By Chrissie Reilly, CECOM History OfficeSeptember 16, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The C4ISR Center of Excellence will hold a campus dedication ceremony Sept. 15 at 11 a.m. in the campus courtyard in front of the Myer Auditorium to recognize the success of the Base Closure and Realignment process and highlight the traditions of C4ISR excellence.
The event will bridge Fort Monmouth closure on Sept. 13 to the new future of C4ISR at APG.
"We want to reinforce the heritage of signal and communications-electronics lineage now at APG as BRAC comes to a close," said Susan Thompson, historian for the U.S. Army Communications-
Electronics Command. Throughout APG and other military installations, named buildings, as well as landmarks and memorials are a way to acknowledge the history of an organization.
Therefore, the C4ISR Center of Excellence campus recently installed memorials linking the new site on Aberdeen Proving Ground with the organizational heritage of its Signal Corps past at Fort Monmouth.
For the C4ISR Center of Excellence, the majority of this history can be traced back to Fort Monmouth, N.J., the former headquarters of the organizations which comprise the Center of Excellence.
"Fort Monmouth was the home of communications-electronics heroes and scientists, the birthplace of innovation and technological revolution since the time of its inception as a temporary training post in 1917," said Thompson. "The post commemorated this near century of support to the Soldier at almost every turn, in memorials and monuments honoring those who served."
Now that Team C4ISR is headquartered at APG, senior leaders decided to highlight the continuity of mission between the new and former homes through memorialization efforts.
This spring, approved buildings throughout the campus were named for acquisition pioneers, scientists, inventors, and leaders. In a second step, the campus has added memorials which are
recreated memorials which honored the sacrifice of Soldiers killed in battle during World War II and the Vietnam War.
Affixed to either side of Myer Auditorium are the "Avenue of Memories" and the "Defense of Freedom" memorial recreations.
"Since C4ISR history can be traced back to U.S. Army Signal Corps founder Brigadier General Albert J. Myer, it is especially fitting that the recreated memorials flank the building named after him," Thompson said.
The Avenue of Memories was the main thoroughfare at Fort Monmouth, and paid homage to the Signal Corps Soldiers who gave their lives during World War II. Trees lined either side of the street, and a small plaque for each fallen soldier was in front of a tree. The Army dedicated the avenue April 6, 1949, with General Order 22, when the first marker was placed in memory of Maj. Edmund P. Karr. Karr's name bears an asterisk marking his as the first name to be memorialized.
Originally designated as "Memorial Drive," during the dedication ceremony, the commanding officer at the time misspoke and called it the "Avenue of Memories." A subsequent General Order was drafted and it formally became the Avenue of Memories with General Order 31, December 7, 1949. Each plaque contained the name, rank, and both the date and location the Soldier deceased. This information has been recreated on the side of Myer Hall closest to the parking lot.
The other side of the Myer Auditorium features the Defense of Freedom Memorial recreation. It lists the names of Signal Corps Soldiers killed in Vietnam and was dedicated sometime during that war.
At Fort Monmouth, this memorial stood in front of the former CECOM headquarters building. However, at the time the memorial was erected, the building was called Myer Hall and housed
both the U.S. Army Signal School and Signal Corps museum.
"Small walkways on either side of Myer Auditorium's exterior walls have also been installed to enable people to get close up to the plaques and read the names of those memorialized," Thompson said.
The Sept. 15 dedication ceremony will consist of a ribbon cutting, acknowledgments of organizations that made the creation of the Center of Excellence a success, and a substantial amount of C4ISR equipment exhibits. Employees are invited to attend the ceremony and view the memorials and exhibits.