Signal Corps Association Reenactors Division (SCARD)

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Posted By: Mark Hageman on: 06/07/2003 16:27:37 EDT
Subject: RE: Signal Corps Reenactors ORGANIZED!

Message Detail:
John,

I couldn't agree more with you, I too am in.

What we need is more FNG's that WANT to actually be proficient, learn/teach, organize, and TAKE PART in both pre-planning as well as during battle scenarios.

As a member of the 1st Section, US Signal Corps, Department of New York, SCARD, we have implemented certain standards within our group, along with proficiency levels that each individual must pass prior to performing those duties (without a proficient instructor) on the field.

We have completed an internal "Manual", if you will, on these basic requirements and membership responsibilities. The creation of a training video has been bounced around numerous times. And I have volunteered in doing my part in assiting Walt re-vamp the website with some new and exciting enhancements. (time has been the only factor in implemention)

We currently use a standarized 2-element alphabetical/preconcerted code, with event specific stutter codes. We use Military DOT rather than international morse for the telegraph.

We hold two Camp of instructions each season (begining and end), where certifications of proficiency are given after examination. Typically the first is held prior to our first event and is just a day long get together in modern clothing to work out any bugs that may have set in over the long winter months here in the north, this year it was a weekend camp along with the Artillery training camp at Fort Onterio, NY. We are planning our second (date yet to be set) toward the end of the season (Aug/Sept).

This all works great for those in our unit, the problem is getting other units to organize with us, participate in our instruction camp(s), and work WITH us in developing these standards. By doing so, when we take the field, communications can be opened immediatly, and sent without question and with confidence.

Without working together, this confidence is not there.
No Signal Unit Commander should go to an event coordinator or commander and express all the wonderful things the Signal corps can do for them, unless WE CAN DELIVER! If called upon and we fail, a second shot will be much harder to come by (lets face it, radios and cell phones on the field have been pretty common place)

Another thing that has been brought up, is the training of new recruits to quickly. We are now training in the following order:
1) Learn to be a reenactor
2) Learn to be a civil war soldier
3) Learn the History of the Signal Corps
4) Hand Signals
5) Learn to Flag
6) Learn the Key
7) Learn to Read Signals
8) Learn De-Coding
9) Learn Coding Messages
10) Live Battle "on the fly" Coding/De-coding
11) Relay signaling
12) Tourches/Lantern Signaling
13) Trainer Certification(s)

By doing so, we are not training people and handing out codes to everyone "willy-nilly" who go home after two or three events, make flags, and call themselves signalmen.

We NEED organization, dedication, and consistancy amongst ourselves if we ever want to accomplish more than sending messages between parties with little or no importance.

I for one, truly believe that SCARD, this forum and website could be the catylst and core to make "Official Signal Units" the elite group of Civil War Soldiers and communications, as they were 140 years ago.

Lets compile a listing of units (by state) that are out there who want to participate. Organize under each state commander. And hold camps of instruction by state each year, along with a national camp, say every two or three years.

We may all learn some new things, if we want to be utilized, we need to organize, market ourselves with confidence, not be complacent and learn to change.
(like my grand-dad once said,"even the dumbest person can teach you something")

Mark Hageman

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