General George Owen Squier’s career with the Army spanned the time from his graduation from the Military Academy in 1877, until he retired in 1924. He was associated with the Signal Corps from 1903, when he became a major, until his retirement.
Squier was born in Dryden, Michigan, 21 March 1863. After completing the eighth grade and working for two years, Squier entered West Point, graduating seventh in his class in 1887.
In reflecting about West Point later in life, he held West Point courses in high esteem. He often told anecdotes of his cadet life, to illustrate the spirit de corps which the institution developed among its officers.
After graduation from West Point, Squier was appointed as a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Artillery Corps. Squier then enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, where as a graduate student, he would specialize in mathematics, physics, and ballistics. He became a fellow from 1891 – 1892, and received a PhD in 1893.
In 1905, Squier established the first Signal School at Fort Leavenworth.
The appointment with the Signal Corps as a Captain, lead to his appointment as the Chief Signal Officer after the war. As Chief Signal Officer, Squier studied the Army’s cable and radio communications, and published papers in these fields.
Squier also studied aviation. In 1908 he became the first airplane passenger, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright! Early on, Squier saw the immense military importance of aviation.
An appointment as military attaché to the United States Embassy in London followed (1912-1916), there he did a special study of European aviation.
Squier was appointed as the Chief Signal Officer on February 14, 1917, and later that year he was promoted to Brigadier General.
As Chief Signal Officer during World War I, Squier was also responsible for the entire aviation and communications mission of the United States Army.
During the war, Squier succeeded in opening two great Army laboratories: one at Fort Monmouth for radio and another at Langley Field, Virginia, for aviation.
With the aid of his sister, Mrs. Mary Squier Parker, who survived him, he built a “country club for country people” at his birthplace, Dryden, Michigan, where he succeeded in giving summer country associations to many of his friends and fellow townspeople.
General Squier passed away at the age of 69, on 24 March 1934.
Note: Squier’s Stories is a blog mini-series about the life and inventions of George O. Squier. They are composed by Staff Historian Floyd Hertweck, and edited and posted by Staff Historian Chrissie Reilly. Our regular installment of Squier’s Stories will feature tomorrow about “Radio Signaling Apparatus.”