U.S. ARMY SIGNAL CORPS OFFICER'S CEREMONIAL BELT

Worn with the Army Service Uniform, our Signal Corps ceremonial belt is manufactured in the branch colors of Orange and White with a gold border. The buckle is emblazoned with the Coat of Arms of the United States, taken from the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States.
 
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The Vietnam War was a time of significant growth for the Signal Corps, both in numbers and new technologies. But what many casual observers might not realize is that the Corps’ expansion was built upon the bedrock of a presence in Vietnam that predated even President Harry S. Truman’s 1950 authorization for the Military Assistance Advisory Group to assist the French during the First Indochina War. According to a history of Signal Corps operations in Vietnam published on the Web site of the U.S. Army Signal Corps Officer Candidate School Association, the Signal Corps first established a communications station, or listening post, at the Hotel Metropole in Hanoi in August, 1945.

With the defeat of the French at %u0110i%u1EC7n Biên Ph%u1EE7 and the United Nations division of Vietnam into North and South, the United States threw its support behind the South Vietnamese government and began sending Signal Corps advisors to instruct the Vietnamese Signal Corps in; of the 16,000-plus U.S. advisors in Vietnam when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the majority were Signal Corps personnel. In addition to training their South Vietnamese counterparts, these Signal Corps members were of course listening in on communications emanating throughout the region.

In 1966, General William Westmoreland created I and II Field Forces, corps-sized headquarters responsible for the oversight of operations in Tactical Zones. With the establishment of the Field Forces came the need for a single, unified command to coordinate Signal Corps efforts, and as a result the 1st Signal Brigade was formed March 26 and activated on April 1—the first TOE brigade since the Corps had been established more than a hundred years earlier. At its peak in 1968, the 1st Signal Brigade comprised twenty-two battalions consisting of some 23,000 men. The battalions were organized into Signal Groups generally along geographical lines.

The 2nd Signal Group supported battalions deployed in the III and IV Corps Tactical Zones, which consisted of the central highlands, nearby coastal areas, Saigon and its surrounding vicinity, and the Mekong Delta region. 12th Signal Corps was responsible for all area communications in I Corps Tactical Zone (the five northernmost provinces); the 21st Signal Group was assigned to I and II Corps Tactical Zones, the 29th Signal Group was based in Thailand, and the 160th’s battalions were stationed in Saigon and Long Binh.

Through a variety of techniques, most famously the use of tropospheric scatter to extend radio communications, the work of the 1st Signal Brigade made it possible for the first time in U.S. military history for commanders on the ground to access essentially anyone within the chain of command within seconds—a capability that we take for granted now, but which forever changed the way the U.S. engaged in combat operations.
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