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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 08/05/2009 22:21:12 EDT
Subject: Readying Our Lines for 150th Series

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I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Williams, an old friend of mine from prior to the 125th series at the SCA archive on the shores of Marley Creek, Maryland. Mark is also the CSO of the 1st Section, New York Signal Corps.

While there we reminisced about the signal stations we had opened down in Harpers Ferry and up upon Maryland and Bolivar Heights during the early 1980's.

The lessons learned during that single weekend were, in my humble opinion, worth an entire year of weekend event re-enacting.

This got me to thinking - what would it take to make certain that the 150th series would see the very best grouping of signal elements so as to handle the requirements placed upon them by the upcoming wave of mega-events? I seem to remember a lull very much like the one the re-enacting community is experiencing right about now.

If next year (2010) is anything likened to times past, the community within the Mid-Atlantic will be looking at a Sailors Creek, and a Bentonville (actually a Western) event as the two biggies.

2010 seems to be the year most likely to afford field communicators the best opportunity to gather their best and brightest (including those who can afford the time and money) at a central location where modern conveniences such as lodging and history could mesh with believable and challenging field communication situational settings.

We'd have everything going for us that we didn't have 25 years ago, e.g., better equipment, expanded knowledge from first generation documentation and modern communication devices (cell phones) which the instructors would have available at their disposal to assist in this site-sensitive training exercise.

I know I seem to go into this same speech every year but planning to make the 150th a signal success (perhaps as Martha Coston might have said) could be accomplished with a concerted effort by the end of 2010 - on the very eve of the 150th - the last BIG CHANCE some of us will ever see or hope to experience.

We have signallists residing in the immediate areas of Charlestown, Martinsburg, Middletown, and the Frederick, Maryland area who may be willing to do much of the footwork necessary to insure our accommodations are met. Should it be an extended weekend? Ought we be speaking of scheduling a few 2010 days of personal leave time from our places of work?

Frankly, as an individual who thinks and acts for himself, can we expect you to respond to this post? For without your input, there can be little hope for setting aside a coordinated 150th training effort for period field communication. The mega-event cycle is about to repeat itself for the third time - 1961, 1981 and 2010.

Now may well be the time to ask questions. Now is the time to speak of 150th plans. Now is the time to tackle and win the future, our future, your future, with your talents and abilities.

"The decisive events of a soldier's life are few and far between and the intervals are devoted to waiting for these turning points. If the time he spends in waiting is usefully occupied in preparing himself for the critical moments, he will thereby enhance his chances of success, and add lustre to the promotion which his achievements are sure to obtain for him."

"The military profession involves a knowledge of almost every art, and information accumulated and held in store for the fortunate moment is suddenly demanded and called for, and he who can come forward and say, "I possess it," is the victor. A soldier can, therefore, never be placed in any situation in which his leisure moments may not be devoted to something that may in time win him a grade."

From Articles 2 & 3 of August V. Kautz' "Customs of Service" Phila. 1864.

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