Joint Assault Signal Company
The following is from the Signal Corps Museum
On 6 June 1944, through rough seas and
under cloudy skies, American forces landed on the Normandy beaches
designated as Utah and Omaha. To support this vast undertaking,
the First Army had assembled 13,420 signalers. Col. Grant A.
Williams served as first army signal officer. The signal troops
included three units (the 286th, 293rd and 294th) of a new type, the
Joint Assault Signal Company or JASCO, originally created in the Pacific
in late 1943 specifically to furnish communications during joint
Army-Navy amphibious operations.
The organization of JASCO demonstrated one of the ways the Army's
amphibious assault doctrine and techniques had matured since the North
African campaign. JASCOs operated as part of special engineer
brigades, units designed to organize invasion beaches for supply.
The joint companies provided the critical communications link between
the ships offshore and the assaulting units on the beach as well as
among the assault teams themselves. JASCOs also coordinated both
naval and aerial fire. Much larger than a standard signal company
and commanded by a major, the joint companies contained as many as five
to six hundred communications specialists from the Army (Signal Corps
and Field Artillery), Army Air Forces and Navy. The JASCO was
divided into a battalion shore and beach party communications section, a
shore fire control section and an air liaison further subdivided into
The Signal Corps also contributed significantly to the execution of the
assault through the use of radio countermeasures (RCM). These
included jamming the enemy's radar electronically and such deceptive
practices as dropping aluminum foil from planes to blind hostile sensors
by producing false echoes
The information below came from Mr. Ed
Petrie. He was one of the original members of the 596th JASCO in
1945 whom I was fortunate to locate through the internet. I had
the honor of communicating with him via e-mail.
Let me tell you what JASCO was about.
The mission of the JASCO was to observe and direct Naval support gunfire
during the invasion of the Japanese home islands. This was to be
accomplished by sending teams from JASCO ashore with the assault waves
to observe the efficacy of the artillery support from Naval ships lying
offshore and to adjust their fire to more effectively support the
The teams were to consist of 2 forward observers (ones an Army field
artillery officer and the other a Naval gunnery officer), 2 radio
operators, 2 wire men and a jeep driver. These men were also to be
equally divided between Army and Navy. I was one of the Army radio
Before JASCO I had been to radar school at Camp Murphy, Florida and was
qualified to repair gun-laying radars. I was expecting to be
assigned to the anti-aircraft artillery, but, as you know, the Army
moves in mysterious ways and I found myself in code school at Fort
Jackson, South Carolina.
In due course a bunch of us were discharged from code school and shipped
to the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for, as I remember,
a short course in field artillery methods. Then we were put on a
train and, a few days later, arrived at the Navy's Amphibious Training
Base at Oceanside, California. Here we were to form our teams and
train for the big event.
A few days after our arrival at Oceanside a bunch of us were waiting in
line to go into the mess hall for breakfast when a young boy carrying a
big stack of newspapers came running along the line yelling "EXTRA!
EXTRA! Atom bomb falls on Japan!".
I bought a paper and after reading about this unbelievably powerful bomb
which could obliterate an entire Japanese city, I said to myself "I
think the war is over". A couple of days later, after the
second bomb fell on Nagasaki, I said to myself "the was is
over", and so it was.
So, that was the end of JASCO 596. We were broken up and sent to
wherever the Army could accommodate us until it discharged us.