Monday, December 22, 2014

Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan Visits the Western White House (1972)

State Visit of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato
Entrance to the Western White House
Type of Activity
 Summit Meeting      
 La Casa Pacifica San Clemente Ca
Date of Activity
 January 6 1972
 33.390989°N 117.597081°W

President Nixon was coming to California for an extended stay and planned to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Sato in a few days. He planned to fly to San Diego to address the National Steel Workers to try and boost the American Shipbuilders moral who were facing stiff competition from the Japanese and European yards. The President wanted to reassure them that the upcoming meetings with Prime Minister Sato would help their ability to compete with Japan.

Jan 4 1972 President Nixon Addresses the National Steelworkers (1972)

The President greets steel workers at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. 
On very short notice the President decided to visit the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (SSC). There was no advance notice given or a specific reason for his visit and informal address. The CCT was notified the day of the President’s arrival in California to set up communications at the shipyard in San Diego to support the Presidents short visit and remarks. As usual we had to scramble and departed El Toro with a complete complement of radio equipment, Mini-Switchboard and Commcenter. The Local telephone company was notified and all circuits were ordered with tentative locations. We connected Baker and Charlie to the USSS CP at the Western White House While Sierra was installed on the Mini-Switchboard on site.

The President arrived at the Western White House the night before his proposed trip to NSSC and made the 60 mile helicopter flight to the San Diego Naval Air Station on Jan. 4th where the Presidential Limo waited. The motorcade then proceeded to the shipbuilding yard.

Note: The Exxon Valdes was built at this shipyard in 1986 and launched on 14 October 1986

 Construction is underway of a super-tanker at the NSSC’s shipyard in San Diego.
The President spoke at 10:36 a.m. at the shipyard of the company. He spoke without referring to notes. Once his remarks were finished the President spent several minutes with the crowd of steelworkers that had gathered to see the President and hear his remarks.  Approximately 30 min. after the President arrived at the shipyard, he departed by motorcade to the San Diego Naval Air Station to return to the Western White House where final preparations were underway for Prime Minister Sato visit.

These short in and out side trips were fairly simple and we were becoming use to them that’s why the CCT was established and why all of our Equipment was stored on pallets. We packed up all of our equipment and returned to our shop at the El Toro MCAS.

Once we returned from San Diego all of the CCT went to San Clemente and Prepare for the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sato who would arrive in two days on Jan 6th 1972.

 Prime Minister Sato Arrives at the Western White House
President Richard M. Nixon and Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato had economic meetings at the Western White House in San Clemente. Nixon and Sato worked out the final details of the Okinawa reversion agreement during these meetings along with other economic issues.

On January 6, 1972, the President greeted Prime Minister Sato in a ceremony at the Western White House and later that evening the President hosted a working dinner in honor of Prime Minister Sato and the U.S. and Japanese official parties. Entertainment was provided by a five piece string ensemble from the US Marine orchestra.

The next day the President and Prime Minister Sato met again in the Conference room in the Admin. Building with the members of the U.S. and Japanese official parties and concluded the two day visit.

The President and Prime Minister Sato issued a joint statement on the result of their meetings to members of the press and the official U.S. and Japanese parties. The address was videotaped for a delayed transmission to Japan via satellite.

Note: The President spoke at 1:30 p.m. at the Western White House in San Clemente, Calif. He spoke without referring to notes.

Departing from the Western White House
Following the President's remarks, Prime Minister Sato spoke in Japanese. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

“I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity given me to renew my long, personal friendship with President Nixon during the 2-day talks with him. I am confident that these meetings have contributed to strengthen the unshakable relationship of mutual trust and interdependence between the peoples of the United States and Japan.

On behalf of the Japanese delegation, I would like to express my sincere thanks for the warm hospitality extended to us by President Nixon.

I would also like to extend to President Nixon my best wishes for his health, and hope that his forthcoming visits to Peking and Moscow will bring about fruitful achievements for the peace and prosperity of the world.

I thank you.”
Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks on Departure of Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan From the Western White House." January 7, 1972. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

These meetings took place just prior to President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. 

The Presidential Retreat, Camp David MD (1965-1967)

Camp David Catoctin Mountain,  Md.

Camp David Insignia
 1,900 ft. (579.1 m)
 Frederick County, Maryland, USA
 Appalachian Mountains
 +39.648333N  -77.466667 W

November of 1965 to Camp David

Camp David was originally built as a camp for federal government agencies and their families, by the WPA, starting in 1935, opening in 1938. About Camp David

On July 5 1942 the President inspected the retreat, which he had named "Shangri-La" in April. Among the names Roosevelt applied to individual buildings were "The Bear's Den" (the main lodge), "The Soap Dish" (the laundry), "The Baker Street Urchins" (Secret Service building), and "Little Luzon" (Philippine stewards' cabin).

Entrance to the Presidential Retreat (1942)
In April 1942 President Roosevelt visited the camp and chose as its nucleus and his personal residence an existing cabin, a one-room frame structure with a huge stone fireplace, an open porch, and an outside kitchen. Rebuilt by local laborers and the crew of the U.S.S. Potomac, which was transferred to the retreat in June, the completed structure, or lodge, contained a living-dining room, probably the original room; an enlarged, screened-in porch; a bedroom wing to the south; and a kitchen wing to the north. The exterior was constructed of local stone and hardwood; the interior, mainly of commercially obtained materials.

Laborers also assembled a communications building out of three existing cabins; combined two others to form a guest lodge; altered another structure for use as servants' sleeping quarters; and constructed a log gatehouse to guard the access road. Landscaping included selective removal of trees and shrubbery to accommodate the eastward view; additional planting in the vicinity of the main lodge; some clearing to aid in construction; and the obliteration of old service roads. Labor in the swimming pool area involved landscaping, road improvement, and the erection of a frame platform and tent for use as a dressing room. Utility work included the installation of water, power, and telephone lines and an underground intercommunication system.

Main Entrance to Camp David 
Roosevelt's successor, Harry S Truman, used the retreat only a few times. President Eisenhower, however, was a frequent visitor and renamed it Camp David in honor of his grandson. He also re-designated the main lodge as "Aspen." The Eisenhower’s not only repaired, repainted, and refurnished most of the cabins, but they also added a large flagstone terrace and picnic and outdoor cooking facility in the area of the main lodge and also installed a single golf green and several tees. President Eisenhower also had an Underground Bomb Shelter constructed behind Aspen Lodge.

Marine Guard Post at the Entrance to Camp David
Aspen Lodge (1965)
Aspen Lodge after renovations (1970)
Presidents Kennedy and Johnson rarely utilized Camp David.  It was President Nixon's favorite retreat when he was in Washington, not only for relaxing and meeting with foreign dignitaries, but also for working.  Nixon approved extensive modernization of the facilities at the camp, including major renovation to Aspen Lodge, installation of a helicopter pad, new figure-eight swimming pool, bowling alley, and skeet shooting range. There are now 11 residence cabins, including the main guest cabin, which is presently called "Laurel." The President utilizes a three-room cottage, named "Birch," as an office.   

Aspen Lodge Bedroom
Aspen Lodge Living Room           
                   Aspen Lodge (1970)                                 President Nixon with Russian Premier Brezhnev
Camp David Mess Hall (1965)
Originally a barracks and mess hall Hickory was renovated in the early 60’s, it is now the center of activities while staying at Camp David. Hickory now contains a lounge and bar, a movie theater, as well as a two lane bowling alley and a game room with two pool tables.Originally a barracks and mess hall Hickory was renovated in the early 60’s, it is now the center of activities while staying at Camp David. Hickory now contains a lounge and bar, a movie theater, as well as a two lane bowling alley and a game room with two pool tables.

Hickory Lodge (1956)
 The lounge in Hickory Lodge with dance floor
Fully equipped bar in Hickory Lodge

As one of the permanent staff assigned to Camp David, we were allowed to use any of the recreational facilities as long as the President or any VIPs would be visiting.

The most popular facility used by the staff and their families was the swimming pool and bath house which was located near the Mess old mess hall and barracks. The pool also had a built in trampoline where the kids loved to play.
Camp David swimming pool (1966)
The pool bath house (1965) 
Staff Swimming Pool (2014)
LBJ was the last President to use this pool, because when President Nixon took office he made numerous improvements to Camp David including a new pool behind Aspen lodge. The old pool remained for the use by the staff.

Aspen Lodge with new swimming pool (1969)
 Navy operations

Camp David is a U.S. Navy installation, commanded by a Naval Commander. Sailors are mostly Seabees and most officers are in the civil engineering field. The Navy Seabee Detachment performs maintenance and beautification. Some of the sailors include: grounds and maintenance personnel, electricians, carpenters, corpsmen, and the President's cooks (culinary specialists). The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) provided all of the necessary voice and data communications and maintains the electronic fence surrounding the facility. The Marine Guard provided all of the physical security

Marine One landing at Camp David
Army One (1967)

 Camp David Communications Detachment
Gov’t housing at Camp David (2009)
Type Of Activity
 Experiences while at Camp David
 Thurmont MD
Date of Activity
 Nov 1965 to Jun 1970
 33°49′26″N 116°31′49″W

November 1965 to March 1967 the Camp David Communications Detachment (Cactus)

It was November of 1965 when my experiences with WHCA began, I was assigned to Cactus which was the code name for the microwave installation at Camp David, and I would also work at another microwave location near Mercersburg Pa.  This site was known as Cannonball and was a microwave relay station.  I would travel to Cannonball for a week at a time and spent a total of eleven weeks there over a year’s period of time.  This worked out very well because in March of 1967 I was transferred permanently to Cannonball.

We rented an apartment in Blue Ridge Summit Pa for a short Period of time until Government Housing became available.

The Homestead Apartments Blue Ridge Summit PA.
Don at the kids Christmas party at Camp David 
I remember back in 1966, when the permanent assignment in WHCA was rescinded and most of the old timers were either transferred or retired, Col Albright the new WHCA CO tried to make it a military organization again. Someone decided that everyone needed to qualify with the M-14.  Now some of these guys had not been on a true military base for years, and I am sure that some were issued brown boots and Eisenhower jackets.  Anyway we were scheduled to qualify at the Fort Meade rifle range.  I have never seen any group of people look so funny in uniform. If you ever wanted to have a good laugh, you should have seen some of the old timers qualifying with the M-14.  Jim Hammond from Copper/Cowpuncher (a great guy) couldn't find all of his uniform, so he wore what he could find.  They wore whatever they could find of their uniforms, if they couldn't find a web belt they wore a leather civilian belt, no chevrons, name tags or proper hat, no problem they wore what they could find! 

This was the only time we were ever taken to an army post to qualify with any type of fire arm.  It was the only time that I had the privilege to salute Mr. Fontaine because he was in uniform.  Two things I can remember happening, first we never qualified with a rifle again, and WHCA returned to a permanent assignment for those who chose to stay.

There was a pistol range at the back of Camp David; we qualified with 38 cal. pistols at that range.  When I took over at Cannonball I became the Site Crypto Custodian, which meant that I had to qualify with the 38.   Over the years we had loads of fun with the air transport crews and sky marshals all because we were carrying concealed weapons against air travel regulations.  With every other flight being hijacked to Cuba, I can understand why they were so touchy.

Shortly after we moved into housing at Camp David, our son Robert was born in Waynesboro, PA on April 28, 1966.  

We lived in the off-site Quarters at Camp David for over a year in 66/67.  We referred to these quarters as the wagon wheel, WHCA personnel consisted of four enlisted guys living there, as well as the CO of DCSU who was Maj. DuGay the rest were all U.S. Navy personnel.  They were pretty nice for Government Quarters and fairly new at the time, we lived in unit 6A and at the time there were ten units built in a circle.  Only E-5 and above were eligible and you waited for openings based on rank.  Foxville Gardens is only about 2 miles from the front gate at Camp David.  Just up Manhattan Rd. from the Wagon Wheel used to be a trailer park that was also maintained by the Navy and available to anyone on a space available basis.

Christmas (1966) Joanne and Don
 Don and Bob, Christmas (1966)
While we were living at Foxville Gardens we had legendary poker games with the single guy's on just about every Saturday night that there were no visitors up at the Camp David. Joanne was the only female that was allowed to play, as she supplied all the eats, and I think she adopted Chuck Duval and Dale Anderson, but the guys would bring the beer and we would play into the wee hours of the morning. Funny thing the more we drank the more Joanne (a Pepsi drinker) would win, Go figure! I am sure that everyone thought we were alcoholics by the cases of empty beer cans that were in the trash on Monday morning. The games tailed off when we moved to Le Masters and the guys either got married or were discharged, but the poker games continued in San Clemente and Key Biscayne with the guys and pinochle when we socialized with the families. Cards passed a lot of time for us and it was a very enjoyable way to get to know people that you worked with. They did like to party.

16 Jan 67 to Washington DC -Howard University CBR Training

I was getting ready to relocate to Le Masters PA when I was sent to Silver Springs MD to a training class that was at Howard University. This class was being conducted by the Civil Defense Department to instruct us on the detection, prevention or treatment of Chemical, Biological, or Radioactive (CBR) substances. This training was imperative as I would be responsible for all activities at Cannonball Tower. I did learn how to properly use and maintain Geiger counters, gas masks and the proper ways to decontaminate equipment and personal should we were ever exposed to any of these substances. 

The Decon Shower at Cannonball
Cannonball did have Decon a station at the entrance of the tower, where contaminated equipment and clothing could be disposed of and showers for personnel to decontaminate prior to entering.

 Radiation Detection Package


Entrance to CD Emergency Ops. Center
The class also spent a day at the Washington DC Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center operated by the D.C. Office of Emergency Management located at the Lorton VA Youth Correctional Facility. We received a detailed overview of how the WHCA microwave network could accommodate any emergency Presidential address into the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) using Mt Weather as the interface. While I was in class I was notified that I would be assigned to support President Johnson on an upcoming trip to a Conference of American States in Punta Del Este Uruguay in March of 1967.

26 Feb 67 to Washington DC-HF Radio Training

In preparation of the upcoming trip to Punta Del Este I was sent to Cartwheel for a week of operational training the TMC-750 single sideband (SSB) transmitter, and the R-390/CV-157 single sideband (SSB) receiver and converter. This included ancillary TTY and Voice equipment necessary to communicate with Air Force One (AF-1) and other WHCA locations working on this particular trip.
SSB Radio Console with TTY interface

SSB TMC 750 Transmitter
The Single Sideband (SSB) console was equipped with two R390-A receivers, two CV-157 SSB converters with audio patch panel for all upper sideband (USB) voice traffic with phone patch capabilities and lower sideband (LSB) TTY traffic. All TTY circuits had associated frequency shift keying (FSK) equipment with a DC patch panel and would easily connect to the Cryptographic equip in the Commcenter.

The TMC-GPT-750 was a 1KW transmitter and was installed in all of the towers and used primarily for support on overseas trips.

When I returned home from Punta Del Este in March of 1967 we relocated to PA where I would be assigned to a microwave relay facility  known as Cannonball as the NCOIC.

In March of 1967 when I returned from Uruguay we moved to Lemasters Pa where I would be assigned to a microwave relay Facility as the NCOIC.

Experiences at Cannonball

Our House near Lemasters PA (2009)
Type Of Activity
 Experiences while at Cannonball
 Mercersburg Pa
Date of Activity
 Mar 1967 to Jun 1970
 +39.648333N  -77.466667 W

17 March 1967 to Cannonball a Remote Communications Facility

In March of 1967 I was permanently assigned to a microwave relay site named Cannonball.  It was located on Cross Mountain, near Mercersburg Pennsylvania.  Joanne and I initially rented an old farmhouse in LeMasters, Pa .we lived their approximately six months and then moved down the road about mile. Nothing could have prepared my wife, Joanne for the isolation she would have to experience when I was given this assignment.  The town we lived near, LeMasters had a population of 26 people, the downtown consisted of a bank, general store and a grain elevator and our next door neighbors were Mennonite.  Every Sunday there would be quite a bit of horse and buggy traffic as they went to church. Joanne was a city girl, born and raised in Chicago and never went more than 100 miles in any direction before we were married, she didn't drive because she never needed transportation and you talk about living in the boonies. LeMasters had a population of 26 people and we were four of those people.

LeMasters Pa (1967)
7 Sep 67 to Lemoyne PA to AT&T 1A1 Key Telephone Training

The telephone system utilized at Cannonball tower was a 1A1 Key System since I knew nothing about the 1A1, and I was responsible for the installation and repair of new and existing equipment I attended training at the AT&T Training Center in Lemoyne PA. 

The three week course covered the Key Service Unit (KSU), power supply, and various telephone sets used in the system.  This training would turn out to be very valuable as I would re-cable or rewire the system several times before we closed the tower in 1970 and the system was removed.

Typical Six Button Rotary Dial Telephone Set
1A1 KSU Key Service Unit
Chuck Duval a friend of ours married a girl that he met at that secretarial school in Hagerstown, he and his wife Barbra lived in Blue Ridge Summit right next to the US Post Office. This is where we rented an apartment for a couple of months while we were waiting for housing at Camp David to open up.

The old Post Office in Blue Ridge Summit PA
We were living in Le Masters Pa. at this time. Chuck and Barb had a party at their apartment shortly after they were married and of course Dale Anderson and all of the guy's from Camp David attended, well around midnight we decided to leave the wives who were playing cards and go down to get a drink at the Monterey Tea House. We had to cross in front of the post office in order to get to where our cars were parked, well one thing led to another and the next thing that I knew Chuck had been attached to the flag pole and Dale with some help had raised him to the Top and tied him off. We all had a good laugh and slowly lowered him to the ground. As we were walking to the cars to leave, two cars of men drove in and blocked our retreat. They all belonged to the Blue Ridge Summit Auxiliary Police Department and told us that someone had reported that we were trying to break in to the Post Office. After some fast talking and that Chuck lived next door, they told us to keep the noise down and left. No wonder Mr. Horst felt like he was running a loony bin!

Our neighbors knew that I worked for the Government but never asked where.  The people that lived around Mercersburg and Greencastle thought that Cannonball was a water tower.  Our families knew that I was with the White House and did visit us but never knew any details of what went on at Cannonball or Camp David. All they ever knew was that I had something to do with communications and that I traveled a lot with the President and VP.  Our friendships were pretty much with the Seabee’s (Al Jensen and Bud Evans) both assigned to Cannonball and some of the WHCA people that I worked with from Camp David

 The Crosses (1968) 
Bob with proud Papa holding Kathie (1969)
Our daughter, Kathie was born in Chambersburg Pa. on Jan, 8, 1969, and because of a flu outbreak the hospital would not allow visitors. I was only able to take the kids as far as the parking lot to see Joanne and wave to her at her room window.  We first saw Kathie when we brought her and Joanne home from the hospital! 

Don, Bob with Kathie (1970)
In the spring of 1969 we decided to move into an apartment in Greencastle, PA., the house that we were living in had only two bedrooms and with the arrival of Kathie we needed more room. 

Antrim Apartments in Greencastle PA.
18 May 69 to Norfolk VA for technical training of an HF Radio System

I was sent to the Naval Training Center in Norfolk VA for training on the URT-23, which was a single sideband HF radio transceiver. WHCA was in the Process of adding this system to all overseas packages and needed qualified technicians. I was there for ten days and for the first time since I was assigned to WHCA I was required to wear uniforms. WHCA would widely use these whenever long range communications were required and would be included in the CCT’s standard equipment package!

 URT23-A with R390-A receiver
We were in the middle of two major construction projects at the Tower that kept us busy the remainder of the year, we also found out that Al Jensen our Navy Seabee was being transferred, Bud Evans would replace Al in July of 1969. Bud and his family would end up renting the apartment directly above ours in Greencastle.
It was early 1970, when we found out that four of the microwave towers, including Cannonball were going to be closed. All of the people were to be assigned to Camp David, San Clemente CA., or Key Biscayne FL. I was assigned to San Clemente, so in June of 1970 we loaded all of our personal belongings and set out on the cross country trip to sunny California.