The U.S. Army Signal Corps was established in March 1863. The first type of communication the Signal Corp used was the semaphore, a flag signaling system used in the American Civil War. Towards the end of the war, the Corp developed a telegraph networking system to communicate coast to coast. Later, the telephone, the heliography and observation balloons were used. In fact, the Signal Corp oversaw military aviation and developing procuring aircraft. The first procurement was an aircraft purchased from the Wright brothers in 1908. The Army Air Corps took control of aviation matters in 1914. It was in World War I and World War II, the Signal Corp designed and developed radio technology. Without the Signal Corp, the warfighter would have been fighting in a vacuum, with no or limited information regarding the enemy. During the Vietnam War, the Signal Corp quickly developed a doctrine that supported rapid responses by combat arms troops. Communication equipment that was small lightweight, portable, and reliable was developed to be used in the field. One of the lessons learned during Vietnam was that the Signal Corp had to be flexible and able to communicate over larger distances than experienced in previous wars.
This week we salute Pete Martin. Pete was a First LT in the U.S. Army. He was commissioned in 1968 through the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). He served from 1969 to 1970. Likewise, he was sent to Vietnam as a Signal Corp officer. After serving, he came back to Montana and attended graduate school where he earned a Master’s degree. He worked for the Fish and Game for 11 years. He then worked at the Colstrip Coal mine for 27 years when he was a biologist and he has been a Rosebud county resident since 1973. Furthermore, he is married to Susan, and they have three daughters and one son.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.