Crawford, Battery A
My name is Brent Crawford. I was in 'A' Battery from Jan, 1959 thru Jan 1961. The battery
was situated on a hill along the road to Ft. Sherman about 3 or 4 miles (est.) from Gatun locks. The battery consisted of four 90mm anti-aircraft guns.
We had our own radar operation. I started out as a cannoneer on the guns but after awhile I went to generator school
and ran the generators that powered the guns. When we went to the range near Ft Sherman
I was also responsible for supplying all other electric needs-lighting, etc.
If my memory serves me, our brother battery was 'B' Battery and it was located on Ft. Davis.
They had 120mm AA guns. The other two batteries 'C' & 'D' plus
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were on the
Pacific side and had the same weaponry. At that time, Ft. Davis was pretty much a ghost
town. The only units were 'B' Battery and an infantry Bn. Our unit on the hill was self-sufficient in that
we had our own power source, small mess, small PX, theater. Ah, what a life.
We were on
constant alert status and had two types of alert. One was twenty minute alert where you had to keep your combat gear handy in order to respond to defense positions
at Gatun Locks. Consequently, you did not leave the Battery compound. Married men living
in town could not go home. The second was two hour alert which basically let you do pretty
much what you wanted--go into town, Gatun, or what ever. Each alert period was for two weeks.
Sometime in 1960 we converted to the twin 40mm dusters and moved from the jungle into
Ft. Davis. 'B' Battery took our position on the hill and had the Hawk missiles.
was at the corner of two roads next to the golf course. Our motor pool was located at the
bend in the highway across from the Chinese Gardens. Not too far from the American Leg.
Post. The same situation occurred with the units on the Pacific side.
I spent quite a bit of time in Gatun. I liked to go to the pool and the gym.
I actually learned
to swim at Gatun Pool. Since I was only 18 yrs old then I was only a year or two older than
then teens in Gatun (of course, that doesn't mean I didn't go into Colon for some fun though.