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— This Month — Ever Get The Feeling You're
Troops On The Ground - A Note To The President
- - - - -
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.
Ever Get The Feeling You're All Alone?
The Signal Corps To The Rescue
If you’re 18 and at a rave party, it’s not good to feel alone.
You definitely need help. If you’re 69 and at
home, it’s 0300, and you hear strange noises in your house,
it’s not a good feeling to be alone then either. The chances
are you really need help.
If you’re standing
before a divorce judge and your attorney has just quit your
case… without a doubt you're all alone... but you're
probably beyond help at that point anyway. However if its 1942
and you’re treading water at sea, alongside a downed
Mustang, the chances are that although you may feel
alone, you know you’re not, and so you're not feeling so bad. Why?
Because thanks to the U.S. Army Signal Corps you’re likely
treading water along side of an SCR-578.
What’s an SCR-578? Well, if you can manage to get it and you
into that damned inflatable dinghy before that shark
sniffing at your boots decides to see what an Army Air Force
pilot tastes like, you’ll soon find out. What you’ll find
out is that you’re now sharing your lifeboat with your own
private Gibson Girl. And this little beauty may save your
As Signaleers, most of us think in terms of our branch being
responsible for prosaic means of communication… methods and
systems meant to connect people in order to foster better
command and control of a battle space. But that’s not always
the case. Regular readers of this website know that the
Signal Corps gets involved in lots more than just producing
and operating combat radio systems. One of the more
interesting areas—one that has received surprisingly little
recognition—is the area that deals with survival radios. If
you’re in trouble and need to be able to reach out and touch
someone, the chances are that the radio or telephony device
you do it with had its start with the U.S. Army Signal
Corps, back in World War II.
To be fair, the Germans seem to be the first to have figured
out that having spent a ton of money training a man for
combat, spending a little more to save him after he got into
trouble was a far better use of money than leaving him to
die and then retraining a replacement. And since back then,
when they were perambulating over how to solve this problem
of soldiers dying on the job by some means other than being
shot, most of the trouble that came along where lives could
be saved had to do with naval vessels being sunk at sea,
well… it made sense to find a way to help those who found
themselves floating around in the vicinity of a downed ship
call out to the world and say ‘come rescue me.’
It was this kind of thinking that caused the Germans in
World War II to develop a hand-cranked 500 kHz rescue radio
called the NS2. Nicknamed the "Notsender" for the letters in
its designation, it was little more than an emergency
transmitter that employed two crystal controlled vacuum
tubes. Of interest, the design of the unit used a radio case
that curved inward in the middle, so that a user seated in
an inflatable life boat could hold it securely above their
knees and between their legs, at which point they could then
crank the attached generator handle to produce the power
needed to cause the thing to transmit a May Day signal. In
the case of the German NS2, a very basic Morse code distress
signal was sent out when the handle was cranked.
Strangely, it seems that these days whenever we write about
current event happenings that affect the military, the
subject of politics creeps into our article(s). And while
this is in some ways understandable, because obviously bad
political decisions end up being adjudicated on the
battlefield, it is also unfortunate… because we find
ourselves circumscribed from offering our true opinion about
what the U.S. military should do about any particular
situation, in an effort to avoid criticizing our current
administration and political leaders.
Why should we avoid criticizing our current administration
when we feel it makes mistakes? Because the remit of this
website is to a) write of the history of the U.S. Army
Signal Corps, b) write of the history of Signal OCS and the
people who went through it, c) write of the general history
of the American military… since its inception until today,
and d) write of the difficulties our military faces today—in
that order. That being the case, the reader can readily
understand that when we get to item D and begin writing
about any particular topic, it becomes difficult to not
opine on the decisions being made and actions being taken by
the current administration. After all, if they were doing
everything perfectly right then we would have nothing to
write about, would we?
For us here at the Editor’s Desk this presents a problem.
The problem it presents is that we, as former Army Officers,
have been trained to keep our political opinions to
ourselves and without fail keep our mouth shut on political
issues while we are in uniform. But we are not in uniform
anymore. And the fact is that at this advanced age all of us
OCS graduates have opinions of our own as to what’s right
and what’s wrong with America today, our government in
particular, and most especially those in office who are
supposed to be administering our country properly. Perhaps
more to the point, we feel we have earned the right to state
our opinions… as former Officers of this great country.
Why do we feel we have earned the right to state our opinion
about the level of competence of those who administer our
country today? The answer to that is that without us there
would be no country to administer. Do the words World War
II, Korea and Vietnam ring a bell? Because of our
involvement in those actions we
earned the right today to tell our government not only what it is
doing wrong, but where to get off in the process.
And therein lies the genesis of the dilemma this website
faces: we want to be good former Officers and stand proudly
behind our government and its leaders as they make what are
admittedly tough decisions, but at the same time we can’t
stand by and quietly allow many of these people to perform
incompetently and demonstrate inept leadership without
saying something about it.
It’s because of this that articles like the following occur…
an article that takes a look at where we can most expect to
soon see American soldiers patrolling the lands of yet
another country. Patrolling at war, in a place no one wants
to be, looking for bad guys we would rather not have helped
The unfortunate fact is that in trying to cover topics like
the following we find our self having to be critical of our
present government leaders. Trust us: the criticism you read
in the following paragraphs is not born of political opinion
or favoritism. It is born from the simple facts of the case.
In this case facts relating to missteps, inept thinking,
lack of a coherent foreign policy, and bungled actions that
have led America down a one way street, the wrong way.
Today we find ourselves at the end of that street… facing a
reinvigorated Russia, a duplicitous Iran, an angry Egypt, a
disgusted Israel, a Middle East that sees America as truly
befitting the paper tiger moniker that China used to apply
to us in the mid 50s, and a world that is staring at us with
its mouth agape… wondering what the hell happened to the old
America it used to know.
This editor is wondering the same thing.
Troops On The Ground
A Note to the President – Either Fix Syria Or Get Ready To
Send Troops To The Middle East
In this article we will be
looking at the potential for what is happening
in the Middle East degenerating into a regional
war that America finds itself fighting in.
Having said that, let us state upfront that
the article you are about to read is biased. It
is biased because in it we will attempt to make
the case that how our President has been
handling the Middle East since he took office 4+
years ago is the reason America may soon find
itself fighting there again. Or put another
way, because of what's been going on for the
past 4+ years America may find that it has no recourse other than to
the military aid and/or rescue of allies with
which it holds inviolable defense treaties. And
that happens, then America will find itself, on
the heels of Iraq and Afghanistan heading back
to the Middle East to fight yet another war.
If our opinion
that inept leadership emanating from the Oval
Office is causing this risk troubles you because of your political
affiliation, you can post your views in the
comment section at the end of this article.
However, before you do, make no mistake, this
article is not about politics; it is about
military matters… and how we in the military are
destined to be called on to pack ourselves off
to yet another war to fix problems created by a
never ending array of amateur administrations
each of which seems unable to craft a coherent
foreign policy to guide this great nation.
To make our case that what
is happening in the Middle East now is a
precursor to war, rather than rehash what the
current administration has done or has not done,
we thought we would present our argument from
the standpoint of someone in that part of the
world that has much to lose if things don’t
change. The reason for taking this approach is
that we feel that to understand the
danger America is in today, that is, the
potential for a new war that we are not only
facing but helping to generate the need for in
the first place, we think it is necessary for us
as Americans to step outside of our own
comfortable skin and look at what we as a
country are doing from inside the skin of
the other guy. And what better other guy whose skin
to get inside of than someone who, if war comes,
will find them self in the middle of it? Someone
who lives in the Middle East.
Whose skin should we wear,
How about someone from the House of Saud?
This page last updated
1 December 2013. New content is constantly being added.
Please check back frequently.
1 December 2013 –
Over the past few weeks
Candidate Robert Warner sent us a series of scans of
pictures taken of OCS Class 52-21. We're organizing them
now and are putting them into an album. Look for them to
be posted online by the 15th of this month. Thanks Bob!
1 November 2013 –
A Long lost Candidate Stephen P. Curley has finally
checked in after 40+ years.
A member of Class 16-66, you can check on him and his classmates on their
Class Page. Click on Steve's last name to read his short update. Click
to reach the Class Page for OCS Class 16-66.
Got some information about yourself that you want to pass on to your
classmates? Have an update for your bio? Send it to us and we'll update your
status on your class page.
Continued from left column...
For those who are uninitiated, the
term House of Saud should more properly be read as the
family of Saud… meaning all of those key people within
this extended family that make up the family. As a unit,
they speak as one… meaning they reflect the patriarch of the
family’s viewpoint. And since the patriarch of the House of
Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia, his views count.
As individuals their opinions vary,
as is the case in any family. Still, if one looks at the map
of the Middle East one cannot help but be impressed by the
size, position and role that Saudi Arabia plays in this
region of the world. Understanding what this House thinks
about how western countries like America should be
interfacing with their region of the world, an area that
they co-dominate along with Egypt and Israel, should be a
priority for America. In fact, it should not only be a
priority, it should form the basis around which America’s
Middle East foreign policy is crafted.
But it isn’t.
Before launching into what the views
of this family are it might help to know a little
of the history of how the House of Saud came to be, and why
we should care what they think.
To begin to understand the importance
of the House of Saud to the world today, and therein
America’s relationship with the Middle East, the reader has
to go back to the World War I period, when men like T.E.
Lawrence influenced events in that part of the world. As all
know, T.E. Lawrence was none other than Lawrence of Arabia,
an eclectic Brit who found himself promoted up through the
British military ranks even though he had no formal military
training, officer training, government training, historical
knowledge of the Middle East, and in spite of the fact that
he held a healthy disrespect and even loathing for both the
British military and the Foreign Office (i.e. the segment of
the government that sets and implements British foreign
From Lawrence’s perspective,
England’s goals with respect to the Middle East during the
WWI time period were nothing short of repulsive, being based
on an imperialist policy of subjugation of the people and
countries of the Middle East purely for the purpose of His
Majesty’s Government gaining control over the oil that
existed there, and keeping it out of the hands of the French
and Germans. In simple terms, what Lawrence believed was
that England was practicing the worst elements of
imperialism in the Middle East, and it needed to be stopped.
As an idealist and an iconoclast,
Lawrence set out to torpedo his own country’s efforts to
gain control over Middle Eastern lands during WWI, and did
so from within its officer ranks, as a Colonel. His plan was
simple: while appearing to support England’s war efforts in
the Middle East by organizing Arab tribesmen to ride against
the German and Italian enemy, his real intention was to
organize the Arab tribes that dominated the Arabian
peninsula into a collective, under the leadership of one
Emir who could then step forward at the end of the war and
take control over all Arab territories, as an Arab heading
other Arabs in an Arabian homeland… rather than as a puppet
of imperial England.
In essence his goal was Arab
independence, something he seemed to believe in and fight
for from the day he first set foot in the Middle East… in
spite of the fact that this was exactly the opposite of what
his country had sent him there to achieve. What England wanted was
another territory to rule. What Lawrence wanted was an
independent Middle East ruled by Arabs.
Looking at his brilliant effort in
organizing the Arabs for their attack on and overthrow of
Damascus, it’s clear that he would have succeeded in
bringing the Middle East under the Arab domination of the
indigenous leader he had picked and hand fed for the job,
except for one thing. That one thing was that he picked the
wrong man. He picked Faisal ibn-Hussein, the King of Iraq.
The problem with Faisal was that
while he served well Colonel Lawrence’s purpose, he did not
hold the loyalty or allegiance of the rest of the Arab
tribal leaders that were needed to bring the entire region
together into a unified body… especially if they, as Arabs,
were to stand up to the European powers who would meet in
conference at the end of WWI, to slice up the Middle East to
One man who did however hold that
allegiance was one Abdul Aziz ibn-Saud. A tribal chieftain
from the northeastern corner of Arabia, ibn-Saud said of
Faisal ibn Hussein that he was “essentially a trivial and
As we now know, Saud turned out to be
right, as when the war ended Faisal became little more than
a puppet of the West, with no effective control over any
territory, never mind the entire Middle East as Lawrence had
intended… while Saud, who had spent his time during WWI
organizing the Arab tribes to follow his lead once the war
was over, stepped forward and created the country
of Arabia… which he then promptly turned around and named
after his family: Saudi Arabia.
Sometimes when you look out at the perimeter what you see
coming through the fence is not the enemy, but friendlies.
Today, looking out there, I swore I could see an Army coming
out of the ridgeline. Not having my field glasses with me I
couldn’t tell how many there were, but by their size they
must have numbered well over two million. And while I
watched them, the jungle canopy of Vietnam that they were
emerging from seemed to fade and dissolve into tall oak
trees, Georgia pines, and a hedgerow of azaleas, dogwoods
Strange, now that I look at it, that ridgeline reminds me of
Augusta National. And those people coming through the fence,
damned if they don’t look like Arnie’s Army.
It just might be. Sitting here in the boonies, looking out
at the perimeter, one gets to thinking he sees all sorts of
strange things. Thinking I’m sitting here behind the tee on
the 11th at Augusta is just par for the course. Let’s see
now… maybe with a little concentration I can change this
scene into the 7th hole at Gordon Lakes instead.
Ah, yeah… there it is now… it’s coming into focus. And
that’s me strutting down the fairway looking for my ball.
Like all good Signal Officers, I play Army Golf. You know
what Army Golf is, right? First I hit the ball to the left,
then the right, then left again… and off I go, left, right,
You can’t blame the course for my game though… Gordon Lakes
is one of the finest courses in the south. When first built
in 1976 it was just 18 holes. It’s designer was none other
than Robert Trent Jones. The north 9 were added in 2002, and
worked so well with the original 18 that the course is now
recognized as a true championship 27 hole course. Having
hosted the All Armed Forces Championship and the All Army
Golf Trials, this demanding par 72, with yardage varying
from 5,600 to 7,100 is a challenge for everyone… especially
Well, actually, I shouldn’t say the course is a challenge
for me. The truth be told, it’s not. It’s the 20 acre lake
and the 81 bunkers that are the challenge.
As for that Army I started off telling you about… the one
coming through the fence… I now know where I first saw it. I
saw it in 1959 at the Masters. As I recall, Augusta National
accepted the offer of a bunch of Ft. Gordon Signal Corps
troops to volunteer their services for the tournament. A few
of them worked crowd control along the sidelines, but most
of them spent their time posting scores on the display
boards that lined the course.
As I was following Arnie in play I saw him look up at one of
the scoreboards, bend over, and start laughing. When I
looked up to see what he was laughing at I saw a U.S. Army
Signal Corps soldier who was working the scoreboard standing
proudly, holding a sign that said “Arnie’s Army.”
The name stuck.
The finest golf course in the world: Gordon Lakes.
Second finest: Augusta National. Finest of all servicemen:
Signaleers. Finest Signal Corps golfer... well, it's not me.
December's Crossword Puzzle
Army Golf Courses
Join 2 and 3 word answers together as one complete word.
For answer key to this month's
see icon at bottom of page
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quick search for a VIETNAM, KOREA or WWII era class (such
a graduate (such as: Green), or a similar search, follow
A search, for example, for Richard
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