Friday, November 24, 2017

Working and Traveling with WHCA and the White House

Working and Traveling with the White House

As I recall it was December of 1964, I was approaching my discharge from the Army,  I decided to re-enlist to attend Microwave Radio Repair School at Ft Monmouth NJ. Several weeks before I completed training I was interviewed by members of the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). After submitting to a Polygraph examination and an extensive background investigation I was ultimately selected and was transferred to WHCA in Washington DC. It was November of 1965 when my experiences with WHCA began; I was assigned to Camp David in Thurmont MD. I worked at a microwave installation with the WHCA code name of Cactus as a microwave repairman, and would also work at another microwave location known as Cannonball when in March of 1967 I was transferred permanently to Mercersburg PA as the NCOIC where I was responsible for the maintenance of all of the Communications at the site as well as the general day to day maintenance of the facility and surrounding grounds.

While stationed at Camp David and Cannonball I traveled extensively at home and abroad to support the activities of the White House and the Secret Service, but 1968 may have been the most challenging for WHCA.  This was an unprecedented period of time of my experiences in WHCA. It started with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the race riots that ensued.  If that wasn’t enough Robert Kennedy was assassinated while campaigning for the Democrat Presidential nomination, this prompted the change to assign Secret Service protection to all candidates campaigning for their party’s nomination for the President and Vice President of the United States.  WHCA was then assigned to provide communications for the Secret Service Protection Details!  Then there was the Vietnam War protests at the Democrat National Convention in Chicago, and finally the 1968 Presidential election itself. Three Presidential candidates and three Vice Presidential candidates campaigned that year and WHCA supported the Secret Service with all of them. Richard Nixon was elected and the transition to a new President ensued.

Cannonball was closed in 1970 and I was assigned to The Western White House in San Clemente CA. The Communications Contingency Team (CCT) was established and staffed with personnel from all of the microwave sites that were recently closed.  The CCT was set up to be a fast response unit that would be able to provide communications for the White House anywhere in the World.  We established a maintenance facility on the tarmac at the El Toro MCAS, with all of our equipment palatalized we were able to pull a transport vehicle at our front door and load the equipment for immediate departure to any designated location. The team all carried Pagers and was on call if needed to immediately respond to an assignment. The San Clemente CCT not only supported the President at many official functions in and around Los Angeles but was called upon to support the Vice President on numerous visits to Palm Springs and other locations in western United States.

Our final move came in 1972 when I was assigned to the Florida White House in Key Biscayne FL. I was the NCOIC of the Key Biscayne Compound, and all of the FM Communication permanently installed in southern FL., the Detachment was also responsible for the maintenance and repair of a UHF Radio Network that operated between the Key Biscayne compound and Walkers Cay Club in the Bahamas. This system provided voice and data communications for the President and the USSS while they visited on Grand Cay Island. The USSS Command Post was located on Grand Cay and FM radio service was also installed for the protective detail. Walkers Cay had a WHCA switchboard and Comm. Center operating to support the White House Staff and Press Corp. staying there during the Presidents stay on Grand Cay.

The Watergate break-in occurred while I was in the process of relocating my family to FL. This break-in of course would eventually lead to Richard Nixon’s resignation as President! Almost as soon as I was settled we had to ready ourselves to support the 1972 Republican Convention in Miami.  The convention had been changed from southern CA. to Miami primarily because of the threat of anti-war protesters disrupting the proceedings and becoming another 1968 Chicago. President Nixon and Vice President Agnew won re-election by a landslide.  It wasn’t long after the election when Watergate would start to erode their popularity. This was the story that just wouldn’t go away; it eventually led directly to the White House. The House of Representatives would hold hearings which would eventually lead to the President’s resignation. Vice President Agnew would also resign from office for unrelated activities as the Governor of Maryland leading to the appointment of Gerald R. Ford as the new Vice President and eventually the President of the United States. I was discharged just six months before the end of the Nixon Presidency. Gerald Ford would pardon President Nixon of all charges against him and finally ending Watergate.

For almost a decade I would be part of an organization providing communications for the President, Vice President, First Family, White House Staff and the Secret Service during some of the most memorable periods of time in our countries history.

Presidential Support Trips

Lyndon B Johnson Support Trips                             Richard M Nixon Support Trips
28 Aug 66 to York PA-Dallastown Rally                     11 Jul 69 to Madrid Spain-New Delhi India 
05 Oct 66 to Anchorage AK- Manila PI Trip               12 Jul 69 to Adana Turkey-New Delhi India  
06 Oct 66 to Tokyo Japan-Manila PI Trip                    31 Jul 69 to New Delhi India-New Delhi India
26 Oct 66 to Manila, PI -Manila PI Trip                       03 Aug 69 to Bangkok Thailand-New Delhi India
30 Oct 66 to Tokyo Japan-Manila PI Trip                    04 Aug 69 to Tokyo Japan-New Delhi India Trip
01 Nov 66 to Chicago-Manila PI Trip                          28 Jul 70 to Los Angeles CA-Century Plaza
15 Mar 67 to Zandria Surinam-Punta Del Este Trip    30 Oct 70 to Anaheim CA-Convention Center
11 Apr 67 to Punta Del Este–Montevideo UR             26 Mar 71 to Beverly Hills CA-Samuel Goldwyn
14 Apr 67 to Zandria Surinam-Punta Del Este Trip     30 Apr 71 to Camp Pendleton CA-1st Marine Div
15 Apr 67 to San Antonio TX-Punta Del Este Trip      01 May 71 to Palm Springs CA-Annenberg Estate
                                                                                      29 Jul 71 to Santa Rosa CA-Bohemian Grove
1968 Election Support Trips                                      15 July 71 to Burbank CA-NBC Studios
21 Sep 68 Atlanta Ga. - George Wallace                      20 Aug 71 to Loma Linda CA-Medical Center
04 Oct 68 Newark NJ - George Wallace                      28 Aug 71 to Santa Catalina Island-Mojo
07 Oct 68 Raleigh NC - Spiro Agnew                          27 Nov 71 to Palm Springs CA-Eisenhower Med
24 Oct 68 San Jose CA - Hubert Humphrey                 04 Jan 72 to San Diego CA-National Shipbuilding
27 Oct 68 Los Angeles CA - Hubert Humphrey           06 Jan 72 to San Clemente CA-PM Sato
30 Oct 68 Long Beach CA - Richard Nixon                 20 Feb 72 to Agana Guam-China Trip
31 Oct 68 Los Angeles CA – Richard Nixon                29 Feb 72 to Honolulu HI-China Trip
03 Nov 68 Anaheim CA - Curtis Le May
05 Nov 68 Los Angeles CA – Nixon/Humphrey         

Vice Presidential Support Trips, Presidential Visits to San Clemente and Presidential Visits to Key Biscayne
Spiro T Agnew Support Trips                                   San Clemente Visits and Side Trips                  
02 Dec 69 to New Orleans LA                                     26 Jun 70 to 06 Jul 70- Los Angeles CA
23 Feb 70 to Phoenix AZ                                             24 Jul 70 to 03 Aug 70- Los Angeles CA           
19 Oct 70 to Tucson AZ                                               21 Aug 70 to 06 Sep 70-San Diego CA
08 Feb 71 to Palm Springs CA                                     26 Mar 71 to 4 Apr 71-Beverly Hills CA
05 Apr 71 to San Diego CA                                         30 Apr 71 to 3 May 71-Palm Springs
09 Jun 71 to Los Angeles CA                                      06 Jul 71 to 22 Jul 71-Burbank CA
27 Nov 1971 to Palm Springs CA                                21 Aug 71 to 3 Sep 71-Loma Linda CA
27 Dec 71 to Palm Springs CA                                    24 Nov to28 Nov 71 to Palm Springs CA
19 Apr 72 to New Orleans LA                                     02 Jan 72 to 08 Jan 72- San Diego CA
Henry Kissinger Support Trip                                 Trips to the Bahamas
13 Oct 71 to Hilo HI-Pre China Trip                           25 Jul 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
                                                                                     29 Aug 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
Key Biscayne FL Visits and Side Trips                   13 Sep 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
22 Aug 72 to 24 Aug 72-1972 National Convention  03 Oct 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas- Maintenance
08 Nov 72 to 12 Nov 72-Ocean Reef Club                 31Oct 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas- Maintenance
30 Nov72 to 04 Dec 72- Ocean Reef Club                  11 Nov 72 to Key Largo FL-Ocean Reef Club
20 Dec 72 to Dec 26 72- Ocean Reef Club                 30 Nov 72 to Walkers Cay Bahamas- Maintenance
12 Jan 73 to 18 Jan 73 - Ocean Reef Club                   09 Dec 72 to Orlando FL- Equipment Repair
26 Jan 73 to 29 Jan 73- Grand Cay Visit                     11 Dec 72 to Grand Cay Bahamas- Maintenance
16 Feb 73 to 18 Feb 73                                                17 Jan 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
22 Mar 73 to 26 Mar 73-Ocean Reef Club                  06 Mar 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas- Maintenance
20 Apr 73to 24 Apr 73-Grand Cay Visit                     04 May 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-POTUS Visit
03 May 73 to 07 May 73-Grand Cay Visit                  15 May 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance   
26 May 73 to 28 May 73-Grand Cay Visit                  22 May 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
08 Jun 73 to 10 Jun 73-Coco Lobo III                         26 May 73 to Grand Cay Bahamas-POTUS Visit
15 Jun 73 to 17 Jun 73-Coco Lobo III                         12 Jun 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
17Aug 73 to 20 Aug 73-Coco Lobo III                        26 Jun 73 to Walkers Cay Bahamas-Maintenance
04 Oct 73 to 07 Oct 73-Ocean Reef Club                    12 Jul 73 to Grand Bahama Island Bahamas- Maint.
01 Nov 73 to 05 Nov 73-Coco Lobo III
16 Nov 73 to 20 Nov 73-Coco Lobo III                       Nixon Family Support Trips            
                                                                                      09 Feb 73 to Jacksonville FL - Julie Nixon                                                                                                       12 Feb 73 to Jacksonville FL– Julie Nixon

WHCA TDY Trips and Training                                      

Cannonball-Microwave Duty                                   Crate-Communications Rail Car
10 Jan 66 to 17 Jan 66- Mercersburg PA                     20 Jul 66 to Harrisburg PA-Equipment Maintenance
07 Feb 66 to 14 Jan 66-Mercersburg PA                     25 Jul 66 to Washington DC-Communications Test
28 Feb 66 to 7 Mar 66-Mercersburg PA                                
11 Apr 66 to 19 Apr 66- Mercersburg PA                   Training/ Recruiting
16 May 66 to 23 May 66- Mercersburg PA                 16 Jan 67 to Washington DC - Howard University
13 Jun 66 to 20 Jun 66- Mercersburg PA                     26 Feb 67 to Washington DC– HF Radio
05 Jul 66 to 11 Jul 66- Mercersburg PA                       17 Sep 67 to Lemoyne PA- AT&T 1A1 Key
01 Aug 66 to 08 Aug 66- Mercersburg PA                   04 Aug 68 to El Paso TX– Ft Bliss Recruiting
06 Sep 66 to 12 Sep 66- Mercersburg PA                    18 May 69 to Norfolk VA– Naval Station HF Radio
03 Oct 66 to 04 Oct 66- Mercersburg PA                     09 Aug 70 to Thurmont MD– HF Radio console
12 Dec 66 to 19 Dec 66- Mercersburg PA                   11 May 71 to Camp Pendleton CA- ORE
                                                                                     19 Sep 71 to Chicago IL- Motorola Radio                                                                                                         14 Nov 71 to Washington DC - Linkcopex

WHCA Vehicle Placard

I traveled extensively during the nine years that I spent with WHCA both in the U.S. and overseas. I would support two Presidents and First Families, two Vice Presidents, but also some key members of the White House Staff.  During the 1968 and 1972 Presidential elections I helped the Secret service support all of the national candidates. There were many trips for training and maintenance to the sites and equipment permanently installed to support the daily activities at Camp David, Cannonball, San Clemente and Key Biscayne. I also participated in four major overseas trips including President Nixon’s historic trip to China.

Camp David Communications Detachment (1965- 1967)

The Presidential Communications Rail Car (Crate)

The WHCA Communications Car (Crate)

HF Radio Console
Type Of Activity
 Operational Test of Equipment
Harrisburg PA to Washington DC 
Date of Activity
 20 July 1966

20 July 1966 to Harrisburg PA for Operational Test Ride for Crate

The Presidential Train Ferdinand Magellan - White House communications via, 3WTE on wheels. We feature the U.S. Army Signal Corps., General Albert J. Myer, and Radio Railcar installation. 

One fall day in October 1956 12 noon EDT will long be remembered by hundreds of 14 MHZ SSB State side amateurs. It was the day W3WTE was, of all places, 60 feet below the Cleveland, Ohio, Railway Terminal Tower Station working the bands. The detail was called “Operation Earthworm” We have a QSL courtesy of W3WTE.

“POTUS” an acronym, stands for President of the United States! The special railroad car of the White House was used when the President was away from home, equipped with a luxury living rolling home, a lecture platform, communications, safety and hospital car, press corps and energy car. This amazing city on wheels was at times a nightmare for the Secret Service, Railroad and logistics involved in the Presidents safety. There was an advanced two car train and each crossing was inspected by the Secret Service and rail authorities.

Above radio control console occupies part interior of presidential communications General Myers Car.  Multiple control panels, a maze of gadgets for radio broadcasts, radio photo transmission, tape recordings of presidential speeches and incoming and outgoing teletype printer copy.

The generator room
The WHCA communications car (Crate)
Two diesel AC generators are on the right side of car, can supply enough power to operate the train in any capacity. Mr. Charles Clemens K6QD spoke of his duties much earlier when first assigned to Presidential Communications in 1942. He was chosen to be the first CW operator between the Presidential Train and the White House via HF radio in railroad Car 1401, “The White House on Wheels.”

Clemens explained some front seats had been removed and an operating table installed full of radio devices in their place. Telegraph lines alongside the tracks provided a lot of clicks that made it difficult to copy poor signals, mainly in the southwest part of the U.S.A. The clearance requirements for railroad cars prohibited using a real antenna. The radio operators used a wire inside an insulating tube mounted on standoffs about six inches above the metal roof of the car. This was later changed to a copper tube, the same size as the insulating tube, with much better results. Continued the frequency complement ran from 3 MHZ to 17 MHZ. (Car 1401 built in 1914 would be replaced in the 50s by the modern General Albert Myer car) Myer was the first Signal Corps Commander. Clemens K6QD Signal Corps operator said “I was supposed to contact a number of Army stations along our shakedown trip in 1942 riding the rails, none of them more than a couple of hundred miles from our route. As might be expected, results were poor and it was decided to contact WAR in the Pentagon at Washington direct. Successful contacts were made from New Orleans and on the way home. 

The only real difficulty came when we were close to Washington DC.” Clemens added “Overall, our results were encouraging and we were assigned the task of accompanying President Roosevelt on his swing stumping around the country visiting military bases and aircraft plants. 

Equipment and facilities were improved over the years and when Clemens left in 1948, the car had a small operating room, a code center, a small bunk room with four bunks, a lounge room and the baggage half of the car packed with equipment.

Clemens continued “To make a long story quite short, I worked six years on the Presidential Train, traveling with Presidents Roosevelt and Truman in the United States, Canada and Mexico. We logged well over a hundred thousand miles.” Today, the train is no more, Old 1401 is gone, only known by gild of 1401 above the entry door, Gen. Myer car has been retired and the Ferdinand Magellan is restored and on display in Florida.

The small detachment that Clemens knew had evolved into the White House Army Signal Agency and finally White House Communications Agency. They wouldn’t believe how much equipment they could eliminate by satellite communications today.   

Copy of the POTUS QSL W3WTE
Partially scripted from March, 1975 Ham Radio Magazine article, “Brass Pounding on Wheels”, by K6QD CC Jr., and Railroad Magazine February 1953. Thanks to Glenn Laser W3WTE for a copy of the POTUS QSL. Glenn advised the card was found at a yard sale or Ham fest in WV and presented to him. - It would be a pleasure to sit and talk with Mr. Clemens today, but I believe he is a silent key because the call has been reissued several times. I can’t come up with anything on the two communications coaches whether they avoided he cutters torch.

When the Ferdinand Magellan was taken out of service in 1958, The two communication railcars were moved and during the 1960’s and 70’s and stored at the New Cumberland Army Depot just outside of Harrisburg, Pa. The communications car was to be maintained by WHASA/WHCA out of Camp David. Their mission was to provide communications for the President, while on trips, whether campaigning for office, or traveling via rail. 

President Kennedy used Crate on one of the last official trips when he went to the Army Navy football game in Philadelphia in 1961.

President Kennedy departing Philadelphia
President Kennedy departing Philadelphia
The official call sign of the Presidential Train was City Hall this was used when the train was actually in use, but Crate was used as the unofficial call sign by the Camp David (Cactus) personnel that maintained the communications equipment on board. Crate consisted of two old WWII train cars. They were 85' in length, painted Olive Drab, with three axle trucks. One was a converted Hospital Car. This car was converted into living quarters for SS and WHASA / WHCA personnel. It had a small kitchen, some bunks for sleeping, a small bathroom with a shower and a living area. An old Hallicrafters SX-63 was installed for entertainment.

The Presidential Rail Car “Crate” is shown at the Thirteenth Street Station in Philadelphia (1961)

The Presidential Rail Car “Crate” is shown at the Thirteenth Street Station in Philadelphia (1961)
The Radio car was a converted hospital car and appeared to have been gutted and then built as required.  There was a window installed so the operation could be viewed from the hallway that passed between the rail cars. As you were sitting at the console behind you, there was a large glass window which was by the walkway in the left side of the car. Looking out that glass window past the walkway was another large glass window which was on the car body. If anyone on the platform were to look into the car window, they would see the whole console and operators.

Sleeping Quarters (1966)
Lounge Area (1961)
Ron Danielson in the Radio Room (1961)
The Radio Car had to be placed on the tracks, so it faced the Hospital car because of the coax connectors on the front end. The train had to be configured with the Hospital car toward the train engine and the Radio or Communications Car following. The coax connectors on the Hospital car were connected by coax jumpers to the coax connectors on the Communications Car. This was also because on the opposite end, (from the coax connector end) were connectors which carried audio to the end of the train.

The last car would be an Observation Car where the President would ride, stand and speak to the crowds, who would come to see him while on campaign trips.

Switchboard Room
The Radio Car had a console installed which handled all the HF Comm. equipment, the audio amps and VU Meters for the audio PA function and two patch panels for audio routing. It also had rooms for the AC power generators, radio equipment, switchboard and a small Comm. Center.

The radio console consisted of two HF Receivers (R-390A), two SSB/ISB Converters (CV-157) and a TTY converter (CV-116). Two TMC GPT-750W transmitters were used for phone patch audio and TTY traffic.

The radio Console in (1961) 
On the top of this car was two HF antennas designed by Collins Radio. Hard to explain, but in the center of the roof of the car the antennas were grounded to the roof using three 90 degree elbows. A total of six, three for each antenna about 6 to 8 inches in diameter which fed three pipes in each direction to the end of the cars. About 3' from the end of antennas, the three pipes were bonded together and fed at that point, with 50 ohm coax, to connectors on the trailing side of the car. The pipes were supported by insulators from the center ground, out to the ends.

The Communications Car on the siding in VA. (1961)
Radio Antennas on Radio Car
The two cars were stored at Indian Town Gap Army Depot near Harrisburg, Pa. primarily because President Eisenhower used it several times and it was close to Gettysburg and his farm.  In July of 1966 I actually took a trip on the Presidential Train (Crate) from Harrisburg to Union Station in DC, and back.  All of the guys from M Street came down for a tour of the communications car and we spent the night and went back the next day.  It was a total farce, I think the officers wanted to get away for a couple of days and have a party.  There was some story about LBJ taking a train ride to Philadelphia for the Army - Navy game, but of course it never happened.  I have always wondered if LBJ ever knew that he had something other AF-1 at his disposal. 

In the late 1960’s the TMC GPT-750W transmitters, R-390's and CV-157's were replaced with a Collins Radio state of the art transmitter/receiver, with automatic antenna tuners. The control units were mounted in the console, with the main TX / RX equipment mounted in two 6' 19" racks.

There is no confirmation as to when “Crate” was removed from service or the disposition of the rail cars.

President Johnson's Visit to Dallastown Pa. (1966)

Dallastown, Pennsylvania
 Entering Dallastown

 876 ft. (267 m)
 York County, Pa, USA
 39°54′0″N 76°38′27″W

28 Aug 66 to York PA for Dallastown Rally with President Johnson

I was working at Camp David for about ten months before I was assigned to President Lyndon Johnson’s  trip team when he visited Dallastown Pa. as part of  the town's centennial celebration. The president and his wife, Lady Bird, keynoted the Dallastown Centennial Celebration on Sept. 4, 1966.

Since this was my first trip I was teamed up with two other radio guys from the Shop in Washington DC.  CWO Pierre Fontaine was assigned as the Trip Officer he was my CO at Camp David.  Mr. Fontaine and I drove to York Pa. on Aug 28th to meet the radio guys who had driven from the shop in DC with all of the communications equipment. We met with a marketing representative from GTE at the Travelodge in York and advised him of the pending visit and the telephone circuits required for all of the Communication equipment necessary to Support the President, Secret Service and White House Staff during this trip.

The Travelodge in York Pa. 
The GTE Central Office in York Pa.
Our first order of business was to meet with the Secret Service and Staff Advance people to get the Trip Itinerary and to determine the locations that we would use to install the Switchboard, Comm. Center and also identify sites for the FM radio base stations.

The President and Mrs. Johnson would arrive on Air Force One at Harrisburg International Airport and motorcade the 39 miles to Dallastown. After his speech they would then return to Harrisburg International Airport for their departure back to Washington DC.

The Motorcade route from Harrisburg Dallastown Pa.
With only six days to install everything we went to work. We met with the GTE operations people at their central office in York Pa. and obtained spaces for the WHCA Switchboard and Comm. Center in The GTE CO. Once that was taken care of we started our Radio Survey by driving the motorcade route in search of possible radio sites that would insure coverage of the entire route. We would discover two locations with radio towers already in place. These towers were located at the WXQXA-FM Radio station in York and the FAA radio site overlooking Harrisburg International Airport. These sites were ideal because they had direct line of site of Interstate 83, the main route of the motorcade would travel. Once permission and access was obtained to the radio sites, we would drive the entire motorcade route checking radio coverage. GTE was then contacted and the orders were placed for our remote keying lines to be run from the WHCA switchboard in York to each of the FM Radio base stations.

Baker/Charlie (Secret Service) and Sierra (White House Staff) base stations were installed at WXQXA-FM and at the FAA radio tower in Harrisburg; the remote keying lines were installed and tested to the remote consoles at the WHCA Switchboard in York which was now operational.

The 125’ FAA radio site near Harrisburg Pa.
WXQXA-FM Radio Site in York Pa.
By Friday we were finished with installing the radio network and all that remained was to set up the Presidential motorcade just before the arrival of Air Force One the next day.

Early on Saturday morning we headed to the Harrisburg Airport with several Motorola (P-33) radios to be placed inside the vehicles that would make up the motorcade. The Presidents Limo had already arrived from DC and motorcade was complete and ready for the President and Mrs. Johnson.

One final install needed to be completed, the Chopper Pack! Since LBJ took office the Secret Service required a surveillance chopper to be deployed to cover all motorcades that took place. This was to insure that no snipers were on billboards, radio towers, rooftops or any other vantage point. Local law enforcement officers would be positioned on freeway overpasses and at the on /off ramps. The chopper Pack consisted of two Motorola P-33 (B/C) radios to communicate with the USSS agents in the motorcade. Two headphones with push to talk microphones and a connection to the helicopter’s intercom system so the USSS agent on board could talk to the Pilots.

The surveillance Chopper a Huey UH-1
This would be my first flight in a helicopter and I was a little apprehensive about the trip ahead. The chopper that was used was a US Army Huey UH-1, the type used in Vietnam; the pilots were both vets of Vietnam. The Huey has a large door on either side that could be opened during flight with jump seats facing outward. Once I secured the radios, I took my place in one of the jump seats with the Chopper Pack between my legs and tested the radios and intercom.  I then fastened my lap belt and was ready for the flight. The USSS agent strapped himself next to me in a contraption called a monkey belt. This devise allowed him to move around and even stand while we were in the air. He then removed an M-16 from its carrying case, loaded it and sat down next to me. We were ready to go just as soon as Air Force One was on its final approach.

LBJ and Lady Bird arrive at Harrisburg International Airport
LBJ arrives aboard Air Force One
LBJ is greeted by the crowd at Harrisburg International Airport
Shortly after the President and first lady arrived at the airport and was greeted by Congressman N. Neiman Craley Jr. the entourage departed by motorcade.

We were already in the air following the 29 mile route looking out for anything that might present a risk to the motorcade. Now I always thought that Helicopters went up and down, little did I know about their actual maneuverability until the USSS agent aboard spotted someone running across a field toward the highway and with the approaching motorcade told the pilot to turn around to check out the situation? The Pilot made a very sharp turn putting the Huey on its side, here I am looking straight ahead looking at the highway and the USSSS Agent standing in up in the monkey belt. To this day I can’t believe he didn't fall out, I suppose the force from that tight turn was enough! It turned out that the person below never made it to the highway, and we continued on.

The motorcade arrived in Dallastown and president and Mrs. Johnson were greeted by a friendly audience. Congressman N. Neiman Craley Jr. served as grand marshal of a parade to celebrate Dallastown’s 100th anniversary, where President Johnson spoke.

The President addresses residents of Pa. in Dallastown
Read the President’s Speech Here.
The First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson is greeted in Dallastown 
The speech had concluded and it was time to depart Dallastown and return to Harrisburg Airport where we would prepare for the departure of Air Force One, and then collect all of the radio equipment from the motorcade and any staff member that was issued one for the short stay in Pa. 

The President had departed Harrisburg and headed back to Washington DC and we headed back to York to start packing up all of the equipment we had installed over the past week. On Sunday morning it was time to visit the two radio sites and retrieve the base stations Antennas and Coax from these locations and get them ready to return to Washington DC. Once all Of The equipment was inventoried and loaded on a truck. I left York and returned to Camp David. This would be the first of many trips world wide that I would participate during my assignment with the White House.

President Johnson's visit to the Manila Summit (1966)

U.S. Embassy in Manila P.I.
 U.S. Embassy in Manila P.I.

Coordinates:                                        14°35′N 120°58′ 
 June 10, 1754
 16.0 m (52 ft.)
Population (2007)

26 Oct 66 to Manila PI with President Johnson

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and one of the 16 cities that make up Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world with a population of 20 million people. It is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay on the western side of the island of Luzon.

Manila was the site of the fiercest battle in the Pacific theater during the war. During the battle, Manila became a city of bloodbath in Asia where 100,000 civilians were killed. It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. Since then the city has been rebuilt.

During the Marcos dictatorship, the Manila metropolitan area region was enacted as an independent entity in 1975 encompassing several cities and towns. During the Lacson era, also known as The Golden Age, Manila was revitalized and became once again the pearl of the orient, which Manila has earned before the outbreak of World War II.

City of Manila
The leaders of the SEATO nations assembled at a Summit in Manila, hosted by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos on October 24, 1966. In attendance were Prime Minister Nguyen Cao KY (South Vietnam), Prime Minister Harold Holt (Australia), President Park Chung-hee (South Korea), President Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), Prime Minister Keith Holyoake (New Zealand), Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam), Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn (Thailand), and President Lyndon B. Johnson (United States).

SEATO Leaders in front of the Philippine Congressional Building
Although other subjects were discussed, the Vietnam War was the main topic. Prior to and Immediately after the Summit President Johnson would also make state visits, to New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea. On this particular trip to Southeast Asia the President also made a surprise trip to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam to visit with the troops fighting there.

Malacañang Palace Manila Philippines
President’s Marcos and Johnson and First Ladies
While in the Philippines, President Johnson had several private meetings with President Marcos at Malacañang Palace, like the White House, this is the official residence of the President of the Philippines. The palace was made famous as the home of President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who were its longest residents, from 1965 to 1986. As first lady, Mrs. Marcos oversaw the reconstruction of the palace to her own extravagant tastes. Including the former San Miguel Brewery Buildings, this was demolished upon Expansion, paving away to a park near the San Miguel Church.

President Johnson and President Marcos also visited Corregidor to dedicate the opening of General MacArthur’s restored headquarters. The President also visited Battery Geary while on the island. In advance of the President’s visit temporary communications was established by connecting the location’s being visited and the WHCA switchboard in Manila. A temporary Command Post for the secret Service was also established for security reasons.

Corregidor is an island at the entrance of the Philippines' Manila Bay. Due to its position in the bay, it has served as a focal point for the naval defenses of the capital city of Manila. During World War II.

Entrance to MacArthur's Headquarters on Corregidor
Remains of Mile Long Barracks
Battery Geary was a battery of eight 13-ton, 12-inch mortars. Defiladed in a hollow on Corregidors Southern coast it was fairly well protected from Japanese shelling. However, on January 6, 1942, a Japanese bomb landed in a makeshift bunker killing 31 of Battery Geary's NCOs and canners.  This battery was pinpointed by the Japanese artillery and was subjected to heavy shelling. One direct hit by a 240-mm shell, which detonated the magazines of this battery in May 1942, proved to be the most crippling shot during the entire siege of Corregidor. Large chunks of steel were blown as far as the Malinta Tunnel, killing 27 of the battery crew instantly.

 Remains of Battery Geary on Corregidor Island (Gun Barrel)
Remains of Battery Geary on Corregidor Island (Gun Mount)
General MacArthur was ordered off of Corregidor Island to Australia, announcing to the people of the Philippines as he left, “I shall return”.

After the dedication on Corregidor Island they visited The International Rice Institute in Los Banos and then to everyone’s surprise The President flew to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam to visit the troops.

President Johnson and Gen. Westmoreland Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam 
In October of 1966 President Johnson departed on a diplomatic visit to a number of countries in Southeast Asia. The war in Vietnam was raging on, and the President planned to meet with allies at a SEATO conference in Manila.

Presidents Travel Itinerary October 1966

Wellington New Zealand
October 19-20, 1966
State visit; met with Prime Minister Holyoake.
Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Townsville, Australia
October 20-23, 1966
State visit; met with Governor General Casey and Prime Minister Holt.
Manila, Los Banos, Corregidor, Philippines
October 24-26, 1966
Attended SEATO summit conference
Unscheduled Trip            Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam
October 26, 1966
Visited U.S. military personnel.
Bangkok, Thailand
October 27-30, 1966
State visit; met with King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 30-31, 1966
State visit; met with Prime Minister Rahrman.
Seoul, South Korea
October 31-November 2,     1966
State visit; met with President Park and Prime Minister Chung.

WHCA’s Role in the Presidents Manila Summit

Although the Manila Summit wasn’t scheduled to start until October 24, 1966 the preparation for the President’s visit actually started on the morning of October 5, 1966 at Andrews AFB just outside Washington DC. On the tarmac sat a large C-141 transport plane. This transport would carry approx. 30 WHCA communications personnel and tons of communications equipment to Manila. Because of the length of the flight a comfort pallet was first loaded on to the plane, this contained an airline type kitchen and a rest room; the pallet also had airline style seats that would recline. The communications equipment was loaded last. When the cargo was secured, we were ready to leave. 

Manila was only one stop on a six nation Presidential trip so there would be five other C-141’s loaded with communications equipment at Andrews and sent to their assigned locations awaiting the Presidents arrival according to the travel itinerary. 

Loading cargo at Andrews AFB
Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
The first leg of the trip was from Andrews to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. After the plane was refueled and a new crew reported in, we departed for Komaki AFB in Tokyo, Japan. We departed Tokyo on October 7, 1966 and headed for Clark AFB in the Philippines.

The equipment was loaded on trucks and was sent to Manila, while the communications personnel were flown to the city arriving at the U.S. Embassy about 4 PM on 7 October 1966, where we received an orientation of the facilities and our I.D’s to use during our stay.

The equipment arrived at the Embassy the following afternoon and all of the Comm. Center secure voice and TTY equipment was unloaded and taken to the area where it would be installed. All of the FM and HF radio equipment was stored in the embassy until coverage surveys were completed and installation locations were selected. The final stop was the Philippine Telephone Central Office closest to the embassy and Malacañang Palace, this is where the switchboard would be installed and all circuits would be terminated. Also all of the Sierra FM radio circuits and paging system would terminate at the switchboard. 

Over the next two days radio surveys were completed checking coverage of all locations that the President, Secret Service and the White House Staff would be visit over the next two to three weeks. Baker, Charlie and Sierra FM base stations were installed at the Phillipinas Hotel, and the Telephone Co. Central office. The Embassy Annex was chosen to place the Collins Radio, KWM-2A which is a 1KW Single Sideband transceiver, used for long range radio communications back to the White House. Baker, Charlie and Sierra FM base stations were also installed at this location.

The US Embassy would become the WHCA base of operation. The Secret Service Command Post would be established there, all of the Baker and Charlie FM radios would terminate in the CP. The AV events would be staged and shipped out from the embassy. All of the Sierra FM radios would terminate at the WHCA switchboard at the Telco’s central office building. The Embassy also had an area large enough to handle all of the helicopter arrivals and departures.

By October 12th the Comm. Center, Switchboard and radio equipment was installed and now manned around the clock. As the circuits were installed and tested the reliability of the network increased.

The travel itinerary also included two side trips that Presidents Johnson and Marcos would take. The first was to the International Rice Institute in Los Banos, Laguna Philippines and then to Corregidor Island. Los Banos was about 60km from Manila so we loaded a chopper and flew the radio equipment to the Rice Institute and installed it in about two hours. The next morning two of us again loaded equipment on a chopper but headed for Corregidor. We landed at the airstrip and we were met by the Military Governor of Corregidor Island. We surveyed the island and installed a field telephone at Battery Geary. With the help of the Philippine Army field wire was strung from Battery Geary to a radio site on the Island where a phone patch could be established. Later that afternoon we returned to the Embassy again by Chopper.

Everything was now installed and fully operational just waiting for the Presidents arrival on October 24th. I was assigned to work the CP and fly surveillance during the three days that the President was in Manila. The President and First Lady arrived as scheduled and were greeted by President and Mrs. Marcos. The summit convened that afternoon and adjourned the next day about noon. Then it was off to Corregidor and the dedication of Gen. Mac Arthur’s headquarters and visit to Battery Geary, at the conclusion of the dedication the President choppered to the International Rice Institute in Los Banos where he addressed representatives from several Southeast Asian countries. That concluded the day’s activities and the President returned to Manila.

On the final day of the visit President made an Unscheduled Trip to Vietnam to visit with the combat troops at Cam Rahn Bay. Nobody knew in advance where they were going and it wasn’t until Air Force One was on its way back did we know where they had been. The next morning the President departed to go to the next stop in Bangkok, Thailand. We had to keep everything active until the President touched down in Thailand then our job was to tear everything down and again gather everything together to ship it back by truck to Clark AFB.

There were a few members of the WHCA team that worked this stop, including myself that left Manila on November 1, 1966 to return to the US. We met with some additional personnel that were returning from other locations that the President had visited on this Asian tour. We were briefed aboard the aircraft that we were to be redeployed to various locations in the US that the President was planning to visit just Prior to the 1966 mid term elections.

We left Clark AFB and flew to Yokota AFB near Tokyo to refuel, we then flew to San Francisco where went through customs.  I was told that the next day that I would pick up radio equipment and go to Chicago IL to join a team that was already there setting up the trip site. When I arrived in Chicago on Nov 2 1966 I was picked up at O'hare International Airport where I loaded all of the equipment into the Vehicle and departed for the Chicago Hilton Hotel where I would be staying.

Chicago Hilton and Towers
Two days ago I was enjoying warm weather in the Philippines and now I am in Chicago in the month of November, with only summer clothes.  the closest thing I had to a coat was a rain coat! The Windy City lived up to its name thank God I would be there for only two days!

Since the fund raiser was being held in the Hilton Hotel, the Switchboard, Comm. Center and one set of FM Radio base stations were already set up by the time that I arrived.  Now we had to cover the motorcade route the President would take from O'hare to the Hilton downtown.  We choose the USSS Field Office on the near north side to install a second set of FM base stations for the motorcade.

Approaching O'hare International Airport
Once the radios were operational I started to survey the motorcade route by driving the Kennedy expressway out to the airport to make sure we had good radio coverage. I was almost to O'hare when I was informed that the entire trip had been cancelled! I turned around and returned to the field office and removed all of the radio equipment we had just finished installing and returned to the hotel.

On Nov 4 1966 we left Chicago and returned to Washington DC and home.

CBR Training at Howard University in Washington DC (1967)

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.

HF Radio Training at Cartwheel in Washington DC(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
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.

SSB TMC 1KW Transmitter 
The TMC-SBT-1KW  transmitter and was installed in all of the towers and used primarily for support on overseas trips.

President Johnson's visit to Punta del Este Ur (1967)
Punta del Este Ur.
Punta Del Este UR site of 1967 Summit Conference of American States
Coordinates:                                       34°58′16″S 54°57′07″W
 43 m (141 ft.)
Population    (2009) 
 7,298 approximate permanent residents 

11 Apr 67 to Punta Del Este UR with President Johnson

Punta Del Este is an upscale resort on the southern tip of Uruguay, southeast of Maldonado and about 140 km east of Montevideo. Although the town has a year-round population of about 7,300, the summer tourist boom often boosts the population by an extra 500,000. The Tourist season usually lasts until the end of March, but in 1967 all of the businesses remained open for an additional month because President Johnson was to meet with Latin American leaders at a summit hosted by Uruguay, in Punta del Este, 

President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk arrived on April 11, 1967 to attend a summit conference with other American Chiefs of State.

On April 13, 1967 President Lyndon Johnson addressed the conference of The Organization of American States (OAS).

Metropolitan Punta Del Este
Looking Toward the Point
April 14, 1967, was the last day of the Latin American summit meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay. President Johnson met privately with the President of Uruguay for bilateral talks. Later in the morning Johnson and other Presidents met to sign the Declaration of the Presidents of America.

 Meeting of the American Chiefs of State in Punta Del Este 
In the declaration, the Presidents agreed to create and support a Latin American Common Market; to bind the nations of the hemisphere in transportation, power, and river development; to expand Latin American trade; to intensify the battle against illiteracy and disease; to modernize agriculture and education; and to avoid unnecessary military expenditures. Eighteen of the Presidents signed the proclamation. The President of Ecuador refused to sign it. Bolivia, who boycotted the conference, also did not sign. 

After lunch, the President left Uruguay; he stopped briefly in Surinam and met with Surinam officials before returning to the LBJ Ranch late in the evening

Presidents Travel Itinerary April 1967

WHCA’s Role in the President’s Visit

The WHCA communications team assembled at Andrews AFB on March 15, 1967 to support the Presidential visit to Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Approximately 30 tons of equipment and 25 personnel were loaded on a C-141 to support the four day trip starting on April 11, 1967. A similar team would be sent to Montevideo, Uruguay to also support this visit.

C-141 carrying 60 tons of equipment and 30 people
Ready for Departure to Punta Del Este

The team departed Andrews AFB in the afternoon headed for a refueling stop in Suriname. We departed Suriname arriving in Montevideo early in the morning on March 16, 1967.
After unloading the equipment we loaded onto a bus for the two hour trip to Punta Del Este. When the equipment arrived we started to prepare for the upcoming Summit.

First priority was to perform a radio survey of the island to determine the best locations for the FM and HF transmitters so all of the upcoming events would have coverage. The locations for the switchboard and Communications Center were also chosen. Because there was also a WHCA team in Montevideo, we did not have to provide the communications support for the Presidents arrival in Montevideo and the motorcade to the conference site in Punta Del Este.

The two systems of the TMC SBT-1K transmitters were installed on the 12th floor of an office building on the southern edge of the city. Three FM base stations (Baker, Charlie and Sierra) were also install giving us line of site to almost any point in the city. A private residence was used as the HF receiving site in an area away from any heavy radio activity to minimize interference. Two R-390 A’s and CV-157, receivers and single sideband converters were located at this location. The transmitters and receivers were tied together with voice circuits for phone patch and TTY traffic. 

The installation of all of our equipment was complete by March 30th 1967. With the exception of finishing pulling a few circuits and terminating them on the switchboard, we were ready for the conference. All locations were manned and operated on a 7 by 24 hr. basis until the conference was over and the President departed Montevideo.

President Johnson arrived on April 11th and the conference took place as scheduled. On April 14, 1967 the President departed Punta Del Este and left Montevideo headed for Paramaribo Suriname to meet with the President of Suriname and then returned to the LBJ Ranch.

HF Transmitter, Receiver and SSB converter
It was time to tear everything down and pack everything back on a truck to go to Montevideo for loading and departure from Uruguay. On April 15th 1967 we departed for Suriname stopping at Lackland AFB to drop off passengers headed to Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch. after refueling we headed to Andrews AFB and home.

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.

AT&T 1A1 Key Telephone Training (1967)

17 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 Key Service Unit (KSU)          

WHCA Recruiting Trip at Fort Bliss TX (1968)

Recruiting Trip
Entrance to FT Bliss

Type Of Activity
Personnel Recruiting Trip
Ft Bliss TX
Date of Activity
 Aug 04 1968 to Aug 10 1968

04 Aug 68 to El Paso TX -Ft Bliss Recruiting Trip

WHCA sent recruiting teams to all of the Army, Navy and Air Force training centers in the US trying to find candidates in certain technical MOS’s. I was recruited by WHCA while I was attending Microwave School in Ft. Monmouth NJ.  A team of four members from the organization, all in civilian attire, asked me wide variety of questions for about an hour. Then I was submitted to an intense background investigation necessary to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance, which was required prior to being assigned to WHCA. This entire process took several months to complete.

In 1968 I was assigned to a four man team to go to Ft. Bliss TX to review, recommend and ultimately select candidates for future WHCA assignments, because Ft Bliss was the HQ for the US Army Air Defense Command there was a large Training Center on the Base. After a cross country airplane flight from Washington DC's National Airport to Chicago's O'Hare International to Dallas and finally to El Paso Airport. We also received meals on every leg of this flight so we ate four times on a flight that took five hours. We arrived in El Paso TX Sunday evening and got settled in our motel. The next morning we met with the Base Commander to obtain full access to all 201 files of the students currently attending any training that was taking place on the base. We were given permission to go to the base personnel unit and were given a contact to meet with so we could get started.

Insignia of the United States Army Air Defense Command
The Air Defense Command.s Museum at Ft Bliss
We immediately contacted the personnel unit and began reviewing hundreds of 201 files. Each of us separated the records of people that we thought would make good candidates. We then looked at military aptitude scores, current training courses,  education and general backgrounds to make our final decision on who we would interview. The few individuals that remained were first gathered in a group while we explained what we were doing and let them know about WHCA and the process that we would follow to make our final decision and what it would take to qualify. We did give everyone in the room a chance to withdraw from consideration with no questions asked. For the next three days we conducted personal interviews asking many direct questions about their lives and background. As we completed the individual interviews we discussed the merits of each candidate and made our final selections.

We met with the final seven candidates the next day to have them complete the administrative paperwork, which also included the forms needed to perform an extensive background investigation and obtain top secret security clearance. Once they graduated and received their security clearance they would receive their assignment in WHCA.

While I was in Fort Bliss Texas on this recruiting trip the 1968 the Republican National Convention began in Miami Beach FL, and even though there were demonstrators, there were no violent incidents like what would erupt in Chicago in a few months. Richard Nixon the Republican nominee surprised everyone by choosing Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate.  I would have never imagined the events that would take place in the next couple of months would forever change the Presidential election process.

WHCA and the 1968 Presidential Election (1968)

1968 Election Support Trips with all Presidential Candidates

This is an unprecedented period of time. The United States presidential election of 1968 was a wrenching national experience, conducted against a backdrop that included the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and subsequent race riots across the nation, the assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, widespread demonstrations against the Vietnam War across American university and college campuses, and violent confrontations between police and anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

On November 5, 1968, the Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon won the election over the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore "law and order". Some consider the election of 1968 a realigning election that permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years. It was also the last election in which two opposing candidates were vice-presidents.

The election also featured a strong third party effort by former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Because Wallace's campaign promoted segregation, he proved to be a formidable candidate in the South; no third-party candidate has won an entire state's electoral votes since.

The U.S. Secret Service came into existence nearly 150 years ago, but the agency as its known today was essentially created June 5, 1968 — the night Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

That policy changed after Kennedy's assassination. In 1968 with the assassination of a major presidential candidate, the Secret Service began to protect all of the major presidential candidates.

After Kennedy's death on June 6, the Secret Service was hurriedly called upon to protect the men who were still running for president in 1968. And then, of course the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) would be called upon to support the Secret Service details assigned to all of the candidates. The situation was exacerbated because there was no criterion for choosing who else would receive Secret Service protection. WHCA was then assigned to provide communications for the Secret Service Protection Details! 

WHCA’s role in the support of the Secret Service

WHCA immediately assembled multiple equipment packages that could be immediately deployed anywhere in the US. Utilizing one or two men teams the candidates schedules were confirmed and teams of people were dispatched to meet up with the Secret Service advance agents.

Each equipment package contained an FM base station usually on Baker and Charlie frequencies for the Secret Service Command Post (CP) and hand held units to be used for the motorcade and speech site. Many times the CP was located in the same hotel that the candidate was staying. Telephone lines were ordered and installed in the CP for routine communication. There would also be an EOD (Bomb Squad) member assigned from a local military installation to sweep the hotel, motorcade route and speech sites for any explosive devices. There were many threats called in but nothing was ever found.

The communications teams would take down the FM radios when the event concluded, collected all of the equipment and would be assigned a new location and the next event. Nobody was assigned to a particular candidate but would work with all of them.

On August 5 1968 the Republican National Convention took place in Miami Beach FL, and even though there were demonstrators, there were no violent incidents. I was at Fort Bliss Texas on a WHCA recruiting trip when Richard Nixon surprised everyone by choosing Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate.

WHCA would provide communications support to the USSS assigned to the various protection details working with the major candidates and their staff.

1968 Republican convention in Miami
1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago
We were all involved with the insanity of the 1968 Presidential election, the Vietnam War protests at the Democrat National Convention in Chicago which was by far the craziest time during the whole election. The convention opened on August 28th at the old Amphitheater which has since been demolished. All support people stayed at the Conrad Hilton on Michigan Ave. overlooking Grant Park, this is where all of the Chicago riots of 1968 took place, but what was it like setting up Communications for this event? I understand that the unions were on strike and employees of C&P Telephone accompanied WHCA to help install the POTUS board and interface with AT&T. We had to assume that President Johnson would make an appearance at the end of the convention, but he never attended. After several days of political turmoil, Hubert Humphrey and Edmond Muskie were nominated by the Democrats. The WHCA communications team then packed up everything and left Chicago without any incidents involving the demonstrators or police.   

The Chicago Police prepare for demonstrations
Police clash with antiwar protesters in Grant Park
21 Sep 68 Atlanta Ga. - George Wallace

And finally the stage was set for the 1968 Presidential election itself. My involvement began on Sep. 21, 1968 when I was sent to Atlanta, GA to support George Wallace at a campaign rally. This was a pretty standard stop. I installed an FM radio base in the Secret Service CP at the hotel where we were staying and provided some mobile radios for the motorcade. After several hours of activity and upon conclusion of his speech, I collected all of my equipment, and headed for the airport to return home.

04 Oct 68 Newark NJ - George Wallace

After a couple of weeks at home on October 4, I was sent first to Newark NJ to another rally supporting George Wallace. This turned out to be an in and out visit with an arrival at the airport and a short motorcade to the rally site. After the rally we returned to the airport but before the Governor departed, he personally thanked every police officer that was involved with the motorcade.

Gov. George Wallace at a rally in Atlanta GA
Gov. George Wallace at a rally in Newark NJ (1968) 
07 Oct 68 Raleigh NC - Spiro Agnew

I left shortly after Gov. Wallace departed and headed to Raleigh NC where I was assigned to support Spiro Agnew at a rally scheduled on the 8th of October. Upon arrival in Raleigh I met with the SS advance agent. I then surveyed the rally site for FM radio coverage, the rally site was only two blocks from my hotel and where the CP would be installed. Governor Agnew would motorcade from the airport to the speech site, then after his speech, the motorcade returned to the airport for his departure.
Spiro Agnew speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh NC.
Spiro Agnew speaks at a campaign rally in Raleigh NC.
24 Oct 68 San Jose CA - VP Hubert Humphrey
27 Oct 68 Los Angeles CA - VP Hubert Humphrey

I found myself in northern California with two weeks left before election night. I was sent to California on Oct 24th to support VP Humphrey who was making campaign speeches in San Francisco and San Jose. Both of these stops were uneventful I would set up and tear down the rally sites and after I was finished there, I was sent to Los Angeles to set up communications to cover another speech by the VP at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was now Oct. 27th and things were starting to heat up now that the election was only ten days away. I set up the CP in the Beverly Hilton Hotel where the event was to be held and where I was staying.

VP Hubert Humphrey campaigns  in Los Angeles CA 
VP Hubert Humphrey campaigns in San Francisco and San Jose, CA
30 Oct 68 Long Beach CA - Richard Nixon
31 Oct 68 Burbank CA – Richard Nixon

In the meantime Richard Nixon was scheduled for a campaign stop in Long Beach CA for a rally on Oct. 30th. The Long Beach site was out of range for FM radio coverage so radio base stations were installed at the Long Beach airport and installed remote circuits back to the CP that was installed in the Century Plaza Hotel. After the speech Nixon would spend the night at the Century Plaza. The next day Nixon made a trip to the NBC Studios in Burbank to appear on Laugh In and utter those immortal words “Sock it to me!” Since Nixon resided in southern California he was coming home to vote.

Richard Nixon at a campaign rally in Long Beach CA
Richard Nixon on Laugh In with Dan Rowan and Dick Martin
03 Nov 68 Anaheim CA - Curtis Le May

I received a call from the USSS agent in charge of the protection detail assigned to Gen LeMay to let me know that there was a speech on Nov 3rd in Anaheim. I met with the advance agent at Gen Le May’s residence in Bel Air to discuss the details of the arrival, the subsequent speech and the motorcade to Bel Air. The CP would be set up in the Holiday Inn in Anaheim, just a short distance from the speech site and within walking distance to Disneyland.

Gov. Wallace and Gen. LeMay in California
Gen. LeMay’s home in Bel Air
05 Nov 68 Los Angeles CA – Nixon/VP Humphrey

On election eve both Democrat and Republican parties had rallies, Nixon’s was at the Century Plaza Hotel and Humphrey's was,down the street at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. I had equipment scattered everywhere and it wasn’t until two days later before I had collected it and could head for home.

The election on November 5, 1968 proved to be extremely close, and it was not until the following morning that the television news networks were able to call Nixon the winner. The key states proved to be California, Ohio, and Illinois, all of which Nixon won by three percentage points or less. Had Humphrey carried all three of these states, he would have won the election. Had Humphrey carried any two of them (or just California), George Wallace would have succeeded in his aim of preventing an electoral college majority for any candidate, and the decision would have been given to the House of Representatives. Nixon won the popular vote with a plurality of 512,000 votes, or a victory margin of about one percentage point. In the Electoral College Nixon's victory was larger, as he carried 32 states with 301 electoral votes, to Humphrey's 13 states and 191 electoral votes and Wallace's five states and 46 electoral votes.

Richard Nixon at a campaign rally in Philadelphia just prior to the election
For five months members of WHCA leaped frogged across all fifty states supporting the candidates and it finally came to an end shortly after the November election. Besides supporting the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates it was also a huge task to support President Johnson and his staff for the rest of 1968.

With Richard Nixon the new president, WHCA had new challenges at San Clemente and Key Biscayne where he purchased residences and permanent communications had to be installed for the security personnel assigned at these locations.

President Nixon's Visit to New Delhi India (1969)

            U S Embassy in New Delhi India                        
 U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India
Coordinates:                                      28°36′50″N 77°12′32″E
 216 m (709 ft.)
Population (2001)
 302,363 (New Delhi Only)

31 Jul 69 to New Delhi India with President Nixon

New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the center of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi

.The foundation of the city was laid on December 15, 1911, and was planned by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, leading 20th century British architects. Inaugurated on February 13, 1931 by Viceroy, Lord Irwin, the city is known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and is home to numerous national institutions and landmarks.

It is situated within the metropolis of Delhi and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and home to a population of 14 million. New Delhi is one of the nine districts of Delhi. The total area of the city is 42.7 km.

Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India
The Rashtrapati Bhavan or The Official Residence of the Head of the State is the official residence of the President of India, located in New Delhi, India... It is the largest residence of any Head of the State in the world

During our stay in New Delhi the U.S Embassy and the State Department arranged for a tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India

Agra is a city in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, some 200 km from the Indian capital city of New Delhi. It is also the home of the Taj Mahal..

Main entrance to the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife. Taj Mahal means Crown Palace; one of the wife's names was Mumtaz Mahal, Ornament of the Palace. The Taj is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world, one of the masterpieces of Indian Muslim architecture, and one of the great sites of the world's heritage.

President Nixon was inaugurated in January of 1969 and this was his first diplomatic state visit to discuss his plans to bring peace to Southeast Asia. This worldwide trip would be the foundation for Nixon’s diplomatic success that he accomplished by ending the Vietnam War, his historic trip to China, and an improved relationship with Russia.

President Nixon arrived at Palam Airport in New Delhi. Acting President Mohammed Hidayatullah’s welcomed the President to India. In 1969, Hidayatullah served as the Acting President of India being ex officious Chief Justice. He served from 20 July to 24 August, 1969.

In his arrival speech Nixon said “The first principle of the relationship between India and the United States is that our two countries share fully the basic objective of peace in Asia and peace in the world. Only in peace can Asian nations devote their full energy and attention to the most important problem they face: the grave human problem of meeting the expectations of men, women, and children to share in all the benefits of modern science and technology. Mankind has reached the moon. Now we must improve the quality of life here on earth”. 

President Richard Nixon
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
He continued by saying “It is in this spirit that I come to New Delhi and it is in this spirit that I look forward to fruitful discussions with Prime Minister Gandhi and the other leaders of this bastion of democracy in Asia”.

”I leave with a sense of destiny, and also with a greater confidence than ever before about the future--the future for this country--and because this country's future is one that will have such an enormous effect on all of Asia and the world, confidence in the future of the world”.

President Nixon with India’s Prime Minister Gandhi
President Nixon’s first diplomatic visit to promote his administration’s new foreign policy would circle the world and would take him to eight countries meeting with their heads of state.

Presidents Travel Itinerary July/August 1969

Manila Philippines
July 26-27, 1969
State visit; met with President Marcos.
Jakarta Indonesia
July 27-28, 1969
State visit; met with President Suharto.
Bangkok Thailand
July 28-30, 1969
State visit; met with King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Saigon, Di An Vietnam
July 30, 1969
Met with President Thieu and visited U.S. military personnel.
New Delhi India
July 31-Aug 1, 1969
State visit; met with Acting President Hidayatullah.
Lahore Pakistan
August 1-2, 1969
State visit; met with President Yahya Khan.
Bucharest Romania
August 2-3, 1969
Official visit; met with President Ceausescu.
Mildenhall United Kingdom
August 3, 1969
Informal meeting with Prime Minister Wilson.

WHCA’s Role in the Presidents Worldwide State Visit 

WHCA would send communications teams to every stop on the President’s trip itinerary. On July 11, 1969 the New Delhi contingent formed at Andrews and loaded all personnel and equipment on to another C-141 the preferred mode of travel for all of our overseas trips. We left Andrews on the first leg of our trip that would eventually take us around the world. We would refuel in Madrid, Spain and fly to Incirlik AFB in Adana, Turkey. 

We arrived on July 12, 1969 and because we had to wait for final approval of our flight plan to New Delhi, we spent the night in the bases BAQ. My first experience with nickel slot machines came at the NCO club there, they must have been broken because I came away with over 100 dollars in my pocket by the time we left. Departing the next day and arriving in New Delhi on July 13, 1969.

The inside of a C-141 with a comfort pallet
In-route to New Delhi
Our first order of business would be to unload the tons of equipment that we brought with us and get settled into the Janpath Hotel where we would spend the next three weeks.

The switchboard, Comm. Center and FM radios would be installed in the Ashoka Hotel where the President and his staff were staying.

The US Embassy would become our base of operations using the Annex to set up our HF radios. We installed two Collins Radio 1KW HF systems for long range communications. RCA Corp. also installed a single channel satellite earth station capable of reaching the United States.

We were up and running within a week of landing in New Delhi, all we had to do was keep the radios up and operating until the visit was complete. During this period of time we were communicating with other WHCA locations in Thailand and Pakistan...

We had a native for a driver. He wore a turban, was impeccably groomed, and wanted someday to come to the United States. He took several of us several of us to look for some brass souvenirs. I think I have a business card for the merchant where we visited and bought souvenirs. John Parkash, yes I remember he gave out his business cards to all of us when we arrived at the airport.  It’s strange the things that we remember, I can remember John Parkash, but I cannot remember anyone that went on this souvenir hunting trip with us. I bought a brass tea service and two very large brass lamps.

When we left the shop there were some Buddhists using elephants in farming activities. We stood outside the car watching them work when suddenly they came running in our direction. Our driver told us to get in the car and we sped away. He explained they saw us taking pictures and believed that if someone took their picture you were stealing their soul. We really moved when they started towards us and quickly left. I also remember his stopping the car and waiting for a cow to get out of our way. He would not honk; we had to just set until the cow decided to move on.

The Janpath Hotel
Embassy assigned driver
President Nixon arrived at Palam Airport in New Delhi on July 31, 1969. I was assigned to work the arrival which included setting up the motorcade and plugging in the ramp into the nose of AF1 when it stopped on the tarmac. After the Presidents arrival, I went back to the hotel and changed my clothes because my suit was soaked from the 100+ degree temp, and went to the annex and pulled an eight hour shift on the HF radios.  On this trip we also had a Collins Radio Tech Rep (Leo Crane) who was there to make sure that the Collins system worked.  I don't remember the model number but it was black with thumb wheels on the control panel, but I never saw them again after we returned.  I guess they were experimenting with them that is why we had LEO!  I remember that our call sign was Circus Star,

I have no idea how anyone picked these particular systems. I remember that we were installing the verticals with the temp well above 100, and at about 11 Am we sent a couple of guys over to the annex's cafeteria to get something to drink, well, I guess they tried to buy some beer, I don't know what the problem was but CWO Desautles received a call from the embassy wanting to know why we were trying to buy beer and if he approved. We never did get anything cold to drink, so we crawled down from the roof, took a break and drank some water. I cannot remember if we had any other system with us like the URT-28.

The State Department set up a tour of the Taj Mahal they provided the air transportation and flew us to Agra. I was lucky enough to be off that day and was able to make the trip. We had a tour guide that showed us the sites and explained everything to us. 

I got tired of eating hamburgers at the US Embassy, but it was about the only safe place to eat. I remember we did eat a "wheels up" dinner at the Jan Path Hotel’s restaurant the night before we left. We all had Sweet 'n Sour pork since there was no beef on the menu. None of us got sick and we were ready to return home the next day. 

The President spent the rest of his time conferring with the Heads of state of India. On Aug 1, 1969 President Nixon departed New Delhi for his next stop in Lahore, Pakistan. It was now time to tear down and pack up all of the equipment and continue our around the world trip.

I can remember CWO Desautles threatening to throw off of the plane the entire load of souvenir's to make room for the equipment and luggage. We departed New Delhi on August 3, 1969 headed for Bangkok, Thailand. After a refueling stop we flew over Vietnam, where we could see artillery flashes from 29,000 feet in the air, I remember that because we flew over a war zone that we were tax exempt for one month. We really knew how to make money! We arrived in Tokyo Japan on August 4, from there we flew to an AF base outside Sacramento, and then on to Andrews, we ended up flying around the world. Everything made it back ok, but I remember several large horns that were vigorously HONKED whenever we took off and landed on our return trip.

Vice President Agnew's visits to New Orleans LA and Phoenix AZ (1969-1970)

Vice Presidential Support Trips
Vice President Agnew

Type Of Activity
Political Fund Raiser
New Orleans LA
Phoenix AZ
Date of Activity
02 December 1969
23 February 1970 
29°57'22.7" N  90°03'56.2"W
33°25'57.83 N 112° 0'27.34"W

02 Dec 69 to New Orleans LA-Political Speech

It was almost a year after the election when I was sent to New Orleans to support Vice President Agnew. The Vice President had just delivered a hard line speech concerning media bias toward the Nixon White House. We expected his speech in New Orleans to continue along the same lines as his Cedar Rapids speech and we were correct as he continued to criticize the network news media. The Secret Service was also expecting some demonstrations and public protest during the period of time he would be in the city.
Vice President Agnew in Cedar Rapids IA                            
I departed Washington DC with two WHCA personnel and enough radio equipment to support the VP and the USSS. Our first stop after landing at the New Orleans International Airport was at the local USSS Field Office and review the Itinerary of the upcoming trip with the Advance Agent.  When we were finished at the field office we went to the Royal Orleans Hotel where we were staying.

The Royal Orleans Hotel on Bourbon St

The next morning we met with the Hotel Manager and the local TELCO representative to survey the Suite where the Vice President would stay and the room that we would set up the USSS command post. We also conducted a survey of the hotels mechanical room and the roof for a location to install the B/C base station and its antenna. All circuits were then ordered from the TELCO rep. and we started the installation of our equipment. The suite had several key telephones installed with ring down circuits to the USSS CP. Key phones were also installed in the CP along with the remote console for the radio’s. When we were finished installing the radios we conducted a radio survey of the motorcade route to insure we had necessary coverage. The last piece of equipment that was installed for the VP staff advance was a DEX-1 facsimile machine.

The Royal Orleans Hotel near the VP's Suite
The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew landed in New Orleans about noon on Dec.4, 1969 and traveled by motorcade to the Royal Orleans Hotel. The speech was scheduled for that evening and the Vice President continued his attack on the media and the unfair coverage of the Nixon administration’s policies. Patrick Bucannon and William Safire were the two speechwriters that were responsible for these speeches. They eventually toned them down over a concern that they were too inflammatory.

The VP speaks at a Republican fund raiser 
The Agnew’s on the way to Brennan's Restaurant
The Vice President’s popularity had increased with Republicans ever since his now well-known speech attacking the Network media by saying “A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” and by calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism”. The Vice President became the Nixon Administrations most prolific fund raiser and was in great demand. The Agnew speech criticizing the news media came out of a personal and political context of personal enmity against the press and in favor of building a new political coalition.

The Vice President continues to blast the National Networks 
Vice President Agnew went to New Orleans and, as everyone now knows, he wowed not only the audience, but millions who saw him on television. Overnight, the Vice President lifted the country out of its depression and had everyone laughing.

There were a few protesters present but no large demonstrations like the Secret Service had anticipated. The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew departed the next day, and we removed and packed all of our equipment and prepared for our return trip to Washington and home.

23 Feb 70 to Phoenix AZ-Political Speech

I was again assigned to support Vice President Agnew and was sent this time to Phoenix AZ where he was speaking at another fund raiser. Which we found out would be held at the Del Webb Town House Hotel.

The Vice President’s popularity had increased with Republicans ever since his now well-known speech attacking the Network media by calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism”. The Vice President became the Nixon Administrations most prolific fund raiser and was in great demand.

This trip was a pretty routine trip.  The Vice President would motorcade from the airport to the Del Webb Townhouse where he would also stay and the event would take place. We would install all of our equipment there as well as installing the USSS Command Post and our radio base stations so everything would take place at one location. We did have a moment when the Hotel received a caller who claimed that there was a bomb hidden in the hotel and would be detonated when the Vice President entered the hotel. After a review the EOD team assured us that they had found no evidence that a bomb was present.

Del Webb’s Townhouse in Phoenix AZ in 1970 
Vice President Agnew arrived made his speech and departed the following day. It was time for us to pack up and return home. I was leaving temperatures in the mid-eighties to the subzero temperatures in Greencastle PA.

When I returned from Phoenix I found out in Early March of 1970 that the Microwave Towers including Cannonball were going to be closed and all of us would be sent to other locations which were to be determined. This was to be accomplished by June and I would be assigned to the San Clemente Communications Detachment as the NCOIC of the San Clemente Communications Contingency Team. The CCT was a new concept that we would develop and refine once all of the team members arrived in California.

The San Clemente Communications Contingency Team (CCT) (1970-1972)
The President's News Conference at the Century Plaza Hotel (1970)

 President's News Conference at the Century Plaza Hotel
The Century Plaza Hotel in Century City

Type of Activity
  Live Press Conference
 Century Plaza Hotel Los Angeles, California
Date of Activity
 July 30 1970
 34.05556°N 118.41694°W

July 30 1970 to a Press Conference in Los Angles with President Nixon

President Nixon was scheduled to hold his 11th Press Conference from Los Angles on live TV to a national audience. The speech was to be broadcast live from the Century Plaza Hotel at 8:00 pm on July 30 1970.

The president was on one of his working vacations at the Western White House, so the San Clemente CCT was sent to Los Angles to set up communications. We only had to set up the switchboard, comm-center, and USSS CP with the FM radio base stations on the roof of the hotel, because all scheduled activities were within the hotel. The speech site was to be held in the Santa Monica Room inside the hotel and was being set up by WHCA recording people from DC sent to support the president while he was in San Clemente.
The Main Entrance of the Century Plaza Hotel
The President arrived and stepped up to the Podium to begin his speech, all the viewers on TV saw was the Presidents lips move , no audio.  I was standing next to Gen. Redmond the CO of WHCA, and noticed that the color of his face turned white!  

Richard Nixon's Press Conference Remarks
It seemed like it was forever but someone swung a hand mike in the Presidents direction and the President announced. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are having trouble with the audio in the room. I hope that all of you, when you ask your questions, will ask them quite loudly. I understand, however, that our television audience has no problem because a shotgun mike will pick them up. For the benefit of your colleagues, ask your questions a little more loudly.  This press conference is one that is being held for the first time, while I have been President, outside of Washington. We want to welcome all of the members of the California press who are here. We will follow the usual format of the White House press conference, with the first two questions going to the wire services, and then we will try to cover as many others as we can”.

The President at the conclusion of his Press Conference
After about five minutes into the speech the recording guys found a blown fuse in the Hotel’s PA system and restored audio for the network audio feeds.  I don’t remember who the WHCA Trip Officer was, but we were never supposed to use third party equipment when setting up speech sites.  I have had radio failures occur, but that night I was relieved to be the provider of radio communications.

As soon as the Press Conference concluded the President t motored from the Century Plaza Hotel to the Century Plaza Hotel parking lot helipad. The Presidential party flew by helicopter from the Century Plaza helipad,  to the San Clemente helipad. We started to tear down everything pack it up and return to our El Toro shop that evening.

HF Radio Control Console (1970)

09 Aug/27 Aug 70 to Thurmont MD to build CCT’s HF Control Console

Shortly after I transferred to San Clemente I returned to Camp David for two weeks to build a Control Console for the HF package used by the CCT. This Console would provide an operator position for the two URT -23. The operator would also be able to provide phone patch capability on the Upper side band (USB) on both systems. I returned to San Clemente with a functional Control Console completing our HF package.

Typical HF installation on overseas trips (URT 23)

While I was in Thurmont I stayed with a friend of mine who worked at Camp David. I had worked with Denny Mc Cleod for several years while I was assigned to Cannonball, but now Denny was on the Camp David CCT and he was building the control console that would be in Camp David’s CCT package.

The President Attends a Republican Political Rally in Anaheim Ca (1970)
Political Rally Supporting the Re-Election of Gov. Ronald Reagan
Anaheim Convention Center 
Type of Activity
 Campaign Speech and Political Rally
 Anaheim Convention Center Anaheim Ca
Date of Activity
 October 30 1970
 33.802455°N 117.919843°W

October 30 1970 to a Political Rally in Anaheim CA with President Nixon

The purpose of President Nixon’s visit to California in October was to Campaign for all of the Republican candidates running for public office. California Governor Ronald Reagan and Senator George Murphy were also running for re-election in 1970. The President had attended a rally in San Jose just prior to coming to San Clemente.

President Nixon at a political rally for Gov. Ronald Reagan and Senator George Murphy 
Once again the CCT had a very short time frame to get set up for the rally.  Because San Clemente was so close to the Anaheim Convention Center, we were able to utilize many of the facilities at the Western White House.  We installed the Mini board, Commcenter and Radios at the Convention Center. Pacific Bell came through and installed the phones and circuits just before the President arrived. Everything was tested and ready to go.

The President and Mrs. Nixon departed from San Clemente in Army One accompanying them was, Governor Ronald Reagan and Senator George Murphy.

Note: The President spoke at 7:37 p.m. in the Anaheim Convention Center. His remarks were videotaped for broadcast at 8:30 p.m. on the CBS television network on time purchased by the Republican National Committee.

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks in Anaheim, California." October 30, 1970. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. 
 President Nixon at the Anaheim Convention Center
President’s Remarks at Anaheim Convention Center

The President opened by giving an endorsement to Governor Reagan and Senator Murphy.

“I cannot tell you what a proud moment it is for me to be addressing the Nation, for the first time in this campaign, from my native State of California. And I join with all of you in this great hall, and those of you in California, in giving my enthusiastic endorsement to the entire State ticket, and particularly to the leader of that ticket, a man who is the first man of the first State---Ronald Reagan.”

“And I also give my enthusiastic endorsement to all of those on the national ticket, the candidates for the House of Representatives, and to our candidate for the United States Senate for reelection-George Murphy”.

When the rally concluded the Presidential Party departed by Army One and returned to San Clemente.

Unlike the problems we had a couple months earlier with the PA system at the Century Plaza Press Conference, this event went off without any problems.
It was now time to collect and  tear down everything and return the equipment to our repair shop at El Toro.

Vice President Agnew’s Trip to Newport Beach Ca (1970)

The Vice President at a Republican Fund Raiser

Vice President Agnew
Type Of Activity
Speech and Fund Raiser
Newport Beach CA
Date of Activity
 01 Nov 1970 
33°40′34″N 117°43′52″W

31 Oct 70 to Newport Beach CA-Political Speech and Fund Raiser

During the President’s visit to the Western White House in San Clemente we were on many occasions sent on side trips to support the Vice President who was also visiting southern California. The President had just returned from the Republican Rally at the Anaheim Convention Center where we were in the process of tearing down and packing our equipment, when we found out that we were to move and setup at the Newporter Inn in Newport Beach to support Vice President Agnew. The Vice President was to arrive on Nov 1, 1970 spend the night and depart back to Washington DC.

The Newporter Inn in Newport Beach CA
We had only one day to set up our radios, order and install the phones in the Vice Presidents suite and the USSS CP. We also had to set up a single circuit for Secure TTY Communications back to the Western White House Commcenter. Because the President was also visiting the local TELCO was available to work all of orders and completed them a few hours before the arrival the next day.

The Vice President arrived at the Orange County Airport (renamed John Wayne Airport) and motored to the Newporter Inn. The Vice President was scheduled to speak at a fund raiser that evening follower by a reception at the hotels pool.

Poolside Reception

On December 2nd the Vice President departed the Hotel and motored to Orange County Airport to return to Washington DC. Once the Vice President departed we packed up our equipment and returned to El Toro as the President was still in CA and it was Election Day and we had a lot of activity remaining before the President departs on December 4th to return to Washington DC.
With the President and Vice President both leaving Southern California as well as the White House Staff, mid term elections were complete and things were about to return to normal, at least for a few days.

The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew Vacation in Palm Springs (1970)

VP Agnew vacations in Palm Springs Ca.

Welcome to Palm Springs

Type Of Activity
 Communications Support Trips
 Palm Springs California
Date of Activity
 Nov. 19 1970 to Dec.  27 1971
 33°49′26″N 116°31′49″W

19 Nov 70 to Palm Springs CA with Vice President and Mrs. Agnew

The CCT was designed to be a quick response highly mobile unit.  We were deployed on several occasions to Palm Springs CA with the President and also provided the Vice President communications support on west coast trips and he would come to Palm Springs several times to play golf.  The Vice Presidents visits were usually pretty simple to set up and once finished required little activity because nothing was scheduled other than short motorcades to and from the golf course.

Our First visit as a team wasn’t until November of 1970. Vice President and Mrs. Agnew were scheduled to visit for several days and play some golf.  This trip was turned into a full scale deployment of the CCT including all of our equipment as if we were going on an overseas trip. The goal was to set up all of our communications equipment as quickly as possible and establish HF contact with Cactus and establish a phone patch with DCSU Headquarters at Camp David.

 Our Motel in Palm Springs 
As soon as we arrived and checked into our motel, we started to deliver equipment. Our first stop was the GTE Central Office where we would install the Switchboard and Comm-center equipment. This would become the base for telephone, radio, radio paging and data communications.
 Edom Hill Radio Site                    
Our second stop would be a visit to Edom Hill where we had permanently installed Baker, Charlie and Sierra radio base stations. The San Clemente Detachment had placed these base stations here on President Nixon’s first trip to Palm Springs knowing that there would be many trips, and the only work necessary would be to power them up and test them.  The remote keying lines were ordered to terminate back at the GTE central Office.  We would return to final test everything once we were told that all of the keying lines were installed.

Our final stop that night was back at our motel to start the installation of the HF equipment in a room in the Motel. Early the next morning we would install the antenna on the roof of the Motel and started to power up the two AN/URT-23 SSB radios. I would spend the rest of the day establishing contact with Camp David, Collins Radio, Silver Dollar (Airborne Command Post) and other locations within the Andrews Airways HF system.  Successful phone patches were completed with various individuals and our activity was terminated.

The Hearst Residence Front Entrance   
The next day we visited the Hearst residence where The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew would stay on this visit.  We surveyed the residence and started to set up the USSS Command Post (CP). We completed a radio survey and headed to the Palm Springs International Airport where the VP’s arrival and subsequent departure would take place.

 Palm Springs International Airport
Vice President Agnew and Frank Sinatra Golfing in Palm Springs
The Agnew’s spent several days in Palm Springs golfing with comedian Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra before they returned to Washington D.C. of course when they left we de-installed all of our equipment and returned to El Toro. We spent a total of 10 days in Palm Springs on this the team’s first trip.

The NBA All Star Game in San Diego (1971)

1971 NBA All Star Game
San Diego Sports Arena Site of the 1971 NBA All-Star Game
Type Of Activity
 NBA All- Star Game
 San Diego California
Date of Activity
 Jan 12 1971
 32°45′19″N 117°12′44″W 

12 January 1971 to San Diego Ca Perks for the Staff

Being assigned to the Western White House did have many perks for all of us that were on the staff.  The White House Press Corp did obtain some passes to sporting events in San Diego. I was able to take Don and Bob with me to a San Diego Chargers football game, but in Jan. the 1971 NBA All-star game was held at the San Diego Sports Arena. We found out that some of us had Press Passes and our seats were on the floor under one of the baskets! Any thoughts of basketball as being a non-contact sport soon was replaced after I saw the activity that took place under the basket, pushing, shoving , elbows and most of all when Billy Cunningham drove to the basket he met with Wilt Chamberlain’s finger in his left eye. It was a great game and with only 48 seconds left to play, Milwaukee's Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) scored on a 5-foot jumper and converted a free throw to give the West a 108-107 victory over the East. MVP honors, however, went to Seattle Supersonics’ player-coach Lenny Wilkens, the leading scorer with 21 points!

 Entrance to San Diego Sports Arena
It was great to watch so many future Hall of Fame players’ play in this game!

1971 All-Star Game Box score
West 108, East 107
GAME 21: at San Diego, Jan. 12, 1971
MVP: Lenny Wilkens

Player, Team
Billy Cunningham, Philadelphia
John Havlicek, Boston
Willis Reed, New York
Earl Monroe, Baltimore
Walt Frazier, New York
Johnny Green, Cincinnati
Dave DeBusschere, New York
Lou Hudson, Atlanta
Gus Johnson, Baltimore
John Johnson, Cleveland
Bob Kauffman, Buffalo
Wes Unseld, Baltimore
Tom Van Arsdale, Cincinnati
Jo Jo White, Boston

Player, Team
Connie Hawkins, Phoenix
Jerry Lucas, San Francisco
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
Dave Bing, Detroit
Jerry West, Los Angeles
Elvin Hayes, San Diego
Bob Love, Chicago
Wilt Chamberlain, Los Angeles
Jeff Mullins, San Francisco
Geoff Petrie, Portland
Oscar Robertson, Milwaukee
Dick Van Arsdale, Phoenix
Chet Walker, Chicago
Lenny Wilkens, Seattle

Score by Periods:

Coaches: East: Red Holzman, West: Larry Costello.
Referees: Mendy Rudolph and Ed Rush.
Attendance: 14,378.

The Vice President at the 1971 Bob Hope Desert Classic (1971)

1971 Bob Hope Desert Classic

12th BOB HOPE DESERT CLASSIC at Bermuda Dunes Country Club

Type Of Activity
Golf Tournament
Palm Springs California
Date of Activity
 10 Feb 1971 to 14 Feb 1971
 33°49′26″N 116°31′49″

08 February 1971 to Palm Springs with Vice President Agnew 

Three members of the San Clemente CCT were sent to Palm Springs set up communications at the residence of Frank Sinatra, where the Vice President would be staying while he was in Palm Springs.
 Frank Sinatra’s estate in Palm Springs 
We also conducted a radio survey of the Palm Springs International Airport where the VP would arrive and depart on Air Force Two, and finally checked out coverage at the Bermuda Dunes Golf Course

The Palm Springs International Airport
The 12th Annual Bob Hope Desert Classic was held  at the Bermuda Dunes Country Club ran from 10 February to 14 February 1971 with Arnold Palmer winning the tournament.

The Vice President golfing in the 1971 Bob Hope Desert Classic with Bob Hope
A great souvenir from the 1971 Desert Classic         
When the tournament was over the Vice President returned to Frank Sinatra's residence and the next day returned to Washington DC. We did what we always did removed the Communications equipment and returned to El Toro and wait for our next assigned trip.

The President’s Award Presentation to Samuel Goldwyn (1971)

Award Presentation to Samuel Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn's Estate in Beverly Hills
Type Of Activity
 Award Presentation
 Beverly Hills California
Date of Activity
 27 Mar 1971
 34°4′23″N 118°23′58″W 

26 March 1971 to Beverly Hills Ca with President Nixon

While the President and Mrs. Nixon were visiting San Clemente two of us from the CCT was sent to Los Angeles To prepare for another short side trip. The President was planning a short visit to the residence of Samuel Goldwyn. Since this was a very short visit the only requirement for us was to set up a radio base at the Century Plaza Hotel consisting of Baker, Charlie and Sierra frequencies with phone patch capabilities back to the Western White House. 

President Nixon’s remarks as he Presents the Medal of freedom to filmmaker Samuel Goldwyn
March 27, 1 971 Presidents Itinerary to the Samuel Goldwyn house In Beverly Hills Ca.
(10:07 to 10:41 AM) The President flew by helicopter from the Western White House to the Los Angeles helipad.
(10:43 to 10:45 AM) The President motored from The Los Angeles helipad to the Residence of Chairman of the Board, Goldwyn Production Inc., Samuel Goldwyn. The President was met by: Mrs. Samuel Goldwyn and Taft Schreiber, Vice President, Music Corp. of America. The President then presented Samuel Goldwyn with the Medal of Freedom.

(11:20 to 11:32AM) The President motored from the Residence of Samuel Goldwyn to the Los Angeles helipad.

(11:41 to 2:00 PM) The President motored from the Los Angeles helipad to the Western White House.

After working all night to get the radios installed and installing circuits after about four hours we were removing the Radio base stations and returning to San Clemente.

Vice President Agnew Visits San Diego CA (1971)

The Vice President at a Republican Fund Raiser
Type Of Activity
Speech and Fund Raiser
San Diego CA
Date of Activity
 01 Nov 1970 

05 Apr 71 to San Diego CA-Political Speech

The CCT was in the middle of another one of the Presidents working vacation at the Western White House. The day after the Presidents arrival I was sent to Los Angles to support the President with the presentation at the Samuel Goldwyn estate in Beverly Hills CA which lasted for only a couple of Hours.

Several days after my return I found out that the Vice President was planning a visit to San Diego International Airport. During his overnight stay he would speak at a Republican Fund Raiser and hold a Press Conference at the Airport.

Vice President Agnew talks to reporters
We set up our radios in the CP and at the Airport where we also had a number of Press Phones installed. I came down from San Clemente to work the Vice Presidents departure.  The Vice President arrived and addressed the Press, as he was leaving they surrounded him asking questions while the Vice President tried to board AF2.

When I returned home later that evening I found out that I was on the news just standing in the background while the Vice President talked to reporters. My moment of of fame lasted just 10 seconds and I never saw the clip.

Although the Vice President had departed southern California we still had the President in San Clemente for a few more days before everyone returned to Washington DC.

President Nixon Presents Presidential Unit Citation to the 1st Marine Division (1971)

President Nixon Presents Presidential Unit Citation to the 1st Marine Division
    MCB Camp Pendleton Insignia
             1st Marine Division Insignia       

Type of Activity
 Award ceremony
 Camp Pendleton San Diego County, Ca
Date of Activity
 April 30 1971
 +33°20′N 117°25′W       
April 30 1971 to Camp Pendleton with President Nixon

In April of 1971 the First Marine Division returned from Vietnam and was to be greeted by President Nixon. The event was scheduled to take place at Camp Pendleton, since the site was only 10 min from the Western White House the CCT was told to break out the recording equipment to rehearse the welcome home ceremonies. So here we were all radio and switchboard guys setting up on the Parade Field (which nobody was allowed to set foot on when they were not in a parade). Anyway Gen Redmond, Major Freed, and I don't remember all of the WHCA officers were out there, but we set up the PA and microphones where we thought they needed to be as the Troop Commander shouted commands. The problem was that when he was in front of the division no one could hear him and we couldn't put a mike stand there! Gen Redmond came over to me and asked if we could run a mike cable out on the parade field and lay the microphone on the ground. It took two min. and that solved the problem. After rehearsal we took all took shovels and buried the cable thus inventing the “turf” microphone, the Marines couldn't believe that we were digging up their parade field and not going to the brig for doing it. I returned to Camp Pendleton the day before the event was to take place to meet with the WHCA recording guys to help them set up the site and to point out where the Troop Commander would be positioned. All went well at the speech the next day at the official Welcome Back ceremonies.

The President being escorted to receive salute
 President Nixon receives 21 gun salute at Camp Pendleton               
A striking scene on the Parade Ground at Camp Pendleton on 30 April 1971, as RN reviews the 1st Marine Division before awarding it the Presidential Unit Citation.  On POTUS’s left is the Corps Commandant, General Leonard F. Chapman.  What appears to be dust is, in fact, smoke from the artillery weapons that had just fired a 21 gun salute.  There was a large crowd of wives and dependents, as well as invited dignitaries, on bleachers behind the photographer and on the other side of the troop formation.  Thanks to Jack Brennan for sending his personal copy of this hitherto unpublished photo.

President Nixon went to Camp Pendleton, California, to award the Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) For Extraordinary Heroism to the First Marine Division.

The First Marine Division was activated aboard the battleship Texas at the beginning of 1941.  It is the oldest, largest, and most decorated division in the United States Marine Corps, having received nine Presidential Unit Citations.

The President spoke on the Parade Ground just after noon.  Also on the stand with him were USMC Commandant General Leonard F. Chapman, and Navy Under-Secretary —and later Senator— John Warner.

President Nixon and Commandant Chapman review the Troops 
The President’s Speech began by welcoming the Division home:

President Nixon Addressing the 1st Marine Division
This is one of the proudest moments of my service as President of the United States–to be here for this ceremony; to award this Unit Citation, the eighth Unit Citation this division has received in its long and proud history, to the First Marine Division; and to welcome home the major elements of that division from Vietnam.

As I welcome you home, I can say to you that the Nation is proud of you. I can say to you, you come home mission accomplished.

He continued, providing a context for their service in Vietnam:

When you went to Vietnam 5 years ago, you found a country there with millions of South Vietnamese under Communist rule, and the whole country threatened by a Communist takeover

As you return, you left a South Vietnam with the South Vietnamese now assuming the major burden of their own defense, and soon developing the capability for their complete defense without the assistance of American fighting men.

Because of your service and the service of other Americans, we can now say that Americans can continue to be withdrawn at approximately or almost at a division a month. And because of your service and the service of other Americans, we can set as our goal–and achieve the goal–of a total withdrawal of all Americans; that goal to be achieved when the South Vietnamese have developed, as they will develop, the capability of defending themselves, and when we have returned all of our prisoners of war wherever they may be in Southeast Asia.

And now to the many of these marines who are young marines, and most of you are young marines, may I refer a bit to the history of this division going clear back to World War I, when the Fifth Regiment, which later became part of the First Marine Division, served them. It is a proud and distinguished history. The names are proud in the history of the Marine Corps and they are very proud in the history of this Nation: Belleau Wood, in World War I; Guadalcanal in World War II; Inchon, in Korea; and now Vietnam.

The question that I am sure must be in your minds is: What will the verdict of history be about your service in Vietnam? Certainly in terms of personal heroism there is no question about the verdict of history. Forty-eight members of the First Marine Division were awarded the Medal of Honor. It is the most decorated Marine division of all. This is the second Unit Citation in this war.
And there are other heroes in this division–heroes who received no medals; heroes who had a kind of heroism that was not required of your grandfathers who served in World War I or your fathers who may have served in World War II–a kind of service that was special to Vietnam: building a nation, building schools and hospitals and clinics, and helping people, and contributing thousands of dollars of your own funds for helping the people of Vietnam gain what you wanted them to gain–the right to build a nation free from outside control.

So there is no question about the verdict of history so far as your heroism is concerned.

He ended on a proudly personal note: As I stand here today I look back again over the history of this country. The marines and other Americans who fought in World War I thought they were fighting in a war to end wars, and then their sons fought in World War II.

The marines and other Americans who fought in World War II, after it ended and the United Nations was formed, thought that now at long last we can have an era of peace. And then their younger brothers fought in Korea, and their sons fought in Vietnam.

Now the question is: What happens after Vietnam? How do we end the war? What kind of a peace do we want? And we do want peace.

As I think of peace and as you think of peace, I think of the hundreds of schoolchildren who are here today. I think that the kind of peace we want–and this is our goal is just not peace in our time but peace in their time.

By your service you have done your part in trying to achieve that kind of peace, and I pledge to you that in the conduct of our foreign affairs we shall bring this war to an end in a way worthy of your service and the service of other Americans-to achieve a just and a lasting peace; to achieve what Americans have never had in this century: a full generation of peace.

So proudly today, as Commander in Chief, as one who was proud to serve with you and your predecessors in World War II, I say, America welcomes you home with pride, and we will not fail you in winning the peace.

Presentation of the Presidential Unit Citation to the 1st Marine Division
By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I have today awarded the 1st Marine Division

For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam from 16 September 1967 to 31 October 1968. Operating primarily in Quang Nam Province, the First Marine Division (Reinforced) superbly executed its threefold mission of searching for and destroying the enemy, defending key airfields and lines of communication, and conducting a pacification and revolutionary development program unparalleled in the annals of warfare. With the Division responsible for over 1,000 square miles of territory, it extended protection and pacification to more than one million Vietnamese. The countless examples of courage, resourcefulness, and dedication demonstrated by the officers and men of the First Marine Division attest to their professionalism and esprit de corps. Their combat activities were skillfully carried out in the face of adverse weather and difficult terrain such as canopied jungles, rugged mountains, swampy lowlands, and hot, sandy beaches. During the enemy Tet-offensive in late January of 1968, the First Marine Division dealt a devastating blow to enemy forces attempting to attack Danang. Again, in May 1968, the Division totally crushed an enemy drive directed against the Danang area through the Go Noi Island region southwest of Danang. The Division achieved this resounding victory through the skillful coordination of ground forces, supporting arms, and aircraft support. Most action in the I Corps Tactical Zone during August of 1968 was centered in the First Marine Divisions tactical area of responsibility. The enemy, now looking for a victory which would achieve some measure of psychological or propaganda value, again mounted an attack of major proportions against Danang but were thoroughly repulsed sustaining heavy casualties. The valiant fighting spirit, perseverance, and teamwork displayed by First Marine Division personnel throughout this period reflected great credit upon themselves and the Marine Corps, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


After the ceremonies, President Nixon greeted the crowd of some 10,000 by circling the Parade Ground standing in the back of a jeep. After saying goodbye to Commandant Chapman, the President started walking towards his waiting limousine, for the short drive back to San Clemente.. Suddenly, a remarkable thing happened. A crowd of Marines carried President Nixon on their shoulders for about 15 yards as he toured the parade grounds after welcoming home the 1st Division from Vietnam, a base spokesman said Saturday. The incident Friday wasn’t seen by most spectators, but television cameras picked up a distant shot of the President being lifted and carried until Secret Service agents called a halt.

The witnesses said the Marines involved were from Camp Pendleton and the 1st Division. “The President walked by the bleachers and waved,” said a corporal. “Suddenly about 15 to 20 guys spilled out of the bleachers, grabbed him, and put him on their shoulders. “They went about 15 yards when the Secret service forced them to put the President down.”

The President Departs with his daughter Trisha
Nixon then shook hands with many of them…..the witnesses said. It was quite a sight to see!

The President and First Lady Visit Palm Springs (1971)
Presidents Trip to Palm Springs Ca

Annenberg estate (Sunnylands)

Type Of Activity
Communications Support
Palm Springs California
Date of Activity
1 May 1971 to 2 May 1971
 33°49′26″N 116°31′49″W

01 May 71 to Palm Springs CA with President and Mrs. Nixon

The President and Mrs. Nixon went to Palm Springs in May 1971 to play some golf and get away from the press for a couple of days. We received very short notice about the planned trip and loaded our equipment in a rental truck and headed for Palm Springs.

We also immediately contacted the GTE telephone company in Palm Springs to start the installation of the circuits for the radios at Edom Hill and to the Annenberg estate, where we were installing Baker and Charlie Base stations for the USSS. We were getting the radio base stations installed in the grounds keeper’s building when Army One landed with the Presidential Party.

At 12:51 pm the President boarded Army One and flew from San Clemente. to the Palm Springs estate of U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Walter Annenberg.  President Nixon would always stay at the estate of Walter Annenberg the owner of TV Guide, Seventeen and many other publications and was the ambassador to England. The Annenberg estate known as Sunnylands came with everything including an 18 hole golf course situated in Rancho Mirage.

The President was accompanied by several gusts including, his friends Bebe Rebozo and Robert Abplanalp. Shortly after their arrival the President and his party started a round of Golf on the 18 hole course on the 240 acre estate.

Although we had the switchboard and radio equipment ready to go when the President arrived, there was still no circuits installed at the Annenberg estate. After many hours of waiting for the telephone company to install the remote keying lines, we finally tested with the switchboard and finished up at about 4AM and left the estate.  We departed Palm Springs the next afternoon for El Toro. The one thing that I learned during that trip was that I could actually get a few minutes of sleep on the back of a golf cart.

Ariel view of the Annenberg estate complete with an 18 hole golf course
The next morning the President and his guests played another round of golf. I have no idea who won but when they finished they had lunch.

At 1:55 The President boarded Army One and flew from the Palm Springs estate of U.S. Ambassador Walter Annenberg, back to the Western White House in San Clemente.

After a little more than 24 hours the President was gone and it was time to tear down all of our equipment and return to El Toro and finish the stay at San Clemente.

Organizational Readiness Evaluation (ORE) (1971)

11 May 71 to Camp Pendleton CA-ORE

Since the CCT was meant to be a fast response team that could respond quickly, DCSU HQ decided to surprise us with an Organizational Readiness Evaluation (ORE). I received a call from Mr. Douglas at about 7:30 in the evening to assemble the team ASAP at our El Toro shop. 

I started calling or paging everyone to immediately call me for instructions it only took about 15 min. to inform everyone to pack a bag and report to our shop. When we arrived we were instructed to prepare to leave first thing in the morning with all of our radio, switchboard, and commcenter equipment for an unknown location in southern CA. We all went to the EL Toro MCAS, officers BOQ to spend the night.

Camp Pendleton’s main entrance 
Abandoned Quonset Huts 
Our instructions were to depart and proceed to Camp Pendleton to set up our equipment in a building on base. The building turned out to be an old WW II Quonset hut in an isolated area of Camp Pendleton. We were glad to find that the building did have electricity to power our equipment. It only took us about an hour to set up all of our equipment and run the necessary radio keying lines and interconnecting audio circuits between the two URT-23 HF SSB radios with the mini board and the commcenter. Operational tests were conducted for both TTY and voice traffic including HF Phone Patches with Cactus and FM Radio patches with various places through San Clemente switch board. 

This exercise continued until early evening when we were advised to terminate our activities, pack up our equipment and return to El Toro. 

Frank Sinatra's Retirement Concert (1971)

Frank Sinatra’s Retirement Concert
Frank Sinatra’s Retirement Performance
Type of Activity
 Indoor Theater Concert
 135 North Grand Avenue Los Angeles, California
Date of Activity
 June 13 1971

09 June 1971 to Los Angeles Ca with Vice President Agnew

On June 13, 1971 – at a concert in Hollywood to raise money for the Motion Picture and TV Relief Fund – at the age of 55, Frank Sinatra announced that he was retiring, bringing to an end his 36-year career in show business. This concert was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angles. I had no idea when I left San Clemente that I would be supporting this event all that I knew was that Vice President was coming to Los Angles. I was sent there to support Vice President Agnew, his staff and the United States Secret Service, who would be attending a concert at the Ahmanson Theater. 

Dorthy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theater
Ahmanson Theater
Since this was a low Key event and no speech was scheduled for the Vice President there was very little publicity and only a few reporters covering the event, those that did were primarily from the entertainment community.  After meeting with the Staff and Secret Service advance people, and were briefed with the details of the VP’s itinerary this is when we found out that it would be Frank Sinatra’s retirement concert. After this briefing we proceeded to start our radio survey of the motorcade route from LAX at the arrival location to the Beverly Hilton and on to the Ahmonson Theater / Dorothy Chandler Pavilion complex. When the survey was complete and the base station locations were selected we ordered the remote keying lines from the Telco. We installed a remote “Charlie” base station at LAX to cover the Vice President’s arrival and set up a remote “Charlie” base station back stage at the Ahmanson Theater to cover the concert, then connected both sites to the USSS CP at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. We then checked radio coverage inside and outside of the theater complex, the Hotel, LAX and the entire motorcade route to insure radio coverage in all areas that the Vice President would visit on this trip. 

Frank Sinatra's retirement concert 
Inside the Ahmanson Theater where Frank Sinatra's retirement concert was held.
Although we would have to work that night, dress rehearsal took place that afternoon and we were able to sit in front row seats and watch them.  Dean Martin and the Gold-diggers, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Don Rickles, Mitzi Gaynor, Barbra Streisand, Nancy Sinatra, Joe Namath, and Bobby Sherman. I was lucky to have saved the Program which helped me remember everyone who performed at this concert because there were so many. Although I do not remember Frank at the dress rehearsal, I was able to see his entire performance that evening!

The Program began with Princess Grace of Monaco (the former Grace Kelly) giving the opening remarks followed by the concert. Frank Sinatra was introduced by Rosalind Russell and began his performance by singing “All Or Nothing at All” , followed by “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, I’ll Never Smile Again, a moving rendition of Ol’ Man River, That’s Life, Try A Little Tenderness,  Fly Me To The Moon , Nancy , My Way, The Lady Is A Tramp and concluding his performance with Angel Eye. His performance was fabulous by far the best of the evening.

The great thing about the concert was that all of the best known entertainers of the time were on the program, not to mention celebrities like Robert Wagner, Lucile Ball, David Jansen and Don Knotts that would be in the audience. 

Frank Sinatra’s retirement in 1971 
After the show we tore down the remote and returned to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Vice President Agnew departed the next morning and returned to Washington DC. We then tore down the equipment at LAX, packed up the CP and gathered up all of our equipment, then returned to San Clemente. It was a great show, although Frank Sinatra made his comeback a little more than a year later! It was a great evening of entertainment, one that I will never forget.

 President Nixon Announces his Visit to China (1971)

President Nixon Announces his Visit to China

NBC Studios in Burbank CA

Type Of Activity
 Televised News Conference
 Burbank CA
Date of Activity
 July 15 1971
 34°09'14.7"N 118°20'00.5"W

15 Jul 1971 President Nixon announces upcoming trip to China

The President and first Lady arrived in San Clemente on July 3rd 1971 for an extended stay at the Western White House. At the time we were unaware of what would come in two weeks. The President’s trip was pretty routine without many side trips and seemed more like a working vacation as the Senior Staff was very busy. On July 13th Henry Kissinger arrived and participated in a series of meetings with the President and the Senior Staff. 

The next day the CCT was told to get ready to leave for the NBC Studios in Burbank CA. for a live national TV and Radio broadcast that the President would conduct! As we departed no one on the team knew the magnitude of the pending press release.

I had been to NBC Studios on a couple of occasions prior to this visit so I had a basic knowledge of the physical layout! During the 1968 Presidential election I was in CA supporting Candidate Nixon.  He was planning to do a spot on Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In” and I needed to make sure that the Secret Service had radio coverage for security of the then Candidate Richard Nixon. I knew that the warehouse had easy access to the roof so we set up our base stations in a small room in the warehouse.  We surveyed the studio where the President would Speak and started to prepare for the broadcast!

The President and Henry Kissinger arrive at NBC Studios with HR Haldeman and Ron Ziegler
The President and Dr. Henry Kissinger with the Senior Staff departed San Clemente aboard Marine One and arrived at NBC Studios at 6pm.

At 7:30 pm during a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stunned the nation by announcing that he will visit communist China the following year. The statement marked a dramatic turning point in U.S.-Chinese relations.

“It was such a shock,” longtime CBS anchor Dan Rather said, “that President Nixon, the quintessential Cold Warrior, was changing colors, as it were.”

The shock of the announcement unleashed a barrage of opinions, both in favor of the trip and against it, with most somewhere in between. The presidential visit the following February, however, would produce one of the most lasting shifts in the international order in generations — one that reverberates ever stronger to this day.

The President Announces his Planned Trip to China
231 - Remarks to the Nation Announcing Acceptance of an Invitation To Visit the People's Republic of China.
July 15, 1971

Good evening:

I have requested this television time tonight to announce a major development in our efforts to build a lasting peace in the world.

As I have pointed out on a number of occasions over the past 3 years, there can be no stable and enduring peace without the participation of the People's Republic of China and its 750 million people. That is why I have undertaken initiatives in several areas to open the door for more normal relations between our two countries.

In pursuance of that goal, I sent Dr. Kissinger, my Assistant for National Security Affairs, to Peking during his recent world tour for the purpose of having talks with Premier Chou En-lai.
The announcement I shall now read is being issued simultaneously in Peking and in the United States:

Premier Chou En-lai and Dr. Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's Assistant for National Security Affairs, held talks in Peking from July 9 to 11, 1971. Knowing of President Nixon's expressed desire to visit the People's Republic of China, Premier Chou Enlai, on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China, has extended an invitation to President Nixon to visit China at an appropriate date before May 1972.

President Nixon has accepted the invitation with pleasure.

The meeting between the leaders of China and the United States is to seek the normalization of relations between the two countries and also to exchange views on questions of concern to the two sides.

In anticipation of the inevitable speculation which will follow this announcement, I want to put our policy in the clearest possible context.

Our action in seeking a new relationship with the People's Republic of China will not be at the expense of our old friends. It is not directed against any other nation. We seek friendly relations with all nations. Any nation can be our friend without being any other nation's enemy.

I have taken this action because of my profound conviction that all nations will gain from a reduction of tensions and a better relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

It is in this spirit that I will undertake what I deeply hope will become a journey for peace, peace not just for our generation but for future generations on this earth we share together.

Thank you and good night.

Note: The President's remarks. were broadcast live on radio and television at 7:31 p.m. from the NBC studios, Burbank, Calif.

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks to the Nation Announcing Acceptance of an Invitation To Visit the People's Republic of China." July 15, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

The President’s handwritten notes from that day, before delivering his announcement: 
Nixon undertook his historic visit to China the following year, thus beginning a long and slow process of normalization of relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. The immediate diplomatic and political rewards of Nixon’s initiative were not readily apparent. The war in Vietnam dragged on until January 1973, with the Chinese apparently having little, if any, impact on North Vietnam’s negotiating stance. Nixon’s trip to China did inspire a good deal of anxiety in Moscow, but whether the policy of detente was helped or not is debatable. The 1972 trip was certainly front-page news in the United States, and may have been one small factor in Nixon’s resounding victory in the presidential election of that year.

 NBC Studios site of President Nixon’s announcement 
that he was going  to visit China in March of 1972
When the broadcast was finished the Presidential party departed the NBC studios for dinner at Perino’s Restaurant in Los Angles. 

We were notified at 10pm that the President had departed Los Angles and was headed back to San Clemente. At which time we began to tear down our equipment and load it on trucks to return to our shop at El Toro MCAS.

This event was only the beginning of the involvement that the San Clemente CCT would be associated with the President’s trip to China.  In Oct 1971 we were dispatched to Hilo HI to support Henry Kissinger when he flew to Beijing to finalize the President’s visit and the team was sent to Guam where we provided communications support while the President stopped in route and return from his visit as well as being back-up for the people working on mainland during the entire visit!

We spent the best share of the month of March 1972 in Agana Guam supporting the China Trip.
Aborted trip to the Bohemian Grove (1971)

Aborted trip to the Bohemian Grove

Entrance to the Bohemian Grove 

Type Of Activity
 Unknown  Presidential Function                                  
 Santa Rosa/Monte Rio CA
Date of Activity
 29 July 1971

July 29, 1971 to Monte Rio CA aborted trip to the Bohemian Grove 

Since the CCT was a fast response communications team, we got our share of short notice activity especially on the west coast.  We also had a few false alarms, one of which was a trip to the Santa Rosa CA area in July of 1971.
We were notified on July 28, 1971 that the President was going to attend a function at the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, CA. in two days. We loaded our equipment on to a C130 Hercules and departed El Toro Marine Air Station at 5 am the next morning. The flight to Hamilton AFB just north of San Francisco CA took about an hour and a half.  
C130 Hercules Cargo Transport
Passenger jump seats

We arrived at Hamilton AFB at 6:30 am and started to unload our equipment, there were rental vehicles available to transport the equipment to a nearby hotel where we would meet with the Secret Service advance team who would reveal to us the Presidents itinerary.
Since this was a Presidential trip we would set up a base of operations in the hotel which would include the Switchboard separate Comm. Center, and the Secret Service Command Post.  We also installed radios for the USSS and paging for the WH staff. 

 We were told that the President would be going to a location north of Santa Rosa CA. It would be necessary for us to provide radio coverage for USSS security detail and the of course the President while at the club. We set up a meeting with the local TELCO in Santa Rosa, loaded our radio equipment into a van and headed north! We met with the TELCO in Santa Rosa and discussed the geographic location of the site; we determined that the best place to install our radio base stations would be in the Monte Rio central office, which was near the entrance to the Bohemian Grove.

The Bohemian Grove just outside of Monte Rio, CA.
                        Two future U.S. presidents, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, are pictured                     with Harvey Hancock (standing) and others at Bohemian Grove in the summer of 1967.
The membership list has included every Republican Party and some Democrat Party U.S. presidents since 1923, many cabinet officials, directors and CEO's of large corporations including major financial institutions. Major military contractors, oil companies, banks (including the Federal Reserve), utilities (including nuclear power) and national media (broadcast and print) have high-ranking officials as club members or guests.  

We met a local TELCO representative at the Monte Rio central Office (CO) where we were going to install the FM radio base stations. Once the base stations were fired up and the antennas were installed on the roof we began a radio survey to determine how well we could cover the area in and around the Bohemian Grove. We never received the authorization to conduct radio tests from within the grove, so we could only test at the entrance which was guarded by camp valets.

We returned to the CO. to wait for the remote keying lines to be installed in the USSS CP and the WHCA switchboard.  At about 10 PM we got a call that the President’s visit had been canceled and that we need to pack up all of the equipment and return to our base of operations.

The next morning we loaded up all of our equipment and returned to Hamilton AFB to catch a C-130 back to El Toro. We departed Hamilton never getting to see first-hand exactly what was so exclusive about the Bohemian Grove!
President Nixon Visits Loma Linda University Medical Center (1971)

Loma Linda University Medical Center
Loma Linda Medical Center in Loma Linda Ca
Type of Activity
 Announcement to build new Hospital      
 Loma Linda Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA 
Date of Activity
 20 Aug 1971
 34°03′09″N 117°15′51″W

20 August 1971 to Loma Linda with President Nixon

The San Clemente CCT made many side trips while President Nixon was vacationing at the Western White House in San Clemente. These side trips were usually in and out visits that only required one central location to be installed and turned up. We would set up the radio site, Switchboard, Comm. Center, and start preparing the speech site at the Loma Linda University Medical Center! The Presidents itinerary was to arrive on Marine One, spend about two hours on the Ground and then return to San Clemente. B/C/S FM Base stations were installed at the medical center to support the USSS and White House Staff.

President Richard Nixon visited Loma Linda University, August 20, 1971 and announced the construction of a $28.9 million dollar Veterans Administration hospital in the Loma Linda area. The new Veterans Administration hospital will replace the 521- bed hospital in San Fernando, California in which 48 patients and employees died in the earth quake of February 9 1979. Shortly after the announcement was made, four southern California geologists criticized the selection of the Loma Linda site. They all felt that this area had a higher earthquake potential than most of southern California since two of the biggest earthquake faults ran within several miles of Loma Linda. They said that since 1918 there have been six quakes in the area that have been over six points on the Richter scale.

Marine One arrives at Loma Linda Medical Center                      
Speaking before 10,000 Loma Linda residents, President Nixon said that the 630-bed hospital "will be closely affiliated with the School of Medicine, an affiliation which holds great promise for future improvements in medical care for veterans. “The medical school is noted for the high quality of its medical training, for its strong support of overseas medical missions, and for its deep dedication to community service." In commending Loma Linda University, President Nixon said that "I can think of nothing that does more to make friends for America abroad than that kind of selfless service by people like those from Loma Linda.

President Nixon announces the construction of a new VA hospital in Loma Linda Ca
However, President Nixon said the decision to replace the hospital grew out of a "careful review which has been conducted by the administrator of veteran’s affairs and other government officials." "What this action demonstrates, in my judgment, is that we can foster social progress -with all the building and modernization that implies and at the same time enhance environmental quality.

President Nixon remarks
Coming with Mr. Nixon from the Western White House was California Governor Ronald Reagan. President Nixon and Governor Reagan were flown to Loma Linda University in "Marine One," the official Presidential 'helicopter. The Presidential helicopter, flown by Lieutenant Colonel Richard A. Kuci, commanding officer of Marine Helicopter Squadron One located at Quantico, Virginia, was accompanied by two marine helicopters carrying the White House Press Corps and two similar helicopters carrying Mr. Nixon's staff. The only incidents to mar the otherwise spectacular visit were the arrest of fourteen anti-war demonstrators and the treatment of 20 visitors that were overcome with the heat.

Seems like a lot of work for two hours but as soon as the President was at the point of no return from San Clemente, we started to disconnect and pack up all of our equipment for the return trip to our shop at El Toro!

VA Hospital at Loma Linda Medical Center

History of Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center
August 20, 1971: President Richard Nixon came to Loma Linda with his personal announcement that the hospital would be built. This announcement came six months after an earthquake leveled VA’s San Fernando hospital killing 44 patients and staff.

June 16, 1974: Groundbreaking for the facility took place celebrating an investment of $70 million for the land and buildings.

February 14, 1975: Congressman Jerry L. Pettis died at the age of 58 in a plane crash. The Medical Center would become a memorial for the Congressman and was named the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center.

September 25, 1977: Over 5,000 people attended the Dedication Ceremonies. At the time of dedication over 200 employees were on duty with the expectation of a total of 1,515 staff and a yearly budget of $32,610,200, once the facility was fully operational. It would take 15 months to activated the Medical Center

December 27, 1977: The first patient was admitted to the facility.

Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center Loma Linda Ca
The President's Trip to Santa Catalina Island (1971)

The President's Trip to Santa Catalina Island

The Casino in Avalon on Catalina Island 

Type of Activity
 Boat Excursion to Santa Catalina Island
 Santa Catalina Island CA
Date of Activity
 August 28 and 29 1971
 33° 23′ 0″ N, 118° 25′ 0″ W

28 and 29 Aug 1971 to Santa Catalina Island CA with President Nixon  

Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, is a rocky island off the coast of California. The island is 22 miles (35 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) across at its greatest width. Catalina Island is located about 22 miles (35 km) south-southwest of Los Angeles, California.
The total population as of the 2010 census was 4,096 people, 90 percent of whom live in the island's only incorporated city, Avalon. There are only two ways that you can travel to the Island, by boat or by flying into the Airport in the Sky. When WHCA made their radio survey of southern California and Orange County it was discovered that a site on Catalina Island would line of sight to cover all of the beach areas from San Clemente, Laguna Beach, and north to Newport Beach. Most of the Senior Staff, Staff, and representatives of the Press would stay in these beach cities while they visited the Western White House.
We installed radios on Blackjack Mountain which is the second highest point on the island, at 2,010 feet, inside a fenced-off AT&T communications installation. Over the period of time that I spent working in San Clemente we made numerous trips by helicopter to Catalina island to perform preventive maintenance on the radio base stations and make sure that we had sufficient coverage should the President visit Avalon
.          Black Jack Mt. radio site
.WHCA radio site overlooking Catalina Airport
To the best of my recollection the President and Mrs. Nixon choppered on Marine One to Catalina Island on Jan 8 1971 and they were greeted by the Mayor of Santa Catalina, Harvey Cowells. The President toured the Island and then after only a few hours departed on Marine One and returned to San Clemente.

Approaching Catalina Island's Airport in the Sky
Airport in the Sky Main Terminal
On Aug 28, 1971 the President accompanied by Mr. C.G. (BEBE) Rebozo departed the Western White House on Army One in route to Newport Beach CA. Landing at the Newporter Inn helipad. The President, and Mr. Rebozo, motored from the Newporter Inn to the Balboa Bay Club, also in Newport Beach. This is where the Mojo was docked.

The Newporter Inn in Newport Beach CA
Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach CA
For twenty plus years the “Mojo” was berthed at the Balboa Bay Club. Prior to and during the Presidency of Richard Nixon enjoyed cruising the harbor aboard the “Mojo.” It was amusing to watch the Secret Service follow along in much smaller boats to ensure the President’s security. The President was greeted by Frank Muller, retired Los Angeles businessman and owner of the yacht Mojo. Also on board were the Presidents Dr., his personal staff and the Military Aide.

The President on board the Mojo en-route to Santa Catalina Island
 The Presidential party cruised from the Balboa Bay Club Newport Beach, California via Avalon Bay, Santa Catalina Island, California, to Jew Fish Point, Santa Catalina Island, California.

The President, and Mr. Rebozo, went ashore to swim from the beach at Jew Fish Point, When the President and Mr. Rebozo returned to the Mojo they were joined by television writer and producer Paul, W. Keyes. 

Once aboard they cruised along the eastern coast of Catalina Island, and finally the Mojo anchored for the night at White Cove, Santa Catalina Island, California. The Secret Service agents guarding the President followed him everywhere never losing sight of him.

Avalon Bay at Catalina Island
         One of the secluded beaches along the Catalina coast
 The next morning the Presidential party cruised along the northwest shore line of Santa Catalina Island aboard the Mojo they then cruised to San Pedro Harbor, California where they had lunch. They then cruised to the Newport Beach Coast Guard dock, Newport Beach, California.

The President shook hands and chatted with people in the crowd which included Coast Guard personnel, press reporters and photographers and got into the Limo and motored back to the Newporter Inn and immediately departed on Army One for the Western White House.

Radio Coverage tor the two days that the President was flawless, the installation of radios on Catalina Island really paid off on this trip!

Motorola FM VHF Radio Training (1971)

Motorola Radio Training

Motorola’s Manufacturing Plant Schaumburg IL
Type Of Activity
Technical Training
Schaumburg IL
Date of Activity
 Sep 19 1971 to Sep 25 1971
42° 4'5.20"N  88° 2'44.47"W

19 Sep 71 to Chicago IL-Motorola Radio  

I had been working on Motorola FM equipment for a number of years, all of my training had been on the job until 1971 when I was sent to Schaumburg IL to Motorola’s manufacturing plant to be trained on hand held FM radios and radio pagers.

Motorola’s Headquarters Schaumburg IL
WHCA used the Motorola brand exclusively for communications between the Secret Service, the White House Staff and WHCA our frequency spectrum was in the VHF range for these units.

We would use the P-33’s in all motorcade setups and all vehicles used by advance and staff. If the vehicle was assigned to the Secret Service they would receive a unit with Baker/Charlie frequency. The Staff would receive a P-33 radio on Sierra frequency.  

Motorola P-33 5w FM transceiver
The Secret Service Agents were all issued HT-220's on Baker/Charlie Frequency and certain Staff members would be issued HT-220's on Sierra. 

HT-220 1.5w FM Transceiver
The Staff frequency would also be set up with a Radio Paging system.  The Paging encoder would be set up at the switchboard at all trip locations or permanent installations. Any of the Staff and WHCA personnel authorized would receive a voice pager.

Paging system Encoder
Motorola  Page Boy radio paging unit
The San Clemente Detachment and CCT had hundreds of units that were used during Presidential visits or support on side trips for the Secret Service and the White House Staff.  This training would help us tremendously in our efforts to maintain our assigned equipment.

Since I had met and married my wife (Joanne)  while I was stationed in Chicago, I was pretty familiar with the area.  I was sent to this training with Bill Eadie who was also a CCT member.  We arrived at O’Hare and departed to check into our hotel.

The Motorola Plant was only two miles away from our hotel, so the next morning we started the week long class. We wrapped up training on Friday morning and was given a tour of the manufacturing plant after which we were released to return home. 

Bill and I departed O’Hare on Saturday to return to San Clemente

The Kissinger Advance Trip to China (1971)

The Kissinger Advance Trip To China Hilo Hawaii

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Hilo, HI

Type of Activity
Communications Support Trip  
Hilo HI
Date of Activity
13 Oct 1971
 19°42′20″N 155°5′9″W

13 October 1971 to Hilo Hi with Henry Kissinger

In July 1971, President Nixon's National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, secretly visited Beijing, and laid the groundwork for Nixon's visit to China. The world discovered that Kissinger had just returned from a secret mission to China. Nixon then announced that he, the president of the United States, had accepted an invitation to visit China.

On October 13, 1971 the San Clemente CCT was sent to Hilo, Hi to support Dr. Kissinger during his final trip to China prior to the President’s visit in February, 1972. The CCT set up a single position mini switchboard, and a secure Comm. Center in the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, where Dr. Kissinger would lay over for a couple of days before continuing on to Peking. There were several Autovon circuits and some TTY circuits terminated on the switchboard for use by the small staff that was traveling with Dr. Kissinger.

We departed Hilo on October 18, 1971 after Dr. Kissinger returned from his meeting in China.

When we left Hilo it was on an old Air Force trainer and we flew directly to Hickam AFB in Honolulu. Since we could not arrange for Air Force transportation, we had to arrange for our return on a commercial airliner. After we booked ourselves on a return flight the next day we checked into the Ala Moana Hotel for the night. 

Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu HI
There were several things that we had to do before boarding the Aircraft. Since we were carrying classified material and Comm. Center equipment we were required to notify them that we were armed and order a Sky Marshal for the flight. Then we had to supervise the loading of the equipment into the cargo hold to insure that it was secured and nothing else was loaded.

Upon our arrival in Los Angeles we were the first off to watch our equipment unloaded from the plane.

On October, 25 1971, just five days after Dr. Kissinger returned from this trip to China the UN General Assembly expelled Taiwan and admitted the Peoples Republic of China.

Lincompex Training (1971)

14 Nov 71 to Washington DC-Lincompex for High Frequency Radio

I was sent back to the WHCA shop in Georgetown to be trained on a new piece of terminal equipment for high frequency radio telephone circuits.

WHCA Radio Shop site of Lincompex training
I arrived at the Baltimore MD airport and was picked up by a friend who I would be staying that also worked at the radio shop.

The new terminal was known as LINCOMPEX, which improved performance of HF SSB audio circuits, more particularly when reception conditions are poor on account of noise and fading. By sending a compressed signal and expanding the signal on the receiving end, the two main advantages of using LINCOMPEX, was the constant loss feature which makes singing suppressors unnecessary and thus avoids the 'lock-out' trouble, and the muting of noise between utterances.

Training lasted for a week and I returned to San Clemente. 

Dedication of The Eisenhower Medical Center (1971)

Dedication of the Eisenhower Medical Center
The Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage CA
Type of Activity
 Hospital Dedication       
 Eisenhower Medical Center Rancho Mirage, CA
Date of Activity
 November 27 1971

November 27 1971 to Palm Springs with President and Mrs. Nixon and Vice President and Mrs. Agnew

The San Clemente CCT made many trips to Palm Springs in support of the President and Vice President. Most of the visits were only golf outings but, on November 27 1971 President and Mrs. Nixon attended the dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital and Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert CA.; also in attendance were Mrs. Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew and Governor and Mrs. Reagan all of which had protection details that need access to our communications either directly or indirectly.

We had to install the CP and the WHCA Comm-center in a nearby hotel for the USSS and WH staff the switchboard was installed in the GTE central office in Palm Springs. There was a radio site on Edom Hill which overlooked Palm Springs Airport, The Medical Center and the Annenberg estate where the President always stayed. WHCA had installed Baker and Charlie base stations that we turned up when a trip was eminent. We also installed FM radios at the USSS CP, close to the speech site.
Bob Hope at the ground Breaking Ceremony 
Bob Hope donated the land for the Eisenhower Medical Center
We had to install the CP and the WHCA Comm-center in a nearby hotel for the USSS and WH staff. The switchboard was installed in the GTE central office in Palm Springs. There was a radio site on Edom Hill which overlooked Palm Springs Airport, The Medical Center and the Annenberg estate where the President always stayed. WHCA had installed Baker and Charlie base stations that we turned up when a trip was eminent. We also installed FM radios at the USSS CP, close to the speech site.

The President and the First Lady flew by helicopter from the San Clemente Compound helipad, to the Annenberg Estate, Palm Springs, California. The President and the First Lady motored from the Annenberg Estate to the Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California.

Upon their arrival the President and the First Lady were greeted by Mrs. Bob Hope, wife of the comedian and President of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center. The President and the First Lady, then accompanied by Mrs. Hope, went to the speaker's platform. Other guests seated on the platform were: Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, Mrs. Spiro T. Agnew, Governor Ronald W. Reagan (R-California), Mrs. Ronald W. Reagan, Bob Hope, Comedian and Donator of the land for the Medical Center, Paul Jenkins, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center and A. Pollard Simons, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center.

President Nixon speaks at the dedication of the Eisenhower Medical Center
Remarks at the Dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California.
November 27, 1971

Mrs. Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew, Governor and Mrs. Reagan, President and Mr. Hope [laughter],1 all of the very distinguished guests who are here on the platform and who are here in the audience:

When one studies, the history of civilizations, he finds that one of the most difficult problems every society has is to find an appropriate way to honor their great men. Sometimes a statue is built. Sometimes a building is named, a street, many appropriate ways have been found.

Mrs. Bob Hope was president of the board of trustees of the Eisenhower Medical Center.

In the case of President Eisenhower, so many ways would have been appropriate. Here was a man who in the whole history of war led the greatest armies to the greatest victory and so he could have been a man on horseback a military statue that could have been his memorial.

But, as the Vice President has so eloquently said, this is the most appropriate way to honor this man. It is what he would have wanted.

I recall, as Mrs. Eisenhower will, those last days in Walter Reed. And while physically he became weaker and weaker, mentally and spiritually he was stronger and stronger. I remember right to the last, where he wanted to go more than anyplace else in the world was back to Palm Springs. Oh, he loved Burning Tree and he loved Augusta and all the other places where he played golf, but his heart was here, here because of this place, the people that he knew.

And so from a personal standpoint, the man honored by this building, this institution, would have wanted it right here in this place, the place he loved so much.

But then, as we look at it in other terms, we find that President Eisenhower was a unique history figure, unique in the sense that he was a great leader in war--considering the size of wars, the greatest in history because of the armies that he led to victory--but also he had the opportunity, and met that challenge so well, to lead in peace. As President of the United States, he ended a war and kept America out of war for 8 years, and that is a great legacy for a man.

So this magnificent building behind us, the first of a number that eventually, probably, will be built here, memorializes this man who was a victor in war, but this man whose greatest contribution was to peace. And so this institution will be here to preserve life, not to destroy it, and that is what he would have liked and that is the way that we, very appropriately, honor him on this occasion and in the years ahead.

As we dedicate this building, I would finally suggest that we dedicate ourselves to the great challenges that lie ahead. We enter what we hope may be a period in which the United States can be at peace, not just for a few years, but perhaps for a generation; perhaps longer.

Building a generation of peace or a century of peace is, of course, a great task. But how we use that peace, what we do with it, is equally a very great challenge. We must see that America is physically healthy. This building and the men and women who will work in it will contribute to that goal.

We must see that America is economically healthy, and that means building a kind of prosperity that depends on peace and not on war; the kind of prosperity that we last had in 1955 and '56, when President Eisenhower was President.
And finally, building a people and a nation that is morally and spiritually healthy. The Eisenhower legacy speaks to that great challenge as it does to the others.

And so on this occasion, we as Americans, thinking of one of our great men, thinking of this institution that honors him, dedicate ourselves to the tasks ahead: of building a strong, healthy, vigorous America; meeting the challenge of building a world of peace for us, and for all people in the world.
Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. at the hospital building.
Land for the Medical Center was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hope, and funds for the nonprofit hospital were given by trustees and friends of the hospital. The hospital was the initial stage of a medical complex that will include research and teaching facilities.

On November 26, 1971, the White House released a fact sheet on the hospital.

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Remarks at the Dedication of the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, California." November 27, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

A private tour of the facility followed the dedication
There was also a small reception held following the dedication
When the Ceremony was over The President and the First Lady toured the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital with: Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower, Vice President and Mrs. Agnew, Governor and Mrs. Reagan Mr. and Mrs. Hope, and James M. Taylor, Executive Director of the Eisenhower Medical Center The President and the First Lady greeted a group of approximately ten medical and health publication editors and publishers.

The President and the First Lady accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Hope then departed the Eisenhower Medical Center and motored from the E1 Dorado Country Club, Palm Springs, California. I was driving the WHCA Press car and was included in the official motorcade, the President greeted persons along the motorcade route during a brief and unscheduled stop.  The motorcade then preceded to the dining room in the E1 Dorado Country Club, where he greeted, The Vice President, Governor Reagan, Frank Sinatra, and Mr. Hope among some other guests. The President had lunch and then the Presidential party n proceeded to the golf course to play 13 holes of golf.

     The President and Bob Hope enjoy a round of golf 
The Nixon’s return to San Clemente
I was monitoring radio traffic all afternoon and finally at about 4:30 pm the President and the First Lady left the El Dorado Country Club to the helipad at the Annenberg Estate.  The President and First Lady flew by helicopter from the Annenberg Estate, Palm Springs, California, to the helipad at the San Clemente Compound.

It was time to retrieve all of our equipment and return to Our facility at El Toro MCAS.

The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew Visit Palm Springs (1971)

Support trip to Palm Springs Ca.
The Vice President and comedian Bob Hope enjoy a round of golf

Type Of Activity
Communications Support Trip
Palm Springs California
Date of Activity
 27 Dec 1971 to 4 Jan 1972
 33°49′26″N 116°31′49″W

27 Dec 71 to Palm Springs CA with Vice President and Mrs. Agnew

Vice President Agnew scheduled a golfing vacation in Palm Springs, which would include New Year’s Day of 1972. Three CCT members were sent to Palm Springs where we met with the Staff Advance and USSS agent to discuss the VP’s Itinerary. After checking into our rooms at the Motel we made a radio survey to insure coverage at Bob Hopes residence where the VP and Mrs. Agnew would be staying.

Since the arrival and departure of Air Force Two would be at the Palm Springs International Airport we also tested coverage at the terminal and the ramp where the aircraft would be parked.  We also checked out two golf courses for coverage, Rancho Mirage Country Club, and Tamarack Country Club. 
The Rancho Mirage Country Club
The Tamarack Country Club
The Vice President was to play golf with Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope during his stay.

Frank Sinatra’s estate at the Tamarack Country Club
Bob Hope golfing  with Vice President Agnew
All of the trips we made were pretty routine, but all of them were different in what we experienced. This was my final trip to Palm Springs and I will always remember the resorts and people that we worked with and how they made our jobs easier.

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 Comm-center. 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 Visit To The Peoples Republic Of China (1972)

 Peking China    
 President and Mrs. Nixon arriving in China
Coordinates:                                   39°54′50″N 116°23′30″E
 473 BC
 43.5 m (143 ft.)
Population    (2009) 

21 to 28 February 1972 to Agana Guam while President Nixon Visits China

U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. It marked the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC, who at that time considered the U.S. one of its staunchest foes. The visit has become a metaphor for an unexpected or uncharacteristic action by a politician.

Improved relations with the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China are often cited as the most successful diplomatic achievements of Nixon’s presidency. After World War II, Americans saw relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorating, Russians consolidating communist puppet states over much of Eastern Europe, and China teetering on the edge of communism. Many Americans felt concern that communists might cause the downfall of schools or labor unions. One of the main reasons Richard Nixon became the 1952 Vice-president candidate on the Eisenhower ticket was his strong anti-communism stance. Despite this, in 1972 Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit China while in office.

President Nixon and his advisers on AF1 in route to China

From February 21-28, 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Almost as soon as the American president arrived in the Chinese capital he was summoned for a meeting with Chairman Mao who, unknown to the Americans, had been ill nine days earlier but was at that point feeling strong enough to meet Nixon. Secretary of State William P. Rogers was excluded from this meeting and the only other American present was National Security Council staffer (and later U.S. Ambassador to China) Winston Lord. To avoid embarrassing Rogers, Lord was cropped out of all the official photographs of the meeting. Although Nixon was in China for a week, this would be his sole meeting with the top Chinese leader.

 Chairman Mao and President Nixon
The Nixon’s arrival in China
Nixon held many meetings with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during the trip, which included visits to the Great WallHangzhou, and Shanghai.

The Nixon’s tour the Great Wall of China
The Nixon’s tour the Great Wall of China

At the conclusion of his trip, the United States and the PRC Governments issued the Shanghai Communique, a statement of their foreign policy views and a document that would remain the basis of Sino-American bilateral relations for many years. Kissinger stated that the U.S. also intended to pull all its forces out of the island of Taiwan. In the communique, both nations pledged to work toward the full normalization of diplomatic relations.

 Letter of Appreciation
Certificate of Membership
President's Travel Itinerary

Agana Guam
February 20-21, 1972
Rest stop in route to China
Shanghai, Peking, Hangchow
 People's Republic of 
February 21-28, 1972
State visit; met with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou En-Lai.

WHCA’s Role in the President’s Trip to China

On February 10, 1972 the San Clemente CCT departed for Guam which is an island in the western Pacific Ocean and is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Agana is the island's capital. Our primary mission was to set up a support base that would be able to quickly respond to any personnel or equipment emergencies that might occur during this trip. 

Agana the Capital of Guam
B-52 departing Andersen AFB to Vietnam
We arrived at Andersen AFB early in the morning on February 11, 1972, as soon as we unloaded all of our equipment and got settled in the hotel. We met with some government and military personnel to find locations suitable to install our communication equipment. Andersen was the perfect location because of its tight base security. 

From early 1972, Andersen AFB was the site of one of the most massive buildups of air power in history. The influx of bombers, crews, and support personnel pushed Andersen's military population past 15,000. Over 150 B-52's lined all available space on the flight line. 

We utilized three locations on Andersen to set up the mini switchboards, the crypto equipment in the Comm. Center, and the HF SSB and FM radios. Since the arrival would take place at Andersen and the President and Mrs. Nixon would stay in a nearby private residence. We decided to install Baker/Charlie and Sierra base stations in the same building as the Switchboard and Comm. Center. This would make it an easier installation for the keying lines to the radio consoles and paging system that terminated at the switchboard... 

We installed a URT-23 HF Transmitter with two R-1051 receivers to work with the WHCA people on mainland China. We were given a schedule of specific dates and times that we were allowed to test on our assigned frequencies. Once we completed testing we went to 24hr coverage on all communications activities 

R-1051 SSB Receiver 
URT-23 1KW SSB Transmitter
The WHCA Mini-switchboard
The President arrived on February 20, 1972 and spent the evening on Guam before continuing his flight to mainland China. 

The President, Mrs. Nixon, Dr. Kissinger and a few Staff members arrived in Peking on February 21, 1972 to begin one of the most historic events in history. The President would spend seven days in China, during that period of time the WHCA installations on Guam would be the focal point for most of the communications to and from the President and his Staff. 

The Presidents left China on February 28, 1972 and we immediately started to remove our equipment and got ready to load it on a C-141 returning from China with some WHCA personnel. The plane was loaded and we were ready to depart Guam for a couple of days of rest in Honolulu, Hi.

Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu HI

We were all ready for some R&R after spending close to a month preparing and executing this very historical event in History. We spent two days at the Ala Moana hotel on Waikiki in Honolulu.

On March 2, 1972 the San Clemente CCT returned to their home base at El Toro MCAS form Guam and the China trip was over.

Vice President Agnew's Trip to New Orleans (1972)

Vice President Agnew’s Visit to New Orleans

Spiro Agnew delivers speech at a Republican Fund Raiser
Type Of Activity
 Republican Party Fund Raiser
 New Orleans LA
Date of Activity
 24-25 April 1972
 29°57'22.7"N 90°03'56.2"W

April 24 1972 to New Orleans LA with Vice President Agnew

From the time of his nomination as Richard Nixon's running mate in August 1968 to his resignation in October 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was the leading administration spokesman for those Nixon called "The Silent Majority" of Americans. His speeches crafted by William Safire and Pat Buchanan spoke repeatedly about the Media, Vietnam, student unrest, campus disorders and integration which were the most controversial political subjects of the time.

On April 18, 1972 WHCA received information that Vice President Spiro T. Agnew was scheduled to travel to New Orleans arriving at New Orleans International Airport on the morning of April 24, 1972. I was assigned with two others to support the VP and departed the next day for New Orleans. When we arrived we went directly to the Royal Orleans Hotel where the VP would be staying and we had our initial meeting with the Staff advance and the Secret Service to be briefed on the VP’s itinerary for the next two days.

We met with the local Telco and completed a radio coverage survey of the planned motorcade route that the Vice President would travel. We then set up radio base stations at the Airport, and the Royal Orleans Hotel for the USSS CP. The remote keying lines were ordered and installed and we were ready to support the Secret Service as well as the Vice President during their stay in New Orleans.

Aboard AF-2 Speechwriters William Safire and Pat Buchanan with VP Spiro Agnew
The Vice President arrived at noon on April 24, 1972, at the New Orleans International Airport and traveled directly by motorcade to the Roosevelt Hotel where he would give a luncheon/speech before the American Road Builders Association Convention. The USSS Agents at the Roosevelt Hotel reported that there were nine anti-war protesters carrying placards by the front entrance of the Roosevelt Hotel. There were no other incidents or demonstrations reported While we were in New Orleans.

Upon the completion of the speech, the Vice President flew to Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was scheduled to give a speech that evening addressing members of the Ambassador Club at Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, LA and then attending a social function of prominent Republicans later that evening.

The Roosevelt Hotel
The Royal Orleans Hotel
We had set up the Secret Service CP in the Royal Orleans hotel adjacent to the Vice President’s suite and secured the area while the Vice President was in Shreveport.  The suite was on the top floor of the hotel and was easy to seal off from anyone trying to gain unauthorized access. The Secret Service monitored all activity from the CP and was in constant communication with all Agents in Shreveport and New Orleans.

New Orleans International Airport
Site Of  Departure
The Vice President returned to New Orleans that evening about 10 pm and returned to the Royal Orleans Hotel. The next morning Vice President Agnew had breakfast at Brennan’s Restaurant and motored to New Orleans International Airport. Once we received wheels up in the USSS CP at 12 noon on Apr. 25 1972, all that was left to do was to collect all our equipment and return home! We departed New Orleans the next day on Apr 26, 1972.

The Key Biscayne Communications Detachment at the Florida White House (1972-1974)

The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach FL  (1972)

1972 Republican National Convention
 The President and Vice President accept the 1972 Nomination

Type of Activity
 Acceptance Speech
 Miami Beach Convention Center
Date of Activity
 23 August 1972
 25° 47′ 42″ N, 80° 8′ 0″ W

Republican Convention: Miami Beach, FL August 21 to 23, 1972

I was transferred from the San Clemente CCT to the Key Biscayne Communications Detachment in July of 1972 and had just got my family settled when we started to prepare for the 1972 Republican Convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center only a few miles away from the Nixon’s Key Biscayne White House compound.

I arrived just in time to start preparations to provide support to the President, First Family, Vice President, Senior Staff and representatives from the Committee for the Re-Election of the President who were setting up their operations at the Doral Hotel also on Miami Beach.

The Miami Beach Convention Center Site of the 1972 Republican National Convention
The 1972 Republican convention was not originally scheduled to be held in Miami Beach, but rather in more summer-friendly (and drive-able from Nixon’s Western White House) San Diego. But when the GOP could not effectively negotiate with the owner of the San Diego Sports Arena and with the threat of massive antiwar demonstrations, the Republican National Committee decided that Miami Beach would be better place for their convention, they had already set themselves up for two conventions in the previous four years and Miami Beach had the hotel space and phone lines to accommodate them. Not to mention Nixon’s other summer home on Key Biscayne.

The Key Biscayne compound had a well-established communications network already used to provide support for the entire staff necessary to set up and conduct the National Convention and at the same time support the President Vice President their family’s as well as the Presidents Senior Staff. WHCA provided additional resources to enable us to provide 24hr support in the communications center, switchboard and the radio console in the Key Biscayne Compound. The Convention Center was set up for the numerous networks and broadcast audio including visual feeds necessary to cover the entire Republican Convention. FM Radio coverage for the USSS throughout Miami Beach and surrounding areas was thoroughly tested, and a regular scheduled courier service was established between the Key Biscayne Compound, Republican National Headquarters at the Doral Hotel and the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The antiwar protesters were assembled at Flamingo Park organized by Ron Kovic of “Born of the Fourth of July” fame, and his band of Vietnam Veterans against War if the GOP had held its convention in California; it would have made for a much shorter trip. As it was, Kovic as well as thousands of others, including Jane Fonda made the trek across the south to Miami Beach. Of course these protesters were not as peaceful as they were at the 1972 Democrat Convention held a few weeks earlier in Miami Beach.

Ron Kovic and Jane Fonda lead the antiwar protests in 1972
Ron Kovic and Jane Fonda lead the antiwar protests in 1972
The 1972 Republican National Convention was opened on August 21 1972 by the convention chairman by then-U.S. House Minority Leader and future Nixon successor Gerald Ford of Michigan.

The President arrived at the Miami International Airport on Aug. 22 1972 and The President addressed the assembled crowd on a nationwide radio and television broadcast. The Presidential Party then departed aboard Marine One for the Key Biscayne Compound.

Later that evening the President motored from the Key Biscayne Compound to the Miami Marine Stadium (a four minute drive), where the President addressed the young people attending, a Presidential Nomination Rally, sponsored by Young Voters for the President. Since President Nixon participated in very few public gatherings, because of the increased security concerns. The public rally at the Miami Marine Stadium was the exception to the rule for the President. The President's address was also broadcast live at the Republican National Convention and on nationwide radio and television. 

The Miami Marine Stadium and floating stage where President Nixon and Sammy Davis Jr appeared at a public rally
Sammy Davis Jr gives President Nixon a hug
The defining moment was when Sammy Davis Jr. introduced the President: “The President and Future President of the United States of America!” When Nixon came onto the stage, Sammy Davis Jr. hugged him.

Aug. 23, 1972 would be a very busy day for all of us because the delegates would place their ballots for the Republican Nominee for President and Vice President who would give their acceptance speeches that evening.

First Lady Pat Nixon behind her is Senator Bob Dole of Kansas
and Governor Ronald Reagan of California
First Lady Pat Nixon addressed the delegates at the 1972 Republican National Convention; she was the first, First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to address a party convention, and the first Republican First Lady to do so.

Inside the Miami Beach Convention Center awaiting President Nixon's acceptance speech
Vice President Spiro T. Agnew introduced the President to the delegates attending the 1972 Republican National Convention.

The President and the First Lady went to the speaker's podium. They were accompanied by: Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Cox, Lt. (jg.) and Mrs. David Eisenhower. The President announced his acceptance of the 1972 Republican Presidential nomination to the delegates attending the National Convention. The address was broadcast live on nationwide radio and television. John Cardinal Kro1, Archbishop of Philadelphia, then joined the President on the speakers’ platform to deliver the benediction.

Richard Nixon wins the Republican Nomination in 1972
When the Convention was adjourned the President and the First Lady participated in a reception line with convention delegates, alternates and guests. Also receiving guests were Mr. and Mrs. Cox and Lt. (jg.) and Mrs. Eisenhower.

 The President and First Family returned to The Key Biscayne compound on Marine One well after midnight.  Although it was a very long day for everyone involved we were all glad that it was over and we could return to our normal activities.

The next day the Presidential party departed aboard “the Spirit of 76” for an extended stay at the Western White House in San Clemente.

The President’s approval was at an all-time high emphasizing a good economy and his successes in foreign affairs, such as coming near to ending American involvement in the Vietnam War which would come to an end in 1973 and establishing relations with China in 1972. President Nixon would decisively defeat Senator George McGovern in upcoming November election receiving 60.7% of the popular vote. He received almost 18 million more popular votes than Senator McGovern, the widest margin of any United States presidential election.

After the 1972 Presidential Election a dark cloud was forming that would shake the Nixon Administration to its core. The Watergate break in occurred in Jan. 1972 and continued to cause controversy surrounding the White House. The Watergate investigation would reveal that the President had WHCA install a voice recording system in the White House and other locations that would produce enough incriminating evidence that would eventually lead to the firing of the Senior Staff, and eventually the President’s resignation on Aug 9, 1974.

The Presidents visits to the Ocean Reef Club (1972-1973)

President Nixon’s visit to the Ocean Reef Club
Entrance to the Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo FL

Type Of Activity
 Boat Cruise
 Key Largo FL
Date of Activity
Various times Nov. 1972 to Oct. 1973
 25°19'13.0"N 80°16'42.0"W

Multiple visits 1972/1973 to Key Largo FL to support President Nixon

Whenever the Nixon’s came to the Florida White House for the weekend they would always relax with the Presidents friends, Bebe Rebozo and Robert Abplanalp. They would go usually go to the Bahamas, play Golf locally, or take a boat ride on Mr. Robozo’s house boat the Coco Lobo III!  This weekend would be no exception the Presidential party would go by boat to the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, which was approximately thirty miles south of the Key Biscayne Compound.

We were very familiar with the Ocean Reef Club because Mr. Rebozo owned a villa at the club and we did quite a bit of work installing the stereo equipment and ceiling speakers in the house and the outdoor speakers’ poolside.  We were always sent down to the villa in advance of the President arrival to make sure that the TV and Stereo equipment was fully functional. We would check the pool heater and other mechanical equipment in the house.
"Wolf Hound" Volga 70 Hydrofoil (2008)
The President and Mr. Rebozo first went boating on the Volga 70 Hydrofoil (which was given to the President by Russian Premier Brezhnev after his trip to Russia).  We had unofficially assigned the hydrofoil the code name of Wolf Hound.  After about an Hour cruising in Biscayne Bay the President and Mr. Rebozo returned to the dock and then boarded the Coco Lobo III.
The President and Mr. Rebozo on the Coco Lobo III
Departing the dock at Key Biscayne on a cruise to North Key Largo, FL
The President would then cruise to North Key Largo Docking at the Ocean Reef Club where they motored to Mr. Robozo’s villa. The Coco Lobo III then returned to Key Biscayne. The President and Mr. Rebozo were greeted by Robert H. Abplanalp when they arrived at the villa. They then watched a college football game and ate dinner.  After dinner the President, Mr. Rebozo and Mr. Abplanalp motored from the Ocean Reef Club to the North Key Largo helipad and returned to the Key Biscayne Compound on Marine One.  
Cruising and fishing on the Coco Lobo III was a common occurrence every time the President visited the Florida White House.

The President 's trips to Walkers Cay and Grand Cay in the Bahamas (1972-1973)

Walkers Cay Bahamas

Walkers Cay Club, Bahamas (note radio antenna), WHCA maintained UHF system 
4 May 1973 to Walkers Cay to support the President’s visit on Grand Cay

Robert Abplanalp the owner and President of PVC Corporation was a close friend of President Nixon. Mr. Abplanalp owned two islands in the Bahamas’, Walkers Cay and Grand Cay.

The Walkers Cay Club and Marina was a very popular fishing resort.  It was a very exclusive resort as the only way to reach the island was by boat or by air.  The resort had regularly scheduled flights from Ft Lauderdale, Fl. by seaplane. Travel by WHCA to the island was generally by helicopter.  A relatively small hotel was on the island as well as the resorts bar and restaurant and two swimming pools. There were several villas available besides the Hotel for guests to stay while visiting the island.  The marina was fully equipped with bait, tackle, and snack shops. 

The island had its own power plant and desalinization station for all drinking water.  There were several buildings where the staff lived while on the island. The radios were in a building adjacent to the 125 ft. tower, and a separate building near to the radio room housed a small switchboard and communications center.

Walkers Cay Club air strip and Marina
Walkers Cay Island in the Bahamas
Walkers Cay Club after 2004 hurricane Andrew
Walkers Cay Club after 2004 hurricane season 
Note:  Walkers Cay Club was severely damaged in 2004, was closed and is now for sale.               

Big Grand Cay Bahamas

President Nixon stayed on Grand Cay, Mr. Abplanalp's private 125-acre island in the Bahamas, complete with a house that Mr. Abplanalp had refurbished for presidential use, and for relaxation a 55-foot yacht was always available. There were also two villas located on the island for other guests.  Grand Cay was about a 15 min. boat ride south east of Walkers Cay.  The island did have a usable helicopter pad for Marine One and Army One.

Main House Where President Nixon Always stayed
Main Residence Boat Dock and USSS Command Post
There was a small house by the boat dock for the caretaker and a small bunk house for necessary support personnel during the trip.  The Secret Service CP and WHCA radio room was in the same building near the front entrance of the main residence.  The bunk house was two small to house everyone, so the Secret Service would stay on Grand Bahama Island (GBI) near Freeport and they would  be choppered in to change shifts. Golf carts were the normal mode of transportation.

Grand Cay Island (Guest Villa behind Main Residence on other side of the island)
Guest Villa for VIP's traveling with the President
26 May 73 to Grand Cay Bahamas to support President Nixon during Visit

The President was visiting his close friend Bob Abplanalp on Grand Cay.  I remember the night from hell on Grand Cay very well, I was there when the Mayday call came in. When the midnight shift came in for a landing the blades hooked the water and 16 agents plus the chopper crew hit the water.  I was asleep when the Mayday call came in.    I grabbed a radio and headed for the chopper pad without a flashlight God was it dark, but I could hear the agents yelling. The 15 survivors, agents and crew, were all on the underside of the chopper which had flipped over when it crashed.  About the time that I got to the pad Bob Abplanalp arrived on a golf cart which had headlights so we could see the chopper.  I called the CP to let them know where the chopper was located and that everyone was still on the chopper and that it was partially submerged. . Maybe five min. after that the boat arrived with the divers and started evacuating the agents.  Luckily there were divers on the trip and they finally got to the chopper to start evacuating everyone.

Looking toward the Main Residence from the chopper pad
Others arrived and I then went back to the radio room to make sure all the radios were working. I called Walkers Cay to let someone know over there what had happened, I then went to the bunk house where they were bringing everyone any necessary medical treatment, this is when I found out that an agent was trapped inside the chopper and drowned. Agent J. Clifford Dietrich - May 26, 1973: was killed in this helicopter crash near Grand Cay Island in the Bahamas while on assignment with the Presidential Protective Division. I was asked to help place Agent Dietrich’s body on a Chinook to transport everyone back to GBI and then back to Homestead. They placed him under the jump seats of the chopper and none of the agents that flew back ever knew they were sitting over him. This was one night that I will never forget. That was the last time I ever saw the Army One crew and I think that they were deactivated in 1976, in part because of this crash. In LTC Boyer’s book “Inside the Presidential Helicopter” he disclosed that the altimeter was not properly calibrated and was off by 300 ft. this along with inadequate lighting contributed to the crash.

UHF Radio System to the Bahamas

UHF Radio shot from GBI to Walkers Cay to Grand Cay
The GRC-104 UHF Radio system used from GBI to Walkers Cay and Grand Cay Islands
Prior to 1969 there was little or no communications on Walkers Cay or Grand Cay. There was a low power radio at the Walkers Cay Club that they used to communicate to their office in Ft. Lauderdale, and for emergencies. There was nothing on Grand Cay!

The UHF System was designed to provide 8 channels of voice grade circuits from the Key Biscayne White House switchboard to a mini-switchboard at Walkers Cay.  The Walkers Cay switchboard would also terminate 24 voice grade circuits from Grand Cay.
AT&T provided the voice circuits from Key Biscayne to a NASA submarine cable that terminated at a down range missile tracking station on Grand Bahama Island (GBI).  Using an existing radio tower WHCA installed a Farinon UHF radio system on the Air Force facility.  GBI shot directly to Walkers Cay where the circuits terminated.  On Walkers Cay there were telephones installed in the Walkers Cay Club’s office and several of the hotel rooms where supporting staff would stay during all Presidential trips to Grand Cay.  Voice circuits were also installed in the communication center for any Dex-1 and TTY traffic.  FM base stations were also installed for any necessary communications for WHCA, Secret Service, or the White House Stall staying on the island.  The final leg was a GRC 103 UHF radio system, with a TD 660 multiplexer providing 24 voice circuits between Walkers Cay and terminating on Grand Cay.  Telephones were installed in the Main residence and both villas, as well as the bunkhouse on the island.  The Secret Service CP also had phones installed and FM Radio Consoles on Baker and Charlie frequencies.  All equipment, tools, and personnel had to be sent in on helicopters from Homestead AFB.

The monthly maintenance trips to Walkers Cay were like paid vacations, we would be choppered over from Homestead, spent two or three days doing PM's on Walkers and traveling over to Grand Cay by boat.  During this time we ate, drank and slept all complementary.  Plus we would of course have to man all locations during any official trips.  We also had a UHF system between Freeport on GBI to Walkers Cay which meant side trips to the Casino in Freeport.  We honestly did do some work during some of these trips.  I never had any problem finding volunteers to help me on maintenance trips.

Unfortunately the Walkers Cay Club was heavily damaged by hurricane Andrew and was closed down, the island and all of the facilities are presently for sale.

Nixon visited Key Biscayne more than 50 times this also included several visits to Grand Cay between 1969 and 1974 when he resigned from office.