Regimental Division,
Office Chief of Signal

United States Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, GA
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Albert J. Myer

Crossed flags and torch, the insignia of the Signal Corps, represent the first means of military communication employed by Assistant Surgeon Albert James Myer, founder, organizer, and first Chief of the United States Army Signal Corps. His genius lay in his ability to devise a simple visual signal system of "wig-wagging". A flag by day and a torch by night. By moving the flag to the left or right indicating the letters of the alphabet made for easy interpretation by a trained soldier. This signal system met essential military requirements because it was militarily effective and was light, sturdy, easily transportable, and made with inexpensive material.

Albert J. Myer pressed for a separate branch of the Signal Corps. On June 21, 1860, (the birth date of the Signal Corps) the United States Congress authorized the Army one signal officer with the rank of major and a mere $2,000 for signaling equipment. Myer, repeating his arguments for a separate Signal Corps, finally succeeded and on 3 March 1863, an act was passed, providing for a separate Signal Corps. On display in the Albert J. Myer exhibit is a picture of Myer taken in the late 1850's at Ft. Davis, Texas, his medical service sword, his chapeau (hat), shoulder boards, telescope, canteen, powder bag and pocket compass. The flag on display is a reproduction of an "Honors Flag", the flag is essentially a wigwag flag with a star. An "Honors Flag" was presented to a Signal Corps Officer who distinguished himself in combat.


Last modified on:
April 04, 2012

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