Chiefs of Signal
Major General George O. Squier
1917 - 1932
George Owen Squier's career spanned the Spanish American War and World War I. Because of him, the two most important technological developments of his era, the airplane and the radio, became integral parts of America's military arsenal.
After completing only the eighth grade and working for two years, Squier entered West Point. Graduating seventh in his class in 1887, Squier went on to complete his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins in 1893.
With a first class education in electrical science, Squier was transferred to Fortress Monroe where he helped found the Artillery Journal and used photography and electromagnetism to measure the velocity of artillery shells. By 1897, Squier had proven the military application of radio through experiments that, for example, fired cannons and detonated mines by remote control.
After a tour of duty on the cable ship Burnside in the Philippines during the Spanish American War era, Squier established the first Signal School at Fort Leavenworth in 1905.
His interest in aeronautics was evidenced by its introduction into the school curriculum. That interest in aviation intensified when Squier came to Washington in 1907, as Assistant Chief Signal Officer. Upon his recommendation, the Aeronautical Division was formed. He not only wrote the specifications for the first military aircraft, but witnessed acceptance trials of the Army's first Wright Flyer.
Squier's interest in radio never faltered. During 1909 and 1910, he applied for four patents in multiplex telephony, whereby, several verbal messages could be transmitted and received over a single wire, the basis for modern communications systems.
As Chief Signal Officer during World War I, Squier was responsible not only for radio, but also was charged with the entire aviation and communications mission of the United States Army. During the war, Squier succeeded in opening two great Army laboratories, one at Fort Monmouth for radio and another at Langley Field, Virginia, for aviation. Squier can be credited with the Army's institutionalization of scientific research and development for military purposes.