Welcome to VZW's Tribute to the 596th Signal Support Company, 97th Signal Battalion
97th Signal Battalion Tribute

Welcome to VZW's Tribute to the 596th Signal Support Company, 97th Signal Battalion, 7th Army

ewis Daniel "Zeke" Whaley served in the United States Army from 1961-1964. He underwent basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and advanced individual training at Southeastern Signal School, Fort Gordon, Georgia. Click here for a photo of the U.S. Army Southeastern Signal School Graduating Class of 1961. Whaley then traveled to Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he departed for Brooklyn Harbor in New York City to board the General Simon B. Buckner.

The Statue of Liberty soon faded into the Atlantic Ocean. Following several days of seasickness, Whaley gazed at the White Cliffs of Dover, England, shortly before the Buckner docked in the port of Bremerhaven, Germany. GIs then boarded trains en-route to Kaiserslautern, Germany.

While stationed in Kaiserslautern, Specialist 4th-Class Whaley served with the 596th Signal Support Company, 97th Signal Battalion, 7th U.S. Army, as a Radio Relay/Telephone and Teletype Carrier Operator. He was accompanied by many soldiers wearing the blue, gold, and red 7th Army patch, also known as the Seven Steps to Hell.

Whaley resided in the two-story buildings of Pulaski Barracks, a United States Army base located in Kaiserslautern and near the towns of Vogelweh and Ramstein. He would occasionally hike to nearby Hohenecken Castle — a historic castle located on a ridge approximately two to three miles from Pulaski Barracks. The 596th conducted fall Army maneuvers at that time in and around Baumholder, Germany.

A common rumor was that Elvis Presley, who was in the Army during those years, had visited Baumholder a few months before the 596th conducted its maneuvers, the same year the Berlin Wall was being built — 1961.

97th Signal Battalion - TRIED AND TRUE
Crest of the 97th Signal Battalion
Whaley sailed back home on Saturday, September 28, 1963, on the same ship that took him to Germany — the Buckner. Whaley arrived about eight days later at Hampton Roads, Virginia, located in the Norfolk area. Shortly thereafter, he took a plane to Fort Smith, Arkansas, a city close to Fort Chaffee, where the 596th Signal Support Company was reassigned to the 509th Signal Battalion, Fourth Army. Whaley was stationed at Fort Chaffee for about nine months, three months of which he was assigned to the 176th Signal Company (LB). Whaley's Enlisted Time Served was completed June 1, 1964.

My father continued his interest in Ham Radio. Whaley's callsign is WA4MFZ.

In April 1999, I returned to some of my father's old stomping grounds in Germany. Having received security clearance to visit Pulaski Barracks, I took several photographs of the military base. I also spent the night in the lovely village of Hohenecken, where I hiked to the top of the mountain to visit the castle to which my father frequently hiked with other GIs.

Please visit Whaley's Photo Page to view images of Kaiserslautern, Pulaski Barracks, Hohenecken Castle, and Fort Chaffee. To visit some related Web sites, please visit Whaley's Links Page.

If you served in the 596th Signal Company, 97th Signal Battalion, please feel free to contact Whaley via e-mail at ldwhaley@live.com.

Thank you for visiting VZW's Tribute to the 596th Signal Support Company, 97th Signal Battalion. Be sure to visit a tribute to my grandfather, Starlin H. Hughes, at VZW's Tribute to the 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.

Thank you for stopping by.

596th Signal Support Co., 97th Signal Battalion
47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Stories by Vincent Z. Whaley

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