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April 2015

 

— This Month —

The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Desertion & Misbehavior Before The Enemy

And...

Signal Corps Successes

How Seven Signal OCS Graduates Built The 103rd Infantry Division’s Signal Company
Part I of IV

Plus...

An Archive Of War Part V

- - - - -

MISSION STATEMENT

Our Association is a not-for-profit fraternal organization. It's purpose is a) to foster camaraderie among the graduates of Signal Corps Officer Candidate School classes of the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War eras, b) to organize and offer scholarships and other assistance for the families of Officer and Enlisted OCS cadre who are in need, and c) to archive for posterity the stories and history of all of the Signal Corps OCS Officers who served this great country. We are open to ALL former Army Signal Corps OCS graduates, their families and friends, as well as other officers, enlisted men, those interested in military history, and the general public. Please, come join us. For more information about our Association, to see a list of our Officers and Directors, or for contact details, click on the OCS Association link at left.

Please note: The views and opinions expressed on this website are offered in order to stimulate interest in those who visit it. They are solely the views and expressions of the authors and/or contributors to this website and do not necessarily represent the views of the Army Signal Corps Officer Candidate School Association, its Officers, Directors, members, volunteers, staff, or any other party associated with the Association. If you have any suggestions for improvements to this site, please send them to WebMaster@ArmySignalOCS.com. We are here to serve you. 


 

The Chickens Come
Home To Roost

Mest Malak Outpost

Desertion & Misbehavior
 Before the Enemy

It’s not Christian to wish someone ill will, and we won’t do that here. Nevertheless, when we heard this past week that the Army was finally charging Sergeant Bergdahl with both misbehavior before the enemy and desertion, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of pleasure at the news. Considering that this man who spent 5 years as a prisoner of the Taliban is now facing life in prison, we probably shouldn’t have taken pleasure in the announcement, but we did. So much so in fact that a smile came to our face when we heard it.[1]

But why?

You see, the smile and pleasure we took in the announcement has nothing to do with Bowe Bergdahl; it has to do with the Army. As far as this Editor is concerned, we could care less what happens to Bowe Bergdahl; but we most definitely care about what happens to the Army. And if Bergdahl doesn't go up on charges after the stunt he pulled, then the Army that we love could be damaged beyond repair. For all to work out well, for all concerned, including Bowe Bergdahl himself, Bowe Bergdahl must face an Article 32 hearing. Thank God the wing nuts in the White House have stopped protecting him, and he’s finally getting one.

Outpost Mest MalakHere’s the problem: sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl slipped out of a remote military outpost in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province. He took with him a soft backpack, water, knives, a notebook, and some writing materials. Tellingly, he left behind his body armor and weapons.

As it turns out, Sergeant Bergdahl (he was promoted while still in captivity) told his parents in earlier eMails that he had become disillusioned with Army life and did not support the American mission. So what’s new? Every Army soldier that ever existed has become disillusioned with Army life at one time or another, not to mention the war they were fighting in. Since when is that a reason to walk away from your post?

Berghdal though appeared to think he was special… normal military discipline was for the rest of his mates, not him. In his case he thought himself so special that when an investigation was done on him in 2009, the classified military report that was published said his disappearance on June 30 wasn’t the first time he had gone walk-about. Apparently he had wandered away from assigned duty stations before.

All of which brings us to our point. Allowing people like Bergdahl to get away with this kind of stuff can be catastrophic for America's Army. In a minute you'll see what we mean.

For those of you who have forgotten, the Article 32 Bergdahl is charged with does not mean he is about to head to trial by a military court. Instead, what he is headed for is a hearing; a hearing that, like a civilian grand jury hearing, is intended to help decide whether charges should be pressed against him or not. If the results of Bergdahl’s Article 32 hearing suggest that sufficient evidence exists implicating him in either desertion or misbehavior before the enemy, then at that point he will be referred to a court-martial or military court trial.

So why are we so glad Bergdahl is facing an Article 32 hearing? Because in our mind even bigger than the damage President Obama did to America by letting 5 of the Taliban’s top “general staff” go free from Guantanamo, in return for this likely turn-coat American, was the damage Obama would have done to the institution of the U.S. Army—and quite likely the entire U.S. military—if he let Bergdahl go free too.

What damage you ask? The damage that would have come if Bergdahl was not charged… i.e., the permanent breakdown in military discipline that would permeate our entire Army once it sunk into every serviceman’s head that walking away from the battlefield was no longer a punishable offense.

Discipline. That’s the operative word here folks: discipline. So let’s talk about discipline, and perhaps you’ll see where we are going with this.

 

Japanese Signal Corps WWII



 

Signal Corps Successes

103rd Signal Company

How Seven Signal OCS Graduates Built The 103rd Infantry Division’s Signal Company
Part I of IV

If you are a regular reader of our website you know of our continuing series on how Signal OCS graduates were responsible for some of the more eventful successes the U.S. Army Signal Corps ever had. Called Signal Corps Successes, the stories tell of the influence Army Signal OCS graduates had in assuring that the Signal Corps fulfilled its mission in time of war.

In the past we brought you stories of the Mukden Cable and the Battle for the Pusan Perimeter. This month we’ll tell you how seven—that’s right, seven­—graduates of Army Signal OCS Class 42-06 single handedly set up and operated the Signal Company that supported the 103rd Infantry Division in WWII.[2]

For those of you not familiar with it, the 103rd Infantry Division (its famous "cactus patch" is shown above) was activated on 15 November 1942, and set about training for its role in the European Theatre of Operations in World War II. Nearly two years later, fully prepared for war, the unit left the U.S. for Europe, on 11 September 1944. In that Division was a supporting Signal Company, the 103rd Signal Company. Assigned a combat support role, the 103rd Signal Company was one of several Special Troops Companies the 103rd Infantry Division depended on to get its job done. 

Camp ClaiborneOriginally assembled as an Organized Reserve Unit assigned to the Eighth Corps Area back in 1921, the Company had come a long way from where it started, to where it found itself when it was directed to join the 103rd Infantry Division for combat training in late 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. At that time, as the newly constituted primary communications support company for the 103rd I.D., the Company was in need of everything from modern communications equipment to men who understood how to work the kind of newer communications systems being fielded.

To flesh out the unit the Department of War assigned to the company a compliment of 10 Commissioned Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 311 Enlisted Men, including NCOs. For all practical purposes then, while the 103rd Signal Company may have existed since 1921, as it stood when it hit the fields of Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, where the 103rd I.D. was training, it was a brand new company created out of thin air. Not surprisingly, this was the case for many of the units that were still on the Army's books when WWII started, but had no TOE in real life.

ICamp Claiborne, LAn mid October 1942, the 103rd Signal Company picked up its first complement of Officers. Signal Officers all, the first to arrive was then Captain Carolus A. Brown, who took the position of the newly appointed Division Signal Officer. Later in the war Captain Brown would be promoted, making his way up to Lieutenant Colonel by the time the war was over.

Shortly after Brown took up his role, then First Lieutenant (later Captain) Kenneth C. H. Colman arrived. His job was to ready things for the reception of the remainder of the unit’s Officers and men. Being a Signal Company, those Officers would be found from within the ranks of the hundreds of new, freshly minted Second Lieutenants coming out of the Signal Corps Officer Candidate School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

It’s here then where we pick up our story, as wonder of wonder, of the 8 remaining Officers to be assigned to the Company, fully 7 of them came from the very same class, Army Signal OCS Class 42-06.

Class 42-06 was so large that it took two full days to commission all of the Officers that graduated. On 12 July, 1942, roughly half of the Class passed in review and received their commission, with the other half receiving theirs the next day, on 13 July.

With 841 graduates it might not seem strange that 7 men from this same class were assigned to the same Company, except that one must remember that the Company they were going to was brand new… that is, there were no senior Officers to act as mentors and help these new, young Butter Bars get their feet on the ground. Instead, not only did they have to get their own feet on the ground, they had to stand-up the Company at the same time… taking on board a full complement of 311 Enlisted Men, all of whom were as green as the Officers commanding them.

And so it was, a new Company was being stood up by a bunch of new junior level Officers, all without command experience, each commanding a full complement of E.M., all of whom were equally without military experience… with everyone heading to war.

What fun those first few weeks must have been.

Yet that’s what Army Signal OCS is all about: training young Officers to take command, build a cohesive and capable combat support team, and get on with the job.

Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT

 


 

Charge me...


 

Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

This page last updated 1 April 2015. New content is constantly being added. Please check back frequently.

Update 1 April 2015 Last month we added a new feature to our Facebook page. It's called "Militarily Notable". In a paragraph or two this new feature tells of military events long ago forgotten, but which nevertheless constitute important but little known happenings in military history. We'll be adding a new one each month, so please take the time to read them. To see them, click on the Facebook icon in our links column at left... and while you're on our Facebook page PLEASE be sure to "Like Us".

We need more likes. Why? Because the more "Likes" we have, the more Facebook promotes our site. And the more they promote our site, the more readers come by to check it out. And the more people come by to check it out, the better our chance of people actually, well... liking us... and donating to our Scholarship Fund. SOOOoooooo... want to help us raise more money for scholarships? Then PLEASE take the time to visit our Facebook page and "Like us"... and ask your friends, family, grandchildren and anyone else you can think of that might have a Facebook account to do so to. Thanks

Update 1 February 2015 Terry Rushbrook, Signal Corps OCS Class 10-67 sent us an update and a short bio of himself. We've posted his bio and a few of his pictures on a special page which we linked to his name on his Class Page. You can get to it by clicking here Army Signal OCS Class 09-67 - Sterling & Bradley and then scrolling down and clicking on his name. The best part though is that Terry maintains his own website, which has lots more content than what we have posted. On it you can find stories, poems and lots more pictures of his time in Vietnam. Some of his pics of Cam Ranh Bay are especially good. Check out his personal bio page, and then use the link there to jump to Terry's website.

 

 

 

Continued from left column... 

Of the 8 original Second Lieutenants assigned to breathe life into the 103rd Signal Company, the last 7 on this list came directly from Army Signal OCS Class 42-06. The names of all 8 were:

2nd Lt. JOSEPH A. ALLISON, Message Center Officer,

and from... 

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. BERNARD BECK, Sig C. Radio Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. DENNIS A. DELANEY, Telephone & Telegraph Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. CHARLES A. DEWS, Supply Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. MAURICE A. HANNON, Sig C. Motor Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. JOHN C. MITCHELL, Sig C. Construction Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. JACK OWENS, Sig C. Radio Intelligence Officer,

Signal Corps OCS42-06: 2nd Lt. JULIUS S. SEDENSKY, Sig C. Construction Officer,

and later, as the war unfolded...
Signal Corps OCS43-16: 2nd. Lt. Ray Vanderby, a graduate of Army Signal OCS Class 43-16, joined them on the field of battle.

Of note, it wasn’t long before Second Lieutenant Bernard Beck was promoted through the rank of First Lieutenant to Captain, and assigned as the Commanding Officer of the 103rd Signal Company.

Thus, as the unit began its march towards Europe, the 103rd Signal Company was essentially a new Company, being led to war with virgin Officers, almost all of whom were fresh out of OCS, and from the same class.

Recognizing that we would hardly write a piece on these men, and call it Signal Corps Success if they had failed in their duty, the reader can imagine that these leading examples of Army Signal OCS not only acquitted themselves handsomely in their command posts, but earned battle praise in the process. Read on if you would like to follow their story through WWII.

Japanese Signal Corps WWII

 


 

 

An Archive of War - Part V
Examples of effective American decision making and leadership, as seen through the documents
of war.

Over the past several months it has been our objective, in this column, to demonstrate how in the not too distant past America’s leaders did not need to interject politics into everything they did and said in order to hold their position or get the job done. Instead they applied logic to their thinking; implementing their decisions in clearheaded ways that both made sense as well as provided a road map for the nation to follow. In the process they took the time to keep the American people of those days informed, not through propaganda or political maneuvering on Sunday morning talk shows, but, for example, in fireside chats and radio broadcasts of considerable length, by the President himself, directly to the people.

Those were good days for America. Some would say they were simple days. But they were not. The only difference between then and now is that then we had clearheaded leaders who knew America’s place in the world, accepted it, and went about doing the right thing for both America and the world. Today we suffer through with muddleheaded leaders, unable to speak clearly and concisely, and only too willing to obfuscate their true purpose to those who elected them.

Take the situation in the Middle East today. Every single country in the area except for Oman is involved in a military conflict. And what is America doing? It's turning its back on its traditional allies in this region, in favor of a rapprochement with Iran… all for the purpose of reaching agreement with the Iranians over the extent to which they will be allowed to continue developing nuclear capabilities.

There is no goal to stop the Iranians from having a nuclear bomb, only a goal to delay it for 10 or more years. These is no goal to stop them from developing delivery capabilities able to carry such a bomb to America’s shores, only a goal to avoid talking about the uncomfortable topic of ICBMs. In the mean time America’s traditional allies in the region are being elbowed aside, causing unprecedented confusion on their part as to what exactly America is up to. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, the UAE, and others are all running for cover, believing that America has abandoned them… as she seems to have.

Worse than all of this however is that this confusion exists at home too… with Congress, the press and the American people asking what in God’s name is going on?

Why? Again, we ask, what is going on?

In our view it all goes back to President Obama on the campaign trail, when during his very first run at the White House he articulated with clarity that he wanted to focus his time in office on the home front, and pull America back from its penchant for military engagements around the world. Instead of carrying the mantle of world leadership that America has held since the end or WWII, he wanted to focus on housing for the poor, health care, immigration, and so on. So now we have Obamacare, and executive actions granting illegal immigrants rights to live in the U.S., and increased subsidies for housing.

Ok, so that’s what he told us he was going to do, and he’s doing it. We do not fault him for doing what he said he would do. But where is his strategy for dealing with the international issues imploding all around us? Surely, if he was going to avoid use of the U.S. military to resolve global problems, he must have had a replacement strategy at the ready to deal with the kind of results such an action would cause? Today the world stands more closely on the brink of WWIII than at any time in modern history; and the lack of leadership in the White House on the geo-political issues his "leading from behind" approach to life has caused is palpable.

How did that happen? What were we all doing while President Obama was busy downsizing America’s influence around the world? How did we miss him passing the baton we once carried as a sign of our global dominance to Iran, in the Middle East; Putin in both Western and Eastern Europe; and China everywhere west of Los Angeles?

How did we let him get away with bullying Israel into a role where it is now little more than a secondary power in its own region? How did we let him get away with turning America's back on the Saudis? By walking away from Yemen when it needed us most? By failing to act to address Turkey’s concerns over its own stability vis-à-vis the Kurds? By prematurely pulling troops out of Iraq and squandering 12 years of our having built a platform fully able to keep the peace in the Middle East, and prevent ISIS from ever having gained a foothold? By having absolutely no strategy, and no tactical plan of action?

From where we sit it is clear that President Obama has abandoned the world to its own course. Instead of developing a balanced global strategy able to be implemented by our allies, and leading them to execute it while he focused on things at home... as he preferred to do... he has abandoned strategy in favor of deliverables. His goal is not to fix the world's problems, it is to get a deal with Iran. He is foregoing progress in solving the problems in Syria, Yemen, with the Palestinians, with ISIS, AQAP, the Houthis, Ukraine, the Senkakus, and more, for success on the single issue of signing an interim deal with Iran by this past March 31, and a final one by this coming July 1.

His thinking is fuzzy. His logic is fuzzy. He is seeking a fuzzy deal with untrustworthy actors. When he offers an explanation of his intentions or actions, it is fuzzy and incomprehensible. His explanations make no sense. For over 6 years now he has had no global strategy, and it is showing.

Look at the absurdity of the situation: when he leaves office in a few years President Obama will be able to look back over his shoulder and still see Hafez Assad's smiling face... Assad, still securely in place and power... thanks to Iran. Assad, who has used chemical gas and barrel bombs to kill some 200,000 of his own people, will outlast Barack Hussein Obama. What has our President done?

Compare all of this if you will to what Truman faced during his time in office. Just on the heels of the world’s biggest war coming to an end, with most of the world in disarray, economies in shambles, millions homeless in war torn Europe, and Asia little more than a street beggar on the world stage, North Korea, with Mao Zedong and Stalin’s encouragement, decided to invade the South.

How did Truman handle this challenge? Did he walk away from the new role America found itself taking on, as the world’s policeman and shepherd? Did he toss the ball to China, telling Chairman Mao to do what he wanted with the Korean peninsula? Did he wail in the night that he had so many, many things that needed attention at home that he simply had no time to pay attention to the rest of the world? Or did he develop a clear, precise strategy, and then stand before the American people and articulate it… before moving on to implement it.

Clearly, Harry Truman did the latter.

Read if you will then this simple announcement President Truman made to the American people on June 27, 1950, when he explained for the first time to his countrymen what happened in Korea and what he was going to do about it. It is yet another example of clear decision making and leadership, as seen through the archives of war.

Would that we had leaders like Harry Truman today. 

Truman Statement on Korea - June 1950

Be sure to join us again next month, when we will bring you President Truman's full length explanation to the American people of how he intended to fight the Korean War. Again, it is a masterpiece of simplicity and what we have come to call clear headed thinking. 

Earlier documents:

1. Potsdam Proclamation - An ultimatum for unconditional surrender.

2. Final Directive Authorizing Use Of Atomic Weapons Against Japan

3. White House P.R. Notifying America Of Dropping Of Atom Bomb

4. Allies' Armistice Demands, 10 November, 1918


 

OCS Wisdom

Jan 15     Feb 15     Mar 15     Apr 15     May 15     Jun 15

Jul 15      Aug 15     Sep 15     Oct 15     Nov 15     Dec 15


April Crossword Puzzle

Army Signal CorpsTheme: Military SlangArmy Signal Corps
Game 1 of 3

Hint: Join 2, 3 and 4 word answers together
as one complete word.

 For answer key to this month's puzzle,
see icon at bottom of page



I am a veteran


Footnotes:

[1] Technically, five years in prison for desertion and life imprisonment for misbehavior before the enemy. According to 10 U.S. Code § 899 - Art. 99. of the UCMJ, misbehavior before the enemy is defined as: “Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy— (1) runs away; (2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend; (3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property; (4) casts away his arms or ammunition; (5) is guilty of cowardly conduct; (6) quits his place of duty to plunder or pillage; (7) causes false alarms in any command, unit, or place under control of the armed forces; (8) willfully fails to do his utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy any enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is his duty so to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy; or (9) does not afford all practicable relief and assistance to any troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces belonging to the United States or their allies when engaged in battle; shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.” – To return to your place in the text, click here: Return to text 

[2] Also known as the Cactus Division. – To return to your place in the text, click here: Return to text



 

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