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 ARMY MUSIC

 

Army Music

 

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


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Click here to hear hidden Army march music: U.S. Army Signal Corps Regimental March  

August 2016

— This Month —

The Real Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys

V-Discs

And...

1966 - Vietnam - Staff Film Report Of Operations

Was It Really As Easy As They Make It Look?

- - - - -

MISSION STATEMENT

Our Association is a not-for-profit fraternal organization. Its 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. 


 

From the editor's desk

This being August, and still the summer, we are precluded from opining on the mess this world is in. From terrorists running rough shod around the world and no one doing anything about it, to two near fools running for the Presidency; one a big mouth with an ego that won't quit and a very sketchy ability to understand what proper behavior is in the 21st century, the other a corrupt liar who, along with her husband (a former President on top of that) have made a living out of conning America at every turn... it almost makes one want to put this whole damn election thing off for a couple of years until the people in charge come to their senses.

But hey, we promised... no more fulminating diatribes... not for the summer anyway.

So this month we bring you more entertainment. Below you will find some of the best "military" music you've ever heard. Read our story about V-Discs, and while you do, listen to the music they carried. We think you will like it.

We've also got another movie for you. This month it's a compilation of vignettes about life in Vietnam. Originally produced by the Signal Corps as a "Staff Film Report" back  in 1966, its purpose was to give those back in the DoD in Washington some idea about how the Army was going about fighting the war, and how all of the pieces that make up an Army fit together to make the whole thing work.

Not intended to highlight combat, it focused instead on the kind and type of jobs the troops did in order to support whatever tactics were being pursued at that moment.

The movie starts out with the first "scene" laying out for our friends back in Washington the kind of things that go into a tactical decision to take control over an area. This particular area included the A Shau Valley (A Sầu). In case you have forgotten, the A Shau Valley is a valley in Vietnam's Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, west of the coastal city of Huế, along the border with Laos. The first scene shows how troops moved into the area to first set up a FOB, then turn it into a Fire Base from which Search and Destroy missions could be run.

Later, as the movie progresses, it shows you typical military activities and functions as might be found in Vung Tao, where radar and communications systems were being set up. Similarly for Pleiku, Bien Hoa, Ton Son Nhut, Tuy Hoa and other basis, Army operations are shown throughout the movie.

Watch it, enjoy it, and while you are at it, enjoy the rest of your summer too.

Managing Editor  


 

The Real Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

U.S. Army V-Discs

V-Discs

Right about the time World War II started, the American Federation of Musicians went on strike, on July 31, 1942 to be exact. They were looking for more money, to finance an unemployment fund for musicians. At the time, musicians that played live music were complaining that they were losing work because of competition from other musicians who were playing for record production companies… those guys making them new fangled things called records... and so because they—the live musicians—were losing work, they needed to start an unemployment fund.

Along the way though, a strange thing happened. As the strike progressed, the supply of new recordings being made—and able to be sent to the troops overseas—dwindled to almost nothing. Somehow, the strike the live musicians were on affected the music being produced by the recording industry musicians.

Now forgive us here for a second if we sound a little bit cynical, but if the production of records slowed because there were no recording musicians to make the records, it kind of makes you think that the guys playing the music on the records were the same guys that were playing the "live" music. No?

Either way, because of all of this the guys in Europe and the South Pacific… the ones carrying weapons and fighting Uncle Sam’s war, found themselves without entertainment. No live musicians, no records being sent over from loving wives back home... nothing. The only sounds they heard were those from M-1s, Mausers and a few Bren guns thrown in for good measure… not the 78 RPM records they so craved.

Recognizing an opportunity when he saw one, Robert Vincent, a sound engineer and a Lieutenant assigned to the radio section of the Army Special Services Division, a division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, polished his brass bars and approached the War Department with the idea of recording music especially for the troops overseas.

He must have been a good talker, because he received approval from Washington in July, 1943, to do just that. In no time at all he was transferred to the music section of Army Special Services, and put in charge of developing what became known as the V-Disc program.

Glad to be supporting the war effort, and likely just as glad not to be in a trench somewhere in Europe, Lt. Vincent jumped at the chance to line up music artists and begin producing records.

The discs he produced were called V-Discs, and the first batch that came off of the line were shipped on 1 October 1943, from the RCA Victor pressing plant in Camden, New Jersey. Somewhat different than the 78 RPM records of the time, Lt. Vincent's V-Discs were larger than commercial 78s—12 inches instead of 10—and were cut with as many as 136 grooves per inch, so that more than 6 minutes of music could be placed on each disc (i.e. two songs). At the time, the standard commercial disc had less than 4 minutes per side.

Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT

 


 

How to make a bomb. 


 

Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

This page last updated 7 August 2016. New content is constantly being added. Please check back frequently.

Update 7 August 234 years ago today, George Washington created the Purple Heart. Not a badge of distinction for being wounded in action, as many think it is, the Purple Heart is a Badge of Merit.

Update 1 August As you browse our site you may be finding that some of our animations are not animating, and our music and video players aren't playing. Or at least that's what you think. The truth is, everything is working just fine... provided that you are using a 4 year or older PC and browser, and running an equally as old Operating System.

If on the other hand you are using a Tablet or SmartPhone, or using a PC with Windows 10 or later, then the chances are that what you think is happening is in fact happening. What's the reason, you ask? It's because of a very strange thing that happens with technology: over time it changes, and the stuff that depends on it to work stops working until changes are made to it too.

That's what's going on with our animations and audio and video players. Most of them were coded years ago, using a software known as "Flash", owned by a company known as Adobe. As little as 3 years ago, using Flash on your website was the way to go. Then along came Google and Apple, who decided that Adobe's Flash was prone to malware. To make sure that web viewers didn't have their PCs infected by poorly written Flash code, Google and Apple disabled Flash programs from running in their browsers. This caused Flash based animations, audio and video players to stop working entirely.

By itself this wasn't a big problem, as users could bypass this restriction by downloading and installing a "plug-in" for their PC. The plug-in would allow Flash programs to run properly again.

And so everything was fine for a while, until Tablets and SmartPhones came along. With these devices another problem popped up. In their case new code had to be written so that the webpages that worked on PCs would now work on Tablets and SmartPhones. Essentially, what was needed was a new form of "Responsive" coding that would let any HTML file work on any device. This new type of code revolved around something called HTML5.

Adding to this was the fact that Google and Apple decided to make their own Operating Systems (Android and iPhone OS) for use on Tablets and SmartPhones... and when they did this, this time they completely disabled Flash animation from ever running on their systems. Q.E.D.

So, with Flash completely banned for portable devices, HTML code needing to be upgraded to HTML5, new coding needed for Responsive web pages, and Android and iPhone OS systems to contend with, webmasters around the world soon found themselves having to upgrade the near entirety of all of their sites. [BTW, that low moan you hear in the background is the sound of us webmasters lamenting the workload we now have in front of us.]

In our case this means an awful lot of work. Among other things it means we now have to check coding on 13,092 files, 8,513 animated and non-animated graphic images, 12,880 HTML files that have not been HTML5 code verified yet, and 10s of thousands of links that have not been manually tested in the past 12 months.

How does this affect you, you ask?

For the most part, it doesn't. If you are looking at our website using a PC, the chances are that everything is working just fine. If however you are sitting at the bar, having a cold beer, and looking at our website on your SmartPhone or Tablet, then likely as not some of our older Flash animation is not working, and the music you want to listen to won't play. If so, bare with us.  After all, as a former member of the 518th Signal Company we have a "Can Do" attitude!

See, now don't you wish you had volunteered for this job?

Update 1 July 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. October 2015 reunion pictures

 

 

Continued from left column... 

Technical issues aside, Lt. Vincent worked hard to get the best talent in the music industry on his discs. To do this he set up shop on Third Avenue and East 42nd Street, in New York, and with each singer, band leader or musician he talked to, he personally negotiated terms that included each “talent” agreeing to waiver all of his/her/their fees and royalties, for the benefit of the troops.

To make sure there was no backlash from the producers that normally raked in the real money from each recording, he worked out a deal with the recording companies and unions, including the striking American Federation of Musicians. The deal guaranteed that the V-Discs produced would be for the use of military personal only, and would not be made commercially available. Further, to make sure the prodigious number of records he intended to cut did not hurt the producer’s future profits, he talked the War Department into agreeing that after the war was over the V-Discs would not be declared military surplus and sold to the public, but instead considered government property to be destroyed once the war ended, along with the masters.

The result was the production of 905 individual V-Discs. Issued from October 1943 thru May 1949, they covered the gamut of the kind of music soldiers listened to back then, with each bearing a number from 1 to 905.

Not to be outdone, the Navy began their own production of Navy V-Discs, from July 1944 thru September 1945. Being the Navy however, they only managed to produce 275 recordings… what can you expect out of a bunch of guys with bellbottom trousers?

In our music player below we offer a sample of a dozen songs from the 905 individual recordings that the Army produced... and remember, on those recordings each side held two songs... so there were over 1,800 songs produced.

As you listen to what we have below for you, scratches and all, remember that the music is a product of its time. That is, it's not just good to listen to, it's also the same music your dad listened to. As you hear it, it is creating the same tangible effect on your ear drums as it did on your dad’s when he first heard it. When you listen to this music, you are listening to your dad’s past.

 

Historical facts cited above adapted from: Sears, Richard S. V-Discs: A History and Discography, Greenwood Press, 1980.

Like this music and want to hear more? Click on our Music Archive link in the column at far left to hear another 60+ V-Disc recordings.


 



Military Morsels
 

1966 - Vietnam - Staff Film Report of Operations

•   •   •   •

Was it really as easy as
they make it look?

1966 was a big year for operations in Vietnam. It's not surprising then that the film below was shot during that year. As we said in our Editor's column at left, the movie below provides a compilation of vignettes about the kind of things that took place in Vietnam in 1966, to support the various operations that were being run.

If you've forgotten how busy it was back then, consider this:

"At the beginning of 1966, the number of U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam totaled 184,314. South Vietnamese military forces totaled 514,000 including the ARVN and the Regional Force and Popular Force ("Ruff-Puffs") militias. The North Vietnamese army numbered 400,000, most still in North Vietnam. 50,000 North Vietnamese cadre and soldiers infiltrated South Vietnam during 1965. Group 559, charged with transporting supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to supply communist troops in both South Vietnam and Laos, numbered 24,400 personnel. The U.S. estimated the number of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) soldiers in South Vietnam at nearly 280,000 by June 1966, including part-time guerrillas."

[Quotes and statistics courtesy Wikipedia]

January 1966 kicked off with a bang...

• In January the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese bombarded a Special Forces Civilian Irregular Defense Group at Khe Sanh.

This was followed by Operation Crimp also known as the Battle of the Ho Bo Woods, just north of Cu Chi. Operation Masher followed that, an operation that included combined U.S., South Vietnamese and Korean troops, in Binh Dinh province.

 • In February the Battle of Suoi Bong Trang took place. Part of Operation Rolling Stone, it took place in  the vicinity of Tan Bihn, in central Binh Duong Province, 30 clicks northwest of the Bien Hoa airbase.

 • March saw the Battle of A Shau, a bloody two day fight that saw the fall of the Special Forces camp at that location.

 • In April Premier Ky sent five battalions of ARVN rangers and South Vietnamese marines to Da Nang to quell a Buddhist uprising. Not wanting to get involved in religious warfare among our allies, Westmoreland ordered that all American soldiers in Da Nang be confined to their quarters.

Yet try as he might his tactic didn't work. On April 9 a platoon of U.S. Marines was forced to deploy to block the passage of a convoy of pro-Buddhist ARVN soldiers en route to take over Da Nang airbase itself. The armed confrontation was resolved after negotiations between the two sides, but still, from that point on no one could be sure just who our real ally was: the local government or the local Buddhists.

Later that month the Battle of Xa Cam My took place. It sprang out of a Search and Destroy mission in a rubber plantation of that name, 68 clicks east of Saigon. Within two weeks this was followed with Operation Birmingham, which took place in War Zone C, north of Saigon.

April finally came to an end with Operation Beaver Cage, a joint U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy Operation in North Vietnam, along the coastline of the Bon Hai river.

 • May saw the pro-Buddhist Struggle Movement (that wanted Thieu and Ky replaced) take control of Da Nang and its surrounding countryside. In the process U.S forces found themselves holding off first Buddhists, then ARVN forces, then Buddhists again as the line of control over the city of Da Nang swayed back and forth. Eventually the government of South Vietnam regained full control over Da Nang. By then though 23 Americans had been wounded in the process and countless Buddhists self immolated.

 • Compared to all of this, June 1966 was a quiet month with only one uprising and only a couple of small Search and Destroy Operations taking place. As for the uprising, once again it was headed by a crowd of pro-Buddhist demonstrators. This time they stormed the U.S. Consulate in Hue and set it on fire, trying to make their point to the U.S. government that by backing Thieu and Ky we were backing two corrupt, incompetent men. While small by combat engagement standards, the optics of this did not bode well for the war back home in America. Most Americans did not think that sending their sons to fight against Buddhists was what this war should be all about.

 • The first week in July saw combat operations getting back to normal. Operation Hastings began on July 7, and carried on well into August. It was an attempt by our side to engage enemy troops in the Cam Lo area. The goal was to strike through the DMZ into the Cam Lo area, and take permanent control of that part of Quang Tre province.  

 • In conjunction with this, August saw the launch of Operation Prairie. Its purpose was to eliminate North Vietnamese Army forces south of the DMZ. This particular Operation, although it began in August, dragged on until October.

A week after Operation Prairie started, the 5th Battalion of the 33rd Regiment, along with the South Korean 3rd Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Regiment, began Operation Đức Cơ. Also known as the Battle of Đức Cơ, it proved to be a major engagement that harried the NVA trying to infiltrate into the Đức Cơ border area from Cambodia.

With this already underway, the Battle of Long Tan was fought in yet another rubber plantation near the village of Long Tần, about twenty seven clicks northeast of Vung Tau.

 • September saw Operation Attleboro, a Search and Destroy Operation run by the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, from... you guessed it, Attleboro, Massachusetts.

 • October was quiet, just a few small Search and Clear Operations. Strangely, almost to make the point that the year's fast paced effort to flatten the enemy via helicopter born combat operations wasn't working. U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara released a memorandum to the President saying that while communist forces had suffered 60,000 killed that year, "there is no sign of an impending break in enemy morale and it appears that he can more than replace his losses by infiltration from North Vietnam and recruitment in South Vietnam."

He continued: "enemy...forces...are larger; terrorist and sabotage have increased in scope and intensity; more railroads and highways cut; the rice crop expected to come to market is smaller; we control little, if any, more of the population...in the countryside, the enemy almost completely controls the night."   

When Eisenhower got wind of this memorandum he criticized President Johnson for "hesitation, indecision, and even timidity." What Eisenhower was saying, although he never put it in writing, was that the only way to win this war was to take it to the enemy... the enemy's capital city and homeland—to invade the North and reduce Hanoi to, as people used to say in those days, a parking lot.  

 • November was even more quiet than October. Combat Operations had run their course and proved ineffective. Instead government leaders back in the States began to wrap their heads around how to end this thing.

 • December closed out 1966 with the kind of indecision Johnson was famous for. The only thing that came out of this month was a lot of data: MACV estimated that the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in the South numbered 282,000. The CIA said "the number of Viet Cong [alone] is closer to 600,000 and perhaps more." The Selective Service System chimed in to tell everyone that they had drafted 382,010 men into military service in 1966. By comparison, in 1962, they only managed to get 82,060 men under their thumb.

The truth was, back in 1966 the people that ran this war didn't have a clue what the hell they were doing. Not the President, not his cabinet; not Congress and certainly not the Generals fighting the war.

Enjoy the movie below. It'll bring back memories. Don't be surprised though if the strangely quiet, peaceful, almost lethargic pace at which life in Vietnam is shown in this 1966 movie brings a hint of feeling that maybe, just maybe, the mental state that prevailed in the minds of our country's leaders at the time was just as lethargic.

 Time: 00:23:54 

     

 

 

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