November, 2003 Newsletter - Section IV.3

– by Joe Covern (59-62/63-66/70-73)
Adapted from the newsletter by J. Covern & P. Adams


National Security Agency - Travis Trophy

The NSA director awarded this prestigious honor to the 6912th/690th for the years:

Recalls 6912th Commander, then Colonel Charles Bishop, "In late 1982 or Spring of 1983, I was privileged to travel to NSA to accept, on behalf of the entire unit, the Travis Trophy, which recognized the best SIGINT unit worldwide.  What a celebration we had, especially since we beat our major competition, the US Army Field Station Berlin."

(U) The Travis Trophy was initially presented by Sir Edward Travis, first Director, GCHQ, to the U.S. Army Security Agency and the U.S. Naval Communications Supplementary Activity in 1945 as an award for competitive games. In 1964, with the consent of Sir Clive Loehnis, third Director, GCHQ, it was redesigned by former Director, NSA, Lt. Gen. Gordon A. Blake, USAF, as an annual award to be presented to the U.S. Cryptologic field station making the most significant contribution...

Air Force - Outstanding Unit Awards

The Secretary of the Air Force presented this award to the 6912th/690th for the periods:
01 Jul  75 –    30 Jun 77
01 Jul  77 –    30 Jun 78
01 Jul  78 –    30 Jun 79
01 Jul  80 –    30 Jun 81
01 Jul  82 –    30 Jun 84
01 Jul  85 –    30 Jun 87
01 Jul  89 –    30 Jun 91

Recalls 6912th Commander, Colonel William Ballard, "...The 6912th was finally recognized for what it was, “the” unit in Berlin.  We soon won the Outstanding Unit Award -- the first for the 6912th, after all those years."

The Outstanding Unit Award may be awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units, such as Air Forces, Air Divisions, Wings, Groups, and Squadrons and to Medical Facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and medical centers (whether or not they are numbered) for exceptionally meritorious service or exceptionally outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units. Heroism may be involved, but is not essential. The service or achievement may be in any of the following areas:

Performing exceptionally meritorious service of national or international significance.
Accomplishing specific acts of outstanding achievement of national or international significance.
Combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States.
Military operations involving conflict with, or exposure, to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

The Joint Chiefs of Staff awarded this medal for service in Berlin between 14 August 1961 and 1 June 1963.

President Kennedy established the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, per Executive Order, 4 December 1961, for operations on or after 1 July 1958.

The medal, represented here by its ribbon, uses the eagle to represent the strength of our Armed Forces, and the sword, loose in its scabbard, denotes the readiness to serve wherever needed, as further suggested by the compass rose.

The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who after 1 July 1958 participate as members of U.S. military units in a U.S. military operation in which service members of any Military Department participate, in the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), in significant numbers and encounter during such participation foreign armed opposition, or are otherwise placed in such a position that in the opinion of the JCS, hostile action by foreign armed forces was imminent even though it does not materialize.

Army of Occupation Medal (Germany)

This medal was awarded for 30 days service in Berlin from 9 May 1945 through 2 October 1990.

The ribbon to the Army of Occupation Medal consists of equal portion of red and black with white edge stripes.  The red and white represent Japan and the black and white represent Germany, the primary opponents of the United States during the Second World War, and the primary countries occupied after the war.

The first Army of Occupation Medal was presented to General Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 2, 1947; the second was forwarded on April 2, 1947, to General Douglas MacArthur.

The medal's bronze medallion (not shown) for Germany shows a bridge indicative of the Ludendorff railroad bridge at Remagen, Germany which was situated 22 miles northwest of Koblenz. On March 7, 1945, the Allies established their first bridgehead across the Rhine by seizing the Ludendorff bridge before the Germans could destroy it. Since this bridge was "point of entry" of ground forced into Germany, it was selected to represent the occupation of Germany.

© 2004, The Berlin Island Association

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