The 1970's

There were some small humorous mishaps in the early 1970s.  These events led to this comment in the July 23, 1972 edition of the 497th RTG's in-house newsletter, "Bits 'N Pieces"





*   One captain was trapped in the back elevator during shift duty.

*   Someone ran into the flag staff in their car.

*   A brilliant group of five personnel managed to set fire to a building with their own incinerator.

Of greater concern to most were rumors of re-organization.  In 1971, the numbered Air Forces were reduced by 70%, and all of USAFE was speculating on who would be deactivated and who would move. Headquarters USAFE became one of the first victims, causing it to be moved from Lindsey Air Station to Ramstein AB.  (Truth be known, the end game plan was to move all of the Air Force components  from Lindsey and the Wiesbaden area, and General Jones really wanted to have the Headquarters at an operating Air Base, not a couple of city blocks which housed Lindsey Air Station.) This decision drew severe anti-American protests from local Germans who wanted the US to pull out of Lindsey and the Schierstein compounds completely so the city of Wiesbaden could convert them into a social housing project.  The 497th began looking for a home at Ramstein AB, looking at the Ramstein north gym among others.  Planners finally gave up, but the rumors persisted.  It was always in the plan to close down Air Force operations in Wiesbaden, but the same constraints that prompted the move (money and resources) ironically caused Lindsey to thrive, ironically because there was no "room at the inn" at Ramstein, and not only did the organizations left behind at Lindsey grow, its additional space and facilities virtually insured that any new organization could find a home there. (We were also told that finances were so tight, and General Jones decision to move so firm, that it was almost all a self-help operation with the complete staff packing their own equipment and office furniture to vehicles to go to Ramstein)

Meanwhile, the Rhine Main AB terminal was completed in 1972, and the point of distribution for 497th materials was moved from Wiesbaden Air Base to Rhine Main.  On a lighter side, 1972 was the occasion of the first 497th sponsored summer  "Olympiad"

In 1973 the 497th began issuing security badges for the first time to control access to buildings S-1 and S-11. The entry control booths were constructed and remained till deactivation.

At the time of President Nixon's resignation from office in 1974, the 497th photo lab was completing its first tasking for color print requirements.  The need to consolidate all of the units photo lab operations became apparent.  In 1974, the 497th ceased production of charts and maps and also took operational control of the photographic processing facilities which serviced the group.  

USAFE/IN and the 497th RTG acquired the 7499th Special Operations Squadron facilities at Building 23 E, Wiesbaden Air Base.  Now the 497th assumed control of CREEK MISTY processing and first phase reporting.  This change necessitated a rehabilitation of the former Operating Location  C (OL-C) building.  All of the light tables and processing equipment except for the Fultron processors were moved to S-1.  One side of the horse stables were filled in and covered with tile to create a basement hallway.  Construction crews gutted the precision photo processing lab, removing old walls, installing an air shower at the entrance to the chemical mixing room and adding air conditioning.  This transformation of building 23E marked the start of the daily commute between Wiesbaden AB and Schierstein Compound  fortunately a gallon of gas only cost 68 cents at the time..
 
While the US celebrated its bicentennial in the 1970s, the 497th RTG continued to evolve.  It lost the Directorate of Targeting which was transferred from Schierstein to its new facilities in the Combat Operations Intelligence Center (COIC) at Ramstein Air Base, but gained the first U.S. Marine Corps personnel at the 497th  in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement between USASFE/IN and the Director of Intelligence, USMC. 

1978 also marked the cessation of the T-10 radar simulator operations, the inauguration of micro-graphics production capability, and the introduction of a new computerized imagery interpreter support system known as Computer Aided Tactical Information System (CATIS).  In the Spring of 1979, an Operating Location (OL-A) of the 497th was established at Ramstein AB to provide expanded imagery intelligence support to Headquarters, USAFE.

During this decade, the 497th RTG earned three more Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and designed a brand new unit shield.

In the spring of 1979, Operating Location A (OL-A) was established at Ramstein AB to provide expanded imagery intelligence support to Hq. USAFE.  There was further expansion at home as the Deputy Commander for Resources and Group Administration were created. 

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