Originally created 01/26/01

Museum pays tribute to Army communication

A fully restored 1943 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a framed print of Snoopy as the World War I flying ace and a letter from Charles M. Schulz and an Oscar statuette may seem to have little in common.

But they are all part of the Army Signal Corps history and are all on display at the Signal Corps Museum at Fort Gordon.

"It's one of the lesser-known museums in town. A lot of people three buildings down don't know we're here," said Mike Rodgers, the exhibit designer.

The Signal Corps was founded on June 21, 1860, by Albert J. Myer, who designed a visual signaling system that used flags. Mr. Rodgers is working on an exhibit to display the wig-wag flag used by the South as it surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Va.

Snoopy hangs in the museum with the permission of his creator, the late Charles M. Schulz.

Snoopy, the World War I flying ace, must have been a member of the Signal Corps because the aviation branch came under the Signal Corps in World War I, Mr. Rodgers reasoned in writing Mr. Schulz.

There's also an exhibit honoring World War I's "Hello Girls," the first women in the military. Hello Girls were telephone operators who worked in Europe during the war. They received Signal Corps training, wore regulation uniforms, were sworn into service and had to follow all Army regulations; however, they were denied veterans benefits until President Carter recognized them in 1978.

As the communications branch of the Army, the Signal Corps produced films during World War II. In 1946, the Signal Corps received an Oscar for its documentary Seeds of Destiny. The 21-minute film portrays the plight of the millions of children who were left at the end of World War II without food, clothing or shelter. The film raised more than $200 million for war relief, ironically earning it the status of one of the top money-making films of all time, according to the International Historic Films Inc. Web site.

The Signal Corps won a second Oscar in the same category two years later for a story about a soldier who severely damaged his legs in an accident and his struggle to recovery and self-sufficiency. That film is called Toward Independence.

The vintage tan Harley Davidson motorcycle was used by the 10th Armored Division during World War II. The 150th Signal Company was attached to the 10th.

The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

Just for fun

What: The Signal Corps Museum, Conrad Hall next to Signal Towers on Chamberlain Avenue, Fort Gordon

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Admission: Free. Call 791-3856 or 791-2818.

Kids calendar

10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday:
Weaving workshop, children age 8 and older, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, 506 Telfair St.; $22.50 members, $25 all others; 722-5495.

10 a.m. to noon Saturday:
Make a bird feeder at Michaels Arts and Crafts, 211 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway; $2; 738-9330.

1 p.m. Saturday:
Story time celebration, Borders Books and Music, 257 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway, 737-6962.

2 p.m. Saturday:
Science fair workshop for middle school students, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1336 Augusta West Parkway; 860-2310.

3 p.m. Sunday:
American Girls party featuring Felicity, Colonial character; Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1336 Augusta West Parkway; 860-2310.

2 p.m. Sunday:
Lakeside ride-out, Hilltop Riding Stables at Fort Gordon; 791-4864.

Reach Charmain Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or czbrackett@hotmail.com.


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