Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (June 14, 2012) -- More than
two hundred Soldiers, family members, civilian employees,
retirees and industry representatives turned out for the
celebration of the Signal Corps' 152nd birthday
celebration here yesterday.
Hosted by the Aberdeen chapters of the Armed Forces
Communications and Electronics Association and the Signal
Corps Regimental Association at the Top of the Bay, the
event focused on tradition and partnering.
Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, commanding general of the U.S.
Army Communications-Electronics Command, took the
opportunity of the Signal Corps' 152st anniversary to
highlight the significance that the Signal Corps has played
in the past and the vital role it plays in meeting the
challenges of the modern battlefield. He also took time to
recognize the Army's 237th birthday.
"So today join me in celebrating the 237th anniversary
of our Army as well as the 152nd anniversary of our Signal
Corps," Ferrell said. "We celebrate the strength
of our Soldiers, civilians, contractors, families, and
communities. Together we are the strength of the
The Signal Corps traces its existence from June 21, 1860,
when Congress authorized the appointment of one signal
officer in the Army, and a War Department order carried the
following assignment: "Signal Department Assistant
Surgeon Albert J. Myer to be Signal Officer, with the rank
of Major, June 27, 1860, to fill an original
Albert James Myer, an Army doctor, developed the idea of a
separate, trained professional military signal service. He
proposed that the Army use his visual communications system
called "wigwag" while serving as a medical
officer in Texas in 1856. When the Army adopted his system
June 21, 1860, the Signal Corps was born with Myer as the
first and only Signal officer. Using flags for daytime
signaling and a torch at night, wigwag was first tested in
combat in June 1861 to direct the fire of a harbor battery
against the Confederate positions opposite Fort Monroe,
"For the past 152 years our Signal Corps has been ever
watchful for the country," Ferrell emphasized. The
regiment's motto, "Prot Patria Vigilans"
means "Watchful for the Country."
Ferrell said that Myer faced a number of challenges while
he was trying to incorporate the new technology of wigwag
into Army communications. "We face similar challenges
today," he said.
From telegraphs to tactical radios, from radios to radar,
from establishing the national weather service to bouncing
the first signal off of the moon, the Signal Corps has
provided the country with vital services to meet the needs
of the nation.
"The craft of our Signal Corps is more complex than
ever," Ferrell explained. He said that
communications-electronics systems such as WIN-T,
Firefinder and the Distributed Common Ground System-Army
have enabled the American Army to dominate the battlefield
in the 21st Century.
Ferrell said that concepts such as the common operating
environment and the joint information environment represent
a significant cultural shift ahead for the Signal Corps.
The common operating environment will enable industry by
identifying the parameters within which Army applications
and capabilities are designed and enable insertion of new
technologies within specified architectures and standards.
The joint information environment will establish a common
information technology infrastructure
Following long-standing tradition, Sgt. Christopher
Freeman, a Soldier from the Public Health Command who was a
member of the color guard at the celebration and Lt. Col.
(ret) Ed Carnes, who was the oldest Signal Regiment member
present, helped Ferrell and Command Sgt Maj. Kennis Dent
cut the Signal Corps' birthday cake at the Top of the
Bay to formally acknowledge the day.