|United States Army Signal Corps
The mission of the Signal Corps is to
provide and manage communications and information
systems support for the command and control of
combined arms forces.
Major Albert James Myer, an
Army doctor, was the first to conceive of the
idea of a separate, trained professional military
signal service. He proposed that the Army use his
visual communications system called
"wig-wag" -- a semaphore system
incorporating red and white flags -- while
serving as a medical officer in Texas in 1856.
When the Army adopted his system on June 21,
1860, the U.S. Army Signal Corps was born, with
Myer as the first and only Signal Officer. During
the Civil War, the
Signal Corps operated air balloons and telegraph
machines. By the time the United States entered World War I in
1917, the corps had integrated the airplane and
more advanced technology into its communications
In addition to its primary role
in military transmissions, the Signal Corps has
also played a key role in producing training
films for army and civilian personnel, and
documenting combat missions. During World War II,
noted Hollywood producers, directors, and
photographers (including Darryl Zanuck, Frank
Capra, John Huston, and others) all served in the
Signal Corps. They applied their talents in the
motion picture studio to the field of battle,
while dozens of others provided instruction to
the personnel. Signal Corps photographers and
filmmakers documented every major military
campaign in the European Theater. They were also
among the first to document evidence of Nazi
atrocities, including the concentration camps.
The U.S. Army Signal Corps is
headquarted at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which can be
located online at www.gordon.army.mil.
Important Dates in
the History of the Signal Corps
||Myer first used his
visual signaling system on active service
during the Navajo Expedition in New
||Wig-wag was tested in
Civil War combat to direct the fire of a
harbor battery at Fort Wool.
|March 3, 1863
||Congress authorized a
regular Signal Corps for the duration of
the Civil War.
||The electric telegraph
became a Signal Corps responsibility.
||The Signal Corps
established a congressionally mandated
national weather service. The Weather
Bureau became part of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture in 1891, while the Corps
retained responsibility for military
Spanish-American War, the Corps fostered
the use of telephones in combat, employed
combat photography. Shortly after the
war, it introduced the first wireless
telegraph in the Western Hemisphere.
|August 1, 1907
||An Aeronautical Division
was established within the officie of the
Chief Signal Officer. Army aviation
remained within the Signal Corps until
1918, when it became the Army Air
developed by the Signal Corps were
introduced into the European Theater.
||Colonel William Blair,
director of the Signal Corps laboratories
at Fort Monmouth, patented the first Army
laboratories at Fort Monmouth developed
the first FM backpack radio.
||The War Department
directed the Signal Corps General
Development Laboratories and the Camp
Evans Signal Lab to combine into the
Signal Corps Ground Service, with
headquarters at Bradley Beach, New
||The Signal Corps'
Project Diana successfully bounced radar
signals off the moon, paving the way for
||Researchers at Fort
Monmouth grew the first synthetically
produced large quartz crystals.
||With Air Force
assistance, the Signal Corps launched its
first communications satellite, Project
World War I
World War II
United States Air
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