177th USASA Operations Co.
Korea 1957-1967

for anyone who served in the 177th. Co. from 1957-1967:

The 177th USASA Operations Co. was created in July, 1957 as part of a world-wide force reduction that required the Army Security Agency to inactivate numerous Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) units and replace them with temporary Table of Distribution and Allowance (TDA) units. The 501st ASA Group, and all its subordinate units, that had served in the Korean war and in Korea until 1957, were TOE units. When 501st Group was inactivated in July of 1957, so were most of the TOE units subordinate to it. They were simultaneously replaced by newly-created TDA units, such as the 177th USASA Operations Company, which replaced the 330th ASA Operations Company.

At that time (mid 1957) the 330th ASA Operations Company was headquartered in its own compound in a place called Mia-ri. The location was alongside the Main Supply Route (MSR), or in other words "the road" between Seoul and Uijongbu. It was just south of the Uijongbu checkpoint. At that time, Mia-ri was just at the northern edge of Seoul. Today the place is called Mia-dong and is about five miles inside the Seoul city limits.

While the unit designation "officially" was changed from 330th Co to 177th Co. there was a lot of foot dragging by those in charge in acknowledging the name change. The photos below were reported to have been taken in late 1957 or early 1958, but the unit designation on the sign is still 330th ASA Company. This apparently did get changed soon afterwards, however, as most men who were there in the 1958-59 period have reported it was the 177th at that time.

The photo above was sent by a man who just "knew" he was in the 330th ASA Co. The bumper ID on the two jeeps is a little hard to make out but it reads, "501GP 330ASA." He had arrived in June of 1957 and was, indeed, assigned to the then existing 330th. He was never aware of the designation change shortly after his arrival. After an e-mail discussion of the matter, he looked up some old Army papers he still had and sent me an e-mail containing the following quote:


I've found some old army docs that may answer your questions.

  • An "Armed Forces Liberty Pass", issued when I arrived at the 330th, dated June 27, 1957 and signed by a Major Robert W. Collins.
  • My "back to the states for seperation" papers dated April 12, 1958 signed by a Major Matthew J. Gibney, Jr. POINT

These "special orders" indicate that I was released from the 508th USASA Group (7309) - 177th USASA Co. (7311).

This appears to be the period that the 330th mystically turned into the 177th, and no mention of the 501st.

The photo below was sent by the same man. It clearly shows the 330th designation. According to him, both pictures were taken in the fall of 1957.

In the photo above you can see the antenna poles behind the office. Operations was behind the office. The 058s (05Hs) operated out of vans to the right side of the photo. The NCO club was to the left and mess hall and quonset huts to the right. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jim Burnette, who sent the photos. They may turn out to be the only pictures available of the long gone compound at Mia-ri.

The 177th, like the 330th before it, was the primary location for morse code intercept operations in Korea. There were lots of 058s (05Hs) working there. The unit also did direction finding, with 056 operators, both there and at some remote locations. They also had a CRITICOM center. These remained the main missions of 177th Co throughout the 1957-1967 period of the 508th era.

One of the remote detachments was Det. C, which was located in "Necessary" compound on the road between Uijongbu and Munsan. It was just next to the village of Karebi and quite close to the old Turk Brigade compound. Det. C was a DF unit that consisted of some 30-40 men. One person who was in Det. C has supplied his account and numerous pictures from the 1958 period.

Click here to learn about Det. C.

Detachment C was eliminated in early 1960. This occurred at the same time that the 177th moved from the compound at Mia-ri to K6 (as described below).

Another detachment of the 177th during this early period was located at 508th Group headquarters. From its formation in 1957 until 1 Jan 62, the Operations Section at 508th Hq in Yongdung-po was the Operations Detachment, 177th ASA Co. The assistant OpsO served as Det Commander. In January 1962 the operations section was incorporated into Hq & Hq Co, 508th Group and removed from the 177th.

By the summer of 1958, the 177th had grown to more than 500 people with about 32 men to a hooch. According to one person it took a congressional investigation, but they finally received 10 new quonsets. Unfortunately the inexorable growth of Seoul was, by that time, encroaching upon the compound at Mia-ri to such an extent that the location was no longer suitable as an ASA montitoring site. A decision was made to relocate the 177th to K6, well to the south, and work began on erecting an antenna farm and other necessities so that operations could be moved.

This is a photo of the main gate at K6 taken in 1961.

This is a photo of the Lower Four EM Club at K6, also taken in 1961

Preparation of the new facilities at K6 took until the spring of 1960 to be completed. When the new site was ready, the 177th moved from Mia-ri to K6 (now Camp Humphries) and the old 330th/177th compound at Mia-ri was abandoned. Soon thereafter it was turned back to the Koreans who tore it down and eliminated it.

For a long time I had been uncertain as to the exact time when 177th moved from Mia-ri to K6, as nobody who was actually there when it took place had ever contacted me. Finally, in October 2001, I received an e-mail from James Welsh, who gave me the following report:

"I can tell you that I served in the 177th ASA from Sept '59 to Oct "60; it was during that period that the company moved from Mia-ri (then a suburb north of Seoul) to Pyungtaek (K-6), and the number of detachments was reduced (including "Det C"). By the time of my arrival, the unit was clearly the 177th, but the company headquarters looked like the Mia-ri picture of the 330th. My recollection is that the unit's insignia consisted of crossed lightening bolts on a blue shield.

--James Welsh

This is a photo of the 177th company area taken in 1961.
Courtesy Charlie Simpson

And this is a photo of PFC Simpson taken outside the K6 crafts shop in 1961.
Courtesy Charlie Simpson

The 177th was the largest single ASA operations company in Korea. The antenna field at K6 was probably some four acres in size. In the early sixties everyone lived in quonset huts and operated out of tactical vans backed up to the operations building The OPS building was expanded into an H configuration in early 1965. They were on one side of the base by themselves, away from other Army units at Humphries. By the late sixties the men were better housed in five two-story concrete block buildings, with two men to a room. Such luxury! They shared a mess hall with the Signal Corps and had a barber shop and a small PX. There was a library, movie theatre, USO and a large PX on the other side of Camp Humphries. The two remote DF detachments on P-Y-do off the west coast and at Socho-ri on the east coast remained operational, as did the CRITICOM relay station.

This is a photo of the 177th quarters and operations area circa 1963-64.

This is a photo of the new 177th quarters and operations area circa 1963-64.

508th Group was redesignated as USASA Group Korea in December of 1967. In 1969, Group headquarters moved to Camp Humphries and Camp Spade in Yongdung-po was abandoned. After the move, Group headquarters combined with the 177th to form USASA Field Station Korea, which it remained until the ASA went out of business in 1976.

Additional Contributions
Click on the links below to see additional
contributions to the 177th web page.
As new contributions are received,
they will be added.

Click here to see Chuck O'Connell's contribution.

Links to Other 177th Websites
Click on the links below to see other 177th websites.
(You will be leaving this 508th Group website.)

Chet Swanson's 177th Page

Vern Greunke's 177th Page

Return to 508th Group main page.