In early 1960 I was transferred from TD"B" school at the Naval Air Technical Training Center, Memphis, Tennessee to the Naval Air Facility at Naples Italy. There, I was assigned to work at the Radar Bomb Scoring Unit (RBS Unit) in support of the 6th Fleet Heavy Attack Squadrons (we also supported USAF and RAF aircraft). The A3Ds assigned to the VAHs aboard the 6th fleet carriers would simulate dropping atomic weapons on various targets around the Naples area. We at "Naples Bomb Plot" would track them on our radar, and plot their bomb drops. We would then let the bomber crews know the "Circular Error" of their drops (distance and bearing of the simulated bomb impact from the target). During the two years I was at Naples Bomb Plot we scored over 5000 simulated bomb runs.

Members of Naples Bomb Plot were also invited by the VAH Squadrons to visit their respective carriers and to fly a hop or two with them. I was lucky enough to be invited to take a short cruise aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt with VAH-11. I only had one cat shot and one arrested landing, but that was the biggest thrill of all of my 22 years in the Navy.

Sincerely: Kenneth C. Minick TDC USN(RET) 




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Unique Bomb Scoring Unit Relies on High Speed Teamwork To Keep Bombardiers Fit

by Larry Ray

   The morning of 19 Sept. 1959 marked the actual start of a training program entirely unique in the Navy's Mediterranean role.
   Robert J. Carr, TDC, leading chief of Naples Radar Bomb Scoring Unit met the ship at Pier 48, and watched as skilled unloading crew twice came close to dropping the 2 heavy trailers over the side. Finally, after a morning of arguing with local truck drivers, the small caravan of strange electronic trailers and grande American machinas arrived at the gates of NAF to open operations of one of the 4 naval RBS sites in the world. (Two are Stateside, the other in Japan.)
   What is RBS? It's a simulated bomb-drop scoring unit which maintains bombardier proficiency.

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(l. to r.) Atop the roof are TDAN Ray, Tech Rep Tarr, TD1 Al Johnson, and ATC Stew Price.

Bliesener is boss

   LCDR art Bliesener is in charge of the 16 man team, specializing in the plotting and scoring of imaginary bombs dropped by A3D aircraft of the 6th fleet's VA squadrons.
   Location of the unit is at the end of the parking apron, is oftener referred to as "Disneyland" or "that gypsy camp."
   In electronic age RBS men keep an earth voodoo "just in case."
   About 75% of the actual manual labor of putting this outfit together was done by the RBS crew.
   Due to the complicated nature of the gear, the unit makes its own electricity. This is a full time job for Eugene Jackson, EN2, the engineman billeted to the project.

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(l. to r.) Kerns, Johnson and Ray at the job as A3D makes a run overhead.

Bomb scoring

   The radar bomb scoring problem is solved by using a tracking radar set, and a plotting board recorder. The aircraft is initially located about 50 miles from the radar site, and the radar set locks on it, transmitting information about the plane's distance, bearing and elevation angle above the horizon.
   The console computer turns all this info into a final track across the ground. This track is used to compute the spot where the fictitious bomb would have landed.
   The job can get a bit hairy with a maximum of 4 aircraft on the range, each making a simulated run every 10 minutes.
   The actual scoring is done by two 6 man teams. Al Johnson, TD1, is crew chief of Crew One, consisting of Ken Minick and Larry Ray, TD2s, Rich Kerns, TD3, Larry Bell and Tony Ray, TDANs, and maintenance men John Brophy, ET1.
   Crew Two is headed by Ray Meier, AT1, made up of TD3s Cliff Hildebrant and "J.J." Forhan, AT3 D.H. Camp, Doug King, TDAN and John Royder, ET2 does the maintenance.
   Due to the large amount of electronic gear involved, Monday of each week is set aside as maintenance day and is under the supervision of Stew Price, ATC and his shaggy dog "Cativo".
   Supply is now in the hands of short timer T.J. Kesseler, TD2.
   Utmost accuracy is the aim of the men who form the RBS family and participate in a fob demanding constant high speed teamwork.
   RBS scores for 6th Fleet, the British RAF and soon will hook up with USAF planes.



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TD2 Minik at the controls, (bot. l.) Jackson at the power supply, (bot. r.) Tarr and Price in the maintenance shack.


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    The 5000th Radar Bomb Scoring run made on Naples Bomb Plot was celebrated with a cake cutting ceremony aboard the Naval Air Facility, Naples, Italy. The run was made by Bombardier/Navigator C.D. Noto, TD1 of Heavy Attack Squadron Nine. The Squadron is flying A3D aircraft from the USS Saratoga now with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. The "Hoot Owls" of VAH-9 also made the first run on the Naples RBS Unit after its commissioning in December 1959. TD1 Noto was unable to attend as boating at Naples was cancelled by heavy seas, but he was represented by G. E. Setchfield, AM1, also a bombardier/Navigator from VAH-9. The entire RBS Unit crew was on hand as Setchfield was assisted in the cake cutting by LCDR A. B. Bleisener, OIC Naples RBS Unit.