FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., - As Americans throughout the country remembered the heroes of 9/11 this past Friday, the Network Enterprise Technology Command, (NETCOM) team unveiled 8 panels of stained glass murals honoring the Army’s Signal Warriors, who through their unselfish acts and unbridled passion to serve our great country, made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom and way of life.
“It is no accident we unveiled the new Stained Glass murals honoring our fallen warriors on this date [11 September, 2020]. The NETCOM Signal Corps Cove of Remembrance [at Greely Hall] is one of the many memorials that were born from the terrorist attack on our nation 19 years ago, and every year we have honored the fallen,” said Maj. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, NETCOM Commanding General during the virtual unveiling ceremony held last week.
The memorial Cove of Remembrance, commissioned by former NETCOM Commanding General, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Carroll Pollett, in 2006, was initially dedicated by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Susan Lawrence, on December 10th, 2008. On that day 56 Signal Soldiers and Civilians who had fallen since Sept. 11, 2001, were honored and their names and photographs were enshrined in the Cove.
Since that day, in 2008, NETCOM has added 46 more names and photos to the walls of the Cove.
“When you see the 102 faces etched in our Cove, you see champions. You see the very best of our country, from all walks of life. They represent America; our diversity, our offspring and most treasured resource; and the incredibly high price paid for democracy and freedom,” said Barrett.
During the unveiling ceremony of the stained glass panels last week at the NETCOM Headquarters, Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Knott, NETCOM Command Sergeant Major, also described the interior of the Cove of Remembrance as it relates to the history of the Signal Regiment.
“Inside the cove memorial is a Signal Torch with eternal flame, forged in bronze and empowered by the fiber of electric current signifying the everlasting commitment our Signal forces have to this great nation. A bronze American eagle – mounted on a pedestal –denotes the high esteem we hold our Signal Corps men and women of courage.”
“Also inside is a quarter size replica of the Liberty Bell, signifying the birth and challenges our great nation has endured over the years. And finally, an American Flag, flown over the Pentagon; over the battlefronts of Southwest Asia; over our Fort Gordon regimental home; and over our NETCOM headquarters, signifying our nation’s commitment to its fallen sons and daughters,” said Knott.
Maj. Gen. Barrett, and the artists describe the importance of telling the Signaleer’s story via the colored panels and artistic representation of the Signal Corps Regiment from its inception until now.
“Today, we continue the tradition of honoring the men and women who have been enshrined on these walls, as we dedicate the Stained Glass murals that now stand watch over the Cove of Remembrance. This renovation helps fulfill the Cove charter by replacing the current window art with artistic, stained glass windows,” said Barrett.
According to Rudy Garcia, Deb Garcia, and Genia Parker, the artist and designers, the window panels tell a story.
“Each panel represents a different era of the Signal Corps, from the Civil War to today, and all the instruments used. From carrier pigeons to satellites, the Signal Warrior’s mission was, and still is, to ensure the messages gets through.”
Tuscan artist Genia Parker created the original design concept for the 8-panel custom glass artworks that were to comprise the Cove of Remembrance as part of the original Request for Proposal RFP to the Army Signal Corp’s selection committee. Simple sketches of the 8-panel artwork were submitted featuring key equipment used by the Signal Corp over the course of its history, as well as key historical figures from the various historical theaters of war.
Parker also explained, she made an extreme effort to appropriately represent some of the various people, who make up the Army Signal Corps and its civilian support system using the abundance of historical information provided by Ft. Huachuca, as well as individual research. As each portion of the stained glass mural was meticulously researched, it would give further definition to the Signal Corps figures depicted on the art-work that would come to include:
· Signal Corps Founder, Albert J. Meyer
· First Position Poleman
· Telegraph Operator
· Horseback Rider on the Carrier Pigeon Transport Wagon
· WWII Navajo Code Talker
· WWI Doughboy
· Vietnam War Soldier
· Desert War Soldier
· Civilian Satellite Support
“Each person's face and hands were drawn by hand to fit the pattern piece they were to be cut out of. These drawings were taped to the underside of the clear glass and used to paint each individual as closely as possible to the pattern,” said Parker.
“Likewise, each piece has 7-9 layers of paint. The radios that the Navajo Code Talker and the Vietnam War Soldier are holding were also part of the painting process, as were the wooden handles of the Signal Flag poles the WWI Doughboy is holding,” added Parker.
The glass panels would also come to represent the mix and differences of our Army and Signaleers.
“This mural honors the linage of the Signal Corps, the diversity found within our men and women who are the Army’s Communicators, and those who have served and fallen while defending our great nation,” said Barrett.
Command Sgt. Maj. Knott added that the men and women of the Signal Regiment are a big part of its history through the ages.
“Though the technologies change and transform, the challenges to provide communications have remained constant. More importantly than technology however, it has been the people - the men and women - the Soldiers, Civilians and leaders - who have made success on the battlefields of our history possible.”
“They came from all walks of life. From the cities to the farmsteads, the calling came and they answered. The diversity found in our Signal Corps is a microcosm of our Society in general. Their stories, their comradeship, and their dedication to the mission should be honored and remembered even as the Signal Corps is fully engaged in current operations,” said Knott.
In addition, Knott recalled how the commitment and talent of the Signaleer has remained continuous to the primary mission of the Signal Regiment.
“The one thing that has remained constant for the Signal Corps has been the need for competent and dedicated Soldiers and Civilians.”
“Beginning with General Albert J. Myers' vision of a group of technical specialists and leaders trained to provide communications capabilities to enhance command and control, the Soldiers and Civilians of the Signal Corps have been dedicated to that mission, and at times paid the ultimate price to ensure the message gets through,” said Knott.
At the conclusion of the stained glass unveiling ceremony both Maj. Gen. Barrett and Command Sgt. Maj. Knott reiterated the Army’s and NETCOM’s commitment to remember and never forget the our fallen Signaleers, both Soldiers and civilians.
“It is indeed humbling to stand within this hallowed ground today as we remember and hold in reverence the sacrifices made by the men and women we honor. And, our charge is to ensure the legacy of the Signaleers forever etched in this memorial Cove continues,” said Knott.
“Indeed, we will not forget. We will not forget our Fallen Soldiers. We will not forget their spouses. We will not forget their children. We will not forget their parents. No, we will not forget,” said Barrett.
“Today, ours is a sacred task, a duty of honor, offered with the deepest sense of reverence.”
“As these Soldiers willingly served our Nation, fully aware of the potential costs, buoyed by faith, family, and friends, stepping forward for the cause of Freedom, so we step forward and salute our fallen sisters and brothers with this solemn pledge…..we will not forget. We will never forget,” concluded Barrett.
For more information on NETCOM Visit: https://www.army.mil/netcom