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Women in Communications History – Esther Ipri

Women in Army Communications History – Esther Ipri

The information used to prepare this Blog comes from a 6 April 1972 edition of The Monmouth Message, a newspaper publication of the era that covered news relevant to the Signal Corps, Signal Laboratories, and Fort Monmouth. The Monmouth Message and other CECOM Program related newspapers are available through the CECOM Historical Office. This edition of the paper features the story “Esther Ipri is awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.”

A resident of Middletown, New Jersey, Mrs. Ipri entered Federal Service at Fort Monmouth in December 1941. She had, in 1972, been a member of the School staff for over 20 years, having taken that position in 1958. Her position was a chief, Academic Records Division and School registrar.

Mrs. Ipri was the first woman to receive the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the second highest Department of the Army decoration, at the Army Signal Center and School. The medal was presented by Brigadier General Richard C. Horne, III, the Commander of the Signal School, at a ceremony at School headquarters.

The citation accompanying the medal noted Mrs. Ipri’s notable achievements are the result of her long experience, mature judgment, and devotion to duty, combined with professional pride and genuine interest in students as individuals. She has consistently directed, coordinated, and administered the demanding functions and responsibilities of her office in a manner worthy of recognition. The article goes on to state that the citation emphasized her “unusual initiative and uncommon expertise in devising new and improved work methods and procedures” and that she was an inspiration to others to improve both the quantity and quality of their work.

In her position, she was responsible for interviewing, enrolling, evaluating, and assigning classes for Signal School students. As noted, during her tenure as registrar, over 296,023 students were enrolled and graduated from the Signal School. Each graduating student received a diploma signed by Mrs. Ipri. As recorder of the Faculty Board, she also made recommendations on the recycling, reclassification, or relief of students. This Board was a vehicle used for counseling or reclassifying students who had difficulty “with their highly sophisticated electronics courses.”

A search of the Internet generated additional community newspaper articles indicating that Mrs. Ipri was the recipient of other Army awards for cost savings and outstanding job performance. A native of Long Branch, Mrs. Ipri resided in Middletown, with her husband, Valentine, who was chief, of the Signal School’s Fixed Station Branch, Radio Division. She was a graduate of Long Branch High School.

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