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— This Month —
Engaging With Our Readers
– Moving The Signal Corps Forward
Sleeping With The Enemy
The Other Side of War
- - - - -
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organization. Its purpose is a) to foster camaraderie among the
graduates of Signal Corps Officer Candidate School classes of the
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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
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We are here to serve you.
Valentine's Day Special
Two good things for you to read this month. The
first is Signal Corps stuff, the second about
the Vietnam War. By far the best of the two is
our article about the Vietnam War… but let’s
start first with the one about the Signal Corps.
Regular readers of our site know that our
monthly content tends first towards Signal Corps
history, facts, figures and trends. If we run
out of interesting content on these topics we
move on to our opinions of the Signal Corps, the
Army, those situations in the world that may
drag us into another war, our government,
politics and society in general... generally in
Being a military publication we try hard to put
a military bent to all that we write, and keep
it at a level that an intelligent, sharp Signal
Corps Army Officer would both understand
and—with a little extra effort on their own
part—form an opinion on. To do this we usually
posit our own view regarding the issue at hand,
in hopes that by taking a stand one way or
another, our exceptionally gifted readers will
in turn form their own view on the topic. And of
course, we fully expect them to think that the
solution to the problem that they form is better
than that which we put forward.
If we do that, then we have succeeded at our
Our job then is not to feed you pabulum, but to
challenge your thinking to the point that the
hair on the back of your neck rises a bit, your
mind engages, and you come away with a better
way to fix the problem(s) we discuss than either
that which we are outlining, or the people who
are running the military/government agencies
It’s for this reason that so much of our writing
has a negative slant to it… that is, we outline
problems that we see in the military, propose
solutions to these problems, and hope that
you—our reader—will come up with a better way to
address the issue—and most importantly—pass it
on to those that can do something about it.
We just recently found an example of exactly
that: Someone reading our website, noting the
problem we outlined, internalizing our solution,
improving on that solution in their own mind,
and submitting their solution to the
military—the U.S. Army Signal Corps military, as
a matter of fact—for
God is good. He works more slowly than we would
prefer, but He is good.
Below you can read the story of how one young
Army Signal Corps Captain, having read our
writings here, used what we said as a means to
build a dialectic argument to justify his view as regards
changes that the Army Signal Corps should be
making to cybersecurity issues, in order to
better meet the challenges of Army Vision 2025.
You’ll forgive us if we brush a little dust off
of our shoulder… we’re kind of proud of that.
second article this month, while not Signal
Corps specific, is sure to be of interest to
those who served in Vietnam. It deals with the bar girls of Vietnam… a group of people well
known to the 9,087,000 military personnel who
served on active duty during the official
Vietnam era, from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975,
including the 240 men who were awarded the Medal
of Honor. And before you start to worry that our
story might be X Rated, or mention names that
will get some of you in trouble, worry not. The
story deals not with the salacious elements of
these girls jobs, but the motivation that drove
them to take up the work in the first place Best
of all, it is written from their perspective.
Read it, we think you’ll find it fascinating.
Engaging With Our Readers
Moving The Signal
Periodically we review the results of third party deep web
analyst studies, of the kind readers of this website
attract. Most of these studies are done via meta-traffic
data analysis. You might be surprised to know that there are
at least 12 meta data analysts that keep constant tabs on
our website, with a further 30 to 40 that check up on us
periodically. Their interest is in things like who visits
our website, where they come from, what kind of social
background they have, our site’s traffic statistics, the
topics on the pages readers visit, how much time they spend
on a page, and so forth and so on. Knowing these things helps
us keep our website both informative and interesting…
hopefully pulling in more readers over time.
We also seek out information on things like back links to
our site—from other websites where their content cites our
own content as the resource and justification for what they
are saying on their website. That kind of information tells
us what others are thinking about the topics we write about.
Add to this an effort we periodically make to track ISP
locations for readers, ISP traffic patterns, the countries
visitors to our site come from; first visits from unique web
visitors, the number of times they return, and what they
look at when they do… and you can see we know a fair bit
about who is reading our website, what they are reading, and
in many cases what part of what they are reading is getting
through to them.
For example, we know that there are a large number of
visitors to our site that come from a series of ISP
addresses that are, on the surface, owned by
www.servint.net... a hosting company. For these visitors,
when we perform a simple traceroute in combination with
their reported IP Address we find that most of the people
involved are tied to a domain with the server number
Guess whose server that is?
Geolocation Information says it belongs to these people:
Country: United States
Area Code: 703
Postal Code: 22101
Figured it out yet? It’s the CIA.
Or at least, as best as we can tell it is. It all depends on
whether you think the Central Intelligence Agency is
headquartered in Langley or McLean, Virginia. I guess you
could say both, since “Langley” is the name of the McLean
neighborhood in which the CIA resides. The town of McLean
was founded in 1910, but before then the area was
known as Langley.
We also get lots of visitors from a range
of ISP addresses showing
“host-141-116-168-1.rev.army.pentagon.mil.” You can probably
figure out who these guys are on your own.
And it goes on and
on… the State Department, various military bases (Ft.
Gordon, Ft. Hood, etc.), Russia, China and many, many others
all seem to take an interest in what we say on
It kind of makes you wonder what they are
doing checking us out, doesn’t it? Foreign countries and
governments we can understand, they likely mistakenly think
we have something to do with the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and
are looking for backdoors via our site to a Pentagon data
base or so.
It must piss them off royally then when they
don’t find anything secret on our site, or any links to the
Pentagon and DoD. The truth is, we don’t have any databases
to speak of. Further, we don’t store any personal
information about the people listed on our website… not
their home addresses, telephone numbers, credit card
information or anything else other than what you see on the
pages you visit.
The fact is, we don’t have a database.
Period. So, there’s nothing anyone can steal from us. No
database, no carrier or other links between our website and
any U.S. government or military websites, no DHCP server
connections, IP pools, internet VLANs or trunks, tunnels,
routers, clouds, or anything else. With us, what you see is
what you get. There’s nothing and no one behind the curtain
Still, that doesn’t stop them from coming.
- - -
This past week, while doing our annual check for link back
references, we found an interesting one. It was for a
footnote in a report done by a U.S. Army Signal Corps
Captain who was charged with laying out a better strategy
for the Signal Corps to address the issue of how the Signal
Corps should handle cybersecurity going forward, in relation
to Army Vision 2025.
Intrigued, we hacked our way into the database that contained the report,
and downloaded it. Our goal was to find out what had caused
the Captain to have to footnote his position paper to
content on our website.
Lo and behold, what we found was that the Captain involved
had used one of the articles we posted about the future of
the Signal Corps as justification for his position on how
the Signal Corps should go about addressing what he felt
were needed changes, as re cybersecurity.
So there it was… someone from the active military—not the
retired military that most of us are a part of—had read our
website’s content and been struck by it enough to march off
and develop a position paper on how the Signal Corps should
move to better address cybersecurity as part of its Army
Vision 2025 program.
Needless to say, it tickles us to find that those in the
field tasked with keeping the Signal Corps moving forward
find our content relevant. Hooah.
The report the Captain wrote is posted in the column at
right. A byproduct of an exercise undertaken as part of an
SCCC controlled analysis of the roll the Signal Corps should
take in the future, the report itself addresses in depth the
emergence of Cybersecurity and the problems it creates, as
well as problems inherent in the Signal Corps’
“ever-changing battle command and warfighter platforms and…
budget-constrained environment.” It also touches on how the
Signal Corps “need[s] to redefine and cement its role in
future operations [...] continually improving information to
decision systems and processes as well as providing mobile,
protected platforms will be a collaborative effort.”
Here then we present for you in its entirety and without
alteration this well written White Paper by Captain Scott
Wagner, U.S. Army Signal Corps Officer.
This page last updated 1 February 2017.
New content is constantly being added. Please check back
– Candidate Thomas Geis, OCS Class
09-67, dropped us a note to update us on his status. His
note consisted of these short words:
Geis Thomas A. LTC (ret) PH, BSM"V" CIB. Thanks Tom.
– Received this past 22
December was an update on one of our missing Candidates.
Candidate David Mayer III, a graduate of Class 07-52,
Section C (on June 2, 1952), dropped us a note to let us
know he was alive and well, living in England. In his time
since OCS Candidate Mayer has gone on to win the prestigious
Guggenheim Fellowship award, as well as author
several books on theatre and art. Click
here to read his bio, or visit his Class Page
an update on the passing of Candidate Michael Bulavko, of Class 10-42. You can read his
here, and check out his Class page
here. It's worth looking at both... first, Michael not
only left the world with a great legacy, but also a son who
serves the Army too. Second, his class page is impressive
for the number of graduates it produced: 893. Think about
it... 893 Army Signal Corps Officers from one class, many of which
gave their all for our country. God rest these great American heroes, all.
received an updated mini-bio from Candidate Robert L.
Fisher, OCS Class 10-67. We've posted it on a private bio
page for him, along with a picture he sent along. Be sure to
read it! Either click onhis OCS Class Page,
and then on his
highlighted name on the page to get to it, or clickhereto jump directly to his bio
– In early November we received a copy of the Class Picture for Army Signal OCS Class
66-17A. H. Don Hamilton of that class, working with Major
(R) Green, managed to find one and send it along to us.
We've finally got it
posted on the Class Page, so
click here to see it. And...
if you have a few pictures from your own class, or your time
in the service, send them along to us and we'll add them to
your Class Page.
Continued from left column...
AN SCCC Captain's Report
FUTURE OF THE SIGNAL CORPS
SCCC CLASS 011-15 — CPT SCOTT
NOVEMBER 25, 2015
Between World War I and World War II, the Signal Corps
spearheaded the effort to modernize the US Army at a time
when many senior level strategists were primarily concerned
with maintaining infantry Soldiers and a peacetime
army. They realized that emerging technologies had changed
the battlefield in WWI and would continue to do so in future
conflicts. In response, the Signal Corps liaised with
researchers at Ft. Monmouth to study, analyze and repurpose
civilian technologies and equipment for military use. This
forward-thinking mindset allowed the US to field superior
technology and equipment during WWII which provided a
decisive edge in the war.[i] This
same mentality needs to permeate the leadership within the
Signal Corps as we support Army Vision 2025.
Of the seven lines of effort outlined in Army Vision 2025,
two stand out as the most critical to the future of the
Signal Corps: improving information to decision systems and
processes and providing mobile, protected platforms to the
warfighter. In order to support these concepts, three
important subsidiary issues must be addressed. First, the
regiment needs to collapse the bloated array of disparate,
stove-piped systems and databases that were an outgrowth of
the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Second, the regiment needs to
establish a coherent, balanced relationship with civilian
companies that support the Signal Corps. Lastly, there needs
to be a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities with
the new Cyber branch in order to maintain a positive,
mutually beneficial relationship.
The proliferation of warfighter support systems and the
multiple levels of data centers that support them from the
tactical to strategic level need to be consolidated. This is
one of the primary initiatives of the Army CIO G6, LTG
Ferrell. “The Army is laying out an aggressive and ambitious
path toward the network of 2025” Ferrell stated.[ii]
That path includes eliminating installation and regional
data centers and moving services to the Defense Information
Systems Agency’s data centers. The Army has eliminated about
52 percent of its network and is projecting billions of
dollars in savings in enterprise services, capacity and
security going forward.[iii] Additionally,
the Army has begun replacing TLA (Top Level Architecture)
stacks. In September 2014 the Army began replacing its 700
TLA stacks with 23 JRS (Joint Regional Security) stacks, a
vastly reduced footprint that now passes Army and Air Force
data over the same network.[iv] This
move is being complimented with a boost in bandwidth
capacity across multiple Army and Joint installations. As
Gen. Ferrell noted, Soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq
had virtually unlimited bandwidth capacity in theater. But
returning to the United States “was like going back to the
1960s era,” with relatively low capacity and capabilities,
he said. ‘It was like trying to put an iPod in a 1970
Cadillac. The capability and connection is just not there.’”[v]
Collectively, these measures are a positive step for the
Signal Corps at the strategic level in reducing “information
to decision” time. At the tactical level, the Signal Corps
needs to prioritize two issues: collapsing the gap between
the tactical and institutional networks and shrinking the
amount of systems that fill up brigade and battalion level
tactical operations centers.[vi] When
it comes to the first point, as a former Battalion S-6, I
can speak to the gap between these two environments when it
comes to automations troubleshooting, network capability,
etcetera and the frustrations they produced. To the second
point, the array of battle command systems across various
staff sections within the tactical environment has produced
walls, both figuratively and literally, between the Signal
Corps and ownership of the entire network. Minimizing these
walls and reducing the number of battle command systems will
improve inter-staff coordination, streamline the network and
reduce dependency on outside contractors/field support
Sleeping With The Enemy
The Other Side Of War
In going to war more things happen than just battle. For one
thing, social interaction takes place between the invaders
and those who live in the country being invaded. More
specifically, over time soldiers of the invading army come
into contact with the natives, and through that interaction
begin to learn a bit about who those natives are, what they
stand for, and what they believe in. Sometimes friendships
develop, sometimes not. More often than not, because most of
the invading soldiers involved are young males, their
interest is not in generating contact with the men of the
country they have invaded, but the daughters of those men.
More to the point, it does not take a lot of guile or
deception to seek out those daughters, for oftentimes they
too are seeking out the “enemy.”
Writing of this exercise as we have, the reader may get the
impression that the process involved is driven by some
ulterior, depraved or dissolute motive—young men of an
invading army seeking out young women of the country
involved, and perhaps vice-versa—but that is not the case.
In most cases the form of social interaction that occurs is
the result of nothing more than the normal outcome of life.
That is, put two different sets of people of opposite gender
and of reasonably close proximate age in the same
environment, and interaction is bound to take place. Not
surprisingly then, in many cases, despite the two coming
from opposite sides of the war raging in the background,
friendships develop… and more.
Speaking personally, in this author’s case, serving in Vietnam brought awareness
of the opposite sex—Vietnamese girls—front and center in my
mind my very first day in country. I was assigned a small
hotel room in a one story, six unit hotel complex on the
beach at Nha Trang, and told to stay there until I was
called for. For 3 days I sat on the porch of that mini-hotel
and waited for orders.
Sitting there all day long, my feet propped up on the porch
rail, I watched people walk by on the nearby street. For me
this was my first sighting of Asians… Vietnamese Asians…
kids, parents, mama sans, an occasional ARVN soldier, and a
never ending parade of small flocks of ever so pretty young
Vietnamese girls... skipping along, babbling to each other
and laughing all the way. For a farm boy from Massachusetts, the scene was beyond words, the experience
electric, the allure endless. It was fascinating beyond
didn’t take long then for me to notice that in the room at
the opposite end of the small porch that linked the hotel’s
rooms together, a young attractive Vietnamese girl sat in her
porch chair too… watching the same scene and the same people parading by.
She was stunning; long silken black hair down to her waist,
she wore some sort of white flowing gown that was half pant
suit and half tight fitting blouse. I couldn’t take my eyes
off of her. None of the farm girls I knew back home ever
dressed like that, nor the college girls I met in Boston.
Yet fascinated as I was, despite my surreptitiously watching
her for three days, that was all that came about. That is,
from this girl I got only the slightest glimpse of the
beauty of Vietnam, nothing more.
Why, you ask? Why did nothing come about? For two reasons:
1) Because even as green as I was, I recognized that I was
little more than a shave-tailed Second Lieutenant, on my
first days in Vietnam, awaiting my first set of orders, and
married on top of that. Fascinating though she was, I was
still an Army Officer… which meant that girls of that nature
were off limits to me, period… and 2) because every
afternoon a U.S. Army Major stopped by her room at 5:30,
like clockwork… at which point I exited my chair on the
porch and headed over to the hotel’s bar for a drink.
Not surprisingly, the set of orders that eventually arrived
posted me to the boonies for seven months. There I again met
the beauties of Vietnam, but this time they were Montagnards.
Small, short, dark skinned girls from the three local
villages that surrounded my Signal Site, they lived in a
tent that we put up for them outside of our perimeter fence.
At dusk they left our compound for their tent, and in the
morning at sun-up they returned. There, inside our compound,
they did most of the cleaning. I had one assigned to me… her
name was Gertie.
Looking no more than 15, she told me she was 17 years old.
Either way, she had the warmest personality, brightest smile
and keenest sense of humor I had encountered to that point in my military life. For me she
cleaned my room, made my bunk, polished my boots washed and
pressed my clothes and occasionally sat and talked with me.
I in turn paid her about $50 per month for her work… a lot
of money by the standards of the time, but I felt guilty
paying her anything less. Besides, on occasion she would
furtively whisper that the VC were coming that night. To me,
that kind of intel was worth much more than I paid her.
Cute as she was, over time I came to think of Gertie as my
sister. For this reason, and the fact that I clearly knew my
place and that I was still just a shave-tail Second
Lieutenant... and married at that... nothing untoward ever happened. I met her
father—a village elder—and mother, and even (along with a
few fellow Officers from the Signal Site) had a couple of
late night fireside Montagnard roasts with the members of
her village. Believe me, dining on water buffalo, local
bugs, monkey, and old dogs is something one never forgets.
From Gertie and her friends I also collected carved, brass
friendship bracelets; which while it was against regs for us
Officers to wear, I did anyway. Somehow being a Junior
Officer in the boonies, sporting 5 brass ringed tribal
bracelets on my left wrist, made me think that I understood
these people better than the rest, and so I decided
to display this fact to all who met me.
Now, so many years
removed from the time, it’s hard to know how much I really
knew about the Montagnards, or Gertie for that matter… but I
can tell you the C.O. of our Signal Site seemed to think I
had a connection with them, for every time he needed some
sort of coordination with Gertie's tribe—such as making
sure they did not roam their water buffalo in the fields we
were going to be practicing mortar fire on that day—he sent
me down the hill to talk to her dad. Boy did I think I was
When I finally received orders to post to another location,
Gertie met me in my room on the morning I was leaving,
packed my clothes and gave to me a blue, hand woven tribal
blanket. She said her mother and some of the elders had made
it in thanks for my friendship to their village. Considering
this was an active war zone, the depth of friendship
expressed by this little girl goes beyond measure. As was
said in our opening paragraphs, “… put two different sets of
people of opposite gender and of reasonably close proximate
age in the same environment, and interaction is bound to
take place. Not surprisingly… in many cases, despite the two
coming from opposite sides of the war taking place in the
background, friendships develop…”
My next assignment took me from the boonies back to Nha
Trang, and there again the young women of Vietnam came into
my sphere. This time though it was bar girls. Sure, I had
another “Gertie” assigned to me to clean my BOQ, polish my
boots and the like… and we had a couple of Gerties that kept
our HQ clean too, but it was the bar girls that got my
attention this time.
At this point, being a seasoned pro at this war stuff, I was
past the idea of falling in love with a local and therein
ruining both my marriage and my career in the Army… instead
I was just fascinated by what made them—the bar girls—tick.
One of my best friends in Nha Trang at that time, Lieutenant
Roger Elsasser, Army Signal OCS Class 07-67, was assigned
as a duty Officer to the 459th Signal Battalion’s HQ, to
which my little Company (518th Signal Company) belonged. He
worked daily… and often deep into the night… with the West
Point Colonel that ran the 459th.
some of those late night occasions he would call me and tell
me to meet him at Battalion HQ at some late hour. From there
the three of us—Roger, the Colonel and I—would jump into the
Colonel’s jeep and drive the Colonel back to his BOQ at the
Duy Tan Hotel, along the beach in Nha Trang. There the
Colonel would retire to his room, while Roger and I would
pop into the bar to see what kind of Pilipino group was
playing music that night. Inevitably, after the first few
beers had passed, our concentration would drift to the
Vietnamese waitresses… comely as they were.
The Duy Tan, being an Army contracted hotel facility, was used
to house higher level Officers, feed them and keep them
safe. Because of this the workers in the facility were for
all practical purposes off limits to U.S. Army personnel.
That fact, plus the fact that 99% of the people in the place
were American Army Officers anyway, kept the comely
waitresses from ever being accosted.
But that was not the case down the street… where the normal
bars were. There things happened that a kid from a hard rock
farm in Massachusetts would never tell his mother about. If
you went into those bars you would find young, attractive,
animated, full of life Vietnamese girls fraternizing with
What enemy, you ask?
Don’t misunderstand. Nha Trang was not a den of inequity,
nor for that matter—war zone though it might be in—a threat
to life, limb or liberty. Back then in 1968 Nha Trang was
about as dangerous as New Jersey… that is, as long as you
stayed out of the local bars.
As for checking out the local bars, for an Army Officer to
spend any time in one of these was very, very difficult. To
begin with, the vast majority of the off base bars were
jammed packed with off duty EMs. For an Army Officer then,
consorting with EMs while cavorting with the bar girls made
such activity nearly a hanging offense. You just didn’t do
that kind of stuff if you wanted to keep your rank and not
For another, sitting around swigging beers all night was not
exactly the kind of deportment Junior Signal Corps Officers
were expected to display. Because of this, while my
curiosity was full on, and I certainly enjoyed beers, my
time in the local bars of Nha Trang proved far short of
fulfillment. All that happened is that the whole experience
did little more than make me wonder who these faultlessly
pretty girls were, how they got there, and what their
Yes, it’s true. This young Signal Corps Officer was avidly
fascinated with how a culture could have the sons of a
mother and father fighting us Americans on one hand, while
at the same time their daughter was seeking us out for
friendship and entertainment. For fifty years now I have
wondered about this dichotomy. What drove the young girls of
Vietnam into the bars and laps of the American soldiers that
were fighting their brothers?