News: 3rd Sust. Bde. celebrates Signal Corps’ 150th birthday
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Rhonda Lawson
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Signal Corps Soldiers from across the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), joined together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Army Signal Corps June 21 at the brigade headquarters building.
“As senior signaleers, we are responsible for pushing the heritage and lineage of the Signal Corps to the younger signaleers,” said Master Sgt. Monroe Baskins, communication noncommissioned officer in charge with 3rd Sust. Bde. and a Bennettsville, S.C., native.
The history of the corps dates back to June 21, 1860, when Congress authorized the addition of a signal officer to the Army staff. That officer was Maj. Albert J. Myer. He held his position until 1880, when he died, a brigadier general. Later, Fort Whipple, Va., the location of the Signal school, was renamed Fort Myer in his honor.
Baskins said the importance of this history shouldn’t be lost on the younger signal Soldiers.
“When I went through [Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses], it was a really big thing,” he said. “Now, it’s not as big. Some Soldiers don’t even know who Brigadier General Myer [was]. We want to make sure that heritage is not lost in another 150 years when they celebrate the 300th birthday of the Signal Corps.”
The brigade’s celebration began early, with a Signal Corps display in the main hallway of the headquarters that featured the corps flag, the Signal Corps Creed, and a historical slide show. Later that evening, Col. Shawn Morrissey, commander of 3rd Sust. Bde. and Sgt. Maj. Clifton Johnson, brigade command sergeant major and a Florence, Ala., native joined Signaleers from across the brigade in wishing the corps a happy birthday. During the celebration, Morrissey complimented the signal Soldiers on their professionalism.
“As commander, I have to be able to talk and the troops need you to be able to call for help” he said. “You all do a fabulous job. Without the Signal Corps, we could not do our mission.”
Johnson followed up the colonel’s remarks by presenting a brigade coin to Spc. Jason Piggee, a support systems specialist with the joint network node platoon of 3rd Sust. Bde. and a St. Louis native, and Pfc. Andrew Allen, a satellite communications specialist, also with the joint network node platoon, 3rd Sust. Bde. and an Amarillo, Texas, native, for their contributions to the brigade communications shop.
“It was a privilege to see both of my Soldiers get recognized for their outstanding achievements,” said Staff Sgt. Audrey Richardson, platoon sergeant of the joint network node platoon with 3rd Sust. Bde. and a Virginia Beach, Va., native. “I love my job and I’m proud to be celebrating [the Signal Corps birthday] in a combat zone.”
The celebration ended with the oldest and youngest Signaleers in the brigade cutting the birthday cake: Master Sgt. Wade Duplechin, a 47-year-old communication chief with the 3rd B., 156th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Sust. Bde. and a Youngsville, La., native, and Pfc. Danyul Davis, a 20-year-old automation technician with the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sust. Bde., and a Houston native.
“This is my first time doing a Signal [Corps] birthday celebration,” said Duplechin, who’s been in the Louisiana National Guard since 1980. “I didn’t expect something like this, but it was nice. It’s very good for reminding us where we came from and where we are going.”