What the heck
did "S-3Able" mean in the Korean
From: "Sully", email@example.com
To: "Bert Kortegaard", firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Radio Call Signs....
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 21:04:50 -0600
The basic staff structure (function
categories and corresponding numerical designations) of
many military units is as follows:
5 Civil Affairs
6 Commanding Officer
S At battalion and regimental level the 1
thru 5 inclusive are indicated as S-1, S-2, ..
G At Division, Corps and upper echelons the
numbers are preceded by a G.
A To indicate an assistant in a staff
position you attached "Able."
|Thus "S-3Able" designated the
Assistant Operations Officer of a battalion or
(During WW II there was a system in place
which in many ways was clearer than the system above
which succeeded it. Thus, the B-1 was a Battalion
Personnel Officer, the R-2 was a Regimental Intelligence
Officer, the D-3 was a Division Operations Officer, the
C-4 a Corps Logistics Officer.)
In Vietnam, my battalion's radio call
sign was "Pied Piper" at the time we were the
only US combat element operating north of Hue. My radio
on the Battalion Tactical Net answered to a call for
"Pied Piper 6." Let's reconstruct what was
a typical conversation of a battalion moving up the
"Street Without Joy" northeast of Hue.
"Pied Piper 6, this is Alfa 6 Actual. Let me speak
to your Actual. Over."
"This is Pied Piper 6. My Actual is with the
connecting file. Wait one."
"This is 6 Actual, What's up Clancy (Alfa
6's first name)? Over."
"Skipper, I've got some movement across the
paddy, and can't determine who they are. I'd like
to send a squad over and check. What do you think?
"Clancy, those dudes have got to be 300 meters off
aren't they? Over."
"That's a Roger. Over."
"OK Clancy, if you see a weapon cut down on them and
I'll hold the column until we learn what you've
grabbed by the tail and whether you need fire support.
Keep your Arty and Mortar FOs up close and advised.
I'll tell my ArtyLnO and FAC what the situation is
and maybe we can get a Bird Dog over there to see if they
can pick up anything from the air. If we do get a Bird
Dog we'll have him come up on your Company Tac Net
and you can direct. Copy? Over."
At that point I'd click the handphone
once to acknowledge his Out and hand the phone back to
the radio operator.
Purists will point out that proper radio
procedure was not used in the foregoing, and they'd
be right. But we communicated, and that was what was
important, not repeating a bunch of useless trash and
taking up a bunch of time.
If you need anything more than the
foregoing shoot up a red flare. SF Sully
SCR-300, battery powered FM Radio
BC-1000: 40-48 Mhz, 35
pounds, 10 mile range.
Don't know if you include anywhere on
your pages anything on radio comm in Korea. The only two
radios that I can speak of with any knowledge are the SCR
300 and SCR 536. The latter was used on the Company Tac
Net, and the former on Battalion and Regimental Tac
The 536 ("Handy Talky") was
essentially worthless and notorious for not working when
you really needed them. The 300 was pretty much line of
sight, and if both radios were on a hill somewhere with
no intervening land masses they worked to a distance of
6,000 meters or so. Get either radio across a high ridge
from the other, even though a 1,000 meters or less point
to point and you could forget comm.
The ArtyLnO and FAC had radios that were
jeep mounted, with the radio taking up the entire rear
seat. Of course these were the tube variety which meant
that every time they were moved over rough terrain they
required maintenance before you could get them to work
again. SF Sully