Lieutenant General Charles R. Myer
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Myer, Charles R.
Division-level communications, 1962-1973.
Supt. of Docs. no.: D 101.74:073/5/962-73
1. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975-Communications.
2. Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975-United States.
1. Title. II. Series.
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Washington, D.C. 20402
The United States Army met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.
Now that this assignment has ended, the U.S. Army must prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.
Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed. and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities have prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have through our history, to exacting and trying demands.
The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the
monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.
All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the author. To facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is filed with the U.S. Army Center of Military History.
Lieutenant General Charles Robert Myer, one of the top communicators in the United States Army, was a professional communicator during his entire career and .served in a variety of assignments with nonprofessional as well as professional communicators. From 1960 to 1963 he was involved in communications combat developments as a staff officer in the Directorate of Organization and Training of the Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations. In 1964 he assumed command of the 69th Signal Battalion at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In November 1965 the battalion was deployed to Vietnam, where it remained under General Myer's command until he returned to the United States in September 1966. Following command assignments included the 11th Signal Group at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, July 1968-August 1969; the U.S. Army Strategic Communications Command, Europe, January 1970-May 1972; the 1st Signal Brigade, Vietnam, June 1972-November 1972; and the U.S. Army Signal School/Training Center and Fort Gordon, Georgia, August 1973-September 1974. On 1 October 1974 General Myer's title became Commandant, United States Army Signal School, and Commander, United States Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon. In this post General Myer served as the training and combat development proponent for communications matters within the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and worked closely with the commandants of all the other Army schools to see that the communications aspects of their fields of doctrinal responsibility were integrated into future operational concepts and developments. General Myer subsequently served as Director, Telecommunications and Command and Control; Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, September 1977-October 1978; Assistant Chief of Staff, Automation and Communications, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., October 1978-July 1979; and Deputy Director General of NATO
Integrated Communications Management Agency, July 1979-31 March 1981. He was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 August 1979, and he retired from service on 31 March 1981.
20 July 1981
|ROBERT M. JOYCE
Brigadier General, USA
The Adjutant General
Concentrating on the Vietnam communications experience at division level and lower, this monograph is a companion volume to Major General Thomas M. Rienzi's comprehensive Communications-Electronics. Communications in Vietnam were so interrelated and interwoven that familiarity with the overall and supporting situation as portrayed by General Rienzi will promote better understanding and appreciation of the divisional communications story.
Communications is the primary mission of the Signal Corps and its members. Division-Level Communications is a story not only of some very fine Signal Corps units and individuals but also of many other communicators from the Infantry, Armor, Artillery, and all other branches of the Army. It is a combined arms story; on the battlefield, communications is everybody's business.
The scope of this study includes the stateside alert and readying of units for Vietnam duty and the reaction of the Army training base to supply the volume of trained specialists needed to man the equipment associated with a modern communications system. The transition from peacetime status to battlefield effectiveness is always difficult, normally made more so because of severe shortages of time, equipment, and skilled men.
The study points out examples of errors and shortfalls without losing sight of the things that went right. Vietnam unit after-action reports and senior officer end-of-tour debriefing reports were notable in their paucity of complaints about communications difficulties; things did go right in the communications field most of the time. Communications, mobility, and firepower formed the triad upon which Vietnam tactical operations were based.
Data for this monograph was drawn primarily from after action reports and interviews, documented lessons learned, official reports, and recent interviews and letters from numerous individuals who served with the seven divisions and five separate brigades and regiments which were the heart of divisional communications. Sincere appreciation goes to the many communicators and commanders, active and retired, who shared
their experiences, photographs, and papers so that this volume could be written. A special word of thanks is reserved for those members of the Signal School staff who assisted in researching and organizing this monograph.
|20 July 1981
||CHARLES R. MYER
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
|I. EARLY INVOLVEMENTS AND DEVELOPMENTS||3|
|II. COMMITMENT OF AMERICAN GROUND COMBAT FORCES||16|
|III. BLUNTING THE ENEMY DRIVE||23|
|IV. SHIFT TO THE OFFENSIVE||37|
|V. RIVERINE OPERATIONS AND THE CAMBODIAN INCURSION||49|
|VII. COMMUNICATIONS SECURITY THREAT||64|
|VIII. SECURITY RESPONSE||68|
|IX. THE ART AND PROCESS OF COMMUNICATING||73|
|XII. THE TRAINING BASE||87|
|XIII. COMBAT COMMUNICATIONS IN RETROSPECT||99|
|APPENDIX A: SOME DIVISIONAL ENLISTED MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES, COMMUNICATIONS||103|
|2.||Geographic Regions, South Vietnam||6|
|3.||American Units in Vietnam||8|
|4.||Major Combat Operations, July 1965-June 1966||26|
|Radio Telephone Operator||9|
|Early Command Communications Console With Aircraft Radios||13|
|Early Command Communications Console With VRC-12 Series Radios||14|
|Men of the 13th Signal Battalion Operate Airborne Relay||29|
|Nui Ba Den, June 1966||30|
|Division Tactical Operations Center Switchboard||34|
|High Frequency Radio Bunker||35|
|Radio Wire Integration Station||42|
|AN/GRC/TCC-3 Multi-channel Equipment||53|
|Students Erect Antenna||80|
All illustrations are from Department of Defense files.
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