As the US headed into WWI, the Army Signal Corps recognized an increased need for communications support. Recruitment from private communications companies began. The response was overwhelming and four training camps were established to ready the new recruits, one in Little Silver, NJ.
June 3, 1917
The first 32 recruits arrived at what was originally named “Camp Little Silver” in two Ford Model - T’s filled with supplies to prepare the raw land.
June 14, 1917
Cantonment, quartermaster facilities, and a camp hospital, all under canvas were built.
June 17, 1917
LTC Hartmann is named the first commander.
June 18, 1917
Members of the First and Second Reserve Telegraph Battalions began to arrive. By the end of June, 25 officers and 451 enlisted personnel were stationed at Camp Little Silver.
September 15, 1917
Camp Little Silver was renamed Camp Vail after Alfred E. Vail, an associate of Samuel Morse’s who help develop commercial telegraphy.
Winter 1917 - 1918
Lumber was brought by rail and the soldiers scrambled to construct barracks as the temperatures dropped.
Construction began on a main laboratory as well as 43 other laboratory buildings in the area of what is now Barker’s Circle.
Homing pigeons were used by the English and French forces during WWI. General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expeditionary Force was impressed by the allies’ birds and requested the same program from the American Army.
The American homing pigeons, trained at Fort Monmouth, had arrived in Europe.
October 5, 1918
Many of the birds were used in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, during which a bird named “President Wilson” flew 25 miles in 25 minutes. Under heavy artillery and machine gun fire “President Wilson” delivered his message despite having suffered a shattered leg and wounded breast in flight. “President Wilson” passed in 1929, was taxidermied and now rests at the Smithsonian Institute.
Another hero bird from Fort Monmouth, “Mocker,” flew from Beaufort, France with a message containing details of the exact location of certain enemy heavy artillery batteries. American artillery silenced the enemy guns, saving countless lives. Mocker completed the flight in incredible time, despite a wound from a shell which destroyed an eye and filled his head with blood. He recovered and spent the remainder of his days at Fort Monmouth, where he passed in 1937, the last of the Fort Monmouth hero birds
Due to the incredible success of Fort Monmouth’s Hero Birds, the Signal Corps Pigeon Breeding and Training Section was established to continue the program. The British Pigeon Service’s officer in charge sent 150 pairs of breeding birds to the fort. They were housed in one stationary and 14 mobile lofts, along with the retired hero birds from WWI.
October 2, 1919
Classes begin at the newly established Signal Corps School.
As increased need for communications technology training grew, training of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) became a major function of the Signal Corps School.
National Guard and Reserve officers training begins at the Signal Corps School.
The Signal Corps School was renamed “The Signal School,” due to increased attendance from students from different branches of the Army.
Reorganization of the Officer’s Division created two, nine-month courses of study at the Signal Corps School, a Signal Corps Officers course and a Basic Course in signal subjects for officers of other arms and services and newly commissioned Signal officers.
The Signal School reorganized into four departments including: Communications Engineering, Applied Communications, and Enlisted Specialists departments, a General Instruction course for all officers was also included.
The Signal Corps board was established.
The predecessor to the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) was developed. the Signal Corps, worked with the American Radio Relay League, organized the Army Amateur Radio Service.
The first permanent structures were commissioned including permanent barracks and a hospital building.
August 6, 1925
The camp was granted permanent status when it became a fort in 1925. It was named “Fort Monmouth” to honor the fallen men and women at the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.
The homing pigeon program was enhanced. The fort now had 75 pairs of breeding pigeons, two flying lofts with 100 birds for training and maneuvers, and one stationary loft with 30 long-distance flyers. Approximately 300 birds per season were bred at Fort Monmouth. That number was banded and held available to fill requisitions from the eighteen lofts scattered throughout the United States and its possessions.
Construction of the first permanent building commenced.
The Signal Corps School growing need for printed materials sparked the establishment of the “training literature section.”
The first permanent barracks were completed, what is now Barker’s Circle.
August 15, 1928
The first quarters for field officers, company officers and NCOs were completed.
Breeders for Fort Monmouth’s homing pigeon program successfully bred pigeons that were capable of flying in darkness, providing extra cover for them.
Hospital construction was completed. What is now Allison Hall.
The first radio-equipped weather balloon was launched at Fort Monmouth.
The Signal Corps Laboratories were expanded to include a consolidation of almost all of the Signal Corps functions from across the country into one at Fort Monmouth. Now, the personnel and equipment needed to solve almost any Signal Corps issue could be found in one location.
The 389th Army Band came to Fort Monmouth as the Signal Corps Band. It was designated the 389th Army Band in 1944.
Officers’ quarters including three four-family apartments, one Bachelor Officer’s quarters, six double sets of quarters for noncommissioned Officers, and one set of quarters for field officers were completed.
More quarters were completed including eight double sets of Company Officers’ Quarters, seven double sets of NCO Quarters, and one four-family apartment complex.
December 15, 1933
War Department Theater Number 1 a 574-seat theater, later known as Kaplan Hall, opened
An additional wing was added to the Allison Hall hospital. A blacksmith shop, incinerator, bakery, warehouses, band barracks and utility shops were also completed.
Plans to rebuild the Signal Corps laboratory began, the new structures would replace the original 9 wooden buildings, constructed in 1918, that had previously constituted the laboratories.
The Signal School changed its name back to “The Signal Corps School.”
A fire station, guardhouse, Signal Corps Laboratory (Squier Hall), three sets of quarters for field officers, and three sets for company grade officers were completed.
The Signal Corps laboratories were completed.
Construction on the headquarters building, Russel Hall, was completed.
May 26, 1937
A crude version of early RADAR, the future SCR-268 was demonstrated by the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth to Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring; Brig. Gen. Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, assistant chief of the Air Corps.
September 8 1939
Following the outbreak of war in Europe, President Roosovelt declared a state of limited emergency. Fort Monmouth’s personnel were increased from 210,000 to 227,000.
SCR-510, the first backpack FM radio was invented at Fort Monmouth Laboratories. This provided clear communication for WWII soldiers.
The Chief Signal Officer commissioned a Replacement Training Center at Fort Monmouth where enlisted personnel would receive one year of training.
The homing pigeon program made another advancement with two-way pigeons. The first test sent 20 pigeons on a 28 mile round trip to Freehold and back to Fort Monmouth. This trip took approximately a half an hour. During WWII, 54,000 pigeons served in the Army.
June 2, 1941
The Officer Candidate Department was activated within the Signal Corps School.
June 20, 1942
The Signal Corps School was renamed the Eastern Signal Corps School, its department for Officer Candidate Training was renamed the Officer Candidate School
Julius Rosenberg was approached by Soviet agents to pass top secret military secrets to the Soviet Union.
The army purchased land in Wall Township, later called Camp Evans, for Field Laboratory Number Three. The purchase included buildings originally owned and developed by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America.
The Replacement Training Center increased its capacity from 5000 to 7000 and reduced training time from one year to 13 weeks.
Land was acquired for Field Laboratory Number One, later designated the Camp Coles Signal Laboratory, at Newman Springs and Half Mile Roads west of Red Bank, New Jersey. Field Laboratory Number 2, Eatontown Signal Laboratory, was constructed in the Camp Charles Wood area.
July 14, 1942
Camp Charles Wood, land purchased to expand Fort Monmouth, was dedicated. It was used for replacement training activities.
The Pigeon Breeding and Training Center moved from Fort Monmouth to Missouri.
Signal Corps Publications Agency was activated. It consisted of the School’s Department of Training Literature, the Instruction Literature Section of the Fort Monmouth Signal Laboratories, and the Technical Publications Section of the Evans Signal Laboratories.
The first women were accepted into training at Fort Monmouth. Thirty six female officers of the Women’s Army Corps enrolled in the School’s message center course
The Signal Corps Band was designated the 389th Army Band.
Julius Rosenberg is dismissed due to his previous ties to the Communist Party.
January 10, 1946
Signal Corps scientists conducted Project Diana. They used a specially designed radar antenna (Diana Tower) to successfully reflect electronic signals off the moon. A beam of high frequency energy traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) was directed at the moon and was recorded 2.5 seconds later on the radar screen. Continuous recordings were made at regular 2.5 second intervals.
June 20, 1946
The Pigeon Breeding and Training Center moved from Missouri back to Fort Monmouth with more than two dozen hero pigeons from WWII.
Army Amateur Radio Service was reorganized as a joint Army - Air Force program called the Military Amateur Radio Service.
The first weather radar was developed.
The first auto-assembly of printed circuits occurred.
The Signal Corps Center was established.
The Signal Corps Electronic Warfare Center was activated.
Six new permanent barracks were completed as well as an auditorium with an outdoor amphitheater.
August 31, 1953
Senator Joseph McCarthy launched an inquiry into Fort Monmouth, alleging that Julius Rosenberg had created a spy ring that still existed in the Signal Corps labs. Some employees at the Fort were dismissed on suspicion alone. McCarthy ultimately failed to prove the existence of a Communist conspiracy at Fort Monmouth. Throughout his investigation, 42 employees, mostly engineers, were suspended on suspicion of security risks. Forty were reinstated, two resigned. All of the reinstated received back pay. The last 6 to get their jobs back rejoined the workforce five years later in 1958. McCarthy ultimately failed to prove the existence of a Communist conspiracy at Fort Monmouth.
The pigeon program was discontinued. The 15 remaining hero birds were sent to zoos across the country, while the rest of the birds on the fort were sold in pairs.
A method for measuring polar ice using RADAR was developed.
Mortar-Radar Locator AN/MPQ-3 and AN/MPQ-10 are introduced.
March 17, 1958
Vanguard I was launched, it demonstrated the feasibility of solar converters for satellites.
The U.S. Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories was renamed the U.S. Army Signal Corps Research and Development Laboratory.
December 18, 1958
The first communications satellite, Project SCORE (Signal Communications via Orbiting Relay Experiment), successfully launched.
February 17, 1959
Vanguard II, nicknamed “Cloud Cover,” launched. This satellite, with infrared scanning devices to provide crude mapping of the Earth’s cloud cover and a tape recorder to store the information, operated perfectly during the entire 20-day life of the battery power source
Fort Monmouth scientists produced MOBIDIC, the world’s first mobile, van-mounted computer.
The first televised weather satellite, the Tiros-1 satellite, was developed under the technical supervision of the Fort Monmouth Laboratories. It sent to the giant 60 foot “Space Sentry” antenna at Fort Monmouth the first televised weather photographs of the earth’s cloud cover and weather patterns
The first Large Scale Mobile Computer, MOBIDIC, was developed at Fort Monmouth. It was the first computer developed for use at Field Army and theater levels. This van-mounted computer was the first experiment in automating combat support function in artillery, surveillance, logistics and battlefield administration.
Fort Monmouth developed the first High Capacity Communication Satellite. The Courier Satellite was the experimental communications satellite that proved high-volume communications, up to 100,000 words per minute, could be relayed through space.
The new hospital is completed.
The laboratories created portable, hand-held RADAR using the latest micro-miniaturization technology. It could spot moving targets from a mile away. This radar was the prototype of the radar gun used by police forces to detect speeding motorists.
An interdenominational church is dedicated.
August 1, 1962
A subordinate element of AMC, the U.S. Army Electronics Command (USAECOM), was established at Fort Monmouth.
Production on second generation night vision devices commenced.
Morse Code Readout was developed at Fort Monmouth. This device plugs into any Army radio and transforms Morse Code into letters formed by a light-emitting diode (LED). This device allows a Soldier with no knowledge of Morse Code to be able to receive and interpret coded messages.
A subordinate element of AMC, the U.S. Army Electronics Command (USAECOM), was established at Fort Monmouth.
Operational Readiness Office was established to monitor the progress and detect the problems of every ECOM project or activity relating to Southeast Asia.
Multi-Channel Laser Relay was developed, it was a single pencil-size laser beam that acted as a relay of many television and radio channels.
The Bowling Center was opened.
Microelectronics research created circuitry that was more reliable, used less power, and was less costly.
August 19, 1966
Groundbreaking on the Officer School’s Department of Command Communications, Photographic Laboratory, and Building 918 for the Radar Laboratory. Congressman James J. Howard declared, “This ceremony is symbolic as a reassurance to the people of Monmouth County that the Signal School is here to stay.”
A new radio which consisted of a helmet-mounted receiver, the AN/PRR-9; and a shirtpocket transmitter, the AN/PRT-4 was developed for use in Vietnam combat, it was used through 1971.
ECOM deployed the R&D Technical Liaison Team to Vietnam.
Fort Monmouth’s AN/GRC-163, a trailer-mounted 4-channel multiplexed radio used to support communications in airmobile operations, arrived in Vietnam to aid the US military efforts.
Night Vision Development and deployment to Vietnam of a passive night vision device that, by using image intensifier tubes, made targets almost as visible at night as in daylight.
Radio Ground Beacon was developed. The Electronics Command fielded a small omni directional radio ground beacon, the AN/TRN-30, for Army aircraft. The beacon is for use at remote airstrips and landing facilities.
The 800 section of the Fort, containing many WWII buildings, was demolished to construct the Post Exchange, cafeteria, post office, and bank complex.
The Post Complex was dedicated.
The Commissary was opened.
Defibrillator Pacemaker Developed in cooperation with doctors from Patterson Army Hospital, the device regulated the heartbeat but, in addition, could detect the start of fibrillation (wild tremors of the heart’s muscle) and briefly stop the heart to allow normal beat to resume.
The CECOM Office Building, Green Acres officially opened.
Carbon Dioxide Communications Laser is developed. This was an air-cooled dioxide laser communications system with a range of five miles.
Laser Mini-Range was created. The rangefinder weighed less than one pound, it could be mounted on small arms and is accurate up to distances of one kilometer.
The Coles Area of Red Bank is declared in excess.
The post library was opened.
Mortar and Artillery Locating Radars AN/TPQ-36 and AN/TPQ-37 were developed.
January 1, 1975
The Coles Area officially closed.
June 17, 1976
Fort Monmouth’s last class in signal communication graduated.
The library was dedicated as the Van Deusen Library in honor of the 1941-42 post commander and Signal School Commandant.
March 30, 1977
The Electronics Research and Development Command (ERADCOM) was established. It assumed operational control of its assigned elements on 15 July, as did the Communications Research and Development Command (CORADCOM).
January 1, 1978
Activation of new commands--CERCOM (Communications-Electronics Readiness Command), CORADCOM and ERADCOM began.
January 3, 1978
Activation ceremonies for the new commands occurred.
The Army’s Chaplain Center and School, the Army’s only training center for the clergy, moved to Fort Monmouth from Fort Wadsworth, N.Y.
The Chaplain Board, a field operating agency of the Chief of Chaplains, moved to Fort Monmouth.
A decision was announced that CERCOM and CORADCOM would merge and become the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) effective in May 1981.
CERCOM and CORADCOM merge and become the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM).
Multi-million dollar projects commenced to modernize the Myer Hall complex, barracks in the 1200 area, the Communications Center (Vail Hall), Russel Hall and Squier Hall.
October 10, 1982
The 513th Military Intelligence Group reactivated at Fort Monmouth and assumed the mission of providing intelligence support to the Third United States Army and the United States Army Central Command (ARCENT).
September 10, 1984
The Joint Tactical Command, Control and Communications Agency was established.
October 3, 1986
The 513th Military Intelligence Group was renamed the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade.
November 10, 1987
The CECOM Logistics and Readiness Center was established to act as an overseer to all communications-electronics logistics functions within CECOM. Its mission was to support the U.S. Army by providing integrated, timely, cost-effective, and high quality worldwide logistics support to include fielding, new equipment training, operations, maintenance, and sustainment.
The first round of Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) took place following the Cold War due to an excess of Forts in the US which were viewed as no longer necessary.
August 7, 1990
As a result of the Gulf War, CECOM’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) began operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Electronics Technology and Devices Lab of the Army Research Lab was moved to Adelphi, Maryland from Fort Monmouth as part of BRAC.
Fort Monmouth underwent a series of significant changes under BRAC including; The Chaplain Center transferred to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, The Belvoir Research, Development and Engineering Center moved to Fort Belvoir, The CECOM Office Building in Tinton Falls was closed and 2,300 employees moved onto Fort Monmouth main post, The Evans Area was closed and 500 employees relocated to main post and the Charles Wood Area, The Army was required to dispose of 264 excess housing units in the Charles Wood Area, which theNavy took possession of.
CECOM restructured as well and formed TEAM C4IEWS (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors) which include: CECOM, PEO C3S (Command, Control and Communications Systems), PEO EIS (Enterprise Information Systems), PEO IEW&S (Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors), ARL (Army Research Laboratory), and DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency). Although the names of some of these organizations have changed through the years, their commitment to the partnership has not. The overarching goal of the partnership was best represented by its mission statement, which read: “We, the leaders of the above C4IEWS member organizations, commit to work together to support the vision of Fort Monmouth as a premier global Center of Excellence in developing and supporting superior C4IEWS systems and equipment as well as new architecture for strategic communications, automation and defense information infrastructure.”
CECOM gained responsibility for executing IT infrastructure improvements across all Army posts, camps and stations.
September 11, 2001
At 8 am, a group of volunteers from organizations across the state from Fort Monmouth firefighters to NJ State Police gathered to participate in a 3-day simulated biochemical terrorist attack on Fort Monmouth. The goal of the study was to evaluate the groups response to the attacks. At 9 am that morning, the group was informed that a plane believed to be hijacked by terrorists had struck the World Trade Center in New York City. The group first believed that the announcement was part of the exercise, however, the exercise was cancelled and they immediately were ordered to their offices for safety.
The Emergency Operations Center began operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Fort Monmouth did not have the ability to monitor accessl. Access was limited to a few main roads and gates. A Visitor Control Center was created to handle visitors. Additional security was provided via reserve soldiers called in to help.
The months that followed saw an increase in Homeland Security efforts within CECOM to provide better communications, more integrated response plans and quicker response times in crises.
October 7, 2001
Operation Enduring Freedom was launched overseas as a response to the 9/11 terror attacks, with the help of Fort Monmouth.
One of CECOM’s most notable contributions to Operation Enduring Freedom was the phraselator. Developed in conjunction with DARPA, the phraselator translated spoken English into Dari, Pashto, Arabic and other languages using fixed phrases from force protection and medical domains. This was highly beneficial as there were not enough trained linguists available. CECOM continued to assist DARPA in providing new domain vocabularies and developing a a-way phraselator.
As CECOM continued to grow, an internal Knowledge Center was created for its global employees. It was designed to connect the global CECOM workforce and allow for seamless information sharing.
October 1, 2002
The Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) began at Fort Monmouth.
The 754th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment was deployed to Afghanistan from Fort Monmouth. There they disposed of, rendered safe and advised about explosive hazards. The team disposed of 652,000 lbs of explosives.
CECOM developed a prototype demo unit for “down well” viewing in Afghanistan. It was named one of the top 10 military inventions that year.
May 13, 2005
The Department of Defense recommended the closure of Fort Monmouth as part of the 2005 BRAC
September 15, 2011
The final closing ceremonies were held.