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The History Of 59th Ordnance Brigade (AWSCOM)



The following is from "The U.S. Army Germany" web-site. I would like to thank Walter Elkins, the webmaster,  for allowing us to use this information on our site. To check out Walters site click on the following link. U.S. Army Germany




The History Of The 59th Ordnance Brigade AWSCOM

   At one time, the 59th Ordnance Brigade was the largest brigade in the U.S. Army. The 59th covered 95,000 square miles from the border of Denmark, south to Switzerland, west into the Netherlands and spread throughout western Germany with over 7,000 soldiers. The soldiers within the 59th came from a wide variety of different occupations. The vast majority of soldiers were artillery, ordnance and military police, however, several support occupations were included to fill out this well-rounded brigade. One word stands out when describing the 59th Ordnance Brigade. Unique.

   Unique in that this command successfully meshed three Army branches, the ordnance, artillery and military police corps, and performed a mission that came to be known as the backbone of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Unique in that nearly one half of the personnel assigned to the command lived and worked on installations throughout Germany, which were maintained by Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

   The history of the 59th Ordnance Brigade and its forerunners, the Advanced Weapons Support Command (AWSCOM) and the Special Ammunition Support Command (SASCOM), reaches back into the 1950s, several years before the command's headquarters was organized. In April 1955, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 71st Ordnance Group was organized and assigned to the Seventh U.S. Army and stationed in Pirmasens, Germany. In June 1959, the 71st Ordnance Group was officially redesignated as AWSCOM as part of Theater Army Support Group. AWSCOM was redesignated as the 59th Ordnance Group (Ammunition) in March 1962. The Group assumed a record of service that went back to 1943 with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company. By May 1962, 21 units were assigned to the 59th Ordnance Group. In June 1965, AWSCOM was authorized as the official abbreviation for the 59th Ordnance Group (Ammunition).
While the 59th Ordnance Group was undergoing its 12-year metamorphosis, events were taking place that were to have a shaping influence on the 59th Ordnance Brigade as it is known today.

   In 1957 President Eisenhower offered certain special weapons to NATO. Congressional restraints prevented this offer from becoming an outright grant. Instead, it was provided that weapons should be positioned in allied countries but these weapons would remain United States property.

   June 23, 1958 marked the first, of what would be later called, Special Ammunition Support Command (SASCOM) units on foreign soil (Turkey), and the first special weapons support provided to an allied nation. The establishment of SASCOM was a slow process due to the types of agreements that had to be concluded between the United States and the NATO nations before special weapons could be made available and the program could get under way.

   Once all agreements had been concluded the Special Ammunition Support Command, born on April 15, 1960, became a significant part of the United States commitment to NATO.

   Headquartered in Frankfurt, SASCOM, was organized with two types of units, artillery and ordnance. The 1960s saw SASCOM grow at a tremendous pace as new groups were activated and detachments assigned to them. By 1967, SASCOM was composed of 10 artillery groups commanding 38 missile artillery detachments.

   On Oct. 20, 1972, the command envisioned by the NATO Advanced Weapons Division 13 years before came into being. The artillery detachments, the ordnance companies, and the depot companies were combined into one command. The similar, but separate missions performed for so long by SASCOM and the 59th Ordnance Group (Ammunition) AWSCOM, were now assumed by one command - the 59th Ordnance Group, later to be officially called and accepted as the 59th Ordnance Group (SASCOM).

   The new command, headquartered in Pirmasens on Husterhoeh Kaserne, saw many changes during the next few years. As a result of the formation of the new command, several artillery groups inactivated and joined their forces under the new command, and two ordnance battalion headquarters were activated.

   Effective Aug. 22, 1977, the 59th Ordnance Group was redesignated as the 59th Ordnance Brigade and increased its mission to include support of guided missile systems and land combat systems used by the U.S. Army Corps in Europe.



   The brigade's mission was to provide direct and general special weapons support for all U.S. Army, Europe, and NATO forces. In reality, this mission was one of the most unique, complex and difficult to be found in any army in the world.


   At the time of the inactivation announcement, the brigade was composed of five artillery groups, two ordnance battalions and a headquarters support battalion, totaling more than 2,900 military and 100 civilian personnel. The artillery groups consisted of an ordnance company, artillery detachments and a headquarters detachment. The groups provided custody, control, maintenance, and supply of ammunition for our NATO allies. Some detachments had the dual mission of performing technical support and maintenance, while simultaneously performing custodial agent functions.




HHC, 59th Ord Ammo Gp Husterhöh Ksn, Pirmasens  
US Army PAL Det Husterhöh Ksn, Pirmasens  
563rd Ord Co (Maint)(GS) Camp Pieri, Wiesbaden  
579th Ord Co (GM Maint) Nelson Bks, Neu Ulm  
165th Sig Co Husterhöh Ksn, Pirmasens  
41st Ord Co (Ammo Convl) Kaiserslautern  
72nd Ord Bn (Ammo)    
HHD, 72nd Ord Bn Army Depot, Miesau  
4th Ord Co (GM Maint) Army Depot, Miesau  
9th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(Dep Spt) Army Depot, Miesau  
164th MP Co (Phy Scty) Ammo Depot, Miesau  
619th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(Dep Spt) Ammo Depot, Kriegsfeld  
     558th MP Co (Phy Scty) Ammo Depot, Kriegsfeld  
197th Ord Bn (Ammo)    
HHD, 197th Ord Bn Fischbach Ksn, Fischb.  
64th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(Dep Spt) Fischbach Ksn, Fischb.  
165th MP Co (Phy Scty) Fischbach Ksn, Fischb.  
525th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(Dep Spt) Ord Area, Siegelsbach  
556th MP Co (Phy Scty) Ord Area, Siegelsbach  
5th Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 5th Arty Gp Stöckerbusch Ksn, Büren  
27th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(GS) Stöckerbusch Ksn, Büren  
4th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Werl  
33rd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Dellbrück  
43rd AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Düren-Drove  
66th AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Soest-Büecke  
85th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Geilenkirchen  
507th AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Hinsbeck  
294th Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 294th Arty Gp Flensburg  
99th Ord Det (Wh Spt) Flensburg  
13th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Liliencron Ksn, Kellinghusen  
75th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Flensburg  
512th Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 512th Arty Gp Günzburg  
510th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(GS) Günzburg  
2nd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Pfullendorf  
24th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Landsberg  
36th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Hemau  
74th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Airfield, Lechfeld  
84th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Großengstingen  
552nd Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 552nd Arty Gp Mühlenberg Ksn, Sögel  
162nd Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(GS) Mühlenberg Ksn, Sögel  
5th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Schill Ksn, Dünsen  
8th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Steenwijk, NE  
23rd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) T'Harde, NE  
25th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Barme  
32nd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Nienburg  
35th AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Hohenkirchen  
42nd AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Barnsdorf  
51st AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Adelheide  
557th Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 557th Arty Gp Aartal Ksn, Herborn  
96th Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(GS) Aartal Ksn, Herborn  
3rd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Salm Ksn, Phillipsburg  
7th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Hardt Ksn, Treysa  
30th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Army Depot, Giessen  
52nd AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Lippe  
83rd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Montabaur  
501st AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Kilianstädten  
570th Arty Gp (Wh Spt)    
HHD, 570th Arty Gp Handorf  
583rd Ord Co (Sp Ammo)(GS) Handorf  
1st FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Schill Ksn, Wesel  
15th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Paderborn  
22nd FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Dempsey Bks, Sennelager  
69th FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Hemer  
81st FA Det (Msl Wh Spt)(HJ) Dülmen  
509th AD Det (Msl Wh Spt) Vörden




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Kriegsfeld Special Weapons Depot (North Point)