By Spc. Gregory T. Summers, 1st Signal Brigade Public Affairs OfficeJune 10, 2014
USAG YONGSAN, South Korea (June 10, 2014) -- The 251st Signal Detachment of the 1st Signal Brigade encased its guidon and officially deactivated from the Regular Army at USAG Yongsan's multi-purpose theater facility June 6.
Leaders, Soldiers and civilians of 1st Signal Brigade attended the deactivation ceremony to honor the hard work, dedication and history of the 251st Signal Detachment during their 12 years in South Korea.
Col. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, commander, 1st Signal Brigade, said that the deactivation of the detachment is a moment in history. "I wanted to speak today, because of the importance and I won't say finality, but the finality in this particular chapter of the 251st," Fredenburgh said. "A deactivation seems so final, but in reality, the mission of the 251st will continue."
The 251st Signal Detachment has a rich history dating back to World War II. Originally constituted as the 251st Radar Maintenance Unit, Type C on Feb. 18, 1944, its first activation was at Camp Davis, N.C. July 10. After nearly two years, the unit was inactivated Jan. 15, 1946 while in the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific.
After 20 years without activity, the 251st was re-designated for assignment March 23, 1966 during the Vietnam War and became the 251st Signal Detachment. As a key signal unit during the war for four years, the detachment received campaign participation credit for the counteroffensive phases I-VII, the tet and sanctuary counteroffensives, as well as Summer-Fall 1969 and Winter-Spring 1970. However, the detachment was again inactivated Oct. 14, 1970.
It took another 32 years before the most recent return of the 251st Signal Detachment in 2002. For nearly 12 years, the detachment has been a solid and dependable communications staple across the entire Korean Peninsula.
"The 251st has served proudly in the Republic of Korea the last 12 years providing project management and technical expertise in support of the 1st Signal Brigade," Fredenburgh said. "Its mission while serving in Korea has been to extend capabilities of the Warfighters across the full spectrum of Network-Centric Operations."
The 251st Signal Detachment had three major focuses while serving in South Korea. First, their personnel, consisting of Soldiers, civilians and Korean Augmentations to the United States Army alike, worked together and engineered, furnished, installed and tested networks in facilities throughout the country. Second, the detachment worked in coordination with Korean Telecommunications companies to relocate sections of the long-haul fiber backbone during major movements or expansions. Their final major task was to provide performance evaluations for the brigade's technical facilities.
"The 251st Soldiers and civilians have literally touched every corner in Korea that has a military presence to establish lines for communication," Fredenburgh said. "Their work ranged from Busan in the south where they rewired the Commander Naval Forces Korean Bunker to the Demilitarized Zone in the north, where they provided outside planning expertise to Neutral Nations' facilities and even into North Korea, they worked on the lines of communication that link the north and south."
The last commander of the 251st Signal Detachment, Capt. Jackson Lee, said that the last year he spent commanding the detachment was the best he has had in the Army. "I've had the honor of serving as the detachment commander and this is a very unique unit, possibly the last of its kind," Lee said. "Any amount of success that I have had in this command is due solely to the hard working efforts of the Department of the Army Civilians, Korean Nationals and Soldiers of the 251st. It has been an honor to serve as the final commander for such an amazing unit."
The 251st Signal Detachment guidon was encased with many prestigious unit awards and decorations. The detachment received the Presidential Unit Citation while in Vietnam from 1966-1968, the Meritorious Unit Commendation for 1968, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm for 1967-1969, the Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, First Class for 1968-1970 and the Army Superior Unit Award in 2007 in South Korea.