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March 2015

 

— This Month —

By Your Leave... Sir!

Drop and give us thirty... $30 that is! If you can, Sir?

And...

A Peek Inside The Japanese Signal Corps Of WWII

Not all 18 year old Japanese Signal Corps girls were Tokyo Rose...

Plus...

Watch Your Language, Soldier!

- - - - -

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. 


 

By Your Leave...

Richard A. Green, OCS Class 02-67Sir!

The Signal Corps OCS Association is still here and so far still moving forward... Our goal is to find all grads, to keep track of all that are found and to maintain a complete TAPS roster for all Signal OCS "eras" from WWII thru Vietnam...

In addition the Association hosts a reunion each year.. and though the turn out has never been GREAT, graduates, cadre and family members show up in significant numbers to justify continuing to have the reunions...

Oct 9-12 2015, the reunion will be in San Antonio TX.. Members will receive their registration packets sometime in late July or early August... The Association continues to put out a great newsletter (3 times a year) and maintain a GREAT website!

However it goes without saying that this Association would not exist without the support of those who are part of our program and I'm asking you to think about becoming a member or renewing your membership.... your membership will help insure that the mission is accomplished. Please join, or rejoin as the case may be, with us!!

I'm attaching an application form that I hope you will use..... you don't need to fill out DOB, Serial number, grad date, or class number... I have all that information...

Donations are appreciated also... the Operating Fund regularly takes some heavy hits.. The Scholarship Fund at the moment is holding its own, with over $50,000 in $1,000 grants given so far...

Join now and get an update on your classmates and others you may have served with...

Thank you!

Major Richard Green, US Army Retired.

U.S. Army Signsl Corps   New or renew, plus working fund donations...

    U.S. Army Signal Corps Association Membership

   Scholarship fund donations...

    U.S. Army Signal Corps Association Donations

   Love letters, complaints, suggestions...

    U.S. Army Signal Corps Association eMail

 


 

Want A Peek Inside The Japanese Signal Corps Of World War II?

Tokyo Rose

Read the story of 18 year old—now ObāsanEhara

We recently ran across a Japanese blog site where an elderly lady was orally recounting her life in Tokyo during WWII. At the time of WWII she was a vibrant young girl of 18 and in what was considered, in Japan, her fourth year of junior high school. Wanting desperately to help her country’s cause and fight the Americans, and not being able to gain a combat role, she talked a few of her friends into coming along with her to one of the local Tokyo recruiting station, where they would all sign up for active duty service.

While her heart was set on joining the Signal Corps (日本の信号軍団; Nihon no shingō gundan), she didn’t expect to be selected. The reason she thought she would not make the cut was that of all of the Japanese military units, getting into the Japanese Signal Corps was among the hardest, due to their requirements that recruits have extensive knowledge of electronics. mathematics, written and spoken forms of communication, secondary languages, and the like. No different than the U.S. Signal Corps, the Japanese Signal Corps in WWII considered itself among the best in Japan’s military. As far as they were concerned, they comprised an “engineering” combat arm, without whose help no battle or war could be won.

So much was this so that before the war the functions of the Signal Corps were performed by communication units of the Corps of Engineers… from whose legacy the Japanese Signal Corps gained its penchant for walking, breathing, thinking and living engineering thoughts. Notwithstanding this, it was clear within the Japanese Corps of Engineers that there was a difference between the break-it-and-make-it engineers and those funny guys with the earphones on and wires hanging from their heads.

So it was that while the Japanese Corps of Engineers and the people within it that performed signal duties were close, it didn’t take long once World War II started before the Japanese War Department recognized that there was a difference between the two... and that the role the Signal Corps played was of far greater significance to national defense than that of the Corps of Engineers. In 1941 that difference resulted in the Japanese Military spinning off the Signal Corps from the Corps of Engineers, increasing its size and established it as a functioning military arm of its own... under what was then called the Inspectorate of Communications. To top all of this off, the new Inspectorate of Communications was then placed directly under, and answerable to, the Japanese War Department itself.

In essence then, the people who comprised the Japanese Signal Corps found themselves not only being spun off from the Corps of Engineers—a part of the Imperial Japanese Army (Kyūjitai: 大日本帝國陸軍, Shinjitai:大日本帝国陸軍, Romaji: Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun; literally "Army of the Greater Japanese Empire")—but becoming part of an element that was tantamount to a completely separate arm of the Japanese military. That is, much as any nation’s Navy is considered distinctly and organizationally separate and independent from its Army, in World War II Japan created a Signal Corps that was as equally independent of the Japanese Army and Navy as anything ever created. As the war began to unfold, the Japanese Signal Corps held top shelf position, as an independent arm of the military, answerable to itself and no one else.

When formed the Japanese Signal Corps consisted of two signal replacement regiments, a number of signal (telegraph) regiments, line of communication signal units, shipping signal units, air signal units and divisions, regiments and numerous battalion signal companies and sections to support them.

Some of these units were unlike anything the U.S. Signal Corps ever thought of. Units like the Shipping Signal Units were military groups answerable directly to the Inspectorate of Communications, and through them to the Japanese War Department. For the most part, what they did was oversee ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications. As to why they needed to exist, in part it was because Japan is an island nation, and being able to keep its civilian sea born transportation systems running was critical to its survival.

With this in mind the shipping carriers of Japan were given close scrutiny, help and supervision in getting their job done. Typically composed of a headquarters company and two operating companies, personnel assigned to Shipping Signal Units were assigned to maintain radio liaison between transports and shipping establishments. Strength wise, a company of this type would hold about 300 personnel, while an entire regiment had a TOE of 635 officers and men.

It was this kind of new, high profile organization that peaked then Ms. Saeko Ehara’s interest and caused her to organize her friends and head off to join the Japanese military… and its Signal Corps in particular. As to why; part of the reason lay in the simple fact that her older brother had just joined the Kamikaze corps (he was drafted). In her mind, it was all really simple… if her brother was going to die for his country, so was she.

We won’t ruin her story for you by telling it all here… instead we encourage you to click on the video below and listen to it yourself. It’s a short but heart rending story, considering that the voice you hear is that of an older Japanese lady clearly in her 80s if not 90s. Even so, her voice is strong and vibrant, with a sprightly sound to it... full of laugh and smiles that come clearly through your speakers; yet kind as it is, you will not help but notice on occasion her tone flows to sadness, as her words reveal memories of a cheerless, unfulfilled life during this time in her nation’s peril.

We all know the outcome of America’s war against Japan. What you will learn from listening to this story is nothing new about war… but much new when it comes to the resilience of the human spirit. Here today is the voice of an Obāsan who still laughs, still remembers, and still cherishes her life… one that began when she volunteered to become a member of her country’s Signal Corps.

Take a moment and listen to her: she speaks with fondness of the military uniform they gave her… pants, a skirt, silk socks and leather shoes. Remember the specialness of freshly broken starch in your OCS days? And listen too when within a few more heartbeats her voice falls, as surely a tear must be coming to her eyes as she remembers the profound sadness of war... as she speaks of sleeping at her work station in the Signal Corps HQ at Konoeshidan Shirebu, Takebashi (near today's Arena For The Martial Arts, in central Tokyo)—through America's night time B-29 bombing raids. Missing the connection? Think of your own long, introspective nights laying in your sleeping bag in Cần Thơ, along the Chosin Reservoir, or at Anzio. 

We encourage you to listen to this audio-video. If you do, it is best to make the video full screen so that you can easily read the English subtitles behind the spoken Japanese.

 

Editor's Note: Having researched and found this archive in the deep web, we have no way of locating Obāsan Ehara, but wish her a long and healthy life, and thank her for her memories of a war both of our countries learned much from.. about the humanity of life, and how fragile it is.

Length of video: 09:29.0

Want to know more about the Japanese Signal Corps of World War Two, peruse our reproduction of a Confidential report on the structure of the Japanese Signal Corps. Originally produced by... you guessed it... the U.S. Army Signal Corps, it outlines how the Japanese Signal Corps of WWII was organized.  Japanese Signal Corps WWII



 

Watch Your Language, Soldier!

Gooks, Dinks, ARVN or Friendlies?

It appears that while the Army is enjoying its downtime from fighting two full scale wars—waiting for the next one to arrive—it is going to home-in on and try to fix some of the social ills that it suffers from. You know what we’re talking about here… those things that the military still does… the kind that tend to be old school, not politically correct, and drive Congresspersons crazy.

Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT

 


 

Signal Corps Communications


 

Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

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

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... 

Apparently, after several recent visits to Army bases by some of the newer Congresspersons that came into office recently, some of them returned to Washington and threatened to hold a series of Congressional hearings on military language, as used in the Army. They said that in this day and age the way the Army talks is simply outrageous and intolerable. They complained that with the U.S. Army well on its way to the full integration of women into combat roles, gays being finally fully accepted in the barracks (including the older open-toilet ones), and transgenders slowly sashaying (oops) making their way into useful MOS positions, it is no longer acceptable for old school military cadre and Officers to be using derogatory phraseology while on the job.

Seeing the writing on the wall—that if they did not act now there were sure to be a new series of embarrassing Congressional hearings— the guys with scrambled eggs on their hats decided to act now and clean the Army up, before hearings get started. If they didn’t act quickly, they feared that the Army would only end up looking bad, perhaps even to the point of Congress slashing its budget even more. 

Since the complaints the new Congresspersons had all seemed to deal with U.S. Army language, they decided to tackle the problem head on. Last week they began circulating a proposed list of phrases that will no longer be allowed by Army personnel. Among them is one we just used ("head on"), as the phrase seems to harbor a suggestiveness that new female recruits might take offense at.

The list is still Top Secret at this stage, but with a little digging we have been able to find out the following:

1) First Armored Division combat leaders will no longer be able to use the phrase “chinks in the armor” when talking of bad tactical plans of attack, especially if they find themselves involved in combat with the Chinese.

2) Soldiers stationed in Japan will no longer be allowed to describe the weather on base as having “a little nip in the air.” This particular phrase was described as troublesome because it not only could be construed as intending to insult the height of the average Japanese, but also his ancestry. Then too, there’s the problem of older Army personnel thinking that the phrase means an attack by Japanese aircraft is imminent, although it is not clear if that also means that they think that all Japanese pilots are small in stature too.

3) Soldiers stationed in cold climates… like the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Drum, New York, will be banned from saying they are going to “hit the slopes” when heading off for routine mountain training. The concern is that with more and more Asians moving into colder U.S. climates… like that in upstate New York… this phrase will incite violence on the part of local people with Asian ancestry. On this one we agree that the words should be banned from Army use, after all, everyone knows that Asians all know kung fu. I’ve been in enough bar fights to know the last thing you do is pick a fight with some diminutive, 3 foot 2 Asian who can kick the ceiling four times before you can even get off of your bar stool (are you allowed to say 'stool' in mixed company?).

4) We don’t know why the Congressperson that visited the Fort Richardson Army Post just outside of Anchorage took offense when hearing this phrase, but it appears that when one of the local Colonels assigned to show her around apologized for it being “colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra,” she went apoplectic. We don’t know, perhaps the phrase hit closer to home than we know. Maybe she wears brass bras, then again, maybe she’s a Wiccan. Either way, the Army has now banned the phrase, no matter where you are, or how hot or cold it is when you use it. To be honest, we don’t think the brass are worried about the use of the phrase offending anyone, as much as they are about preventing an uncontrollable fire fight with an unknown enemy. In our view, they banned the phrase as a preventive measure, since to our knowledge there are no known Army defensive weapon systems intended for use against offensive hordes of flying monkeys unleashed by a witch with an attitude.

5) At Army training, administrative, procurement, and supply bases phrases like “bang for the buck” are soon to be banned. In this case the concern is that its old usage of being a reference to getting the best value for the taxpayer’s dollar on military procurement orders might be replaced with a new meaning having something to do with linking bargain basement prostitution services to women soldiers newly integrated into the military. While a bit of a stretch, we suppose we can see their point. After all, no one wants to offend our female mess mates (Ah… are we allowed to call them that? Mess mates?)

6) I don’t think we need to explain this one to you. Across the Army the phrase “slit trench” is to be banned. Period.

Now that we think of it, you're probably not allowed to say "period" either... not when talking of slit trenches anyway. Strike that.

7) While none of the Congresspersons who set this whole thing in motion objected to it, Army brass decided they might as well act on the phrase “shoot the closest alligator to the boat” before someone from PETA jumped on the bandwagon and complained that the military’s lousy spray and pray firing techniques are sure to injure well meaning local animals... as evidenced by the phrase. Arguing with them and trying to convince them that it means little more than “deal with the most urgent problem first” would be a waste of time.

8) One phrase that did come up as being offensive was "putting a finger in the dike". Apparently the Congressperson who was offended by this wording just couldn’t see how the phrase could possibly have anything to do with taking desperate, temporary measures to stop a problem that may affect your combat readiness.

9) As you can imagine, there will be no more Chinese fire drills… not even in OCS programs. From now on taking all of a unit’s beds and mattresses out of the barracks in the middle of the night, in your underwear, will be called something less offensive to those from the middle kingdom than "Chinese fire drill." One only wonders if the PLA refers to this kind of midnight discipline drill as a Yankee fire drill?

10) One of the nice things about the Vietnam War was that lots of lessons were learned from it; many of them being turned into pithy phrases that say it all in only a few words. One of them is the phrase “the gook in the wire,” a phrase having to do with any kind of problem that pops up suddenly and has the ability, if not addressed, to screw up a key part of an important tactical plan. The idea is that if the tactical plan is to continue to have relevance, it will be necessary to deal with “the gook in the wire.” From now on, while this may be strategically true, this phrase will not be used to explain the situation to the troops responsible for getting rid of the gook in the wire. 

11) Finally, we come to NATO. In readiness for this trend of politically correct military speak taking root inside of NATO itself, Army brass have dispatched a team to Europe to begin seeking out offensive phraseology that needs to be done away with there, before it infects our relations with NATO allies any more than they already are. Thinking that as part of U.S. efforts to counterbalance Putin’s military posturing in eastern Ukraine, the next President may decide to move a few American units from their stations in Germany to permanent, new bases in Poland, along the Ukraine border, the team spent most of their time surveying Polish military reaction towards a closer relationship with the U.S. Army. Within only a few days of starting these talks the team sent back a report saying that the U.S. Army needed to immediately root out and stop use of the phrase "the long pole in the tent."  

Now for the good news: the Army has decided it will continue to allow use of the phrase "fire in the hole."

As for the Marines, they will initially be exempted from this new set of regulations, as if a list is drawn up for them it will likely only end up banning them from all oral forms of communication. The Navy too will be exempted, as they are still mastering the art of speech… having only recently moved on from grunting and hand signals to vowels.

Unfortunately, those we hold most dear to our hearts... OCS TAC Officers and First Sergeants... will be required to adhere to the new list when it is published. On the good side though, they will still be allowed to call you an “asshat” when giving you an order.

Editor's Note: Our thanks to the humor blog site duffleblog.com for the idea for this article. It stems from a similar article they ran there.


 

 

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

In our continuing effort to show you how in the not too distant past great leaders did not need to interject politics into everything they did and said, and that often the most profound things that happened in the world were made known to us via the most simple, clear and concise language possible, we bring you this simple one page document demanding from Germany an armistice to World War I.

On Nov. 11, 1918, representatives from Germany and the Allied forces signed the Armistice Agreement reproduced here. That brought an end to fighting in World War I.

As you may recall, World War I was known as the Great War. It began in 1914, and dragged on for years in a stalemate. The war’s turning point came in 1917, when the U. S. ended its neutrality and pledged its support to the Allied forces.

In the spring of 1918, Germany launched an offensive to cripple the Allies before a significant number of U.S. troops could arrive on the Western Front. While they made some progress, by September the Germans had retreated back to the Hindenburg Line, one of their final lines of defense. On September 29, after the U.S. pierced the Line, German General Erich Ludendorff told the German government that it should sue for peace. 

On October 4, Kaiser Wilhelm II instructed Max von Baden to seek peace. Things dragged slowly until the end of October, when it became clear that the German public’s support for the war had ended. German sailors began to mutiny, and her allies abandoned her. Bulgaria surrendered on September 29, Turkey on October 30, and Austria-Hungary on November 3. Ludendorff himself resigned on October 27, and Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and fled to the Netherlands on November 10.

Finally, the German delegation that remained signed the attached Armistice Agreement on November 11… the 11th day of the 11th month of 1911.

The armistice, which was set to expire after 30 days, was continually renewed until the peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Versailles, was signed. What we ask you to pay attention to here is the utter simplicity of this Armistice Agreement… a most simple, straightforward document with uncomplicated sentences… bringing an end to one of the most brutal, complex wars of all time.

We think you'll find it interesting reading.

Allies' Armistice Demands On Germany - WWI

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


 

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March Crossword Puzzle

Army Signal CorpsTheme: Vietnam War TriviaArmy Signal Corps
Game IV

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as one complete word.

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