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My Army Redstone Missile Days

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October 1958 to February 1962

Dedication

Although written from the perspective of a person who was a member of a Redstone Missile Firing Battery, this site is dedicated to all those individuals serving in many different capacities who were part of something quite special and unique for its time in the United States Army of the mid to late 1950s and the early 1960s: the Redstone Missile.

I particularly want to recognize and thank my former colleagues of Battery A, 1st Missile Battalion, 333rd Artillery, 40th Artillery Group (Redstone).

I especially dedicate this site in memory of:

WILLIAM F. RYAN
1917-1992

UNITED STATES ARMY
FEBRUARY 1944 - JANUARY 1946

Company A, 735th Railway Operating Battalion
October 1944 - May 1945
European Theater of Operations (ETO)
Northwest Europe
France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany

May - December 1945
Occupation Forces
American Zones of Occupation
Germany, Austria

 

Introduction

I would say many people know about, or at least have heard of, the US Army's Pershing Missile. The Pershing has often and justifiably been cited as the missile that won the Cold War for the West. For over twenty-five years it was certainly instrumental in keeping the peace in Europe. The numerous people who served with Pershing through three decades rightfully can be, and are, proud of what they accomplished.

Probably far fewer know about, or have heard of, US Army's Redstone Missile. Before there was Pershing, there was Redstone. And, although Redstone was deployed in Europe for only six years, it too was instrumental in keeping the peace.

Now I do not by any stretch of the imagination claim to be an expert about the Redstone Missile. And, I certainly am not, nor ever have claimed to be, an expert about United States foreign policy vis-a-vis the former Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. I would merely like to share the remembrances of just one former young enlisted man who proudly served with the Redstone Missile during a remarkable time now some 50+ years ago.

 
 

Overview of My Army Redstone Days

In the summer of 1958 shortly after high school graduation I enlisted in the United States Army for 36 months under the Army's Guaranteed Army Technical Schooling program, specifically for the Redstone Mechanical Materiel Maintenance Course, or RMMMC (phonetically pronounced " Rum C"), which at the time was being conducted at the US Army's Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama.

In order to complete Basic Training in a timely fashion prior to attending the next scheduled RMMMC, the Army directed me to report for active duty on 27 October 1958. The 8-week RMMMC was designed to teach Army enlisted and warrant officer personnel all aspects of the mechanical side of the Redstone: missile assembly and handling; propulsion, pneumatic, and mechanical systems; and, ground handling equipment. However, through an Army - we shall say politely - "quirk", for me RMMMC was not to be.

In general terms, I can divide my Army service into four phases: basic training, advanced training, Continental United States (CONUS) duty, and overseas duty. I eventually ended up serving more than the 36 months enlistment, as I will explain further along.

On 2 February 1962 I received my Honorable Separation from US Army Active Duty at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York with the rank of Specialist 4 E-4.

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