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Rocket Launch

Art work – rockets, lighthouse. c1960

Image # 0898

Image # 0898

For bibliography purposes, these images can be cited:

Image #—, “US Army Photo collection, C-E Museum Acquisition” from the CECOM Historical Office archive, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

Make sure to double-check your style guide for the appropriate method of citation for your work. Need a higher resolution version of this same photo? Leave us a comment below or click on our contact page above, and reference the image number. Each of the scanned originals is approximately 2-11 MB.

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Relay Races

Illustration of Complete 23 Channel Radio Relay Using Radio Set AN/TRC-29; c1950.

Image # 0353

Image # 0353

For bibliography purposes, these images can be cited:

Image #—, “US Army Photo collection, C-E Museum Acquisition” from the CECOM Historical Office archive, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

Make sure to double-check your style guide for the appropriate method of citation for your work. Need a higher resolution version of this same photo? Leave us a comment below or click on our contact page above, and reference the image number. Each of the scanned originals is approximately 2-11 MB.

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Staring Genius in the Face

This c.1925 portrait of MG George Owen Squier is one of my favorites. He was really a brilliant guy, and earned a PhD in engineering from Johns Hopkins. For more in-depth information about Squier, check out the Squier Series!

Image # 1346

Image # 1346

For bibliography purposes, these images can be cited:

Image #—, “US Army Photo collection, C-E Museum Acquisition” from the CECOM Historical Office archive, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

Make sure to double-check your style guide for the appropriate method of citation for your work. Need a higher resolution version of this same photo? Leave us a comment below or click on our contact page above, and reference the image number. Each of the scanned originals is approximately 2-11 MB.

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SCR-105

This blog features two images depicting the SCR-105, a 1918 era radio long-wave receiver manufactured for the Army by Marconi.

Looking at equipment

Looking at equipment

Available information for this image indicates this equipment was used for receiving ranging from 2,500 to 25,000 meters.

SRC-105

SRC-105

Interested in research about the SCR series? Use our contact form on the top of the page and make an appointment to come do research in the archive.

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Is it anything like the Batphone?

“Floraphone” apparatus, Signal Corps Field laboratory. Staff of Signal Corps “Floraphone” laboratory, including MG George O. Squire, Chief Signal Officer. 17 April 1919

 

Image # 0587

Image # 0587

For bibliography purposes, these images can be cited:

Image #—, “US Army Photo collection, C-E Museum Acquisition” from the CECOM Historical Office archive, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

Make sure to double-check your style guide for the appropriate method of citation for your work. Need a higher resolution version of this same photo? Leave us a comment below or click on our contact page above, and reference the image number. Each of the scanned originals is approximately 2-11 MB.

Posted in Photo Series.

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Highlights from the Tech Manual Collection

The CECOM Historical Office has thousands of technical manuals in the archive. They came from CECOM as well as our predecessor commands.

Cover page of a tech manual

Cover page of a tech manual

We created a list of them, and posted it on our website. It gets updated periodically.

Table of contents page from one of the thousands of manuals in the collection

Table of contents page from one of the thousands of manuals in the collection

One thing we’d like our readers to remember is that these manuals are available to researchers for free! For individuals close to our location in Northeastern Maryland, we are even able to host visiting researchers and you could go through the collection.  We have hundreds of archival boxes with these manuals.

Posted in From the Archives.

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ISEC Employee Jerry Kimberly

The CECOM Historical Office recently conducted an oral history interview with Mr. Jerry Kimberley at his office in Fort Detrick, Maryland. He has been an ISEC employee for decades; before his civilian career, he was an enlisted Soldier and NCO in the Signal Corps. The following article includes highlights from this interview. An abridged version of the article appears in the March issue of “Dots and Dashes.” For this and other oral history materials, please contact us.

 

Jerry Kimberley grew up Kentucky, and first learned about military communications while working in a strawberry patch two years before he enlisted in the Army. Working in this “holler,” he heard about Cape Canaveral and the satellite launch facility there.

 

Kimberley enlisted in the Army on the July 16, 1957. He went through Ashland, Kentucky, and then to Fort Gordon, Georgia, for Basic Training.

 

Potential recruits had to take a test at the local recruiting station to enlist, where Kimberley indicated that he wanted to be in the Signal Corps. But it almost didn’t happen. “When Basic Training was over, I was signed up to go to Signal,” Kimberley said. “It wasn’t in my record, but they sent me anyway.”

 

Like hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, Kimberley wound up going to Fort Monmouth for his advanced training to be a Fixed Station Radio Transmitter Operator. His first night in the Fort Monmouth area wound up to be quite significant. While at the Monmouth Park Racetrack on a Saturday evening, one of the people in the parking lot told him the Russian satellite Sputnik was due to travel overhead right around that time.

 

“It was 7 o’clock or 8 o’clock in the evening; it was getting dark. And sure enough, I looked up and there it was coming over. It was just a little bitty thing—it looked less than a star, but you could still see it going over. And so that started my career in the Signal Corps.”

 

Later on, Jerry had the chance to go to the Woodbridge, Virginia, radio transmitter site. He was assigned to the East Coast Radio Transmitter Site, and had the chance to do on the job training and learned how to work with the high frequency radio transmitters.

 

“It was while I was there that we launched our first satellite, the Vanguard. That started our race for space.”

 

It was while he was stationed in Woodbridge that Jerry met the woman who would become his wife. “I was going up to marry her, and we settled on November 1, 1959, to be our wedding day,” Jerry recalled fondly. “Unfortunately, the First Sergeant had set up a promotion board for that week. That was on Sunday, and the next week was the promotion board.” However, that was also the week for his honeymoon, so he figured he would never get promoted.

 

In January 1960, he was summoned by the First Sergeant and Station Commander. He said, “I went in, and stood at attention, and saluted, and the First Sergeant proceeded to chew me out.” While wondering what he had done, the First Sergeant stood there smiling. “He looked at me, and the Commander said, ‘Congratulations!’ He promoted me to E-5. I was shocked!” Jerry expressed his relief and was good natured about the teasing by his superiors.

 

One of the more amusing stories Jerry relayed was about getting to an assignment in Germany in the mid-1960s. Jerry explained, “In those days, they would put you on the ship and send you over. So I got concurrent travel with my wife and two kids that I had at the time, and we went into New York – Fort Hamilton – and got on the ship.” The water in the harbor was smooth. At this point in the interview, Jerry started laughing as he told the story.

 

“There were no waves, nothing, it was great… And then the ship started sailing out of the harbor. I went inside, and people were hanging over the commode vomiting! I mean, they were already sick, and we hadn’t gone 3 miles! We were still in the harbor!” The rest of the trip didn’t improve for those with seasickness, though, as Jerry said the ocean was rough the whole way across the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Luck was not with Jerry when he traveled to and from overseas locations. Many of his travels sounded like a comedy of errors, but his good-natured telling of these stories made them so amusing. My favorite of his travel mishaps related to his trip coming home from being stationed in Turkey. Shortly before he, his wife, and their young son were scheduled to depart, they moved from their apartment into temporary quarters in a hotel. “My wife was a little bit leery of it and sure enough, my son John broke out with the measles. It was really bad.” But they were able to depart on time, and flew from Turkey to Paris to New York City. That’s when things got weird.

 

“The plane pulled up. Stopped. And nobody was doing anything. Somebody boarded the plane, and they were coming back directly towards us. They reached in, got my son, and said, ‘We think he’s got smallpox.’ So they quarantined the whole plane!” I was gasping in shock, and Jerry was laughing.

 

“Smallpox, at the time, hadn’t been eradicated in Turkey. The whole plane was quarantined until we could take him in and the doctor could look at him and determine that he didn’t have smallpox but that it was the measles. So that was a two-hour wait to get through all of that. And then the people on the plane could finally get off!” Laughing, Jerry said, “All of our trips were similar to that. All of them. We always had things happen like that.”

 

Jerry’s memory for people, places, and events was wonderful. He provided great details about the people he met and friendships he made during his career. From the Command Sergeant Major he bowled with while stationed in Germany, to the Czech couple who rented Jerry and his family an apartment, to the airport employee who let he and his family put their bags on board the airplane for free. He said, “Everybody’s looked out for me throughout my career.”

 

Kimberley spent some time stationed in Nha Trang, Viet Nam. Of this experience, he stated, “I wasn’t on the front lines or anything, but I did get shelled periodically.”

 

After his year-long tour there, he was once again stationed at Fort Monmouth. “I got assigned to the Communications Systems Agency up there… as a contracting officer representative.”Much like today’s contracting officer representatives, Jerry spoke about how “They did similar things to what we do here, except they did specifications and engineering for systems that would be bought and be given to the users in the field.” He referred to this as a good tour.

 

One of the common themes Jerry stressed throughout the interview was his concern for those Soldiers he oversaw. He was promoted to First Sergeant while stationed at the Pentagon. “I was there for almost three years as a First Sergeant, which was a trip. I got to see all the Pentagon! I was on Fort Myer, where my Company Commander and I stayed. I’d had to visit the Pentagon every day or so to see my troops and take care of them.”

 

He spent six months at the Sergeant Major Academy. While he enjoyed the experience, it was not without difficulties. The logistics of moving his family to Fort Bliss, Texas, for six months while his children were in high school was not easy. “You know, it was a big disruption to do that, and they wouldn’t tell you were you were going after it was all over.” This tour gave Jerry and his family the opportunity to travel in the nearby area, and spend time hiking and fishing in the old mining towns.

 

The East Coast Telecommunications Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland, had an opening for a Sergeant Major position as an operations NCO. He spent eight years stationed at Fort Detrick, working for four different commanders. His final assignment there was as a station chief, and it was – like some of the other promotions throughout Jerry’s career – a bit of a surprise to him.

 

One day the commander came and told him he was the station chief, because the former station chief was relieved of duty for unethical conduct. “The executive officer had rated the personnel sergeant, and given him less than a [maximum rating]. The former station chief had come in and tried to persuade the XO to give him a full 125 rating, and the XO wouldn’t do it. So the former section chief conspired, made up a new rating, signed the executive officer’s and commander’s name, and had the clerk carry it over to personnel.” From there, the wheels fell off this plan. “He got kicked out and I took over as the station chief and stayed there until May 1987.”

 

Being an enlisted person, he had to wait six months to apply for civilian employment. He spent that six months repairing the basement in the house he’d just bought. On November 9, 1987, we was offered a GS-09/11 position with ISEC. “I was hoping for a GS-12, but I decided to take the job and signed the paperwork that day.” In a stroke of serendipity, the following day President Reagan instilled a government-wide hiring freeze.

 

Jerry had the opportunity to see communications technology evolve during his career as a Signal Soldier and as a CECOM civilian. A key theme throughout the interview was Jerry’s insight into the unpredictable nature of the future of communications. “I came in when High Frequency Radio was the thing. That was the communications [technology]; then teletypewriters. Then we had the satellites go up, and in 1967 was when they started communicating, which killed my HF radio worldwide, except for MARS. We’ve gone from the initial point of putting things on the satellite at a very low bandwidth; we could put three, maybe six, kilobits over a copper pair. Now, we can put gigabits over the same wire.”

 

“It’s just phenomenal. And the rate of information keeps going up as the physical dimensions are getting smaller.” When he came into the Army, vacuum tubes were what was used for communications, which later led to the use of transistors. Those were replaced by diodes. “In the old days, the transistors were an inch across, but now you can hardly see them.”

 

When asked what some of the more successful developments in communications technology during his career, Jerry answered without hesitation, “All the success was driven by satellites.”

 

“The things that we’ve done now [in 2014] won’t be here in a hundred years. It’ll be something else.” Jerry was optimistic about the technological capabilities of the future. “There’s all sorts of things that can be done, that will be done. We just don’t know what it’s going to be.”

 

Currently, Jerry works with contractors, the local network folks at each garrison, other CECOM employees, and even other agencies to ensure these groups are able to install and maintain the communications infrastructure for the Army.

 

Many people Jerry’s age have already retired or are planning to do so. For Jerry, though, that’s not even a consideration. “It’s been a trip; 56 years of communications.” Looking specifically at his agency, Jerry said, “ISEC has been in existence, essentially, since I came in the Army,” although under a different name. “It’s been through many iterations: from running copper wire on the battlefield, to UHV, to tropo-scatter, high frequency radio, satellite, to fiber optics.”

 

Speaking about his work, he said smiling, “It’s an interesting job.” Jerry plans to keep on working as long as possible. He credits the mental aspects of the job with keeping him excited and engaged all these years. “I learned more since I’ve been at ISEC than I did during my enlisted career.”

 

When asked about the most important aspect of ISEC’s work, Jerry paused a bit, thoughtful. “We were here and did the engineering to utilize the technologies that existed to improve the communications for everybody,” and not just for the Army. “That will be our legacy.”

 

Agencies and services will transform, Jerry acknowledged, but the mission of “keeping the Warfighter with the communications they require to do the jobs they need to do” will endure.

 

 

Posted in History Outreach.

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Seaside, as photographed by Frank Cole

How’s this for a Throwback Thursday? Our intern, Erin Zerhusen, had a great find this afternoon while conducting an in-depth index of the Frank Cole papers.

Seaside in the 1920s

Seaside in the 1920s

This is a Seaside, New Jersey, at what we believe to be the intersection of the Boardwalk and Sherman Ave. If any of our readers can confirm this, or if we’ve got the location wrong.

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Shelter for AN/MRC

The two images here depict the Shelter HO-17 for Mobile Radio Communication Station AN/MRC. The fist image shows the front view, the second image shows the curbside view.

Shelter for AN/MRC

Shelter for AN/MRC

The shelter was a product of the Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories.

Shelter for AN/MRC

Shelter for AN/MRC

The images date from 1948.

Note: This blog compiled by Floyd, and posted by Chrissie.

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Bravery Under Fire

This framed photo reproduction of an original oil painting was presented to Private First Class Robert H. Phillips by Briadier General Richard C. Horne III, Commanding General, US Army Signal Center and School, Fort Monmouth, NJ, on 20 October 1969. The original painting hangs in the foyer of the School Brigade Headquarters at Fort Monmouth, NJ. The subject of the painting, Mr. Robert Phillips, Jr., is the father of PFC Phillips. The presentation was made to PFC Phillips in honor of his father, Mr. Phillips, in recognition of his service to his country. The original painting was presented to the Chief Signal Officer, Major General Harry C. Ingles, by the General Cable Corporation on 29 March 1944. The pictures shows and episode in the North African campaign in which Mr. Phillips, then LT Phillips, was severely wounded during a bombing attack, losing his right arm. In spite of his wound, he drove a jeep to a first-aid station seeking help for other wounded men.

Image # 0807

Image # 0807

For bibliography purposes, these images can be cited:

Image #—, “US Army Photo collection, C-E Museum Acquisition” from the CECOM Historical Office archive, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.

Make sure to double-check your style guide for the appropriate method of citation for your work. Need a higher resolution version of this same photo? Leave us a comment below or click on our contact page above, and reference the image number. Each of the scanned originals is approximately 2-11 MB.

Posted in Photo Series.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , .

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