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November 2015

— This Month —

Defense Policy Outlook

Where Are We Anyway?


Is Japan Nothing More Than A Paper Tiger?

America Needs Combat Partners, Should Japan Be One Of Them?


Lessons Never Learned Are Lessons To Be Repeated

Who Needs Ground Troops, Surely These Bombers Will Do

- - - - -


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 We are here to serve you. 


Defense Policy Outlook

Hope is no basis for a defense policy

Former Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates Tells Congress What It Doesn't Want To Hear...

...that as far as military commanders are concerned, both the White House and Congress are doing a lousy job.

We don't usually do this... toss you to yourself on our Home Page and tell you to make your own entertainment. Usually we ply you with our best wit and humor, or our most strident criticism of Washington. And when we don't do either of those, likely as not we will have for you a fully researched article or two on a Signal Corps Success from the past, or an hour long story for you to read on some historic aspect of the Signal Corps and its men.

Not this month though. This month, instead of giving you lots of stuff to read, this month we're going to ask you to spend 2 1/2 hours watching a video... well, actually 2 hours, 25 minutes and 51 seconds.

You see, the video we want you to watch covers the entirety of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' testimony to Congress this past October, on current U.S. defense policy and America's strategic military posture overseas. With all of you being military aficionados, we would be remiss if we did not provide you with this incredible video showing exactly what is going on with respect to our government's military policies, intentions, commitments and plans.

As for why the whole 2.5 hours of his testimony, it's because this is the first time we have seen someone in the know actually tell it like it is... whisky, snake oil and all. In this remarkable footage Gates takes Congress on directly, telling them not only what they are doing right but what they are doing wrong. Covering dozens of topics from Congress' budget challenges, to the idiocy of running a military based on the concept of sequestration, the problem with Defense Department–Veterans Affairs, troop morale, and ongoing missions, such as those in the Middle East, Gates tells it like it is.

So take a little time... now that the grand kids are all back at school and the wife is out playing canasta... to sit back, grab a cigar and a beer, and find out what's really going on in that military world you so recently left.


Run time: 02:25:51


Is Japan Nothing More Than A Paper Tiger?

Paper Tiger

Tough Times Are Ahead With China. America Is Looking For Military Allies To Help It Stand Up To Beijing. Is Japan Ready To Step Up To The Plate, Or Is It Nothing More Than A Paper Tiger? 

What a mess America is in. We’ve got a leader in the White House that doesn’t have a clue about how to use the military force we gave him to pursue world peace and stability with, coupled with military leaders who are afraid to speak truth to power and tell the guy to either develop a workable policy and strategy to guide the military, or they’re going to resign and publicly disgrace him for being as dim-witted as he is. Fifty Special Ops men to Syria? Are you serious? Add to all of this the dithering that caused our President to take 6 years before he let the Navy navigate through the disputed waters of the South China Sea (within 12 miles of China’s claimed sovereign islands), and you have a real mess… as things stand now, our country is in trouble.

Then there’s the “let’s repeat Vietnam” strategy that Obama seems hell bent on imposing on Iraq and Afghanistan. What policy is that you ask? It’s the one that says “we’re tired of fighting… let’s just go home and leave it to the indigenous people we’re leaving behind to figure out how to get themselves out of the mess we created for them.”

With a policy like that, it’s no wonder that ISIS stepped into the void we created when we prematurely packed up our pup tents and went home a few years back; setting the stage for a scramble to power that, in the end, has turned Iraq into little more than a footnote in history... while at the same time our vacuum helped assure the continued rule of Assad, left the Middle East to Iran to watch over, and invited Putin to take up residence for good measure.

What a mess that part of the world is in right now, and we created it.

Let’s face facts, because of America’s profoundly inept leadership Iraq as a governing entity no longer exists. It is dead. A nation that was once the cradle of civilization has now been reduced to a state of sectarian driven corruption, underwritten by a fractured populous that doesn’t trust anyone, with a military that runs from fights. Chaos rules in what used to be called Iraq.

Woe the ancient kings of Mesopotamia, if they could only see what America has done to their once proud homeland… all because we got tired of fighting in the war that we started. Yea you readers, watch this space… because the same thing is about to happen to Afghanistan… unless we quickly realize that along with winning a war comes the obligation of rebuilding the nation we destroyed in the first place.

Not sure about this nation building thing? Check your reference notes on the states of Germany, South Korea and Japan, and you will see what we mean.


Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT



No more boots on the ground


Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

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

Update 18 October 2015 At this year's Reunion the Board held a meeting to determine how to handle the challenge of a declining membership, as our members get older. The Board passed a resolution regarding a "Contingency Plan for Future USASCOCS Dissolution". The document is available at the top of our OCS Association page. All members should read it, and if there are any questions contact the Chairman.

Update 1 September 2015 Max Holt, the Association's Chaplain sent us a link to a fascinating website. It pinpoints on a map of Vietnam all of the firebases and U.S. war facilities of the Vietnam War. The site claims: "THIS IS A FULL Collection of 4 pages of FIRE BASES, AIR FORCE BASES, Naval and Medical, BROWN WATER Naval, and any and all bases DOD during the Vietnam War 1963 to 1975". You may want to check it out... but be forewarned that it's still a work in progress, and so clicking on some of the bases will send you to a dead link. Be patient, the webmaster for this interesting site is still working on it. Click here to the website.



Continued from left column... 

Japan. Ah, Japan. A shining example of America’s nation building brilliance, even it is not without rebuke. Such a great thing we did when we helped rebuild it and get it back on its feet after WWII. Such a great thing we did by forcing down its throat a constitution that forbid it to develop and maintain a standing military.[1] Thanks to our requiring that their Constitution contain what is commonly referred to as Article 9, something we wrote for them, Japan seems to have forever renounced war as a means of resolving differences between nations. It’s not that the Japanese are not allowed to fight because of Article 9, mind you, it’s that they aren’t allowed to maintain “the potential for war”.

Such a strange clause… one could hardly argue with America propagandizing a people—as in this case Japan—towards embracing pacifism; but to go as far as prohibiting the use of their military in causes that seek to maintain world peace? Did someone overreact somewhere along the way when we set about rebuilding war torn Japan, by saddling them with this idea?

And so we find ourselves today—we, America—with the world having abandoned us when it comes to forming military coalitions (because of the ham-fisted way we have wound down the wars they did help us in) to solve the world’s ills, with Japan, one of the most capable of potential military partners for America, wanting to help but being constrained from doing so because of a bright idea Douglas MacArthur had back in his heyday.[2]

Fortunately, all is not lost. Japan’s new leaders are trying to rewrite history. They are trying to bring Japan into the modern age, by allowing it to use the Self Defense Forces (SDF) they have to partner with us, and actually take to the battlefield and fight those wars we both deem worthy of fighting… like possibly stopping China from branding the Pacific Ocean its own sovereign territory.

Nice, huh?

The question is, is the SDF up to fighting a real war, or is it nothing more than a toothless tiger? Let’s look and see.


Read More




Lessons Never Learned Are Lessons To Be Repeated

With all of the talk these days of the cost of war and what it will take to win in Syria, it might be useful to consider what it cost to fight the Vietnam War.

Looking at just one battle in that war, the siege of Khe Sanh—an engagement about the size of what's going on in Syria today—will serve our purpose. The siege of Khe Sanh saw the U.S. Air Force drop 5 tons of explosives for every 1 North Vietnamese soldier that surrounded the base at Khe Sanh. Take note of this, because just as today where people seem to think that wars can be won through the use of air power alone, back then things weren't much different. One wonders, should we blame those who today want to solely fight drone and bomber wars, from afar, with no boots on the ground, for being ignorant, or should we just shake our heads in dismay and marvel at how few of the people that fight today's wars pay any attention to the lessons of not just Vietnam, but our more recent wars too?

The Khe Sanh bombing campaign saw a staggering 100,000 tones of ordnance dropped on that spot of land… and it did not end the siege. For that one battle alone, U.S. tax payers shelled out approximately $1 billion.

What did win the battle, you ask? As it turned out, the battle was not meant to be a battle at all. Instead, what the NVA was doing was rolling out a mere holding action; something they conjured up for the purpose of tying down nearly 45,000 US troops, so that the NVA could focus their interests elsewhere… like on Saigon.

How many NVA did it take to tie down the 45,000 U.S. troops at Khe Sanh, you ask? Roughly 17,000. The tactic worked perfectly. In the battle for Khe Sanh the NVA sucked in not only the 45,000 troops we mentioned earlier, but also half of the US air mobile’s reaction force of nearly 20,000 men.

Best of all, they did all of this while focusing their main combat efforts on Saigon and the dozens of other cities that made up South Vietnam's political and government regions… all under the semblance of what the world would eventually come to call the Tet Offensive.

As for Khe Sanh, once the Tet Offensive hit its stride the NVA surrounding Khe Sanh melted back into the jungles, and headed off on their little donkey trails to find some poor hamlet or town to harass.

As most of our readers know, while the Tet Offensive lasted almost 8 months, thus allowing the NVA to claim a propaganda victory, it did little in the way of advancing the war's aims in North Vietnam's favor. In the end all of the NVA’s land gains were retaken, with heavy losses being inflicted on both the NVA and the Viet Cong. All of which merely makes our point: Putin’s recent introduction of Russian air force bombers into Syria will not win the war going on in that sad little country; nor will the 50 Special Ops forces President Obama sent as a counterweight to Putin's bombers.


Signal Corps Warrant Officer



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

November Crossword Puzzle

Army Signal CorpsTheme: DoDArmy Signal Corps

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



[1]  The current Constitution of Japan was promulgated on November 3, 1946, and came into effect on May 3, 1947.  One of the Constitution’s distinctive features is its embracing of pacifism. Article 9 of the Constitution, which renounces war, is considered unique. Japan is allowed Jieitai, the Self Defense Forces (SDF), the Air SDF, the Maritime SDF and the Ground SDF. They cannot be called land, sea and air forces (gun) because Article 9 prohibits Japan from maintaining military forces.   - To return to your place above, click here. Return to your place in the text.

[2]  While Douglas MacArthur’s idea of having a “no military” clause in Japan’s Constitution has caused some damage over the years, it has been nowhere near as damaging as Paul Bremer’s idea that Iraq’s military should be disbanded. The idiocy of that decision boggles the mind. How could Bremer and his boss… President Bush… not have foreseen the consequences of firing and then letting loose 2,800,000 trained soldiers, with their rifles? Does the phrase “insurgent force” ring a bell to anyone? How about “well trained, fully armed guerilla fighters, now free to turn their attention on you”?   - To return to your place above, click here. Return to your place in the text.



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