Play our music game. See if you can
find the hidden Army marches on our site. Click the icons you find on
each page. Some have music hidden behind them, others do not. Good luck!
Music courtesy USAREUR Band
To follow us on Twitter, click here!
Click below to
Click below to check out our Facebook page.
— This Month —
Up And Out
What's The Difference Between An E-2 And A Second
The Nerves Of The Army
Huh? What Did He Say??
- - - - -
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.
More summer entertainment this month, this time
we have a video for you that tells of the Signal
Corps back in the 1950s. Back then the Signal
Corps was a strange animal, when compared to
what it became during the Vietnam War, and
Take the time to watch it, and
float back in time to see what Army life could have
been like for you in the 50s... if only you were not still in
short pants, running around playing tag with the
other kids on the block.
Before you check that out though, we have a bit
of good news for you about the Army. Well... not
exactly for you, but for your grandkids. Read
our update below about changes now underway in
how the Army will be handling promotions. Then
get busy finding a good ROTC program for that
grandchild who keeps asking you questions about
what it was like to be in the Army, Grandpa.
Enjoy your summer...
Up And Out
Difference Between An E-2 And A Second
...the E-2's been promoted.
Remember what is was like after Vietnam
ended? That time when you had to decide if there was a
career for you in the Army—an Army without a war to fight?
Remember when, as a young First Lieutenant or Captain, you tried to figure out
what it takes to get promoted? Remember the first time you
heard the phrase “Up or Out”?
Up or out, a 100 year old entrenched
promotion policy that served the military for what seems…
well, like an eternity. Strange as the policy might have
been, for the most part it served the military well. That
is, back in the old days when all an Officer from the rank
of Lieutenant Colonel on down needed to know was leadership
and logistics management, up or out proved to be a simple
and good means of deciding who to keep in the Army and who
to encourage to leave. With up or out being the deciding
factor, it was inevitable that only the best would stay in
Now though, those days are over. Not
the policy of up or out being over, mind you, but the need
for Officers from the rank of Light Colonel on down only
needing to know leadership and logistics, or those above the
rank being just fine if they also knew combat tactics,
combined force management and a bit about military history.
Instead, in today’s Army there’s something new every Officer
With up or out, if you knew those few
things we listed above, kept your nose clean and your temper
in check, and had a mentor of sorts with a rank at least two
levels above you, then you stood a chance of making the Army
a career. But that’s not the case anymore. Today you need to
know what technology can do for you, and how to use it at
every level of the game.
And so up or out as the determining
factor in deciding who gets to have a career in the Army and
who doesn’t, is being enhanced with another policy designed
to make sure those that keep the Army’s technology and
specialty areas working—the guys who are central to the
combat boys being able to do their job—stay in the Army.
The problem isn’t that up or out as a
base level policy is or was wrong, it’s that the concept of
using promotion as a gauge as to who the best soldiers were
that the Army should keep doesn’t work when it comes to the
Officers (and EMs) in the specialty and technology service
areas. Why? Because those guys hardly ever get promoted.
Let’s face it, how many Electronic Warfare Full Colonels do
you need? Those kinds of Officers… let us call them
specialty and technology discipline area technologists… tend
to get promoted very, very slowly once they make the rank of
Part of this is because these guys
know less than the average combat Officer about traditional field based areas of leadership, logistics, combat tactics,
combined force management and military history, and part of
it is because there simply isn’t a need for 2,500 Colonels
and Brigadier Generals in the, say, Systems Automation
Yet try to run a war without them.
So what’s happening is that the Army
has been bringing people into these areas—areas like
Electronic Warfare, the Cyber Branch, Information
Operations, Strategic Intelligence, Psychology Operations,
Space Operations, Foreign Area Officers, ORSA (Operations
Research/Systems Analysis), Systems Automation, Simulation
Operations, Strategic Plans and Policy development, and a
bunch of other arcane areas deep inside the Signal Corps—and
training them… only to lose them in 6 to 10 years when they
realize that there's no path of promotion for them.
As you can imagine, it costs money to
train people in these disciplines—disciplines that are in
huge demand in the civilian world, and where pay levels can
be 4 to 6 times higher than that of the Army. The result: no
path for promotion means no career… which means that any
technologist with a head on his shoulders already has his
resume out in the civilian sector. For these technologists,
the best of the best are leaving the Army.
This page last updated 1 July 2016.
New content is constantly being added. Please check back
– We found a bunch of pictures sent to us long ago
about Candidate Erling Jensen. Candidate Jensen
graduated in OCS Class 42-05, on June 3, 1942. That means
that unlike many OCS gradates who graduated towards the end
of WWII, and spent their time in Europe after the war had
already ended, doing clean up work, Erling was in the thick
of it. One of the photos in his collection shows a military
record of his assignments. Erling served in the Tunisian
campaign, as well as in the Normandy landing, the Northern
France Campaign, and each of the battles of the Ardennes,
Rhineland and Central Europe. As a Signal Officer he carried
more than his share of the load. While all we have of his
story is what is in the pictures we found, Candidate Erling
Jensen epitomizes what this website's attempt to archive the
stories of all who graduated Signal OCS is all about...
capturing the heart and soul of those who fought for
America. Click here to see his mini-bio page.
– Happy Memorial Day. As you enjoy your barbecue and
beers this Memorial Day keep in mind that on this
very day—today, May 30, 2016—over 1,800 WWII Vets
will die. Think of it: 1,800 today, and then another
1,800 tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day
after that... and so on. That's the rate at which
these best of the best are disappearing. Please,
take a moment during your day today to find a quiet
spot and take a knee. Say a prayer for them... a
prayer of thanks that when America needed these men
of the greatest generation, they were there for us.
are pushing the VA to link Bladder Cancer to Agent
Orange. If you suffer from Bladder Cancer, keep
yourself informed on their progress.
Continued from left column...
Fortunately, Defense Secretary Ash
Carter recognized this problem and has announced that the
Pentagon's entrenched 100-year-old up or out promotion
system is going to be changed. It’s being changed to find a
way to keep high value, high-tech experts and specialists on
Carter’s proposals are largely aimed
at making it easier for the military services to attract and
retain good quality people and keep them in jobs where they
excel, even though their rank may not progress as their
career does. The “fix” to the up or out program will allow
the service Branches to bypass the up or out rules in any
case where the service feels that the kind of people doing
the job are needed… both on a group level, as well as on an
individual level. Recognizing that the present promotions
system does not give credit for experience and training that
occurred along slightly different timelines, even if it
benefited the military, or training in non-traditional
military areas, Carter stepped forward and admitted that
"Sometimes this system has led us to lose good people."
The new advancement policies haven’t
been fully fleshed out yet, and when they are they will
require congressional approval, but while some complaints
about changing the old system are already coming to the
fore, for the most part there is general support for giving
the military greater flexibility in doing what has to be
done to keep good people… as long as the historical system
We doff our hat to Defense Secretary
Carter. He has recognized and is moving to fix a fundamental
problem the Army has always had, one that is hurting the
military more today than ever. The old up or out system,
while serving a good purpose since the earliest days, has
tied its leader’s hands, making it harder for the Services
to compete with the real world for talent.
Today, as the Defense Secretary works
to beef up innovation and technology within the military,
this problem must be fixed. Changes like the one Carter recently
outlined, which will require that the law be changed before it goes
into effect, will allow a Major or Captain to remain at
their rank for years—or even for their entire career—if they
are highly skilled in a critical field such as cyberwarfare
or some other important and needed technical area.
Carter gets it. This kind of thinking
is what the Army needs, and we applaud it. If it had been
around when the Vietnam War ended, many of us who could see
the writing on the wall—and knew we faced a dead end career
if we stayed in the Army—would have stuck around and tried
to make a go of it.
So if you’ve got grandkids that you
want to point towards the Army… especially the Signal Corps…
but have been reluctant because of the military RIFs that
come along after every war, and the up and out policy that
kills careers dead in their tracks, put your mind at ease.
Sit down, talk to them, point them in the direction of a
STEM based education, and then point them towards the Army.
Today there’s both a home in the Army for the best and
brightest, and a career.
I must have been asleep that day in
Army Signal OCS. That day when they told us that officially,
the U.S. Army Signal Corps' motto was "Nerves Of The Army.”
I always thought it was Pro Patria
Vigilans… meaning Watchful for the Country. I guess I was
wrong... somehow that
Nerves Of The Army thing escaped me.
Now that I think back on it, I
distinctly remember the motto of the 1st Armored Division,
where I spent time training before I went to Vietnam. How
could I forget it, emblazoned as it was on my arm: Old
And then too there was the 1st Signal
Brigade, where I first landed in Vietnam. Their motto was
"First to Communicate," something I remember learning over
the… oh… two or three days I spent there before they sent me
on to the 459th Signal Battalion, in Nha Trang.
Considering that I spent less than an
hour in the 459th’s HQ before they sent me on to my next
post, I think I’m doing well after all these years to
remember that their motto was "A Terra Ad Astra"… From Earth
To The Stars.
But the 459th wasn't my last stop.
Somehow the Battalion Commander had this notion
that after only a half dozen days in country, the best place
for me was not sitting behind some cushy desk in his HQ, in
Nha Trang, but somewhere further down
the line. And so with nary a wave goodbye, he sent me
down to the 518th Signal Company.
Also in Nha Trang, but being only a
Company, Army regulations didn’t allow the 518th
Signal Company to have
an official motto of their own… but they took one on anyway.
As it were, only Army regiments and separate battalions were authorized
back then (and still today) to have coats of arms. And for
those of you who have forgotten, a coat of arms includes a shield, a crest and a motto.
Yup, I'll never forget the guys of the 518th.
They didn't give a damn. They gave themselves a motto anyway…
I loved that motto, and took pride in
the idea of being part of an expanded Microwave, VHF and Tropospheric
communication company of over 1,500 men, spread all
throughout Vietnam, having a Can Do attitude.
It’s a good thing I did, because when
I got to the 518th the first thing their C.O. did after teaching
me their motto was post me out to the Central Highlands, up
on top of a 7,800 foot high mountain called
Lang Bian (aka Lang Bien), where I spent
the next 7 months
running a signal platoon outpost up above the clouds.
This was my first real combat
posting, and I expected a lot of surprises. What I did not
expect though was that when I called my platoon together for
the first time my men would proudly tell me that even they,
a lowly platoon out in the boonies, had a motto: “Commo Guys
Standing Tall, First To Fight, Last To Fall.”
I laughed under my breath when I heard
it. It seemed like a bit
much—after all, we were just a bunch of Signaleers, running a microwave site
up on a hill. But then
two weeks later when I was ordered by our site’s C.O. (an
Infantry Captain) to pick 6 men and run a three day Search and Clear mission around our perimeter, I
got the message. The motto they picked said it all.
Now, after so many years, it’s funny
that with all of that moving around the Signal Corps I never
encountered the motto Nerves Of The Army.
Yet there it is…
front and center, in the movie just below. Check it out.
Back in the 1950s the Army Pictorial
Service produced a series of television programs called The
Big Picture. The last episode was produced in 1971.
The one we have for you this month is
about… naturally… the Signal Corps. It talks of the Signal
Corps’ mission, to provide support for the command and
control of combined arms forces, and shows you what being in
the Signal Corps was like back in those days … before the
Vietnam War kicked in. It also talks of the Signal Corps'
motto, the Nerves Of The Army.
Enjoy it. And if somewhere along the
way you can figure out a) where the Signal Corps motto that
they talk of, Nerves Of The Army, came from—or better still,
what happened to it… drop us a note.
Nerves Of The Army, Watchful for the
Country, First to Communicate, From Earth To The Stars, all
with a Can Do attitude, just a bunch of Commo Guys
Standing Tall, First To Fight, Last To Fall… now
I’m talking about!
Instructions — To search this site, enter your
search criteria in the box below: