Chiefs of Signal
Brigadier General George P. Scriven
1913 - 1917
When President Wilson ordered U.S. troops mobilized in the 1916 preparations for World War I, Chief Signal Officer BG George P. Scriven, with almost 40 years of service, was nearing the mandatory retirement age of 64. Still a vigorous man, Scriven's twenty-two years in the Signal Corps included acting as Chief Signal Officer of the American force in the China Relief Expedition (1900).
Advances in communications technology picked up momentum as Scriven physically expanded the Signal Corps. The word radio appeared for the first time in the American press. Heretofore, it was called wireless.
The telephone was a proven communications device, but a 1916 long distance demonstration astounded the Army's Chief of Staff General Scott when he talked directly to General Pershing in Texas.
World War I proved to be a turning point for the Signal Corps. It changed from a small band of individual experimenters into a large corporate organization, owing largely to the influx of civilians from the commercial communications industry.
Fortunately for the Corps, Scriven sent LTC George O. Squier, as military attaché, to London where he observed Allied technology and prepared to replace Scriven as the first head of the Signal Corps with an earned Ph.D. in applied science.