The history below comes from the 596th
Signal Company section of the 3rd Brigade web site. This site has
been down for quite awhile now. No doubt as a result of 9-11.
The 596th Signal Company was constituted
on 13 June 1945 as the 596th Joint Assault Signal
Company. It was activated on 20 June at Fort Jackson, South
Carolina. It was inactivated on 15 September 1945 at Camp Callan,
On 20 July 1951 the company was redesignated the 596th Signal Support
Company and activated on 6 August at Camp Gordon, GA. On 1 April
1972 it was inactivated in Viet Nam.
On 15 June 1994 the unit was reorganized and designated the 596th Signal
Company. It was reactivated on 15 December 1995 at Fort Riley,
Kansas where it continues to serve.
And here is what I have been able to bring together
thus far. I hope to add to this history with the help of some of
the veterans of the unit.
The 596th Joint Assault Signal Company was created to
participate in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. The end
of the war in the Pacific also meant the end of the need for the unit
and it was inactivated, after only 3 months in existence, along with many others. See JASCO.
In September 1952 the 596 Signal Company (SPT) was sent to Germany along
with the 39th Signal Battalion. They were stationed at Panzer
Kaserne (General Romel's old HQ), near Boeblingen in the Stuttgart area.
Here they were in company with the 595th Signal Support Co., the 551st
and 545th Signal Depot Companies and the 176th Signal Repair Co., all
under the 39th Sig. Bn. The unit was returned to Fort Benning, GA.
approximately October of 1957.
In October, 1961 the 596th left Fort Benning, GA destined for Germany as
part of the U S forces build up in response to the latest Berlin crises.
There it was attached to the 97th
Signal Battalion. Most of the company was stationed in
Kaiserslautern while part of radio platoon went to Panzer Kaserne near
Boeblingen. It had the mission of providing communications for 7th
Army Rear. Look at Robert Stephens account of the move
In September 1963 the unit was detached and, leaving most of it's
equipment behind, returned to CONUS aboard the MSTS ship Simon B.
Buckner from Bremerhaven, Germany. From Virginia it was flown to Fort
Chaffee, Arkansas where it was attached to the 509th Signal Battalion.
There it drew all new vehicles and other equipment. In the spring
and summer of 1964 the unit participated in Operation Desert Strike
taking place in the California, Nevada and Arizona desert astride the Colorado
river. This was a very large operation involving a lot of troops.
(Our side won, twice). We arrived in Needles, CA by train and
convoyed back to Fort Chaffee after 2 months in the field. We were
the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Soon after our arrival back at Fort Chaffee the whole battalion packed
up and moved to Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This was when Defense
Secretary McNamara was closing forts all over the country. Soon
after arrival the unit was again sent to the desert around Yuma, AZ to
provide communications in support of the testing of unmanned
In January of 1968 the 596th personnel, carrying its weapons, web gear
and duffle bags, flew from Tucson airport to Long Beach, CA where it
boarded the MSTS ship Upshur for the 2 week trip the Viet Nam.
After a brief stop at Da Nang they arrived at Qui Nhon and then, by
convoy, to An Khe. The unit spent 2 weeks there undergoing jungle
training then was flown to Phu Bai where it set up shop. The company was
processed in country by the 43rd Signal Battalion. Then, in March, it
was assigned to the 459th Signal Battalion where they helped support the 1st Cav and the 3rd Marine
Amphibious Force in the recapture of Hue and the relief of Khe Sahn.
Later, the 596th was assigned to the 63rd Signal Battalion at Phu Bai just below the
demilitarized zone. The unit provided major support to elements of the 101st Airborne
Division at Camp Eagle, Phu Bai and Firebases Birmingham and
In April of 1972 the 596th Signal Co. was inactivated in Viet Nam with
almost 21 years of service.
For all of it's time in existence until now the
596th Signal Company never had a permanent parent organization.
This is why we called it a "bastard unit". It is an orphan no more.
On 15 December 1995 the 596th Signal Company was
activated and adopted by the 125th Forward Support Battalion, 3rd
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Riley Kansas.
The 596th Signal Company is a Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE)
company. MSE is a digital telecommunications system, which
and data communications. This is the first time that the unit has
been assigned to a division. Their motto is "The Bark Of The
In March 2003 the unit was ordered to Iraq with the 3rd
Bde. and the rest of the 1st AD in support of the global war on terrorism.
It was based in the vicinity of the Baghdad International Airport.
On 12 April 2004 the Bulldog Brigade returned to Fort Riley, KS.
In February 2005 the 596th was again sent to Iraq
for a second tour.