National Geographic : 1941 Jul
Around the Clock with Your Soldier Boy U. S. Army Signal (Corps. Ollicial "Jump"-"Jump"-"Jump,"Says the Jump Master, and Out They Pour! At lower right swings a man whose parachute is just opening. Below the plane another man's chute cover is being ripped by the tight line that runs to the plane. From the open door leans another, ready to leap. Should a chute fail to open, the jumper has an emergency one, which is pulled by hand. At Fort Benning, Georgia, the writer saw a parachutist save his life by that means. Behind the plane flies a cargo ship, which drops supplies and equipment. Boys learn both to send and receive. Some also learn to encipher and decipher, with the aid of Army secret code books and an odd cipher machine. Such code and radio training, freely given here, will be of enormous value to these boys in later life, in or out of the Army. Besides this Armored Force, the Infantry, Cavalry, Air Corps, and the Field and Coast Artilleries all have their own systems of com munication. They, too, have radio and code schools, in which thousands of recruits are being trained. The Signal Corps Breeds and Trains Carrier Pigeons All other done by the phone lines to Panama. Army communications work is Signal Corps. It has built tele and radio stations from Alaska It, too, draws its share of volun- teers and draftees, many of whom are now coming from our great radio, telephone, and telegraph companies. That wireless network which ties the War Department at Washington with all corps areas in continental United States, and with Army headquarters in Manila, Honolulu, Panama, etc., is run by the Signal Corps. Every post has a "message center." To intercept and decode enemy messages is one of the Signal Corps' chief jobs. With this work the writer was once joined in an international "incident" wherein nocturnal wire-tapping played its part. Some odd mes sages were caught. In reply to a question from headquarters as to his plans, should America attack, a certain foreign naval officer replied: "On account of the accursed condi tion of my boilers, I shall sink my ship-and let him save himself who can."