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Space Geodetic Survey Squadron/Group
Last Update: August 15, 2018
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Deceased Veterans
of GSS/GSG

Disclaimer....

This site is an unofficial listing of personnel that were in the Geodetic Survey Squadron/Group from July 1959 to October 1993.

For information on the web site contact
   Garrett Moore or
   Dick Winslow

If you spot any errors, accept our apologies and let Dick Winslow know about the needed corrections.


Newsletter #75, July 18, 2018 (Posted 7/19/2018)

Newsletter archives. Lots of interesting info in these "back issues". Adds perspective to how much work Garrett does for the group. Check them out!


Memento Documents Page
If you would like to contribute documents relevant to the Geodetic Survey Squadron/Group's history, please send them to Garrett Moore.

Allan Walcker has sent in several items documenting HIRAN and SHORAN work done in the 1950's. This material has been added to our Mementos Page. You can access this material here.

Some interesting information on the early history of the military use of geodetic surveying techniques and the early origins of our Squadron / Group has been posted on our Mementos Page. Look for the article from NOAA History: "The Aftermath of War: Rockets, Reconnaissance, and the Velocity of Light" accompanied by some comments from Allan Walcker.

Also this month, two project related documents from the 1960's have been added to the Mementos Page:

I hope you will enjoy looking through these documents of 9/2018)

Newsletter archives. Lots of interesting info in these "back issues". Adds perspective to how much work Garrett does for the group. Check them out!


Memento Documents Page
If you would like to contribute documents relevant to the Geodetic Survey Squadron/Group's history, please send them to Garrett Moore.

Allan Walcker has sent in several items documenting HIRAN and SHORAN work done in the 1950's. This material has been added to our Mementos Page. You can access this material here.

Some interesting information on the early history of the military use of geodetic surveying techniques and the early origins of our Squadron / Group has been posted on our Mementos Page. Look for the article from NOAA History: "The Aftermath of War: Rockets, Reconnaissance, and the Velocity of Light" accompanied by some comments from Allan Walcker.

Also this month, two project related documents from the 1960's have been added to the Mementos Page:

I hope you will enjoy looking through these documents of historical importance.


New July 2018 on our Photos page:

Bill Carter has sent in a collection of photos highlighting his TDY to a Minuteman Missile site at Minot, ND


Recent Losses

We recently learned of the passing of Billy Ray Jolly.

Jim Rolen says this about him:
“While doing a recent web search I came across the obit for a 1381st veteran Bill Jolly (full name: Billy Ray Jolly). The obit indicates he passed away March 2, 2016. Bill's name is not listed on the squadron web site but he was my supervisor in the Data Control unit of the Data Reduction Division in the early to mid 1960's. He was also a great personal friend and mentor during my time in Orlando. According to the obit, Bill continued his Air Force career from there retiring as a Chief Master Sargent after 32 years service.”

Reunion News...

Our "once every three years" reunion for 2018 is now in the history books. The Saturday luncheon speaker was Dave Marcum, an Instructor of Government Studies at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. Dave is researching the Cold War in Wyoming and has taken quite an interest in our Squadron, what it has accomplished in its history, the people involved in the work, and so forth. He is interested in any anecdotes you might have and would be willing to share with him. When he retires in a couple of years he is hoping to start publishing the results of his work. If you have something you would like to share with him, send an email to Dave Marcum. I am sure he would appreciate the input. He has been using our web site to glean what he has gathered so far, so I am sure anything additional would be appreciated.


New June 1, 2018 -

2018 Commemorative Coins!

Here are the images of the new commemorative coins and pendants. They commemorate the emblems, names and dates by which our Squadron/Group was designated during its lifetime. A coin/pendant for the Squadron’s original designation—1381st Geodetic Survey Squadron (Missile), 1959-64— was minted and sold out before the 2015 reunion. Directions on how to order your coins or pendants will appear in the June 2018 newsletter, or contact Garrett Moore.

The designs for the new commemorative coins may be viewed here: 2018 Coins


A Short History

Established in 1959 at Orlando AFB, Florida, as part of the USAF's 1370th Photomapping Group, the Squadron went through several evolutions in its name and organizational relationships, finally ending up as part of the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) in 1972. The unit's various designations include:

  • 1381st Geodetic Survey Squadron (Missile), 1959-64
  • 1381st Geodetic Survey Squadron , 1964–68
  • 1st Geodetic Survey Squadron, 1968-72
  • Geodetic Survey Squadron, 1972–89
  • Geodetic Survey Group, 1989–93

Never a very large organization, it retained its unique status as a one-of-a-kind, lean unit of smart and dedicated people, a mix of military and civilian technical staff, that provided critical, high precision geospatial and geophysical information for defense and geospatial-intelligence needs anywhere in the world. During the 1960s, the Squadron and its detachments reached peak staffing with 69 officers, 361 enlisted, and 32 civilians. The Squadron was on call to carry out state-of-the-art geodetic surveys on short notice, and its adventurous field personnel spent much of their time deployed on missions lasting from a few days to many months, often in remote and difficult locations.

The Squadron headquarters moved from Orlando to Cheyenne in 1965, where it remained until it was disbanded in 1993 following the end of the Cold War. The Headquarters unit was also supported by a handful of small detachments primarily dedicated to supporting the positioning and guidance requirements of the ICBMs scattered throughout the mid-continent, test facilities in the Southwest and the important space and missile test launch sites at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB on the coasts.

After being disbanded, the Squadron's functions were first taken over by the Geodesy & Geophysics Office within DMA and now fall under the Office of Geomatics, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). For a more detailed history, go to “Our Ground Geodetic Surveyor Brethren” by Gordon Barnes.


1381st GSS Patch
1381st Geodetic Survey Squadron Patch

Special thanks to Al Roberti for providing the image.
The patch was the property of Jim Farrington (May he rest in peace).
These are truly rare.

The List.....
PRIVACY NOTICE: Members' names are linked to detailed contact and/or personal information. Access is restricted to registered members. If you are an unregistered alumnus of the GSS/GSG, please contact Garrett Moore to register.