spots from Anzio and Ardennes - Alsace to the Rhineland, and in central Germany. The brigade became known as The Devil's Brigade. (A 1968 film of that name recounts the Brigade's formation, training, and its first European mission in the Italian campaign.)

Following that assignment, from January 1944 to January 1945, he commanded the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, serving in the Mediterranean and European Theaters. From January 1945 to January 1946, Adams was Assistant Division Commander of the 45th Infantry Division. This was followed by staff assignments to Headquarters, Army Ground Forces in 1946 and to the Command and General Staff College from 1947 to 1950. He was a student, and then faculty member, at the Army War College from 1950-51, before being deployed to fight in the Korean War.

During the Korean War, Adams consecutively served as Commanding General, 25th Infantry Division; Chief of Staff of X Corps; and as General Maxwell Taylor's Chief of Staff at Eighth U.S. Army. After the war, from May to December 1953, he was Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division. In 1958, he served as Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East where he directed U.S. Army and Marine forces in the landings in Lebanon. From 1959 to 1960, he commanded V Corps. From 1960 to 1961, Adams concurrently served as Commanding General, Third U.S. Army, and Commanding General, Fort McPherson, GA.

After receiving his fourth star in 1961, General Adams became the first Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strike Command (STRICOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL. STRICOM integrated the Continental U.S.-based forces of the Army's Continental Army Command and the Air Force's Tactical Air Command. (These were essentially elements from the Army's Strategic Army Corps (STRAC) and the Air force's Composite Air Strike Force (CASF). During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, under Adams command, STRICOM alerted some 100,000 men, readied 1,000 aircraft for takeoff, and moved 15,000 armored-division troops to staging areas. Fortunately, Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev got the message. In the fall of 1963, he was the key commander in ‘Operation Big Lift' that sent 15,377 men and 445 tons of combat equipment to Europe in only 63 hours.

In 1965 the Atlantic Fleet became STRICOM's naval component command. Initially, STRICOM's assigned missions were to: (a) provide a reserve of general purpose forces for reinforcing the other unified commands, (b) train the general reserve, (c) develop joint doctrine and, (d) plan for and execute contingency operations. Subsequently, STRICOM's missions were expanded to include planning for, and execution of, operations in an area covering one-third of the earth's land surface, including some 70 nations of the Middle East, Africa south of the Sahara, and Southern Asia (MEAFSA). General Adams served as Commander-in-Chief at STRICOM until his retirement in 1966.

The Nation column of the Friday, 17 April 1964 issue of Time magazine had this heading: "General Adams: Toughest of the Tough." The first paragraph of the article went on to say:

"The U.S. officer directing Exercise Delaware, General Paul DeWitt Adams, 57, is reputed to be the roughest, most hard-nosed American commander since General George S. Patton. Subordinates look into his leathery face, freeze before his cold stare and stern lips, and dub him ‘Old Stoneface.' The most combat-experienced commander on active duty, Adams expresses his military credo succinctly. Says he: ‘The man who creates the most violence in a military situation is the one who will win.'"

And like General George S. Patton, Adams drove himself, and his men, relentlessly to achieve assigned objectives. He was known for working 10-hour days, seven days a week; he even worked with his staff on both Christmas and New Year's Day. The kind of tribute that Paul Adams grudgingly respected was that expressed by one of his STRICOM officers: "I don't like the guy, but if war starts, I don't want anyone else leading me."

Under the title of ‘KILL THE S.O.B.'s' in the November 1965 issue of SAGA magazine, "The SAGA of America's 10 Most Feared Fighting Men List' included General Paul DeWitt Adams.

General Paul DeWitt Adams' military career spanned thirty-eight years and he fought in two wars: WWII and Korea. His list of awards includes:

Army Distinguished Service Medal – 2
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit – 2
Bronze Star Medal – 4
Combat Infantryman Badge
Basic Parachutist Badge

After retiring, he was president of Paul D. Adams & Associates from 1966 to 1971. He was married to Mabel (Decker) Adams and they had two children together; a daughter, Marjorie, and a son, Robert T., who was also an Army officer.

General Adams died on 31 October 1987 in Tampa, FL.

No comments:

Post a Comment