Chiefs of Signal

1880 - 1947    1947 - Present

Brigadier General James Allen

1906 - 1913

Like his predecessor, Adolphus Greely, Chief Signal Officer James Allen (1906-1913) encouraged the technological growth of the Corps.


He not only continued Greely's aeronautical policies, such as, the Signal Corps balloon and dirigible operations, but also advocated an air corps, observing in 1909, that other countries were "providing themselves systematically with aerial fleets" and that a sympathetic plan of development of this military auxiliary for [the United States] should be inaugurated without delay."


Allen's early contributions to the Signal Corps included the development of a buzzer-phone that replaced morse telegraphy in the field and later a field telephone.


He and George Squier (Chief Signal Officer from 1917 to 1923) conducted endless radio experiments and were responsible for the first wireless telegraph link in the western hemisphere.  Allen's far-sightedness led him to advocate mobile signal equipment in 1906.  He observed that equipment was needed to provide "instant communication by the side of the commander, wherever he may be required to go in the exercise of his duties."








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