Regimental Division,
Office Chief of Signal

United States Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, GA
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BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES ALLEN

Like his predecessor, Adolphus Greely, Chief Signal Officer James Allen (1906-1913) encouraged the technological growth of the Corps.

BG James Allen photoHe not only continued Greely's aeronautical policies, such as the Signal Corps' balloon and dirigible operations, but also advocated an air corps, observing in 1909, that other countries were "providing themselves systematically with aerial fleets" and that a sympathetic plan of development of this military auxiliary for the United States should be inaugurated without delay."

Allen's early contributions to the Signal Corps included the development of a buzzer-phone that replaced Morse telegraphy in the field and later a field telephone.

He and George Squier (Chief Signal Officer 1917-1923) conducted endless radio experiments and were responsible for the first wireless telegraph link in the Western Hemisphere. Allen's farsightedness led him to advocate mobile signal equipment in 1906. He observed that equipment was needed to provide "instant communication by the side of the commander, wherever he may be required to go in the exercise of his duties."

When Allen retired in 1913, he left his successors with new communications technology that would be amply applied on the fields of France in World War I.

Last modified on:
April 04, 2012

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