By Spc. Gregory T. Summers, 1st Signal Brigade Public Affairs OfficeMay 27, 2014
USAG YONGSAN, South Korea -- 1st Signal Brigade hosted the 2014 Signal Corps Regimental Ball at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, South Korea May 16 to celebrate and honor the dedicated work of Signaleers, Soldiers, civilians and all of those who contribute to the Republic of Korea/United States Alliance's successful communications needs.
The ball served as a night to reflect on the past, praise the present and take a glance at the upcoming future of the 1st Signal Brigade. Activated in 1966 in Vietnam, the 1st Signal Brigade has been headquartered in South Korea since 1972. 2014 marks the 32nd year of the brigade serving as the "Voice of the ROK."
As the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command's (NETCOM) only tactical signal brigade in the Pacific Command (PACOM), the 1st Signal Brigade provides reliable, state-of-the-art communications for unified, combined, joint and tactical forces serving in the United Nations Command (UNC), the Combined Forces Command (CFC), United States Forces Korea (USFK), and the Eighth Field Army.
Consisting of the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 41st Signal Battalion, 36th Signal Battalion, 6th Signal Center, 251st Signal Detachment and the 14th Signal Detachment, the 1st Signal Brigade is the "First to Communicate" for all armed forces in South Korea.
The night began with the ceremonial posting of the colors and traditional toasts. 1st Signal Brigade leadership led toasts to honor the presidents and countries of both the United States and South Korea, to the U.S. /ROK Alliance and both armies, to all of the U.S. Armed Forces and to the Signal Regiment. There was also a toast to the service men and women whom were killed in action or are still missing. The toast was with water, for wine is not available to prisoners where even water is considered a luxury.
Col. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, 1st Signal Brigade Commander, said, "Under the Signal Regiment, tonight we recognize our proud Signaleers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as those serving in the Signal Corps of our Republic of Korea Allies."
A photo-slideshow produced by the 1st Signal Brigade Public Affairs Office, captured a year in pictures the 1st Signal Brigade and provided a look back at training exercises, missions, ceremonies and U.S./ROK joint relations the brigade participated in since last year's Signal Regimental Ball.
Lt. Col. Lan T. Dalat, Network Operations Management Division Chief, 1st Signal Brigade, produced an "I Am Signal" video highlighting the work and mission of 1st Signal Brigade while also boosting the morale of all Signaleers at the ball.
The South Korean music group, Boom-Boom, supplied the ball with live entertainment and played cultural, traditional Korean music. The group also put on an exhilarating dance performance. They were followed by the Eighth Army Band's small group, Seoul Food, whom sang and played contemporary American songs.
On behalf of the Signal Corps Regimental Association (SCRA), Fredenburgh presented Bronze Orders of Wahatchee and also Silver and Bronze Orders of Mercury to Signaleers and civilians of the brigade. The Bronze Wahatchee is awarded to individuals who have voluntarily contributed in a significant way to the improvement of the Signal Corps community. The Bronze Order of Mercury recognizes those who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence and selflessness and who have contributed significantly to the promotion of the Signal Corps and the Signal Regimental Association. The Silver Order of Mercury is the SCRA's highest award given to those who stand well-above their peers and have made conspicuous long-term significant contributions to the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the Signal Regimental Association.
The theme of the 2014 Signal Regimental Ball was "Winning on the Cyberspace Battlefield," because the Army is more than just the premier ground force.
"We are truly beginning a new fight, and many of you will be called to be a part of that fight in the years to come," Fredenburgh said. "I, and those who will follow me, will be looking to you to be the cyber warriors and win on the cyberspace battlefield."
The ball's guest speaker was Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney D. Harris, U.S. Army Cyber Command. Fredenburgh said that while Harris has held every position of responsibility as an infantryman for the U.S. Army, he was the perfect person to speak to Signaleers at the ball, because Harris understood the importance of being able to communicate with his Soldiers while being on the battlefield.
"Thank you for inviting me here tonight," Harris said. "I've got to tell you. As I look around and I look at myself, I wish had something orange to wear tonight." Harris laughed and so did the signal crowd.
Harris added, "The U.S. Army Signal Corps. You are the people that develop, build, operate and help defend this domain, and I am not 100 percent certain that everybody in this corps truly realizes just how important that is to our national security and our national defense."
Harris went on to explain how the networks are now becoming more than just platforms to enable mission command and communications. Harris said the battles are no longer just in the skies and battlefields, but are starting to take place in cyberspace. "At the heart of all of this cyberspace talk, is our Army Signal Corps," Harris said. "You are critically important to national security, especially when it comes to the nation's security in cyberspace."
Harris also expressed just how grateful he has been for the Signaleers in the U.S. Army. "If you talk to people around the Army today, they'll tell you it's rare to see someone like me, as an infantryman, so committed to a corps in which I have had no contact with other than understanding who it is that gave me the ability to communicate from one Bradley to the other and one squad to another on the battlefield," said Harris.
"In the old days, we used to talk about the Signal Corps and Signaleers," Harris explained, "and we used to say 'we can talk about you, but we can't talk without you.' But, that's no longer just the case, because today, we can talk about you, but we can't fight without you."
"It's no secret that I have the most enormous amount of respect for our signal corps and the amount of pride you all take in your jobs," Harris said. "I thank you and I look forward to monitoring your continued success." Harris left the podium with a standing ovation from the Signal Corps.
The ball concluded with group photos of all of 1st Signal Brigade's leaders and special staff, handshakes, well wishes and thoughts towards next year's signal ball.