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February 2017

— This Month —

Engaging With Our Readers

Moving The Signal Corps Forward

Sleeping With The Enemy

The Other Side of War  

- - - - -


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 We are here to serve you. 



ArmySignalOCS Editor

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 that order.

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 job.

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 involved.

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.

Guess what?

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 consideration.

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.

RVN BargirlOur 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

Military Cyber Security

Moving The Signal Corps Forward

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 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

State/Region: Virginia

City: Mclean

Latitude: 38.9358

Longitude: -77.1621

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 “” 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 pulling strings.

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.

Continued at top of page, COLUMN AT RIGHT


Military Awards


Vietnam Campaign Ribbons

This page last updated 1 February 2017. New content is constantly being added. Please check back frequently.

Update 1 February 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.

Update 1 January 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 here.

Update 1 January Received an update on the passing of Candidate Michael Bulavko, of Class 10-42. You can read his mini-bio 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.

Update 8 December Just 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 on his OCS Class Page, and then on his highlighted name on the page to get to it, or click here to jump directly to his bio page.

Update 1 December – 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

Army Vision 2025



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 representatives (FSRs).



Sleeping With The Enemy

The Other Side of War

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 measure

Vietnamese Ao DaiIt 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 ten-man 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.

Vietnamese Hooch MaidCute 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.

Montagnard Friendship BraceletsNow, 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 important.

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.

Duy Tan Hotel - Nha TrangOn 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 the enemy.

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 be court-martialed.


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 stories were.

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?

Read More... 



[i] “America Between the Wars: How the Signal Corps May Have Singlehandedly Changed the World,” accessed November 1, 2015,

[ii] George I. Seffers, “Blog: Signal Corps is Here to Stay,” last modified September 9, 2014, accessed November 5, 2015,

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

[v] “Army Modernizes With an Eye Toward Defensewide Efforts,” last modified August 1, 2015, accessed November 3, 2015,

[vi] Ibid



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