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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 05/20/2003 08:51:27 EDT
Subject: How

Message Detail:
I was pondering this morning as I sometimes do about the direction our re-enactors' division may be moving.

A few years ago I received an E-wire from one of the Camp Chase Gazette field reporters. His missive was in response to something I had written regarding the use of signals and telegraph living history operations at events.

What came next was shocking. He told me that I was not up with reality in the re-enacting field. This gentleman and another side kick reporter had travelled extensively throughout the east and mid-west obtaining stories for articles they wrote for the Camp Chase Gazette. As part of their interviewing tasks, these fellows would interview the over-all commanders as to the successes and failures of any particular event. A few of the over riding concerns these leaders most often made was the lack or failure of event communications and that all too often there seemed to be a lack of accountability amongst the assigned subordinate commanders on both sides of the field.

The reporter told me that, as far as he could determine, the participation of signal re-enactors virtually made no or little sustained impact relative to solving the communication difficulties encountered.

After reading many of the re-enactor posts about how boring some events are and that they oft times drop their flags, take up their muskets and branish their pistols, it brings home the point that many in this catagory may not own a copy of Brown's signal history or seldom ever open it for content.

My intent of this missive is to ask our readership to contribute some sort of understanding that we may know in what direction our detachments may be going. I'm not particularly wanting to know a specific incident where the flags of your or another detachment saved the day as I am interested in knowing the commitment shared by some or the majority of period 1860's emulators. I
ve got a few questions you might want to consider. You don't have to answer them now. Go to your next event and then tell us of your observations. Be a cyber inspector general. If you are not an independent operator, and already belong to a detachment, pass your thoughts by your unit commander. Perhaps he'd want you to share your thoughts through his office. Here are the questions:

1. What do you think your event goals to be?

2. What does the event staff or committee wish to see accomplished? Did they invite you or other signallists to pre-event meetings?

3. What site maps were you provided with and have you or your unit commander received and reviewed planned event scenarios prior to reaching the event site?

4. How much are you and your pards willing to commit to the success of the event? Do you regularly employ a duty roster at events to ensure that someone is always available when called for by an officer of the staff to which you are assigned?

5. Do you work as hard as the rest of an army's general or division/brigade staff at getting the known event mission accomplished?

6. Do you always know what that mission is and do you know what must be done to effect it? If it changes as it so often does, can you and your members adapt so as to spit or re-assign a portion of your detachment to cover the pop-up communication needs of newly formed on-site elements, i.e. create sub set signal groups to serve away from your immediate command?

7. Can your detachment sustain splitting up the unit for a weekend? This dosen't sound good to many group oriented re-enactors. All too many re-created signal detachments have an infantry mentality when it comes to the cohesiveness of their group. By the nature of signal and telegraphic operations, and for the success of an event, the need for our services oft times demand the telescoping of our resources. When called upon, can we and our leaders rise to such tasks?

How good do we wanna get? What do we go to events to accomplish? Is our buringing desire that of making the event the most historical re-creation to date? Is this what te staff wants too? Do they know what you are capable of? If they've involved you in their pre-envt planning, then they might need you. If they believe in your abilities, then you have been listed in their event packets and published as part of their staff (along with the ordnance/safety inspector and 'lo and behold' their chief of couriers). If not how can this change?

Its your time, your money, your committment, your opportunity .

Once there was a head of this organization who stopped by the road to chatt with spectators. After a few minutes the fellow looked up and saw that his group was, by now, some distance ahead of him. He bid the spectators good-bye saying, "I must go. I am their leader and must follow them."

I ask that you define the role of your detachment and how it can better be integrated with that of other attending detachments at events and put your thoughts to a group discussion. That way, you'll know what your group is willing to do to make an event a success. Declare your intentions should you be so bold and attempt to make your vision a reality for the betterment of event spectators, army commanders, the element with which you may be serving, your detachment and you. Collectively, have your detachment establish your intended direction and then ask your unit commander and his support people to follow. It has been said that we should lead by example. I ask that you set the example and ask your detachment commander to lead in that direction. By doing so, and by monitoring your progress at events, you'll surely get a better idea of how good you really wanna be. Agn, this forum is here to address discipline specific questions. We may not have all of the answers, but collectively, we can move ahead.

(tip-toe-ing softly, Walt descends from his soap box.

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Signal Corps Association Re-enactors' Division (SCARD)
Follow ups:
  • RE: How - Dave Gaddy 05/20/2003 09:40:29 EDT (1)

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