13th Signal Battalion
Organizational Legacy
"Voice of Command"

  "Signal Battalion, Air-Ground Operations  
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Signal Corps - Artillery Range Finding

Battalion Distinctive Unit Insignia


The 1st Cavalry Division, a major subordinate command of the US Third Mobile Armored Corps, is a 19,000 soldier, heavy armored division stationed at Ft. Hood, TX. As one of the two "on-call" heavy contingency force divisions of the Army, the First Team has an on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice. The following narratives, divided in timeline eras of major operational missions, describes the threat environment, tactical conditions, evolution of equipment technology and the strategic methodology employed by one of the subnorate units of the Separate Battalions and Companies Command, the 13th Signal Battalion whose accomplishments and and the honors they achieved are summarized in the sections that follow.

On 01 July 1916, the 13th Signal Battalion was constituted in the Regular Army as a Signal Corps Battalion and on 14 July 1917 was organized at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, as the 7th Field Battalion, Signal Corps. The association of the 13th Signal Battalion with the 1st Cavalry Division began on 19 September, 1932, when it was reconstituted in the Regular Army and consolidated with the 1st Signal Troop and subsequently consolidated as a unit designated as "1st Signal Troop", an element of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Following a long series of assignments, as described in the sections thst follow - 13th Signal Battalion, Separate Battalions and Companies was inactivated at Ft. Hood, TX. on 15 July 2005 as part of task of reorganizing and realigning the manpower and equipment resources of the 1st Cavalry Division into the Army Matrix of Modular Forces.


The mission of the 13th Signal Battalion is, on orders, deploy to a designated contingency area of operations, conduct reception, staging, onward movement and integration. It would then, on order, establish C4 and Information Systems Network in support of 1st Cavalry Division combat operations and redeploy. Specified tasks included: Install, Operate, and Maintain (IOM) the communications network for the 1st Cavalry Division; be prepared to deploy in support of world wide contingency missions; and provide viable, effective family support to soldiers, civilians, and their families.

Organizational Summary:

On June 21, 1860, Captain Albert J, Myer received a letter from the War Department that ordered him to organize and command a new US Army Signal Corps group. The letter did not contain any specific objectives that would provide any guidance or substance. It authorized $2,000 for equipment and a promotion for Myer to major, to be effective on 27 June. Myer was faced with the responsibility of recruiting subordinates who could be detailed from elsewhere in the Army. The Signal Corps would not commence as an official Army organization until 03 March, 1863, at which time Myer was promoted to colonel.

The Signal Corps in the twenty-first century bears little resemblance to the organization founded by Maj. Albert J. Myer in 1860. Although the United States Army was the first in the world to have a separate communications branch, the legislation authorizing its establishment provided for neither permanent personnel nor units. Soldiers were detailed to signal duty from their regularly assigned units.

Innovations developed by Myer during the Civil War included an unsuccessfu balloon experiment at the first Battle of Bull Run and, in response to a requirement for a Signal Corps field-telegraph train, an electric telegraph in the form of the Beardslee magnetoelectric telegraph machine was developed. Even in the Civil War, the wigwag system, dependent upon line-of-sight, was waning in the face of the electric telegraph.

The electric telegraph, in addition to visual signaling, became a Signal Corps responsibility in 1867. Within 12 years, the corps had constructed, and was maintaining and operating, some 4,000 miles of telegraph lines along the country’s western frontier. In 1870, the Signal Corps established a congressionally mandated national weather service.

For the next thirty years, the Signal Corps remained a small organization whose members were scattered among the many posts of the Army to provide communications and take weather observations. The necessity for having a separate Signal Corps continued to be debated in the halls of Congress and within the Army itself. Communications still was not widely recognized as a military specialty in and of itself.

During the 1880's, the earliest permanent signal units were formed in the National Guard. New York and Illinois were among the first states to have such organizations. It took the Regular Army a little longer to follow suit. Signal companies designated "A" through "H" entered the force structure in 1898 and 1899. From this modest start, the Signal Corps continued to grow during the twentieth century as the United States and its Army assumed global responsibilities. The rise of telecommunications also meant that signaling duties became increasingly complex and an integral part of military operations.

The role of the Signal Corps in the Spanish American War of 1898 and the subsequent Philippine Insurrection was on a grander scale than it had been in the Civil War. In addition to visual signaling, including heliograph, the corps supplied telephone and telegraph wire lines and cable communications, fostered the use of telephones in combat, employed combat photography and renewed the use of balloons. Shortly after the war, the Signal Corps constructed the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System, introducing the first wireless telegraph in the Western Hemisphere.

On 01 August, 1907, an Aeronautical Division was established within the office of the Chief Signal Officer. In 1908, the Wright brothers made test flights of the Army’s first airplane built to Signal Corps’ specifications. Army aviation remained within the Signal Corps until 1918, when it became the Army Air Service.

The Signal Corps lost no time in meeting the challenges of World War I. Working closely with private industry to perfect radio tubes while creating a major signal laboratory at Camp Alfred Vail, NJ (later Fort Monmouth). Early radiotelephones developed by the Signal Corps were introduced into the European theater in 1918. While the new American voice radios were superior to the radiotelegraph sets, telephone and telegraph remained the major technology of World War I.

A pioneer in radar developments, the Signal Corps laboratories at Fort Monmouth, patented the first Army radar that was demonstrated in May 1937. Even before the United States entered World War II, mass production of two radar sets, the SCR-268 and the SCR-270, had begun. Along with the Signal Corps’ tactical frequency-modulation radio, also developed in the 1930s, radar was the most important communications development of World War II.

In 1945, the Signal Corps’ Project Diana successfully bounced radar signals off the moon, paving the way for space communications. On 18 December 1958, with Air Force assistance, the Signal Corps launched its first communications satellite, Project SCORE, demonstrating the feasibility of worldwide communications in delayed and real-time mode by means of relatively simple active satellite relays.

Meanwhile, the Korean conflict cut short an all-too-brief peace. The terrain and road nets of Korea, along with the distance and speed with which communications were forced to travel, limited the use of wire. The Signal Corps’ very-high-frequency radio became the "backbone" of tactical communications throughout the conflict.

The war of Vietnam developed a requirement for high-quality telephone and message circuits led to the deployment of tropospheric-scatter radio links that could provide many circuits between locations more than 200 miles apart. Other developments included the SYNCOM satellitecommunications service and a commercial fixed-station system known as the Integrated Wideband Communications System, the Southeast Asia link in the Defense Communications System.

Today, communications systems and facilities are still evolving as the Signal Corps continues the commitment to its Regimental insignia’s motto of the Regiments, "Pro Patria Vigilans" (watchful for the country). A major program established in 1988 was the initial production and deployment phase of the mobile-subscriber equipment system. MSE, along with other innovations "exemplify the dynamics of ... [the Signal Corps’] ever-increasing mission and responsibilities in supporting the Army. The professional challenge these initiatives represent is not new to the Signal Corps. Our history is dominated by rapid change. ..." As in the past, the Signal Corps (Regiment) "will continue to ... [meet] these challenges with distinction."

Organizationally, the Signal Corps consists of approximately sixty-eight thousand men and women. Moreover, information dominance in the form of superior communications is considered to be "sine qua non" to modern warfare. The Signal Corps has indeed come a long way from Major Myer's original one-man branch.

Since 1916, the proud Warriors of the lineage units of the 13th Signal Battailion have served to provide Units of the Army and subquently the 1st Cavalry Division with increasingly improving communication technologies and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The following sections is dedicated to those officers and men who have served, trained and fought, as members of the 13th Signal Battalion and its lineage units.

This folio of material highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 13th Signal Battalion, whose actions, operations and the many critical issues resolved over its 91+ years history to meet the changing threat and the honors they achieved are summarized in the following sections:

Table of Contents

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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