Chlanda-Craft, Kim, DP1

Data Processing Technician
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Current Service Status
USN Veteran
Current/Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Current/Last Primary NEC
DP-2736-Database Management System (DBMS) Specialist
Current/Last Rating/NEC Group
Data Processing Technician
Primary Unit
1990-1994, DP-2750, Naval Postgraduate School (Faculty Staff)
Previously Held NEC
DP-2730-System Administrator
DP-2739-Information Center Supervisor
DP-2750-Small Computer System Specialist
Service Years
1975 - 1994
DP-Data Processing Technician
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Operation Pony Express
From Month/Year
January / 1971
To Month/Year
December / 1990

The Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center (DEFSMAC) has the primary mission of the collection and analysis of telemetry and other data from foreign missile testing.  While under the control of the National Security Agency, the DIA and CIA also participate in DEFSMAC operations.  DEFSMAC was created in 1964 and continues with the same mission today.  DEFSMAC has no collection assets of its own, but utilizes terrestrial, airborne, shipboard, and satellite assets provided by the Department of Defense.

PONY EXPRESS was, and may still be, the code name for shipboard telemetry collection operations under DEFSMAC tasking. While early platforms are largely unknown, by 1971 PONY EXPRESS operations utilized the missile range tracking ships USNS General H.H. Arnold (T-AGM-9) and USNS General Hoyt S Vandenberg(T-AGM-10).  These ships were normally operated by a civilian crew and civilian technicians.  For PONY EXPRESS operations, military SIGINT specialists, primarily from the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) were assigned to the ship.
After the decommissioning of the DEs used from 1971 to 1974, some USN CTs were assigned to the Arnold and Vandenberg.  After these ships were decommissioned, Pony Express operations were conducted by the USNS Observation Island(T-AGM-23)

PONY EXPRESS also utilized four 1033-Class Destroyer Escorts, USS Claud Jones (DE-1033), USS John R Perry (DE-1034), Charles R. Berry (DE-1035), and USS McMorris (DE-1036) from 1971 until late 1974.  These DEs were upgraded with complete telemetry collection suites during yard periods in 1970 and 1971.  From 1971 through the middle of 1974, the DEs participated in PONY EXPRESS operations in the North Pacific as tasked by DEFSMAC.  By early 1975, all the ships had been decommissioned and sold to Indonesia.

When assigned to PONY EXPRESS operations, a Direct Support Element (DSE) division was assigned to the DEs from the Technical Guidance Unit (TGU) of the Naval Security Detachment of CINCPACFLT.  The DSE consisted of approximately 10 CTs and a division officer.  The operations normally took place in the Broad Ocean Area (BOA) to the Northwest of Midway Island.

The most recent unclassified mention of PONY EXPRESS is only as topic headers in the 1994 CINCPAC command history.  All the text has been redacted.  This is not surprising for operations less than 25 years old.  The paragraph headings do reveal that the USNS Observation Island (OBIS) was involved in the 1994 PONY EXPRESS operations.

PONY EXPRESS missions, if they are still under that name, are probably now conducted by either the USNS Invincible(T-AGM-24) or the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25).  The much larger Lorenzen is the most likely candidate for mid-Pacific operations, as it is 534 feet long, while the Invincible is only 224 feet long.  The larger and faster Lorenzen is much better suited for winter operations in the BOA.  

The Lorenzen departed Yokohama, Japan, on 12/18/2017.  You can find its current position on various vessel tracking applications as long as it has its AIS system active.
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
January / 1989
To Month/Year
December / 1989
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
Personal Memories
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

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