130th AACS

From Mr. Samuel Cohen (8/13/05):

During World War II, it was necessary to deliver supplies, especially gasoline, to China. One route, possibly the principal one, was via air over the Himalayas (the "Hump"). Navigation was hazardous and the usual navigation means were sometimes unreliable due to poor reception in the mountainous terrain and other factors. It was therefore decided early in the war to install a Loran system as an additional navigation aid. At the time, Loran already was well known, and in the United States the system was under the jurisdiction of th US Coast Guard. As there was relatively low signal attenuation over water, the ground stations could be spaced a relatively long distance apart, up to 300 miles. The coverage area was large, often up to 600 miles. In the system proposed for China and India, we were concerned only with coverage in a relatively narrow corridor, and in the mountainous terrain anticipated much more signal attenuation than in previous systems. For these reasons the China/India system was to have a short base line (stations spaced about 50 miles apart). A triplet (two slave stations and one master station) was to be installed in China in the foothills of the Himalayas and another triplet was to be installed in India. Jochow, an AACS facility, was the name assigned to the master station of the China triplet and I was the Commanding Officer.

My crew and I arrived in China in late 1944 or early 1945 and once we got the station in operation, we ran it 24 hours a day. My crew consisted of 15 enlisted men; some had been trained as Loran maintenance men and others as Loran operators and one was a medical technician. In addition, I had assigned to me an interpreter, an officer of the Chinese army on detached service, and a small number of Chinese army enlisted personnel who were assigned as guards. We were a small detachment. We were located several hours, by truck, south of Kunming and we occupied a few acres on the top of a hill which was about 7000 feet above sea level. We were about 2 or 3 miles north of the small town of Kunyang. Our station consisted of a number of tents on wooden platforms, some serving as living quarters, another as the kitchen, another as the mess hall and so on. We also had 2 more substantial structures, mud walled, thatched roofed buildings--one for our high power Loran transmitters, the other for our Loran receivers and timing equipment and our communication transmitters and receivers. The site also included 2 large diesel generators for supplying all of our power, one operating continuously, the other on standby and we periodically switched their functions. We also had antennas, a large 110 foot tall tower for Loran transmission and smaller ones for other transmission and reception purposes.

All of my men took turns monitoring our equipment. While all stations included automatic synchronizing equipment, to be sure that the pulses from the slave stations remained in synchronism with the pulses from our station, we visually monitored their transmissions 24 hours a day to be certain there were no errors.

Jochow was a self sufficient entity. We received in addition to our base pay, a small sum per person, per day. We used that money to buy locally grown fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry and meat in the local markets. We also hired some of the local villagers for jobs such as cooking, carrying water (we had no well) and so on. We continued to operate until the war with Japan ended; the station then was disbanded.

I remained in the reserves after returning to civilian life and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. I was assigned to the AACS unit at Keesler AFB in Mississippi as Squadron Operations Officer. My principal job was to supervise the installation of a chain of Loran stations along the Gulf of Mexico. My rank by then was Captain. I returned to civilian life after that tour of duty.

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