settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 2 Jun 1997 11:45:26 -0500
Grant O'Neil wrote earlier:
>I am sure Mike Walton could confirm this from a US Army Signal Corps
>perspective, but I recall being of the same opinion when I joined the
>Signal Corps and was surprised that we were to be taught morse.
I was taught Morse code from Scouting. The US Army still teaches Morse code
as part of basic signalling skills for enlisted communications specialists
but *not* for officers. In the officer's basic course, much of the training
concentrates on serving as one of three operations team leaders (Platoon
Leaders) and the leadership, planning and operations skills needed to do
that job well. Much of it centers on the leader working and establishing a
relationship with the enlisted operations team sergeant (Platoon Sergeant)
and allowing him or her to "run the team" while you manage the team.
I was surprised when attending my basic officer's course and later my
advanced officers' course (and even later, the "update" course) and not a
word of code was taught to us, nor expected from us to learn. Everything is
going digital, and much of the coursework centered on leadership and basic
connection and operation theories. There was some "this is how it works"
and "historical backgrond and significance" but not a day or hour was
devoted to teaching anything other than those skills.
Of course, there are lots of officers out there that can tap out Morse code
(I'm really rusty!!), use semaphore flags (never had the chance to do it)
and use sign language (can produce a sentence and by the time I'm through,
the other part would be asleep! *grinning*) but not that many. Most of us,
however, can connect a field telephone, test a switchboard, and send and
receive a message using a FM radio (basic soldier skills).
Remember, it was a phone credit card and an enterprising soldier calling
back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina which made the difference in the Grenada
campaign; it was satellite communication and teleconferencing by computers
that are making the difference in Bosnia and Croatia today.
A long way from code.....
To those that feel that Signalling should be retained as a Scout merit badge
skill, I agree with you. However, the BSA looks at the NUMBERS of Scouts
earning various merit badges as a determinator as to what goes and what
stays, and Signalling has been on a long slide downward for years, while
Computers has been increasing steady.
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://www.vhm.com/~uscardnl/
241 Fairview Dr., Henderson, KY 42420-4339 firstname.lastname@example.org
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