Otto Machacek of 503rd Aviation Bn, 3AD, during
1963-64 wrote the following on 10/13/2004 to this website:
"These two photos [above] of German forests were taken in
1963. I happened to be in the Aviation Bn. photo lab when they
were being printed, so I managed to scrounge myself a set. Dating
back to WWII or earlier, followers of Adolf Hitler must have
planted certain trees that would create designs in the fall when
they changed color. Apparently another similar grove was discovered
outside Berlin in the late 1950's in the Soviet Zone and was
cut down. These two photos were taken from separate Mohawk OV-IB
recon/attack planes flying out of Fliegerhorst air field in Hanau.
I'll e-mail my former boss, Lt. Col. Perrin, for more details."
Response on 10/13/2004 from Col. William Perrin (retired),
former OIC of ASTA Platoon and the 503rd Battalion S-2 (ASTA:
Aerial Surveillance Target Acquisition):
"My recollection is that it was the winter of 1962-63,
during Christmas time. lst Lt. Roy A. Wulff, one of our OV-I
pilots, landed one afternoon and told us about seeing a large
swastika on the side of a mountain. After looking at his charts,
it was determined that it was on the west side of the Vogelberg
and southwest of Fulda. Later that week, Capt Dean R. Willwerth
landed with the same story except that this one had a "1933"
under it. After several flights it was determined that there
were two of them on the same mountain about a mile apart. Photos
were made and put up on the ASTA Platoon wall. Months later some
Brig. Gen. came thru for a briefing on the Mohawk. He admired
the photos and hinted that he wanted a copy. Someone in the group
took them down and gave them to the general. Don't know why the
Photo Section did not reprint them and put them back up on the
Special Note on above photo of aircraft: This Mohawk
OV-IB (serial no. 592631 and shown with external fuel pods)
may or may not have been involved in the swastika photography.
But in any case, it was assigned to the 503rd Aviation Bn in
1962-65, according to records of the Army Aviation Heritage
Foundation - http://www.armyav.org/board_ov-1b.htm - and
is still flown by that organization today (2005). The photo was
found on their website.