Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Exercise Coulee Crest

This is a request to the vast numbers of blog readers: Please ask your friends, grandparents, uncles, and anyone else: “What do you know about Exercise Coulee Crest?”

This is what I know: It was a large exercise concerning USSTRICOM, or United States Strike Command. It happened in Washington State, and involved the transport of military personnel from other parts of the United States. Douglass C-133 Cargomasters and C-124 Globemaster IIs were used in the transport of troops and equipment. It happened during April and May of 1963. I also know there was an army aircraft, which I assume was a helicopter, that crashed about 8 miles North of Ellensburg Washington after striking a power line while it was conducting reconnaissance for Exercise Coulee Crest.

I also know that a few first hand witnesses have described to me personally a large exercise that involved the military “capturing” the city of Moxee. They recall large movements of men and material. They usually date it to the late 1950s or early 1960s. Descriptions usually involve army jeeps armed with machine guns sitting on the corners of the town of Moxee. Yet Another witness described camps on the south side of the ridge, and noted that 2 1/2 ton trucks would pull up to the store and buy all the beer on hand. One of the witnesses also stated that Air Force aircraft also made a showing. His description seemed to indicate a Douglas A-1 Skyraider. There is a picture of an EB-66 at Larson AFB supposedly participating in the exercise, see below.

Here are my questions: Did the C-133s land in Yakima, at Larson, or McChord? What about the C-124s? How many troops were involved? Where are the photos of this operation? Where is the helicopter that went down? I am sure there are others questions that I might think of later. Does anyone out there know about this operation?

14 comments:

Richard Loewenstern said...

Our unit was airlifted from Fort Hood Texas on 18 C124 and after landing at Sheapard Air Force Base for refuling we next landed at Larson Air Force Base on April 24th 1962. Richard Loewenstern

Richard Loewenstern said...

It was April 24th 1963. Richard Loewenstern

Richard Loewenstern said...

I participate in Exercise Coulee Crest. This was a III Corps exercise. III Corps consisted of the 1st and 2nd Armord Divisions at Ft. Hood, 4th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis and the 5th Mechanized Division at Ft. Carson Colorado. The 4th and 5th Divisions artiliary units were the participants as this was a live fire exercise at the Yakima Firing Range. There were Air Force and Navy units involved to see how well communication worked between services. Richard Loewenstern 713-7713094 rloewenstern@sbcglobal.net

Richard Loewenstern said...

I have tried several times to respond with details of the C124 as a 1st Lt. I attened the Army Air Transportable School and trained as a loadmaster. If someone will email me I will respond and it can be posted. Richard Loewenstern

WILLIAM DESKINS said...

I wa at exercise Coulee Crest in April may 1963 . I was with Troop G air 17th cav. 84th engineer batallion Fort Ord California. I was the company radio Operator MOS 05160. The comunications went very well between the armed forces. I remember the chopper hit the high tension power lines. I think the cherry festival was going on at that time if my memory is correct. Exercise Coulee Crest strategy was used in Vietnam and is still used today.

Thanks Guys
Bill Deskins
williamdeskins@wowway.com

firstfleet said...

I have a short piece on Coulee Crest in my book about the C-133. C-133s probably landed at Yakima, though I have no specific information to that effect. Coulee Crest was one of the largest military exercises to be conducted in the US after the huge Big Slam/Puerto Pine exercise of 1960.

Hans and Diane said...

I definitely remember Coulee Crest, and chances are I was on a 133 out of Dover that participated (I'll have to dig out my old logs and see if I can confirm that). To the best of my memory, I always used McChord whenever in your area. I'll mention this on our blog, and see if I get any of our veteran crew members to offer input.

Dick Hanson, C-133 Navigator, '62-'65, 1st ATS, Dover AFB, DE

Hans and Diane said...

Note fresh input on 133/124 participation in Coulee Crest on our Crew blog, CargomasterRaster.

Go to: http://cargomasterraster.blogspot.com/2009/04/connection-with-washington-state.html

Dick Hanson

Lt. Louis Stauber's daughter said...

l am the daughter of Lt. Louis Stauber who was killed April 20th, 1963. l was only nine months old at the time. Any still alive surviors? Our family would like to talk to anyone regarding my dad's accident. Thank you.. Carolyn Stauber
fox1ispy4u@yahoo.com

Kerry said...

I was a Photographic Interpreter station on Larson AFB during the 1963 Coulee Crest. Woke up one morning and a whole Recon Wing had desended upon our base in the middle of the night. I believe that it was during that event that a Naval EB 66 crashed on the runway. As I remember he took a bird hit lost a engine and made a emergency landing. I remember seeing the pilot soon afterward at the base operations where I worked.
Kerry Hutcheson 4170 SW

SDuro said...

I was stationed at the 637th AC&W outside of Othello, WA a small USAF radar site of 150 troops. it quickly became a comm site for the Army. During the exercise we had Hueys and Chinooks land there ( our first aircraft). As a member of the RED forces the first morning, while I was having a coffee on the back porch of the EM Barracks, an RF-101 appeared coming up the side of the 1300 ft "mountain" turned around and disappered on the same path. During the exercise we took reports from civilians being run off the road by fighter aircraft, saw some awesome displays of supersonic flights by various aircraft.
One instance I still remember was trying to get to our local "House of Ill Repute" for an illegal beer and finding out 1/2 of the Army was there already,jeeps, duece and 1/2s and an APC, no one brought a tank. that was the place if you showed you Military ID, you got a dollar discount.
I sure hope no grunts came down with exotic cancers or thyroid problems from the most radioactive sites in the US, Hanford, one of the WWII Manhatten project locations producing H bombs up to the 70's

Alice said...

I was still in high school, but I remember listening to a radio program on KIT which was apparently similar to a propaganda show; I think it was also a support show for the troops. It's theme song was "Stranger on the Shore", as well as other popular songs. As a result of this show, I joined the USO a year later.

Mike Lorrey said...

Talking with my dad, he was a forward controller for artillery with the 5th. He asked me to research about a crashed jet airframe he recalls seeing near the target area of the a Yakima range, he said the jet had crashed failing to pull out of its dive. He wants to know what sort of jet it was, from what unit and base, and whether this happened during the exercise or some previous date.

Mike Lorrey said...

Talking with my dad, he was a forward controller for artillery with the 5th. He asked me to research about a crashed jet airframe he recalls seeing near the target area of the a Yakima range, he said the jet had crashed failing to pull out of its dive. He wants to know what sort of jet it was, from what unit and base, and whether this happened during the exercise or some previous date.