Adjacent to Fort Gordon's Signal Towers on Chamberlain Avenue, Nelson Hall honors the Signal Corps' eighteenth Chief Signal Officer. Dedicated on 31 March 1970, the building preserves the memory of Ralph T. Nelson, “Under…(whose) leadership the Signal Corps progressed as a modern technically advanced service for providing communications all the way from the fighting soldier on the line to the strategist at the operation center.”
Colonel Nelson arrived at Fort Gordon on 27 June 1955. His job was to command the Signal Corps Training Center. About a month later, Nelson became a brigadier general. After leaving Fort Gordon in 1957, the general commanded the Army's Electronics Providing Grounds at Fort Huachuca, became Deputy Chief Signal Officer, and then head of the branch as Chief Signal Officer from 1959 to 1962.
Major General Nelson (the rank he attained as Chief Signal Officer) was born in Lebanon, Indiana on 19 June 1902. After first attending Purdue University, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1928. His early assignments were with the Infantry in both the United States and Hawaii.
As a Signal Officer in Germany and Austria during World War II, Nelson served with the 4th and 9th divisions of XV Corps and as department Signal officer of the Fifteenth Army and U.S. Forces. His final assignment of the war was in Austria, where he remained until 1946. Nelson served at various U.S. installations before returning overseas, this time to Korea, in 1953, where he served with the 10th Corps and the Eighth Army.
Among General Nelson's awards are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Ulchi Medal (Korea). Nelson's final resting place is among our nation's finest in Arlington National Cemetery.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard