Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO)
World War II
The Joint Chiefs of Staff reviewed the after action reports about landings and operations on Tarawa and Guadalcanal that recommended that communications for air liaison, naval fire control, and shore parties be pooled into one organization. A new communications unit was therefore created in late 1943; it was called the Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO). The JASCO was formed by adding the shore fire control and air liaison parties – which were too small to be independent units anyway – to the signal companies (special) which had been handling communications for shore battalions since the summer of 1942. Most of the signal companies (special) were changed over to the new organization on short notice.
The JASCOs gave good accounts of themselves. At Kwajalein a JASCO attached to the 4th Marine Division improved artillery, air, and naval coordination to a great extent. On Iwo Jima, artillery, naval, and air coordination was called "superb." Wherever JASCOs were employed, much unnecessary congestion of radio circuits was eliminated.
The JASCO did not operate as one unit during amphibious operations. When an assault was mounted, the various JASCO teams would be attached to the appropriate units needing support. Air liaison teams would be attached to battalion and regimental headquarters, and to division headquarters. Naval shore fire control teams would be attached to each battalion landing team. Communications teams, made up of Signal Corpsmen, would be assigned to each shore battalion to provide radio and wire links both laterally and vertically.
JASCOs performed their functions in the central Pacific, the Philippines, Okinawa, southern France, and Normandy.
In general, the JASCOs functioned as intended and performed their tasks well. Equipment was not always entirely satisfactory; there was constant trouble with poorly waterproofed radio set, for example; but equipment was good enough to enable the JASCOs to provide better communications than had been provided before their creation.
Find out more in "Getting the Message Through" at http://www.history.army.mil/books/30-17/Front.htm#toc